The Latest: Iran sees its highest toll of new virus deaths
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has announced its highest single-day spike in deaths from the coronavirus, with 200 new fatalities.
The spokesperson for the country’s health ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, said Tuesday that the latest death toll was an increase of 40 from the previous day, when 160 were reported to have died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
She blamed the spike on citizens who do not abide by restrictive measures but gather in large numbers for weddings and other ceremonies, without observing distancing regulations.
Iran on Sunday instituted mandatory mask-wearing as fears mount over newly surging deaths even as its public increasingly shrugs off the danger of the virus.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Australia’s second-largest city foils nation’s pandemic success
— Coronavirus slams Poland’s already-troubled coal industry
— British pilot to leave Vietnam for home after virus recovery
— In reversal, Georgia universities to now mandate masks
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MANILA, Philippines — A major passenger railway system in the Philippine capital has been shut down for five days starting Tuesday after nearly 200 employees, including 15 ticket sellers, tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
The shutdown of the 13-station MRT Line 3, which runs for nearly 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from north to south of metropolitan Manila, further complicates a transport shortage caused by quarantine restrictions. The government has allowed the deployment of more shuttle buses to ease the shortage.
The Philippines has seen a spike in infections in recent days after easing quarantine restrictions and ramping up tests, reporting nearly 48,000 infections, including 1,309 deaths.
PODGORICA, Montenegro — Montenegro has introduced a compulsory quarantine for all people arriving from Serbia, citing coronaviorus health risks in the neighboring Balkan country.
Until Tuesday when the measure was implemented, Serb citizens had to go through 14-day self-isolation period when entering Montenegro, while Montenegrin and other citizens were free to cross the border.
In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Serbian government reportedly plans to introduce a 14-day self-isolation period for Montenegrin citizens traveling to Serbia.
A country of 620,000, Montenegro split from much larger Serbia in 2006, but many in Montenegro and Serbia still remain opposed to the separation. Serbs represent about 30% of Montenegro’s population.
Montenegro, the first European country to declare itself free of the coronavirus, has recently seen an up pick in new confirmed cases.
LONDON — Care home providers are disappointed and frustrated after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused some homes of not properly following procedures during the COVID-19 crisis.
Mark Adams, chief executive of the charity Community Integrated Care, took exception with Johnson’s comments, calling them “clumsy and cowardly.’’
Johnson said Monday: “We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have, but we’re learning lessons the whole time.’’
Adams told the BBC that if this were genuinely Johnson’s view, the country is entering an “alternative reality where the government set the rules, we follow them and they don’t like the results and they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best.’’
The Office of National Statistics says nearly 20,000 deaths of care home residents in England and Wales have involved COVID-19.
Many care homes say they lacked protective equipment and clear guidelines, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Dubai Financial Market, the sheikhdom’s stock exchange, has reopened its trading floor after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The move by Dubai on Tuesday came as the city-state in the United Arab Emirates also began welcoming tourists again.
The market closed in mid-March over the pandemic, but online trading continued throughout the closure.
Market official Jamal al-Khadhar said that social distancing will be maintained at the exchange, and that barriers have been installed as well.
JERUSALEM — The Israeli parliament has passed an emergency bill allowing the government to bypass it in making immediate decisions on combating a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus.
Parliament voted early Tuesday to sidestep its own committees so that government decisions could go into immediate effect. The argument was quick implementation was essential given the fast-spreading nature of the virus. But some opposition lawmakers decried the sidelining of the legislature, saying it marked another step in undermining the foundations of Israeli democracy.
It comes a day after the government reimposed new restrictions on the public to quell spread of the virus. Gatherings have been limited and reception halls, restaurants, bars, theaters, fitness centers and pools were ordered to shut down again.
Just weeks ago, Israel appeared to have contained its initial outbreak after imposing strict measures early on during a first wave of infections. But after reporting just a handful of new cases a day in early May, it has experienced a steady uptick in cases following an easing of restrictions. Currently, Israel is reporting upward of 1,000 new cases a day, higher than its peak during the previous wave.
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 200,000 as the country continues to post some of the highest daily numbers in the world.
The health ministry reports 8,971 new cases, bringing the total to 205,721.
Nearly one third are in the new hot spot of Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.
The African continent overall has more than 477,000 confirmed cases.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s second-largest city of Melbourne has been ordered into lockdown for a second time as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Tuesday that residents will be prohibited from leaving the metropolitan area for six weeks except to go to work or school, for care or care giving, for daily exercise, and for food and other essentials.
He said 191 more positive cases have been detected, the most infections ever recorded in a single day.
Australia has been among the world’s most successful countries in containing its coronavirus outbreak, with the exception of Melbourne. The country has recorded more than 8,500 cases and 106 deaths.
NEW DELHI — India’s death toll from the coronavirus has passed 20,000, with case numbers surging past 700,000.
The country reported 467 new deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 20,160. It also recorded 22,252 new infections, increasing the total to 719,665.
The rate of new virus infections and deaths in India are now rising at their fastest pace. Health officials fear the number of deaths could rise significantly in the coming weeks.
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, is the third worst-affected nation in the world. Only the United States and Brazil have had more cases.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s national carrier has put a temporary hold on new bookings for flights into the country while the government tries to find enough quarantined hotel rooms for people returning home.
Air New Zealand says the hold will last for three weeks and it is also trying to better align flights with the hotel locations.
New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of the coronavirus but is still getting cases at the border. For the most part, only residents and citizens are able to fly into the country and must remain in a quarantined hotel room for 14 days.
Housing Minister Megan Woods says the government is currently housing nearly 6,000 people in 28 quarantine facilities and is seeing rapid growth in the number of returning residents as the pandemic worsens globally.
BEIJING — China on Tuesday reported eight new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought from outside the country, with no new deaths, as almost 11 million students gathered to take the crucial national university entrance exam.
The National Health Council reported 403 people remained in treatment for COVID-19 while 121 people were in isolation being monitored as suspected cases or for testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms.
China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 83,565 cases of COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year.
The grueling two-day university entrance exam can be a key determinant of a student’s future and was pushed back weeks as China worked to bring down infections.
It is believed to be the first mass gathering event since the virus outbreak and administrators are enforcing strict rules to prevent infections, including proof of wellness, social distancing and the wearing of masks
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A coronavirus outbreak in the California Legislature has indefinitely delayed the state Assembly’s return to work from a scheduled summer recess.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office confirmed five people who work in the Assembly have tested positive for the coronavirus. They include Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, who is believed to have contracted the virus while on the Assembly floor last month.
Rendon said Monday the Assembly will stay in recess until further notice. He said the decision is to protect lawmakers, staff and the public.
The Legislature shut down for nearly two months earlier this year during the pandemic.
SAO PAULO — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said he will be tested for COVID-19 after having an X-ray of his lungs on Monday. He didn’t say whether he was showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed the risks of the disease, told supporters outside the presidential residence in Brasilia that he is feeling well.
Brazil’s Supreme Court published documents in May showing that Bolsonaro tested negative three times in March after meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Florida.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly appeared in public without wearing a mask, shaking hands with supporters and mingling with crowds. He has fiercely criticized local leaders’ restrictions on activity and said the economic impact of shutdowns would inflict more hardship than the virus.