September 2 coronavirus news

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4:23 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Scotland and Wales see rise of imported cases in travelers arriving from Greece

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London and Sugam Pokharel in Atlanta

People visit a beach in Athens, Greece, on September 1.
People visit a beach in Athens, Greece, on September 1. Marios Lolos/Xinhua/Sipa

Scotland announced Tuesday that travelers returning from Greece would be required to follow quarantine restrictions, after "a significant rise" in imported cases from the Mediterranean country.

Travelers entering from Greece will be required to self-isolate at home, or another specified address, for 14 days on arrival in Scotland from Thursday, the Scottish government said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, the Welsh government on Tuesday said it has "identified multiple separate clusters linked to the Greek island of Zante/Zakynthos," prompting authorities to ask travelers arriving in Wales from the island to self-isolate for 14 days. 

In a statement, Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said he has "pressed for an early meeting with the UK government and devolved nations tomorrow to consider the latest assessment of risk by the Joint Biosecurity Centre."

Greek reopening: Greece was one of the first European countries to reopen to tourists, as the country managed to keep its coronavirus death toll remarkably low by enforcing a strict lockdown early on.

Last month, the Greek government announced new measures, including a mandatory negative Covid-19 test for visitors entering the country from Spain, Sweden, Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

It also announced a midnight curfew for bars and restaurants in 16 areas in Greece, including Athens where the majority of the cases were reported. 

The Mediterranean nation has so far registered 10,524 coronavirus cases and 271 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

4:14 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Hong Kong relaxes some Covid-19 restrictions as new cases fall

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Customers dine inside a restaurant in Lei King Wan in Hong Kong, China, on August 28.
Customers dine inside a restaurant in Lei King Wan in Hong Kong, China, on August 28. Roy Liu/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hong Kong will relax some Covid-19 restrictions as the city's locally transmitted cases start to drop, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said today.

Starting on Friday, restaurants will be allowed to extend dine-in services until 10 p.m., instead of the current 9 p.m. rule, Chan said. 

Gyms, massage parlors, some sports grounds and playgrounds will also be allowed to reopen from Friday.

However, the current ban on gatherings of more than two people will remain in place for another week, she added.

The city clamped down with harsh new restrictions in late July amid a third wave of infections, peaking at 149 cases on July 30.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported nine locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, the Centre for Health Protection announced.

3:03 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Nearly 200 people indicted for clashes over face mask requirement in South Korea

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

Nearly 200 people have been indicted in South Korea for clashes over face mask requirements on public transportation, according to the country's vice health minister.

The government imposed the mandatory face mask rule on public transport on May 26.

Those who violate the rule can be denied entry onto public transit -- but this has led to several violent confrontations between mask-less individuals and drivers, conductors, or other passengers, the country's National Police Agency said.

Authorities have investigated 385 people for such incidents, of which 198 were indicted and arrested.

Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said on Wednesday that authorities are taking violations of this mandate very seriously, adding that nine other people are currently under arrest.

South Korea has reported a total of 20,449 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 326 deaths from the virus.

2:47 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

The pandemic has pushed Australia into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years

From CNN's Laura He and Angus Watson

A 'closing down' sign fills the window of a homewares store in Melbourne, Australia, on September 1.
A 'closing down' sign fills the window of a homewares store in Melbourne, Australia, on September 1. Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has officially pushed Australia into its first economic recession in nearly three decades.

The country's GDP contracted 7% in the second quarter compared to the prior one, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Wednesday.

It marks the second straight quarter of declines for Australia --- GDP shrank 0.3% in the first quarter --- and the largest drop since records began in 1959. It was also worse than the estimated 5.9% drop expected in a poll of analysts by Refinitiv.

Authorities attributed the fall to the pandemic and shutdown measures the country has taken to contain it, though Australia had already been wrangling with issues before then.

In the most recent quarter, the closures of hotels, restaurants and other services because of the pandemic clearly took a hit: Household consumption plunged more than 12%, while spending on services cratered nearly 18%.

"We have done everything possible to cushion the blow for the Australian community from Covid-19," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in Canberra on Wednesday. "Our priority has and will continue to be saving lives and ensuring that Australia's healthcare system has the capacity to test and to trace and to treat coronavirus cases."

Read the full story:

1:53 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

US records more than 43,000 new Covid-19 cases

The United States recorded 43,253 new Covid-19 infections and 1,067 virus-related fatalities on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The national total now stands at 6,075,384 cases, including 184,686 deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

Follow our live tracker of US cases:

1:53 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

South Korean pastor apologizes after more than 1,000 Covid-19 cases linked to his church

From CNN's Gawon Bae in Seoul

Pastor Jun Kwang-hun of the Sarang Jeil Church speaks outside a detention center in Uiwang, South Korea on April 20.
Pastor Jun Kwang-hun of the Sarang Jeil Church speaks outside a detention center in Uiwang, South Korea on April 20. Ko Jun-beom/Newsis/AP

Jun Kwang-hoon, pastor of the Sarang-jeil Church in South Korea's capital Seoul, apologized to the public today after being released from the hospital 16 days after testing positive for Covid-19. 

The church attracted widespread backlash in August when it became the center of a coronavirus outbreak. As of Tuesday, 1,083 cases have been linked to the church, according to the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Wednesday, Jun addressed the public wearing a face mask and apologized for the concerns he and his church have caused.

Following the church's outbreak, Seoul's government said it would seek damages against Sarang-jeil Church and Jun for wasting administrative resources and money through their non-compliance.

Jun was already facing criminal charges at the time for allegedly violating quarantine and obstructing contact tracing.

12:58 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Night curfew to be imposed in Havana for first time as coronavirus cases surge again 

From CNN's Patrick Oppmann in Havana

Cuban police patrol the streets of Havana during a curfew imposed to contain the resurgence of Covid-19, on September 1.
Cuban police patrol the streets of Havana during a curfew imposed to contain the resurgence of Covid-19, on September 1. Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit Cuba, Havana residents will face a nightly curfew and will not be allowed to travel to other provinces, the city's mayor said.

Cuban authorities have struggled to control a second wave of coronavirus outbreak in Havana, just weeks after they had said the spread of the virus was all but defeated on the island.

The curfew, from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., starts Tuesday evening local time. It will last for at least 15 days, said Gov. Reinaldo Garcia Zapata.

He added that the new restrictions will also increase penalties on people not wearing a mask, and ban the consumption of alcohol in public.

Cuba has recorded a total of 3,806 coronavirus cases and 92 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

12:30 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

Mexico's total Covid-19 cases top 600,000

From CNN’s Natalie Gallón in Mexico City and Leighton Rowell in Atlanta

Mexico reported 6,476 new cases of Covid-19 and 827 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, according to the country's Health Ministry.

That raises the country's total to 606,036 infections and 65,241 fatalities.

In Latin America, Mexico has reported the fourth-highest number of total coronavirus cases, following Brazil, Peru and Colombia, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

CNN is tracking worldwide coronavirus cases here:

12:01 a.m. ET, September 2, 2020

There's a legitimate way to end coronavirus vaccine trials early, Fauci says

From Liz Szabo, Kaiser Health News

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis hearing in Washington, DC, on July 31.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis hearing in Washington, DC, on July 31. Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images

A Covid-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if ongoing clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease official, in an interview Tuesday with KHN.

Although two ongoing clinical trials of 30,000 volunteers are expected to conclude by the end of the year, Fauci said an independent board has the authority to end the trials weeks early if interim results are overwhelmingly positive or negative.

The Data and Safety Monitoring Board could say, "'The data is so good right now that you can say it's safe and effective,'" Fauci said. In that case, researchers would have "a moral obligation" to end the trial early and make the active vaccine available to everyone in the study, including those who had been given placebos -- and accelerate the process to give the vaccine to millions.

Fauci's comments come at a time of growing concern about whether political pressure from the Trump administration could influence federal regulators and scientists overseeing the nation's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and erode shaky public confidence in vaccines. Prominent vaccine experts have said they fear Trump is pushing for an early vaccine approval to help win reelection.

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