The Latest: German health minister criticizes vacationers
BERLIN — Germany’s health minister has criticized his countrymen for failing to respect social distancing rules on vacation after videos emerged over the weekend showing German tourists partying on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
Jens Spahn told reporters on Monday that he understood vacationers were “impatient” after months of lockdown, but that the scenes captured on video Friday made him “very worried” because such behavior would increase the risk of coronavirus infection for the partying tourists and others.
Spahn also urged Germans not to stage private parties for Oktoberfest, after the official event was canceled this year due to the pandemic.
While Germany has managed to flatten the curve of infections, with just under 200,000 confirmed cases and 9,071 deaths to date, Spahn said it was important to remain alert to prevent a second wave in the fall.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— The November election is coming with a big price tag as America faces voting during a pandemic
— America’s two largest generations agree: the pandemic has smacked many at a pivotal time in their lives
— Families of Italy’s virus dead seek answers, solace, justice
— India sees another surge in daily cases, scattered high-risk areas under another lockdown
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MADRID — A judge has overturned a decision by the Catalan regional government to confine over 140,000 people to only leaving their homes for work and other essential activities, arguing that only central authorities can issue a lockdown that restricts freedom of movement.
Authorities in northeastern Catalonia had announced the stay-at-home order on Sunday a week after they had already limited travel to and from El Segria county because of an outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19.
But a judge in Lleida, the largest municipality in the county, ruled overnight that because the measure is “indiscriminate” and “disproportionate” it has to be applied under a state of emergency, which can only be enacted by the nation’s government.
Regional Vice President Pere Aragonés has said that the Catalan government plans to appeal the judge’s decision.
The outbreak in the rural area is connected to farm work and seasonal day workers, many of whom work and live in precarious conditions.
Spain’s 17 regional governments are now largely in charge of handling the response to the pandemic after a 3-month nationwide lockdown ended in mid-June. The virus has claimed at least 28,000 lives in the country, according to official records.
HONG KONG — Organizers canceled Hong Kong’s annual book fair two days before it was due to start, as coronavirus infections rise in the city.
The book fair, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and is organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, will be rescheduled together with three other public fairs.
Hong Kong has seen a spike in the number of locally transmitted cases, prompting a suspension of all schools and tightened social-distancing measures. The city reported 30 new local infections on Sunday.
So far, Hong Kong has reported 1,470 infections and seven deaths.
NEW DELHI — India reported another record surge of coronavirus infections on Monday, adding 28,701 new cases over the previous 24 hours.
Authorities in several cities are reinstating strict lockdowns after attempting to loosen things up to revive an ailing economy.
The new cases raised the national total to 878,254. The Health Ministry also reported another 500 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 23,174.
New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune are among the key Indian cities witnessing a surge in infections. Several states introduced weekend curfews and announced strict lockdowns in high-risk areas to slow down infections.
India is third in total coronavirus caseload, behind only the United States and Brazil.
MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials say the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths has passed 35,000, making it the country with the fourth highest total.
A count by Johns Hopkins University has only the United States, Brazil and Britain with more confirmed deaths from the new coronavirus. Sunday’s rise to 35,006 confirmed deaths moved Mexico, a country with 130 million inhabitants, past Italy.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador insisted the development of the pandemic in Mexico “is positive, it is good” because of the country’s 32 states only nine had increases in infections.
“The bottom line is that the pandemic is on the downside, that it is losing intensity,” Mexico’s president said.
Nevertheless, some days this past week have seen record daily numbers of new infections.
Deputy Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus rose to 299,750 on Sunday.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s worst-hit Victoria state recorded only 177 new coronavirus cases on Monday, but a health official is warning the disease’s spread might yet worsen.
The new cases were substantially down from 273 cases on Sunday and a record 288 on Friday.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it was too early to say whether the lower count meant the spread was being contained.
“It’s great it’s lower than our peak. But it may not be our peak yet,” Sutton said. “So I would like to see a week of decreasing numbers before I come and say I have greater confidence about the direction we’re going in.”
Melbourne, Australia’s second-most popular city, and a part of its surrounds in Victoria returned to lockdown last week in a bid to contain the disease spread.
Australia has recorded around 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 108 deaths.
LOS ANGELES — A heat wave has brought crowds to California’s beaches, where people mostly heeded warnings to keep a safe distance from each other as the state grappled with a spike in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
Lifeguard Chief Jason Young said Sunday that people are spread out on Orange County beaches. Temperatures soared into the 90s in many areas from San Diego north to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The statewide death toll increased by 71 to hit 7,107. There are more than 320,800 positive cases statewide. Meanwhile, two more inmates from San Quentin State Prison have died.
HOUSTON, Texas — Top officials in Houston are calling for the city to lock back down as area hospitals strain to accommodate the onslaught of patients sick with the new coronavirus.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, both Democrats, said this weekend that a stay-at-home order is needed for America’s fourth-largest city to cope with the surge of COVID-19 cases.
The call comes after a week in which Texas continued to break records for confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths linked to the disease. State health officials reported 8,196 new cases Sunday, another 80 deaths and a total of 10,410 people hospitalized due to the virus.
The decision over a lockdown, however, rests with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — who has resisted this step, saying it should be a last resort.