The Latest: France nixes Bastille Day parade for ceremony
French troops won’t march on the Champs-Elysees avenue on Bastille Day this year. The French presidency says the traditional military parade will be replaced with a Paris ceremony where health precautions will be observed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants Bastille Day to honor both the military and health care workers who have been on the front line of France’s COVID-19 outbreak.
The French presidency says the July 14 ceremony will take place on the Place de la Concorde square and thousands of participants and guests will be requested to keep physical distance from each other.
It will include the traditional fly-over by the French air force.
The presidency says authorities don’t plan to open the celebration to the general public at the moment but will reassess the situation later.
France has had a Bastille Day parade since 1880.
French health authorities have reported at least 29,000 virus-related deaths in hospitals and nursing homes since France’s first cases emerged.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— There are no secrets in the tightly packed lanes of Dharavi, India’s largest slum. Especially when it comes to the coronavirus.
— The pandemic has stranded merchant ship crews at sea for months
— Emergency room visits in the U.S. for chest pain and heart attacks fell as the virus scared people away from hospitals.
— Barcelona residents are reclaiming their city as Spain’s virus restrictions provide a respite from the thongs of foreign tourists that flood Spain’s top tourist destination each summer.
— Watch what you flush: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says home-bound residents are clogging sewers and storm water drains with face masks, gloves and wipes.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING TODAY:
MADRID — The Spanish government says a decision to reopen land borders with France and Portugal on June 22 is not final and that negotiations with authorities in those countries are ongoing.
A government spokesman who wasn’t authorized to be named in media reports said the border issue was still “under discussion” with the two neighboring European countries.
Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto announced earlier on Thursday that restrictions on border crossings in place since mid-March would be lifted before Spain fully reopens for international tourism on July 1. Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva expressed surprise at Maroto’s announcement.
Santos Silva told national news agency Lusa, in comments published by Diario de Noticias that Portugal has asked Madrid for clarification, saying “the decision on whether to open Portugal’s border falls, of course, to Portugal,”
Maroto also told a group of foreign reporters that Spain would lift a mandatory quarantine period for arriving visitors starting July 1 but that officials were working on scraping the requirement for people traveling by land from France and Portugal.
The Spanish minister said that building trust as a safe destination is key for the recovery of tourism, an industry that generates 12% of Spain’s GDP and helps employ 2.6 million people.
Spain has reported over 240,000 confirmed virus cases so far, including 27,000 deaths.
(By AP Writer Artiz Parra.)
BANGKOK — More than 400 people and organizations involved with the craft beer business have been summoned by regulatory authorities in Thailand for posting photos of the brew on social media.
Six craft beer associations jointly lodged a complaint with the House of Representatives’ Public Health Commission on Thursday protesting that the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which bars the display of alcohol for promotional purposes.
They argue the law is unclear and violates their right to communicate with customers.
A representative of the beer associations says violations of the act are punishable by a 50,000-500,000 baht fine ($1,580-15,800) and a one-year jail term.
The complainants say their businesses have suffered from measures to combat the spread of the coronarivrus, that included a ban on the sales of alcoholic beverages, the closing of bars and a curfew. A curfew beginning at 11 p.m. is still in effect.
The associations’ representative, Supapong Preunglampoo asserts the industry helps Thailand’s economic growth and said, “There are many people working in this sector struggling to survive here.”
Supapong said: “In the time of difficulties from the COVID-19 outbreak, we would like to ask Thai authorities to look at alcoholic beverages from another viewpoint, not just with health or security concerns.”
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s transportation minister says the country is gradually opening up to international flights this month, starting with 40 countries.
Adil Karaismailoglu said Thursday that international flights will resume on June 10, with flights to and from Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar, Greece and the self-declared state in the north of Cyprus. Only Turkey recognizes Cyprus’ breakaway north.
Other air traffic routes from and to Turkey to be relaunched in June include several European countries, although not Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, as well as Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Tajikistan, Singapore and Kazakhstan.
The Turkish government plans to screen citizens upon arrival and send them to hospitals if they display COVID-19 symptoms. They would be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
It was not clear what procedures foreign nationals will be subject to.
Domestic flights resumed Monday in Turkey as the government eased an array of restrictions amid a slowdown in confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths.
ISLAMABAD — Doctors at hospitals in Pakistan are bracing for a surge of COVID-19 patients as the country’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed the number in neighboring China.
Parkistan’s confirmed cases jumped to 85,264 on Thursday after officials reported 4,688 new infections during the previous 24 hours and 82 deaths, a single-day record for virus-related fatalities.
The developments prompted the government to order the closure of all shopping malls and markets where social distancing regulations are being ignored.
A medical team of Chinese doctors met with the country’s President Arif Ali in Islamabad to share their experience treating COVID-19 patients.
Pakistan has witnessed a steady increase in infections and deaths since last month, when the government lifted a lockdown that was enforced in March to slow the spread of the new virus.
A total of 1,770 people in Pakistan have died in the pandemic.
NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — Myanmar’s official election commission has announced that this year’s general election will take place as planned in November and not be postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.
Union Election Commission member Myint Naing said at a Thursday press conference that the body would announce the exact date about three to four months in advance.
He said: “Since we’re able to control the COVID situation and it (the election) is a long way from now, the election date won’t be changed.”
Myanmar reported one new confirmed coronoavirus case on Thursday, bringing the nationwide total to 234, including six deaths.
The last general election in 2015 brought the National League for Democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi to power after more than five decades of military rule.
The election commission has said that more than 37 million people will be eligible to vote.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan reported a record single-day spike in coronavirus-related deaths with 82 new fatalities and 4,688 cases that it says resulted from increased testing in the past 24 hours.
Pakistan’s outbreak has grown steadily since the country’s first case in February. Since then, 1,770 people have died and 85,264 have tested positive.
As many as 901 patients were listed in critical condition at hospitals Thursday. The country has barely 3,000 intensive care beds serving a population of 220 million.
Pakistan for the first time conducted over 20,000 tests in the past 24 hours. It has done more than 615,000 tests after increasing its testing capacity from only two labs in February.
The spike comes after Prime Minister Imran Khan eased lockdown restrictions over expert’s recommendations to maintain them to prevent the spread of the virus. Authorities have blamed people not adhering to social distancing regulations for the growing outbreak.
NEW DELHI — India’s COVID-19 fatalities have passed 6,000 after registering 260 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The country registered 9,304 new cases in yet another record single-day spike in infections, raising its totals to 216,919 cases with 6,075 deaths, the Health Ministry reported Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said it was ramping up the testing across the country and has performed 4 million. It said the daily capacity was almost 140,000 tests done through 480 government and 208 private laboratories.
India’s infections have spiked in recent weeks, mostly in its cities. The coastal state of Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected, with 74,860 cases and 2,587 deaths. The state capital is densely crowded Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital.
India is the seventh worst-hit nation by the pandemic.
JAKARTA — Authorities in Indonesia’s capital will ease a partial lockdown as the world’s fourth most populous nation braces to gradually reopen its economy.
Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan announced the reopening of mosques, churches and temples on Friday but only at half capacity.
Offices, public transport. restaurants, grocery stores and beaches will be allowed to operate, also at half capacity. Malls and parks are scheduled to reopen in mid-June and schools remain shut this month.
Baswedan said the decision to reopen follows a significant decrease in the number of infections in recent days. He said everyone except the elderly, children under age 5, pregnant women and sick people will be allowed to leave their homes wearing masks.
Jakarta has recorded 7,690 confirmed cases with 523 deaths, while the toll nationwide stands at 28,818 infections and 1,721 fatalities.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Authorities in Norway have turned down applications to hold rallies in the country’s three largest cities in support of protests in the U.S. over the police killing of George Floyd, citing coronavirus social distancing.
Rallies were planned in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim but local authorities said that without a dispensation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, they cannot allow more than 50 people to gather in one place, said Mohamed Awil, the president of the African student association UiO.
The association is co-organizing the rally in Oslo, where more than 15,000 people said they planned to take part in the demonstration Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy. He said they were considering an alternative but details were not immediately available.
Thousands gathered Wednesday in support rallies in the capitals of Sweden and Finland.
JOHANNESBURG — Testing materials remain in short supply across Africa, but the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a new platform to pool the continent’s purchasing powers has obtained about 15 million coronavirus testing kits for the next six months.
John Nkengasong said Africa’s 54 countries are still far behind the goal of conducting at least 10,000 tests per 1 million people. He said just about 1,700 tests are being carried out per million compared to about 37,000 per million in Italy and 30,000 per million in the UK.
Nkengasong said 3.4 million tests have been conducted so far across Africa, which has a population of 1.3 billion people, and testing capacity is “increasing very, very rapidly.” Africa’s numbers are rising steadily as testing improves, with a 31% increase in new confirmed cases since last week. The continent’s confirmed cases are now above 162,000, representing less than 3% of the global cases.
MOSCOW — The United States has delivered another batch of ventilators to Russia as part of a $5.6 million humanitarian donation to help the country cope with the pandemic.
The U.S. Embassy said the second shipment of U.S.-manufactured breathing machines arrived in Moscow on Thursday, following a batch delivered last month.
Russia has reported more than 441,000 coronavirus infections, including 5,384 deaths. Officials have scrambled to secure ventilators and other essential supplies.
Russia sent a planeload of medical supplies, including ventilators, to the U.S. in April. Russia’s state investment fund said this week it fully funded the delivery.
MEXICO CITY — The coronavirus toll in Mexico has soared to a new daily high, with the health department reporting 1,092 deaths. That is more than double the previous one-day record and in line with numbers in the United States and Brazil.
Wednesday’s report was an embarrassment for officials, who have consistently predicted that cases in Mexico were about to start leveling off.
Officials rushed to say many of the new confirmed deaths had occurred days or even weeks ago and were being announced now because of delays in processing tests or other reasons. But such delays have presumably been a constant reflected in every previous daily tally.
Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell did not cite any specific clearing of testing backlogs.