China virus cases stabilize as Italy sees drop in deaths
China has extended COVID-19 tests to newly reopened salons amid a drop in cases, while South Korea continues to face new infections after it eased social distancing rules to lift the economy.
In the U.S., Vice President Mike Pence called off off a planned campaign bus tour in Florida following a surge in confirmed cases there. Hard-hit Italy, meanwhile, registered the lowest day-to-day tally of COVID-19 deaths Saturday in almost three months.
No positive cases were found in Beijing’s beauty and barber shops in a further sign that the city’s recent outbreak has been largely brought under control.
Beijing officials have temporarily shut a huge wholesale food market where the virus spread widely, reclosed schools and locked down some neighborhoods. Anyone leaving Beijing is required to have a negative virus test result within the previous seven days.
Tens of millions of Chinese traveled during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival that ended Saturday, with no outbreaks reported immediately.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 40 of the newly reported cases were domestically infected, while 22 others came from overseas. The bulk of the local cases were detected in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, linked to nightclubs, church services, a huge e-commerce warehouse and low-income workers.
In Hawaii, the city of Honolulu announced that campgrounds will reopen for the first time in three months with limited permits to ensure social distancing. In contrast, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee put a hold on plans to move counties to the fourth phase of his reopening plan as cases continue to increase.
In a further sign of the impact on the U.S economy, Tyson Foods has announced that 371 employees at its chicken processing plant in the far southwestern corner of Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19.
Pence canceled a planned bus tour in Florida to benefit his and President Donald Trump’s reelection, as state health officials on Saturday reported more than 9,500 new cases, surpassing the previous day’s total by more than 600 confirmed cases. The figures come as officials move to reclose beaches and discourage bar gatherings.
Kansas, Idaho and Oklahoma were also among U.S. states seeing a sharp rise in case.
While the rise partly reflects expanded testing, experts say there is ample evidence the scourge is making a comeback, including increasing deaths and hospitalizations in parts of the country and higher percentages of virus tests coming back positive.