Spain's Capital Resumes Partial Lockdown as Nations Worldwide Struggle to Stop Coronavirus


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On a day in which the world reeled from the news that U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for the coronavirus, countries around the world continued to struggle with how to stop the spread of the virus and what restrictions to impose on their residents.

Spain's capital, Madrid, began a partial lockdown Friday night to try to curb a rise in coronavirus cases. While the Spanish government ordered the lockdown, the city has been fighting the new restrictions in court, arguing the measures would further damage the city's economic health.

Under the national order, Madrid's 3 million residents are not allowed to venture from their homes except to go to work, school, shopping or for medical care. All bars and restaurants are forced to close earlier than normal and reduce their seating capacity by 50%.

The restrictions also apply to nine nearby municipalities with at least 100,000 inhabitants each.

Europe is experiencing a steady rise in new COVID-19 infections, with Spain leading the way with about 300 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. But the rate is more than twice that in the Madrid region, at more than 780 infections per 100,000.

Spain has had more than 32,000 COVID-19 deaths, the fourth-highest tally in Europe behind Britain, Italy and France.

British university

In Britain, another university has been hit with a mass outbreak of the coronavirus. Northumbria University, in northeast England, said on Friday that at least 770 students had tested positive for the virus. It said all the infected students were now self-isolating.

COVID-19 outbreaks have hit dozens of British universities in the last few weeks as cases have risen sharply across the country. The government reported 6,968 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from the previous day but below a peak of 7,143 recorded Tuesday.

In Brazil, the government of Sao Paulo state has asked health regulator Anvisa to allow use of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd. The governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, said he wanted to begin inoculating the population of Sao Paulo with the Sinovac vaccine by mid-December, one of the fastest vaccine timelines outside China and Russia. The state is the site of a Phase 3 clinical trial for the Sinovac vaccine.

Brazil has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world with more than 4.8 million, behind only India and the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Canada loosens border

Canada announced Friday that it would ease some border restrictions to allow for family reunions. The government said siblings, grandparents and adult children of Canadians and permanent residents would soon be allowed to visit the country.

The country first closed its borders to all but essential workers in the spring to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Later, the government allowed immediate family members of residents to enter the country, but other family members were still barred from travel.

Also Friday, Australia and New Zealand announced a partial opening of their borders to allow more travel between the countries.

Australian Transport Minister Michael McCormack said Friday that beginning October 16, New Zealanders would be able to fly to the Australian cities of Sydney and Darwin without going into quarantine if they were traveling from parts of New Zealand not considered to be COVID-19 hot spots.

However, New Zealand will continue to mandate that travelers from Australia go into quarantine for two weeks on arrival.