The Latest: Czech Republic sees record surge in virus cases

Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have been on a steep rise, setting a new record high for the second straight day

PRAGUE — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have been on a steep rise, setting a new record high for the second straight day.

The country’s Health Ministry said the day-to-day increase in new confirmed COVID-19 cases was 3,793 on Friday, 300 more than the previous day.

The country had a total of 78,051 reported cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 699 deaths. Currently, 42,320 are ill with the virus, with 1,134 hospitalized and 221 in serious condition.

The recent surge has prompted several hospitals to postpone non-urgent operations to be able to treat COVID-19 patients.

The government has declared a state of emergency starting Monday with new restrictive measures.

Health Minister Roman Prymula predicted the number of people infected in one day could be higher than 8,000 later in October.

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

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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:

MELBOURNE, Australia — The COVID-19 figures in Australia’s Victoria state continue to show improvement but officials are concerned about an outbreak at the country’s largest shopping center.

Victoria reported three more COVID-19 deaths and eight more cases on Saturday. The figures take the state toll to 805 and the national death count to 893.

Melbourne’s latest 14-day average stood at 12 cases, and there have been 11 cases with an unknown source in the past two weeks up to Wednesday.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said a recent outbreak linked to southeast Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre showed why it was unsafe to ease restrictions.

A cluster of cases at the 550-store shopping center grew to 11 and includes a family.

“If we were to open up now, just as our modeling tells us … it will be many hundreds of cases,” Andrews said.

Melbourne’s strict lockdown rules continue to be eased, and an overnight curfew ended last week.

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WASHINGTON — Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions about upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and whether additional senators may have been exposed.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Utah Sen. Mike Lee both said Friday that they had tested positive for the virus. Both attended a ceremony for Barrett at the White House on Sept. 25 with President Donald Trump, who announced Friday that he had tested positive and was later hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Lee, who did not wear a mask at the White House event, said he had “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.” Tillis, who did wear a mask, said he has no symptoms. Both said they will quarantine for 10 days — ending just before Barrett’s confirmation hearings begin on Oct. 12.

The positive tests come as Senate Republicans are pushing to quickly confirm Barrett in the few weeks they have before the Nov. 3 election. There is little cushion in the schedule set out by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who want to put Trump’s third hand-picked justice on the court immediately in case they lose any of their power in the election.

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SEOUL, South Korea —— South Korea’s new coronavirus daily tally has remained in two digits for a third straight day as authorities called for public vigilance during one of the country’s biggest holidays.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Saturday that the 75 virus cases added in the past 24 hours took the country’s total to 24,027 with 420 deaths.

South Korea’s caseload has recently displayed a downward trajectory following a spike in new infections between early August and mid-September. Stringent social distancing rules were credited with slowing the outbreak.

But worries about a rebound in new cases have grown again as South Korea is on the traditional autumn “Chuseok” holidays this week that would certainly increase public mobility.