Steve August 30, 2020
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PARIS — Not all French classrooms can safely reopen Tuesday, the education minister acknowledged Sunday, amid a persistent rise in coronavirus infections that is threatening the government’s push to get France’s 12.9 million schoolchildren back in class.

“It’s being decided by a day-by-day analysis based on the health situation of each territory,” Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said Sunday on France-Info radio. Some classes will remain closed, he said, but “as few as possible.”

A collective of doctors published an appeal Saturday saying the governments’ school virus measures aren’t strict enough. It urged mask requirements for children as young as six and a mix of online and in-person schooling.

The government wants to reopen all schools starting Tuesday to reduce learning gaps worsened by the spring lockdown, and to get parents back at work and revive the economy.

France reported 5,453 new daily infections Saturday, compared to several hundred a day in May and June. The national health service says the growth is exponential, and neighboring countries have imposed quarantines or testing for people arriving from parts or all of France.

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

— Fad or future? Telehealth expansion eyed beyond pandemic

— What happens when pandemic locks down a globe-trotting pope?

German leaders condemn far-right attempt to storm Reichstag

Voting groups scramble to reach college students in pandemic

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

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases globally has topped 25 million, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the count with 5.9 million cases, followed by Brazil with 3.8 million and India with 3.5 million.

The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.

Global deaths from COVID-19 stand at over 842,000, with the U.S. having the highest number with 182,779, followed by Brazil with 120,262 and Mexico with 63,819.

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NEW DELHI — India has registered a record new 78,761 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the worst single-day spike in the world, as the government continues to further ease pandemic restrictions nationwide.

The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 948 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 63,498.

India now has the fastest-growing daily coronavirus caseload of any country in the world, and has reported more than 75,000 infections for the fourth consecutive day.

Sunday’s surge has raised the country’s total virus tally to over 3.5 million and comes at a time when India is reopening its subway networks and allowing sports and religious events in a limited manner from next month as part of efforts to revive the economy.

The crowded subway, a lifeline for millions of people in capital New Delhi, will be reopened in a phased manner from Sept. 7. Schools and colleges will, however, remain closed until the end of September.

The South Asian country has the third-highest caseload after the United States and Brazil, and its fatalities are the fourth-highest.

Even as eight Indian states remain among the worst-hit regions and contribute nearly 73% of the total infections, the virus is now spreading fast in the vast hinterlands, with experts warning that the month of September could be the most challenging.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 299 new cases of the coronavirus as officials placed limits on dining at restaurants and closed fitness centers and after-school academies in the greater capital area to slow the spread of the virus.

The 17th consecutive day of triple-digit increases brought the national caseload to 19,699, including 323 deaths.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 209 of the new cases came from the capital of Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province as well as Incheon, a region that had been at the center of a viral resurgence this month.

Health authorities have ordered churches and nightspots to close and shifted more schools back to remote learning nationwide as infections spiked in recent weeks.

For eight days starting Sunday, restaurants in the Seoul metropolitan area will be allowed to provide only deliveries and takeouts after 9 p.m. Franchised coffee shops like Starbucks will sell only takeout drinks and food.

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation health officials say the confirmation of a new death brings the number of fatalities from the coronavirus to 500.

The Navajo Nation on Friday night reported the additional death as well as 14 more confirmed cases of COVID-19.

That brings the total number of people infected to 9,780. But that includes 165 cases that occurred between early April and mid-August and were recently identified as COVID-19 related.

Navajo officials said 94,099 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,032 have recovered. The Navajo Nation lifted its stay-at-home order on Aug. 16, but is asking residents to go out for emergencies or essentials.

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HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Public Safety says that three inmates and one staff member at the Oahu Community Correction Center tested positive for COVID-19.

There are now more than 300 people who have tested positive at the Honolulu facility, including 256 inmates and 53 employees, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Early in the pandemic, several advocacy groups raised concerns about the safety of others crowded in jails and prisons statewide and mentioned the risk of an outbreak.

Since then, the Hawaii Supreme Court has had ongoing orders to release defendants incarcerated for misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor crimes to open space in the facilities.

The state Department of Health has reported more than 7,800 confirmed coronavirus cases and 59 deaths, including 265 newly confirmed cases and four deaths, as of Friday.

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PHOENIX — Arizona has reached a grim milestone of more than 5,000 known coronavirus deaths.

The state Department of Health Services reported 629 confirmed coronavirus cases and 29 more deaths on Saturday to total 5,007.

Meanwhile, Arizona State University President Michael Crow says 452 students have tested positive for the coronavirus. More than half involve students who live off campus in the metro Phoenix area.

Crow says 205 students are currently in quarantine on the Tempe campus.

MIAMI — Health officials in Florida are reporting 150 new deaths from COVID-19 and 3,197 new confirmed cases.

The new deaths bring the average daily toll reported over the past week to 120. The number of new known cases is down from peaks averaging nearly 12,000 daily in mid-July.

The positivity rate in testing has averaged below 10 percent over the past week. The number of people treated in Florida hospitals for coronavirus has also been declining since highs of more than 9,500 on July 23.

Florida has confirmed 619,000 cases and 11,246 deaths.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Restaurants and bars in Anchorage will reopen Monday for dine-in service with some restrictions after city officials announced an updated emergency order.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has replaced a four-week order, which closed food establishments to indoor service and drew criticism from the industry. That order expired Sunday.

The updated regulation means businesses can resume dine-in service at no more than 50% of building capacity. Patrons will be required to practice social distancing.

Masks must be worn by all employees, and also by customers when they aren’t eating or drinking

In Alaska, more than 5,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus since March and 37 have died.

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CHICAGO — Freshmen and sophomore students at Northwestern University will take classes remotely, the Chicago school announced.

The Chicago Tribune reports Northwestern University officials originally planned for undergraduate students to return to campus. The university also is keeping fraternity and sorority houses shuttered during the fall semester.

Students in their third and fourth years or graduate and professional programs are allowed on campus and can take classes remotely, in person or a mix of both.

Universities around the country have struggled with plans for the fall semester as the coronavirus continues to spread. Early outbreaks forced some schools’ administrators to cancel in-person classes temporarily or for the fall semester.

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ROME — Every Italian region reported new coronavirus cases after a record 99,000 tests turned up another 1,444 cases.

The health ministry says one more victim of COVID-19 brought Italy’s official death toll to 35,473 on Saturday.

Italy has nearly doubled its daily tests this month amid a surge in new infections, mostly among young people returning from vacation. While most are asymptomatic, the number of people requiring hospitalization and intensive care is creeping back up.

Italy, the onetime European epicenter of the virus, plans to start school on Sept. 14. Unlike other European countries, Italy never reopened schools last spring.

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DETROIT — The city of Detroit is seeking about 400 volunteers to assist with a memorial to honor residents who have died from the coronavirus.

A memorial drive at Belle Isle State Park is scheduled for Monday. Mayor Mike Duggan declared the day as Detroit Memorial Day to remember residents who didn’t have the funerals because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Families will drive in 15 processions past nearly 900 enlarged photos of their loved ones. Hearses will lead the processions. More than 1,500 Detroit residents have died from complications of the virus.

The public can visit Belle Isle to see the photos Tuesday and Wednesday. Duggan says, “we felt it was important and necessary to provide an opportunity for members of this community to collectively celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost to this terrible virus. This is how we begin the healing process.

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NICE, France — French authorities have made it harder for Tour de France teams to reach the finish line in Paris if a member tests positive.

They’ve decided teams will be expelled from the race if two or more of their staff members test positive for the coronavirus within a week. The move was announced just a few hours before the start of the three-week race’s opening stage in Nice.

It overruled a decision from cycling’s governing body that had eased the Tour’s exclusion rules on Friday. There are 30 members per team, which includes staff.

This week, four staff members of the Belgian team Lotto-Soudal were sent home after “non-negative” coronavirus tests. The team says a mechanic and a member of the rider support staff returned “one positive and one suspicious result.” Both left the race bubble, along with their roommates.

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BOSTON — This year’s Boston Marathon is a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic, but a weeklong TV special will showcase runners’ stories as they go the distance on their own.

Amazon and WBZ-TV are teaming up on a “Boston Marathon Live” broadcast that will air nightly Sept. 7-13. The show is co-produced by the Boston Athletic Association, which puts on the marathon every year.

Registered runners will complete the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) distance and share accounts of their preparation, motivation and execution. Athletes can use a mobile app the BAA is rolling out to upload their routes and finish times.

The marathon normally is held in April. It was postponed to mid-September because of the pandemic and canceled in May for the first time in its 124-year history.

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