Coronavirus Live Updates: Italy Imposes First New Restrictions Since Reopening

The Four Percent



HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and its effects.

Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)

U.S. Colleges Face Coronavirus Outbreaks As Students Return To Campus — 8/17/20 4:15 pm ET

Some U.S. college campuses that have welcomed students back in person during the pandemic have already experienced spikes in coronavirus cases. Students have been gathering in large groups, at times at off-campus parties, without masks and without social distancing, sparking concerns about the spread of the virus.

Only one week into its fall semester, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced that its undergraduate classes will be going fully online starting Wednesday. The state university had initially reopened earlier in the month, welcoming students back on campus for in-person instruction. But after a significant uptick in coronavirus cases on campus — with 177 students now in isolation and 349 in quarantine — the school made this dramatic reversal.

At the University of North Georgia, hundreds of students were shown partying maskless around off-campus housing in a viral video posted on Twitter. At Oklahoma State University, officials linked 23 COVID-19 cases to just one off-campus sorority house. And dozens of University of Alabama students were photographed lining up outside restaurants without face masks, to which the mayor of Tuscaloosa tweeted: “Why? We are desperately trying to protect” the city.

The coronavirus response at colleges and universities has been piecemeal nationwide, with some campuses going fully online for the fall while others attempt to reopen in person.

The United States continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases and deaths, with more than 5.4 million cases confirmed and more than 170,000 dead so far. 

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

Italy Imposes First New Restrictions Since Reopening — 8/17/20, 6 a.m. ET

Italy will shut discos and clubs and make it compulsory to wear a mask outdoors in some areas during the night in the first reimposition of restrictions as cases of coronavirus pick up across the country, especially among younger people.

New cases in the past week in Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus, were more than double those registered three weeks ago and the median age of people contracting the virus has dropped below 40, data showed.

The new rules will start on Monday — two days after an Italian holiday when many young Italians go out dancing — and will run until early September.

Masks will be required between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in areas close to bars and pubs and where gatherings are more likely.

HuffPost Italy reports (in Italian) that the twin factors of the continuous increase in new positives (3,351 in the last week, with daily peaks not recorded since May) and increases in neighboring European countries forced the government to act.

“We cannot nullify the sacrifices made in past months. Our priority must be that of opening schools in September, in full safety,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Facebook.

Since its outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, Italy has recorded more than 35,000 deaths.

— James Martin

New Zealand Postpones General Election — 8/17/20, 5:30 a.m. ET

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a four-week delay to the general election in New Zealand as the country tackles a new coronavirus outbreak.

“Ultimately, the 17th of October … provides sufficient time for parties to plan around the range of circumstances we will be campaigning under,” Ardern said in a news conference. The election had been scheduled to be held Sept. 19.

Pressure had been mounting on Ardern to postpone the vote amid the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, after the country had been free of coronavirus cases for 102 days.

The main opposition National Party had called for a delay after it was forced to cancel campaign events due to restrictions on movement and crowds. It has accused Ardern of using the crisis to shore up support.

New Zealand law requires the election to be held before Nov. 21, however Ardern added she did not intend to change the election date again. 

Read more

— Carly Williams

FDA Approves Yale’s Saliva Test For Emergency Use — 8/16/20, 8:55 a.m. ET

The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization to Yale School of Public Health’s saliva test to detect COVID-19, after a trial on NBA players and staff.

SalivaDirect, the fifth saliva test approved by the FDA for the disease, requires no swab or collection device and uses spit from people suspected of having the coronavirus, the agency said in a statement Saturday.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn called the test “groundbreaking” in its efficiency and in being unaffected by crucial component shortages.

Read more from Reuters.

― Hayley Miller

CDC Clarifies Guidance On The Protections Recovered COVID-19 Patients Have — 8/15/20, 6:25 p.m. ET

People who have recovered from COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested for the virus for up to three months after recovery so long as they do not develop symptoms again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month.

The guidance suggested that recovered patients are likely protected to some degree from the virus in that time span.

But the agency was forced to issue a clarification Friday to point out explicitly that does not mean recovered COVID-19 patients are immune from the virus in the months after their illness. “This science does not imply a person is immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the three months following infection,” the CDC said in a statement.

“The latest data simply suggests that retesting someone in the three months following initial infection is not necessary unless that person is exhibiting the symptoms of COVID-19 and the symptoms cannot be associated with another illness.”

Recovered patients who are not infectious to others can nevertheless continue to test positive for months, the CDC said.

— Sara Boboltz

For more on the pandemic, go here. 



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