The Latest: UN chief urges G20 to unite on coronavirus fight

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. chief says it’s “very frustrating” that leaders of the 20 major industrialized nations didn’t come together in March and establish a coordinated response to grapple with the coronavirus in all countries as he proposed.

The result, he says, is every country is taking its own sometimes contradictory actions, and the virus is moving “from east to west, north to south,” with second waves of infections now affecting many countries.

Ahead of the Group of 20 summit next month, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with The Associated Press that he hopes the international community now understands “they need to be much more coordinated in fighting the virus.”

Guterres says the United Nations also will be “strongly advocating” during the G-20 summit for a guarantee that when a vaccine is available, “it becomes indeed available and affordable for everyone, everywhere.”

———

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

— France extends curfew to 38 regions because of coronavirus surge

— African health officials expect WHO distribution of rapid virus tests

— Oxford vaccine trial continues amid death report

— Britain offering financial help for bars, pubs and restaurants struggling because of restrictions due to the coronavirus.

— Czech Republic enters second lockdown to avoid health system collapse. New measures include closing stores, shopping malls and hotels.

— Photographer in Dubai providing free photo shoots to laid-off expats forced to leave the skyscraper-studded Persian Gulf city because of the pandemic.

———

Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

———

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 155 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, its highest daily jump in more than 40 days as officials struggle to stem transmissions at hospitals and nursing homes.

The figures announced Friday brought the national caseload to 25,698, including 455 deaths. Officials say most of the new cases were local transmissions and primarily in the Seoul region, where hundreds of infections have been tied to a handful of hospitals and nursing homes.

A nursing home in Namyangju, east of Seoul, has emerged as the latest cluster of infections, with officials putting the facility under isolation after more than 30 workers and residents tested positive. Around 120 infections have been linked to a hospital in nearby Gwangju.

Friday’s daily jump was the highest since Sept. 11 when 176 new infections were reported.

———

BOISE, Idaho — A regional health board in northern Idaho has voted narrowly to repeal a local mask mandate, acting moments after hearing how the region’s hospital has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and is looking at sending people as far away as Seattle for care.

The board heard Thursday that the hospital in Coeur d’Alene reached 99% capacity the previous day, even after doubling up patients in rooms and buying more beds. The board in Kootenai County then voted 4-3 to end the mask mandate. Kootenai is the third most populous county in conservative Idaho.

Read more