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Coronavirus surge in Eastern Europe prompts new restrictions

BUDAPEST — Countries in Eastern Europe are facing rising waves of coronavirus infections, leading to riots in Serbia, mandatory face masks in Croatia, and travel bans or quarantines imposed by Hungary.

The new restrictions come as the World Health Organization reports that daily global infections hit more than 228,000 last week, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Hungarian authorities said Sunday they have sorted countries into three categories — red, yellow, and green — based on their rates of new coronavirus infections — and will impose restrictions, including entry bans and mandatory quarantines, depending on which country people are arriving from.

Foreigners from countries in the red category — including Albania, Ukraine, Belarus, and practically all of Asia, Africa, and South and Central America — are banned from entering, while Hungarian citizens arriving from those locations will have to quarantine for two weeks or until they test negative twice, 48 hours apart.

Both Hungarians and foreigners arriving from countries in the yellow category — which includes, Britain, Russia, Serbia, Japan, China, the United States, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, and Sweden — will have to quarantine for two weeks, but will be allowed out if they test negative for the virus.

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Gulyas said the new rules take effect Wednesday and will be reviewed at least once a week.

Serbia reported 287 new infections on Sunday, although there have been increasing doubts about the accuracy of the figures.

Serbian police clashed with antigovernment protesters for four nights last week, demonstrations that forced the Serbian president to withdraw plans to reintroduce a coronavirus lockdown. Many of the increasing infections have been blamed on crowded soccer matches, tennis events, and nightclubs.

Croatia, whose island-dotted Adriatic Sea coast is a major tourist destination, is making wearing masks mandatory in stores beginning Monday. Restaurant staff, but not patrons, will also have to wear face coverings.

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Associated Press

Virus rampant, South Africa reimposes liquor ban

JOHANNESBURG — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Sunday the country will return to a ban of the sale of alcohol immediately to reduce the volume of trauma patients so that hospitals have more beds to treat COVID-19 patients.

Confronted by surging hospitalizations due to the coronavirus, South Africa is also reinstating a night curfew to reduce traffic accidents and has made it mandatory for all residents to wear face masks in public.

Ramaphosa said that top health officials warn of impending shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen as South Africa reaches a peak of COVID-19 cases, expected between the end of July and September.

South Africa’s rapid increase in reported cases has made it one of the world’s centers for COVID-19, now the ninth-most affected country by the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The country has reported increases of more than 10,000 confirmed cases for several days, and the latest daily increase was nearly 13,500. It accounts for 40 percent of all the confirmed cases in Africa, with 264,184, including 3,971 deaths, acccording to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Associated Press

India’s caseload approaches 850,000 with record surge

NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus caseload is nearing 850,000 with a record surge of 28,637 in the past 24 hours, prompting authorities to announce a weeklong lockdown in the key southern technology hub of Bangalore.

The new confirmed cases took the national total to 849,553. The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported another 551 deaths for a total of 22,674.

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India has overtaken Russia in the number of cases and is currently behind the United States and Brazil, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Associated Press

French mayor mandates masks after crowd reports

PARIS — After images of thousands of people dancing provoked renewed debate in France over social distancing, the mayor of the Mediterranean resort of Nice announced Sunday that face masks will be obligatory at all of the city’s events from now on.

Video of dense crowds dancing at a DJ’s outdoor set on Saturday night drew hundreds of thousands of views and criticism that many partygoers didn’t wear masks or stay apart. The crowd’s behavior fueled concerns of growing indifference among the French for social distancing, even as the country’s COVID-related death toll has surpassed 30,000.

Health workers have expressed fears of a second wave of infections as the French revel in post-lockdown freedoms and embark on summer vacations.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi on Sunday defended the decision to allow the concert, saying efforts were made to limit the crowd-size to 5,000 people and messages were broadcast to urge them to distance.

Associated Press

Britain locks down farm following new outbreak

LONDON — British authorities are locking down 200 workers at a farm in central England after a fresh coronavirus outbreak.

Officials said Sunday that 73 of the workers tested positive for the virus at the AS Green and Co. vegetable farm in the village of Mathon, south of Birmingham.

The workers, who live on mobile homes at the farm, were hired to pick and pack produce. They’re being required to remain on the farm and self-isolate with their household groups, with the local council arranging deliveries of food and essential supplies.

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The farm had put in place a number of infection control measures, including promoting social distancing in communal spaces and the indoor packaging area and providing personal protective equipment, officials said.

“Despite these measures, a small number of workers became symptomatic earlier this week and they and a few close contacts among the workforce were tested initially and found to be positive,” Katie Spence, health protection director at Public Health England Midlands, said in a statement.

The entire workforce was then tested and a “significant percentage” came back positive, despite the individuals not showing symptoms, she said.

Associated Press

Dengue prevention efforts stifled by pandemic

JAKARTA, Indonesia — To slow the spread of the coronavirus, governments issued lockdowns to keep people at home. They curtailed activities that affected services like trash collection. They tried to shield hospitals from a surge of patients.

But the cascading effects of these restrictions also are hampering efforts to cope with seasonal outbreaks of dengue, an incurable, mosquito-borne disease that is also known as “breakbone fever’’ for its severely painful symptoms.

Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Indonesia have dealt with concurrent outbreaks of dengue and coronavirus. In Brazil, where there are more than 1.6 million COVID-19 infections, at least 1.1 million cases of dengue have been reported, with nearly 400 deaths, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

Dengue cases are likely to rise soon with the start of seasonal rains in Latin American countries like Cuba, Chile, and Costa Rica, as well as the South Asian countries of India and Pakistan.

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Dengue typically isn’t fatal, but severe cases may require hospitalization. Prevention efforts targeted at destroying mosquito-breeding sites, like removing trash or old tires and other objects containing standing water, are still the best ways to curb the spread of the disease. But coronavirus-era lockdowns and other restrictions have meant that these efforts have been reduced or stopped altogether in many countries.

Associated Press