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The Latest: Finland restricts travel to curb virus spread
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The Latest: Finland restricts travel to curb virus spread

The Latest: Finland restricts travel to curb virus spread
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Christophe Ena
A man jogs in an empty Paris street, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron urged employees to keep working in supermarkets, production sites and other businesses that need to keep running amid stringent restrictions of movement due to the rapid spreading of the new coronavirus in the country. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The Latest: Finland restricts travel to curb virus spread

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 460,000 people and killed over 20,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 113,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Finland restricts travel to and from its capital city.

— WHO chief says Trump is “taking responsibility” for virus response.

— Tony Awards postponed as Broadway stays dark.

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HELSINKI — The Finnish government says it will block the movement of citizens into and out of a key southern region that includes the Nordic nation's capital, Helsinki, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus to other areas.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin said late Wednesday the measure concerns the Uusimaa region including Helsinki and affects the daily lives of some 1.7 million people, nearly a third of Finland's population.

The government made the decision as the "risk of substantial spreading of the infection from the Uusimaa region to rest of Finland is high" through non-necessary travelling, said Krista Kiuru, the social affairs minister.

Police are set to enforce the new regulation, which is set to begin March 27 and end April 19. It will cease all non-necessary human traffic to and from Uusimaa, the region that has been hit worst by the virus.

Nationwide, Finland has so far confirmed 880 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths.

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Palestinian Health Ministry says seven new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the Gaza Strip, putting the total at nine.

The ministry said Wednesday that the seven cases were security workers who made contact with the first two people infected with the virus. Those two men had returned to the Palestinian enclave from Pakistan and tested positive last Thursday.

The ministry said the new patients have been in quarantine since the first cases were detected.

The Gaza Strip has been reeling under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, raising concerns about the capabilities of its poor health system to handle an outbreak in the overcrowded territory.

About 1,500 Palestinians who returned to Gaza via Israel and Egypt have been placed in obligatory quarantine at hastily set-up facilities.

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County officials say they no longer are including a 17-year-old boy in the tally of coronavirus deaths until they do more to determine his precise cause of death.

The county’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer, said Wednesday that she’s asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the death of the youth from the desert city of Lancaster.

She said that while the child did test positive for the coronavirus, there were “extenuating circumstances that pointed to an alternative diagnosis as well.”

The death is no longer being counted among LA County’s 13 total fatalities from the virus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom chided county officials, calling the backtrack a reminder that “in this moment it’s not just speed, it’s accuracy that must be front and center.”

A report last week by the CDC found no coronavirus deaths in the U.S. among people 19 and under.

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's health minister says 15 people have died from the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of deaths to 59.

Fahrettin Koca tweeted Wednesday that 561 more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the number of infections in the country to at least 2,433.

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BERLIN — The U.S. Army Europe says it has delivered medical supplies and equipment to help fight the new coronavirus in Italy's hard-hit region of Lombardy.

The move, which was part of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's humanitarian assistance program, saw the 405th Army Field Support Brigade deliver hospital beds, mattresses, adjustable IV poles and other supplies from the U.S. Army Camp Darby in Livorno, Italy.

In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Army Europe's commanding general, Lt. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, said the effort demonstrated “the U.S commitment to our NATO ally and the people of Italy during this crisis.”

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania lawmakers voted Wednesday to delay the state's primary election by five weeks to June 2, potentially past the spike of the state's spreading coronavirus cases.

The measure passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled state Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said he will sign it. As a result, Pennsylvania will join more than 10 states in delaying primaries.

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PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron launched a special military operation Wednesday to help fight the new coronavirus in France, one of the world’s hardest-hit countries.

As part of the new “Operation Resilience,” France is deploying helicopter carriers to help transport patients in overseas French territories in the Caribbean, South America and the Indian Ocean.

Striking a combative tone on a visit to a military field hospital in the virus-ravaged eastern city of Mulhouse, Macron paid homage to medics who have died, “who paid with their lives to save other lives.”

Macron also promised a “massive” new investment plan for public hospitals, after years of cost cuts in France’s renowned health care system that have complicated efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

Facing criticism that his government was too slow to lock down the country as the virus spread, Macron criticized those “who would fracture the country, when we should have one obsession: to be united to fight the virus.”

Reiterating that France is at “war” with the virus, Macron warned: “We are just at the beginning. But we will make it through, because we will not surrender, because we have the strength.”

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BERLIN — Seven German medical associations have published recommendations for how doctors should determine which seriously ill patients with the new coronavirus can be given intensive care treatment when demand outstrips available capacity.

The 13-page guide published Wednesday states that "according to current information about the COVID-19 pandemic it is likely that despite capacity increases already made there soon won't be sufficient intensive care resources available also in Germany for all patients who would need them."

The document, posted on the website of Germany's Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine, recommends not providing intensive care if the process of dying has irreversibly begun, treatment wouldn't result in improvement or stabilization, survival would depend on permanent intensive care or the patient refuses intensive care.

The guide, which is backed by six other medical associations, suggests that decisions on allocating available beds may be necessary "analogous to triage in disaster medicine." It suggests that survival chances of patients with other serious illnesses should also be weighed and that age alone shouldn't be the deciding factor.

About 1,000 of the over 30,000 COVID-19 patients in Germany are currently receiving intensive care. The government aims to double the 28,000 intensive care beds in the country to cope with a predicted increase in cases.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday ordered Minnesota residents in nonessential jobs to stay at home for two weeks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the coronavirus from overwhelming the state's health care system.

The governor's order begins at midnight Friday. He said the restrictions were critical to allow the state to protect its most vulnerable people and give time to build up the state's capacity to handle a flood of infections.

“I’m asking for your patience, your cooperation and your understanding," Walz said in a live video message. “My pledge to you is to use the valuable time you're giving us.”

Walz had held off on issuing the order because he wanted to see data and modeling to show whether it would make enough of a difference to justify the disruptions that could last for weeks or months.

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BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little has issued a statewide stay-at-home order as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Little announced the order Wednesday, saying it would remain in effect for 21 days.

Idaho has more than 91 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Idaho has a population of about 1.7 million.

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GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization commended U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday for “taking responsibility” for leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a virtual press briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the U.N. health agency has called repeatedly for heads of state to lead a “whole-of-government” response to the new coronavirus.

“That’s exactly what he’s doing which we appreciate because fighting this pandemic needs political commitment,” Tedros said, referring to Trump.

Tedros has previously warned that countries taking measures to lock down their societies must use the time wisely to implement other aggressive interventions, including widespread testing and efforts to track down the virus’ transmission chains. WHO and other experts say it could be months before the outbreak peaks and loosening such controls too soon could allow the virus to resurge.

On Tuesday, Trump suggested the lockdown measures in the U.S. might be lifted by Easter and predicted there would be “packed churches” across the country.

“I know he’s doing all he can,” Tedros said, noting he and Trump spoke recently. “I believe that kind of political commitment and political leadership can bring change or can stop this pandemic.”

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NEW YORK — With Broadway shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic, producers of the annual Tony Awards have postponed this year's celebration of American theater.

The show was originally scheduled for June 7 but the virus forced all 41 Broadway theaters to go dark and caused turmoil in the Tony schedule. Producers have not yet announced a rescheduled date.

Broadway abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows on the Great White Way but also 16 that were still scheduled to open, including “Diana,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Company.” Broadway producers have vowed to resume musicals and plays the week of April 13.

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BOSTON — U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton says he has decided to self-quarantine after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Moulton, a 41-year-old Democrat and former presidential hopeful from Massachusetts, said in a statement Wednesday that he began feeling unwell Thursday, with a low-grade fever and a tightness in his chest he’d never felt before. Moulton said he also had a sore throat, though no serious cough, along with body aches and unusual fatigue. His wife had similar symptoms, he said.

Well before experiencing the symptoms, Moulton said, he instructed staff members in his offices in Salem and Washington to work from home, except for two essential workers. The House’s attending physician told him that because the symptoms are minor and a test would not change his treatment, he and his wife don’t qualify for tests, he said.

Moulton said that he has been steadily improving and that unless his symptoms worsen, he can end his self-quarantine Saturday.

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's president says he believes his country will slow the transmission of the new coronavirus within two or three weeks.

In a televised address to the nation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed confidence that Turkey will overcome the coronavirus outbreak "in the shortest possible time with the least damage possible."

The country has so far reported 44 COVID-19 deaths and a total of 1,872 confirmed infections after conducting close to 28,000 tests.

Erdogan said, however, that the country was monitoring a further 53,000 people at their homes and 8,554 other people in hospitals.

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NEW YORK — A “Top Chef Masters” winner and beloved restaurateur, Floyd Cardoz, has died of complications from the coronavirus. He was 59.

A statement released by his company says Cardoz died Wednesday. He was admitted a week ago to Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, New Jersey, with a fever and subsequently tested positive for the virus.

The chef won season three of Bravo's “Top Chef Masters” in 2011. He was a partner in three restaurants in his native Mumbai. In addition, he and famed restaurateur Danny Meyer operated the popular Manhattan eatery Tabla in the early 2000s. It closed in 2010.

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THESSALONIKI, Greece — Staying at home is bad for Greece's drains.

Authorities in the country's second-largest city, Thessaloniki, say residents are straining the drainage system by flushing virus-related items down the toilet.

"We are advising the public not to dispose of ... antiseptic wipes, disposable gloves, and even masks — products recently consumed for personal safety against the COVID-19 virus," the city's water authority said in a statement. "These items combined with fats and oils can cause a blockage in pipes, at pumping stations, and at sewage facilities at a time when the company is operating with security personnel to safeguard the health of its employees."

Drainage pipes tend to be narrow in Greek cities, with used toilet paper commonly collected in small bathroom trash bins and not flushed down the toilet.

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ALMASFUZITO, Hungary — Hungary's oil and gas company has refitted a production line normally used for making windshield washer fluid to instead produce liquid hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants.

MOL said Wednesday that it is producing 50,000 liters (13,210 gallons) of the fluids daily at its refinery in Almasfuzito.

MOL, which operates in 30 countries and has 26,000 employees, says it will also start making similar products at its facilities in Slovakia and Croatia.

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JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's police minister says dog-walking is banned during the country's three-week lockdown that begins Friday to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Bheki Cele also said people can't go running, contradicting the health minister's comments earlier in the day.

And Cele warned South Africans to essentially stay sober for 21 days, emphasizing that alcohol sales are prohibited.

The military and police will patrol to regulate movement, and all ports of entry are now closed. South Africa has the most COVID-19 cases in Africa with more than 700.

___

LONDON — Britain’s deputy ambassador to Hungary has died after contracting the new coronavirus.

The Foreign Office says Steven Dick, who was 37, died Tuesday in Hungary. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was “desperately saddened by the news.”

Dick previously served in U.K. diplomatic posts in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan and had been based in Budapest since late last year.

Dick’s parents said he had long dreamed of becoming a diplomat and “was very happy representing our country overseas. We are devastated by his loss.”

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The Latest News Headlines

  • At least 10 people have died from the coronavirus at one nursing home in Athens, Georgia, officials confirmed Tuesday. The patients were residents at PruittHealth Grandview. WSB-TV′s Justin Gray talked to a nurse who said she was fired for not going back while still symptomatic for COVID-19. She said she got the virus from a patient who died from the illness. She was one of multiple nurses who talked to Gray, but most wanted to remain anonymous to protect their jobs. Nurse Myesha Moore first tipped off Gray to the coronavirus outbreak at Grandview after she was fired. She said the patients at the nursing home were like family to her. “I’m devastated,” Moore said. “I’m a nurse, and I’m a new nurse at that. I thought I was there to take care of people and protect them and be an advocate for them, and yet I’ve been terminated for being an advocate.” Gray reached out the PruittHealth at their Norcross headquarters. The company said in a statement: “We are saddened to share that 10 patients of PruittHealth Grandview who were previously tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 have passed away in the past few weeks. PruittHealth Grandview continues to operate at an alert code red status and has been strictly following enhanced infectious disease protocol.” Moore said she feels terrible for the victims and their families. “I love them, I really do,” Moore said. “And it hurts. It really does hurt.” PruittHealth denies terminating Moore, and said she is still on the payroll and even scheduled to earn hazard pay. They also said they are restricting staff at Grandview to only essential personnel right now.
  • A Florida man is facing allegations that he intentionally coughed on a store employee and said social distancing is “getting out of hand,” according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Christopher Canfora, 49, of DeBary, was arrested just before 3 p.m. at his home and taken to Volusia County Jail. He is being charged with assault with intent to commit a felony and is being held on $5,000 bond. Deputies responded to the Harbor Freight Tools store on Enterprise Road in Orange County. The employee said Canfora allegedly approached her at the cash register just after 9 a.m. and commented on the social distancing measure the store was taking. Tape markers were on the store to ensure customers stayed six feet apart. The employee told deputies that Canfora said “this is all getting out of hand” and intentionally coughed on her and the register. He then told her he does the same thing to people wearing masks when he sees them, and planned on going to Winn-Dixie and doing the same thing there, deputies said. Deputies said they were able to identify Canfora through a customer rewards system in the store’s database, according to the arrest affidavit. When they arrived at Canfora’s home, he denied coughing on anyone and told them he did not have any symptoms associated with COVID-19, deputies said. Canfora also told deputies that he didn’t expect anyone to understand his sense of humor, and that he couldn’t remember exactly what he said at Harbor Freight, authorities said.
  • More than 1.4 million people worldwide -- including nearly 400,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Wednesday, April 8, continue below:      2nd US coronavirus vaccine trial administers first dose Update 1:40 a.m. EDT April 8: The first dose of a second experimental novel coronavirus vaccine was administered this week to a subject at the University of Pennsylvania. Biotechnology firm Inovio began its Phase 1 clinical trial with the first dose delivered Monday and the trial expected to enroll as many as 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri, according to a news release.  Dr. Pablo Tebas, an infectious disease specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the study’s principal investigator, said in the release his team anticipates “rapid enrollment” in the early-stage trial, expected to continue through late summer.  “There has been tremendous interest in this vaccine among people who want to do what they can do to help protect the greater public from this pandemic as soon as possible,” Tebas said in the release.  Meanwhile, biotechnology firm Moderna launched its Phase 1 coronavirus vaccine testing in March. US coronavirus deaths hit 12,895, total cases near 400K Published 12:28 a.m. EDT April 8: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 398,000 early Wednesday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 398,809 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 12,895 deaths. U.S. cases now nearly triple the 141,942 reported in Spain and the 135,586 confirmed in Italy. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 5,489 – or roughly 43 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 1,232 in New Jersey and 845 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 139,876 confirmed cases – more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 44,416 and Michigan with 18,970. Six other states have now confirmed at least 13,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 17,585, including 450 deaths • Louisiana: 16,284, including 582 deaths • Massachusetts: 15,202, including 356 deaths • Florida: 13,629, including 250 deaths • Pennsylvania: 14,956, including 296 deaths • Illinois: 13,553, including 380 deaths Meanwhile, Texas and Georgia each has confirmed at least 9,000 novel coronavirus infections, followed closely by Washington state with 8,696 cases and Connecticut with 7,781 cases; Indiana and Colorado each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases; Ohio, Maryland and Tennessee each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Arizona, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Nevada each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Plenty of people across the state have been dealing with issues trying sign up for Florida’s reemployment process, but now CareerSource Northeast Florida has a solution that can help. Eight career center locations in Jacksonville and the surrounding counties are now providing paper applications with pre-addressed envelopes so you won’t have to deal with the website crashing or waiting on hold. The applications will be sent directly to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “The applications are available for anybody who doesn’t have the ability to print out the paper application from the online site at the state of Florida,” says Candace Moody with CareerSource. She says it’s unclear how many people are going to need the paper applications, so they’ve printed out 10,000 to get started. “It’s important to note that the applications are available outside from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day,” Moody says. After that, they’ll bring the applications inside until the next day, she says. You can go to the following locations to pick up the paper applications: Duval County Downtown: 215 N. Market Street Jacksonville, FL 32202 Gateway: 5000 Norwood Avenue, Suite 2 Jacksonville, FL 32208 Southside: 11160 Beach Blvd., Ste. 111 Jacksonville, FL 32246 Baker County 1184 South 6th Street Macclenny, FL 32063 Clay County 1845 Town Center Blvd., Suite 150 Fleming Island, FL 32003 Nassau County 96042 Lofton Square Court Yulee, FL 32097 Putnam County 400 Highway 19 North, Ste. 53 Palatka, FL 32177 St. Johns County 525 State Road 16, Suite 109 St. Augustine, FL 32084
  • The doors of Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History were locked Tuesday. MOSH is shut down during the pandemic.  Local mom Lauren Lynch told Action News Jax it’s one of many changes she’s noticed because of coronavirus.  She added that keeping kids entertained is hard while stuck at home.  Lynch said, “That’s tough because she asks about the park everyday. My son, I want him to get out and start walking, and be outside.  In response to COVID-19, MOSH made their content available in all local homes.  MOSH Connect, the museum’s new program, has educational experiments, video demonstrations and downloadable activity sheets.  All of the content is online and free.  One of the posted activities is a catapult built with Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and a plastic fork.  The lesson is designed to demonstrate Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion.  Lynch said she’ll be exploring MOSH Connect with her kids.  She explained it’s an option to keep her kids occupied and safe inside.

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