South Korea increases hospital, nursing home tests
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 76 new cases of the coronavirus as officials begin testing tens of thousands of employees at hospitals and nursing homes to prevent transmissions at live-in facilities.
The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Monday brought the national caseload to 25,275, including 444 deaths.
Thirty-seven of the new cases were from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people, where health workers have scrambled to track infections linked to various places and groups, including hospitals, churches, schools and workers.
Fifteen cases were reported from the southern port city of Busan, where more than 70 infections so far have been linked to a hospital for the elderly.
Health officials from Monday will start a process to test 130,000 employees and 30,000 patients at hospitals, nursing homes and welfare centers for senior citizens in the greater capital area in part of efforts to prevent outbreaks at these facilities.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— New infections and deaths are hitting records in Russia, but Vladimir Putin’s government appears determined to avoid unpopular restrictions.
— Uganda’s ‘ taxi divas’ rise from COVID’s economic gloom.
— Some in North Dakota want tougher virus approach from governor.
— France’s 9 p.m. virus curfew leaves an eerie quiet on streets of Paris, eight other cities
— The U.S. can now screen millions daily for the new coronavirus, thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has announced new measures aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus as infections continue to hit new daily highs, moving into vulnerable populations and putting fresh pressure on hospitals.
The restrictions announced Sunday stop short of a curfew like those imposed in Paris and other major French cities. But Italian mayors can close public squares and other gathering places after 9 p.m., permitting access only to reach homes or businesses. Restaurants and bars are restricted to table service only after 6 p.m., three hours earlier than the previous measures allowed, but can maintain the current midnight closing time.
Local festivals have been banned. Gyms and public swimming pools may remain open — but Conte said they would be closed in a week if they don’t do a better job of following restrictions.
Rome clashed with regional governments over schools, refusing to budge on allowing more distance learning. But there are allowances for high schools to open later, and hold afternoon shifts, to ease pressure on local transport.
Authorities are loath to see new lockdowns, after the 10-week closure that successfully impeded the virus’ spread, but at a cost of 47 billion euros a month to the economy. New confirmed infections in Italy have doubled in a week to more than 10,000 a day amid increased testing.
CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker says President Donald Trump and his allies in Illinois are partly to blame for a surge in coronavirus cases in the state.
Pritzker spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, the same day health officials announced 4,245 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 deaths.
Pritzker says Trump is “modeling bad behavior” by often not wearing a mask in public and hosting rallies where it’s not encouraged. The first-term Democrat says Trump’s local allies are encouraging people not to follow COVID-19 restrictions. Illinois set a new record-high for cases on Friday.