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The Latest: Africa’s Virus Caseload Climbs Past 600,000 | World News

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JOHANNESBURG — Africa’s coronavirus caseload has climbed above 600,000 as the pandemic on the 54-nation continent continues to pick up speed.

Africa surpassed the half-million case mark less than a week ago. The continent now has more than 610,000 confirmed cases. South Africa has the most cases on the continent, with more than 287,000.

South Africa’s public hospitals are already filling up, and the government on Sunday night reimposed a ban on alcohol sales with immediate effect to help free up hospital beds. The return of alcohol sales on June 1 was blamed for a surge in emergency admissions as well as an increase in the number of women and children killed.

Other countries struggling with shortages of medical equipment and personnel include Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, which has more than 33,000 cases.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— The legions of small businesses that employee most of the world’s workers are struggling; whether they survive will have reverberations in whole communities

— New York Gov. Cuomo facing blistering criticism over a report discounting link between deaths and state directive that sent virus patients into nursing homes

— Vice President Mike Pence heading to Louisiana as state reemerges as hot spot

— Virus assistance fund created by Indian PM Modi is getting substantial donations while his office refuses to detail how the money is being spent

Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

RAYONG, Thailand — The authorities in Thailand are suggesting almost 1,900 people quarantine themselves and get tested for the coronavirus after a breakdown in screening allowed two foreigners who tested positive for the disease to pose a risk to public health.

The agency coordinating Thailand’s coronavirus response also announced it was rolling back regulations for admitting foreign visitors to tighten up procedures.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the COVID-19 center, said the agency was suggesting that 1,882 people whom a contact tracing app indicated may have crossed paths with an infected member of a visiting Egyptian military team self-isolate for 14 days and get themselves tested as soon as possible. Seven people already known to have had direct contact have already been quarantined.

Officials in the eastern province of Rayong closed several schools and a mall, sealed off part of the hotel where the Egyptians had stayed and gave free coronavirus tests for people who feared they may have had contact with the infected man.

The second case involved the infected 9-year-old daughter of a foreign diplomat whose family returned from Sudan and stayed in their condominium in Bangkok.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The official opening of the Dutch parliamentary year will happen without the traditional pomp and ceremony in September due to coronavirus restrictions.

The Hague municipality and the defense ministry said Tuesday that King Willem-Alexander’s traditional ride in an ornate horse-drawn carriage from a palace in the city to the parliament will not happen and appealed to the public not to visit the city on Sept. 15.

Thousands of people usually flock to The Hague to line the route of the monarch’s coach ride to parliament.

The venue of the meeting of both houses of Dutch parliament also has been changed from the historic Knights Hall to a church that is large enough to accommodate all 225 lawmakers with social distancing measures in place.

RAYONG, Thailand — Authorities in Thailand have revised rules governing visitors from abroad after a breakdown in screening led to two infected foreigners posing a risk to public health.

The government said Tuesday that diplomats will be asked to stay in state-supervised quarantine for 14 days, instead of self-isolating. And it is postponing the recently allowed entry of three categories of foreign visitors so the procedures for them can be changed. The categories are VIP guests of the government; diplomats or representatives of international organizations; and businessmen and investors and others with approved missions.

The cases that caused concern involved a member of an Egyptian military group whose plane made two stopovers in the eastern province of Rayong last week, and the 9-year-old daughter of a foreign diplomat whose family returned from Sudan.

Thai authorities are revoking landing permission for eight Egyptian flights due to lack of cooperation from last week’s visiting military team.

Officials in Rayong also closed some schools and a mall, sealed off part of the hotel where the Egyptian had stayed and gave coronavirus tests to his potential contacts.

Thailand has not had any locally transmitted cases for seven weeks, with the only people testing positive being travelers coming from abroad.

NEW DELHI — India’s number of coronavirus cases jumped by another 28,000 on Tuesday and are fast approaching 1 million.

The 28,498 cases reported in the past 24 hours took the national total to 906,752. Cases have jumped by 100,000 in four days.

The Health Ministry also reported another 553 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 23,727.

India has largely lifted its nationwide lockdown, but the spread of the virus has prompted several big cities to reimpose partial lockdowns.

The southern city of Pune started a 10-day lockdown Tuesday. Only essentials including milk shops, pharmacies, doctors’ clinics and emergency services will be allowed open.

India is the third worst-affected country in terms of infections, only behind the United States and Brazil.

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has announced 11,554 new coronavirus cases and is among the world’s 10 biggest outbreaks according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

South Africa now has 287,796 cases with more than a third in Gauteng province, home of a Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.

The country is under newly tightened restrictions including a ban on alcohol sales, mandatory face masks in public places and an overnight curfew.

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s governor says he will wait another month to waive a 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers who test negative for COVID-19, citing an increasing number of cases locally, “uncontrolled” outbreaks in several U.S. mainland states and a shortage of testing supplies.

The testing plan was scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1. It’s now postponed to Sept. 1.

Many in Hawaii’s business community had been looking forward to the plan as it would make it easier for tourists to visit and potentially boost the economy. The quarantine requirement has virtually shut down tourism since it took effect in late March. Hotels have closed and the unemployment rate stands at 22.6%, the second highest in the U.S.

“I know that this increases the burden on businesses here in the islands, especially small businesses. But we do believe that it is time to continue to protect the health and safety of our community,” Gov. David Ige said at a news conference.

Hawaii reported 23 new cases on Monday for a total of 1,243. It has one of the lowest infection rates in the U.S.

BRISBANE, Australia — Australia’s Queensland state is toughening the punishment for those who break coronavirus quarantine rules.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the current fines for breaking a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for some visitors or lying about their whereabouts may not be a sufficient penalty.

The maximum penalty will now be a higher fine or up to six months’ imprisonment.

Queensland reopened its borders to all but Victoria state residents two weeks ago.

Victoria is the center of Australia’s recent outbreak, adding 270 new infections overnight to its more than 4,000 active cases.

The Victorian city of Melbourne is under a six-week lockdown to try to contain the outbreak.

CAIRO — Yemen’s Houthi rebels are easing a variety of coronavirus restrictions amid a news blackout on the virus’ toll in their territory.

The Houthi Cabinet announced late Monday it was allowing restaurants, wedding halls, public baths, parks and playgrounds to reopen. The statement encouraged people to sanitize regularly and practice social distancing.

Over the past months, the Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and much of the war-torn country’s north, have suppressed all information about the virus. They’ve severely punished doctors and journalists who speak out, imposed only loose restrictions and promoted conspiracy theories.

The rebels have acknowledged just four virus cases, leaving aid workers, local health officials and doctors to warn the outbreak was far worse than authorities would admit. Scores of people suffering from COVID-19 symptoms in the Houthi-controlled north have died in recent weeks, overwhelming one of the capital’s largest cemeteries.

The outbreak is crippling a health system already in shambles after five years of brutal war that pits the Iran-allied Houthis against the internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

BEIJING — China says the number of people in treatment for COVID-19 in the country has fallen to just 297, with only three new cases of coronarvirus reported, all brought from outside the country.

No new deaths were announced, leaving the total at 4,634 out of 83,605 cases of the disease. Another 115 people are in isolation and being monitored for either being suspected cases or having the disease without showing any symptoms.

Meanwhile, a pair of experts from the World Health Organization were in China on Monday to make arrangements for an investigation into how the global pandemic may have spread after the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Ontario: Doug Ford refuses to demote caucus member photographed maskless | Canada

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Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, has come under fire for refusing to demote a scofflaw member of his caucus who was photographed without a mask at a large indoor gathering – even as the regional government pleads with residents to follow public health rules during the pandemic.

Sam Oosterhoff, a parliamentary assistant to the province’s education minister, posted pictures online this weekend of a large group gathered in a banquet hall. None of the nearly 40 attendees were seen wearing masks or practicing physical distancing.

The photographs – and the evidence of a flagrant breach of the provincial government’s public health messaging – prompted outrage. Oosterhoff subsequently deleted the post and apologized for not wearing a mask. He also told reporters the event was in a region of Ontario where gatherings of up to 50 people indoors are still permitted. But health officials require masks and physical distancing while inside.

“He came out and apologized. Hey, guys, everyone makes mistakes,” Ford told reporters. “I’m a strong believer, you make a mistake, you go out and apologize and say it’s not going to happen again. I accept that.”

But a post late on Monday evening from the restaurant where the event was hosted told a different story.

“There was a group in last week, that has caused some concern,” Betty’s Restaurant wrote in a post on Facebook. “This group was reminded several times that they were required to wear masks when not seated at their table. Unfortunately they chose not to follow posted rules about wearing masks and distancing. We can remind guests but we cannot strong-arm them into following rules.”

The premier’s office reiterated its support for Oosterhoff on Tuesday.

But the photographs – and his support for Oosterhoff – put Ford in a difficult position as his government tries to tackle the second wave of the virus.

Canada’s most populous province logged more than 1,000 new cases in a single day on Sunday, and outbreaks are surging in long-term care homes, prompting fresh appeals for the public to follow health protocols.

Ford has admitted he is battling divisions within his government over how quickly to roll out new restrictions.

“I always say I gotta listen to the docs, I always will, and the science, but in saying that, I have to listen to the small business owners,” Ford said on Monday, adding he was trying to find a “happy balance”.

Opposition leader Andrew Horwath of the New Democratic party told reports on Monday that the premier’s messaging on public health measures has been “so inconsistent and so unclear” that Oosterhoff “literally posed for a photo where he violated public health guidelines”.

“So why is the premier’s own team challenging, and outright ignoring, his directions?”



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Entertainers discuss disability representation in Hollywood | World News

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It’s an old cliche that if an actor wants to win an Oscar, he or she should consider playing a character with a disability. And it’s not entirely unfounded advice: 61 actors have been nominated for playing a character with a disability and 27 have walked away winners. But only two of those actors actually had a disability — Marlee Matlin in “Children of a Lesser God” and Harold Russell in “The Best Years of Our Lives.”

That’s just one of the things that needs to change, according to a group of entertainment industry professionals with disabilities including actors Danny Woodburn, “A Quiet Place’s” Millicent Simmonds and “Peanut Butter Falcon’s” Zack Gottsagen. They and other creatives with disabilities, from directors to VFX artists, spoke about the state of representation in front of and behind the camera in series of virtual panels organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that debuted Monday night. The panels, funded in part by a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, coincides with the 30th anniversary year of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It would be really helpful to have a disabled (Disney) princess,” said actor and comedian Maysoon Zayid, who has cerebral palsy.

Zayid noted that people with visible and invisible disabilities make up about 20% of the American population but a miniscule number of characters on television and in film.

“The message being sent out to disabled kids is you do not belong in this world,” Zayid said. “People with disabilities face enormous amounts of bullying, violence and discrimination. Positive images of disability can stop that.”

Part of that is casting actors with disabilities to play characters with disabilities. Simmonds, who is deaf, said she’s had to go up against non-disabled actors for disabled roles. She recalled that her “A Quiet Place” director John Krasinski had to fight to cast a deaf actor and that producers wanted someone who was hearing.

“Deaf roles should be played by deaf actors,” she said through an interpreter.

At times she’s even taken it a step forward to advocate for herself.

“I’m not above calling directors or producers and suggesting that they have a deaf actress for a particular role,” she said.

But another part of the equation is giving actors rich and nuanced storylines that go beyond the three they usually get: “’You can’t love me because I’m disabled,’ ‘heal me’ or ‘kill me,’” said Zayid.

Woodburn, who has dwarfism, remembers watching actors like Michael Dunn when he was young and seeing only stereotypes and tropes like the “sad little man” or the “devious little man” and storylines that were the same.

There is also the issue of working and how productions can be more accommodating to people with disabilities both on screen and behind the scenes. Many noted that they don’t want to ask for special accommodations.

Zayid remembered being unable to get into her trailer on the set of “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and basically had to ask a production assistant to help hoist her up.

“Adam Sandler saw and said, ‘What is happening? Make her trailer accessible!” I said I didn’t want to be high maintenance,” she said. “He said ‘look around, we’re in Hollywood.’”

Jim LeBrecht, who directed the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp,” said it could help if the industry re-thought its own barriers to entry, like starting as a production assistant who has to carry 14 cups of coffee and work 20 hour days to get a foot in the door.

“Instead of asking what you won’t be able to do, ask is there anything I can do to help you do the best work you can,” LeBrecht said. “None of us got to your door by being oversensitive and mad at everybody…we are comfortable with our disability.”

VFX supervisor Kaitlyn Yang said that people with disabilities can be particularly effective in post-production roles. She’s also found a silver-lining in the video conferencing realities of COVID-era filmmaking: She doesn’t have to wonder now if she should address her wheelchair.

“Video conferencing is taking away the uncomfortableness that people might have if I were to take a meeting and roll into the conference room,” Yang said. “It puts us on an equal playing field.”

Talent manager Eryn Brown hopes that disability representation reach the same level of discussion as LGBTQ and racial and ethnic diversity. She said the ingrained stigma around it has even made her reticent to discuss it with her clients.

“A raised awareness in this moment of cultural reckoning is imperative,” Brown said. “Anyone at any moment can become disabled so it’s in everyone’s best interests in the world to be accommodating.”

The film academy, which puts on the Oscars, has been working to increase diversity in its own ranks and in the industry and recently set inclusion standards for best picture nominees.

“As the Academy continues to examine longstanding issues of representation within the film industry, it’s imperative we bring conversations about disabilities to the forefront,” said Christine Simmons, who heads the Academy’s office of representation, inclusion and equity.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Coronavirus live news: ‘We cannot give up’ warns WHO chief; protests flare in Italy | World news

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Morning, I’m taking over from Helen to update the blog this morning. As ever, please do send me any stories, tips and even any ideas of what you think we should be covering. Email me at nazia.parveen@theguardian.com or follow me on Twitter to send me a DM

Updated





That’s it from me for today. It’s been Very Nice!

Helen Sullivan
(@helenrsullivan)

Kazakhstan has embraced Borat with ads that show tourists hiking with a selfie stick, (“Very nice!”), drinking fermented horse milk (“Mm, that’s actually very nice!”), marvelling at the architecture (“Wow, very nice!”)https://t.co/H0WT26YIDT


October 27, 2020





Summary





Structural racism led to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, a review by Dame Doreen Lawrence has concluded.

The report, commissioned by Labour, contradicts the government’s adviser on ethnicity, Dr Raghib Ali, who last week dismissed claims that inequalities within government, health, employment and the education system help to explain why Covid-19 killed disproportionately more people from minority ethnic communities:





Police in Italy have fired tear gas to disperse angry crowds in the northern cities of Turin and Milan after protests against the latest round of anti-coronavirus restrictions flared into violence.

As the head of the World Health Organization urged countries “not to give up” in their fight to contain the virus, luxury goods shops, including a Gucci fashion shop, were ransacked in the centre of Turin as crowds of youths took to the streets after nightfall, letting off firecrackers and lighting coloured flares.

Police responded with volleys of tear gas as they tried to disperse the crowds and there were also clashes in Milan, the capital of the neighbouring Lombardy region, an area that has borne the brunt of the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy.

“Freedom, freedom, freedom,” crowds chanted as they confronted police in the city centre:

















Trump to announce plan to cover vaccine costs – report







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