Protestors demand end to lockdowns, as some states ease restrictions

Spanish PM to ease confinement of children but extend lockdown

Spain will relax strict measures that have kept children at home since Mar. 14 so that they can “go out on the streets,” the country’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised briefing on Saturday evening. 

Sanchez said there would be an 12-year-old age limit for the children allowed to go out and that the new measure would begin on Apr. 27.

He also said that he would ask parliament for a 15-day extension until May 9 of the lockdown imposed in one of the world’s worst outbreaks, but said the restrictions would generally be more flexible.

“We have left behind the most extreme moments,” Sanchez said. But he added: “These achievements are still insufficient and above all fragile. We cannot put them at risk with hasty solutions.” While Spain’s death toll from the virus rose at a slower pace on Saturday, it has surpassed 20,000 fatalities, the Health Ministry said.

Navajo Nation decrees that protective masks should be worn on reservation

Members of a Arizona National Guard unit load up a helicopter to deliver medical supplies to the remote Navajo Nation town of Kayenta due to the coronavirus in Phoenix last month.Ross D. Franklin / AP

The Navajo Nation has ordered all people on the tribe’s vast reservation to wear protective masks when out in public to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The Navajo Department of Health issued the emergency health order for the reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajo Nation — which has been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other Native American tribe, reported 1,197 cases as of Saturday, according to Navajo Area Indian Health Service.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said all residents should either buy or make masks to comply with the order.

“Some individuals think we’re using scare tactics or extreme measures, but we are losing lives here on the Navajo Nation, and I’m going to do everything I can to help save lives,” Nez said in a statement Friday.

South Korea records first single digit case increase in two months

South Korea reported eight new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the first time a daily increase has dropped to a single digit in about two months. 

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the figures took the country’s total cases to 10,661 with 234 deaths.

The government, however, is still cautious about easing strict social distancing that they believe contributed to the drastic curbing of the infection. South Korea extended its distancing measures for another 15 days on Sunday.

“We must not loosen our guard until the last confirmed patient is recovered,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. Infections in South Korea has been waning in recent weeks due to an extensive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing.

Japanese government faces complaints after giving out dirty masks

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s unpopular handouts of old-fashioned cloth masks as part of his coronavirus measures faced complaints, as thousands of those sent to pregnant women were dirty.

The health ministry said over the weekend that it has received at least 1,900 cases of the problems reported by 80 municipalities that the masks came with stains, dust and other contamination. The dirty masks were among a half million masks that the government started sending to pregnant women in Japan as a priority last week.

Abe announced a plan on April 1 to mail two cloth masks each to all 50 million households in Japan amid dire shortage of masks. The faulty masks were the latest embarrassment for Abe’s government already criticized for its virus measures inadequate, off-target, too little and too late. The ministry said it has urged mask makers to resolve the contamination problem, while asking municipal officials to visually inspect the masks before mailing them.

Japan’s health ministry reported more than 500 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total reported cases to 10,361 and 161 reported deaths. The actual number of infections is believed to be higher as Japan is only just starting to expand its testing capabilities.

Florida officials say 302 long-term care facilities have virus patients

The Florida Department of Health on Saturday night released a list of long-term care facilities that have reported coronavirus patients.

It includes 302 facilities with at least one patient in 45 counties across the state. It was published on the department’s website at the behest of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said Saturday afternoon that 1,627 residents and staff in long-term care facilities tested positive. Health officials said 162 of them have died.

The release of the list represented a change of heart for DeSantis and state officials, who had previously resisted revealing which facilities in a state known for its retirees had been impacted by spread of the virus.

The total number of Florida cases, including 692 nonresidents, was 25,269 Saturday, the health department said.

Bill Cosby wouldn’t survive virus behind bars, spokesman says

A spokesman for Bill Cosby said Saturday the imprisoned comedian and actor will die if he contracts cornavirus in the Pennsylvania correctional facility where he’s being held.

Andrew V. Wyatt said in a statement that Cosby, 82, recently had partially blocked arteries, is blind from glaucoma, takes medication for high blood pressure and since fall has had two major surgeries to prevent cardiovascular failure.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered the Department of Corrections to transfer certain inmates to community corrections facilities or home confinement and, so far, Cosby has not been one of them. There’s been one death and 35 total coronavirus cases through Friday at the prison where the performer was being held.

Cosby was convicted in 2018 of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand in 2004. He is serving a sentence of three- to 10-years.

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