The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— British Prime Minister Johnson admitted to a hospital with the coronavirus.
— Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for the coronavirus.
— Louisiana health officials: 68 coronavirus-related deaths
— France: 357 deaths in hospitals from the virus in a single day but signs that spread is slowing.
— Fauci: Very good chance coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature.”
— Palm Sunday services in some Kentucky churches in defiance of Gov. Andy Beshear’s warning against in-person worship.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital with the new coronavirus.
Johnson’s office says he is being admitted for tests because he still has symptoms, 10 days after testing positive for the virus.
Downing St. says the hospitalization is a “precautionary step” and he remains in charge of the government.
Johnson, 55, has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26.
NEW YORK — A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said Sunday.
The 4-year-old Malayan tiger, and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill, are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The first animal started showing symptoms March 27, and all are expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16.
The finding raises new questions about transmission of the virus in animals. The USDA says there are no known cases of the virus in U.S. pets or livestock.
The coronavirus outbreaks around the world are driven by person-to-person transmission, experts say.
There have been reports of a small number of pets outside the United States becoming infected after close contact with contagious people, including a Hong Kong dog that tested positive for a low level of the pathogen in February and early March. Hong Kong agriculture authorities concluded that pet dogs and cats couldn’t pass the virus to human beings but could test positive if exposed by their owners.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, who was the first congressman to test positive for coronavirus, announced on Twitter that he is now virus free.
“Today, after being deemed #COVID19 free by my doctor, I was able to reunite with my family in Miami. Though still a bit weak, I feel well, & I applied to participate in the @RedCross plasma donation to help those with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.”
The company 3M said it is working with German authorities to determine whether an incorrect report of one of its mask shipments being diverted to the United States was due to fraud.
Berlin authorities had said last week that a shipment of 200,000 masks intended for Berlin police had been seized in Thailand en route from China.
In a statement Sunday, 3M said it had no record of an order for Berlin police and has offered to help governments verify the authenticity of any offers to sell protective masks, which are used to prevent the spread of coronavirus to health workers and others.
Louisiana health officials reported 68 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, marking the state’s biggest jump in reported deaths since the outbreak began.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported the figures on its website Sunday. The number of infections reported to the state also increased by more than 500 cases from 12,496 to 13,010.
Before Sunday, the largest number of deaths reported in a single day was 60. The numbers represent when the tests were reported to the state, not necessarily when the infections or deaths occurred.
Louisiana and the New Orleans area have been an epicenter for the virus, and Gov. John Bel Edwards has repeatedly warned of looming shortages for ventilators and intensive care units.
WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has announced 96 more positive infections from the COVID-19 coronavirus, bringing the total up to 998, with 22 deaths.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-home order for Washington’s approximately 700,000 residents. Neighboring Maryland and Virginia have done the same. Bowser has declared a state of emergency, shuttered all schools and ordered all non-essential businesses to close. White House and Capitol tours have been cancelled and the National Zoo, Smithsonian museum network and Kennedy Center have closed.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota rose to 240 Sunday as President Donald Trump declared a major disaster for the state.
Trump’s order directs federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The South Dakota Department of Health reported 28 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Sunday. That number does not include tests pending in private labs or those who are not being tested.
Minnehaha County reports 23 new positive tests, bringing the total number of cases in South Dakota’s most populous county to 104. Eighteen of those patients in Minnehaha County have recovered.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The ACLU says it is seeking an injunction to block part of Puerto Rico’s strict curfew against the new coronavirus and argues that some of its restrictions are unconstitutional.
The curfew imposed March 15 has shuttered non-essential businesses in the U.S. territory and ordered people to stay home from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and remain there even outside those hours unless they have to buy food or medicine, go to the bank or have an emergency or health-related situation.
Violators face a $5,000 fine or a six-month jail term, and police have cited hundreds of people. A spokesman for the U.S. territory’s Justice Department said Sunday there was no immediate comment.
It is the first time the ACLU has decided to file a lawsuit in a U.S. jurisdiction related to a coronavirus curfew.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued new requirements for those visiting or working on Department of Defense installations regarding the use of cloth face coverings.
Esper says that “to the extent practical,” all individuals on DOD property “will wear” the face coverings when they cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance from others.
The guidance is effective immediately. It follows a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encourages people, especially in areas hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, to use rudimentary coverings such as T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors.
Esper outlined the new requirements in a memorandum to senior military leaders Sunday.
Esper said the requirement doesn’t apply to a service member’s personal residence on a military installation. But it does apply to work centers and other public areas.
He says exceptions may be approved by local commanders or supervisors and then submitted up the chain of command for awareness.
PARIS — France reported 357 deaths in hospitals from the virus in a single day Sunday but showed signs that its spread is slowing after 20 days of national confinement.
The country remains among the hardest hit in the world, with 8,078 confirmed deaths since the virus arrived in January. More than a quarter of those who died were in nursing homes, according to figures from the national health service Sunday night.
France’s intensive care units continue to fill up fast, with 390 new arrivals since Saturday for a total of 6,978 people in critical care beds. But the daily growth has been slowing, and 250 people left intensive care in the same one-day period. Most of those in intensive care are older, but 106 are under 30 years old.
While still high, the number of new deaths in hospitals dropped Sunday for the second day straight and was the lowest since March 29.
France continued Sunday to transport critically ill patients out of saturated regions to those with more hospital space and has brought in hundreds of medical personnel to help in the overwhelmed Paris region.
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci says there a very good chance the new coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature” because it is unlikely to be under control globally.
Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He says the virus is unlikely to be completely eradicated from the planet this year. That means the U.S. could see the “beginning of a resurgence” during the next flu season.
Fauci says the prospect of a resurgence is the reason the U.S. is working so hard to get its preparedness “better than it was.” He says that includes working to develop a vaccine and conducting clinical trials on therapeutic interventions.
Fauci also says states that don’t have stay-at-home orders are not putting the rest of the country at risk as much as they are putting themselves at risk.
Fauci spoke on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some Kentucky churches held Palm Sunday services in defiance of Gov. Andy Beshear’s warning against in-person worship.
Dozens of people were at Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville on Sunday, news outlets reported. A video showed a pianist playing and choir members singing during the late morning service.
Louisville’s Our Savior Lutheran Church streamed its in-person service live on YouTube. The church had required online registration beforehand and restricted seating to every other pew. The video stream did not show the audience.
Beshear warned during his daily briefing on Saturday that mass gatherings “are spreading the coronavirus.
“We care about each other in this state, and our faith guides us and gives us the wisdom to do the right thing to protect each other.”
Some states, including Florida, have made exemptions to allow religious gatherings to proceed during the coronavirus. Kentucky does not have that exemption.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and evangelical backers declared Sunday a day of prayer and fasting against the spread of the new coronavirus, and a small group gathered outside his official residence in the capital, Brasilia, to pray.
A day earlier, he posted on social media a video of himself with about a dozen pastors calling for the fasting and prayer. The Rev. Marco Feliciano said the purpose is so that “all the bad predictions made here in Brazil fall to the ground.”
Bolsonaro has distanced himself from most world leaders and many members of his own government by repeatedly minimizing the risks posed by COVID-19 and saying younger and healthy people should not self-isolate at home but get back to work.
Some of the pastors appearing in the video had previously criticized state governors who introduced quarantines that prevented them from opening their churches.
ROME — Italy has registered its lowest day-to-day increase in deaths of patients with the coronavirus in more than two weeks.
Angelo Borrelli, the head of the national Civil Protection agency on Sunday, said there were 525 deaths in the 24-hour period since Saturday evening. That’s the lowest such figure since 427 deaths were registered on March 19.
Italy has a total of 15,887 deaths and nearly 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A day shy of one month under national lockdown that the government ordered to try to contain the wildly spreading contagion, the lower count of day-to-day deaths brought some encouragement.
The number of intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has also showed a decrease in the past few days, including in northern Lombardy, Italy’s most stricken region.
JERUSALEM — The Israeli Defense Ministry says it has helped arrange an airlift of critically needed medical equipment from China to help fight the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement Sunday, the ministry said the first plane, carrying more than 900,000 surgical masks and half a million protective suits for medical teams, is scheduled to arrive on Monday.
It said Israeli airline EL Al has modified 11 Boeing Dreamliner aircraft for the operation. The airlift, which is to bring in millions of items as well as breathing machines, is to take place over two weeks.
The ministry has been coordinating an effort in recent weeks with other government ministries, the Mossad intelligence agency and the private sector to cope with the health crisis. Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Israeli chemical maker ICL also participated in the airlift mission.
Israel has reported more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19 and 48 deaths.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has asked the country to “stay home at Easter,” during a rare televised address to the nation.
Speaking from the remote Stenhammar Palace where the 73-year-old monarch is self-isolating, the King paid tribute to healthcare workers battling the outbreak that has now claimed 401 lives in the Scandinavian nation.
The King said staying home was “a small sacrifice” and urged people to act responsibly.
While most European countries have adopted strict restrictions of movement and personal freedom, Sweden’s strategy in fighting the pandemic appears comparatively more relaxed.
Swedish authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open, and only gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned.
Over the weekend, outdoor bars and restaurants were busy, and many people flocked to parks and forests around the capital, Stockholm.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovic says his government is planning to limit movement across the country over Easter in efforts to contain the epidemic of the coronavirus.
Matovic says the restrictions should be in place from Wednesday till the end of Easter Monday. After the restrictive measure was proposed by experts on Sunday, Matovic said his coalition government will vote on it on Monday.
“To travel means to spread the virus,” Matovic said. “We’re not in a situation to make a mistake.”
People will be allowed to travel to work, do essential shopping or visit doctors, but won’t be allowed to leave their county.
Slovakia is a Roman Catholic stronghold in central and eastern Europe. The government previously banned public gatherings, including religious services.
Slovakia has 485 infected people with the coronavirus, the government said Sunday.
ATHENS, Greece — Authorities in Greece have announced five fatalities from the new coronavirus over the past 24 hours. That brings the total to 73 fatalities, of which 52 were men.
The average age of the victims is 74.
There were 62 new confirmed cases to raise the total confirmed cases in Greece to 1,735. More than 50% of the infected are men.
There are 93 people in intensive care units. Greek authorities say they have administered 25,453 tests for the virus.
PRAGUE — The 75th edition of the international classical music festival Prague Spring in the Czech capital will take place online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The organizers announced the move on Sunday, saying “it is difficult to know what restrictions will be in place” at the time of this year’s festival planned for May 7 to June 4.
They say about 10 live concerts will be available on the internet free of charge, some of them will also be broadcast by the Czech public television and radio.
The details about the new program will be announced in the coming weeks and will depend on the government’s restrictive measures.
The Czech Republic has 4,543 people infected with the coronavirus, 67 have died.
ISTANBUL —Turkey’s health minister has announced 73 more patients have died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 574.
Fahrettin Koca, in figures shared on Twitter on Sunday, also said 3,135 people tested positive for the coronavirus. A total of 27,069 cases have been confirmed so far by the ministry.
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