Washington gov. may announces new restrictions

Deborah K. Vick

SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has scheduled a news conference for Sunday morning as COVID-19 case numbers soar throughout the Pacific Northwest where he will reportedly detail new restrictions.

Inslee’s office said he would discuss actions to combat the crisis but offered no details. The Seattle Times reports that among Inslee’s announcements will be a ban on indoor service at restaurants and bars and significantly reduced capacity at grocery stores and retail shops.

The newspaper cited industry officials briefed by Inslee’s staff. The Democratic governor will also prohibit all indoor social gatherings. And Inslee will reportedly limit grocery stores and retailers to 25% occupancy.



— Biden faces tough choice of whether to back virus lockdowns

— Officials monitor surge of cases in New Delhi as people socialize during India’s festival season

— German government ad hails couch potatoes as virus heroes

— Experience in treating COVID-19 patients is proving invaluable at the hospital in Paris that recorded the epidemic’s first death in Europe. Critical care doctors have learned not to put patients on ventilators if possible and to keep them awake and bathed in oxygen with face masks.


Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak



HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s two U.S. senators were self-isolating Saturday after a member of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s staff tested positive for COVID-19.

Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy each tweeted Saturday that they had not had close contact with the staffer but were taking the step out of an abundance of caution.

Lamont’s chief spokesperson, Max Reiss, identified himself as the senior staff member who had tested positive in a release posted to Twitter on Friday. Reiss wrote he wasn’t sure how or where he had contracted the virus.

Murphy tweeted Saturday that he had “attended an event yesterday with the Governor but was not in close contact with the staff member who tested positive. Out of an abundance of caution, though, I am isolating until I get tested and consult with the Office of Attending Physician Monday morning.”

Blumenthal tweeted Saturday afternoon that he had “just returned from being tested myself and am currently self-isolating.”


CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada has reported a record number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus for the second day in a row amid warnings from Gov. Steve Sisolak that the state is at a “critical juncture.”

Sisolak implored residents to stay home and do what they can to protect themselves a day after he announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. Sisolak told reporters on Friday that he wasn’t feeling any symptoms and would enter a quarantine.

Nevada reported 2,269 new cases and 15 additional deaths on Saturday, topping the record of 1,857 new cases set Friday.

Sisolak warned Nevadans earlier in the week that if the state fails to slow the spread of the virus within two weeks, he will be forced to reimplement stricter measures.


NEW YORK — Students, parents and teachers are continuing to anxiously watch New York City’s coronavirus test results. The latest figures Saturday fell under the city’s threshold for shutting down school buildings, but the mayor warned that the city was at a “crucial” point in fighting the virus’ resurgence.

Mayor Bill de Blasio cautioned parents and teachers Friday to plan for a potential school shutdown as soon as Monday, saying the city could cross its deciding line — 3% of coronavirus tests citywide coming back positive over a seven-day period — over the weekend.

The rate stayed short of that on Saturday, at 2.47%, he said.

“But that could change,” the Democratic mayor tweeted, warning that the city was facing “a critical weekend” in combating the pandemic.

New York City has the United States’ largest public school system, with more than 1 million students. It became one of few big cities to reopen classrooms this fall after the pandemic forced schools online in the spring, though families had the option of continuing all-remote learning this fall.

About 280,000 students have attended in person, far fewer than the city originally expected.


ATHENS, Greece — Deaths from the coronavirus have topped 1,000 in Greece, and authorities say that over half occurred since Oct. 18.

The Greek government has decided to shut down elementary schools, kindergartens and day care centers for two weeks starting Monday. Children will be schooled at home, as is already happening with high school and university students.

Authorities have stepped up controls and enforcement of a 9 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew, including by making arrests.

Two foreign exchange students who hosted an after-hours party at their apartment in the northern city of Thessaloniki were arrested at 10.30 p.m. Friday and fined 3,000 euros ($3,550) each on the spot. The 24-year-old Palestinian man and 21-year-old woman from France received suspended prison sentences of 2 years and two months on Saturday.

Their 15 party guests, all university students from western Europe, were fined 300 euros ($355) each but not arrested.

Greece reported 2,835 new confirmed virus along with 38 deaths on Saturday. The country has reported 72,510 cases and 1,035 since the start of the pandemic.


PHOENIX —The coronavirus outbreak continues to surge in Arizona, with the U.S. state on Saturday reporting over 3,000 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases for the third day in a week and the highest single-day spike since July.

The state reported 3,476 additional cases and 45 deaths. The state’s totals rose to 273,063 cases and 6,300 deaths.

As of Friday, 1,470 people were hospitalized with the virus, the most since early August, but still far below the levels reached when Arizona was a national hotspot last summer.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds reached 362 on Friday, the most since late August.


MILAN — The spread of the coronavirus in Italy is slowing, according to national health officials. They said Saturday that the data might be an early sign that restrictions first adopted a month ago are starting to work.

Italian authorities reported that the national reproduction rate for the virus dropped to 1.4% from 1.7% a week ago, although some regions have rates over 2%. The number of new infections starts to drop when the infection rate drops below 1%.

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the lower transmission rate is not enough to show that the country has turned a corner. He cited the increased number of hospitalizations. Authorities said Saturday that nearly 500 more COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospitals since a day earlier, while 76 more patients entered intensive care.

Italy added 37,255 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Saturday, a slight drop from recent days that is consistent with weekend trends since fewer tests are performed. The country’s death toll rose by 544, for a pandemic total of 44,683.

The regions containing the cities of Naples in the south and Florence in central Italy go on partial lockdown Sunday, a sign of the still perilous situation.


KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine has introduced tight weekend restrictions as the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases hit a national record.

Through the end of the month, only grocery stores, pharmacies and public transportation are allowed to operate on Saturdays and Sundays.

Health Minister Maxim Stepanov said Saturday that Ukraine registered 12,524 new confirmed cases, about 800 more than the previous day. The rapid rise in cases has severely strained Ukraine’s struggling medical system.

Stepanov said: “The virus is spreading at the speed of a hurricane.

The country’s total number of confirmed cases in the pandemic is more than 525,000, with 9,508 deaths.


BALTIMORE — The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has soared to a new daily high in the United States.

Data from Johns Hopkins University indicates the number of confirmed cases reached 184,514 on Friday, as the number of people infected continues to surge.

The Johns Hopkins data shows the seven-day rolling average for virus-related deaths reported daily in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks from about 828 on Oct. 30 to 1,047 on Friday, an increase of about 26%

The seven-day rolling positivity rate also rose over the past two weeks from 6.4 to 9.6, an increase of about 50%, even as the number of tests performed has grown.


WARSAW – Poland has reported 548 more COVID-19-related deaths, a record number since the start of the pandemic.

The country also reported more than 25,570 new confirmed cases infection cases on Saturday. Most were in the southern industrial region of Silesia, in western province of Poznan and in Warsaw province.

The daily figures bring Poland’s totals to more than 691,100 confirmed cases and 10,045 deaths. Virus expert Wlodzimierz Gut said the growth in the death toll probably reflects last week’s peak in new infections. He says the spread of the virus appears to be decelerating since the government introduced stricter anti-infection measures on Nov. 1.


MOSCOW — Russia has reported a new one-day high in the number of confirmed coronavirus infections recorded.

The national virus task force reported 22,702 new cases and 391 more virus-related deaths on Saturday. Russia’s highest daily death toll of the pandemic, 439, was reported on Thursday. Overall, Russia has reported 1,903.000 confirmed virus cases and 32,834 deaths since the start of the pandemic.


BEIRUT — Lebanese police are patrolling the streets of Beirut and ordering shops to close as the country begins a two-week lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus that has killed dozens over the past days in the small Mediterranean country.

The number of cases increased sharply in recent weeks around Lebanon, straining the country’s medical sector and almost filling hospital intensive care units.

A nighttime curfew has been extended during the lockdown lasting from sunset to sunrise while driving will be completely banned around the country on Sundays. Vehicles with odd and even number plates will be allowed to drive three days a week each to limit traffic.

The lockdown comes as Lebanon is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades, leading to criticism of the closure by business owners who cannot afford the loss of revenue. Over the past year, the local currency shed 80% of its value and tens of thousands lost their jobs in a population of some 5 million that has one of the highest debt ratios in the world.


BERLIN — Doctors in Germany are calling for hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries in areas with high rates of coronavirus infections so medical personnel can concentrate on critically ill COVID patients.

Hospitals in Germany have resisted putting off plannable and elective procedures, arguing they would risk financial ruin doing so without further government support.

But a doctors union and four medical associations said in a joint statement Saturday that unless the strain on staff members can be eased, “many intensive care units in particular will soon pass breaking point.”

They called on the government to send a “clear signal” to hospitals that any loss of income compared to the previous year will be compensated.

According to the intensive care medicine association DIVI, the number of ICU beds in Germany occupied by COVID-19 patients is higher than it was during the spring.


BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says nursing home workers and the people they are caring for will be among the first to get access to coronavirus vaccines.

Merkel said Saturday in her weekly video address that staff and residents of nursing homes will “receive priority” as soon as a vaccine is available.

Almost 1 million people in Germany live in nursing and care homes. The country is seeking to buy 100 million doses of a vaccine being developed by German pharmaceutical company BioNTech and U.S. partner Pfizer.

Germany’s disease control agency reported a further 22,461 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to Saturday, as well as 178 additional deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, Germany has recorded 773,556 confirmed cases and 12,378 deaths.


ISTANBUL — Turkish health ministry statistics show 93 people died in a day of COVID-19 amid a surge in infections, bringing the daily death toll to numbers last seen in April.

In figures released late Friday, the health ministry also reported 3,045 new patients, referring to the number of confirmed cases presenting symptoms. Turkey has been criticized for only releasing the number of symptomatic cases in its figures since late July and the total number of confirmed infections is unclear.

The figures also show an upward trend in the number of critically ill patients. The total death toll has reached 11,326.

Turkey lifted temporary weekend lockdowns in late May and reopened travel, restaurants and other businesses. Officials have been urging people to stay at home but new restrictions so far have been limited to curtailing the movement of senior citizens in Istanbul and Ankara, closing businesses at 10 p.m. and banning smoking in crowded public places across the country.

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