LONDON – Britain has recorded more than 1 million cases of the coronavirus since the start of the outbreak.
The British Department of Health on Saturday announced 21,915 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 1.01 million cases.
The United States, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia also have recorded more than 1 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Scientists say the number of cases is likely much higher because of a lack of testing and reporting.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new restrictions Saturday to help combat a coronavirus surge.
Britain’s confirmed death toll is 46,555, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– UK government mulls lockdown for England.
– Germany’s Merkel pledging financial help for companies hit by partial shutdown
– Greece tightens restrictions as virus spreads
– Italian nurse sees the nightmare return of the coronavirus. The 54-year-old nurse saw the virus in the unmasked faces of fellow vacationers this summer and her worry grew.
– Australia will spend $351 million to secure coronavirus vaccines for the Pacific and Southeast Asia as part of a shared recovery for the region.
– Federal health officials have new rules that will enable large cruise ships to eventually start sailing again in U.S. waters.
Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
NEW YORK – Federal health officials announced new rules to eventually help cruise ships sail again in U.S. waters.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says companies must demonstrate procedures for testing, quarantining and isolating passengers and crew. Ship owners must test all passengers and crew at the start and end of all voyages, which are limited to seven days.
The companies will need test labs on all ships and arrangements to isolate or quarantine passengers on shore, if needed. The CDC says this may take months to coordinate.
“This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible sailing,” says CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield.
In mid-March, the CDC issued an order suspending cruise ship operations at U.S. ports. That came after coronavirus outbreaks on ships and concerns about spreading the virus. The no-sail order ended Saturday.
ISTANBUL – Two top Turkish officials who work closely with Turkey’s president say they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus.
Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says in a tweet he had light symptoms and was nearing the end of treatment.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu says in a tweet that he, his wife and daughter were hospitalized but feeling “a bit better.”
Soylu was criticized in April for announcing the first weekend lockdown just 2 hours before it went into effect, leading to chaos at markets. Erdogan didn’t accept his resignation after the event.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported 2,213 new coronavirus cases and 75 deaths on Saturday. Turkey has more than 373,100 confirmed cases and reported more than 10,200 deaths.
ROME – Premier Giuseppe Conte says his government is deciding if more restrictions are needed to rein in the spread of coronavirus infections.
“The contagion curve is so rapid now it puts in-class schools at risk,’’ says Conte, five days after closing restaurants in the evening and closing down gyms, cinemas and theaters.
Elementary and middle school children can still attend class. However, 75% of high school instruction must be done remotely, in accordance with nationwide rules that started this week.
On Monday, Lombardy’s governor will consult with the local mayors, including of its main city Milan, before deciding whether to lock down the region.
Some citizens have participated in anti-lockdown protests this week to vent their anger about the restrictions. In Florence on Friday night, four demonstrators were detained.
Italy has more than 647,000 confirmed cases and more than 38,000 deaths.
ATLANTA – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has tested negative for coronavirus after having exposure to someone who tested positive.
A statement on his Twitter account says the Republican governor is quarantining as a precaution. It says first lady Marty Kemp also tested negative.
In a separate announcement Friday, U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson says he tested positive for coronavirus and is working from home while in quarantine. Ferguson appeared with Kemp at a rally on Thursday.
Kemp was among the earliest to allow businesses to reopen. He has avoided a statewide mask mandate, including this summer, when Georgia recorded the highest per capita infections nationwide.
Georgia has 360,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 7,950 deaths,
according to the state Department of Public Health.
ATHENS, Greece – Greece will shut down restaurants, bars, cafes, cinemas and gyms across a large part of the country, including the capital Athens, after a surge in coronavirus cases.
Outlining the measures in a televised address, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the changes will take effect Tuesday morning and last for the whole of November.
The areas affected are most of northern Greece and the Athens region.
Though closed for sitting customers, restaurants in these areas will be able to offer food for takeaway and deliveries.
In other measures, Mitsotakis said masks will become mandatory across the whole of Greece and a curfew will come into force from midnight to 5 a.m. University classes across the country will have to be conducted online.
In contrast to the spring lockdown, travel within the country will not be affected and retail shops will stay open.
Like other countries in Europe, Greece is in the grip of a resurgence of the virus. Daily infections surged over 1,000 this week, peaking at 1,690 Friday.
LONDON – The British government is considering imposing a new national lockdown in England after scientific advisers warned hospitalizations and deaths from the resurgence of the coronavirus could soon surpass the levels seen at the outbreak’s spring peak.
Epidemiologist John Edmunds, a member of the government’s scientific advisory group, say cases were running “significantly above” a reasonable worst-case scenario drawn up by modelers this month.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced a system of local restrictions for England based on levels of infection. But scientists say it hasn’t been enough.
The Times of London says Johnson could announce a month-long lockdown as soon as Monday, though the government says no decisions have been made.
Any new lockdown would likely see non-essential businesses close and people told to stay mostly at home, though schools would remain open.
The U.K. is recording more than 20,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and government statisticians say the actual figure is likely far higher. On Saturday, the country is likely to surpass 1 million confirmed cases.
The U.K. has Europe’s highest coronavirus death toll at more than 46,000.
BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel is pledging to help companies hit by a new German partial shutdown “quickly and unbureaucratically” as the country reports the latest in a string of daily coronavirus infection records.
German officials decided this week to shut down bars, restaurants and leisure facilities for four weeks starting Monday and impose new contact restrictions. The aim is to curb a rapid rise in new infections and prevent an overwhelmed health system.
The government plans to spend up to 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) to compensate companies hit by the latest shutdown.
Merkel said in her weekly video message, “we will not leave companies that face difficulties because of the current crisis through no fault of their own alone. We want to help quickly and unbureaucratically.”
On Saturday, the national disease center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 19,059 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours and 103 deaths. That’s up from the previous record set Friday of 18,681.
Germany’s total cases since the pandemic started has increased to 518,753 and its death toll to 10,452.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – A national rapid-testing program for the coronavirus has launched in Slovakia. The government aims to test anyone over 10 in the next two weekends.
The results of the free tests, which look for antigens, will be available within minutes. Those testing negative won’t have to abide by strict limits on movement imposed on citizens in the country of 5.4 million.
Some 5,000 testing sites have been established by the armed forces. Long lines of cars have already formed at the sites. Despite help from volunteers, some sites didn’t have enough medical personnel on Saturday, authorities say.
BEIJING – China has reported six new confirmed cases of coronavirus in an outbreak in Xinjiang, bringing the total in the far-west region to 51.
Six were in serious condition, Xinjiang health authorities said Saturday. Another 161 people have tested positive but show no symptoms.
The outbreak in Shufu county, near the city of Kashgar, appears to be linked to a garment factory that employs 252 people. It has been sealed off.
China has largely curbed the spread of the coronavirus but continues to see localized outbreaks with infections in the hundreds. The National Health Commission also reported 27 new cases among people who had arrived recently from overseas.
The total confirmed cases has reached 85,973 and 4,634 deaths. China does not include people without symptoms in its confirmed case count.
By The Associated Press