The Latest: New York City to expand outdoor dining

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced outdoor dining for New York City restaurants will be extended year-round and made permanent.

The program allowing restaurants to seat customers on sidewalks and parking spaces has been seen as a lifeline for cash-strapped businesses trying to survive the pandemic. More than 10,000 restaurants are taking part in the program.

The mayor told WNYC public radio he wants the model to become “part of the life of New York City for years and generations to come.”

With cooler weather coming, the city will allow electrical heaters on sidewalks and streets, as well as propane and natural gas heaters on sidewalks. Occupancy will be limited to 25% in full tent enclosures, mirroring rules for indoor dining.

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

— New York City to offer expanded outdoor dining year-round

— Virginia Gov. Northam and wife test positive for virus

— French Open limits fans to 1,000 per day as cases spike in Paris

— Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida in a move to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus.

— Minnesota halts coronavirus study after reports of intimidation. The survey teams were going to 180 neighborhoods to offer free testing for the virus and for antibodies.

— Virus disrupting Rio’s Carnival for first time in a century. Annual Carnival parade of flamboyant samba schools won’t be held in February.

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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:

GENEVA — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief calls the nearly 1 million deaths from the coronavirus “terrible” and more stringent measures are needed to stop it.

Dr. Michael Ryan says countries still have numerous tools at their disposal to slow the pandemic, including significantly boosting testing and contact tracing systems.

Ryan also called for greater investment into WHO’s fund to develop therapeutics, tests and vaccines. The agency says $35 billion is needed to develop the necessary tools to end the acute phase of the pandemic.

There are currently nearly 985,000 worldwide coronavirus deaths.

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TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province is making bars and restaurants shut down earlier in a bid to curb rising coronavirus cases in Ontario.

The government says bars and restaurants will be required to close at midnight, except for takeout and delivery, and will have to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m. The province is also ordering all strip clubs to close. The move comes after the province changed the rules for social gatherings last week, lowering the number of people permitted at outdoor events to 25 and indoor events to 10.

Ontario reported 409 new cases on Friday and one new death related to the virus.

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ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities are closing Athens convenience stores, kiosks and other shops at midnight in a bid to stop alcohol-fueled outside parties linked to the spread of the coronavirus.

Health officials says the ban will apply from Friday night to Oct. 4. Bars and restaurants are already closing at midnight in the greater Athens area. But many people buy drinks from convenience stores and party in squares, pedestrian areas and other public areas and ignore distancing rules.

The measure also will apply to the islands of Mykonos and Lesbos.

The country of 10 million recorded 286 new cases and three deaths in the past 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases is nearly 17,000 and 369 deaths.

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s foreign ministry says Saudi Arabia has lifted travel restrictions on its nationals intending to go for pilgrimage or work.

That comes more than five months after the Kingdom imposed a travel ban on Pakistanis to contain the spread of coronavirus.

However, the ministry says Pakistani travelers will have to get coronavirus tests 48 hours before leaving for Saudi Arabia, which has 331,857 confirmed cases and 4,599 deaths.

In Pakistan, there’s been more than 309,000 cases and 6,444 confirmed deaths.

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TOKYO — Japan will lift the entry ban for all foreign visitors with residential permits, except for tourists, starting next month.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says it is “indispensable” to revitalize the economy. The government is expected to limit daily entry to about 1,000.

Japan will launch other subsidy programs and discounts to lure people back to entertainment, restaurants and other cultural events.

The easing of foreign travels still requires visitors to have permits to stay for at least three months for medical, cultural and athletic activities. There will be permits for business trips for shorter visits.

Japan has more than 80,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,500 deaths.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon says the state is planning on adding seating capacity at restaurants after current coronavirus restrictions expire on Sept. 30.

The announcement Thursday came one day after the state reported 137 new confirmed cases — its highest number since the pandemic began.

However, the governor says one place the state is not seeing large numbers of cases emerge is from restaurants. Gordon says he wants to relax some restrictions there to ensure those businesses can adjust to the coming fall and winter, when outdoor dining will be more difficult.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported State Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist says the state was planning on easing restrictions on visitations to long-term care facilities.

There have been 4,488 confirmed cases and 50 deaths in Wyoming.

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RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he and his wife have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Northam says he isn’t showing symptoms. He and wife Pam, who has mild symptoms, plan to isolate for the next 10 days while working remotely, according to a statement from his office.

The Democrat, the country’s only governor who is also a doctor, has previously been criticized by some Republican lawmakers who say his restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus are too stringent.

Northam said in a statement his test result shows the virus is “very real and very contagious.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt became the first governor to announce he’d tested positive in July.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who steadfastly refused a mask requirement, also tested positive.

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BISMARCK, N.D. — Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota rescinded a quarantine order just a day after it was issued, despite the state having the highest per capita rate of new coronavirus cases in the nation.

Burgum took a quick step back from the order that would have enforced a 14-day quarantine for close contacts of coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, he described the expanded order as bringing the state in line with guidance from the CDC.

But in a statement Thursday announcing the order was rescinded, Burgum says the state needs a “light touch” from government in managing the virus.

North Dakota ranks first with 659 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University. Burgum says he plans to work with local communities to find mitigation strategies.

North Dakota has reported 19,885 total cases and confirmed 219 deaths.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says bars and pubs will close earlier in more regions of the Netherlands starting Sunday amid surging coronavirus infection rates.

Rutte says his administration is seeking advice from health experts about whether more restrictions are necessary to rein in the virus in the country’s main cities.

Asked if that meant a new lockdown for Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, Rutte said: “I don’t want to speculate about what that could be.” The Netherlands relaxed most lockdown measures on July 1.

The Netherlands has recorded a string of record daily increases in positive tests in recent weeks and hospital and intensive care unit admissions are on the rise.

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PARIS — The French Open tennis event has reduced fans to 1,000 per day because of worsening coronavirus cases in Paris.

The new limit was first announced by Prime Minster Jean Castex.

Organizers have repeatedly scaled back their ambitions for the Grand Slam event as virus cases increased. They’d been planning for 11,500 fans per day three weeks ago, then 5,000 and now to only 1,000.

France reported more than 16,000 new cases on Thursday, a new daily high, in part because of ramped-up testing. New influxes of sick patients are adding pressure on hospital ICU units.

France, hard hit by the coronavirus early in the pandemic, has more than 536,000 total confirmed cases. It ranks eighth in the world with 31,500 confirmed deaths.

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PRAGUE — Amid a surge of cases, health authorities in the Czech capital are hiring new staffers to trace contacts of people who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Health Minister Roman Prymula says staff at call centers will increase from the current 600 to at least 850.

The Czech Republic faced a record surge of new cases last week with more than 3,000 tested positive in one day. That rise slowed down slightly this week with a day-to-day increase mostly under 3,000.

Prague has been the hardest hit with more than 205 positives per 100,000 inhabitants in last seven days.

Primula says a record of 740 are hospitalized across the country, about three times more than two weeks ago. He says the hospitals have 6,000 beds assigned for COVID-19 patients and another 1,000 at intensive care.

The Czech Republic has a confirmed total of 58,374 cases and 567 deaths.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Scandinavian country on Friday reported 678 new cases — the highest number ever recorded.

The high number could be explained that Danes are carrying more tests.

Denmark has seen 25,597 cases, according to Statens Serum Institut, a government agency that maps the spread of the coronavirus in Denmark. Some 647 people have died.

In neighboring Norway, 13,406 cases and 270 deaths were reported Friday.

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Categories: National News

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