The Latest: Tokyo leader remains firm about hosting Olympics

Health

TOKYO — Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike remains firm about safely hosting the Olympics in July.

Japan has experienced an uptick in infections this month, with a nationwide daily total exceeding 2,000 as the government tries to balance preventive measures and business activity.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach spent four days in Tokyo last week trying to assure the public and sponsors the Olympics will take place on July 23.

Koike credits widespread use of masks for Japan’s lower infections compared to the United States and Europe. Tokyo topped 500 cases last week. It reported 186 new cases on Tuesday for a total of nearly 38,200.

The health ministry says Japan has 135,000 total cases and nearly 2,000 confirmed deaths. The U.S. has 12.4 million cases and more than 258,000 deaths. Britain leads Europe with 1.5 million cases and 56,000 confirmed deaths.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Tokyo governor: Japan can host Olympics despite virus spike.

— Millions in US stick to Thanksgiving travel plans despite CDC warnings.

Spain’s mortuary workers in high demand again, working with grace and professionalism as virus resurges.

— Just in time for December holidays, England to cut its mandatory 14-day quarantines for travelers from unsafe virus countries to as little as five days with testing regimen.

— Los Angeles on the brink of a stay-home order as coronavirus cases rise.

— Drones to the rescue: Berlin lab seeks quicker virus tests.

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

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW YORK — Governors and mayors are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings that have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials are banking on voluntary compliance since such measures are largely unenforceable.

Health experts say if people disregard the new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway, that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death after the holidays.

The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly double since the end of October, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world with 12.4 million cases and nearly 258,000 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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OMAHA, Neb. — The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus in Nebraska remains near record levels, but the total has remained relatively the past week.

The state says 971 people were hospitalized with the virus on Monday. Over the past week, that figure has gone up and down between a low of 961 last Wednesday and Friday’s record of 987.

But more social distancing restrictions could be triggered soon because more than 23% of the state’s hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Gov. Pete Ricketts has said that more restrictions will be imposed when that figure reaches 25% of the state’s hospital beds.

Nebraska reported 1,860 new cases of the virus Monday to reach 115,921. The state reported 25 new deaths for a confirmed total of 934.

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GUILFORD, Maine — A Maine medical supply manufacturer has been awarded more than $11 million from the federal government to produce millions of additional testing swabs.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says Puritan Medical Products of Guilford received the money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Collins says the company will increase its production of swabs by three million per month.

The White House in June said the federal government was providing more than $75 million for Puritan to double its production to 40 million swabs per month.

The company’s total production is at least 90 million per month now, Collins says.

The state has reported nearly 10,800 cases and 189 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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MADRID — Spain officials say health workers and residents in elder care homes will be the first group vaccinated when potential doses arrive.

Health Minister Salvador Illa says Spain has signed agreements with five vaccine producers and hopes to do so with two more. Once the vaccines are approved by the European Medicines Agency, Spain hopes to receive 140 million doses.

Given most vaccines will involve two doses, he says this should be enough to vaccinate some 80 million people and cover any possible problems with some vaccines.

Spain, with a population of 47 million, intends to give vaccines for free and provide the excess vaccines to countries outside the European Union that need them, Illa says.

The government hopes to vaccinate some 2.5 million people in the first stage between January and March and the rest of the population by mid-year. The vaccinations will be given in Spain’s 13,000 public health centers.

Spain has reported more than 1.5 million cases and more than 43,000 confirmed deaths.

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PRAGUE — The Czech Republic’s prime minister says his government is working on a plan to use rapid coronavirus tests for the entire country.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis says the antigen testing will be free and won’t be mandatory. Babis says it would take place a week or 10 days before Christmas with the help from the military. The Health Ministry will present a detailed plan as soon as possible, Babis says.

Antigen tests are less reliable than the standard PCR coronavirus tests, but they cost less and produce results in minutes.

Slovakia tested nearly two thirds of its 5.5 million people in one weekend this month.

The Czech Republic, a nation of 10.7 million, has 496,638 confirmed cases and 7,360 deaths.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch public health institute reports 36,931 confirmed coronavirus cases, a drop of about 775 in the past week.

The Netherlands imposed what it called a partial lockdown in mid-October, closing all bars and restaurants.

The public health institute says those admitted to hospitals with the coronavirus in the last week fell from 1,496 to 1,291. The number in intensive care dropped from 224 to 193 in the past seven days.

Schools in the Netherlands have remained open since the first wave of infections in the spring.

There have been more than 500,000 cases in the Netherlands. The confirmed Dutch death toll is 9,035, although the actual number is likely higher because not all who had a suspected coronavirus infection were tested.

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NEW DELHI, India — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged states with a surge in coronavirus cases to establish cold storage facilities for COVID-19 vaccines.

Modi’s Tuesday meeting with state leaders came as India’s total infections soared past 9.18 million. More than 134,000 Indians have died due to the coronavirus.

Modi says his government is keeping track of vaccine development in the country and is in touch with vaccine developers across the world. He says “our priority is to make the vaccine available for all.”

India is home to some of the world’s biggest vaccine makers and there are five vaccine candidates under different phases of trial here. But the state-run cold chain facilities used to keep some vaccines consistently refrigerated would be inadequate for the enormous challenge of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine.

To address this issue, Modi’s government is augmenting the cold chain and transport mechanism for the vaccines. It is also readying a database of healthcare and frontline workers who will be inoculated first.

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BERLIN — State and federal health authorities in Germany say they are shortening quarantine periods for people who have come into contact with a confirmed COVID case from 14 days to 10, if they provide a negative test.

Officials said Tuesday that people who have previously had COVID-19 themselves and recovered do not need to quarantine anymore if they come into contact with a newly diagnosed patient, unless they show symptoms of illness.

Health officials have asked federal authorities to provide a legal basis for specially trained teachers to perform rapid antigen tests for the virus. Such tests are increasingly seen as an effective tool for screening people in schools and are deemed sufficient for shortening the quarantine period.

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LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenia has registered 59 new coronavirus deaths, a daily record for the small Alpine state.

The government says 1,302 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours, which raises the number of overall cases to 67,080. It has a total of 1,156 confirmed virus deaths.

The country of 2 million people has introduced strict lockdowns and other health measures to try to stem the outbreak.

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HELSINKI — Estonia has put in place new, tightened coronavirus restrictions that make wearing masks mandatory in public indoor places including transport, and reduce the maximum number of participants allowed to attend public events.

Restrictions concerning masks and social distancing began Tuesday and the restrictions related to indoor public meetings, events and entertainment venues with fixed seating will take effect on Nov. 28.

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas says the spread of coronavirus is at a critical level in the country, especially for its medical system, for the number of COVID-19 patients is still increasing.

The small Baltic nation of 1.3 million has seen the number of daily coronavirus cases rising rapidly in the past two weeks, with 204 new cases in the past 24 hours. The 14-day average of new cases is now about 284 per 100,000 inhabitants.

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BERLIN — Germany’s 16 states want people to self-quarantine for several days before visiting family at Christmas, to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to elderly and vulnerable relatives.

The dpa news agency reported Tuesday that states have agreed among themselves on a proposal for tightening Germany’s partial lockdown measures in the coming weeks, so they can be relaxed over the festive period.

The plan, which also suggests bringing forward school breaks and that employers should let staff work from home, will be discussed Wednesday at a virtual meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany’s disease control agency recorded 14,361 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past day, and 249 further deaths. Germany has done relatively well in the pandemic, with an overall death toll of 14,400, one-fourth that of Britain’s.

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LONDON — The British government says people arriving in England from a destination not on its coronavirus safe list will from next month be able to reduce the time they have to quarantine themselves if they test negative for the virus.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the 14-day quarantine period can be reduced if people have a negative test from five days after their arrival.

The change, which takes effect on Dec. 15, has been long-awaited by the travel industry, one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic.

Under the new rules, passengers can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm on or after day five at a cost of potentially 100 pounds ($133). Results are normally issued in 24 to 48 hours.

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MANILA, Philippines — Philippine officials say about 60 million Filipinos are being targeted for vaccination against the coronavirus next year at a cost of more than 73 billion pesos ($1.4 billion) to develop considerable immunity among a majority of Filipinos.

Carlito Galvez Jr., who oversees government efforts to secure the vaccines, said late Monday that negotiations were underway with four Western and Chinese pharmaceutical companies, including U.S.-based Pfizer Inc. and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., to secure the vaccines early next year. One company based in the U.K., AstraZeneca, can commit to supply up to 20 million vaccines, he said.

“We will target the most vulnerable and the poorest communities in areas that were affected,” Galvez said, addressing who would be prioritized for vaccination.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted police and military personnel to be prioritized for their many sacrifices, including in disaster-response work.

The Philippines has had more than 420,000 confirmed cases, the second-most in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, and 8,173 deaths.

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BEIJING — China has reported new coronavirus cases in the cities of Shanghai and Tianjin as it seeks to prevent small outbreaks from becoming larger ones.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that there were two new locally spread cases in the previous 24-hour period, one in each city. It also reported 20 cases among people who had arrived from overseas.

In Shanghai, the mass testing of 17,719 workers at the city’s Pudong aiport found one infection, a Fedex employee. Everyone else tested negative.

Three UPS workers at the airport have also tested positive in recent days, along with the wife of one of them. In all, Shanghai has reported eight non-imported cases since Friday.

In Tianjin, where 2.3 million people had been tested as of Monday, the city reported one case in a person who developed symptoms after testing positive earlier. China does not include people without symptoms in its confirmed case count.

To date, the health commission has recorded 4,634 deaths.

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LOS ANGELES — The largest county in the United States is on the brink of a stay-home order after a coronavirus surge surpassed a level set by Los Angeles County public health officials to trigger such an action.

A swell of new cases Monday put the county over an average of 4,500 cases per day.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said no action would be taken until county supervisors meet Tuesday.

A stay-home order would be the first such action since mid-March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom followed several counties and issued a statewide order that closed schools and most shops.

Cases and hospitalizations have been rapidly rising across California in November. The state recorded its highest day of positive test results Saturday with more than 15,000. Hospitalizations have increased 77% over the past two weeks.

In Los Angeles, the county of 10 million residents has had a disproportionately large share of the state’s cases and deaths.

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