×

The latest world virus headlines — Boris Johnson in hospital with coronavirus

A faithful from a facing balcony follows the celebration of the Palm Sunday mass on the roof of the church of San Pio X today in Rome. Churches are closed to faithful all over Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Mauro Scrobogna/LaPresse via AP)

Here are summaries of the latest worldwide stories on the coronavirus pandemic, including:

• British Prime Minister Johnson admitted to a hospital with the coronavirus.

• Louisiana health officials: 68 coronavirus-related deaths

• France: 357 deaths in hospitals from the virus in a single day but signs that spread is slowing.

• Fauci: Very good chance coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature.”

• Palm Sunday services in some Kentucky churches in defiance of Gov. Andy Beshear’s warning against in-person worship.

___

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital with the new coronavirus.

Johnson’s office says he is being admitted for tests because he still has symptoms, 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Downing St. says the hospitalization is a “precautionary step” and he remains in charge of the government.

Johnson, 55, has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26.

___

Louisiana health officials reported 68 coronavirus-related deaths today, marking the state’s biggest jump in reported deaths since the outbreak began.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported the figures on its website today. The number of infections reported to the state also increased by more than 500 cases from 12,496 to 13,010.

Before today, the largest number of deaths reported in a single day was 60. The numbers represent when the tests were reported to the state, not necessarily when the infections or deaths occurred.

Louisiana and the New Orleans area have been an epicenter for the virus, and Gov. John Bel Edwards has repeatedly warned of looming shortages for ventilators and intensive care units.

___

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The ACLU says it is seeking an injunction to block part of Puerto Rico’s strict curfew against the new coronavirus and argues that some of its restrictions are unconstitutional.

The curfew imposed March 15 has shuttered non-essential businesses in the U.S. territory and ordered people to stay home from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and remain there even outside those hours unless they have to buy food or medicine, go to the bank or have an emergency or health-related situation.

Violators face a $5,000 fine or a six-month jail term, and police have cited hundreds of people. A spokesman for the U.S. territory’s Justice Department said today there was no immediate comment.

It is the first time the ACLU has decided to file a lawsuit in a U.S. jurisdiction related to a coronavirus curfew.

___

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued new requirements for those visiting or working on Department of Defense installations regarding the use of cloth face coverings.

Esper says that “to the extent practical,” all individuals on DOD property “will wear” the face coverings when they cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance from others.

The guidance is effective immediately. It follows a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encourages people, especially in areas hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, to use rudimentary coverings such as T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors.

Esper outlined the new requirements in a memorandum to senior military leaders today.

Esper said the requirement doesn’t apply to a service member’s personal residence on a military installation. But it does apply to work centers and other public areas.

He says exceptions may be approved by local commanders or supervisors and then submitted up the chain of command for awareness.

___

PARIS — France reported 357 deaths in hospitals from the virus in a single day today but showed signs that its spread is slowing after 20 days of national confinement.

The country remains among the hardest hit in the world, with 8,078 confirmed deaths since the virus arrived in January. More than a quarter of those who died were in nursing homes, according to figures from the national health service tonight.

France’s intensive care units continue to fill up fast, with 390 new arrivals since Saturday for a total of 6,978 people in critical care beds. But the daily growth has been slowing, and 250 people left intensive care in the same one-day period. Most of those in intensive care are older, but 106 are under 30 years old.

While still high, the number of new deaths in hospitals dropped today for the second day straight and was the lowest since March 29.

France continued today to transport critically ill patients out of saturated regions to those with more hospital space and has brought in hundreds of medical personnel to help in the overwhelmed Paris region.

___

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci says there a very good chance the new coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature” because it is unlikely to be under control globally.

Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He says the virus is unlikely to be completely eradicated from the planet this year. That means the U.S. could see the “beginning of a resurgence” during the next flu season.

Fauci says the prospect of a resurgence is the reason the U.S. is working so hard to get its preparedness “better than it was.” He says that includes working to develop a vaccine and conducting clinical trials on therapeutic interventions.

Fauci also says states that don’t have stay-at-home orders are not putting the rest of the country at risk as much as they are putting themselves at risk.

Fauci spoke on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

___

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some Kentucky churches held Palm Sunday services in defiance of Gov. Andy Beshear’s warning against in-person worship.

Dozens of people were at Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville today, news outlets reported. A video showed a pianist playing and choir members singing during the late morning service.

Louisville’s Our Savior Lutheran Church streamed its in-person service live on YouTube. The church had required online registration beforehand and restricted seating to every other pew. The video stream did not show the audience.

Beshear warned during his daily briefing on Saturday that mass gatherings “are spreading the coronavirus.

“We care about each other in this state, and our faith guides us and gives us the wisdom to do the right thing to protect each other.”

Some states, including Florida, have made exemptions to allow religious gatherings to proceed during the coronavirus. Kentucky does not have that exemption.

___

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and evangelical backers declared today a day of prayer and fasting against the spread of the new coronavirus, and a small group gathered outside his official residence in the capital, Brasilia, to pray.

A day earlier, he posted on social media a video of himself with about a dozen pastors calling for the fasting and prayer. The Rev. Marco Feliciano said the purpose is so that “all the bad predictions made here in Brazil fall to the ground.”

Bolsonaro has distanced himself from most world leaders and many members of his own government by repeatedly minimizing the risks posed by COVID-19 and saying younger and healthy people should not self-isolate at home but get back to work.

Some of the pastors appearing in the video had previously criticized state governors who introduced quarantines that prevented them from opening their churches.

___

ROME — Italy has registered its lowest day-to-day increase in deaths of patients with the coronavirus in more than two weeks.

Angelo Borrelli, the head of the national Civil Protection agency today, said there were 525 deaths in the 24-hour period since Saturday evening. That’s the lowest such figure since 427 deaths were registered on March 19.

Italy has a total of 15,887 deaths and nearly 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A day shy of one month under national lockdown that the government ordered to try to contain the wildly spreading contagion, the lower count of day-to-day deaths brought some encouragement.

The number of intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has also showed a decrease in the past few days, including in northern Lombardy, Italy’s most stricken region.

___

JERUSALEM — The Israeli Defense Ministry says it has helped arrange an airlift of critically needed medical equipment from China to help fight the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement today, the ministry said the first plane, carrying more than 900,000 surgical masks and half a million protective suits for medical teams, is scheduled to arrive on Monday.

It said Israeli airline EL Al has modified 11 Boeing Dreamliner aircraft for the operation. The airlift, which is to bring in millions of items as well as breathing machines, is to take place over two weeks.

The ministry has been coordinating an effort in recent weeks with other government ministries, the Mossad intelligence agency and the private sector to cope with the health crisis. Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Israeli chemical maker ICL also participated in the airlift mission.

Israel has reported more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19 and 48 deaths.

___

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has asked the country to “stay home at Easter,” during a rare televised address to the nation.

Speaking from the remote Stenhammar Palace where the 73-year-old monarch is self-isolating, the King paid tribute to healthcare workers battling the outbreak that has now claimed 401 lives in the Scandinavian nation.

The King said staying home was “a small sacrifice” and urged people to act responsibly.

While most European countries have adopted strict restrictions of movement and personal freedom, Sweden’s strategy in fighting the pandemic appears comparatively more relaxed.

Swedish authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open, and only gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned.

Over the weekend, outdoor bars and restaurants were busy, and many people flocked to parks and forests around the capital, Stockholm.

___

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovic says his government is planning to limit movement across the country over Easter in efforts to contain the epidemic of the coronavirus.

Matovic says the restrictions should be in place from Wednesday till the end of Easter Monday. After the restrictive measure was proposed by experts today, Matovic said his coalition government will vote on it on Monday.

“To travel means to spread the virus,” Matovic said. “We’re not in a situation to make a mistake.”

People will be allowed to travel to work, do essential shopping or visit doctors, but won’t be allowed to leave their county.

Slovakia is a Roman Catholic stronghold in central and eastern Europe. The government previously banned public gatherings, including religious services.

Slovakia has 485 infected people with the coronavirus, the government said today.

___

ATHENS, Greece — Authorities in Greece have announced five fatalities from the new coronavirus over the past 24 hours. That brings the total to 73 fatalities, of which 52 were men.

The average age of the victims is 74.

There were 62 new confirmed cases to raise the total confirmed cases in Greece to 1,735. More than 50 percent of the infected are men.

There are 93 people in intensive care units. Greek authorities say they have administered 25,453 tests for the virus.

___

PRAGUE — The 75th edition of the international classical music festival Prague Spring in the Czech capital will take place online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The organizers announced the move today, saying “it is difficult to know what restrictions will be in place” at the time of this year’s festival planned for May 7 to June 4.

They say about 10 live concerts will be available on the internet free of charge, some of them will also be broadcast by the Czech public television and radio.

The details about the new program will be announced in the coming weeks and will depend on the government’s restrictive measures.

The Czech Republic has 4,543 people infected with the coronavirus, 67 have died.

___

LONDON — The chief medical officer for Scotland has apologized for ignoring her own policy and visiting her second home despite government advice to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Photos of Dr. Catherine Calderwood appeared in The Scottish Sun on Saturday. Police gave her a warning and she is facing calls to resign.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says that while she doesn’t condone Calderwood’s behavior, it would be “damaging not to have the ongoing advice and expertise” of Calderwood as chief medical officer.

Sturgeon says she did not know about Calderwood’s visits to her second home, which is an hour from Edinburgh.

Sturgeon says “all of us, including me, will make mistakes in these unprecedented times we are living in. When we do we must be candid about it and learn from it.”

___

ISTANBUL –Turkey’s health minister has announced 73 more patients have died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 574.

Fahrettin Koca, in figures shared on Twitter today, also said 3,135 people tested positive for the coronavirus. A total of 27,069 cases have been confirmed so far by the ministry.

___

ATHENS, Greece — The Greek government has announced stricter lockdown measures for the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, both of which are among Greece’s premier tourist destinations. Specifically, for the island of Mykonos, there is a total curfew imposed on residents from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Also, residents of Mykonos will not be allowed to leave their homes to exercise, individually or in pairs, as in the rest of Greece. They will only be allowed to walk their dog, for 15 minutes, and only on the block around their home. There are also stricter-than-usual crowd control measures in supermarkets. On the island of Santorini, all construction activities are suspended. The above measures will be imposed Monday morning and will last 14 days. They will then be reviewed.

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)