Coronavirus Global Updates: The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has crossed the 11 million mark and now stands at 11,048,509. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths recorded globally has reached over 5.24 lakh (5,24,663), according to data released by Johns Hopkins University.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Saturday updated its official COVID-19 timeline — which tracks the pandemic since its onset in December — to say it was first alerted of the virus by its own office in China and not by China itself, news agency AFP reported. The first cases of the disease, which were orginially diagnosed as pneumonia, were in Wuhan.
The US, in another record surge, reported 57,683 new cases on Friday taking its total to nearly 2.8 million (2,793,453). The country’s death toll stands at 1,29,432. The US cancelled parades and firework displays ahead of its 4th of July celebrations. Brazil, the second-worst hit country by the pandemic, registered 42,223 new cases in the past 24 hours, which has brought its tally to over 1.5 million (1,539,081).
Here are top developments from around the world
South Africa sees over 9,000 fresh Covid cases, tally climbs to 1.7 lakh
South Africa has become a growing hot spot as the pandemic picks up speed in parts of Africa with more than 177,000. In the last 24 hours, the country reported a record of 9,063 infections.
If Africa’s most developed country is struggling to manage the pandemic, that’s ominous for less-prepared African nations. Confirmed cases across the 54-nation continent are now above 433,000.
Over 444,000 confirmed #COVID19 cases on the African continent – with more than 214,000 recoveries & 10,800 deaths. View country figures & more with the WHO African Region COVID-19 Dashboard: https://t.co/V0fkK8dYTg pic.twitter.com/EYuVqubnC8
— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) July 4, 2020
Wearing masks in public places becomes a law in Brazil
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has approved a law requiring masks on streets and in public transportation to help prevent coronavirus infections, AP reported. But he vetoed clauses requiring masks in churches, schools, shops and factories, adding that forcing people to use masks in such places could violate property rights. He also vetoed an article enabling the government to provide masks to vulnerable groups and requiring commercial establishments to provide masks to their employees.
The South American country has recorded 61,884 deaths and 1,539,081, so far.
Tokyo urges people not to travel beyond borders
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Saturday urged residents of the Japanese capital not to travel beyond its borders as new coronavirus infections topped 100 for a third day, Reuters quoted public broadcaster NHK. On Saturday, Japan’s capital confirmed 131 new cases of infections.
Tokyo on Friday reported 124 new cases, up from 107 the day before, partly due to increased testing among night-life workers in the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro districts. Of Saturday’s tally, 100 were people in their 20s and 30s, Kyodo news agency said, citing Koike. Japan’s infection rates remain far below those of many other countries, but the recent rise in cases and the possibility of renewed restrictions have put authorities and businesses on edge.
Iran mandates wearing masks in public places as Covid toll rises
Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied state services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, according to Reuters. Iran has recorded a total of 237,878 infections as on Saturday, including 11,408 deaths.
“Government employees should not serve people who do not wear masks and employees who do not wear them should be considered absentees and sent home,” said Rouhani. Those infected have a “religious duty” to notify others, Rouhani said, adding: “Keeping your infection a secret violates the rights of other people”.
A week-long campaign by state television has been warning viewers that “Corona is not a joke”.
Barcelona basilica reopens for health workers
After nearly four months of being closed, Barcelona’s iconic La Sagrada Familia basilica has reopened its doors exclusively for health workers. The temple invited the first group of health workers on Saturday and more will be able to visit on Sunday and on July 11-12 during a reopening phase the church is calling an “homage” to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
That will be followed by a second phase just for residents of Barcelona. The church says it is still waiting to announce when visitors from outside the city will be permitted entry.
No one allowed in or out: 3,000 Australians in Melbourne in hard lockdown
After reporting fresh 108 infections on Saturday, authorities in Australia’s Victoria state were forced to lock down nine public housing towers and three more Melbourne suburbs. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said 3,000 people in the housing towers will go into “hard lockdown,” meaning “there will be no one allowed in … and no one allowed out.”
Residents in the Flemington and Kensington housing units will receive deliveries of food and medicine, along with alcohol support. They can only leave their homes for food or essential supplies, medical care or care-giving, exercise or for work or education. After a recent flareup, Victoria has 509 active cases of COVID-19 with 25 people hospitalized, including three in intensive care.
Spain locks down county of 2 lakh people
Catalan regional authorities in northeastern Spain on Saturday ordered the lockdown of a county around the city of Lleida due to worrying outbreaks of the infection, AP reported. Restrictions will include – movement to and from El Segriá, around Lleida, which is home to over 200,000 people. Residents will have until 4 p.m. local to enter the area.
This is the first restriction of free movement since the end of Spain’s state of emergency on June 21. Spain was completely locked down from March to June to get its coronavirus outbreak under control, before its national government ended a state of emergency.
The county had registered a jump in 60 cases in 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to over 4,000 in the county.
Pubs, restaurants reopen in UK as lockdown eased
First time after three months of lockdown, England on Saturday eased its lockdown, on what has been branded “Super Saturday”, by opening pubs and restaurants, AP reported. In addition to this, couples can tie the knot once again, people can go and see a movie at their local cinema and many of those who have had enough of their lockdown hair can finally get a trim.
On Friday, another 137 virus-related deaths were recorded across the UK, the large majority in England, taking the total to 44,131, by far the highest in Europe and third behind the United States and Brazil. On Friday, PM Boris Johnson had cautioned people to abide by the social distancing rules. “Let’s not blow it now,” he said.
Seven US states post record COVID cases, curfew in Miami
Alabama and six other US states reported record increase in coronavirus cases on Friday as Florida’s most populous county imposed a curfew ahead of the Independence Day weekend and Arkansas joined a push toward mandating mask-wearing in public. North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alaska, Missouri, Idaho and Alabama all registered new daily highs in cases, Reuters reported.
The recent surge in the southerna dn western states has alarmed public health officials.
The daily US tally of cases stood at 53,483 late on Friday, below the previous day’s record 55,405.
New York state reports 918 new COVID-19 cases
New York state reported 918 new coronavirus infections and nine deaths, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. It’s the first time more than 900 new infections have been reported since June 12, when 916 people tested positive for the virus statewide.
“The more than 900 new cases in New York yesterday, while representing just 1.38 per cent of tests, is a reminder that the virus is still here,” the Democratic governor said in a news release. He added, “I cannot repeat enough that our actions today — those of individuals being smart and following all precautions, and local governments enforcing the state’s guidelines — will determine which direction these numbers go.”
Trump Jr’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle tests positive for COVID-19
Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign and the girlfriend of US President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr, has tested positive for COVID-19, CNN reported.
“After testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure,” said Sergio Gor, Chief of Staff for the Trump Victory Finance Committee. “She’s doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she’s asymptomatic but as a precaution will cancel all upcoming events. Donald Trump Jr was tested negative, but as a precaution is also self isolating and is canceling all public events.”
Guilfoyle tested positive while in South Dakota, right before she was set to attend the US President’s upcoming event at Mount Rushmore, a campaign source told CNN.
Covid cases cross 2 lakh mark in Saudi Arabia, weeks ahead of Hajj pilgrimage
After recording 4,193 new cases on Friday, Saudi Arabia has become the first country in the Gulf to cross the 2,00,000 mark, weeks ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the sacred city of Mecca. The country’s caseload now stands at 2,01,801.
This year’s pilgrimage has been drastically cut back due to the pandemic. While the Hajj usually attracts over 2 million devotees from across the world, this year Saudi Arabia has severely restricted the number of pilgrims who can attend. Only around 1,000 devotees will be allowed to perform the Hajj this year.
As many as 1,802 Covid-related deaths have been reported in the country so far.
Colombia judge bans special Covid restrictions for the elderly
A Colombian judge has prohibited the country’s governments from imposing severe restrictions on people aged 70 and older during the COVID-19 pandemic, Al Jazeera reported.
The judge claimed quarantine measures for the elderly were discriminatory as they mandated senior citizens to remain at home and self isolate. The measures were to be imposed till the end of July.
WHO says first virus alert sent by its own office, not China
The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its official COVID-19 timeline — which has been tracking the virus since its onset last year — to clarify that it was first alerted about the presence of the virus by its own office in China, and not by China itself.
The timeline, which was first published by the global body on April 9, earlier stated that the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission had reported the first case of ‘viral pneumonia’. However, the health body had not specified who had notified it at the time.
The updated chronology claims it was the WHO office in China that notified the municipal body of the pneumonia case, after learning about it in a declaration released on a Wuhan health commission website.
Also read | WHO urges focus on first wave of coronavirus
Over 80 workers at a Peru mine test positive for COVID-19
Global copper mining company Trevali Mining Corporation has confirmed that as many as 82 of its workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at its Santander mine in Peru, Reuters reported.
“A total of 82 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests”, the company said in a statement. Earlier in June, the mining firm had announced that 19 workers tested positive during routine testing, following which operations were suspended.
In its official statement released Friday, the company added that while three workers are presently displaying mild symptoms, all other workers are currently asymptomatic.
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