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 hot spots flare, hospitals tested as economies reopen.
— Slovenia first European country to proclaim end to coronavirus epidemic.
— World Bank approves $1 billion in aid for India.
— First virus case reported in crowded camps for Rohingya refugees.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenia has become the first European country to proclaim an end to the coronavirus epidemic at home.
The European Union state’s government said Friday the COVID-19 spread is under control and there is no longer a need for extraordinary health measures.
The government says EU residents are free to cross into Slovenia from Austria, Italy and Hungary at predetermined checkpoints, while most non-EU nationals will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in what is a major step for the small Alpine country as it accelerates the easing of restrictions.
The first coronavirus case in Slovenia was recorded on March 4, a returnee from neighboring Italy. The nationwide epidemic was proclaimed on March 12.
By May 13, there were 1,467 confirmed cases and 103 deaths in Slovenia.
NEW DELHI — The World Bank has approved $1 billion in emergency response to support India’s efforts at providing social assistance to poor and vulnerable households severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bank statement says the move will increase its total commitment to India to $2 billion. A $1 billion package was announced last month for India’s health sector.
An immediate allocation of $750 million will help scale-up cash transfers and food benefits to provide robust social protection for essential workers involved in coronavirus relief efforts and benefit migrants and informal workers, the bank statement said late Thursday.
A second influx of $250 million will deepen the social protection package in fiscal year 2021, it said.
Half of India’s population earns less than $3 a day. More than 90 percent of India’s workforce is employed in the informal sector, without access to significant savings or workplace-based social protection benefits such as paid sick leave or social insurance, the statement said.
On Tuesday, India’s federal government announced an economic rescue package of 20 trillion rupees ($260 billion) to tide over a massive economic crisis created by the pandemic. Millions of migrant workers have fled big Indian cities to their village homes as they could find no work.
BERLIN — Germany’s most populous state has lifted a requirement for people arriving from other European countries to self-quarantine for 14 days, and other regions are expected to follow.
The rule expired in the western region of North Rhine-Westphalia at midnight. The state government said in a statement that Germany’s states agreed with the federal government on Thursday to exempt travelers from other countries in the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Britain and that they will implement that decision over the coming days.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer recommended earlier this week that states lift the quarantine rule for travelers from Europe – but maintain it for those from elsewhere.
A court in North Rhine-Westphalia’s northern neighbor, Lower Saxony, already suspended the rule for that state earlier this week.
On Friday night, Germany plans to end two-month-old checks on its border with Luxembourg and loosen them somewhat on its borders with Austria, Switzerland and France – though it doesn’t plan to restore free travel across its borders until mid-June.
ATHENS, Greece — Authorities are imposing extra lockdown measures on a Roma neighborhood in the central Greek city of Larissa after an outbreak of coronavirus there led to 35 people testing positive, the largest jump in new daily cases nationwide in three weeks.
The Civil Protection Authority said a nighttime curfew was being imposed on the neighborhood for 14 days as of Friday, and wearing masks is now required for all residents leaving their homes. Regional authorities were distributing masks and antiseptics.
The cases emerged after health authorities conducted 637 tests to detect a possible outbreak. The virus reportedly spread after mourners attended the funeral of a local resident who died of COVID-19.
Those who have tested positive were being transferred to a local health facility for quarantine.
Residents working in open-air markets will only be allowed to leave the area for work if they have two consecutive negative tests, the authority said. Testing was continuing for all market vendors and any remaining residents not yet tested, while health authorities are tracing the contacts of those who have tested positive.
Greece has so far managed to contain its outbreak at low levels of deaths and critically ill people, and authorities have been eager to sustain that as they gradually lift lockdown measures, a process which began nearly two weeks ago. On Thursday, authorities announced 10 new positive cases and one new death, bringing the total death toll to 156 and the confirmed cases to 2,770 in a country of nearly 11 million.
DHAKA, Bangladesh — Authorities have reported the first coronavirus case in the crowded camps for Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh, where more than 1 million people are sheltered.
The person from the Rohingya community and a local person who lives in the Cox’s Bazar district who also tested positive have been isolated, Mahbub Alam Talukder, the country’s refugee commissioner, said Thursday.
Teams have been activated for treatment of the patients as well as tracing people they might have encountered and quarantining and testing of those contacts, Louise Donovan, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, told The Associated Press.
Aid workers have been warning of the potential for a serious outbreak if the virus reached the camps. The dense crowding with plastic shacks standing side by side housing up to 12 residents each mean the refugees would be dangerously exposed to the virus.
BEIJING — China’s foreign minister says the country has brought the coronavirus outbreak under control and he lashed out at foreign politicians he accused of having “insisted on politicizing the epidemic, labeling the virus, and smearing the World Health Organization.”
Wang Yi’s comments carried by the official Xinhua News Agency appeared directed at the United States, where President Donald Trump’s administration has repeatedly castigated China for allegedly covering up the initial outbreak and has suspended payments to the WHO over what it calls a pro-China bias and failure to effectively deal with the pandemic.
Other countries, including Australia, have also urged an independent investigation into the origin of the pandemic, calls that China has furiously rejected.
Under head of state and ruling Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s leadership, China has been able to “put the outbreak under control through arduous efforts and has been gradually resuming economic and social life while undertaking prevention and control measures on a regular basis,” Wang was quoted as saying in a phone call Thursday with the foreign ministers of Hungary, Estonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
China has “overcome its own difficulties, offered support and assistance to relevant countries, shared prevention and control experiences and treatments without reservation, and facilitated various countries’ purchase of anti-epidemic supplies in China,” Wang said.
Attempts to politicize the pandemic and smear the WHO are “a serious violation of international moral principles and undermine international anti-epidemic efforts,” Wang added.
SYDNEY — Many cafes and restaurants opened again Friday in Sydney as some coronavirus restrictions were lifted, although rainy weather and ongoing fears appeared to keep patronage relatively low.
Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales began allowing cafes, restaurants and places of worship to reopen with up to 10 people on the condition they adhere to social distancing rules. Pubs and clubs were also permitted to open, but only for dining.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned people to take personal responsibility, saying that easing restrictions in some other countries had backfired.
“Let’s please do our part in keeping everybody safe so that all of us can keep moving forward so that we never, ever go backwards,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney. “That’s really, really critical.”
Many Catholic churches across the state opened for private prayer, confession and small-scale masses.
“The celebration of mass is the highest form of Catholic worship and to not be able to physically gather these past two months has been very difficult for Catholics,” Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher said in a statement.
Many Jewish synagogues and other Christian churches decided to keep their doors closed.
New South Wales on Friday reported eight new cases of the virus, bringing the state total to a little over 3,000. Australia has reported a total of about 7,000 cases and 98 deaths.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico reported its largest one-day rise in coronavirus cases, with 2,409.
Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said Thursday the country is at “the most difficult” moment in the pandemic. It was the first time in Mexico that the number of new cases exceeded 2,000 in one day.
In percentage terms, the 6% increase was not the biggest one-day jump.
Officials also reported 257 more deaths from COVID-19, for a total of 4,477 since the pandemic began. There have been higher one-day death tolls this week.
López-Gatell said there are “tendencies of decline” in some parts of the country. But there also are signs that hospital capacity is nearing its limit in Mexico City, the country’s hardest-hit area.
The increase in cases comes four days before Monday’s scheduled partial reopening of key industries such as mining, construction and automobile assembly.
Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.