Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic from around the world.

UNITED NATIONS — Kept apart by a devastating pandemic and dispersed across the globe, world leaders convened electronically Tuesday for an unprecedented high-level meeting, where the U.N. chief exhorted them to unite and tackle the era’s towering problems: the coronavirus, the “economic calamity” it unleashed and the risk of a new Cold War between the United States and China.

As Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the first virtual “general debate” of the U.N. General Assembly, the yawning gaps of politics and anger became evident. China and Iran clashed with the United States — via prerecorded videos from home — and leaders expressed frustration and anger at the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the U.N. chief has called “the number one global security threat in our world today.”

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United Nations General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, left, introduces UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, right, during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday at U.N. headquarters in New York. The U.N.’s first virtual meeting of world leaders started Tuesday with pre-recorded speeches from some of the planet’s biggest powers. UNTV via AP

As he began his speech, the secretary-general looked out at the vast General Assembly chamber, where only one mask-wearing diplomat from each of the U.N.’s 193 member nations was allowed to sit, socially distanced from one another.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our annual meeting beyond recognition,” Guterres said. “But it has made it more important than ever.”

While the six-day mainly virtual meeting is unique in the U.N.’s 75-year history, the speeches from leaders hit on all the conflicts, crises and divisions facing a world that Guterres said is witnessing “rising inequalities, climate catastrophe, widening societal divisions, rampant corruption.”

In his grim state of the world speech, he said “the pandemic has exploited these injustices, preyed on the most vulnerable and wiped away the progress of decades,” including sparking the first rise in poverty in 30 years.

Read the full story here.

California opens more as infections hit lowest rate

LOS ANGELES — More of California was cleared to reopen additional businesses Tuesday, including most of the San Francisco Bay Area and one of Southern California’s largest counties, as coronavirus infection rates have fallen to their lowest level of the pandemic.

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Wesley Thomas works out at Fitness SF Transbay in San Francisco last week. A steady drop in coronavirus cases across California cleared the way Tuesday for the wider reopening of businesses in nine counties, including much of the Bay Area, the state said. Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state health secretary, also said nail salons could resume operations with restrictions statewide, though he cautioned that California’s reopening must remain “slow and stringent” and residents cannot let their guard down as flu season arrives and cases rise in Europe and other parts of the U.S.

The lifting of some restrictions in counties that have shown improvement comes as California tries for a second time to recover from the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on business. An earlier effort to reopen more quickly backfired with a surge in cases and hospitalizations in late spring and early summer.

That forced a second shutdown that was punishing for business owners, but helped bring the infection rate to 2.8 percent for the last week. Hospitalizations dropped to a level not seen since the first week of April. The state has had more than 790,000 confirmed cases, the most in the country. It’s more than 15,000 deaths ranks fourth nationwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The state’s more conservative approach to reopening is based on the percentage of positive tests and per capita new cases in each of the 58 counties. Each of the four tiers for reopening include ranges for those categories and a county must meet both for two consecutive weeks before advancing to a higher tier.

If they fail on one or both counts for two weeks, they are bumped to a more restrictive tier that could force closures or restrict indoor operations.

That majority of counties are now out of the most restrictive tier, meaning that places of worship, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters can resume limited indoor operations.

No county has a double-digit infection rate and even the state’s largest — Los Angeles, which has had a disproportionately large number of cases and deaths — is now poised to move out of the most restrictive tier next week.

Pennsylvania launches new virus exposure notification app

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s new coronavirus exposure notification app became available in app stores Tuesday and could soon be compatible with those of three neighboring states, including New York.

Pennsylvania’s new coronavirus exposure-notification app is shown available in an App Store for download on a mobile phone screen on Tuesday in Zelienople, Pa. The release of the app Tuesday is part of Pennsylvania’s effort to more quickly break chains of transmission by using the new technology to notify people who may have been exposed. Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The release of the app, named COVID AlertPa, is part of Pennsylvania’s effort to more quickly break chains of transmission by using the technology to notify people who may have been exposed.

The state has a $1.9 million contract, using federal grant dollars, to deploy and maintain the app with software developer NearForm Ltd., an Irish-based company whose app there has been downloaded by more than one-fourth of that country’s residents.

Gov. Tom Wolf, at a news conference in Philadelphia, and state and city health officials urged people to download the app and stressed that it keeps users anonymous.

Wolf used the example of someone contracting the virus from someone else on a bus who later tests positive.

“This app will be able to anonymously, anonymously notify the other person of their potential exposure,” Wolf said.

The app is based on smartphone technology developed by Apple and Google. It is similar to the app rolled out by Virginia last month, when it became the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google. A handful of other states have also launched apps using the Apple and Google technology.

The app will work with Delaware’s, which was released last week, and it will also be compatible with those of other states when they launch on the NearForm platform, state officials say. New York and New Jersey are expected to release a compatible app soon, Wolf said.

It is designed to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus, and state officials say the app does not store location information, personal information or the identity of anyone who is in close enough range to possibly be exposed.

It relies on Bluetooth to detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus.

As a threshold, the app uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline of being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, state health officials have said.

Someone who tests positive in Pennsylvania is reported to either the Department of Health or a municipal health department agency and contacted by a case investigator.

Canada reaches vaccine agreement with drug companies

LONDON — Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi have agreed to provide Canada with up to 72 million doses of their potential COVID-19 vaccine as governments buy up supplies of unproven treatments in hopes of ensuring supplies of whatever works.

On Tuesday, the companies reiterated their commitment to make the vaccine affordable and available globally.

“Both companies have significant R&D and manufacturing capability worldwide and are already working hard to scale up production,” Roger Conner, president of GSK’s vaccine unit, said in a statement. “This announcement from the Government of Canada supports our ongoing efforts.”

The agreement with Canada follows earlier deals with the U.S., European Union and U.K. governments.

Israelis gird for more virus restrictions during 2nd lockdown

TEL AVIV, Israe — Israelis were bracing for more coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, days after the start of a second countrywide lockdown, as health officials sounded the alarm over a feared deluge of new patients and hospitals were ordered to open additional COVID-19 wards.

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Jewish women pray at the Jaffa Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem, after they were turned away by police on their way to pray at the Western Wall, during a nationwide three-week lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, on Tuesday. Maya Alleruzzo/Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet ministers were meeting to discuss tightening already severe restrictions that have shut down much of the country, which is facing one of the world’s worst outbreaks, adjusted for its population of 9 million.

Schools, malls and hotels, among other sectors of the economy, have been ordered closed for three weeks, with strict restrictions on movement and gatherings, albeit with some exceptions. With the daily rate of new cases skyrocketing, officials fear those restrictions won’t do enough to bring numbers down.

Israel is now seeing around 5,000 new infections per day, with a total of more than 600 seriously ill patients. Hospitals have been instructed to cancel elective or non-urgent surgeries and treatments.

“It is bad, it is serious. Every week we will see 200 more seriously ill in hospitals,” Ronni Gamzu, the country’s coronavirus czar, told 103FM radio on Tuesday. “It is a state of emergency.”

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a decision on new restrictions was expected Tuesday or Wednesday. He said that “hours” of discussions were being held in an attempt to rein in the virus.

Israel’s Health Ministry ordered hospitals to open additional coronavirus wards. On Monday, Rambam Hospital in the northern city of Haifa unveiled its underground ward, a parking lot converted into a state-of-the-art hospital floor, with beds slotted into parking spots.

U.S. death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation with its sparkling laboratories, top-flight scientists and stockpiles of medicines and emergency supplies.

“It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher.

The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, was reported by Johns Hopkins, based on figures supplied by state health authorities. But the real toll is thought to be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on, before widespread testing.

The number of dead in the U.S. is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 67 days. It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama.

And it is still climbing. Deaths are running at close to 770 a day on average, and a widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. toll will double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in. A vaccine is unlikely to become widely available until 2021.

“The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering, in some respects stunning,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said on CNN.

Read the full story here.

Colorado cases increase for 3rd consecutive week

DENVER — Health officials in Colorado say confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased for the third consecutive week and have reached levels last registered at the end of July.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 3,439 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the week ending Sunday, according to The Denver Post. That was an increase of about 1,100 cases compared to the previous week.

The state has not reported more cases than that since the week of July 27. More than 65,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 statewide since March and more than 7,300 have been hospitalized. About 1,900 people died directly from the virus. Two thousand people have died with it in their systems.

Wisconsin governor extends mask mandate

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has extended the state’s mask mandate scheduled to expire next week until Nov. 21.

Evers announced the extension on Tuesday, citing soaring cases in the state, particularly on college campuses.

Conservatives have a pending lawsuit challenging his legal authority to issue such a mandate. The mask order has been in place since August.

Evers says the growth in cases in Wisconsin, especially on college campuses, is “alarming.” He called on young people to “please stay home as much as you are able, skip heading to the bars, and wear a mask whenever you go out.”

Despite the surge of cases on University of Wisconsin campuses, Evers has stood by university leaders’ decision to open dorms and allow in-person instruction. But as the virus spread quickly among students, campuses across the state have had to quarantine dorms, fraternity and sorority houses, and temporarily shift to online-only classes.

Health officials urge India to celebrate without large gatherings

NEW DELHI, India — Health officials says citizens of India should celebrate the upcoming festive season without large gatherings.

Autumn is the festival season in many parts of India — a nation where religion, celebrations, rituals are paramount. The month of October has many festivals celebrated in the Indian subcontinent, including Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others.

Dr. V.K Paul, who heads a COVID-19 taskforce in India, says people need to exercise physical distancing and ensure they wear masks while celebrating. He says large gatherings provide the perfect circumstances for the virus to spread.

India confirmed 75,000 coronavirus cases and 1,000 deaths in the last 24 hours. India ranks No. 2 in the world with 5.5 million cases and No. 3 with nearly 89,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Greece will prosecute anti-mask activist

ATHENS, Greece — Judicial authorities in Greece have been instructed to pursue the prosecution of anti-mask activists, who will face fast-track trials and up to a year in prison.

A Supreme Court prosecutor issued instructions distributed to prosecuting authorities Tuesday, describing the activists as a threat to public health and public order.

While its infection rate remains lower than most other European Union countries, Greece has had a sharp increase in cases since early August. The total number of confirmed infections is more than 15,000 and 344 confirmed deaths.

Anti-mask groups have recently stepped up activity online and staged small street protests, concentrating criticism on schools, which reopened on Sept. 14. Students are obliged to wear face masks in class.

Supreme Court prosecutor Vassilis Pliotas says actions by anti-mask campaigners had caused “understandable concern among law-abiding citizens.” He described the groups as “minor but persistent.”

Anti-mask groups argue medical advice on the effectiveness of masks has been inconsistent and public health measures introduced by the government are broadly undemocratic. The government says it is relying on the advice of leading Greek and international experts and the framework of coronavirus-related restrictions were approved by parliament.

Austrian authorities preparing rapid response teams for schools

BERLIN — Authorities in Vienna say they’re putting together mobile response teams to visit schools with coronavirus cases to conduct rapid tests on students and staff.

Medical staff will collect gargle samples from people who have had close contact with a confirmed case and provide results within 24 hours

The Austrian capital has led in the use of gargle tests, with officials saying they are less invasive than swabs but equally reliable.

Infection rates soaring in Netherlands

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch public health institute says the number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has soared to 13,471 in the past week.

That’s up from 8,265 the previous week. The weekly numbers reported Tuesday marked the third straight week of significant increases in Dutch infections.

The Netherlands, like many other Europe countries, is beginning to reintroduce measures to rein in sharply rising infection rates.

On Friday, the Dutch government announced bars and cafes will be ordered to close earlier than usual in six regions with the highest rates of infections.

Confirmed coronavirus deaths more than doubled for the week from 14 to 33, bringing the confirmed Dutch death toll to 6,291.

Virus tracing apps have not been adopted in Europe

LONDON — Mobile apps tracing coronavirus cases were touted as a key part of Europe’s plan to beat the coronavirus outbreak.

Seven months into the pandemic, virus cases are surging and the apps have not been widely adopted due to privacy concerns, technical problems and lack of interest from the public.

Britain, Portugal, and Finland this month became the latest to unveil smartphone apps that alert people if they’ve been near someone who turned out to be infected so they can seek treatment or isolate.

But some countries have scrapped their tracing apps already while others have found so few users that the technology is not very effective.

Japan records 2nd consecutive day with less than 100 cases

TOKYO — The number of people testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 totaled 88 in Tokyo Tuesday, the second straight day that Japan’s capital had fewer than 100 cases.

The Tokyo Metropolitan government said Tuesday the current cumulative number for those infected by the coronavirus is 24,394 in Tokyo, 30 of them serious cases.

The drop in cases may be partly caused by the four-day weekend including two national holidays that run through Tuesday, which has people out of town for leisure and not getting tested.

The surge in crowds at airports and shopping malls during the holidays has already raised concern about another spike in cases ahead.

Japan has had about 1,500 COVID-related deaths since the illnesses began late last year, spreading from China.

Across the country, new infections reported Monday totaled 314, including seven cases among incoming passengers at airports, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

South Korean prime minister tests negative

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s prime minister has tested negative for the coronavirus after a person working at his office was confirmed to have the virus.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun’s office said Chung underwent the test on Tuesday after one of office’s staff was found to have been infected with the virus earlier in the day.

Chung’s office said the prime minister hadn’t come in contact with the infected official since last Wednesday.

Officially, Chung is South Korea’s No.2 official and he’s been playing a leading role in government-led efforts to contain the coronavirus. South Korea’s executive power is concentrated in a president but a prime minister leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.

South Korea added 61 additional coronavirus cases earlier Tuesday, its lowest daily virus tally since mid-August amid a downward trend in fresh infections.

British PM to announce new restrictions

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce new restrictions on social interaction Tuesday as the government tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus before it spirals out of control.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told Sky News that pubs and restaurants across England will be ordered to close at 10 p.m. and people who can work from home will be encouraged to do so, reversing a government drive to get people back to the office.

The prime minister will release further details of the government’s plan when he speaks to the House of Commons at 12:30 p.m. BST (11:30 GMT). He will deliver a televised address to the nation at 8 p.m.

The new restrictions come a day after the government’s top scientific and medical advisers said virus infections were doubling every seven days and could rise to 49,000 a day by mid-October if nothing is done to stem the tide.


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