Coronavirus updates: California official cited after confrontation with protesters – National News

Written by on May 13, 2020


Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 291,000 people worldwide.

More than 4.2 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 82,387 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:

7:06 a.m.: Hong Kong reports locally-transmitted cases for first time in 23 days

Hong Kong reported two new locally-transmitted infections of COVID-19 on Wednesday, after 23 straight days with only imported cases.

Health officials are working to trace any close contacts of the two new patients.

“We are all very concerned,” Dr. Chui Tak-yi, undersecretary of Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau, told a press conference Wednesday. “We must heighten our alertness. Citizens cannot let their guards down and must continue to carry out anti-epidemic measures.”

The semiautonomous Chinese city now has 1,051 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including four deaths.

6:13 a.m.: California authorities says Tesla can reopen factory with new safety measures

Tesla can reopen its sole U.S. vehicle factory in California as soon as next week, so long as the electric carmaker adopts extra safety recommendations amid the coronavirus pandemic, local officials said.

The Alameda County Health Department released a statement late Tuesday announcing that the plant in Fremont, some 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, will be allowed to go beyond basic operations this week and start manufacturing vehicles on Monday if Tesla holds up its part of the agreement.

“We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations,” the health department said in the statement. “If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week.”

The Alameda County Health Department noted that it will be working with the Fremont Police Department to verify whether Tesla “is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter earlier this week that he was restarting production at the Fremont factory in defiance of the county’s ordinance. Operations at the plant apparently continued into Tuesday, although the company met a Monday deadline to submit a site-specific plan for worker safety.

“I will be on the line with everyone else,” Musk tweeted. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

It’s unclear whether Tesla would face any punishment for the reopening.

5:10 a.m.: Russia reports over 10,000 new cases for 11th straight day

Russia reported more than 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday for the 11th day in a row, as the country emerges as a new hot spot in the coronavirus pandemic.

There were 10,028 new infections confirmed in Russia over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 242,271, according to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters.

Russia has the second-largest national tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind the United States. The country reported a record 11,656 new infections on Monday.

Russia also has one of the world’s fastest rates of new infections in the coronavirus pandemic, second only to the U.S.

However, the country’s death toll from the disease remains relatively low with just 96 new fatalities reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 2,212, according to the coronavirus response headquarters.

4:41 a.m.: Pakistan reports record daily spike in COVID-19 cases

Pakistan saw more than 2,000 new infections of the novel coronavirus in a single day for the first time since the outbreak began.

The country’s health ministry said Wednesday there were a record 2,255 new cases of COVID-19 registered over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 34,312.

The spike comes just days after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan began a phased reopening of the nation after a weekslong lockdown.

Khan has argued that the country’s poorest were worst-affected by the coronavirus restrictions, as a vast majority of the population earn barely $75 a month, mostly doing daily wage work.

3:28 a.m.: Fresno City Council president cited for three counts of assault after confrontation with protesters

Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias was cited for three counts of assault after a group of anti-lockdown protesters approached his home Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The unarmed protesters showed up at Arias’ residence to demand the reopening of businesses and the lifting of social-distancing restrictions in the California city. A spokesman for the Fresno Police Department told ABC News there was sufficient evidence that Arias committed assault against the protesters.

Video allegedly taken by one of the protesters purportedly shows the city council president shoving a man down a staircase away from the front door of his apartment.

Arias claims the protesters tried to break into his home and refused to leave.

“Not only did they go into private property that’s gated that requires security to get through, but they showed up to my front door and banged on my front door,” Arias told Fresno ABC station KFSN-TV. “Folks didn’t want to give way to my private property, so I moved them out of the way.”

Investigators are still trying to determine whether there was an attempted break-in. Police said they are beefing up security at the homes of other city leaders at this time as a precaution.

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