The Latest: Third of South Africa cases in Gauteng province

By | July 11, 2020

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is reporting another 13,497 confirmed coronavirus cases for a total of 264,184 including 3,971 deaths. More than a third of cases are in the new hot spot of Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.

Already public hospitals are expressing concerns about shortages of available beds and medical oxygen. The percentage of tests that are positive is now over 25% but the National Institute of Infectious Diseases says that could reflect both the rise in infections and more targeted testing.

The country’s health minister has said the “storm” that authorities have been warning citizens about has arrived.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Florida sets 1-week record of nearly 500 coronavirus deaths

— Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan has coronavirus

— Tribes struggle to meet deadline to spend virus relief aid

— Johns Hopkins University has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the Trump administration’s decision to make international students leave the U.S. if they intend to take classes entirely online starting this fall.

— The nation’s capital has declared beekeepers to be essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

PHOENIX — Arizona health officials have reported an additional 69 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak.

So far, there’s been more than 2,150 confirmed deaths from the virus in Arizona.

The state added 3,038 confirmed cases in the last day, bringing the total to 119,930. Arizona also set a record with 3,485 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Friday.

Hospital caseloads have surged since Arizona became one of the hot spots for the coronavirus after Gov. Doug Ducey relaxed stay-home orders and other restrictions in May.

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PARIS — The wife of a French bus driver who died of injuries after he asked four passengers to wear face masks wants “exemplary punishment.”

Four people are in custody for the assault of Philippe Monguillot on July 5 at a bus stop in Bayonne, southwest France.

The Bayonne prosecutor says Monguillot was assaulted after he asked four passengers on his bus to wear face masks, which are required aboard French public transportation because of the coronavirus. He was insulted, pushed off the bus and violently beaten and kicked in the head, the prosecutor said.

President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday dispatched the interior minister to meet the driver’s widow after his death was announced Friday. He had been hospitalized in critical condition.

Veronique Monguillot told minister Gerald Darmanin that she and her three daughters were “destroyed” by the death.

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NEW DELHI — Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is hospitalized in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital.

In a tweet on Saturday, Bachchan, 77, said his family and staff have also undergone tests and are awaiting results.

He appealed to those who were in close proximity to him in the past 10 days to get themselves tested.

Bachchan’s 44-year-old-son Abhishek Bachchan, also an actor, tweeted Saturday night that he also has tested COVID-19 positive and is hospitalized. “Both of us having mild symptoms. I request all to stay calm and not panic,” he wrote.

The elder Bachchan has acted in more than 200 Indian films over the past five decades. He is also a former politician and a television host.

Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Bangalore are among the Indian cities worst hit by the coronavirus.

On Saturday, India’s coronavirus caseload crossed 800,000 with the biggest spike of 27,114 cases reported in the past 24 hours. The new confirmed cases took the national total to 820,916. The Health Ministry also reported another 519 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 22,123.

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida set a one-week record of nearly 500 confirmed coronavirus deaths.

The state health department reported 96 new deaths Saturday, bringing the total for the week to 496 or an average of nearly 71 per day.

A record 120 deaths were reported Thursday. Three weeks ago, Florida’s weekly average for deaths stood at 30 per day.

The state on Saturday confirmed 9,960 new coronavirus cases and 421 addition hospitalizations. Since March 1, when the first Florida infections were recorded, the state has reported 254,511 confirmed cases and 4,301 deaths.

The previous weekly record average of 60 deaths per day was set May 8. Throughout May and into June, the state reopened much of its economy with some restrictions.

Testing has increased, but the percentage of people testing positive has risen. A month ago, fewer than 5% of tests came up positive on a daily average. Over the past week, the daily average exceeded 19%.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has scheduled a news conference Saturday to discuss the outbreak.

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ROME — Italy has confirmed another 188 coronavirus infections, a third in the hard-hit Lombardy region.

Public health officials say the outbreak remains under control in Italy, the onetime epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, but they are paying attention to clusters of domestic and international infections.

Italy halted all air traffic with Bangladesh and 13 other countries after more than two dozen cases were linked to charter flights of returning Bangladeshi immigrants. On Saturday, eight of the 19 new infections in the Lazio region around Rome were linked to the Bangladeshi community cluster.

Another cluster has been identified in a TNT delivery company in Bologna, where 12 of the region’s 47 new infections are linked. TNT has registered more than 40 total cases.

Another seven people with the coronavirus died in the past day, bringing Italy’s total confirmed deaths to 34,945.

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Tribes across the United States are wrestling with competing needs, restrictive laws and inadequate staffing as they try to meet a tight federal deadline on spending billions of dollars in virus relief funds.

Congress set aside $ 8 billion for tribes that must be spent by the end of the year and meet strict federal guidelines. Otherwise, the tribes risk having to send it back.

Officials on the vast Navajo Nation have received $ 714 million in aid but approved just $ 60 million for health care, protective equipment and front-line workers against the virus.

Rifts between the tribal government’s legislative and executive branches have delayed putting more of the money to use.

Under the Treasury Department guidelines, the money can’t be spent on items already budgeted, back-filling lost revenue or per-capita payments. Tribes nationwide are lobbying their congressional delegation to extend the spending deadline and allow for more flexibility.

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NEW YORK — The number of New Yorkers hospitalized with the coronavirus has fallen to the lowest point in nearly four months.

However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is concerned a resurgence in cases is inevitable amid outbreaks in other states.

Cuomo told WAMC radio on Friday the state’s quarantine rules for travelers returning from hard-hit areas are difficult to enforce. He says the only question is how high New York’s rate will rise.

State officials reported 799 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Saturday, which is the lowest number since March 18.

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ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities announced 41 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours on Saturday, with 11 detected in incoming tourists.

There were no new confirmed deaths.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 3,772 and 193 deaths.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina state senator says he’s tested positive for COVID-19, the first known public case for a General Assembly member.

Sen. Danny Britt, a Robeson County Republican, told The Associated Press he received the positive test on Friday.

Britt, an attorney and National Guard officer, was on the Senate floor on Wednesday as the chamber debated bills and cast votes. The full legislature isn’t expected to return to work until September.

Building administrators at the legislative complex in downtown Raleigh have initiated health and social distancing measures since April. There is no mandate for wearing masks indoors in the two buildings. That’s frustrated Democrats who serve in the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Nationwide, at least 75 legislators in at least 28 states have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the outbreak, according to an AP tally.

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NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus cases have passed 800,000 after the biggest spike of 27,114 cases in the past 24 hours, causing nearly a dozen states to impose a partial lockdown in high-risk areas.

The new confirmed cases took the national total to 820,916. The Health Ministry on Saturday reported another 519 deaths for a total of 22,123.

A surge in infections went from 600,000 to more than 800,000 in nine days. The ministry says the recovery rate was continuing to improve at more than 62%.

Eight of India’s 28 states, including the worst-hit Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi, account for nearly 90% of all infections.

The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, with nearly 230 million people, imposed a weekend lockdown. Several others announced restrictions in districts reporting major spikes.

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BEIJING — New coronavirus cases have dropped sharply in China, and authorities are turning their attention to concerns the virus could spread through imported food.

Those worries have risen since a June outbreak in Beijing was linked to the city’s largest wholesale market.

Testing has been stepped up on incoming food shipments, and Friday customs officials said they are halting imports from three Ecuadorian shrimp producers after tests showed the virus present in recent shipments.

Authorities say the coronavirus was detected on the outer packaging of the shipments July 3. The inner packaging and the shrimp themselves tested negative. Products from the three companies received after March 12 have been ordered returned or destroyed.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 35 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its confirmed caseload to 13,373 infections and 288 deaths.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 13 of the new cases were in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a virus resurgence since late May.

Infections were also reported in other major cities such as Daejeon and Gwangju, where patients had ties to churches, a Buddhist temple, nursing homes and a sauna.

Fifteen of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s governor says a new requirement for people to wear face masks in public took effect at 5 p.m. Friday despite a judge’s restraining order related to pandemic restrictions though not specifically on the face covering rule.

Gov. Andy Beshear says the mask mandate is “mandatory, regardless of anything else that’s out there.”

The Scott County court judge issued an order Thursday blocking the governor from issuing executive orders related to the pandemic unless he first meets a list of requirements.

Beshear calls the restraining order “bizarre” and “not legal.” He says the ruling will be appealed and likely end up before the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Newly reported cases of COVID-19 have increased in recent days in Kentucky, prompting Beshear to issue the 30-day order requiring masks in public places.

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CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has given provisional approval to the drug remdesivir, an experimental medicine that has shown promise in the recovery time of the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

The approval comes as Australia had a sharp increase in coronavirus infections in the state of Victoria, which reported a record 288 confirmed cases Friday.

Authorities say remdesivir will be available only to hospital patients who are severely ill, require oxygen or high-level support to breathe. It is the only drug licensed by both the U.S. and the European Union as a treatment for people with severe illness from the coronavirus.

With a population of 26 million, Australia has recorded more than 9,000 coronavirus cases, with 107 deaths.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says “things will get worse” in the state as more than 10,000 patients are hospitalized with the coronavirus.

The deadliest week of the pandemic yet in Texas continued Friday with 95 new deaths.

On the Texas-Mexico border, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera says his rural community is trying to get a refrigerated trailer because the local funeral home can’t keep up with more than two bodies a day.

Texas members of Congress are asking the Trump administration for a field hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. They say in a letter sent Friday to the health and human services secretary Azar there is “no indication that case counts will level out soon.”

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SALEM, Ore. — Oregon health officials are urging people to limit indoor social gatherings to fewer than 10 people during the next three weeks amid a “troubling” surge in coronavirus cases.

New projections by the Oregon Health Authority predict if transmission of the virus continues at the current pace, the estimated number of new daily, confirmed infections could reach anywhere from 1,100 to 3,600.

The director of the Oregon Health Authority says “we are calling on Oregonians to take action, to help us bring down the spread of COVID-19 and get it under control so we can again bend the curve back down.”

Oregon officials reported 275 new confirmed coronavirus cases Friday, bringing the total statewide to 11,454. There have been at least 232 deaths.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Confirmed coronavirus infections in Pennsylvania were more than 1,000 on Friday in the state’s highest one-day mark since May, with state health officials blaming the rising numbers on crowded bars and out-of-state travel to virus hot spots.

Pennsylvania reported more than 1,000 confirmed infections for the first time since May 10. About 175 of the newly reported cases arose from a batch of private lab results, according to the state Health Department.

Health officials reported another 32 virus-related deaths, raising the statewide toll to 6,880.

State health officials warned in an alert to hospitals, doctors offices and other heath care providers that increasing numbers of young people are contracting the virus. The Health Department also says local outbreaks are being traced to out-of-state travel and to parties, restaurants, bars and other social gatherings.

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ABC News: Health