The Latest: Vermont Gov. Scott requires masks in public


Volunteers with the Blue Sky Rescue team prepare to disinfect a cineplex before it reopens for business in Beijing Friday, July 24, 2020. Theaters in China, the world’s second largest movie market, this week reopened from the coronavirus shut down with theaters limited to 30% capacity. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott issued an order requiring people in the state to wear masks in public to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Scott says outbreaks hitting the South and West may be spreading back toward the Northeast and Vermont.

The Republican governor says, “We are still in very good shape, but it is time to prepare.” He notes it’s better to take precautions than having to roll back the reopening.

All public and private businesses must display signs saying masks are required for anyone over age 2. Businesses can refuse service to people not wearing a mask. The order that takes effect Aug. 1.



— Arizona reports nearly 3,400 new daily cases

— Enhanced federal aid for millions of unemployed Americans is set to expire.

— Dr. Birx: Must slow virus surge in south so it doesn’t head to northern states

— England starts new rules with face-coverings required to enter banks, stores and food shops.

— More students are frustrated by college plans tokeep housing payments, even if the campuses must shut down again and go online in the fall.

— Nearly half of Americans whose families experienced a layoff during the coronavirus pandemic now believe those jobs are lost. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press- NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

— South Korea will allow baseball fans to return to the stands beginning Sunday and soccer fans can return Aug. 1. The teams can fill only 10% of the seats. Fans will be screened for fevers and must wear masks.


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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A 103-year-old Pakistani man has recovered from the coronavirus, making him one of the world’s oldest survivors of the newest virus.

Aziz Abdul Alim was tested positive this month and was discharged last week from a hospital, which was set up in May by a non-governmental organization in the northern town of Chitral.

Alim says Friday he never lost hope during the illness, although he felt high-grade fever, cough and pain in his body.

His recovery comes amid a steady decline in COVID-19 deaths and infections in the country. Pakistan has reported more than 270,000 confirmed infections and 5,763 deaths.


SAO PAOLO — Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas says next year’s Carnival festivities in February have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Covas says samba schools that take part in the yearly parade and organizers of street parties have agreed to discuss a new date for the four-day extravaganza, possibly between May and June.

Sao Paulo’s festivities earlier this year brought more than 15 million people into the streets to celebrate. Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival organizers are debating similar measures.


JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is again reporting more than 13,000 new confirmed daily coronavirus cases.

The country’s total as increased to 421,996. More than 6,300 people have died in the pandemic in South Africa, which makes up more than half the recorded cases on the African continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday that schools would “take a break” for a month to protect children from the surging infections. Businesses are feeling the financial impact. There were protests by hospitality and restaurant workers this week, calling for more loosening of lockdown restrictions.


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb had dropped a planned criminal penalty from the statewide face mask mandate.

The state Senate’s Republican leader praised Holcomb’s decision to eliminate the possible misdemeanor offense, which could have carried penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and a maximum 180 days in jail.

Holcomb, a Republican, said Wednesday in announcing the mask requirement that violators could face a misdemeanor charge, while adding the “mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets.”

The executive order on the mask mandate describes it as a step to protect health during the coronavirus outbreak and help ensure businesses and schools can be open.


PHOENIX — Arizona health officials are reporting 89 new deaths from the coronavirus and nearly 3,400 new cases.

The state Health Services Department says the new deaths bring the statewide tally to 3,142.

The state reported 3,349 new cases Friday, putting total confirmed cases at 156,301.

Hospitalizations for the virus have dropped significantly in the past two weeks, with 2,844 people being treated as of Thursday. That’s down from the July 13 peak of 3,517 people.


BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho federal judge has held a pair of rare outdoor court proceedings to swear in new U.S. citizens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Idaho Press reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale swore in 20 people last week and 37 people Thursday on a patio outside the James D. McClure U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Boise.

Without the ceremonies, the people approved for citizenship would have to wait months to become U.S. citizens because in-person court gatherings have been halted to limit the spread of COVID-19. Clerk Steve Kenyon proposed the idea after seeing a photo of an outdoor proceeding during the Spanish flu pandemic.


MINNEAPOLIS — A federal COVID-19 response team provided Minnesota health officials with recommendations for improvements Friday in the state’s pandemic response following a recent rise in cases statewide.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 773 new cases Friday, continuing a trend in increasing cases in recent weeks, and five deaths. Hospitalizations have been rising slowly.

The COVID-19 Response Assistance Field Team was sent to Minnesota by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. It arrived this week and the recommendations will be released later Friday.

White House coronavirus task force leader Dr. Deborah Birx identified Minneapolis as one of 11 cities with a surge in coronavirus cases that needs aggressive action. The city’s positive infection rate is higher than the state overall, which city health officials said is due to young people frequenting bars, essential workers infected while working and larger households in smaller homes.

The statewide total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 48,488 and 1,566 deaths.


PARIS — French Prime Minister Jean Castex says travelers to France from 16 countries where the coronavirus is strong must undergo compulsory tests on arrival at French airports or ports.

That’s unless they can present a negative test within 72 hours from their countries of departure. Those testing positive on arrival must isolate for 14 days, the prime minister said during a visit to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. The plan will start on Aug. 1.

France is nervous about signs that the coronavirus is spreading as vacation season moves into full swing. Health authorities say cases on mainland France have surged by 66 percent in the past three weeks.

Besides the U.S., other countries on the list cover much of the globe — from the Middle East, including Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, South Africa and Brazil and Peru in Latin America.


DETROIT — At least two Detroit students attending summer school have tested positive for the coronavirus after a judge ordered tests as a condition for attendance in the voluntary classes.

The students were told to self-quarantine with their families, The Detroit News reported Friday.

More than 250 students have been tested since U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow’s order Tuesday. The Detroit district has said more than 600 students have been attending in-person classes since July 13. There’s also an online option.

The testing order followed a lawsuit by activists who are opposed to in-person instruction. The district requires students and staff to wear masks and the number of students in classrooms is limited.

In-person instruction across Michigan was halted in March. Detroit is one of the few districts to reopen classrooms for the summer if families choose to send their kids.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota has used a part of federal coronavirus relief funds for law enforcement.

So far, the state has used $4.5 million to pay salaries and benefits in the Department of Public Safety, which mostly went to highway patrol officers.

The money sent by Congress was part of a $2.2 trillion relief package to various states. But the funds came with the stipulation they be used to address the pandemic and unused funds would be returned at the end of the year.

The decision of Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration to use the money to pay salaries for law enforcement officers drew questions this week from legislators on a committee auditing the budget. They wondered what portion of police officers’ salaries should be justified as addressing the pandemic.

Treasury guidance on using the funding says, “payroll costs for public health and public safety employees are payments for services substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”


KENAI, Alaska — Nearly 100 workers at a seafood processing plant in Seward, Alaska, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Peninsula Clarion reports they’ve been taken to Anchorage to quarantine. It says the outbreak was identified after an employee at OBI Seafoods tested positive last Sunday. All 262 employees at the plant were tested after and the tests revealed that 96 of them were infected with the coronavirus.

The news came three days after officials say 85 crew members aboard a factory fishing vessel docked in the Aleutian Islands tested positive. OBI Seafoods ordered employees living in company housing not to leave company property.


LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese authorities are expressing dismay at the British government’s decision to keep Portugal off its list of countries from where people are not required to quarantine after arriving.

The Portuguese Foreign Ministry says in a tweet that Friday’s decision “is not consistent with reality and facts.” It had previously described the British policy on Portugal as “absurd.”

The British move is economically painful for Portugal. Especially its southern Algarve region, which usually draws more than 2 million British tourists to its beaches each year. The Algarve has officially recorded only 817 cases and 15 confirmed deaths since the coronavirus outbreak.

In recent weeks, Portugal has recorded spikes of around 300 new cases a day, most of them around the capital Lisbon.

A country of around 10.4 million people, Portugal has reported nearly 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 1,700 confirmed deaths.


ROME — Italy’s daily number of new cases ebbed on Friday, a day after that figure had surpassed 300 infections for the first time since mid-June.

According to Health Ministry figures, 252 confirmed coronavirus infections have been registered since Thursday evening. That raises the confirmed cases in Italy to 245,590.

Most of the new cases reflected in recent daily upticks have been traced to international workers arriving in Italy for seasonal work or to migrants rescued at sea and brought to the Italian mainland.

Recently, there’s been some clusters of coroavirus cases among Italian vacationers, prompting authorities to remind them to wear masks outdoors if they can’t safely distance.

There were five deaths confirmed Friday, bringing the known death toll in Italy to 35,097.


WASHINGTON — White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx says recent surges in cases in the southern U.S. could make their way north.

Birx told NBC’s “Today” show: “We have to change our behavior now before this virus completely moves back up through the north.”

The densely packed New York metropolitan area had been the hardest-hit section of the country, but the daily number of cases and deaths declined after a strict lockdown. The number of cases has been growing in southern states, including South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, where hospital officials say they desperately need medication to treat the patients filling up beds.

Birx says it’s difficult for people to understand “how deeply you have to clamp down” with social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing and avoiding crowds to stem the spread of the deadly virus. Birx says that’s why health professionals have “called out the next set of cities” where they see early warning signs. If those cities make changes now, they “won’t become a Phoenix.”

In a stretch of 10 days last month, Arizona health officials reported on seven occasions more than 3,000 daily cases.

Arizona’s Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, has more than 100,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,600 deaths.


BERLIN — German authorities plan to set up testing stations at airports to prod people arriving from high-risk countries to get tested for the coronavirus.

They also will allow people arriving to get tested elsewhere for free within three days.

The decision by the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states came amid mounting concern that people could bring back the virus from their summer vacations. There also is concern that not everyone returning from a long list of countries designated as high-risk will self-quarantine for 14 days unless they test negative.

Berlin’s state health minister Dilek Kalayci says “in the end we want to call on all people returning to Germany to get tested.”

Kalayci says authorities intend to reintroduce “disemarbarkation cards” for people arriving by air and also for people arriving by ship or cross-border train or bus. The aim is to conduct spot checks on new arrivals to ensure rules are upheld on arrivals from high-risk areas.


Green Bay, Wis. — Green Bay police are investigating threats made against city officials over a new mandate requiring face coverings in public buildings because of the coronavirus.

Alderman Randy Scannell, who first proposed the mask ordinance, says one email calls him a traitor and the sender would make sure Scannell would die. He says it appears multiple people are sending threatening emails to council members and city officials, including the mayor.

Police Chief Andrew Smith says all 12 council members, regardless of how they voted on the ordinance, received at least one of the threats. Smith emailed all city officials, telling them to be vigilant, WLUK-TV reported.

The council spent close to six hours taking public comments and deliberating the ordinance before it passed 7-5 on Tuesday night.


MOSCOW — Russia will resume international flights with three countries starting Aug. 1, the government announced Friday.

Air traffic will resume with Britain, Turkey and Tanzania, and Russia is working to expand the list, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova. Flights will resume in airports in Moscow, the surrounding Moscow region, St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russian.

Russia halted all international flights and shut down its borders in late March to help stem the coronavirus outbreak. Russian authorities started easing restrictions in May.

Health officials have reported more than 800,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 13,046 deaths in the country.


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