A pair of masked visitors look on as registered nurse Pam Guntrum, who works in staff education, plays a violin in a lobby area at Harborview Medical Center, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Seattle. Guntrum has been routinely playing her violin there for years because she started and said that no one’s told her to stop. Data from COVID-19 projection models show that the rate of infection is increasing in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday, as he urged people to follow his measured approach to slowly reopening the state from his stay-at-home restrictions. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

South Korea reported 18 new coronavirus cases Saturday after bars and nightclubs were urged to close following a spate of infections, while Pakistan bowed to economic pressure and allowed some businesses to reopen despite a surge in case numbers.

The United States, Brazil and Italy also were wrestling with how to ease curbs on business and public activity. Others imposed new restrictions: Kuwait in the Middle East announced a lockdown from Sunday through May 30.

Worldwide, the virus has infected at least 3.9 million people and killed more than 270,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University based on data reported by governments.

On Friday, South Korea urged nightclubs to close for a month after new cases jumped above 10 for the first time in five days. A decline in new infections had prompted the to ease social distancing guidelines and announce plans to reopen schools Wednesday.

Most of the new cases are linked to the Itaewon leisure district of the capital, Seoul, where a 29-year-old man visited three nightclubs before testing positive.

Also Saturday, Pakistan allowed shops, factories, construction sites and some other businesses to reopen, while 1,637 new cases and 24 deaths were reported. That was close to Thursday’s one-day peak of 1,764 new infections and raised Pakistan’s total to 27,474.

South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
Cemetery worker Bruno Avelino walks among graves as he waits for the arrival of a coffin that contains the remains of one-year-old Vitoria, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 8, 2020. According to her mother, Vitoria died from the new coronavirus, infected in the health unit where she was being hospitalized for a gastrointestinal problem. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government is rolling back curbs because it can’t support millions of families that depend on daily wages. The government warned controls will be reimposed if the public fails to follow social distancing guidelines.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government reported Friday unemployment surged to its highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s, likely adding to conflict over when to allow businesses to reopen.

The Labor Department reported unemployment stood at 14.7% after some 20.5 million jobs vanished in April. The department, citing miscounting of some workers by its survey-takers, said the true rate probably was closer to 20%. Some economists said the total might be even higher at 23.6%, not far from the 1939 peak of 25%.

President Donald Trump is pushing state governors to allow factories, restaurants and shops to reopen despite warnings that might lead to a deadly spike in infections.

South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
Washington State Labor Council union and naturalization organizer Dulce Gutiérrez holds a bag of donated cloth masks as she is reflected in a side view mirror while looking for farmworkers in an orchard Thursday, May 7, 2020, near Granger, Wash. (Evan Abell/Yakima Herald-Republic via AP)

Some states including Texas and South Carolina have allowed some businesses to reopen. Others such as New York, the hardest-hit U.S. state, and Illinois want to see more progress in containing the disease before relaxing controls.

The Trump reelection campaign planned to hammer its opponent with negative ads while touting a strong economy. But Trump’s team is increasingly worried about key states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida.

Also Friday, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary became the second person at the White House to test positive for the virus. The first was a member of the military who works as Trump’s valet.

China, where the pandemic began in December, announced plans to reopen more schools in its capital, Beijing.

More than 84,200 junior high school students and 13,200 teachers will return to class Monday, the city government announced. Nearly 50,000 high school students went back to class April 27.

South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
Washington State Labor Council union and naturalization organizer Dulce Gutiérrez, center, distributes donated cloth masks to farmworkers on Thursday, May 7, 2020, near Granger, Wash. (Evan Abell/Yakima Herald-Republic via AP)

Controls including checks for the virus’s telltale fever still are in place at apartment complexes and public buildings in the Chinese capital.

China’s ceremonial legislature is due to hold its annual session May 22, postponed from March. The government has yet to say how some 3,000 delegates will conduct meetings.

In Europe, Britain’s environment minister said there will be no “dramatic overnight change” announced when Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a national address on Sunday.

Johnson is expected to explain how Britain, with the second-highest death toll behind the United States at 31,241, can ease the lockdown. Only minor changes such as allowing people to sunbathe in parks are anticipated.

The government will be “very, very cautious,” said the minister, George Eustice.

Italy’s government said it would to take legal action to stop a northern province, Bolzano, from reopening stores this weekend in defiance of a national plan to wait until later this month. Italy has reported more than 217,000 virus cases and 30,200 deaths.

  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Realtor Jennifer Funk, left, shows clients a home Friday, May 8, 2020, in Washington Township, Pa. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, new rules require all clients and realtors to wear gloves, masks and shoe booties when viewing homes. The clients did not wish to be identified. Funk had 10 home showings on the first day back to business for realtors under the yellow phase of reopening. (Greg Wohlford/Erie Times-News via AP)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Store manager Michael Henningsen sets up barriers for a drive-through lane at Kohl’s in Summit Township, Friday, May 8, 2020, as the Erie region began to reopen Friday from a complete shutdown of non-essential businesses, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Henningsen said he was unsure when his store would open, but some staff was there Friday to begin preparations. (Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News via AP)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    A team of medical workers wearing respirators and protective gear ready to enter the room of a patient in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Harborview Medical Center, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Seattle. Data from COVID-19 projection models show that the rate of infection is increasing in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday, as he urged people to follow his measured approach to slowly reopening the state from his stay-at-home restrictions. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Registered nurses Beth Andrews, top, and Erin Beauchemin work with a patient in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Harborview Medical Center, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Seattle. Data from COVID-19 projection models show that the rate of infection is increasing in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday, as he urged people to follow his measured approach to slowly reopening the state from his stay-at-home restrictions. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Cemetery workers wearing hazmat suits bury the coffin containing the remains of 71-year-old Neide Rodrigues Rosa, who died from the new coronavirus according to her son Sergio Rodrigues, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Imam Shuaib Din, of the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy, Utah, holds 10-minute prayers with increased spacing for the first time Friday, May 8, 2020, since closing down for the coronavirus pandemic. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Relatives, wearing protective face masks, attend the burial of 71-year-old Neide Rodrigues Rosa, who died from the new coronavirus according to her son Sergio Rodrigues, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Registered nurse Ashley Hall stands with a protective mask and face shield as she prepares to enter a patient’s room in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Harborview Medical Center, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Seattle. Data from COVID-19 projection models show that the rate of infection is increasing in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday, as he urged people to follow his measured approach to slowly reopening the state from his stay-at-home restrictions. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Maria Rita Dias dos Santos, 53, wearing a protective face mask, carries food donated food from former inmates, part of a nonprofit organization known as “Eu sou Eu” or “I am me”, who are delivering food to people struggling due to the new coronavirus pandemic, at the Para-Pedro favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, May 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
  • South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs
    Hiring sign shows at the Aldi grocery store in Morton Grove, ill., Friday, May 8, 2020. More than one million unemployment claims have been processed in Illinois since beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

In Brazil, the country’s fifth-biggest city, Fortaleza, started a lockdown Friday amid surging infections, even as President Jair Bolsonaro asked the Supreme Court to order states to roll back restrictions on business.

Fortaleza, capital of the state of Ceara in the northeast, will impose roadblocks and allow only essential services. Similar restrictions were imposed this week in the capitals of the states of Maranhao and Para.

Brazil has more than 140,000 cases and 9,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.


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South Korea reports more virus cases, Pakistan eases curbs (2020, May 9)
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