What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

Countries around the world are wrestling with how to ease curbs on business and public activity without having the coronavirus come surging back.

While South Korea’s capital shut down nightclubs, Belarus shrugged off safety concerns and held a full-fledged military parade to mark the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II.

And in the U.S., regulators announced they have approved a new, rapid test for the coronavirus that officials have touted as a key to opening up the country.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Saturday on the coronavirus pandemic. Follow APNews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates through the day and APNews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak for stories explaining some of its complexities.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— More employers are coming to the reluctant conclusion that many laid-off employees might not be returning to their old jobs anytime soon.

— Three members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, placed themselves in quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

— The economic devastation has upended the U.S. presidential campaign, forcing President Donald Trump to face historic headwinds in his reelection bid.

— Former President Barack Obama harshly criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster,” according to a recording obtained by Yahoo News.

— Republican-controlled legislatures are increasingly trying to strip Democratic governors of executive authority to order closures, a power grab that channels frustration over economic woes but could have long-term consequences. Meanwhile some governors are seeking to bolster home-state production of vital medical supplies and protective equipment.

— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing increasing criticism because his state leads the nation in nursing home deaths.

— Tens of thousands of crew members are stuck aboard cruise ships and begging to come home, weeks after passengers were allowed to disembark.

— Egypt’s president approved an expansion of his powers that the government says is needed to contain the outbreak, prompting condemnation from rights watchdogs.

— Some small Native American villages in the U.S. Southwest are embracing extraordinary isolation measures such as guarded roadblocks to turn away outsiders.

— The reopening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a little too tempting of a draw as nature lovers from dozens of states crowded trails and trekked into blocked-off areas, a spokeswoman said.

— With the start of the winter wheat harvest just weeks away, it’s been a struggle getting the foreign workers usually relied on to run combines.

— Many older adults being discharged from British hospitals after treatment for COVID-19 face stigma and ostracization as well as weeks or months of self-isolation.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

For most people, the 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. The vast majority of people recover.

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.

One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.

TRACKING THE VIRUS: Drill down and zoom in at the individual county level, and you can access numbers that will show you the situation where you are, and where loved ones or people you’re worried about live.

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ONE NUMBER

— 5: Sweden’s Public Health Agency says Somali Swedes made up almost 5% of all COVID-19 cases in the country, yet represent less than 1% of its population of 10 million people.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— LAWN WEDDINGS: Couples with dashed plans have been tying the knot on the tidy green spreads instead.

— TURKEY HUNTING: This is one spring tradition that didn’t get canceled.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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