California reimposes COVID-19 restrictions as cases soar in most populous U.S. state

The latest:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday extended the closure of bars and indoor dining statewide and has ordered gyms, churches and hair salons closed in most places as coronavirus cases keep rising in the nation’s most populated state.

On July 1, Newsom ordered many counties to close bars and indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, zoos and family entertainment centres like bowling alleys and miniature golf.

The Democratic governor extended that order statewide Monday. He also imposed additional restrictions on the 30 counties with rising numbers, including the most populated of Los Angeles and San Diego, by ordering worship services to stop and gyms, hair salons, indoor malls and offices for noncritical industries to shut down.

“The data suggests not everybody is practising common sense,” said Newsom, whose order takes effect immediately.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday extended the closure of bars and indoor dining statewide and has ordered gyms, churches and hair salons closed in most places as coronavirus cases keep rising in the nation’s most populated state. (Hector Amezcua/The Associated Press)

He didn’t include schools, which are scheduled to resume in a few weeks in much of the state. But Monday, the state’s two largest school districts, San Diego and Los Angeles, announced their students would start the school year with online learning only. L.A. Unified is the second-largest public school district in the country.

In March, California was the first state to issue a mandatory, statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order appeared to work as cases stabilized in the ensuing weeks while other states grappled with huge increases.

But the order devastated the world’s fifth-largest economy, with more than 7.5 million people filing for unemployment benefits. Newsom moved quickly to let most businesses reopen in May. Like other states that took similar steps, a subsequent rise in cases and hospitalizations led him to impose new restrictions this month.

Newsom has compared his strategy of opening and closing businesses as a “dimmer switch,” highlighting the flexibility needed as public health officials monitor the virus’s progress.

California confirmed 8,358 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. Hospitalizations have increased 28 per cent over the past two weeks. Newsom said the data suggest not everyone is using common sense.

People wearing face masks watch giraffes at the newly reopened San Francisco Zoo on Monday. (Ben Margot/The Associated Press)

Deaths from the virus have been rising in the U.S., especially in the south and west, though they are still well below the numbers reached in April, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. 

Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday attributed the current surge in coronavirus cases to the United States not having shut down completely to snuff out outbreaks of the disease.

“We started to come down and then we plateaued at a level that was really quite high — about 20,000 infections a day. Then as we started to reopen, we’re seeing the surges that we’re seeing today as we speak in California … in Arizona, in Texas, in Florida and several other states,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with Stanford Medicine

What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada

In Ontario, a large swath of the province will move to Stage 3 of reopening on July 17, with the exception of the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario, which will remain in Stage 2 for now.

The province’s plan will allow for activities such as indoor dining in restaurants, live performing arts shows and the reopening of movie theatres and playgrounds — albeit with significant health and safety measures in place, including physical distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols and Plexiglas barriers.

Meanwhile in Quebec, masks or face coverings will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces beginning Saturday, Premier François Legault announced. That coincides with the start of the province’s two-week construction holiday, when tens of thousands of Quebecers take their summer vacation.

Members of the media have their temperatures checked prior to entering Rogers Arena to attend a Vancouver Canucks training camp in Vancouver on Monday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

At the U.S. border, the Public Health Agency of Canada is adding on-site employees at 36 points of entry to bolster screening for COVID-19. 

Canada and the U.S. are still in talks on the future of a ban on non-essential travel between the two nations and will have more to say in the coming days, Trudeau said. The ban, introduced in March, has been extended several times and is due to expire on July 21.

As of 6 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 108,093 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 71,802 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,825.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

The WHO director general said that while numerous countries have now brought their previously explosive outbreaks under control, namely those in Europe and Asia, “too many countries are headed in the wrong direction.”

Without naming specific politicians, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also chastised political leaders for their “mixed messages” amid the coronavirus outbreaks, saying that they are “undermining the most critical ingredient of any response: trust.”

“If the basics aren’t followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go,” Ghebreyesus said Monday. “It’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”

WATCH | No return to old normal for the foreseeable future, WHO says:

The World Health Organization says it is possible to control COVID-19 and get on with our lives but a return to the ‘old normal’ is a long way off. 2:12

In Asia, two WHO experts were in China for a mission to trace the origin of the pandemic. The virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Beijing had been reluctant to allow a probe but relented after scores of countries called on the WHO to conduct a thorough investigation.

China has argued that the virus might have originated outside of China and has angrily denied allegations that it covered up the scale of the outbreak as infections first began to spread.

Meanwhile, India — which has the most confirmed virus cases after the United States and Brazil — on Monday reported a record daily surge of 28,701 new cases reported in the past 24 hours. Authorities in several cities are reinstating strict lockdowns after attempting to loosen things up to revive an ailing economy

Workers disinfect a residential building on Monday after a resident tested positive for COVID-19 in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. (Mukhtar Khan/The Associated Press)

In Europe, France was considering requiring the use of masks in all indoor public spaces amid a small rise in virus infections and a big drop in public vigilance.

Greece was seeking a ban on church and village fairs and tighter tourism-related checks following a recent increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.

In Spain, 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.

Health-care workers wearing PPE wait outside a field hospital set up for COVID-19 cases in Lleida, Spain, on Monday. (Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images)

In Africa, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, said Sunday that the country would reimpose a ban on alcohol sales to reduce the volume of people needing emergency care so that hospitals have more beds free to treat COVID-19 patients.

South Africa, which accounts for over 40 per cent of all the reported coronavirus cases on the continent, is also reinstating a nighttime curfew to reduce the number of traffic accidents and has made it mandatory for all residents to wear face masks in public.

“We are taking these measures fully aware that they impose unwelcome restrictions on people’s lives. They are, however, necessary to see us through the peak of the disease,” Ramaphosa said in a letter to the nation on Monday.

“There is no way that we can avoid the coronavirus storm, but we can limit the damage that it can cause to our lives.”

People walk past an advertisement promoting COVID-19 precautions in the township of Soweto, South Africa, on Monday. (Themba Hadebe/The Associated Press)

In the Americas, Mexican Finance Minister Arturo Herrera said on Monday he had recovered from COVID-19 after his latest test results for the virus came through negative and that he was returning to work.

Herrera made the announcement on Twitter, some two and a half weeks after he first revealed he had contracted coronavirus.

Several high-ranking officials in the Americas have tested positive for COVID-19, including Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro and Interim Bolivian President Jeanine Anez.

Published at Mon, 13 Jul 2020 11:14:02 +0000

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