The Latest: Slovenia declares epidemic as virus cases rise

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenia has formally declared an epidemic of the coronavirus amid a major surge in infections.

The 30-day period starting Monday allows the government to impose further restrictions to combat the outbreak. It was not immediately clear what the measures will be.

So far, Slovenia has tightened face mask rules, curbed the work of bars and restaurants and switched most schoolchildren and university students from classroom to online teaching.

The country of 2 million people was the first in Europe in May to declare the end of the epidemic after the spring wave.

The Alpine nation in the past week has reported hundreds of new cases daily and increased hospitalizations. The country has reported 188 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

Prime Minister Janez Jansa said late on Sunday that people’s health comes first. He has urged the citizens to act responsibly.

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

— Coronavirus vaccines will require non-stop sterile refrigeration to stay potent and safe, which may leave 3 billion people unprotected

— To avoid economic hit of full lockdowns, some places where virus is resurgent are trying more targeted restrictions this time

— Congress is past the point it can deliver more coronavirus relief before the election, with Washington’s differences proving insurmountable

— Commercial beekeeping is a challenge in the best of times, but new owners still found thrills in a pandemic-hit first year

— 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:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The city-state of Dubai is allowing weddings and major social events to resume at halls, hotels and homes after a months-long ban, even as the country’s coronavirus infections reach new heights.

Dubai authorities say that starting this week, wedding halls will reopen for receptions with a maximum of 200 guests and strict conditions, including social distancing, masks and a four-hour time limit on festivities. Residents can now throw celebrations in their homes and outdoor tents for the first time since early March, with a maximum capacity of 30 people.

The city is loosening restrictions even as infections in the United Arab Emirates continue to climb, with over 1,000 new cases recorded daily amid an aggressive testing campaign. The federation of seven sheikhdoms has reported more than 115,600 cases and 460 deaths.

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NEW DELHI — India has reported 579 fatalities from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the lowest increase in three months, driving its death toll to 114,610.

The Health Ministry on Monday also reported 55,722 new cases of coronavirus infection, raising India’s total to more than 7.5 million, second in the world behind the U.S.

A government-appointed committee of scientists said Sunday the epidemic may have peaked in India and the disease was likely to “run its course” by February 2021 if people used masks and adhered to physical distancing measures.

The number of new infections confirmed each day has declined for a month. The committee said even if active cases increased during the upcoming festive season and cold weather, they were unlikely to surpass India’s record daily high of 97,894 cases.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea on Monday began testing tens of thousands of employees of hospitals and nursing homes to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks at live-in facilities.

Fifteen of the 76 latest cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency were from Busan, where more than 70 infections have been linked to a hospital for the elderly. The disease caused by the coronavirus can be more serious in older people.

Health workers have been scrambling to track infections in the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people, as the virus spreads in a variety of places, including hospitals, churches, schools and workplaces.

From Monday, they will start a process to test 130,000 workers at hospitals, nursing homes and senior centers in the greater capital area. Officials will also test 30,000 patients who have visited and used these facilities, but will leave out hospitalized patients, who already receive tests when they are admitted.

Officials plan to complete the tests within October and could possibly expand the screening to other regions if needed.