ISTANBUL — Istanbul’s governor has introduced new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, banning all boating companies from hosting weddings and similar gatherings.
In a statement late Friday, the governor’s office also reintroduced a ban on concerts and festivals in open spaces. The statement said the restrictions were needed because precautions like physical distancing were not being adequately heeded and the virus’ spread had increased.
Istanbul, with about 16 million residents, is Turkey’s most populous city. Turkey has seen a spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths, which began increasing after Turkey loosened restrictions in June but has intensified since late August, returning to levels last seen in mid-May.
On Friday, the health ministry announced 56 deaths and 1,671 new cases, bringing the total death toll to 6,951 and number of cases to nearly 290,000.
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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PRAGUE — The coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in the Czech Republic, infecting a record number of people in one day for the third time this week.
The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase in the new confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 1,447 on Friday, surpassing 1,000 for the fourth day this week.
Of a total of 33,860 confirmed cases of the virus in the Czech Republic, over 5,700 have been registered in the last five working days, prompting the government to tighten restrictive measure to slow down the spread.
Currently, 264 virus patients are hospitalized, including 65 in intensive care. So far, 450 people have died from the virus in the country.
NEW YORK — The New York City teachers union warns it won’t let the nation’s largest school district reopen for in-person classes this month if the city doesn’t issue protective equipment, conduct testing and clean schools properly.
Union leader Michael Mulgrew in a Friday video accuses the city of not acting with enough urgency on the pandemic.
The return of public school students to classrooms was delayed from Sept. 10 to Sept. 21 so coronavirus safety precautions could be worked on further.
Mulgrew says the city knows what it needs to do to make schools safe and, in his words, “if you can’t make that happen before the children come into schools, then we’re not going to let you open these schools.”
The city says it will work with the union.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico is declaring 24 of its 32 states ready for partial reopening, marking the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit that no state is listed at a “red” level maximum alert.
The 24 states listed at “orange” or high risk may now allow many non-essential businesses to re-open at 30% capacity. The eight other states are listed at “yellow” or moderate risk, allowing even more business activities. However, bars, nightclubs and dance halls remain closed and sporting events and concerts cannot have spectators.
Mexico reported 5,930 newly confirmed coronavirus cases Friday, about the same as two weeks ago. The country has recorded a total of 658,299 infections. Officials reported 534 more deaths from COVID-19, for a total of 70,183 — the fourth-highest in the world.
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution on tackling the coronavirus pandemic over objections from the United States and Israel, which protested a successful last-minute Cuban amendment that strongly urges countries to oppose unilateral economic, financial or trade sanctions.
The world body adopted the resolution Friday by a vote of 169-2. It was a strong show of unity by the U.N.’s most representative body in addressing the coronavirus, though many countries had hoped for adoption by consensus.
The resolution is not legally binding. It “calls for intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic” and it urges member states “to enable all countries to have unhindered timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable diagnosis, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines.”
NEW ORLEANS — Bars in a handful of Louisiana parishes will be allowed to re-open under new, looser coronavirus restrictions announced Friday by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Bars in the state have been closed since July unless they have licenses to operate as restaurants. Under the guidelines announced Friday, bars in parishes where the percentage of positive COVID-19 deaths is 5% or below for four weeks can open if parish leaders give the OK, Edwards said.
Bars that are allowed to open will be limited to 25% capacity. They will have to shut down alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and close at 11 p.m.
Bar openings won’t happen in New Orleans, where Mayor LoToya Cantrell is maintaining stricter rules.
The latest plans were released on the day the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Louisiana surpassed 5,000. Hospitalizations, however, continue to drop, totaling 723 in Friday’s figures. There had been nearly 2,000 hospitalized in early April, when the state was a U.S. hot spot for infections.