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Coronavirus Global Updates, 17 July: If we fail to address Covid impacts, we risk greater crisis than current one, says WHO Chief

Global Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates: The total number of coronavirus cases across the world reached 13,805,296 and the death toll rose to 589,911 on Friday. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2020 10:37:06 pm
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Coronavirus Global Updates: More than 13.84 million (13,805,296) people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 589,911 have died. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. Also, as many as 7,711,525 people have recovered from the infectious disease.

Meanwhile, Brazil, which is the second worst-hit country after the United States, crossed the 2 million mark in terms of cases on Thursday. As many as 76,000 people have died in the country so far. The US, on the other hand, shattered its daily record for coronavirus infections on Thursday, reporting more than 77,000 new cases as the number of deaths in a 24-hour period rose by nearly 1,000. More than 138,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 so far and a total of 3,576,157 are infected.

Here are some of the top coronavirus news from across the world:

If we fail to address Covid impacts, we risk greater crisis than current one: WHO

The World Health Orgaisation Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that a greater crisis is ahead if we fail to address the wider impacts of the virus.

Addressing a press conference, the WHO chief said emphasised on addressing the issues of the poor and vulnerable countries during pandemic. He said, ” the pandemic is teaching us that health is not a luxury item; it’s the foundation of social, economic & political stability….

We all know that the impacts of the pandemic go far beyond health, and so do the needs, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable countries. That’s why the @UN launched the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for #COVID19 in March,” he said.

Singapore to test all foreign workers for COVID-19 by mid-August

US coronavirus cases, coronavirus cases US, US Europe border, Europe borders open, Europe coronavirus cases, World news, Indian Express People wait to cross a street at the shopping district of Orchard Road as the city state reopens the economy, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore.  REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Singapore government on Friday announced that all foreign workers will be tested for the novel coronavirus by mid-August. With 327 new virus cases on Friday, Singapore’s COVID-19 tally stands at 47,453 and 27 deaths. “We believe that by-mid August we can complete this work (testing of foreign workers), possibly even earlier than that,” a statement from the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force said.

The workers to be tested includes a large number of Indians. Till date, most of Singapore’s virus cases have been reported among foreign workers living in packed dormitories. The government had come under fire after questions were raised on the living conditions in these quarters.

The foreign workers’ dormitories accommodate over 3 lakh people — mostly from India and Bangladesh. Of them, about 2.32 lakh workers have either tested negative for COVID-19 or have recovered from the virus.

The remaining workers, who remain isolated, are “waiting” for their final exit tests, said Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force. “We are doing everything we can to complete that work (testing) and to allow the workers to resume duties safely thereafter. So, this is an important milestone,” Channel News Asia quoted Wong as saying.

Workers being tested in this “final phase” come from dormitories with a high prevalence rate of the infection, the minister said, pointing out that the number of new cases among foreign workers will rise due to the intensive testing.

UK’s Johnson preps for new COVID wave but eyes more opening

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced 3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) in funding on Friday to help the country’s health service cope with a possible second wave of the coronavirus this winter. Johnson is trying to walk a tightrope, persuading Britons that the country is ready for new outbreaks while also encouraging a return to shops, restaurants and workplaces to kick-start a moribund economy that has shrunk by a quarter since March.

At a news conference, Johnson is expected to set out more details of the UK’s road out of a nationwide lockdown that was imposed in March but is gradually being eased. Britain’s official death toll from the coronavirus stands at more than 45,000, the highest in Europe and the third-highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil. A report commissioned by Vallance said this week that there could be 120,000 hospital deaths in a “reasonable worst-case scenario” if a virus surge coincided with a bad flu season over the winter, though it stressed that was not a prediction.

US says COVID-19 retesting not needed by most

The US government’s top official in charge of coronavirus testing is urging Americans not to get retested for COVID-19 to confirm they’ve recovered.Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir said Thursday that repeat testing is not necessary for most people who are infected but remain at home. He said such testing is clogging up the system. US health officials will soon issue guidelines explicitly recommending against the practice, except for patients in the most severe cases. Americans in many states continue to face long lines at testing sites and lag times obtaining their results. The problems are due to a combination of pressures, including increased testing demand, supply shortages and bottlenecks at laboratories processing the tests.

US officials are aiming to increase the use of rapid tests to shorten turnaround times. Those tests can usually be developed in 15 minutes or less and can be performed at testing sites, doctor’s offices and clinics. They tend to be less accurate than the tests that need to be developed at clinical laboratories.

Brazil tops 2 million coronavirus cases, with 76,000 dead

A thousand deaths a day. Since late May, three months after Brazil’s first reported case of the coronavirus, it has recorded more than 1,000 daily deaths on average. On Thursday evening, the federal health ministry reported that the country had passed 2 million confirmed cases of virus infections and 76,000 deaths. Even as cases wane somewhat in the biggest and hardest-hit Brazilian cities, the virus is peaking in new locations across the largest country in Latin America.

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WH says India has done most COVID-19 tests after US

After the US, which has carried out a record 42 million COVID-19 tests, India has done the second largest number of 12 million coronavirus tests, the White House has said. More than 3.5 million people have tested positive with the coronavirus and 138,000 died in the US. Globally, more than 13.6 million have tested positive and over 586,000 have died.

“With regard to (the coronavirus) testing, we’ve done more than 42 million tests. The second-highest number is 12 million from India. We’re leading the world in testing,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday.

No servers, no tables: Israeli cafe is pandemic-friendly

As restaurants worldwide struggle to stay open in the coronavirus era, a new Tel Aviv noodle chain offers a pandemic-friendly approach: meals on the go with no human contact. Fast food cafeterias where customers ordered from vending machines, known as automats, once flourished in New York and other cities around the world in the 20th century. The Go Noodles branch, which opened last week, offers a similar experience that is fully digital.

Customers order via application or touch-screen monitors at the store and provide their cellphone number. When their food is ready, they get a text message with the code to one of several glass-paned lockers lining the back wall of the restaurant. There are no tables, no servers, and little risk of contagion. Customers can pick up takeout orders without coming within 6 feet (2 meters) of any restaurant employees.

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Japan PM faces anger over backflip on virus-spurred tourism subsidy

The Japanese government faced potentially damaging blowback on Friday after barring Tokyo residents from claiming a travel subsidy that is aimed at reviving a domestic tourism industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s $16 billion “Go To” tourism campaign was intended to promote travel across the country, but officials agreed on Thursday to exclude the capital after recent record numbers of coronavirus infections there.

Top French diplomat in first Iraq visit since virus outbreak

France’s foreign minister warned of the persistent threat from the Islamic State group in a visit to Iraq on Thursday, his first official trip outside the European Union since the coronavirus pandemic erupted. Jean-Yves Le Drian met with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, in Baghdad; the two discussed a broad range of subjects, from IS prisoners of French origin held in Iraqi jails, to the continuing threat posed by IS militants and France’s ongoing investment projects in the country.

Philippines to allow some foreigners to enter from August

The Philippines will allow the entry of foreign nationals with long-term visas into the country from August 1, the presidential spokesman said on Friday, as the country gradually relaxes some coronavirus restrictions in a bid to support the economy. Foreigners with valid and existing visas would need to undergo quarantine upon arrival, said Harry Roque, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte. Long-term visa holders refer to foreigners living and working in the country, Roque told Reuters. Applications for new entry visas will not be accepted and returning Filipinos will have priority on inbound flights given existing caps on airport capacity, the task force said.

China’s western Urumqi cancels hundreds of flights after report of new case

Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, cancelled hundreds of flights on Friday, after the report of its first coronavirus case in about five months fuelled concerns of a potential new outbreak. Epidemic control measures led to the cancellation of more than 600 scheduled flights at Urumqi Diwopu International Airport, or more than 80% of the day’s total, figures from aviation data firm Variflight showed. Urumqi also suspended subway services from late Thursday. The National Health Commission reported 10 new confirmed virus infections for the mainland, one a locally transmitted case in Xinjiang and nine involving international travellers from abroad.

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US leaders clash over masks as new Covid cases set another record

Colorado and Arkansas on Thursday joined a growing list of U.S. states requiring face coverings in public to combat a surge in coronavirus infections, after Georgia’s governor moved the other way and barred such measures from being imposed at the local level. The conflicting directives over masks came as the United States reported at least 77,000 new COVID-19 cases nationwide on Thursday, a record daily jump in known infections for the seventh time this month, according to a Reuters tally. Texas alone accounted for one in five of the newly reported cases.

Trump administration exempts European students from coronavirus travel restrictions

Foreign students coming from Europe are exempt from a travel ban the United States imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. State Department told congressional offices on Thursday.The State Department also told lawmakers that it would offer exemptions for some au pairs and family members of visa holders in the United States, according to a memo sent to lawmakers and seen by Reuters.The moves are part of a Trump administration effort to gradually reopen international travel following months of sweeping restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine data, say UK, US and Canada

Hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday. A co-ordinated statement from Britain, the United States and Canada attributed the attacks to group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, which they said was almost certainly operating as part of Russian intelligence services.

UN aid chief to G20 on coronavirus: ‘Step up now or pay price later’

Coronavirus support to poor countries has been so far “grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously shortsighted,” U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said on Thursday as he asked wealthy countries for billions more dollars in assistance. The United Nations increased its humanitarian appeal by more than a third to $10.3 billion to help 63 states, mainly in Africa and Latin America, tackle the spread and destabilizing effects of the coronavirus. This is up from the world body’s initial $2 billion request in March, then $6.7 billion in May. So far, Lowcock said, the United Nations has only received $1.7 billion.

Israel sets new weekend shutdown to fight coronavirus surge

Israel imposed a new weekend shutdown on Friday and tightened a series of coronavirus curbs to lower infection rates, amid growing public anger over the government’s handling of the crisis. People would be allowed to leave their homes this weekend but malls, shops, pools, zoos and museums would shut from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, the government said in a statement. Full weekend lockdowns that could confine people to their homes may be imposed by July 24, after the government gains parliamentary approval for that, Israel Radio reported.

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