COVID-19: Argentinian president tests positive; Turkey institutes new curfew

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April 3 (UPI) — Argentina’s president announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19 as cases surged in several countries this week.

As of Saturday, 130.5 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. Of those, 2.8 million have died.

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The United States leads the world in the total number of recorded cases — 30.6 million — and deaths — 554,522.

But case counts have risen sharply in several countries.

The seven-day moving average of new cases reported daily in India this week was 74,101, up from 39,566 in mid-March, according to JHU’s tracker. On Saturday the country recorded 89,129 new cases in a day — the highest daily rise in more than six months.

Brazil’s seven-day moving average was 84,117 new cases, up from 75,417 in mid-March. Cases in France have also spiked — 46,790 per day this week as opposed to 30,175 two weeks ago.

Pakistan reported 5,234 new cases Friday — its highest single-day case count since June.

On Friday, Argentinian President Alberto Fernández announced on Twitter that a rapid COVID-19 test was positive and that he had a slight fever and headache.

He also wrote that he was awaiting confirmation via a PCR test, but was self-isolating and reaching out to those with whom he had recent contact.

Fernández, who turned 62 Friday, was vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine Jan. 21 and received a second dose Feb. 11, the Buenos Aires Times reported.

Argentina has recorded 2.4 million total COVID-19 cases and 56,023 deaths, and this week reported an average of 12,911 new cases per day — up from 7,337 in mid-March.

In London, police broke up a Good Friday service over apparent breaches of COVID-19 regulations.

Video footage posted to YouTube and reported on by The Guardian showed police warning worshippers at Christ the King Polish Catholic Church in south London late Friday that they could be arrested or fined $276.60 for violating gathering restrictions. No one was fined or arrested.

A spokesman for the parish told the BBC police had “brutally exceeded their powers by issuing their warrant for no good reason.”

Communal worship is permitted under current health restrictions in Britain.

Metropolitan Police said some worshippers were not wearing masks or social distancing, but that the agency was “engaging with the church authorities” regarding safe worship over Easter weekend.

Case counts in Britain remain relatively flat following a spike at the beginning of January, with 3,402 new cases reported Saturday — down from 5,294 March 17, according to the World Health Organization.

Turkey’s government reinstituted weekend curfews beginning Friday as coronavirus cases and fatalities surged in the country.

The curfew began at 9 p.m. Friday and its duration depends on the risk level of each province, with low-risk provinces lifting curfews completely at 5 a.m. Saturday.

High-risk provinces also ended at 5 a.m. Saturday but will restart the curfew at 9 p.m. Saturday and end at 5 a.m. Monday.

Grocery stores and other food markets will remain open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and will be able to deliver food.

The risk level of each province is assessed based on its infection rates as well as vaccination rates. Turkey began vaccinating residents Jan. 14.

Case counts in Turkey flattened in the winter months, but have risen sharply in recent months, according to JHU data. Turkey’s seven-day moving average of new cases 39,330 as of Saturday, relative to 16,373 in mid-March.

As of Thursday, the WHO reported that 547.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

A year in pandemic: How COVID-19 changed the world

January 31, 2020

National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo