ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has signed off on new pandemic rules that include a nationwide overnight curfew and tighter restrictions on the country’s regions where infections are surging and hospitals risk running out of beds for COVID-19 patients.
The decree is to take effect Thursday. Regions to be hit with the strictest limits are to be announced Wednesday. Those restrictions include at least a two-week ban on entering or leaving the region’s territory and closure of all shops except essential ones like food stores.
One of those areas is expected to be the northern region of Lombardy. It bore the brunt of the pandemic earlier this year, and it is reeling again under a new surge, especially in its financial capital, Milan.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Russia reports 18,000 coronavirus cases for 5th straight day
— Germany reports more than 15,000 daily cases
— UK to test allLiverpool residents for coronavirus
— Huge voter turnout expected in U.S. despite virus, political rancor.
— Germany to expand use of antigen tests, hoping to keep nursing homes safe.
— U.S. woman’s mission is honoring COVID-19 victims by writing vignettes about their lives.
— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin health officials reported a record 5,771 new coronavirus cases and 52 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with a testing positivity rate tracking ever higher.
Hospitalizations rose by 247 in the state, which for weeks has ranked as one of the nation’s worst hot spots for the virus. The state’s daily average of new cases has risen by 44% over the past two weeks, making it fourth-worst in the country for new cases per capita, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Wisconsin had risen over the past two weeks to 14.72% as of Monday.
Wisconsin has seen 2,102 deaths from the virus.
INDIANAPOLIS — Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, the Republican candidate for Indiana attorney general, has tested positive for COVID-19 after developing “some symptoms,” his campaign announced Tuesday.
Rokita faces Democratic candidate Jonathan Weinzapfel in Tuesday’s statewide election. He had been quarantining with his family after he was informed “by a person unconnected to any campaign activities that he was exposed to COVID-19,” Rokita’s campaign said in a statement.
The campaign said Rokita “just recently tested positive after developing some symptoms” and is doing well and working from home. Rokita planned to watch Tuesday’s election returns there with his family.
Rokita defeated current Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill, who faced allegations that he drunkenly groped four women during a party, for the GOP nomination in July.
Democrats are hoping Weinzapfel, a former Evansville mayor, can break the stranglehold Republicans have over state government in the most-contested statewide campaign on this year’s election ballot.
PARIS — France reported 854 deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 38,289, the world’s seventh-highest reported death toll.
That includes 426 people who died in hospitals in the past 24 hours, and 428 deaths in nursing homes since Friday, health authorities say.
France, facing a surge in cases, reported 36,330 new daily infections on Tuesday.
The COVID-19 patients occupy more than 73% of France’s intensive care units, a rising number that prompted the government last week to impose a monthlong national lockdown. That shut all nonessential businesses but allowed schools to remain open.
MADRID — Spain reported nearly 18,700 new coronavirus cases and 238 deaths on Tuesday.
That took the country’s totals to nearly 1.6 million reported cases and nearly 36,500 deaths. The report didn’t include the hard-hit province of Catalonia, which didn’t provide a tally for a second consecutive day.
Spain has a national 14-day cumulative number of 527 coronavirus cases per 100,000 population, one of the highest in Europe. It varies by region — from 73 per 100,000 in the Canary Islands to 1,182 in Navarra, northern Spain.
The Health Ministry says 16% of hospital beds are taken by COVID-19 patients, who are occupying 29% of ICU beds.
The government is resisting calls from some regional authorities to introduce home confinement and close schools in their areas. The Health Ministry says want to review whether the current national restrictions, including a nighttime curfew, can lower the cases. It will review the numbers on Monday.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s hospitals are treating the largest number of COVID-19 patients since last spring.
Indiana had 1,867 coronavirus hospitalizations on Monday. That surpasses the previous peak of 1,799 reported on April 13, the Indiana State Department of Health said Tuesday.
There’s been 50 more deaths, raising the confirmed total to 4,439. Indiana had a seven-day rolling average of 28 daily deaths, nearly double from a month ago.
PHOENIX — Arizona’s confirmed coronavirus death toll exceeded 6,000 on Tuesday.
The Department of Health Services reported 38 more deaths and 1,679 additional cases, increasing Arizona’s totals to 6,020 deaths and 249,818 confirmed cases.
Hospitalizations for coronavirus patients reached 956 Monday, a level last reported in late August.
The rolling average of new daily cases rose from 835 on Oct. 19 to 1,311 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.
The rolling average of daily deaths rose from 10.1 to 15.3 and the positivity average increased from 8.9% to 11.8%.
Arizona was a national coronavirus hot spot in June and July. Infections and related hospitalizations declined before increasing again in September.
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut judge rejected an emergency request to strike down the state requirement that children wear masks in schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Judge Thomas Moukawsher in Hartford issued the ruling Monday, saying there is little evidence backing some claims by parents that mask-wearing can be harmful. The lawsuit was filed by the Connecticut Freedom Alliance and several parents.
An epidemiologist and psychiatrist testified for the plaintiffs at a hearing Friday. But Moukawsher ruled their testimony didn’t prove the claims in the lawsuit.
“There is no emergency danger to children from wearing masks in schools,” the judge wrote in his decision. “Indeed, there is very little evidence of harm at all and a wide-ranging medical consensus that it is safe.”
DENVER — Colorado reported 775 residents hospitalized with the coronavirus, the most since April.
Cases rose last week, with 13,799 new confirmed infections reported during the week ending Sunday. It was the second week in a row with more than 10,000 new cases after delayed reports were added to the week of Oct. 25, the Denver Post reported.
On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis met with White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. She asked residents to avoid socializing with people from other households for at least a few weeks.
Polis says he’s concerned about “alarming” trends in Colorado. He says there were “three days in a row with more than 2,500 cases” and “six weeks ago we had 300 and 400 cases a day.”
Polis, a Democrat, didn’t issue any new state orders in response to the worsening conditions. There were 888 people hospitalized statewide during the peak in April.
TORONTO — Canadian government officials are recommending the use of a three-layered mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer says another later or filter can add to protection to non-medical masks. Dr. Theresa Tam says it is particularly important as Canadians move inside during colder months.
Canada’s most populous province of Ontario had a record 1,050 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says 408 cases were in Toronto.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says restaurants, cinemas, theaters and gyms will close at 10 p.m. to slow the surge of coronavirus cases.
Erdogan says his government would encourage private and public sector employers to adopt flexible work hours to curb outbreak.
The Turkish leader says the outbreak in the country was “under control” despite it reaching “concerning levels from time to time” in some cities. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said last month that 40% of all coronavirus cases were in Istanbul.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced 2,343 coronavirus cases and 79 deaths. Turkey has reported more than 10,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
BERLIN — Germany reported 15,352 new daily cases, down slightly from record highs in the past week.
Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn, who recently recovered from the coronavirus, says the “lockdown-lite” measures that started Monday are needed to ensure hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.
“In order to get the pandemic in control we needed to pull the emergency brake,” he said. “The situation is serious.”
People must wear masks on crowded streets, restaurants are closed for in-door dining and there are limits on how many people can gather. Schools and shops remain open. Many states have stricter mask regulations for classrooms and health authorities are urging regular ventilation of classrooms.
Lars Schaade is the vice president of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control center. He’s concerned about curbing the exponential rise in cases. He says in early October, there were 1,000 to 4,000 daily cases and now it’s 15,000.
“The number of cased doubled in the last 10 days,” Schaade said. “If that were to continue, we’d have more than 400,000 infections reported daily by Christmas.”
Germany had kept the number of coronavirus cases low early in the pandemic. It is fifth in total cases in Europe, behind France (1.4 million cases), Spain (1.2), Britain (1.0) and Italy (731,00), according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Germany has 569,000 confirmed cases and more that 10,000 deaths, sixth among European countries.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Netherlands reported coronavirus cases fell by 5%, the first decrease in weeks.
Dutch public health institute says confirmed coronavirus cases in the past seven days went from 67,542 to 64,087. However, the number of confirmed deaths rose from 329 to 435.
The drop in cases came three weeks after the government ordered lockdown measures, including closing all bars and restaurants, halting amateur sports for adults and urging people to work from home.
Health officials are concerned the number of coronavirus patients is putting a strain on hospitals. Admissions for the coronavirus in the past week rose from 1,739 to 1,966, while intensive care unit admissions declined slightly to 321.
The percentage of positive tests declined from 18.4% to 16.6% in a week.
The nation of 17 million has more than 382,400 confirmed cases and more than 7,600 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
MOSCOW — Russia reported more than 18,000 daily coronavirus cases for a record five straight days.
On Tuesday, the government’s coronavirus task force registered 18,648 confirmed cases. The previous record was more than 11,000 daily infections, set in the spring.
Russia currently has the world’s fourth-largest coronavirus caseload of 1.6 million. There’s been nearly 29,000 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Russia has seen a surge in the past two months, with the number of new infections spiking from more than 5,000 a day in early September to 18,000 a day this week.
However, authorities have resisted a second lockdown or shutting down businesses despite reports about overwhelmed hospitals, drug shortages and inundated medical workers.
PARIS — French supermarkets are banned from selling flowers and books but they can sell baby care products, according to a decree published Tuesday.
It lays out new rules for what are considered “essential” items during a monthlong lockdown effort to slow coronavirus infections.
Supermarkets are sealing off aisles or taking products off shelves based on the new rules. Small businesses like florists and bookstores say they are being unfairly punished because they were forced to close.
Instead of allowing small businesses to reopen, the prime minister ordered big supermarkets to stop selling non-essential goods.
France is reporting tens of thousands of new infections per day. It recorded 410 virus-related deaths in hospital in a single day Monday, the highest one-day rise since April. Coronavirus patients occupy 73% of intensive care beds, a rising number that helped prompt the new lockdown.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A question-and-answer session and three votes in Denmark’s parliament were canceled Tuesday after at least two lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
At least six government members say they’re self-isolating as a precaution but continue to work from home.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says the session was postponed because Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup has self-isolated “with clear symptoms of Covid-19.”
Denmark has reported 48,241 cases and 724 deaths.
LONDON — The British government plans to trial a new citywide coronavirus testing program in Liverpool, offering regular testing to everyone who lives and works in the city of 500,000 in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Testing will take place throughout the city using a variety of technologies, including new methods that can provide results in an hour or less.
The Department of Health says, “these more advanced tests will help identify infectious individuals who are not displaying symptoms … so they can self-isolate and prevent the virus from spreading.”
The Liverpool trial is seen as a test of how Britain may roll out mass testing across the country, which is facing a surge in coronavirus infections. England is scheduled to begin a second national lockdown on Thursday.
Liverpool has one of the highest infection rates in England, with more than 410 cases per 100,000 people.