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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Coronavirus Global Updates, July 3: Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi tests positive for virus; Quarantine-free travel from UK to Cyprus to start

Global Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Updates: With a caseload of over 2.7 million, the United States continues to be the worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil ranks second with more than 1.4 million positive cases.

By: Express Web Desk | Margao, New Delhi | Updated: July 4, 2020 7:22:10 am
SCO summit, SCO summit 2020, SCO summit India, SCO summit Pakistan, 2020 SCO summit, India news, Indian Express Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is the senior most functionary of the government to be infected with the virus (Reuters)

Coronavirus Global Updates: Over 10.8 million (10,842,615) people have tested positive for COVID-19 worldwide and over 5.2 lakh (520,785) have died due to the illness, according to data released by John Hopkins University.

Crude prices fell Friday as the number of recorded Covid cases shot up globally, including in the United States — the world’s largest oil consumer. With several nations reimposing restrictions and re-sealing borders, fuel demand recovery is under threat, news agency Reuters reported

“Brent crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.9%, at $42.77 a barrel as of 0042 GMT, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 34 cents, or 0.8%, to $40.31 a barrel,” the Reuters report stated.

With a caseload of over 2.7 million (2,739,230), the United States continues to be the worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The US has recorded a total of 128,743 Covid-related deaths so far. Brazil ranks second with more than 1.4 million (1,496,858) positive coronavirus cases and 61,884 deaths.

Here are the top developments of the day

Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi tests positive for virus

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday announced that he has tested positive for the coronavirus disease and quarantined himself. Qureshi is the senior most functionary of the government to be infected with the virus. He is the Vice President of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and considered as number two in the government after Prime Minister Imran Khan. Several Pakistani lawmakers contracted the deadly virus and some of them have also died.

Serbia’s capital declares state of emergency as infections surge

Serbia’s authorities has declared a state of emergency effective immediately in Belgrade, reimposing some restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to Reuters. Residents of the city will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces or on public transport, opening hours of clubs and cafes will be shortened, and gatherings will be limited to 100 people indoors or 500 outdoors.

On Thursday, Serbia recorded 359 new infections, bringing its total confirmed cases to 15,195, up from 11,523 a month ago. So far 287 people have died.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Serbia begun to rise since May, when the government lifted a countrywide lockdown. Soccer matches with thousands of fans, religious festivities and parliamentary elections are believed to have contributed to the spike in infections.

Waiters, wearing protective face masks waiting in front a restaurant in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, July 2, 2020. (AP Photo)

Kim Jong Un urges North Koreans to keep up virus fight

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged officials to maintain alertness against the coronavirus, warning that complacency risked “unimaginable and irretrievable crisis”, AP quoted the state media as saying. Earlier this year, North Korea had shut down nearly all cross-border traffic, banned tourists and mobilised health workers to quarantine anyone with similar symptoms to the disease.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report said Kim during the politburo meeting of the Workers’ Party “stressed the need to maintain maximum alert without a slight self-complacence or relaxation,” as the virus continues to spread in neighbouring countries.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a politburo meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, June 2, 2020. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Behave yourselves: UK PM warns as pubs get ready to reopen

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Friday urged its citizens to act responsibly when pubs reopen this weekend and not to blow the collective effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “I hope very much that people will behave responsibly and enjoy summer safely,” Johnson told LBC radio, according to Reuters.

“We think we’re in good shape, but my message is, let’s not blow it now.”

The much-awaited event has been dubbed “Super Saturday” in the media, sparking worries that after months cooped up indoors, some people could get carried away and risk spreading COVID-19.

Owner Are Kjetil Kolltveit from Norway places markers for social distancing on the front of the bar at the Chandos Arms pub in London. (AP Photo)

US sees 55,000 cases in a day, hits new global record

The United States recorded more than 55,000 fresh coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a new daily global record for the coronavirus pandemic, as infections rose in a majority of states, Reuters reported. The daily tally in US stood at 55,274 late Thursday, topping the previous single-day record of 54,771 set by Brazil on June 19.

Coronavirus cases are rising in 37 out of 50 U.S. states including Florida, which confirmed more than 10,000 new cases on Thursday. The nation’s caseload stands at 2,739,879 with 128,740 deaths.

South Africa’s hospitals brace for surge of patients

South Africa has seen huge spike in coronavirus in the past month – infections quadrupled in June, following which its hospitals are now bracing for an onslaught of patients, setting up temporary wards and hoping advances in treatment will help the country’s health facilities from becoming overwhelmed.

“A lot, a lot, a lot of people are coming in every day. With COVID-19,” said a nurse working at a Johannesburg hospital – where the ward for coronavirus patients is full, so new arrivals are sent to the general ward, where they wait days for test results.

“It is hard to see how our hospitals will be able to cope. Our facilities are reaching a tipping point,” said Shabir Madhi, professor of vaccinology at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, who is leading a vaccine trial in South Africa in cooperation with Britain’s University of Oxford. Overnight the country reported its largest daily number of new confirmed cases — 8,728 and as of Friday, 2,844 people had died, according to official statistics.

A man looks into a tent as a health worker in protective gear collects a sample for COVID-19 testing in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, South Africa.  (AP Photo)

Japan won’t reimpose state of emergency despite spike in cases

A day after Tokyo recorded 107 new COVID-19 cases — its highest single-day spike in two months — the government said the it would not be reintroduce a state of emergency to contain new outbreaks.

During a press briefing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the number of serious cases were declining, and the new cases surfacing in the past few weeks were among young people in their 20s and 30s.

The country had lifted its state of emergency on May 25 after it claimed it had successfully driven down the daily rise in cases by identifying clusters and urging people to avoid what they called the ‘Three Cs’ — closed spaces, crowds, and close-contact settings.

coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19 news, corona news, covid 19 usa A teacher and students wearing hat designed for space keeper, practice social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at Ban Pa Muad School in Chiang Mai, north of Thailand, Friday, July 3, 2020. (AP/PTI Photo)

Australian govt links Victoria outbreak to ‘super spreader’

Following a recent spike in cases in Australia’s Victoria, the state’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has said that a “super spreader” may be responsible for a majority of the new cases being recorded in parts of Melbourne.

“On Tuesday, I received a briefing of a genomic sequencing report that seemed to suggest that there seems to be a single source of infection for many of the cases that have gone across the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne. It appears to be even potentially a super spreader that has caused this upsurge in cases,” Mikakos said at a conference.

As many as 66 new cases were confirmed on Friday — the sources of 28 of these are currently under investigation, ABC News reported. Meanwhile, 17 cases have been linked to known outbreaks, 20 were found during routine testing and one was detected in hotel quarantine.

Trump says US economy is ‘roaring back’

US President Donald Trump Thursday hailed a recent report, which showed a decline in unemployment rates, and said that the US’ economy was “roaring back” even as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

At a press conference at the White House, Trump praised his administration’s handling of the pandemic, predicting a “fantastic” third quarter that would help him before the November election, Bloomberg reported.

This comes after the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States shattered records by rising more than 50,000 for a second consecutive day.

coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19 news, corona news, covid 19 usa A woman wearing a protective face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks near signs asking customers to wear protective masks to enter the facility at an underground shopping street in Tokyo Friday, July 3, 2020. (AP Photo: Eugene Hoshiko)

Kim Jong-Un says North Korea’s handling of Covid is ‘shining success’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has praised the countries’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — calling it a “shining success”, state-run KCNA news agency reported.

Reviewing the strategies employed to contain the virus at a Worker’s Party politburo meeting, Kim said, “We have thoroughly prevented the inroad of the malignant virus” and “maintained stable anti-epidemic situation despite the worldwide health crisis,” KCNA reported.

He stressed that there was still a need to “maintain maximum alert” especially as new outbreaks were being reported in “neighbouring countries”.

Restrictions in Gwanju after South Korea reports 63 new cases

As many as 63 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in South Korea Thursday, raising concerns over a potential second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. A majority of the cases were domestic infections outside the capital city of Seoul, The Guardian reported.

Local authorities in the southwestern city of Gwanju are now scrambling to reimpose stringent social distancing measures after more than 50 cases were recorded here in the past few days, according to a report in The Associated Press. Public facilities like libraries and museums have been closed in the city in an attempt to contain the fresh outbreak.

Earlier, South Korea was widely praised for quickly mitigating the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic soon after cases began to be reported in the country.

coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19 news, corona news, covid 19 usa A boy jumps into the water at the gold-plated infinity pool of the newly inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake luxury hotel, after the government eased a nationwide lockdown following the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hanoi, Vietnam July 3, 2020. (Reuters Photo: Kham)

UK to lift quarantine rules for summer tourists

The UK government will relax its 14-day quarantine requirements for travellers from some countries, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy, from July 10 onward. The government also urged these countries to include the UK in their quarantine-free list, therefore lifting their own travel restrictions for UK citizens, Reuters reported.

“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a press briefing.

All tourists will be required to provide their contact details and travel history on arrival, Shapps said. People who are either travelling from or have transited through any non-exempt country will have to self isolate for 14 days.

According to a report by the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, quarantine rules will be lifted for tourists arriving from at least 75 countries this summer. The UK has announced that it will soon be lifting the ban on non-essential travel to several foreign countries — including nearly all EU nations, British territories like Bermuda and Gibraltar, as well as Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

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