The Latest: Police patrols lead to 12,500 Italians cited
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR
— Increased police patrols in Italy lead to 12,500 people sanctioned.
— French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle returns to base for crew to be tested.
— Boris Johnson hails National Health Service staff for saving his life.
ROME — The Italian government says increased police patrols over Easter weekend led to more than 12,500 people being sanctioned and 150 facing criminal charges for allegedly violating lockdown measures.
The Interior Ministry released data from Saturday’s traffic checkpoints and patrols and said more than 280,000 people were pulled over and asked to explain why they were outside their homes.
The numbers were slightly higher than previous days.
The government’s lockdown measures allow people to move around for work, health reasons or necessities such as grocery shopping or walking the dog.
Anyone outside is required to carry a certificate explaining why they are outside.
Fines can range up to 3,000 euros or lead to criminal charges for anyone making a false declaration.
Authorities had announced beefed-up patrols over the long Easter weekend, when Italians generally head to summer homes or to lunches with friends and family.
TOULON, France — The French aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle returned to its base in the southern port of Toulon on Sunday after some 50 members of its crew and some aboard an escort frigate contracted the new coronavirus.
The French Defense Ministry says the entire crew of some 1,700 sailors will be tested and confined for 14 days in various military quarters in the region. Same for air crews aboard the vessel and those on the frigate.
The ministry says the carrier cut short by about 10 days a nearly three-month mission in the central Mediterranean then in the Atlantic and North Sea.
The source of the infection was not immediately known.
A similar virus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt led to the firing of its captain, then the resignation earlier this month of the acting U.S. Navy secretary.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has posted a video on Twitter in which he hails the staff in the National Health Service for saving his life when it could have “gone either way.”
Johnson was dressed in a suit and looked and sounded assured in the video made after his discharge from St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. He said he did not have the words to properly thank the staff at NHS for“saving my life.”
He listed a number of the frontline staff who cared for him over a week at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London but singled out two nurses who stood by his bedside for 48 hours “when things could have gone either way.”
He said Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal were the reason “in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen.”
Johnson said there are “hundreds of thousands of NHS staff who are acting with the same care and thought and precision as Jenny and Luis.”
Johnson spent a week at St. Thomas’, three days of which were in intensive care. He was given oxygen but was not put on a ventilator.
ROME — Premier Giuseppe Conte on Sunday thanked Italians for their sacrifices fighting the new coronavirus. He acknowledges that many families are suffering the loss of loved ones as they celebrate Easter with empty places at the table.
Conte wrote in a Facebook post “the sacrifices that each of us makes on this important Sunday are a gesture of authentic attachment to what really matters and that we can recover soon.”
He added: “Together we will make it.”
His message was echoed by members of the La Scala philharmonic, who collaborated on a video performance of Pachelbel’s Canon to honor medical workers fighting the virus.
Around Italy, musicians were urged to join in the concert from their windows or balconies.
Italy has been among the hardest-hit countries, suffering nearly 20,000 dead and a level of contagion that prompted the government to impose a draconian industrial shutdown and national lockdown.
WASHINGTON – The United States’ top infectious disease expert says the economy in parts of the country could be allowed to reopen as early as next month.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says there’s no light switch that will be clicked to turn everything back on. He says a “rolling re-entry” will be required based on the status of the new coronavirus pandemic in various parts of the country.
Fauci says those factors include the region of the country, the nature of the outbreak it already has experienced and the possible threat of an outbreak to come.
Social distancing guidelines imposed by President Donald Trump are set to expire April 30.
Trump is eager to restart the economy, which has stalled because most Americans are under orders to “stay at home” to help slow the virus’ spread.
Fauci spoke Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
LONDON — Health officials say 657 more people in England have died from the new coronavirus, raising the total U.K. deaths over 10,000.
The National Health Service figure does not include deaths in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. A figure for the whole U.K. will be released later.
The 657 deaths come on top of the 9,875 deaths of people with COVID-19 in British hospitals announced Saturday.
While the number of new cases and hospitalizations appears to have plateaued, deaths are still rising. Virus death tolls in Italy and Spain have been on a downward slope, and there are growing fears that the U.K. will end up being the country with the most virus deaths in Europe.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been discharged from a London hospital where he was treated in intensive care for the new coronavirus.
Johnson’s office says he left St. Thomas’ Hospital and will continue his recovery at Chequers, the prime minister’s country house.
He will not immediately return to work.
Johnson has been in the hospital for a week and spent three nights in the ICU.
MOSCOW — The Russian Orthodox Church says it will hold Easter services in Moscow without parishioners in conformance with an order from the city’s chief epidemiologist.
The church this year observes Easter on April 19.
A statement from the church says it would abide by the order from the doctor prohibiting mass gatherings and that people attending Palm Sunday services would be informed that services would be held only by clerics beginning Monday.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is calling for solidarity the world over to confront the “epochal challenge” posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
He has urged political leaders in particular to give hope and opportunity to laid-off workers.
Francis made his traditional Easter address on Sunday and called for sanctions relief, debt forgiveness and cease-fires to calm conflicts and financial crises around the globe.
He has offered special prayers for the sick, the dead, the elderly, refugees and the poor. He also has offered thanks and encouragement to doctors and nurses who have worked “to the point of exhaustion and not infrequently at the expense of their own health.”
Francis has urged the European Union to step up to the “epochal challenge” posed by COVID-19 and resist the tendency of selfishness and division. He recalled that Europe rose again after World War II “thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity that enabled it to overcome the rivalries of the past.”
He says “this is not a time for self-centerdness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing between persons.”
MADRID — Spain has reported its lowest daily growth in confirmed coronavirus infections in three weeks as it prepares to loosen its strict lockdown measures and let some workers return to the job.
Spanish health authorities have reported 4,167 confirmed new cases over the past 24 hours. The country’s total is at 166,019, second only to the United States.
Deaths in Spain have reached a total of 16,972, with 619 new fatalities confirmed since Saturday. More than 60,000 patients have recovered from COVID-19 in Spain.
The country on Monday will allow workers in industry and construction to return to work after a two-week shutdown of economic activities other than health care and the food industry.
Those who can work from home are strongly encouraged by authorities to continue doing so. Retail shops will remain closed other than supermarkets, fruit stands, bakeries, butchers, newsstands and pharmacies.
DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh has recorded four deaths and 139 cases of the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
Officials say the death toll is at 34, with 621 confirmed cases.
Almost half of the cases have been reported in the capital of Dhaka.
The country of 160 million people is expected to remain in a nationwide lockdown until April 25.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he owes his life to staff at the National Health Service who treated him for COVID-19.
Johnson has made his first public statement since he was moved out of intensive care at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, saying he “can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life.”
The 55-year-old Johnson was diagnosed with COVID-19 more than two weeks ago, becoming the first world leader confirmed to have the illness.
His coronavirus symptoms at first were said to have been mild, including a cough and a fever.
He was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital last Sunday after his condition worsened and was transferred to the intensive care unit the following day, where he received oxygen but was not put onto a ventilator.
He spent three nights there before moving back to a regular ward on Thursday.
SEOUL, South Korea — Some South Korean churches have held their Easter services online amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Seoul’s Yoido Full Gospel Church, one of the biggest churches in South Korea, delivered an online live streaming of its Easter service on Sunday.
A small number of masked followers attended the service broadcast via the church’s website. They were seated notably apart from each other to abide by social distancing rules. Choir members also wore masks when they sang hymns.
Many South Korean churches have switched to online services to support government-led efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. Local media reported some churches resumed offline services to mark Easter Sunday, raising worries about new infections.
South Korea has reported 32 additional cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, a continued downward trend in new infections in the country.
SYDNEY — Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says the country is “in a good place” in its fight against the coronavirus as the death toll rose by three to 59.
Murphy says “there is no place in the world I would rather be than Australia at the moment.”
Australia now has 6,289 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
Murphy says people in the community are still transmitting the virus so it is necessary to “keep our pressure on and make sure that we don’t end up like countries in the world that you have all seen on the news.”
He says the country is “in a good place … but we have to maintain that good place.”
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says it would be “very dangerous and unrealistic” to remove social distancing restrictions too soon.
He says those restrictions will stay in place across Australia “for as long as it takes” based on medical advice.
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