The Latest: France deploying riot police to enforce masks

National News

FILE – In this March 1, 2020, file photo, a department store employee with a mask dresses a mannequin in Tokyo. Japan’s economy shrank at annual rate of 27.8% in April-June, the worst contraction on record, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed consumption and trade, government data released Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

PARIS — The French government is sending riot police to the Marseille region to help enforce mask requirements, as more and more towns and neighborhoods are imposing mask rules starting Monday to slow rising infections.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced Monday that 130 police officers are being sent to the Marseille region, which expanded its outdoor mask requirements to all farmers’ markets and more neighborhoods Friday.

France has seen scattered incidents of violence by people refusing to wear masks. Paris expanded its mask requirements Saturday, and other towns around France started requiring masks outdoors on Monday.

Infections have been speeding up around France in recent days, with 3,015 new cases Sunday, one of the highest daily spikes since the country lifted a strict two-month lockdown in May.

More than 30,400 people have died with the virus in France, one of the highest death tolls in the world.

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

— Japan’s economy shrinks at record rate, slammed by pandemic

— New Zealand delays election by four weeks after virus outbreak in Auckland

— South Koreans urged to stay home as cases jump

— Federal virus money slow to trickle to local public health in the U.S.

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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:

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Traffic backed up at the Croatian-Slovenian border over the weekend as Austrians who had been vacationing in Croatia sought to get home before new safety restrictions on entering the country went into effect.

Hours-long traffic jams formed in Slovenia, and 350 Austrians were not able to make it across the border at the Spielfeld crossing before the Sunday deadline, the Austria Press Association reported Monday.

The Austrian government ordered the increased health and safety measures for people coming from Croatia, noting that about a third of new coronavirus infections had been linked to travelers, many who had been on vacation along the Croatian Adriatic coast.

Under the new guidelines for entering Austria, travelers need to produce an official health certificate no more than 72 hours old showing they tested negative for the coronavirus. If such proof is not available, travelers need to take a test within 48 hours of their arrival and quarantine at home until a result is available.

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TULSA, Okla. — A top White House coronavirus adviser encouraged people to cover their faces and to social distance to fight the global pandemic during a stop in Oklahoma, where Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt has resisted imposing a statewide mask order.

Dr. Deborah Birx led the roundtable discussion Sunday at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. The meeting was closed to journalists, but state and local officials who attended told the Tulsa World that Birx was unwavering on the necessity for masks and distancing in public.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation said Birx also met with tribal health officials.

Birx is on a Midwestern tour that has included stops in Nebraska and Kansas. She is scheduled to be in Arkansas on Monday.

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PRAGUE — The Czech Republic is returning to mandatory use of face masks in indoor public spaces.

Health Minister Adam Vojtech says the face coverings will have to be worn on all means of the public transport and interior places, such are stores, shopping malls, post offices but not in bars and restaurants. People will also have to have the masks at any indoor public gatherings.

Vojtech says the “preventive measure” becomes effective on Sept 1, the start of the new school year.

Currently, the masks are mandatory at hospitals and outpatient clinics and other health care facilities across the country, and on Prague’s subway network.

The number of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic has surpassed 20,000. According to Health Ministry figures released on Monday, the country has had 20,012 infected people while 397 have died.

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ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s government spokesman says schools in the country are set to reopen on Sept. 7.

Stelios Petsas said schools will face challenges making sure children adhere to measures such as maintaining social distance, frequently washing their hands and wearing masks where necessary.

Greek authorities have been alarmed by a significant increase in the number of daily coronavirus cases detected, with the numbers steadily over 200 for the past five days. Total confirmed cases now top 7,000, with 228 deaths.

Many of the new cases have been attributed to outbreaks after weddings and people ignoring social distancing and protective measures during summer vacations.

Health authorities began carrying out spot checks for the virus on ferry passengers returning to the mainland from the islands on Sunday.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A key Dutch government advisory panel forecasts that the national economy will shrink by 5% in 2020 before returning to 3% growth in 2021 — if the country manages to avoid a major new coronavirus lockdown.

The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis says that unemployment will rise toward 7% next year as the fallout from the pandemic continues to weigh on Dutch businesses.

The projections published Monday will be used by the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte as it prepares its 2021 budget, which will be published on Sept. 15.

The bureau’s director, Pieter Hasekamp, says the Netherlands has been less hard hit than some other countries, “but, make no mistake, the magnitude of the negative impact is unprecedented and, for the most part, still has to make itself felt.”

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NEW DELHI — India’s number of reported fatalities from the coronavirus has crossed 50,000 after 941 new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

With a total of 50,921 reported deaths, India now has the fourth most reported fatalities from the virus in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

India’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases also crossed 2.6 million on Monday after a spike of 57,982 cases in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. India is behind the United States and Brazil in total reported cases.

August has seen a big spike in fatalities with more than a quarter of the country’s total coronavirus deaths coming in the past 17 days.

The Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s top medical research body, said that more than 731,697 samples were tested for the virus on Sunday. India has conducted nearly 30 million tests so far.

India’s fatality rate is less than 2%, according to the Health Ministry.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark is making it mandatory to wear face masks on public transportation starting Saturday after the country has seen a steady climb in the number of new coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said face masks could also become compulsory in other areas of society, including supermarkets and shopping malls.

She said the reason for the new initiative first will come into effect at the end of the week is to give the people and shops enough time to obtain face masks. Also, it is up to the transit companies to enforce that they are used.

Denmark was one the first European countries to ease its coronavirus lockdown as the epidemic appeared to be contained. The Scandinavian country has seen a total of 15,617 reported cases of the coronavirus, with 621 deaths.

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BEIJING — China has reported no new locally spread cases of the coronavirus for the first time in a month, as twin outbreaks on opposite sides of the country have faded.

The National Health Commission did report 22 imported cases in the latest 24-hour period. China has seen a small uptick in the number of infected people arriving from abroad in the past eight days.

Health authorities have reported 84,849 cases overall and 4,634 deaths since the start of the pandemic. China does not include people who test positive but do not show symptoms in its official case count.

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TOKYO — Japan’s economy shrank at annual rate of 27.8% in April-June, the worst contraction on record, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed consumption and trade, according to government data released Monday.

The Cabinet Office reported that Japan’s preliminary seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product, or GDP, the sum of a nation’s goods and services, fell 7.8% quarter on quarter.

The annual rate shows what the number would have been if continued for a year.

Japanese media reported the latest drop was the worst since World War II. But the Cabinet Office said comparable records began in 1980. The previous worst contraction was during the global financial crisis of 2009.

The world’s third largest economy was already ailing when the virus outbreak struck late last year. The fallout has since gradually worsened both in COVID-19 cases and social distancing restrictions.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 197 new cases of the coronavirus, the fourth straight day of triple-digit daily increases.

Health workers are scrambling to slow transmissions in the greater capital area, where churches have emerged as major sources of infections.

The figures announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday brought total reported cases to 15,515, including 305 deaths.

The country reported 279 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, its biggest single-day jump since early May, as government officials expressed concerns about a massive outbreak in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday chose to delay New Zealand’s national elections by four weeks as the country deals with a new coronavirus outbreak in its largest city, Auckland.

The election had been scheduled for Sept. 19 but will now be held on Oct. 17.

Under New Zealand law, Ardern had the option of delaying the election for up to about two months.

Opposition parties had been requesting a delay after the virus outbreak in Auckland last week prompted the government to put the city into a two-week lockdown and halted campaigning.

Ardern said she wouldn’t consider delaying the election again, no matter what was happening with any virus outbreaks. Opinion polling indicates Ardern’s liberal Labour Party is favored to win a second term in office.

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state on Monday recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 25 coronavirus fatalities.

The death toll surpasses the previous 24-hour record of 21 set on Wednesday last week.

Victoria’s Health Department recorded 282 new cases, slightly more than 279 new infections posted on Sunday but maintaining a downward trend over the past week.

Victoria posted a record 725 new coronavirus cases in a day on Aug. 5.

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