Coronavirus global updates: With over 5,11,546 fatalities, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 10,495,019 people across the world. Everyday, over 1 lakh cases are being reported making the pandemic grow at a relatively faster pace than before.
Brazil reported the highest one-day case spike on Wednesday with 32,000 new cases, followed by US that reported more than 25,000 fresh infections. The two nations are the world’s worst-affected by the pandemic. As the United States reported its biggest single day spike since the pandemic began in the country, government’s top health expert has warned that the US could start witnessing “100,000 new cases” , unless a national plan to curb the virus comes into the picture.
Meanwhile, UN’s labour organisation has said that around 400 million full time jobs were lost in the second quarter of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic has taken a much heavier toll on jobs then predicted. The global job situation does not see a possible recovery in the next 6 months it added.
Here are the top global developments today
Italy honours Covid dead with Donizetti’s Requiem
Italy, once an epicentre of the coronavirus at the outset of the pandemic, bid farewell to its coronavirus dead on Sunday with a haunting Requiem concert performed at the entrance to the cemetery of Bergamo, AP reported. President Sergio Mattarella was the guest of honor, and said his presence made clear that all of Italy was bowing down to honor Bergamo’s dead, “the thousands of men and women killed by a sickness that is still greatly unknown and continues to threaten the world.”
The guest list for the outdoor evening concert was limited to Mattarella and mayors of Bergamo’s 243 cities acting as representatives of their communities. Bergamo recorded its first positive case February 23 and by the end of March had registered a 571 per cent increase in excess deaths compared to the five-year monthly average.
UK health experts slam US for hoarding remdesivir
Health experts on Wednesday slammed the United States’ decision to hoard nearly the entire global supply of remdesivir, the only drug licensed so far to treat COVID-19, warning that type of selfish behavior sets a dangerous precedent for attempts to share scarce treatments amid the pandemic, AP reported. The US government Tuesday announced that President Donald Trump had struck “an amazing deal” to buy the drug for Americans, made by Gilead Sciences. The Department of Health and Human Services said Trump has secured 500,000 treatments of the drug through September, representing 100% of Gilead’s July production capacity and 90% of its capacity in August and September.
“It so clearly signals an unwillingness to cooperate with other countries and the chilling effect this has on international agreements about intellectual property rights,” Ohid Yaqub, a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex said.
Prague train with 500 tourists boosts Croatia tourism hopes
As Croatia eased lockdown measures, a train carrying about 500 tourists from the Czech Republic and Slovakia arrived to Croatia on Wednesday morning, AP reported. “We are hoping that this will increase the number of tourists here. There are currently around 300,000 of them vacationing in Croatia,” said Tourism Minister Gari Capelli, who welcomed the visitors in Rijeka.
The train will run daily and that around 30,000 tickets already have been sold despite a renewed spike in virus cases with the easing of lockdown rules throughout Europe, Capelli said. So far, Croatia has had 2,777 confirmed cases while 107 people have died.
Thousands of people gathered on Prague’s historic Charles Bridge for a “farewell party” to celebrate their renewed freedom even as the coronavirus pandemic continue to plague countries across the world. The event was organised by Ondrej Kobza, a local cafe owner, to mark what he believes is the end of the coronavirus crisis in the city. “We want to celebrate the end of the coronavirus crisis by letting people meet and show they are not afraid to meet, that they are not afraid to take a piece of a sandwich from their neighbour,” Kobza told news agency AFP.
Local musicians and performers put up a show for the thousands of people who had attended the celebratory event. According to Kobza, guests had to reserve their seat at the table in advance. All spaces were fully booked prior to the “farewell party”, he confirmed.
In a first, Canada celebrates official birthday online
In view of the pandemic, Canda celebrated its official birthday on Wednesday online, without live fireworks, no star-studded concert on Parliament Hill and no crowds of tourists were seen this year. Ottawa is usually home to the country’s largest Canada Day party, with tens of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists descending on the capital to celebrate with live music and family fun, capped off with a dazzling fireworks show. However, in-person festivities have been cancelled and Canadians in the evning plan to hold their mobile devices to the sky to watch a virtual fireworks show.
To mark the day, bike paths and beaches have opened in many regions, and Canadians are encouraged to have barbecues within their social bubbles and even a drink on a restaurant patio, ensuring social distance, said Jantine Van Kregten, director of communications for Tourism Ottawa.
This year for #CanadaDay, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are uniting virtually to celebrate the country we all share. Find out more about tomorrow’s virtual celebrations: https://t.co/4WKHLY8Jfe pic.twitter.com/8CEPPowJty
— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM) June 30, 2020
Pandemic picks up speed in Africa, over 10,000 dead, 4 lakh infected
Coronavirus cases in Africa surpassed 400,000, while deaths crossed 10,000 as health officials warn the pandemic is picking up speed on the continent of 1.3 billion people, AP said. The confirmed cases are now above 404,000 on the 54-nation continent, while testing capabilities remain low because of shortages of materials, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. South Africa leads the continent with more than 151,000 confirmed cases. An emerging hot spot is in Gauteng province, containing Johannesburg, with 28% of the country’s cases.
In Western Africa region, infections are mounting in Timbuktu where 500 cases including nine deaths have occurred. There are no commercial flights to Timbuktu, whose remote location in the Sahara Desert has long made the town’s name synonymous with the ends of the Earth.
Germany easing rules on travllers from 11 non-EU nations
Germany’s Interior Ministry has decided to ease restrictions on travellers from up to 11 countries outside the European Union — but not the full list recommended by the European Union, AP reported. Thursday onwards, people from Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay will be able to enter without restrictions. That will also apply to Japan, South Korea and China — but only if those countries also allow people from Germany to enter.
Germany omitted four countries from the list released by the EU on Tuesday of those whose people should be allowed into the 27 member countries and four other nations in the visa-free Schengen area: Algeria, Morocco, Rwanda and Serbia.
North Korea reopens schools, ban on public gatherings continues
North Korea has reopened schools making it mandatory for children to wear masks, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said. While the country has not reported any coronavirus cases, so far, it has decided to continue the ban on public gatherings. In the latest update provided on June 19, the ministry said all educational institutions are now open, with children required to wear masks and washing stations installed, Reuters reported. “Temperature checks using infra-red thermometers, hand washing facilities and sanitisers continue to be in place in all public places including shopping malls, restaurants and hotels,” said Edwin Salvador, WHO’s representative to the reclusive country.
US records biggest one-day spike till now
Reporting more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday, the United States witnessed its biggest single day spike since the pandemic began in the country, according to a Reuters tally.
Southern parts of the country like California, Texas and Arizona have emerged as new epicentres of the pandemic, reporting record increases in covid cases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the daily increase in new cases could reach 100,000 unless a nationwide push was made to curb the disease. “I am very concerned because it could get very bad.We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” he said.
More than 126,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions have lost their jobs as states and major cities ordered residents to stay home and businesses closed.
US in far better position to battle virus, says Vice President Pence
Even as the coronavirus cases show no signs of slowing down, US Vice President Mike Pence is stressing the country is in a far better position to battle the coronavirus than it was months ago.
“We want to assure you that we are more ready than ever before to meet this coronavirus pandemic” he said at the coronavirus task force briefing.
Australia to lock down 300,000 in Melbourne suburbs after coronavirus spike
Around 300,000 people in the north of Australia’s Melbourne will be under lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, authorities said on Wednesday.
From midnight, more than 30 suburbs in Australia’s second-biggest city will return to Stage 3 restrictions, the third-strictest level in curbs to control the pandemic. That means residents will be confined to home except for grocery shopping, health appointments, work or caregiving, and exercise.
New Zealand reports no new cases for the 2nd day
New Zealand reported a second consecutive day of no new cases after 2 new cases from abroad broke the country’s 24 straight day record of no fresh cases.
According to the health officials, the country has no known case of community transmission and currently has 22 active cases all of them foreign returnees. Out of these 21 are still in government-run quarantine.
Philippines extends lockdown in central city
The Philippines’ central city, Cebu which is now the hotspot for coronavirus in the country will remain under lockdown till July 15, President Rodrigo Duterte announced Tuesday night. The capital city and the rest of the country is set to remain under lighter quarantine measures.
The Philippines has among the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 37,500 people infected including 1,266 who have died.
South Korea has started supply of remdesivir for severe covid cases
South Korea begins supply of the antiviral drug “remdesivir” for the treatment of coronavirus on Wednesday and started providing tablets of the antiviral drug to patients in critical care.
The medication developed by US pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. will be used for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
Last month, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, South Korea’s drug safety watchdog, approved the use of remdesivir as a treatment drug for Covid-19.
South Korea mulling listing “churches” as high risk zones
After 40 of the country’s new confirmed cases were reported from churches, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Syekyun said that the government is declaring the religious facilities to be on the list of high risk venues just like the night clubs and bars.
He urged people to refrain from visiting from religious gatherings and criticised churches and other facilities for failing to implement proper preventive measures.
“If religious facilities continue to be an environment for infections by failing to implement antivirus measures it will be inevitable for the government to designate them as high risk facilities and enforce strong restrictions”. Chung said.
Japan could reimpose state of emergency in a worst case scenario, says chief cabinet secretary
In the worst case scenario, Japan could reimpose a state of emergency Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday. However the country is currently in no need of an emergency situation he added.
Tokyo has been reporting over 50 new cases daily since the past 5 days as of Tuesday. Still, Tokyo along with the rest of Japan has had a lower rate of infection than many countries. Japan has had nearly 19,000 diagnosed with 974 deaths.
Italy to have coronavirus quarantine for incoming international flights
A day after the EU reopened its border to travellers from 14 countries, Italy Health Minister Roberto Speranza said it was taking a line of caution by requiring fiduciary quarantine for visitors from the 14 countries.
Nationals from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay have been allowed to enter the bloc.
Italy registered its first positive case Feb 21 and for weeks had the world’s highest death toll.
Brazil military moves to protect Indigenous people from COVID-19
Brazil’s military has been testing and delivering protective supplies and medicines to the indigenous tribal population residing in the country’s Amazon region. Till now no one has tested positive, but the pandemic is threatening to decimate hundreds of Amazon tribes that have no immunity to external diseases.
The main goal of this joint operation by the armed forces is to track COVID-19 caeses in the nearby villages,” naval medic Captain Jarbas de Souza said.
Scottish firm to trial T cells as possible COVID-19 treatment
T cell treatment for coronavirus that aims at reducing the need for intensive care among hospitalised patients is under clinical trials a Scottish biotechnology firm said on Tuesday. T cells are white blood cells that form a key part of the immune system and scientists are hopeful they could play a key role in helping reduce the risk of coronavirus.
Here are some other important developments
- China reported 3 new coronavirus cases in the mainland, down from 19 a day earlier.
- Oregon extends coronavirus emergency for 60 more days, Oregon Gov Kate Brown said.
- US senate extends coronavirus relief program that provides subsidies for small business Tuesday.
- First positive case emerges in the US asylum seekers camp at the US-Mexico border.
- Mexico reported over 5,400 new coronavirus infections and 648 additional fatalities.
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