The Latest: SKorea calls for joint efforts with North Korea

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Virus tamed in New Zealand, while Brazil emerges as hot spot.

— Planeload of supplies leaves Turkey for the United States.

— Trump urges states to consider opening schools before summer.

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has dispatched a planeload of personal protective equipment to support the United States as it grapples with the coronavirus outbreak.

A Turkish military cargo plane carrying the medical equipment took off from an air base near the capital Ankara on Tuesday, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

A top official said Turkey is sending 500,000 surgical masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 liters (528 gallons) of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles, 400 N-95 masks and 500 face shields.

Turkey has sent similar medical equipment aid to a total of 55 countries — including Britain, Italy and Spain — in an apparent attempt to improve its global standing by positioning itself as a provider of humanitarian aid at times of crisis.

“We pledge to help our friends and allies in need to the best of our ability and stand in solidarity with nations around the world at this difficult time,” said Fahrettin Altun, the presidential communications director.

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President Donald Trump says states should “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already have said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.

Trump made the comments Monday in a call with governors discussing how to reopen their economies, among other topics.

None of the governors on the call responded to the suggestion, according to a recording obtained by The Associated Press.

Trump made the comments as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worked to finalize guidelines for reopening the economy. For schools, that included putting students’ desks 6 feet apart, serving meals in the classroom instead of the cafeteria and closing playgrounds.

Reopening schools is considered key to getting the economy moving again. Without a safe place for their kids, many parents would have difficulty returning to work.

But some education officials say opening schools quickly would bring major risk and little reward, especially since the end of the school year is approaching.

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WASHINGTON — The White House released new guidelines aimed at answering criticism that America’s coronavirus testing has been too slow, and President Donald Trump tried to pivot toward a focus on “reopening” the nation.

Still, there were doubts from public health experts that the White House’s new testing targets were sufficient.

Monday’s developments were meant to fill critical gaps in White House plans to begin easing restrictions, ramping up testing for the virus while shifting the president’s focus toward recovery from the economic collapse caused by the outbreak. The administration unveiled a “blueprint” for states to scale up their testing in the coming week — a tacit admission, despite public statements to the contrary, that testing capacity and availability over the past two months have been lacking.

The new testing targets would ensure states had enough COVID-19 tests available to sample at least 2.6% of their populations each month — a figure already met by a majority of states. Areas that have been harder hit by the virus would be able to test at double that rate, or higher, the White House said.

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TOKYO — The head of Japan’s medical association thinks it will be difficult to hold the Olympics without an effective coronavirus vaccine.

“I hope vaccines and drugs will be developed as soon as possible,” Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura said Tuesday.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games until July next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Japan is under a monthlong state of emergency amid a rapid increase of infections throughout the country, where hospitals are overburdened.

Yokokura did not say whether he opposes the Olympics without a vaccine.

“The key is a situation with the infections at that point. If the infections are under control only in Japan, it will still be difficult to hold the games unless the pandemic is over in the rest of the world,” he said.

Experts have said it could take 12-18 months or longer to develop a vaccine that is safe and effective for clinical use.

Japan has 13,576 reported virus cases, plus 712 others from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year, with 389 deaths, the health ministry said Tuesday.

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NEW YORK — JetBlue will start requiring all customers to wear a face covering while traveling, the airline announced Monday.

Passengers will be required to cover their nose and mouth during check-in, boarding, in flight and while deplaning. The policy goes into effect May 4.

“This is the new flying etiquette,” Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue, said in a news release. “Onboard, cabin air is well circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others.”

Delta announced earlier Monday that it will require flight attendants to wear masks starting Tuesday, and American Airlines said Monday night it will mandate the same beginning May 1. The airlines will join United, JetBlue and Frontier in requiring masks be worn by flight attendants during flights.

The new regulations follow outrage on social media over a crowded American Airlines flight with many passengers not wearing masks. The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents United flight attendants but not those at JetBlue, American, Delta or Southwest, asked the federal government to require that passengers wear masks.

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Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

source: abcnews.go.com

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