Coronavirus Global Updates: With 9.4 million infections and 482,923 fatalities, the World Health Organization said the pandemic in many countries has not yet peaked and that it was “still intense,” especially in America. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom has said he expects the number of coronavirus cases around the world to reach 10 million next week. “This is a sober reminder that as we continue Research and Development into vaccines, we have an urgent responsibility to do everything we can with the tools we have now to suppress the infection,” he said.
There are signs that the situation is worsening in the United States, wiping out two months of progress in controlling the infection. The United States recorded a one-day total of 34,700 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest level since late April, when the number peaked at 36,400, according to Johns Hopkins University.
While newly confirmed infections have been declining steadily in early hot spots such as New York and New Jersey, several other states set single-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, and Oklahoma. Some of them also broke hospitalization records, as did North Carolina and South Carolina
Here’s the COVID-19 news from across the globe that you should know
Remdesivir endorsed as first drug against Covid-19 in Europe
Remdesivir, which has been shown in trials to speed the recovery time of people hospitalised with COVID-19, has received its first approval to treat the coronavirus from the European Medicines Agency, AP reported. “Remdesivir is the first medicine against COVID-19 to be recommended for authorization in the EU,” teh agency said. The regulatory agency says it was granting a conditional marketing authorization for remdesivir to be used in treating adults and adolescents older than 12 with pneumonia who require oxygen.
Singapore may clear 70-80% foreign workers of COVID-19 next month
Around 70 to 80 per cent of foreign workers, staying in dormitories in Singapore are expected to be cleared of COVID-19 by the end of July, a senior minister said, according to PTI. About 120,000 migrant workers have either recovered or tested negative for COVID-19 so far, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said. “By the end of next month, we will have covered quite a large proportion of the workers in the dormitories,” Channel News Asia quoted Wong as saying, according to PTI. “And shortly after that, we will be able to completely clear all the workers and clear the dormitories. All the workers, we expect, will be able to resume work thereafter,” he said.
Applications for jobless aid fall to still-high 1.48 million
The number of laid-off workers who applied for unemployment benefits declined slightly to 1.48 million last week, the 12th straight drop and a sign that layoffs are slowing but are still at a painfully high level. The steady decline suggests that the job market has begun to slowly heal from the pandemic, which shuttered businesses and sent the unemployment rate up to 14.7 per cent in April, its highest level since the Great Depression. (AP)
Surge of cases in Europe since lockdown easing: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge in a media briefing said that Europe has seen a surge of Covid-19 cases since countries began easing restrictions. “Last week, Europe saw an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months,” he said, adding that more than two dozen countries in Europe had seen resurgences of the deadly virus. “Thirty countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks. In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe,” Guardian quoted Kluge as saying.
— WHO/Europe (@WHO_Europe) June 25, 2020
Ending the 104-day shutdown, the iconic Eiffel Towers in France Thursday reopened to visitors after its longest-ever closure since World War II. As Europe opened its borders, tourists trickling to Paris were delighted to find the landmark open when some other attractions in the French capital remain closed. The Louvre Museum isn’t reopening until July 6.
Lifts in the tower remain closed and for now people have to take stairs, AP reported. Of the tower’s three decks, only the first two reopened. The tower lost 27 million euros ($30 million) from the lockdown that started in March, according to its director general, Patrick Branco Ruivo.
Disney delays Southern California theme park reopenings
Disney has announced to postpone the mid-July reopening of its Southern California theme parks until it receives guidelines from the state. The company had hoped to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim on July 17 after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus. But the state has indicated it won’t issue guidelines until after July 4, the company said. The parks closed on March 14.
“Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials,” Disney said. Disney also will delay the planned July 23 reopening of its Grand Californian and Paradise Pier hotels.
WHO warns of oxygen shortage as infections near 10 million
The World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world faces a shortage of oxygen concentrators as the number of worldwide cases of coronavirus infection nears the 10 million mark. “Many countries are now experiencing difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “Demand is currently outstripping supply.”
The sudden rise in covid cases has created a dearth of oxygen concentrators needed to support breathing of COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory distress. The health agency has purchased 14,000 oxygen concentrators from manufacturers and plans to send them to 120 countries in coming weeks, Tedros said. A further 170,000 concentrators will be potentially available over the next six months.
One of the most effective ways of saving lives from #COVID19 is providing oxygen to patients who need it.
WHO estimates that at the current rate of ~ 1 million new cases a week, the world needs about 620,000 cubic meters of oxygen a day, which is nearly 88,000 large cylinders. pic.twitter.com/ptLcnPGBMa
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 24, 2020
Infections exceed 400,000 in Gulf regions
The number of coronavirus cases in the six Gulf Arab states has doubled in a month reporting 403,163 infections and 2,346 fatalities, according to Reuters tally. The energy producing region passed the 200,000 mark last month on May 27.
United Arab Emirates (UAE): On Wednesday, the UAE lifted its nightly curfew which was in place since mid-March as the daily number of infections fell from a peak of some 900 in late May to average between 300-400 in recent weeks.
Saudi Arabia: On Sunday, the region with highest covid count removed its three-month curfew. The country has more than 167,200 infections and over 1,380 deaths.
Kuwait: The only Gulf state that has a partial curfew in place
Qatar: The state with the second highest regional infection count, has said it would permit resumption of flights from low-risk countries on July 1 as well as the reopening of shopping malls and markets with limited capacity.
UK must prepare for second wave: Doctors
In a letter published in the British Medical Journal, doctors including the presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians warned that local flare-ups are likely and a second wave is a real risk. Preparing for that possibility is now urgent, as is a review of national preparedness, they said.
Qantas to cut 6,000 jobs
Qantas Airways Ltd. plans to raise as much as A$1.9 billion ($1.3 billion) and cut at least 6,000 jobs as the pandemic that’s halted international travel shows no sign of easing.
The Australian airline will also ground about 100 aircraft for around 12 months, it said in a statement Thursday. The job cuts represent about 20% of the workforce. Qantas this month canceled most international flights until late October after the government said Australia’s borders are likely to remain closed until next year.
Apple to close stores in Houston
Apple has decided to re-close seven of its recently reopened stores in the Houston area because of COVID-19 problems in Texas. The resurgence of the disease prompted Apple to backtrack and close the Houston area stores on Wednesday afternoon. The move comes just days after Apple re-closed 11 other stores in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina because of escalating cases in those states. Apple closed all of its US stores in March before it gradually started to re-open some last month in an effort to allow shoppers to check iPhones and other products without exposing themselves and company employees to an elevated risk of becoming infected.
South Africa reports record rise
South Africa reported a record 5,688 new cases, bringing its total to 111,796, data released Wednesday by the Health Ministry showed. That marks the most in Africa and a fifth consecutive day that new cases surpassed 4,000. The number of people who died after contracting the coronavirus in South Africa rose by more than 100 for a second day, bringing the total tally to 2,205.
NYC Marathon canceled
The TCS New York City Marathon, the world’s biggest, has been canceled due to the coronarvirus, its organizers said. The 26.2-mile (42 kilometer) race, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary in November, attracts more than 50,000 runners and about 1 million spectators. It is one of the city’s biggest events of the year and major boost for businesses.
California Disneyland delays reopening as virus cases surge
Walt Disney Co said the reopening of theme parks and resort hotels in California will be delayed until Disneyland receives approval from state officials, as the state is hit by a huge spike in new coronavirus cases. Disney had originally planned to reopen the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park on July 17. “California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4,” Disney said in a statement on Wednesday. California witnessed its largest ever spike in confirmed new cases on Tuesday, with an additional 7,149 infections taking the state total to 190,222.
Virus concerns prompt Democrats to hold largely virtual nominating convention
Democrats will hold a largely virtual convention in August to nominate Joe Biden as their presidential candidate, the party said on Wednesday, with Biden giving his acceptance speech in person in Milwaukee, but state delegations staying home. The decision comes as novel coronavirus cases are spiking in several states nationwide, including California, Florida and Texas, further upending the 2020 presidential race. Republicans, in contrast, plan to hold a largely in-person event in Jacksonville, Florida, in August, intending to have President Donald Trump accept his nomination on Aug. 27 before thousands in an indoor arena.
Australia sees a spike
Australia has posted its biggest one-day spike in coronavirus cases in two months, heightening concerns the nation may be entering a second wave of infections that could jeopardize a further easing of lockdown restrictions. Victoria state recorded 33 cases overnight, while neighboring New South Wales added 4. Even with most of the other states and territories largely containing community transmission, the tally is the highest daily total since 41 on April 19. Over 7,550 cases have been reported in the continent
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