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Florida site of GOP convention orders wearing of masks

People, social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, wait in line at a mask distribution event, Friday, June 26, 2020, in a COVID-19 hotspot of the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. Photo: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee. People, social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, wait in line at a mask distribution event, Friday, June 26, 2020, in a COVID-19 hotspot of the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami.

Associated Press
Created: June 29, 2020 03:16 PM

The city of Jacksonville, Florida, where mask-averse President Donald Trump plans to accept the Republican nomination in August, ordered the wearing of face coverings Monday, joining the list of state and local governments reversing course to try to beat back a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Less than a week after Mayor Lenny Curry said that there would be no mask requirement, city officials announced that coverings must be worn in "situations where individuals cannot socially distance."

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White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the president's advice is to "do whatever your local jurisdiction requests of you."

Trump has refused to wear a mask on recent trips to states and businesses that require them.

In recent weeks, the Republicans moved some of the convention pageantry to Jacksonville after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina objected to the holding of a large gathering in Charlotte without social-distancing measures.

The Jacksonville order came on the same day that the head of the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic is "not even close to being over" and is accelerating.

"The worst is yet to come," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu. "With this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst."

Health authorities have recorded more than 10 million confirmed infections and a half-million deaths globally, including 2.5 million cases and 126,000 lives lost in the United States. The U.S. is seeing a surge in confirmed cases, especially in the South and West, with about 40,000 per day.

Experts say the actual numbers, both in the U.S. and globally, are probably far higher, in part because of testing limitations and the large number of people without symptoms.

Places such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars in some cases and ordering the wearing of masks.

Elsewhere around the world, India set another record with a one-day total of 20,000 newly confirmed infections. Several Indian states reimposed partial or full lockdowns after the total number of cases jumped by nearly 100,000 in one week to about 548,000.

In China, nearly 8.3 million out of about 21 million have undergone testing in recent weeks in Beijing after an outbreak centered on a wholesale market. The country reported just 12 new cases Monday, including seven in Beijing.

South Korean authorities reported 47 new cases as they struggled to curb outbreaks that have spread from Seoul to other regions. Officials said they are preparing to impose stronger social-distancing measures — including banning gatherings of more than 10 people, shutting schools and halting professional sports — if the daily increase in infections doubles more than twice in a week.

In the Philippines, a Southeast Asian coronavirus hot spot with more than 35,000 confirmed infections, local officials came under fire for allowing a street parade and dance during a weekend religious festival to honor St. John the Baptist despite prohibitions against public gatherings.

The European Union is preparing a list of 15 countries whose citizens will be allowed to visit the bloc beginning Wednesday, Spain's foreign minister, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, told the Cadena SER radio network. Because of the resurgence in the U.S., America may not be on that list.

"This is not an exercise to be nice or unfriendly to other countries. This is an exercise of self-responsibility," she said.


(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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