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Hawaii’s Lanai imposes stay-at-home order, closes to visitors

Hawaii’s governor has implemented a stay-at-home order and travel restrictions for the island of Lanai beginning Tuesday because of an outbreak of coronavirus infections.

Gov. David Ige signed the order Monday requiring residents and visitors to remain at home or where they’re staying, except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping.

Travel to and from Lanai, which is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is nine miles from Maui, is expected to be restricted to essential workers or for medical purposes, while anyone arriving on the island must quarantine for 14 days.

Even though it’s tiny, Lanai is big in the luxury vacation world. Larry Ellison snapped up nearly all of the Hawaiian island of Lanai for $300 million in 2012, and has since poured millions into transforming the former “Pineapple Isle.”

Ellison closed, renovated and reopened two five-star hotels, the 213-room seaside Four Seasons Resort Lanai (reopened in 2016) and the 96-room Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort (Formerly the Lodge at Koele), located in the island’s interior highlands. After closing due to COVID-19 last spring, both reopened to visitors on Oct. 15, but now their websites state they “are currently closed but accepting reservations for stays from November 10, 2020, onward.”

A Four Seasons spokesperson told SFGATE that all hotel guests have returned home or moved to other islands, and confirmed both hotels are now closed.


Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said the order would remain in effect for two weeks but could be extended if the number of cases keeps rising on Lanai.

The state Department of Health reported 79 infections there as of Monday, but officials predicted the figure could grow. Lanai had not reported any cases before last week.

The number of cases could be higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Straub Medical Center in Honolulu and the Hawaii National Guard planned to send personnel to help with testing.

Social distancing to slow the spread of the virus is a challenge for residents crowded at home and elsewhere, Victorino said.

“All they have to do is one person gets sick and it transmits very quickly throughout the community because they go to the same churches, they don’t wear masks as often or as they should,” Victorino said. “I think that’s something that’s been really negligible on their part. But we’re now trying to educate them.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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El Paso imposes curfew as COVID-19 cases overwhelm hospitals: “We are in a crisis stage”

Residents in the Texas border city of El Paso have been urged to stay home for two weeks as a spike in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals. The crisis prompted the state to dedicate part of the city’s civic center as a makeshift care center for the ill.

Virus Outbreak Texas
A woman holds up a mask she bought at a store on Friday, May 1, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. 

Cedar Attanasio / AP


El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Sunday night issued a stay home order with a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 under the order.

“We are in a crisis stage,” said Samaniego, the county’s top elected official.

Earlier Sunday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 50 hospital beds will be set up in the convention center and another 50 beds could be added if needed.

Abbott ordered the alternate care site to expand hospital capacity in the El Paso area in response to the coronavirus surge, he said. The site, scheduled to open this week, will provide additional medical equipment and medical personnel.

The surge in El Paso cases comes as President Donald Trump downplayed the virus’ effect on Texas, saying during last week’s presidential debate: “There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.”

The state has already provided over 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some of whom will be staffing the convention center site.

“The alternate care site and auxiliary medical units will reduce the strain on hospitals in El Paso as we contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region,” Abbott said.

El Paso County health officials reported 772 new coronavirus cases Sunday, a day after a record 1,216 new cases were reported, making up more than 20% of the 3,793 new cases reported statewide. That brought the total cases since the pandemic first hit Texas to 862,375. An estimated 91,885 active cases was the most since Aug. 30, and the 5,206 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported statewide Sunday was the most since Aug. 22.

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Italy imposes harshest coronavirus restrictions since spring lockdown as second wave sweeps Europe

Italy became the latest European country to announce new restrictions to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus on Sunday as countries across the continent continue to report surging infections.



A waiter wears a mask while working Sunday at a bar in Rome.


© Yara Nardi/Reuters
A waiter wears a mask while working Sunday at a bar in Rome.

France on Sunday announced more than 50,000 new infections, a new record for the fourth day running. Germany, widely lauded for its initial handling of the virus, reported a surge of its own. The number of coronavirus cases in Poland has doubled in less than three weeks. And Spain has also imposed new restrictions.

The World Health Organization reported new daily case records worldwide three days in a row last week, with new infections reaching more than 465,000 on Saturday. Almost half of those cases were in the organization’s Europe region. The United States set a new record Friday with more than 82,000 confirmed new infections.

“The pandemic is spreading rapidly again, even faster than at the start of it more than half a year ago,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in her weekly video podcast. 

Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, called trends in both the United States and Europe “deeply troubling.” 

“Unless the U.S. and Europe take decisive action to stop the spread of the virus, we could easily see case numbers that eclipse pre-lockdown levels,” she told The Washington Post. “If case numbers get too large, it may be too difficult to meaningfully slow the virus using measures other than shutdowns.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the new restrictions as the country reported a record 21,273 cases on Sunday. Beginning Monday, restaurants and bars will be required to close by 6 p.m., and gyms, pools and movie theaters must shut down entirely. The restrictions are the fourth round of tightening this month in Italy, and the most severe since the country lifted its nationwide lockdown in May.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks Sunday during a news conference on new measures against the coronavirus.


© Yara Nardi/Reuters
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks Sunday during a news conference on new measures against the coronavirus.

Despite a months-long shutdown in the spring, when the country suffered thousands of deaths, an overloaded health-care system and bodies piling up in hospital wards, it’s clear the fight is far from over.

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Italy had 1,208 covid-19 patients in intensive care on Sunday — more than on March 9, when Conte announced the lockdown.

“These are difficult days,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Sunday, according to the Associated Press. “The curve of contagion is growing in the world. And in all Europe the wave is very high. We must react immediately and with determination if we want to avoid unsustainable numbers.”

Europe appeared to beat back infection rates during the summer. But as economies have reopened and colder weather pushes people indoors, several countries are now reporting case numbers that are eclipsing records set in the spring.

Numbers have soared in the Czech Republic, which in recent days has requested additional ventilators from

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Belgium imposes Covid curfew, closes bars and restaurants

BRUSSELS (AP) — Faced with a resurgence of coronavirus cases, the Belgian government on Friday announced new restrictions to try to hold the disease in check, including a night-time curfew and the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants for a month.

The measures are set to enter force from Monday. The curfew will be enforced from midnight until 5:00 a.m. Alcohol sales will be banned after 8:00 p.m. The number of people that Belgians should see socially outside family members will be reduced from three to a maximum of just one — all month.

People have been ordered to work from home wherever possible.


Belgium, which has a population of around 11.5 million, is one of the European countries hardest hit by the disease. Almost 6,000 new cases were recorded each day on average over the last week. In all, about 192,000 people have contracted the disease and 10,327 have died.

“The number of confirmed cases is rising, every day, and not just by a few percentage points,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told reporters in Brussels as he unveiled the new restrictions. “We can see that our hospitals and medical services are under tremendous pressure.”

“Thirty-five people died yesterday from the effects of COVID-19,” De Croo said, and he warned that the number of cases is likely to keep rising this week and next. “In the days to come, the news will be bad,” he said.

The country’s finance and employment ministries will launch a support plan to help keep restaurants and cafes afloat. They’ve been struggling to get back on their feet in recent months due to the impact of the virus. Earlier this month, bars and cafes in the capital Brussels were ordered to close early.

The impact of the closures will be reviewed in two weeks.

Yves Van Laethem, a spokesman for Belgium’s COVID-19 crisis center, said earlier Friday that “new measures are needed, because we see all the figures, all the data, mounting and all the indicators … remain in the red.”

Almost 2,000 people are currently in hospital due to the virus, more than 300 of them in intensive care. Around 180 are being admitted every day, on average.

Van Laethem urged people not to hit bars and night spots or gather in large groups for a final party.

He warned of the impact of such acts after Belgium first went into confinement in mid-March, saying that “this kind of behavior led to the infection spreading and quite a few people found themselves in hospital. So, please, avoid this kind of stupid behavior.”

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Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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