BERLIN — German authorities have added Catalonia and two other northern Spanish regions to a long list of risk areas,…
BERLIN — German authorities have added Catalonia and two other northern Spanish regions to a long list of risk areas, days after the foreign ministry advised against nonessential travel to the area.
The designation on Friday by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease control center, comes as authorities prepare to make coronavirus tests for people arriving from risk areas compulsory as of next week. It affects the inland Aragón and Navarra regions as well as Catalonia.
Most countries in the world are currently on the high-risk list, though most of Germany’s partners in the European Union and the rest of the Schengen travel zone are not — except neighboring Luxembourg, where new infections have exceeded a level that is considered risky.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Asia-Pacific tourism makes patchy restart, and some missteps
— Final days of hajj and Eid festival impacted by coronavirus
— Virus testing turnaround times reveal wide disparity
— Dr. Anthony Fauci returns to Capitol Hill on Friday to testify before a special House panel investigating the coronavirus pandemic. His testimony comes at a time when early progress on combating the virus seems to have been lost and uncertainty clouds the nation’s path forward.
— Scientists at Imperial College London say they are immunizing hundreds of people with an experimental coronavirus vaccine in an early trial after seeing no worrying safety problems in a small number vaccinated so far.
— Champagne is losing its fizz. For months, the lockdown put the cork on weddings, dining out, parties and international travel — all key sales components for the French luxury wine marketed for decades as a sparkling must at any celebration.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LONDON — Britain’s health secretary has defended a decision to reimpose restrictions on social life in a swath of northern England.
Matt Hancock told Sky News that while he understands it is not the “sort of decision that anybody would want to take,’’ the government had to do whatever it could right way to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Under the new restrictions, people from different households in Greater Manchester, England’s second largest metropolitan area, have been asked to not meet indoors. The same orders applies to the surrounding areas of Lancashire and West Yorkshire counties.
Hancock told the BBC that “one of the terrible things about this virus is it thrives on the sort of social contact that makes life worth living.”
The affected region has a large Muslim population, and the restrictions come ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday on Friday.
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases is edging close to a half-million, with the Health Ministry reporting 11,046 new cases overnight.
That brings the country’s caseload to 482,169, including 7,812 deaths.
Corruption in the country’s pandemic response is also a growing problem. On Thursday, the health minister in the country’s epicenter of Gauteng province was forced to step down over corruption allegations related to government contracts for COVID-19 personal protective equipment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that now, more than ever, South Africa’s persistent problem with widespread graft is endangering people’s lives. South Africa makes up well over half the cases on the African continent and has the world’s fifth highest virus caseload.
HONOLULU–Hawaii’s Board of Education has approved an agreement to delay the start of public schools.
Students across Hawaii were originally scheduled to return to school on Aug. 4. But the statewide teachers union led an effort to delay, saying the state Department of Education didn’t sufficiently plan for safely reopening schools during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Parent Burke Burnett says delaying in-person instruction is necessary because Hawaii is seeing a spike in cases.
Parent Genna Javier opposes a delay. She says students who don’t want to return to school have a distance learning option.
KATHMANDU, Nepal — Nepal is opening its Himalayan peaks, hoping to bring back Western climbers who were unable to visit during a spring lockdown.
The government, expedition workers and businesses are hoping foreign climbers who bring some $300 million annually to Nepal will return during the autumn climbing season that begins in September.
Commercial flights to Nepal will resume in August.
Rudra Singh Tamang, director general of Nepal’s tourism department, said mandatory test results and quarantines when needed are among the measures being used to ensure tourism returns…
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