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Global Coronavirus Updates, August 15: Germany defends calling Spain virus ‘risk area’

Global Coronavirus Updates: The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases at 5,271,087, with 167,278 deaths, followed by Brazil with 3,224,876 cases and 105,463 deaths and India with 2,461,190 cases and 48,040 deaths.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 15, 2020 8:40:33 pm
Global coronavirus updates: People queue in line to check-in for the cross channel ferry in Calais, France, Friday Aug.14, 2020. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Coronavirus Global Updates: More than 21 million people are infected by the novel coronavirus, with at least 7,59,411 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases at 5,271,087, with 167,278 deaths, followed by Brazil with 3,224,876 cases and 105,463 deaths and India with 2,461,190 cases and 48,040 deaths.

Coronavirus cases in Latin America, one of the world’s worst-affected regions, crossed the six million mark on Friday. With most countries relaxing lockdown restrictions, the region has recorded more than 86,000 new cases in the last seven days. Over 2,600 people have succumbed to the virus this week, Reuters reported.

Global Coronavirus Updates, August 15 A man holding a portrait practices social distancing while visiting Yasukuni Shrine on the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War Two, amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan August 15, 2020. (Reuters)

Here are the latest developments around the world:

Germany defends calling Spain virus ‘risk area’

Germany’s health minister has defended the decision to declare all of mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands “risk areas” for coronavirus infection.

Travellers must undergo compulsory testing and two-week quarantine after arriving from there. Health Minister Jens Spahn told Bild on Saturday that he knows “how much Germans love Spain as a vacation destination. But the numbers there are rising quickly, too quickly.”

The travel classification also includes the Spanish island of Mallorca, a popular destination for German tourists.

About 300,000 people arrested in S Africa for breaching lockdown laws

Nearly 300,000 people have been arrested in South Africa for violating the lockdown laws that were introduced at the end of March to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, according to the figures released here.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele announced the quarterly crime statistics on Friday. At the start of the lockdown, Cele had warned that people contravening the regulations would end up with a criminal record which would impact on issues such as their future job prospects.

But at the statistics announcement, he said his colleague in the Ministry of Justice was looking at ways to avoid this. “Unfortunately, most of the people arrested will come out with criminal records and it is not our aim to criminalise South Africans. This is why the minister of justice and correctional services are looking at this issue,” Cele said.

Thousands of Britons return from France to avoid quarantine

Thousands of British tourists beat a hasty retreat from France, packing out planes, trains and ferries to return to the UK by the early hours of Saturday morning to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine at home.

On Friday, many British travelers in the country opted to cut short their vacations to meet the 4 a.m. Saturday deadline that had only been announced the night before. Anyone arriving back from France from Saturday must stay at home for two weeks to make sure they cannot spread the coronavirus beyond their households if they have become infected.

The exodus was prompted late Thursday when the British government took France off a list of nations exempt from traveler quarantine requirements because of a sharp rise in new coronavirus infections there.

Pressure grows in France to tighten mask rules

Pressure is growing on the French government to require masks in all workplaces and everywhere in public as coronavirus infections resurge.

Paris police stepped up mask patrols Saturday as the French capital expanded the zones where face coverings are now required in public, including neighborhoods around the Louvre Museum and Champs-Elysees shopping district.

With cases in Paris rising particularly fast, police can now shut down cafes or any gathering of more than 10 people where distancing and other hygiene measures aren’t respected. Masks are currently required outdoors in hundreds of French towns, but rules vary widely.

Top health official claims coronavirus has peaked in Mexico

According to a top health official in Mexico, the country has reached the peak of the epidemic. The country recorded 5,618 new cases on Friday, bringing its total caseload to 5,11,369.

“We have now had a maximum point in the curve,” Mexico’s Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatel said. “This is a phenomenon that is going to be with us in the whole world for several years.” López-Gatel had earlier inaccurately predicted the number of cases would peak in the country between May and June.

Mexico has recorded the third-highest number of Covid-19 related deaths in the world, after the US and Brazil. On Friday, at least 615 people succumbed to Covid-19, taking the country’s total death toll to 55,908.

California becomes first US state to cross 600,000 Covid-19 cases

California has become the first state in the US to record more than 600,000 Covid-19 cases. The state’s caseload now stands at 602,997, CNN reported. At least 10,999 residents of California have succumbed to the virus since the pandemic began.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said hospitalisation and ICU rates were steadily decreasing in the state. “The number that really matters to us is positivity rate,” he said. This refers to the number of people who test positive as a percentage of the total tests conducted.

“I’m not going to back off on more tests because I fear [more cases],” Newsom added.

Global Coronavirus Updates, August 15 People sit at restaurant’s outdoor patios after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced 21 more locations for outdoor dining options in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 14, 2020. (Reuters)

China reports 22 new cases

China reported 22 new coronavirus cases on Friday, a slight drop from the 30 cases recorded a day before. At least 14 of the new infections were imported, Reuters reported. Further, 20 new asymptomatic cases were also detected on Friday.

So far, the country has recorded 84,808 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the country’s health authority said. China’s death toll stands at 4,634.

New Zealand records 7 new cases

New Zealand reported as many as seven new Covid-19 infections on Friday, amidst the Pacific nation’s first resurgence of cases in months. With these new cases, New Zealand’s total virus caseload now stands at 1,258, according to a Reuters tally. Its death toll has risen to 22.

Of the seven new cases, six were linked to a cluster of infections which has been held responsible for all previous community cases, Reuters reported. The source of one infection is still being investigated, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said during a press briefing.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Friday announced that she was extending the lockdown in Auckland — the country’s biggest city — by 12 days, in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

Global Coronavirus Updates, August 15 A city worker dressed in full protective gear arrives to disinfect a home where a person is suspected to have died from symptoms related to coronavirus, in Quito, Ecuador, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (AP Photo)

South Korea fears Covid-19 infections getting out of control

New coronavirus cases being reported in South Korea have reached a five-month high, according to an AP report. The country recorded 166 new cases in the last 24 hours — the highest number of daily cases since March 11.

For the last two days, the country’s daily rise in cases has exceeded 100 infections. On Friday, at least 103 new infections were recorded. Health authorities are particularly worried about the capital city of Seoul, which is home to over 51 million people, as majority of the new cases have been registered here.

According to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s total virus caseload now stands at 15,039, while its death toll has risen to 305.

Ukraine sees new record daily high of 1,847 cases

Ukraine registered 1,847 new coronavirus cases since Friday, a new daily record for the country, Ukranian health authorities confirmed. With this, the country has recorded a total of 89,719 cases of the novel coronavirus and 2,044 deaths, Reuters reported.

The country has witnessed a sharp increase in cases ever since the Ukranian government eased lockdown restrictions and reopened cafes, churches and public transport.

(With inputs from Reuters, AP)

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