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UK officials to mull north England virus steps

LONDON — Health officials are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss whether to add areas of northern England, including Manchester and Lancashire, to the highest-risk tier, meaning additional anti-coronavirus measures such as closing pubs could soon be imposed there. Only Liverpool was placed in the highest-risk category when the plan was unveiled Monday.

The discussions come as the regional government in Northern Ireland prepares to announce even tougher measures, including a two-week school closure. Northern Ireland has the highest infection rate among the U.K.’s four nations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being criticized by all sides two days after announcing his three-tier approach to controlling the virus.


A report released Tuesday showed that the government’s science advisers have called for tougher measures, including a two- to three-week national lockdown. The opposition Labour Party has called for that advice to be followed, while members of Johnson’s Conservative Party say the measures already in place go too far and are damaging the economy,

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

— Lives Lost: Indian doctor embodied his family’s dreams

— More masks, less play: Europe tightens rules as virus surges

— Possible safety issue spurs pause of COVID-19 antibody study

— AP-NORC poll: New angst for caregivers in time of COVID-19

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— 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 confirmed more than 63,000 new cases of the coronavirus, an increase of over 8,000 from the previous day but still far fewer than it was reporting a month ago, when the virus was at its peak in the country.

The Health Ministry reported 63,509 new cases on Wednesday, raising India’s total to more than 7.2 million, second in the world behind the U.S. The ministry also reported 730 fatalities in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 110,586. The country was seeing more than 1,000 deaths per day last month.

According to the Health Ministry, India’s average number of daily cases dropped to 72,576 last week from 92,830 during the week of Sept. 9-15, when the virus peaked. Over the last month, the country has been seeing a trend of declining cases on a week-to-week basis.

On Tuesday, India registered 55,342 new cases, its lowest single-day tally since mid-August.

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BEIJING — China says it has carried out more than 4.2 million tests in the northern port city of Qingdao, with no new cases of coronavirus found among the almost 2 million sets of results received.

The city has reported a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.

China on Wednesday reported 27 new cases of coronavirus, including 13 new cases of local transmission and 14 cases brought from outside the country.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 85,611 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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BOISE, Idaho — Idaho health care experts say coronavirus is increasing

Canada, biggest provinces promise new steps to fight second COVID wave

By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s federal authorities and its two biggest provinces on Tuesday promised new measures to combat a second COVID-19 wave that is notching up as many cases as during the pandemic’s peak in April.

Canada reported new 2,176 infections on Monday, taking the total to 155,301. The death toll rose by 10 to 9,278.

Government minister Dominic LeBlanc, who chairs the cabinet’s coronavirus committee, called the surge “very worrying”.

Ontario, the most populous of the 10 provinces, said it would limit visitors to long-term care homes for the elderly in areas with high community spread. Most deaths in Canada have taken place in homes for seniors.

In Quebec, the second most populous, premier Francois Legault said financial support for businesses hurt by new COVID-19 restrictions would be announced soon. The province is closing bars and dine-in services at restaurants in hot spots for 28 days.

“The situation is still critical,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City.

In Ottawa, health officials said they expected to authorize new antigen tests for COVID-19, which can provide rapid results outside of a lab. This should provide additional testing as the second wave overwhelms laboratories, they said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who last week said the government would provide C$440 million ($329 million) to a global program designed to ensure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, on Tuesday said Canada was giving an additional C$400 million in humanitarian and development funding.

Separately on Tuesday, the federal government said it had signed an agreement up to buy 7.9 million Abbott ID NOW rapid point of care tests, pending Health Canada approval.

The ID NOW is not an antigen test, but the instruments used to analyze it can be run outside of a major lab, giving rapid results at a clinic or hospital.

(With additional reporting by David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, Allison Lampert in Montreal and Moira Warburton in Vancouver, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum, David Gregorio and John Stonestreet)

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