The latest on the effects of the new coronavirus outbreak around the U.S. and the world:

With coronavirus deaths surging in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that he will use his authority to seize ventilators and protective gear from private hospitals and companies that aren’t using them – one of the most aggressive steps yet in the U.S. to relieve severe shortages of equipment needed to fight the scourge.

The executive order he said he would sign is aimed at the kind of shortages worldwide that authorities say have caused front-line health care workers to fall sick and forced doctors in Europe to make life-or-death decisions about which patients get breathing machines.

“If they want to sue me for borrowing their excess ventilators to save lives, let them sue me,” Cuomo said. He characterized it as a “sharing of resources” and promised to eventually return the equipment or compensate the owners.

Cuomo has said New York, the worst hot spot in the nation, could run out of ventilators next week, while Louisiana’s governor said New Orleans could exhaust its supply by Tuesday.

Read the full story about the pandemic across the U.S. here.

Dr. Fauci’s face will soon be on a bobblehead

MILWAUKEE — The United States’ top infectious disease specialist is getting his own bobblehead.

The creation from the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee features Dr. Anthony Fauci wearing a suit as he makes a motion showing how the nation needs to “flatten the curve” in the coronavirus pandemic.

The museum in Milwaukee picked Fauci because many people see the plain-speaking expert on the coronavirus as a hero right now, said co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar.

“He isn’t trying to spin things,” he said. “He isn’t trying to make people happy and tell him what they want to hear. He’s actually telling them, you know, how he sees it as an expert. And I think that’s really what we need him this time.”

Fauci said on “Fox & Friends” Friday: “That’s nice if people want to do it, but I have other things to worry about.”

Chinese man sentenced to 18 months in jail for failing to report overseas travel

BEIJING — A Chinese court has sentenced a man to 18 months in jail for failing to report traveling abroad from March 1-6, refusing to answer phone calls from authorities and having his mother lie about his activities, according to a joint statement from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security.

The statement said the man, identified only by his surname, Guo, went to work by subway in the central city of Zhengzhou on March 8-9. After developing a fever and sore throat, he was confirmed to be infected with coronavirus. Authorities then placed more than 40 people who had been in close contact with him under quarantine.

Most regions of China have required those arriving from overseas or even other parts of the country to undergo a 14-day quarantine, either at home or at a government-designated facility such as a hotel.

Face masks now recommended, but Trump says he won’t wear one

WASHINGTON — President Trump says his administration is encouraging many Americans to wear face masks in public, though he stresses that the recommendation is optional and is conceding that he will not be complying with it.

The new guidance on Friday, which was expected, is raising concern that it could cause a sudden run on masks.

Though some people already have begun acquiring or creating face masks on their own, the administration’s new guidance could test the market’s ability to accommodate a surge in demand. It was expected to be limited to people in areas of the country hit hard by the coronavirus, not nationwide, as some health experts had urged.

The new guidelines encourage people to use more rudimentary covering like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks. And Trump himself suggested scarves could be an good alternative to masks.

The new recommendations were announced at a time when states are bracing for critical shortfalls like those that other parts of the world have experienced. They’re scrambling to stockpile all manners of equipment.

Read the full story about the face mask recommendations here.

Chicago hospital, union agree on hazard pay for nurses

CHICAGO — A Chicago hospital and its nurses union have agreed on hazard pay for nurses working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Illinois Hospital and the Illinois Nurses Association announced the agreement Friday.

Depending on assignment, the extra pay ranges from $5 an hour to $15 an hour for registered nurses and from $3.50 an hour to $9 an hour for licensed practical nurses. Nurses on salary also get increases.

The agreement will remain in place until either the Illinois stay-at-home order is lifted or the hospital suspends its internal emergency operations.

Florida finally allows cruise passengers, some on stretchers, to disembark

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Passengers from an ill-fated cruise were carefully freed from their cabins and allowed to touch dry land Friday for the first time in weeks, following the removal of 14 critically ill people who were wheeled off to Florida hospitals bracing for an onslaught of coronavirus patients.

The exodus from the Zaandaam and its sister ship the Rotterdam could extend into Saturday, officials said. Floridians disembarked first, followed by other passengers. Buses were taking passengers who were showing no symptoms after being screened and cleared by third-party paramedics directly to the airport, escorted by deputies on motorcycles.

As for those needing medical care, Broward Health officials said in a statement some of the 10 patients taken to its hospital were in fair condition, without specifying the number. Three others were taken to another local hospital.

Before disembarking, passengers received instructions to wear face masks at all times when traveling and go immediately into 14 days of self quarantine when they arrived home.

At least four buses brought the first small groups to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday morning, where they boarded two planes waiting on the tarmac. Paramedics and airline workers were fully suited up and masked in protective gear. The first planes left for Toronto and Atlanta, officials said.

Carnival Corp. said the next ship to arrive would be its last carrying passengers to a U.S. port since the pandemic was declared. The Coral Princess is expected to arrive at the Port Everglades terminal on Saturday with more than 1,000 passengers who have been isolating in their cabins, including 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board.

The U.S. Coast Guard has directed that hundreds of crew members should remain on the dozens of cruise ships that are either docked or waiting just off Florida’s shores, and that cruise lines should be prepared to treat all but the most serious cases of people who are ill on board to avoid adding more stress to Florida’s health care system.

Read the full story about the Florida cruise ships here.

Trudeau warns U.S. not to block shipments of respirators to Canada

TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it would be a mistake for the United States to block 3M from sending respirators to Canada.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that it would be a mistake for the United States to block 3M from sending respirators to Canada. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via Associated Press

3M said Friday the Trump administration has requested 3M cease exporting respirators that they currently manufacture in the U.S. to Canada and Latin America. The company says there are significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to health care workers in Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a critical supplier of respirators.

Trudeau noted the U.S. also receives essential medical supplies and personnel from Canada and says they are making that point to the Trump administration. He says that message is getting through.

The prime minister says he is confident that the close and deep relationship between Canada and the U.S. will hold strong and that will not have to see interruptions in supply chains in either direction.

UN: 11 countries considering global cease-fire

UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says warring parties in 11 countries have responded positively to his appeal for a global cease-fire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.


Afghan health workers wait to take the temperature of guests before the inauguration ceremony for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in Kabul, Afghanistan in March. Associated Press/Rahmat Gul

But there are enormous difficulties in turning words into peace. Fighting has escalated in major conflicts including Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan.

Guterres called on all governments, groups and people with influence “to urge and pressure combatants around the world to put down their arms.” He called the need is urgent because COVID-19 is now headed to all conflict areas.

Guterres told a briefing at U.N. headquarters in New York on Friday that his appeal 10 days ago was rooted in the recognition that “there should be only one fight in our world today: our shared battle against COVID-19.”

The U.N. chief cited a growing number of endorsements for the cease-fire from 70 countries, civil society, religious leaders including Pope Francis, and more than one million people in an online appeal.

He said parties to conflicts in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have also expressed their acceptance.

But Guterres said: “There are enormous difficulties to implementation as conflicts have festered for years, distrust is deep, with many spoilers and many suspicions.”

Russia to fine quarantine scofflaws

MOSCOW — The Russian capital has imposed its first fines for violating self-quarantine orders.

Yevgeny Danchikov is head of Moscow’s city services department and was quoted by state television Friday saying three people were fined 4,000 rubles ($57) each after video surveillance cameras recorded them leaving their residences.

The violators had been diagnosed with symptoms of coronavirus infection but allowed to recuperate under quarantine at home. Moscow has imposed a general lockdown requiring most people to say home except to shop for food and medicine or go to workplaces if required.

Pentagon will accept patients at medical facilities in Dallas and New Orleans

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says is it will begin accepting COVID-19 positive patients at Pentagon-supported medical facilities in Dallas and New Orleans that previously had been designated as non-COVID hospitals.

COVID-19 positive patients in convalescent care and those deemed non-urgent cases will be accepted at the Morial federal medical station in New Orleans and at the Kay Bailey Hutchison federal medical center in Dallas. These patients must first be screened at a local hospital.

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that he had approved New York’s request that COVID-19 patients be accepted for care at the Pentagon-supported Javits center, which previously had taken on non-COVID patients.

The Pentagon also said Friday that screening for care of non-COVID-19 patients on the hospital ship USNS Comfort in New York harbor is being modified in an effort to reduce a backlog at some New York hospitals.

Instead of requiring patients to be tested for COVID-19 at the hospital from which they are being transferred, each patient transferred to the Comfort will be screened by temperature and given a short questionnaire pier-side.

The Pentagon also announced that the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the active-duty military had risen to 978 as of Friday morning. That is up 85 from a day earlier.

Group donates face masks to jails and prisons

PHILADELPHIA — Meek Mill’s criminal justice reform group says it’s donating 100,000 face masks to some of the nation’s most notorious jails and prisons.

The celebrity-backed REFORM Alliance says 50,000 masks will go to the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City, 40,000 will be sent to the Tennessee Department of Correction, and 5,000 are headed to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

The Philadelphia-based group includes Jay-Z among its founding members and has been pressing the nation’s jails and prisons to thin their inmate populations, improve sanitation, protect prison workers and take other precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Hundreds of inmates and staff at U.S. correctional facilities have tested positive for the virus. Health experts say people inside prisons and jails are at heightened risk because of tight inmate quarters, a lack of sanitation and substandard medical care.

Government advises Kenyans to wear face masks

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya has told its nearly 50 million people to wear face masks to help protect themselves against the coronavirus.

The health ministry says the East African nation’s textile industry has the capacity to make 60 million masks “immediately” and the sale price should be around 20 Kenyan shillings, which is about 20 cents.

The country has struggled at times with a coronavirus-related curfew and police were accused of shooting dead a 13-year-old and beating or using tear gas on other people.

The country has 122 cases of the new coronavirus. A 6-year-old boy is the latest to die.g

Europe issues guidance for using the experimental drug remdisivir

LONDON — The European Medicines Agency issued guidance for the compassionate use of experimental drug remdesivir as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

The European drug regulator says remdesivir should only be given to hospitalized critically ill patients suffering from the coronavirus who have no other treatment options.

The EMA’s advice was prompted by requests made from Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands and Romania asking for guidance on how the drug should be used in treating the new coronavirus.

Several clinical trials are already under way to test the effectiveness of remdesivir, which is made by Gilead Sciences.

The World Health Organization has previously described the drug as “the most promising candidate” among the dozens being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed to treat Ebola and there are some limited laboratory data suggesting it is effective against related coronaviruses like SARS and MERS.

German official accuses U.S. of ‘wild west methods’ 

BERLIN — Berlin’s top security official is accusing the United States of using “wild west methods” to obtain personal protective equipment. The claim came after a delivery of face masks destined for the German capital was diverted en route from China.

German media reported Friday that hundreds of thousands of masks purchased from manufacturer 3M and intended for Berlin police were diverted to the U.S. as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand.

Berlin officials confirmed that about 200,000 FFP2 masks already paid for by Germany were seized at a Bangkok airport and didn’t reach their intended destination. The masks are the equivalent of the U.S. N95 standard.

Andreas Geisel is the interior minister for Berlin state. He says the diversion of the masks is “an act of modern piracy. This is no way to treat trans-Atlantic partners.”

“Even in times of global crisis there should be no wild west methods,” Geisel said.

He added he wants the German government to demand the United States adhere to international rules.

The U.S. embassy in Berlin didn’t immediately comment.

U.S. Embassy in Paris denies government hijacked masks destined for France

PARIS — The U.S. Embassy in Paris says no one from the federal government bought masks destined for France.

The statement Friday denied that the U.S. government was responsible after allegations by multiple French officials that Americans paid exorbitant amounts in cash for planeloads of surgical masks that the French had already ordered.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was looking into similar reports of masks destined for Canada.

Governors of multiple U.S. states have described a chaotic competition for gear that pits states and even hospitals against each other for protective gear and medical equipment in the fight against coronavirus.

In one case, the New England Patriots owner sent the team’s private plane to fetch an order of 1 million masks for Massachusetts. Masks destined for other countries appear to be going to three states — Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.

U.S. shed 701,000 jobs in March in face of virus, ending a record hiring streak after nearly 10 years

WASHINGTON  — A record-long streak of U.S. job growth ended suddenly in March after nearly a decade as employers cut 701,000 jobs because of the viral outbreak that’s all but shut down the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from a 50-year low of 3.5%.

Last month’s actual job loss was likely even larger because the government surveyed employers before the heaviest layoffs hit in the past two week. Nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the last two weeks of March, far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.

Virus-induced shutdowns have forced widespread layoffs throughout the economy, from hotels, restaurants and movie theaters to auto factories, department stores and administrative offices.

One sign of how painfully deep the job losses will likely prove to be: During its nearly decade-long hiring streak, the U.S. economy added 22.8 million jobs. Economists expect the April jobs report being released in early May to show that all those jobs will have been lost.

Read the full story.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in isolation

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has a fever and will remain in isolation.

Johnson tested positive for the new coronavirus on March 26 and spent seven days in quarantine as recommended by U.K. health officials.

Johnson said Friday that although he is “feeling better,” he still has a fever and is following guidance to stay in isolation until his temperature has returned to normal.

Johnson in a video message warned people not to break the national lockdown on what is expected to be a warm, sunny weekend across much of the U.K.

He acknowledged people may be bored but urged Britons not to flout rules against gathering in groups of more than two people who don’t live together.

Johnson said “this country has made a huge effort, a huge sacrifice” and people should continue to follow the rules in order to save lives.

Japan continues testing anti-flu drug approved in 2014

TOKYO — At least 30 countries have asked Japan about anti-flu drug Avigan that was developed several years ago by a subsidiary of FujiFilm.

It is believed Avigan might mitigate COVID-19.

The Japanese government approved the drug in 2014 for use in Japan and has a stockpile of Avigan tablets. But the pills were never distributed to market or to hospitals.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Friday that Japan is interested in working with other nations to further test Avigan and will ship them for free if asked.

FujiFilm Toyama Chemical Co. stepped up production of Avigan last month and has been carrying out more tests to ensure the drug’s safety and effectiveness.

Favipiravir, the active pharmaceutical ingredient of Avigan, prevents the propagation of viruses. The coronavirus is similar in type to the flu virus.

Navy fires captain who sought help for virus-stricken ship

WASHINGTON — The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was fired by Navy leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to too many people.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt transits the Arabian Gulf in 2015. U.S. Navy

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the ship’s commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, “demonstrated extremely poor judgment” in the middle of a crisis. He said the captain copied too many people on the memo, which was leaked to a California newspaper and quickly spread to many news outlets.

Modly’s decision to remove Crozier as ship commander was immediately condemned by members of the House Armed Services Committee, who called it a “destabilizing move” that will “likely put our service members at greater risk and jeopardize our fleet’s readiness.”

Modly told Pentagon reporters during an abruptly called press conference Thursday that Crozier should have gone directly to his immediate commanders, who were already moving to help the ship. And he said Crozier created a panic by suggesting 50 sailors could die.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt, with a crew of nearly 5,000, is docked in Guam, and the Navy has said as many as 3,000 will be taken off the ship and quarantined by Friday. More than 100 sailors on the ship have tested positive for the virus, but none is hospitalized.

Read the full story.

Virus death toll in Spain nears 11,000

MADRID — Spain is closing Friday a black week with its death toll for the new coronavirus nearing 11,000, more than half of those during the past seven days, and more infections than any other country in Europe.


A temporary field hospital set at a convention center in Madrid. Associated Press/Manu Fernandez

The bottleneck in Spanish labs conducting the tests has led to relatively low levels of testing in Spain compared to other European countries, authorities have acknowledged.

But even with statistics that are believed to be conservative in showing the extent of the epidemic, Spain on Friday neared 118,000 cases, second only to the United States. Official Health Ministry data showed that 7,472 of those infections had been in the past 24 hours.

Italy, with more than 115,000 reported cases as of Friday morning, has seen new infections leveling off after three weeks of the West’s first nationwide shutdown.

Spain also registered 932 new deaths, 18 less than its daily record of 950 the day before.

Germany’s Merkel returns to her office after coronavirus exposure

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is returning to work at the chancellery after two weeks in quarantine at home following an encounter with a doctor who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that Merkel was returning to her office on Friday after the recommended 14-day precautionary quarantine. He said that “thankfully the chancellor tested negative for the coronavirus several times.”

The 65-year-old German leader went into quarantine on March 22 after being informed that a doctor who had administered a vaccination to her had tested positive for the new coronavirus. She received the precautionary vaccination against pneumococcal infection two days previously.

Merkel has continued to lead Cabinet meetings and take part in domestic and international videoconferences from home.

Tokyo to rent out facility for virus patients

TOKYO — Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on Friday said the city is preparing rent out a hotel or a public facility for patients with no or slight symptoms to relieve hospitals’ burdens and make room for severely-affected patients as new COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Japanese capital.

Infections have accelerated in Tokyo since late March, prompting Koike to make a weekend stay-at-home request to Tokyo residents until mid-April, while suggesting a possibility of a lockdown if the number of infections turns explosive.

Koike told reporters Friday that officials plan to rent out accommodations including hotels and public facilities for asymptomatic and slightly-sick COVID-19 patients to stay under medical attention until they fully recover. Koike said she wants to start a pilot case next week.

Under Japanese infectious diseases law, everyone who tests positive must be hospitalized. The health ministry eased the requirement Friday to relieve burden on hospitals and allow them to focus on the most severely-ill patients.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing for a possible state of emergency. If declared, Koike is expected to launch a “lockdown” of Tokyo, but it’s largely a social distancing request instead of enforcement as in parts of Europe, Koike said. Transportation will keep operating, while groceries, pharmacies, banks and other essential businesses will stay open.

Tokyo’s new cases hit a new single-day record of 97 Thursday for a prefectural total of 684. NHK public television said 89 more cases were reported in Tokyo Friday. Nationwide, Japan has more than 3,300 cases including 712 from a cruise ship, with 74 deaths.

Official believes deaths in Germany undercounted

BERLIN — The head of Germany’s disease control agency says the number of people who die of COVID-19 is likely being undercounted.

Lothar Wieler of the Robert Koch Institute said Friday that he believes “we have more dead than are officially being reported.”

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Wieler was suggesting that deaths are being undercounted only in Germany, or worldwide, and reporters were unable to ask follow-up questions during his online news conference.

Germany’s low death rate from coronavirus has drawn international attention. Experts say the difference compared to other countries is partly due to mass testing and well-equipped hospitals, but they caution that the number of deaths is likely to rise.

According to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Germany had almost 85,000 confirmed cases and 1,107 deaths by Friday.

Wieler said one reason why deaths might be higher than thought is that by the time autopsies are performed the virus can’t be detected anymore.

Singapore closes schools, will distribute masks to every household

SINGAPORE — Singapore will close schools and most workplaces for a month, as it moves to curb the increase of COVID-19 transmissions in the country.

Most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, will be closed from next Tuesday, and schools will be closed from Wednesday. Essential services such as food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and banking services will remain open.

“Looking at the trend, I am worried that unless we take further steps, things will gradually get worse, or another big cluster may push things over the edge,” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Lee urged residents to stay home and only leave to buy essential items.

The country has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, and has routinely reported more than 50 new cases daily. As of Thursday, Singapore had 1,049 cases and five deaths.

Singapore has also reversed its recommendations that people should wear masks only if they are feeling unwell.

“We will no longer discourage people from masks. Wearing a mask may help to protect others in case you have the virus but don’t know it,” said Lee.

The Singapore government will distribute reusable masks to all households from this Sunday for “some added protection”, Lee said.

London’s Heathrow to operate with only one runway

LONDON — London’s Heathrow Airport will alternate on a weekly basis which of its two runways it will use amid “significantly fewer flights” during the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport, which is the U.K.’s main hub, said it will operate from one strip from Monday to “increase resilience and safety for staff, passengers and cargo” during the outbreak.

A Heathrow spokesperson said the airport “will remain open so that we can continue to play a crucial role in helping to secure vital medical goods and food for the nation during this unprecedented epidemic.”

China to honor coronavirus victims

BEIJING — China will honor those who have died in the fight against coronavirus and all victims of the outbreak with three minutes of silence on Saturday, as numbers of new cases in the country where the global pandemic began fall toward zero.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the State Council, China’s Cabinet, had ordered that national flags be flown at half-mast around the country and at Chinese embassies and consulates abroad, and that all “public recreational activities” be suspended.

Air raid sirens and the horns of automobiles, trains and ships will “wail in grief” for the three minutes beginning at 10:00 a.m. (0800 GMT). China has held such moments of silence in past, often to mark World War II-era atrocities by Japan, but rarely on a national scale.

China on Friday reported 31 new confirmed virus cases, 29 of them from overseas, and four new deaths. China now has recorded a total of 81,620 cases and 3,322 deaths, although those figures are generally considered too low because of a lack of testing and a reluctance to report the scale of the original outbreak.

More than 3,000 health care workers contracted COVID-19 and the government says 14 died of the disease. Among them was doctor Li Wenliang, who was threatened with punishment by police after publicizing news of the outbreak but has since been listed among the national “martyrs.”

His family was issued a “solemn apology” two police officers issued “disciplinary punishments” for their handling of the matter.

African countries close land borders

JOHANNESBURG — More than half of Africa’s 54 countries have closed land, air and sea borders to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. That’s according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The restrictions are so widespread that concern is rising about getting needed items to desperate people. The World Food Program says it had to negotiate a humanitarian corridor ahead of South Africa’s lockdown to allow food aid to flow to other southern African nations. Some countries still allow exceptions for cargo or emergency transport.

Coronavirus cases across Africa are now above 7,000 and numbers are expected to leap in the coming weeks.

Russian police detain activists delivering gear to hospital

MOSCOW — Russian police detained activists trying to deliver protective gear to a hospital on Thursday amid the growing coronavirus outbreak and widespread reports of shortages of masks and hazmat suits.

Members of the Alliance of Doctors union, supported by opposition politician Alexei Navalny, started a fundraising campaign this week to buy protective gear for hospitals in need. On Thursday, the union’s leader Anastasia Vasilyeva and a group of activists drove to a hospital in the Novgorod region 249 miles northwest of Moscow, with the first batch of masks, gloves, hazmat suits and protective glasses.

Police stopped the group on the highway and slapped them with fines for violating lockdown regulations. The group got to the hospital and delivered the gear, but then Vasilyeva was detained again, reportedly for defying police orders. Footage of the arrest activists posted on Twitter shows a dozen police officers gathering around Vasilyeva and two of them dragging her into the station.

Navalny retweeted the video on Thursday night, saying: “Why are they harassing this person, because she brought masks for the doctors?” As of Friday morning, Vasilyeva was still being held by the police in the Novgorod region.

Russia reported 4,149 cases of the new coronavirus on Friday. Despite the government assuring that Russia’s health care system is fully prepared to deal with the epidemic, doctors and hospitals from all over the country have been regularly complaining about the shortages of protective gear and medical equipment.

Alliance of Doctors has become one of the most vocal critics of the Kremlin’s response to the outbreak, accusing the authorities of downplaying the scale of it and pressuring medics to work without sufficient protection.

Turkey to treat patients with blood from virus survivors

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey is preparing to treat COVID-19 patients with blood donated from people who have survived the disease.

Kerem Kinik, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent organization, late Thursday called on “heroes who have come out victorious from the ‘Corona War’” to donate blood for the treatment that uses plasma from people who have recovered to help seriously ill patients.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry sent a circular to the country’s 81 provinces setting out guidelines for the volunteer blood plasma donations, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Ali Gur, rector of the Gaziantep University — one of the university hospitals working on the immune plasma therapy — told Anadolu: “We are completing our final preparations, we should be able to start the treatment by the end of April.”

In Pakistan, mosques open but Muslims urged to worship at home

ISLAMABAD — An influential Islamic clerics council in Pakistan is urging Muslims to worship at home instead of going to mosques for Friday prayers to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The pandemic has caused 34 deaths in the Islamic nation.

Mosques, however, will not be closed, and three to five people are allowed to enter.

The appeal from the Council of Islamic Ideology comes as the number of cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, increases. More than 2,400 people have tested positive in Pakistan.

Pakistan has enforced a nationwide lockdown, drawing criticism from many poor people who say they need to work to buy food and pay rent, utilities and other bills.

This week, Pakistan extended the lockdown until April 14 after a substantial increase in cases was reported in various parts of the country, especially in Punjab and Sindh provinces, the worst hit.

Prince Charles to open new hospital, built in 9 days

LONDON — Prince Charles is to officially open the new Nightingale Hospital that has been built in just nine days at the site of a huge exhibition center in east London.

The National Health Service hospital at ExCel London will within days be able to provide intensive care treatment for 4,000 people suffering from the COVID-19 disease.

Earlier this week, Charles emerged from a week of self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus. He will launch the temporary facility later Friday via video link from his Scottish home of Birkhall and is expected to pay tribute to those who built it.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who also recently came out of isolation after recovering from the virus, is expected to be present.


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