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Pakistan warns of new lockdown, COVID numbers in Europe surge

COVID-19: global update

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s military-backed National Command and Operation Center has issued a warning that another lockdown could be imposed to contain COVID-19 deaths if people don't stop violating social distancing rules.

The announcement on Wednesday came after Pakistan reported reported 660 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours and 19 single-day deaths.

The daily death toll was one of Pakistan's highest in more than two months. Deaths from COVID-19 have steadily increased since the government lifted its months-long lockdown in August.

Pakistan has reported 324,744 confirmed cases of the virus and 6,692 virus-related deaths since February.

WARSAW — Poland has reported a new record for daily coronavirus cases after conducting a record number of virus tests.

The country on Wednesday reported 10,040 new confirmed cases, 13 COVID-19 deaths and 60,000 tests performed in 24 hours.

Authorities in large cities are taking steps to turn conference halls into temporary COVID-19 hospitals, and the city of Krakow is planning to reopen a disused hospital to treat coronavirus patients.

Polish lawmakers are debating legislation that would give more funds to medics and temporarily exempt them from legal responsibility for mistakes that take place while treating people for COVID-19.

The country of some 38 million has almost 203,000 total cases, including about 3,900 deaths.

GENEVA — The World Health Organization says Europe again reported a new high in the weekly number of coroavirus cases during the pandemic last week, recording more than 927,000 cases.

The U.N. health agency said in its latest global report on the coronavirus that the continent saw a 25% spike in confirmed cases last week and was responsible for 38% of all new cases reported worldwide.

Russia, the Czech Republic and Italy accounted for more than half of new COVID-19 cases in Europe.

The WHO report says the number of deaths in Europe also “continues to climb,” and increased by one-third from the previous week.

The health agency says Slovenia reported a 150% increase in cases in a week with a record 4,890 cases. Slovenia also reported 1,924 COVID-19 deaths, compared to one the week before.

LONDON — The South Yorkshire region of northern England is being placed under the country’s tightest restrictions to curb the coronavirus -- joining a densely populated swathe of the country where the measures have already been imposed.

Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis said the Tier 3 restrictions will come into force on Saturday. He said local authorities had struck a deal with the British government on financial support for the area to accompany the measures.

“We all recognize the gravity of the situation and have taken the responsible route to ensure we save lives and livelihoods, and protect our (health service),” Jarvis said.

Under the new rules, pubs have to close, people are barred from mixing with members of other households and travel in and out of the area is discouraged.

The measures have caused tension between Britain’s Conservative government and local authorities in northern England, which has the country’s highest infection rates.

On Tuesday the government imposed the same restrictions on Greater Manchester, the U.K.’s second-biggest urban area.

Britain has had Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with almost 44,000 confirmed deaths.

PRAGUE — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have hit new record levels as the number of confirmed cases in one day soared to almost 12,000.

The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase reached 11,984 on Tuesday, almost 900 more than the previous record set on Friday.

The country has registered a total of 193,246 cases since the start of the pandemic, about one third in the last seven days.

The number of the hospitalized surpassed 4,000 with 634 in serious condition, putting pressure on the health system. So far, 1,619 have died with 97 the highest day increase recorded on Monday.

New restrictive measures are coming into effect on Wednesday with mandatory mask-wearing outdoors and in cars. The government is also meeting early Wednesday to consider additional measures.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has lifted a ban on non-essential foreign trips by Filipinos, but the immigration bureau says the move did not immediately spark large numbers of departures for tourism and leisure.

The government has gradually eased restrictions on international and domestic travel as part of efforts to bolster the economy, which slipped into recession in the second quarter following months of lockdown and quarantine to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Travellers to other countries are required to show confirmed roundtrip tickets, travel and health insurance, a declaration acknowledging the risks of travel and trip delays and a medical test within 24 hours of departure that clears them of COVID-19.

Aside from tedious pre-departure requirements, many countries still restrict the entry of travellers from nations with high number of coronavirus infections, including the Philippines. The Department of Health has reported more than 360,000 confirmed cases, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, with at least 6,690 deaths.

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says laxity could lead to a new surge in infections, as authorities reported 54,044 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally past 7.6 million.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday also reported 717 additional deaths for a total of 115,914.

The death toll and new cases have been on the decline in India since last month. But Modi is urging people to continue wearing masks and observing social distancing until a vaccine is available.

Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the ongoing religious festival season that includes huge gatherings in temples and shopping districts.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian authorities say they’re treating a COVID-19 case in the city of Melbourne as a rare reinfection.

The only coronavirus case reported in the former hot spot of Victoria state on Tuesday had also tested positive to COVID-19 in July.

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews said Wednesday an expert panel had decided to classify the case as a reinfection rather than shedding viral remnants of the July infection.

Andrews says the classification reflected “an abundance of caution” rather than conclusive evidence. He assumed further testing would be conducted into the case in search of a definitive result.

Melbourne has been in lockdown since early July, but restrictions in Australia’s second-largest city are easing this week as daily infection tallies remain low.

Victoria reported three new cases on Wednesday. The state’s second wave peaked at 725 new infections in a day in early August.

NEW YORK — A new government report shows that since the coronavirus pandemic began, the U.S. has seen 300,000 more deaths than it usually would.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking how many deaths have been reported and comparing them with counts seen in other years. Usually, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are reported. This year, it’s closer to 2.2 million – a 14.5% increase.

The CDC says the coronavirus was involved in about two-thirds of the excess deaths. CDC officials say it’s likely the virus was a factor in many other deaths too. For example, someone with heart attack symptoms may have hesitated to go to a hospital that was busy with coronavirus patients.

The largest segment of the excess deaths, about 95,000, were in elderly people ages 75 to 84. That was 21.5% more than in a normal year. But the biggest relative increase, 26.5%, was in people ages 25 to 44. Deaths in people younger than 25 actually dropped slightly.

Deaths were up for different racial and ethnic groups, but the largest increase – 54% – was among Hispanic Americans.



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