New Zealand postpones elections due to virus

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday chose to delay New Zealand’s national elections by four weeks as the country faces a new outbreak of coronavirus in its largest city, Auckland. The election was scheduled for Sept. 19, but will now be held on Oct. 17. Under New Zealand law, Ardern had the option to delay the election by up to two months. Opposition parties have called for a delay after the outbreak of viruses in Auckland last week prompted the government to put the city on a two-week lockdown and stop the election campaign. Ardern said she would not postpone the election again, despite what happened with possible virus outbreaks. Opinion poll indicates that Ardern’s Liberal Labor Party is in favor of winning a second term in office.



– The first Mediterranean cruise sets sail new virus tests.

– Colleges face difficult choices over football season.

– The coronavirus does not appear to have devastated homelessness as at first scared.

– Employers who return to offices after months will see many changes, including masks, shifting shifts, offices being torn apart and questions about daily health.

– AP PHOTOS: Masks hold images of pandemics, protests from Hong Kong.


– Follow the pandemic coverage of AP at and



MELBOURNE, Australia: The hard-hitting Victoria state of Australia recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic on Monday with 25 dead in coronavirus.

The death toll rises to the previous 24-hour record of 21 sets on Wednesday last week.

The Victoria Health Department registered 282 new cases, slightly more than 279 new infections that were diagnosed on Sunday, but a declining trend was maintained last week.

Victoria posted a record 725 new COVID-19 cases in a day on 5 August.


BEIRUT – Lebanon, still struggling with the aftermath of August 4 that killed 180 people and injured thousands, has registered a number of coronavirus infections a day, with 439 people carrying the virus and killing six.

The new infections bring the total number of people reported to be infected in the small country of just over 5 million. Some 103 died due to COVID-19.

The explosion in the port of Beirut began when thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate ignited, injuring about 6,000 people and causing widespread damage in the city. Daily cases of coronavirus were already on the rise, and the explosion made social distribution more difficult for many.

Lebanon’s health sector has been challenged by the pandemic in the midst of a deepening economic crisis. The blast in central Beirut hit at least three hospitals in the capital, sharply increasing pressure on those still working.


ROME – Residents arriving in Rome in four Mediterranean countries, assembled with their suitcases at the Leonardo da Vinci airport to be tested immediately on Sunday for the new coronavirus.

Last week, the Italian Minister of Health issued an ordinance requiring the tests for all travelers arriving in Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain.

Travelers have the option to test instead within 48 hours of arriving at local public health offices closer to their home as destination in Italy.

Vacationers coming from abroad have been thankful for an increase in new coronavirus infections in Italy in recent weeks. On Saturday, the daily caseload of new infections dropped 600 for the first time since May.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for Lazio, the region including Rome, said at the airport that concerns were growing about the growing number of infections, especially as the school reopens on September 14 in Italy, for the first time since the pandemic began.


LA PAZ, Bolivia – Esther Morales, the 70-year-old sister of former Bolivian President Evo Morales, has died of COVID-19, the ex-leader said Sunday.

“She was like my mother,” tweeted Morales, who was forced to resign last year because of irregularities.

Morales, who is in Argentina, faces sedition and other charges when he returns to Bolivia. He accused “racism and political persecution” of preventing his sister from visiting a hospital in Oruro, southeast of La Paz.

In the last two weeks, supporters of Morales’ party have imposed national blockades to protest the recent postponement of elections as Bolivia wrestles with the coronavirus pandemic.

While doctors had warned that oxygen and other medical supplies would not reach some hospitals because of the protests, police said Saturday that most roads were being scratched.


BRAZIL, Brazil – Michelle Bolsonaro, the wife of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, said Sunday that she has tested negative for the new coronavirus following an announcement on July 30 that she was testing positive.

“Negative exam. Thank you for the prayers and for all the expressions of grace, ”said 38-year-old Michelle Bolsonaro on Instagram. She published a picture of what she said was her lab exam. “Not detected,” it reads.

On Wednesday, grandmother Michelle Bolsonaro of COVID-19 died.

Bolsonaro’s youngest son, 22-year-old Jair Renan, has also tested positive for the virus. On Saturday, he released a video in which he takes pills that he says are hydroxychloroquine. The drug has no proven effectiveness against the new coronavirus, but has been widely published by the Brazilian president as a treatment for COVID-19.

President Bolsonaro had said he tested positive for the coronavirus on July 7, had mild symptoms and was free of the virus in late July. He has downplayed the devastating impact of COVID-19, often appearing in public without a mask and meeting fans nearby despite social recommendations for distance.


BERLIN – Bavarian authorities said on Sunday that they were not yet able to contact 46 of more than 900 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus upon arrival in Germany recently, but did not get the results.

The southern German state recognized last week that tens of thousands of travelers returning home had to wait weeks to receive their test results – among them the more than 900 who tested positive but were unaware of the missing results.

The bureaucratic burglary caused an uproar in Germany over concerns that those who tested positive but were unaware of the virus could spread the virus.

The Bavarian state government said the long delays in getting the results were linked to problems with the software and an unexpectedly high number of people wanting to be tested at newly established test centers, primarily at stopways for highways near the south borders of the country.

On Saturday, authorities in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate said there were delays in informing people about their test results in the southwestern state. However, the authorities there were at least able to contact all those who tested directly positive, the German news agency dpa reported.


PARIS – After France recorded its highest one-day rise in virus infections since May, the government pushed for wider mask use and stricter protection for migrant workers and in slaughterhouses.

But France still has two plans to reopen schools nationwide in two weeks, and the Labor minister says the government has decided to prevent a new nationwide lockdown that would further shake the economy and threaten jobs.

France’s infection count has resumed in recent weeks, partly accusing people across the country of weddings, family reunions or annual summer holidays with friends. Britain re-imposes quarantine measures on holidaymakers returning from France as a result.

France reported 3,310 new infections in a single day Saturday, and the rate of positive testing has grown and is now at 2.6%. The daily rate was two months to several hundred a day, but began to rise again in July. Overall, France has reported more than 30,400 virus-related deaths, among the highest tolls in the world.

Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne said in an interview published Sunday with the newspaper Journal du Dimanche that the government wants to expand mask use in workplaces.

“We need to prevent new incarceration at all costs,” she said.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Health authorities reported 13 new cases of the coronavirus in New Zealand on Sunday, including 12 linked to an outbreak in the city of Auckland and one returning traveler who was already in quarantine.

The outbreak in Auckland, discovered Tuesday, has prompted officials to put the nation’s largest city back in a two-week lockdown.

The outbreak has now grown to 49 infections, with authorities saying they believe all cases are all linked, giving them hope that the virus will not spread beyond that cluster.

New Zealand had gone 102 days without the spread of the disease through the community before the last outbreak. Officials believe the virus was introduced from abroad to New Zealand, but are not yet able to figure out how it happened.


KAHULUI, Hawaii – Kahului Airport on Maui has completed its second phase of its thermal screening project to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The screening uses imaging and facial recognition technology to determine people with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.

Dual lens cameras are installed at all arrival ports and TSA checkpoints at the airport.

The Maui News reports that once phase three is completed, the cameras will be able to track travelers with high body temperatures, allowing contacts to stop and screen before leaving the airport.


KANSAS CITY – Trump’s top coronavirus adviser used a visit to Kansas to put on people wearing masks, no matter where they live.

“What’s really important for any Kansan to understand is that this epidemic we saw this summer is both urban and rural,” said Drs. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force Saturday. “That we really ask all communities, whether you are urban or rural communities, to wear a mask inside every day, outside.”

She also stresses that people need to distance themselves socially and not have meetings while in Kansas City, Kansas, for a meeting with Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, as well as community and state health officials at KU Medical Center, reports The Kansas City Star.

“You can not tell who is infected,” Birx said. “A lot of the spread is asymptomatic. I know we all want to believe that our family members can not be positive. They are.”

Birx said when communities begin to see a positive increase in positive cases, leaders should close the locks, limit indoor dining, reduce social gatherings and ensure there is a mask mandate.

“We have done that in the south and we have seen a dramatic decrease in cases where the population has followed those guidelines,” she said.