The Latest: British PM to announce new social restrictions
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce new restrictions on social interaction Tuesday as the government tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus before it spirals out of control.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told Sky News that pubs and restaurants across England will be ordered to close at 10 p.m. and people who can work from home will be encouraged to do so, reversing a government drive to get people back to the office.
The prime minister will release further details of the government’s plan when he speaks to the House of Commons at 12:30 p.m. BST (11:30 GMT). He will deliver a televised address to the nation at 8 p.m.
The new restrictions come a day after the government’s top scientific and medical advisers said virus infections were doubling every seven days and could rise to 49,000 a day by mid-October if nothing is done to stem the tide.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— ‘I miss mommy’: Families shattered by COVID-19 forge new paths
— World powers set to take the stage, virtually, at UN debate
— Tokyo needs to convince sponsors Olympics will really happen
— Campus outbreak brings uncertainty to San Diego’s reopening
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani prime minister’s health adviser says authorities have begun much-awaited final-phase testing of a Chinese-made vaccine against the coronavirus.
In Tuesday’s televised comments, Faisal Sultan, who advises Prime Minister Imran Khan on health issues, said the clinical trials will continue for about 12 weeks.
The latest development comes weeks after Pakistan approved advanced clinical trials for potential vaccines at the country’s main health facilities. Pakistan has said the vaccine produced by CanSinoBio, a China-based vaccine developer, and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology will be used during the clinical trials.
NEW DELHI — India on Tuesday confirmed over 75,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 1,000 deaths in the past 24 hours.
With more than 5.5 million cases, India is behind only the United States in total number of confirmed infections. India’s death toll from the virus is nearly 89,000.
So far, nearly 76% of the new virus cases are concentrated in 10 states, with Maharashtra in central India accounting for almost a quarter of new infections on Monday.
Daily new infections in India have been hovering around 90,000 for the past few days, but experts point out that testing still varies from state to state. And new surges have been detected in states that had so far been left relatively unscathed by the virus.
The central state of Chhattisgarh, where nearly half the population is poor, has seen the sharpest increase in new infections. The caseload in the state, where the health system is very fragile, has increased from around 33,000 in beginning of the month to over 86,000 now. The state government announced a weeklong lockdown of 10 districts on Monday.
LOS ANGELES — Hollywood’s unions have announced that they have reached an agreement on pandemic protocols with major studios that will allow the broad resumption of production of films and television after six months of stagnant sets and widespread unemployment.
The Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Basic Crafts unions and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on Monday jointly announced the deal reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after months of planning and negotiating.
The deal includes mandatory and comprehensive use of personal protective gear and testing of cast and crew members, and a dedicated coronavirus supervisor to oversee it all.
It requires the use of a “zone system” that strictly limits interactions between people on sets based on their job’s requirements. Those who must deal with more people will be tested more frequently and have more strict protective equipment and spacing requirements. Actors will be tested especially often because their on-camera work won’t allow for many protective measures.
The agreement also gives 10 days of paid COVID-19 sick leave per employee, which can be used after positive tests or when quarantine is necessary, and says that employees who use the leave must be reinstated so long as their jobs still exist.
“The protocols pave the way for creative workers, who have been hard hit by the pandemic, to resume their crafts and livelihoods in workplaces redesigned around their health,” the unions said in a joint statement.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas on Monday began relaxing some coronavirus restrictions, including allowing restaurants to let more people inside.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced the changes last week. Bars though still remain closed indefinitely and a mask mandate is still in place following a massive summer spread that became one of the deadliest outbreaks in the U.S.
Under the new orders, restaurants and retail shops that until now have only been allowed to operate at half capacity were allowed to open up to 75% starting Monday in most of the state.
The Texas Department of State Health Services on Monday reported 1,742 new coronavirus cases and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Health officials say there have been 698,387 reported cases in Texas so far. The death toll is at 14,917.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut is forming an advisory group to validate the safety of any coronavirus vaccines and how to distribute them to the public, Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday.
Lamont said the goals are to make sure the vaccines are not harmful, the public can have confidence in them and they are distributed with priority going to certain populations such as nursing homes, first responders, schools and colleges while supplies are limited at first.
Lamont cited comments by Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that a vaccine is expected to be widely available by April.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that would give school districts the sole ability to make decisions on sports, including whether and how many spectators to allow.
Lawmakers are planning to vote to try to override the Monday veto.
Legislation that cleared the House and Senate would have empower schools to make their own rules about the number of spectators permitted at games.
Wolf says his gathering limits of no more than 25 people indoors and 250 people outdoors should apply to youth sports to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
WASHINGTON — The White House is urging U.S. governors to put politics aside and help the Trump administration promote future coronavirus vaccines as safe and effective.
Vice President Mike Pence urged governors Monday to use their bully pulpits and reassure the public that vaccines will be safe to take after a rigorous vetting process by the Food and Drug Administration.
“What we don’t want is people undermining confidence in the process,” Pence said in a private call with governors, the audio of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Trump has escalated his promise for a coronavirus vaccine before Election Day. But Democrats, independents and even some Republicans do not trust the Trump administration to produce a safe and effective vaccine on such an aggressive timeline.
Pence acknowledged the country is in the middle of a heated election season, but stressed that no corners would be cut in approving a vaccine and said his request for support was apolitical.
“I’m leaving the politics outside of the room here,” Pence said.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s president, who has long called for a reform of the United Nations, said the world body has failed in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a televised address following a Cabinet meeting, Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the UN was late in “accepting the existence” of the pandemic and had failed to “make its presence felt” for nations requiring help to fight infections.
“The UN, which has fallen flat concerning crises from Syria to Yemen, as well as developments in fragile regions of Africa and South America, has also flunked during the pandemic,” he said.
His comments came as world leaders mark the 75th anniversary of UN General Assembly this week.