The Latest: Czech Republic sees 700 new cases for 1st time

PRAGUE — The number of people infected with the coronavirus has continued to surge in the Czech Republic, surpassing 700 for the first time.

The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase reached a record of 798 new confirmed cases on Friday.

The announcement comes after the country registered over 600 cases the previous two days, also records at the time.

Health authorities have already imposed new restrictive measures in the Czech capital, reacting to the spike. Starting on Wednesday, it is mandatory again to wear face masks in stores and shopping malls. At the same time, bars, restaurants and nightclubs have to be closed from midnight to 6 a.m.

The Czech Republic has had 27,249 cases, including 429 deaths.

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

US unemployment rate falls to 8.4% even as hiring slows

Brazil leader rapped for stirring doubt on COVID-19 vaccine

Russia publishes virus vaccine results, weeks after approval

Madrid is further restricting family reunions and social gatherings to curb a sharp spike in confirmed coronavirus cases as schools are set to reopen.

— Americans are heading into Labor Day weekend amid warnings from public health experts that backyard parties, crowded bars and other gatherings could cause the coronavirus to come surging back.

— The head of the World Health Organization says the U.N. health agency will not recommend any COVID-19 vaccine before it is proved safe and effective, even as Russia and China have started using their experimental vaccines before large studies have finished and other countries have proposed streamlining authorization procedures.

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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:

MEXICO CITY — The coronavirus pandemic has hit Mexico so hard that the governments of several states ran out of death certificates.

Officials said Friday the federal forms started running out about 15 to 20 days ago in at least three states — Baja California, the State of Mexico and Mexico City.

Authorities say a million new forms have been printed and are being distributed. The certificates are printed with special characteristics because falsification has been a problem in the past.

Mexico has suffered the fourth-highest level of COVID-19 deaths in the world. On Friday, the number of confirmed cases rose by 6,196 to 623,090, while deaths rose by 522 to 66,851. Cases in Mexico now appear to have plateaued and are no longer decreasing.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 168 new cases of the coronavirus, the third consecutive day the daily jump came below 200 in a possible sign the country is starting to see the effects of unprecedented social distancing restrictions.

The figures released Saturday brought the national caseload to 21,010, including 333 deaths.

Officials say 115 of the new cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s 51 million population. Infections were also reported in other big cities, including Bunsan, Gwangju, Daejeon and Daegu.

Authorities have decided to extend for another week tougher social distancing restrictions in the Seoul area, saying the viral spread is still at risky levels. Restaurants are allowed to provide only takeout and home delivery after 9 p.m. Gyms, billiard clubs and after-school academies are closed.

Officials have also shut down churches and nightspots and shifted most schools back to remote learning nationwide.

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NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana athletic and education officials are cautiously planning for high school football games to begin in October, while Gov. John Bel Edwards is expressing hope he will be able to ease some restrictions on businesses next week.

State officials, leaders of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and lawmakers discussed plans for resuming football at a meeting Friday amid positive trends in the state’s coronavirus statistics.

Later in the day, Edwards made no commitment to ease restrictions that have limited public gatherings and restaurant seating while shutting down bars since July. But, noting that current restrictions expire next Friday, he said he hopes he will be able to move to less restrictive regulations. He didn’t give any details on what looser rules might allow.

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SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico officials say enrollment in Medicaid has increased by nearly 7% in the state since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, with employers shedding jobs and more families entering into poverty.

In a briefing Friday for state legislators, Human Services Secretary David Scrase praised federal legislation that increases the federal matching rate for Medicaid health care and allows the state to quickly extend no-cost coronavirus testing to the poor and undocumented immigrants.

At the same time, he says the current 6.2% boost in federal matching funds is inadequate to keep up with rebounding demand for medical services under Medicaid and could end abruptly at the discretion of federal health regulators.

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is urging Americans to “remain vigilant” about the coronavirus over the Labor Day weekend.

Trump said at a White House briefing Friday that “we need everybody to be careful” and to “apply common sense” in their interactions with one another.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said this week that several Midwestern states that have seen jumps in coronavirus caseloads should be especially vigilant during the holiday weekend. They are North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

Past increases in cases of COVID-19 have followed the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays.

Trump is eager to put the pandemic in the past, but he tells Americans to “let’s just try to get through this one weekend.”