The Latest: Wisconsin mask requirement aims to stem virus

National News

A worker wearing a mask to protect against the coronavirus walks past space themed displays promoting an online service in Beijing, China on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. An outbreak in China’s far northwestern region of Xinjiang is continuing to subside. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

MADISON, Wisconsin — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers recently issued a statewide mask requirement to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

It took effect Saturday. Nearly a quarter of Wisconsin’s 55,328 total cases had been confirmed in the last 14 days, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Much of the spike has occurred in counties in the state’s densely urban southeastern corner. But the disease has spread with amazing speed in northern Wisconsin’s sparsely populated rural counties.

Evers, a Democrat, had issued a stay-at-home order shortly after the pandemic took hold in the state in March. The conservative-leaning state Supreme Court struck it down in May amid pressure from restaurants and taverns.

Republican legislators are talking about convening an extraordinary session to strike down the current mask mandate.

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

— Philippine capital back under lockdown as virus cases surge

— Progress slow on U.S. virus relief bill as negotiations continue

— Trump nursing home plan limits supply of free COVID-19 tests

— Possible wave of evictions expected in U.S. as moratoriums end in many states. Some 23 million people nationwide are at risk of being evicted, according to The Aspen Institute.

— Wedding planners, photographers and other bridal vendors who make the magic happen have a heap of new worries in the middle of the pandemic. Some couples pressing ahead with weddings aren’t requiring masks.

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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:

BERLIN — Germany’s government is lifting its travel warning against trips to certain popular destinations in Turkey after determining the coronavirus rate there is low.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer says the warning will be lifted for Antalya, Izmir, Aydin and Mugla, where the spread of the coronavirus has slowed.

Demmer says Turkey has developed a plan to ensure safe tourism to the areas. It will require people returning to Germany from Turkey to test negative for coronavirus within 48 hours before departure.

Germany is home to a sizable Turkish minority and Germans are among frequent visitors to Turkey.

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government is reopening universities after positive tests for the coronavirus has decreased.

The spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Sediq Sediqqi, says the administration is emphasizing preventive measures at universities. Other schools will remain closed for now.

The country’s Health Ministry says despite the recent reduction in new cases, many people didn’t adhere to protocols for preventing the spread during the recent Eid ul-Adha holiday. That means there may be a virus spike in the next few weeks.

In the last 24 hours, the Afghan government has recorded 36 confirmed cases and no deaths. However, international organizations say up to 80% of the population remains untested.

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NEW DELHI, India — Indian health authorities say phase 2 clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines developed by Indian companies have started.

They involve an inactivated virus vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech and a DNA vaccine candidate developed by Zydus Cadila. The phase 2 trials for the vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford will start at 17 locations in the next week.

The ministry added half the deaths from the coronavirus in India are below age 60. It says 37% of the deaths were between 45-60. Global research indicates the disease is particularly fatal for the elderly. Health experts in India say this anomaly could be because deaths among the elderly in India weren’t detected or they weren’t tested.

India is No. 3 in confirmed coronavirus cases at 1.8 million and No. 5 in deaths with more then 39,000, according to a worldwide tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovar deputy prime minister says he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.

Driton Selmanaj posted in Facebook that he was asymptomatic, self-isolating and would work from home. Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti tested positive on Sunday and is working from home.

After the release of the lockdown measures in May, Kosovo has noted a significant rise of the new daily cases. Last week, religious ceremonies and other activities were suspended to prevent spread of virus clusters. Public gatherings of more than five people in squares or parks are prohibited. Restaurants, cafes and night clubs cannot operate past 10:30 p.m.

Sports, cultural or entertaining activities are prohibited. Older people and children are encouraged to stay home and limit outdoor activities.

Kosovo officials have reported 9,274 confirmed cases and 269 total deaths.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch public health institute says the number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week was 2,588, nearly double from the previous week.

The institute says a quarter of the people who tested positive were in their 20s. The percentage of positives among the tests also was higher; 2.3% compared to 1.1% the week earlier.

Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have been on the rise since many restrictions that had successfully reined in the virus were lifted July 1. No new nationwide measures have been reinstated, but Rotterdam and Amsterdam officials will require people to wear masks in busy shopping areas and markets on Wednesday.

In the last week, there’s been six deaths from the virus, three fewer than a week earlier. The total for the Netherlands stands at 6,150 confirmed deaths. The true toll is likely higher because not all who died of the suspected coronavirus were tested.

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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron announced that home caregivers who helped the elderly and people with disabilities during the pandemic will receive a bonus of up to 1,000 euros ($1,175) by the end of the year.

During a visit to the French southern city of Toulon on Tuesday, Macron paid tribute to about 320,000 caregivers who provided essential at-home services to 1.1 million people in the country.

He says the bonus will be financed by a 160-million euros package from the state and local authorities.

The French government had previously announced a bonus of up to 1,500 euros ($1,760) for healthcare staff in hospitals and nursing homes working in areas most impacted by the virus.

France, which has confirmed 30,294 virus-related deaths since the pandemic, brought the virus nearly under control with a strict two-month nationwide lockdown.

Yet the country is now seeing an uptick in virus infections, notably as young people gather at cafes or dance parties and families get together for summer vacation.

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BERLIN – Local government officials say 166 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus at a canned food plant in a southern German town, where some 230 workers at a nearby vegetable farm already have been infected.

The local council in Bavaria’s Dingolfing-Landau county says the facility in Mamming has been closed temporarily, news agency dpa reported. All its employees are in quarantine.

The first 43 infections were reported at the weekend after an initial round of tests. Officials believe the virus was transmitted from workers at the vegetable farm to employees of the canned food plant and hope they are dealing with a single outbreak.

New infections in Germany have been creeping higher in recent weeks as officials deal with a variety of small outbreaks in different parts of the country.

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MILAN — Italian air traffic controller provider ENAV says that air traffic in July showed signs of recovery from the coronavirus shutdown.

Air traffic in July was three times higher than a month earlier in Italy, as the first Western nation to be hard hit by the coronavirus epidemic started to emerge from lockdown, ENAV reported Tuesday.

ENAV said 75,200 flights were recorded last month, down 60% from a year earlier but significantly higher than June’s 26,000. Further recovery is expected in August. On the first August weekend, flights were down by just half from last year’s number.

Nearly half of flights in July were international, one quarter domestic and one-third were fly-overs with no take-off or landing in Italian airspace.

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BRUSSELS — In sickness and in health? Not so much in Belgium amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Belgian notary federation said Tuesday that divorces have risen since the second half of May, when the lockdown and pandemic restrictions began easing in the country, allowing married couples whose relationship didn’t survive to get out and get a divorce.

Divorces rose nearly 25% in the second half of May, compared to the same period last year, the federation said. The trend continued in June, with divorces up 19.3% compared to the same month in 2019, while July saw 13.2% more Belgian couples sign divorce papers.

The federation did not release the actual number of divorces, but said the increase was in the hundreds.

Bart van Opstal of Belgium’s online notary portal notaris.be said there are two explanations for the rise.

“There was a catch-up effect because it was difficult to sign divorce papers during the lockdown,” he said. “In addition, the lockdown was a tough relationship test for many married couples. For many, it became clear over the last few months that there were serious problems in their marriage.”

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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief says the coronavirus pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history, with schools closed in more than 160 countries in mid-July affecting more than 1 billion students.

In addition, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that at least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on education “in their critical pre-school year.”

As a result, he warned that the world faces “a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities.”

“We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people,” Guterres said in a video message and a 26-page policy briefing. “The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come.”

Guterres called for the reopening of schools once the local transmission of the virus is under control.

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PARIS — All passengers aboard a cruise ship in Tahiti are disembarking after one traveler tested positive for the virus.

Following the discovery of the infection, the 340 passengers and crew members aboard the Paul Gauguin ship underwent tests and were confined to their cabins pending results.

All turned out negative, according to a statement Monday night from the commissariat for French Polynesia. Those aboard are disembarking in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia on the island of Tahiti, it said. They will start seven days of quarantine and then undergo new tests.

French Polynesia reopened last month to visitors, but requires them to take a test before entry and again four days after arriving.

Cruise ships stopped sailing in March after several high-profile virus outbreaks hit cruises around the world.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The number of passengers on a Norwegian cruise ship who have tested positive for the coronavirus has reached 43, authorities said Tuesday.

The city of Trondheim reported the two new cases — a man in his 70s with light symptoms and a child under age 10 with no symptoms — saying both had been passengers on the MS Roald Amundsen. They were not identified.

Trondheim is about halfway to Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the empty ship is docked.

Since the cruise line often acts like a local ferry, traveling from port to port along Norway’s west coast, some passengers disembarked along the route and may have spread the virus to local communities.

The outbreak raised new questions about safety on cruise ships during the pandemic even as the industry is pressing to resume sailings after shutting down in March.

The ship’s owner on Monday halted all trips and Norway closed its ports to cruise ships for two weeks.

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ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria’s president has ordered the gradual reopening of mosques for the first time since March.

Algeria is still reporting hundreds of new infections daily but the government says the situation has stabilized.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune ordered the government to work out a reopening plan for mosques and beaches, according to a statement read on state television. It will start with large mosques in big cities, where masks and social distancing measures will be required.

Algeria reported 507 new infections Monday, for a total of 31,000 cases. Algeria has reported the third-highest number of virus deaths in Africa since the pandemic began, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University, with 1,239 confirmed as of Monday.

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NEW DELHI — India’s daily confirmed coronavirus infections have topped 50,000 for a seventh straight day.

Tuesday’s spike of 52,050 new positive cases recorded in the past 24 hours took the national total to 1,855,745, according to the Health Ministry database.

The ministry also reported 803 new deaths, taking total fatalities up to 38,938.

Several political leaders have either tested positive for the coronavirus or gone into quarantine over the last few days.

Since Sunday, India’s powerful home minister Amit Shah and the chiefs of two big states have been hospitalized with COVID-19. On Monday, Tripura state’s chief minister and India’s law and justice minister also went into isolation.

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HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam has reported another virus death and 10 new infections.

The Health Ministry said a 62-year-old woman with kidney disease died Tuesday. The woman tested positive for the virus while having treatment at Da Nang hospital, one of three hospitals where a majority of new cases have been found recently.

According to the ministry, another 10 people from Da Nang and Quang Nam province have been tested positive with the virus. All of them are traced back to the hospital clusters.

Da Nang has mobilized the army to disinfect hot spots in the city. An army laboratory truck has also been deployed to increase the testing capacity.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has recorded 34 additional cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, as the number of its locally infected patients bounced back above 10.

The additional figures announced Tuesday brought the national tally to 14,423 with 301 deaths.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 13 of the newly reported cases are domestically transmitted patients while the rest 21 came from overseas.

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BEIJING — Both mainland China and Hong Kong reported fewer new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as strict measures to contain new infections appear to be taking effect.

Mainland China announced 36 new cases across the country, down from 43 the previous day. Of those, 28 were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and two in Liaoning province in the northeast.

Another six cases were brought by Chinese arriving from overseas. No new deaths were registered, leaving China’s total at 4,634 and 84,634 cases reported since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Hong Kong reported 78 new cases over the previous 24 hours, the first time in almost two weeks that new cases had fallen into double-digits.

Authorities in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city ordered mask wearing in public places, restrictions on indoor dining and increased testing to contain the outbreak.

China’s central government also sent a medical team to assist in efforts and an exhibition center has been converted into a temporary hospital in the event beds run short. Deaths from the disease in Hong Kong have risen to 38 and 3,589 total confirmed cases.

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state has banned people who should be self-isolating from exercising outside their homes and introduced tougher fines for people with COVID-19 who continue to go to work.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says military and health teams would repeatedly and randomly door-knock homes to ensure people who should be self-isolating were at home.

Teams had door-knocked more than 3,000 homes and couldn’t find more than 800 people who should have been home because they were awaiting a test result or had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Andrews said the government was removing the lawful excuse that someone who should be self-isolating had gone out to exercise.

“It’s difficult to enforce this if people have a lawful excuse and if some people are going to use that to try and justify other decisions — they were at no point getting exercise,” Andrews said.

The government has also increased the fine for failing to self-isolate. Victoria reported 439 new cases overnight and 11 new deaths.

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Current status of COVID-19 testing in San Angelo