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Sri Lanka bans gatherings amid virus cluster

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Authorities in Sri Lanka have banned all public gatherings as a new cluster of coronavirus infections expands in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Health authorities said early Wednesday that the outbreak centered at a garment factory has risen to 830 confirmed cases while more than 1,000 people have been asked to quarantine at their homes.

The health ministry ordered a halt to gatherings such as exhibitions, parties, conferences, indoor or outdoor events, carnivals, musical shows and processions. Officials already imposed a curfew in two suburbs of Colombo where many of the patients live, closed schools and restrictws public transport.

The cluster emerged Monday, a day after Sri Lanka reported its first community infection in two months. The country has reported 3,733 cases during the pandemic, with 13 deaths.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Pentagon says top military leaders are under self-quarantine

— How do I politely ask someone to wear a mask? If in store or restaurant, have a manager make the request

— Virginia Gov. Northam has mild symptoms 2 weeks after virus diagnosis

— Despite decades of warnings about the fragile supply lines bringing protective gear from overseas factories to America’s health care workers, the U.S. was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.

— Hospitals and staff are stretched to their limits again in Madrid, where the surging number of COVID-19 patients in September forced an expansion of critical care beds into gymnasiums.

— Service workers in New Orleans who were laid off because of the coronavirus’s impact on the economy are earning a living by helping others survive during the pandemic.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily jump of over 100 in a week.

Health officials had raised concerns that infections will rise because of increased travel during the five-day Chuseok harvest holiday that ended Sunday.

The figures released by health officials Wednesday brought South Korea’s case total to 24,353 for the pandemic, including 425 deaths.

Ninety-two of the newly confirmed cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a viral resurgence since mid-August. Health officials have been struggling to track transmissions linked to various places, including hospitals, churches, restaurants and an army unit in Pocheon, north of Seoul, where 37 soldiers so far have tested positive.

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ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s governor says the state will reinstate restrictions on businesses, houses of worship and schools in and around areas where coronavirus cases are spiking.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the severity of shutdowns would vary by proximity to hot spots.

The rules will take effect no later than Friday in parts of New York City’s Brooklyn and Queens boroughs, sections of Orange and Rockland counties north of the city, and an area within the upstate city of Binghamton near the Pennsylvania border.

321 infected at garment factory in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka confirmed more than 300 garment factory workers have been infected with the coronavirus, after reporting its first community infection in two months.

The health ministry said 321 cases have been identified in the cluster as of Tuesday after the first patient was diagnosed at a hospital two days ago.

To contain the outbreak, the government imposed a curfew in two suburbs of the capital where the majority of patients live, closed schools and universities, and imposed restrictions on public transport.

For more than two months, Sri Lanka health officials have said they have prevented a community spread of the virus and that all diagnosed patients had belonged to two known clusters.

The country has reported 3,471 patients with 13 deaths. Of the total patients, 3,259 have recovered.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Trump staged a dramatic return to the White House after leaving hospital where he received unprecedented level of care for COVID-19

— Trump’s return to the White House puts focus on people who could be further exposed if he doesn’t abide by isolation protocols

— Some survivors and kin of those who have died are angry over Trump’s advice not to fear COVID-19

— White House blocks FDA guidelines on bringing potential vaccines to market that would almost certainly prevent approval before election

— Ultra-Orthodox Jews account for over one-third of Israel’s virus patients as non-compliance tests gov’t and public health officials

— About 25 residents from Easter Island stranded 6 months in Tahiti will finally be able to return home this week on French military plane

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW DELHI — India has registered 61,267 new coronavirus cases, its lowest daily increase since Aug. 25.

The country with nearly 6.7 million reported infections has had the highest single-day increases in the world for nearly 45 days. The last three weeks, however, have seen a gradual decline.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported 884 deaths in the past 24 hours. The death toll now stands at 103,569.

India has the second-highest number of reported infections and is on track to exceed the caseload in the United States within weeks.

India’s recovery rate is more than 84%, the highest in the world, and nearly 5.7 million people have recovered, according to the Health Ministry.

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