The Latest: Oregon Supreme Court upholds governor’s shutdown
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Supreme Court has upheld Gov. Kate Brown’s shutdown orders aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic, and she put the brakes on loosening restrictions amid a spike in cases.
The Supreme Court overturned a ruling by a judge in a conservative, rural part of the state who had determined that Brown’s restricting of activities during the coronavirus pandemic were subjected to a time limit and were thus “null and void.”
The high court said Friday that Brown’s powers under a state of emergency, declared on March 8, continue until the state of emergency is ended by either herself or the Legislature.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 178 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, marking the highest daily count in the state since the start of the pandemic.
“As I’ve said before, reopening comes with real risk,” Brown told a news conference Friday. She said the “pause” will give health officials time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and determine the way forward.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— World Health Organization says pandemic puts women at ‘heightened risk’ of dying in childbirth.
— China reports Beijing’s first locally transmitted virus case in weeks
— Airlines sue British government over country’s quarantine for most incoming travelers
— More than two dozen international aid organizations have told the U.S. government they are “increasingly alarmed” that “little to no U.S. humanitarian assistance has reached those on the front lines” of the coronavirus pandemic as the number of new cases picks up speed in some of the world’s most fragile regions.
— Survivors of COVID-19 are donating their blood plasma in droves in hopes it helps other patients recover from the coronavirus. And while the jury’s still out, now scientists are testing if the donations might also prevent infection in the first place.
— Among the numerous rural areas across the U.S. that have recently experienced coronavirus outbreaks are migrant farmworker communities in Florida. Immokalee is one of them. The poor town of 25,000 north of the Everglades has become a hot spot, with cases more than doubling in the past two weeks.
Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING TODAY:
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Three months into a mandatory lockdown, Salavdorans are awaiting a reaction from President Nayib Bukele after the country’s congress passed legislation over his strong objections that would let them leave their homes.
The Legislative Assembly passed legislation early Friday that would extend a state of emergency in the country for another two weeks, but eliminate the nearly universal mandatory stay-at-home order except for those who tested positive for COVID-19 and those returning from abroad.
The body approved it after failing to reach an agreement with administration negotiators, so it was unclear whether Bukele would accept it.
Bukele has imposed the strictest measures in the region to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, including sending people caught violating the order to government-run containment centers for month-long stays. He has resisted loosening the stay-at-home order, arguing that the country’s medical system could be quickly overwhelmed, resulting in much greater loss of life.
PHOENIX — The number of jail inmates in metro Phoenix who have tested positive for the coronavirus has surpassed the total among state prisoners.
Officials say 290 of Maricopa County’s 4,400 inmates had tested positive as of Thursday. That compares to 249 confirmed cases among the nearly 41,000 inmates in Arizona’s prisons. The sharp growth of cases in the county’s jails has been attributed to more testing and contact tracing within the jails.
Arizona is one of several states that has seen a surge in new COVID-19 cases after stay-at-home orders were lifted last month.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey is reporting an increase in the number of daily confirmed infections, some two weeks after relaxing many of the restrictions in place to curb its spread.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Friday reported 1,195 new cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number of infections in the country to 175,218. It was the first time the daily infections jumped past the 1,000-mark after hovering around 800 or 900 for nearly two weeks.
Meanwhile, Koca also reported 15 new deaths on his Twitter account — the lowest day-to-day fatality in more than two months. The total number of deaths now stands at 4,778.
Turkey reopened restaurants, cafes, gyms, parks, beaches and museums on June 1 and eased stay-at-home orders for senior citizens and minors earlier this week. People crowded sea fronts and parks in the first weekend after the relaxation, often without masks or flouting social distancing.
Koca warned that “false optimism” is causing the virus to spread and urged the public to wear masks and abide by government advice on distancing and hygiene.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and state schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister say schools in the state are eligible to apply for federal funds available to respond to the coronavirus.
Grants of $50,000 to $500,000 are available, based on a school’s student enrollment as of Oct. 1, 2019 for measures including improved access to distance learning and mental health support for students.
Public schools statewide were closed for the remainder of the school year and to turn to distance learning.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A third California state prison has had an inmate die of suspected coronavirus as fatalities spread beyond what had been the prisons’ epicenter for such deaths.
Officials said Friday that an inmate from Chuckawalla Valley State Prison near Blythe in Riverside County died Thursday at an outside hospital from what appear to be coronavirus complications.
It was the prison system’s 15th virus-related inmate death, with 13 of those at the California Institution for Men in Chino.
Officials said the first death outside that prison came Tuesday, when an inmate from the California Institution for Women in Corona, east of Los Angeles, died at an outside hospital.
Statewide, more than 2,440 inmates have tested positive and more than 660 have recovered.
ATLANTA — U.S. health officials on Friday released long-awaited guidance for Americans who want to reduce their risk of coronavirus infection while attempting some semblance of normal life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggestions include: Take the stairs, not the elevator, down from your hotel room. Encourage people to bring their own food and drinks to your cookout. Use hand sanitizer after banking at an ATM. Call ahead to restaurants and nail salons to make sure staff are wearing face coverings. And no high-fives — or even elbow bumps — at the gym.
The CDC also offered tips for organizing and attending big gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, protests and political rallies.
Those guidelines are “not intended to endorse any particular type of event,” the CDC’s Dr. Jay Butler said in a Friday call with reporters.
The guidelines are long overdue, some health experts say.
LONDON — The director-general of the World Health Organization says he is “truly concerned” about divisions the coronavirus pandemic has created globally and within countries, calling it an “invisible but a very small virus causing havoc.”
WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday that the novel coronavirus “is a very dangerous virus, and it’s very hard to fight this virus in a divided world,.
Comparing the ongoing outbreak to the devastating Spanish influenza pandemic more than a century ago, Tedros called on nations “to do better” and to learn from history..
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A third California state prison has had an inmate die of suspected COVID-19 as virus-related deaths of prisoners spread beyond the institution that has been the epicenter.
Officials said Friday that an inmate from Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, located near Blythe in Riverside County, died Thursday at an outside hospital from what appear to be COVID-19 complications.
It was the state prison system’s 15th virus-related inmate death, 13 of which involved prisoners at the California Institution for Men in Chino.
Officials said the first death outside the Chino prison took place Tuesday, when an inmate from the California Institution for Women in Corona, east of Los Angeles, died at an outside hospital.
Statewide, more than 2,440 inmates have tested positive for the virus and more than 660 have recovered.
ROME — The northern Italian region where Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak began has registered for another day by far the most new coronavirus cases in Italy.
Italian Health Ministry figures showed the Lombardy region had 272 confirmed cases in the 24-hour period ending Friday evening. The region with the next-highest daily caseload, Emilia-Romagna, reported 33 new cases.
Nationwide, Italy had nearly 400 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 236,305. The Health Ministry’s daily update included 56 virus-related deaths, raising the country’s death toll of people with confirmed infections to 34,223.
Authorities say since many people with COVID-19 symptoms weren’t tested, the actual numbers of infections and deaths are likely to be significantly higher.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief is expressing concern about Brazil’s ability to manage surging coronavirus case numbers, but said the health system so far is coping.
Dr. Michael Ryan said Friday that some of Brazil’s 27 administrative areas “have quite a bit of pressure on the intensive care system” and there are ”clear hot spots in heavily populated areas.”
The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University says Brazil has tallied more than 802,000 confirmed virus cases as of Friday, the second-largest number in the world after the United States, and over 40,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has rejected ordering quarantines, and many Brazilians have criticized him for opposing city and state measures such as lockdowns, social distancing and other steps meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
ISLAMABAD– Pakistan’s government has presented its annual budget for the next fiscal year, saying it is not imposing new taxes as the coronavirus had already affected most people financially in recent months.
The federal minister for industries, Hammad Azhar, said during a televised speech on Friday their government will to achieve the growth of 2.3% during 2020-2021. Pakistan’s new fiscal year begins on July 1.
Azhar’s comment came a day after Pakistan said its economy will contract in the fiscal year ending June 30, for the first time in 68 years as a result of the global pandemic.
Pakistan’s economy has been under pressure because of its depleting foreign reserves and decrease tax collection since coronavirus spread in the country in March, forcing the government to impose a lock down. But Prime Minister Imran Khan eased restrictions last month, saying he wanted to save the country’s economy.
It caused a spike in COVID-19 fatalities and infections.
On Friday, Pakistan reported 107 more COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the country’s death toll to 2,463 out of 125,933 confirmed cases.
TIRANA, Albania — The first group of foreign visitors has arrived in Albania since the country’s opened tourist resorts on June 1.
Tourism Minister Blendi Klosi welcomed the 189 tourists from Belarus who arrived on a chartered plane to Albania’s only international airport on Friday.
Albania eased lockdown measures a month ago. The country with a 2.8 million population depends on revenues from tourists enjoying its 300-mile long seaside and mountain regions. Some 6 million tourists visited Albania last year.
WASHINGTON — The State Department says it is starting to ramp up passport operations and is working on a backlog of about 1.7 million applications that have been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak.
U.S. passport operations were scaled back in March because of COVID-19. The State Department has been processing applications for health care workers, military personnel and people who needed to travel because of a life-or-death emergency.
Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch told reporters Friday that more passport agency staff have begun returning to work and additional personnel will also be brought in to help process applications, some of which have been pending since February.
Risch said they hope to complete about 200,000 per week and eliminate the backlog, provided the virus does not surge again and the State Department is not required again to scale back operations. Passport agency employees can’t work from home for security reasons.
The U.S. typically processes about 18 million passports per year.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert says he will “pause” the lifting of additional virus-related restrictions in most parts of the state after the rate of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketed in recent weeks.
The longtime governor made clear, though, that he has no intention of reversing course and placing more restrictions on businesses such as gyms, restaurants and salons that were allowed to reopen in May.
Herbert said the earlier decision to ease restrictions was one reason why Utah’s 5.3% unemployment rate for the week ending May 30 was the second-lowest in the United States behind only South Dakota, according to U.S. Department of Labor data.
MADRID — Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa has announced that Galicia will become the country’s first region to scrap tough restrictions on movement that were adopted to stem the new coronavirus pandemic.
Illa said Friday that the northwestern region will move next week to what the government calls “the new normal,” when some rules, such as wearing face masks when social distancing is not possible, will remain in place.
The government hopes the entire country will be in the “new normal” by June 21. The rules will not be fully dropped until the pandemic is declared over.
KYIV, Ukraine — The wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says she is infected with the novel coronavirus.
First lady Olena Zelenska wrote in an Instagram post on Friday that her husband and their children have tested negative.
She said she feels good, is receiving outpatient treatment and is isolated from her family “in order not to put them in danger.”
LONDON — Families who have lost loved ones in the COVID-19 pandemic are demanding an independent public inquiry into the way the British government handled the crisis.
Matt Fowler, of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group, told the BBC that his father’s death could have been prevented “if things were handled in a different manner.’’
He says that his father was “only 56, so he has gone way, way before his time.”
The group with some 450 members has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and to Health Secretary Matt Hancock demanding an inquiry.
BEIJING — China’s capital is suspending plans to restart classes for the first three years of elementary school next week amid reports of new cases of community transmission in the city.
Beijing’s municipal government said it wants to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers.
Local authorities on Thursday announced a 52-year-old man had become the city’s first confirmed case of local transmission in weeks after he arrived alone at a clinic complaining of fever.
The official Xinhua News Agency said another two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Beijing on Friday.
ROME — Premier Giuseppe Conte is being questioned by prosecutors investigating the lack of a lockdown of two towns in Lombardy’s Bergamo province at the start of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak.
Doctors and virologists have said the two-week delay in quarantining Alzano and Nembro allowed the virus to spread in Bergamo, which saw a 571% increase in excess deaths in March compared to the average of the last five years.
Lead prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota arrived with a team of aides Friday morning at the premier’s office in Rome, Palazzo Chigi. In addition to Conte, she is expected to question the health and interior ministers.
Italy registered its first domestic case Feb. 21 in the Lombardy province of Lodi, and 10 towns in the province were immediately locked down to try to contain the spread.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s top infectious disease expert has raised alarm over the speed of coronavirus transmissions in the densely populated capital area, where around 30 to 50 new infections have been reported each day since late May.
Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the average infectiousness of virus carriers in the Seoul metropolitan area was about three times higher than in the rest of the country.
She pleaded with Seoul residents to stay home over the weekend, saying there was “high concern” that increased public activity would lead to a massive circulation of the virus.
LONDON — Three airlines have launched legal action against the British government, describing the country’s plan to quarantine most incoming travelers as “flawed.’’
British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair say in a statement Friday that the quarantine will have a “devastating effect’’ on tourism and the wider economy. The airlines want the government to readopt its previous policy, where quarantine was limited to passengers from high risk countries.
Quarantine measures imposed this week stipulate that all passengers — bar a handful of exceptions like truckers or medical workers — must fill in a form detailing where they will self-isolate for two weeks. The requirement applies regardless whether they are U.K. citizens or not, and those who fail to comply could be fined.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister expects international students will begin returning in July despite warnings of racism from China.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after meeting federal state leaders on Friday that international students would be allowed to come to Australia under approved plans to study at nominated institutions.
International students have been Australia’s most lucrative industry after mining, with China the largest source of foreign students.
China this week warned its citizens of the risk of pandemic-related racism if they traveled to Australia. Last month, China banned beef imports from Australia and ended trade in Australian barley through massive tariffs.
NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus caseload has become the fourth-highest in the world, overtaking Britain, by adding 10,956 new cases in yet another biggest single-day spike.
India’s two-month lockdown kept transmission low but in a large population of 1.3 billion, people remain susceptible and the campaign against the virus is likely to go on for months, Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said.
India’s lockdown was imposed nationwide in late March but has eased since, and it is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases rose after India reopened shops, shopping malls, manufacturing and religious places.
Subways, schools and movie theaters remain closed.
The increase reported Friday raised India’s confirmed cases to 297,535 with 8,498 deaths.