Coronavirus Global Updates: Over 13.2 million cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with at least 5,75,000 deaths. As many as 7.33 million people have recovered from the infection.
The United States has the maximum number of cases at 3.48 million, followed by Brazil with 1.93 million cases, India with 9,36,000 cases, Russia with 7,40,000 confirmed cases and Peru with 3,34,000 cases.
Moderna Inc’s experimental vaccine for COVID-19 showed it was safe and provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an ongoing early-stage study, US researchers reported on Tuesday.
Volunteers who got two doses of the vaccine had high levels of virus-killing antibodies that exceeded the average levels seen in people who had recovered from COVID-19, the team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
No study volunteers experienced a serious side effect, but more than half reported mild or moderate reactions such as fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches or pain at the injection site. These were more likely to occur after the second dose and in people who got the highest dose.
In Europe, France will make it compulsory for people wear masks in shops and other enclosed public spaces from next month. And Spain’s Catalonia region put an area in which 1,60,000 people reside under lockdown to stem the latest surge in coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, Canada said it would make it easier for foreign students to study online from abroad and to qualify for a work permit after graduation amid strict border closures.
Virus resurgence forces countries to reimpose restrictions
Countries around the world are reimposing lockdowns and implementing new health checks at their borders in an effort to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus before it spins even further out of control.
Starting Wednesday, all travellers arriving in Greece from a land border with Bulgaria were required to carry negative coronavirus test results issued in the previous 72 hours and translated into English. The new rules, which follow an increase in tourism-related COVID-19 cases, triggered an immediate drop in arrivals compared to recent days.
Residents of Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, were warned on Wednesday to comply with lockdown regulations or face tougher restrictions. Melbourne’s 5 million people and part of the city’s semi-rural surroundings are a week into a new, six-week lockdown to contain a new outbreak there.
The time for warnings, the time for cutting people slack, is over, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said. Where we are is in a very serious and deadly position. The developments come with more than 13 million cases of coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide, and with over 578,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons including limited testing.
Tokyo governor warns infections rising quickly
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike says the spread of infections in the Japanese capital has escalated to levels tantamount to issuing an alarm, and requested residents and business owners to step up preventive measures.
Koike specifically urged restaurants, shops and nightclub operators to fulfill safety measures and urged customers to stay away from places that don’t comply with guidelines.
Koike also asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to revise the law to authorize local governors to penalize business owners who violate requested safety measures. She appealed to residents to avoid non-essential out-of-town trips, and to the government to think carefully if it’s an appropriate timing to push Abe’s unpopular tourism campaign.
Experts on the Tokyo task force said infections are no longer limited to younger generations linked to nightlife districts. The number of serious cases is not rising rapidly but hospital beds are quickly filling up and more are needed. Tokyo has had 8,189 confirmed cases and 325 deaths.
Strict health checks in Greece-Bulgaria border following increase in tourism-related virus cases
Stricter health checks have gone into effect at Greece’s border with Bulgaria following an increase in tourism-related COVID-19 cases. Starting Wednesday, all incoming travellers crossing the border are required to carry negative test results, issued in the previous 72 hours and translated into English.
The new rules saw a drop in arrivals compared to recent days early Wednesday. The Promachonas-Kulata border with Bulgaria is the only crossing that has been open for non-essential travel after lockdown measures were eased. Also Wednesday, plans to lift a ban on direct flights from the U.K. officially went into effect with services due to resume Thursday.
French tourism gets boost with reopening of Disneyland
The French tourist industry received a further boost Wednesday with the partial reopening of Disneyland Paris and the opening up of the top floor of the Eiffel Tower.
Disneyland Paris, Europe’s most frequented theme park resort, is partially re-opening to the public, four months after it closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The park in Marne-la-Vallee, to the east of the French capital, is opening its doors in a phased way starting Wednesday with Disneyland Parks and the Walt Disney Studios.
It will feature enhanced safety measures including managed attendance, reduced capacity to support social distancing, and bolstered cleaning and disinfection of rides and spaces.
Also Wednesday the top floor of Paris’ Eiffel Tower re-opened. The 19th century iron monument, one of the French capital’s most visited attractions, partially re-opened its first two floors on June 26 following its longest closure since World War II.
New Zealand PM outlines plan for future COVID-19 outbreak
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday outlined her government’s plans to contain future community outbreaks in New Zealand. The South Pacific nation has not recorded a community spread virus case in 75 days. Its two new cases recorded Wednesday and all 27 of its active cases are people quarantined after foreign travel.
Ardern said a system of local or regional lockdowns would be used if community spread occurs and a national lockdown would only be considered as a last resort. Local lockdowns might involve buildings, suburbs or a city.
“Our priority will be to control any cases with the least intrusive measures and over the smallest area we can,” Ardern said.
“No one wants to go backwards but the reality is our fight against the virus is not over and we must have a plan at the ready to protect our current position if it comes back.”
Since New Zealand stopped community spread and lifted its lockdown, life has returned largely to normal with schools, bars and restaurants all open and with packed stadiums at sports events.
China eases restrictions on domestic tourism
China is further easing restrictions on domestic tourism after reporting no new local cases of COVID-19 in nine days.
A directive from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism dated Tuesday said that tourist sites should allow 50 percent of their daily visitor capacity, up from 30 per cent, and that interprovince group tours should be resumed. The National Health Commission said that six new cases were recorded Tuesday, all in people who had arrived from overseas. It has not reported any domestic cases since an outbreak in Beijing that infected more than 330 people before it faded early this month.
China has reported 83,611 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths since the outbreak began. It does not include people who test positive but show no symptoms in its case count.
Singapore reports 249 new coronavirus cases, mostly foreign workers
Singapore on Wednesday recorded 249 new coronavirus infections, including 16 community and five imported cases, taking the total tally to 46,878, the health ministry said. Of the new 249 cases, 233 are foreign workers living in dormitories, it said.
All the community cases are foreigners holding work passes, the ministry said, adding that the five imported patients have been placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore.
With the detection of the 249 new cases, Singapore’s COVID-19 tally now stands at 46,878. A 62-year-old Singaporean man died due to coronavirus-complications on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 27 in the country. He also had a history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.
As many as 42,723 coronavirus patients have recovered from the disease, the ministry said.
Tokyo’s coronavirus rask force raises caution levels
Members of Tokyo’s coronavirus task force raised caution levels in the Japanese capital to the highest on a scale of four and urged officials to secure more hospital beds, increase testing and raise awareness about the situation’s urgency, the Associated Press reported.
Governor Yuriko Koike asked residents to avoid non-essential out-of-town trips, but stopped short of requesting business closures. A task force member said infections appear to be expanding, with the number of untraceable cases on the rise. He said infections are no longer concentrated in nightlife districts and are spreading in workplaces, restaurants, households, nursing homes and childcare facilities.
Tokyo has reported 8,189 Covid-19 cases and 325 deaths so far.
Italy to reopen schools in September
Italy’s health minister confirmed schools will reopen in September, with antibody tests for teachers, sample testing of students and a decision on marks before classes resume, the Associated Press reported.
Minister Roberto Speranza said schools will reopen on September 14, adding that Italy couldn’t consider its lockdown over till then. Schools in Italy have been closed since early March.
Around 114 new Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths were recorded on Tuesday.
Italy had recently blocked flights from 13 countries, including Bangladesh, where coronavirus cases are increasing.
Alabama, Florida, North Carolina report record increase in new Covid-19 cases
Alabama, Florida and North Carolina in the United States reported record daily increases in Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Arizona reported 4,273 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, and an all-time high in hospitalisations, the Associated Press reported. The state Department of Health Services said the total number of infections was 1,28,097. There were 92 deaths reported on Tuesday, taking the total death toll to 2,337.
Arizona became a national coronavirus hotspot after Governor Doug Ducey relaxed stay-at-home orders and other restrictions in May. Many local governments have imposed mask requirements.
Mexico proposed to the United States an extension to a ban on non-essential travel by land over their shared border for another 30 days.
South Africa’s Covid-19 cases inch closer to 3,00,000
South Africa surpassed the United Kingdom in terms of total coronavirus cases, the Associated Press reported the health ministry as saying.
South Africa now has the world’s eight highest number of cases, with 2,98,292.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said this week the country is now “confronted by the gravest crisis in the history of our democracy.” He said many more infections have gone undetected despite the country conducting over 2.2 million tests, by far the highest in any African nation.
A strict lockdown delayed the surge in cases but it has been loosened under economic pressure.
The country is grappling with the pandemic in the dead of the winter, with temperatures in the epicentre, Gauteng province and Johannesburg, dropping below freezing overnight. This makes ventilation a challenge, especially in small, crowded homes for the poor.
Hong Kong to close Disneyland until further notice
Disney officials announced that Hong Kong Disneyland Park is closing Wednesday until further notice following the city’s decision to ban gatherings of more than four people to combat newly spreading infections, the Associated Press reported.
Thailand revises rules for foreign visitors
In Thailand, which has not reported any locally transmitted coronavirus cases for seven weeks, authorities revised rules governing visitors from abroad after a breakdown in screening led to two foreigners testing positive for the virus, the Associated Press reported.
The government Tuesday said diplomats will be asked to stay in state-supervised quarantine for 14 days, instead of self-isolating, adding that it is postponing the recently allowed entry of some foreign visitors.
Over 29,000 new coronavirus cases in India
India reported 29,429 coronavirus cases in a day, bringing its total tally to 9,36,181 on Wednesday, while the death toll touched 24,309 with 582 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, PTI quoted the Union Health Ministry as saying.
The number of recoveries is at 5,92,031 while there are 3,19,840 active cases.
Of the deaths reported on Wednesday, 213 are from Maharashtra, 85 from Karnataka, 67 from Tamil Nadu, 43 from Andhra Pradesh, 35 from Delhi, 28 from Uttar Pradesh, 24 from West Bengal, 14 each from Gujarat and Bihar, 10 each from Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
Zero local cases of Covid-19 in China
China is further easing restrictions on domestic tourism after reporting no new local cases of coronavirus in nine days, the Associated Press reported.
A directive from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Tuesday said that tourist sites should allow 50 per cent of their daily visitor capacity, up from 30 per cent, and that interprovince group tours should be resumed.
The National Health Commission said six new cases were reported on Tuesday, all in people who had arrived from overseas. It has not reported any domestic cases since an outbreak in Beijing that infected more than 330 people before it faded early this month.
China has reported 83,611 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths due to the virus so far. It does not include people who test positive but show no symptoms in its case count.
Australia reports 238 new cases
Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday warned that restrictions would be increased unless the spread is contained in Melbourne. The Australian military is bolstering police numbers at checkpoints.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said 238 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours, adding that this could be the start of a stabilisation in the spread since Melbourne and part of its surrounding areas were last week locked down for a second time for six weeks.
Queensland shut its state borders to contain the coronavirus outbreak, but reopened to all people, except Victoria residents, two weeks ago. Melbourne, already one week into a six-week lockdown, has over 4,000 active cases.
New Zealand PM outlines plans to contain community outbreaks of Covid-19
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Wednesday outlined her government’s plans to contain future community outbreaks in the country, the Associated Press Reported.
The country has not recorded any case of community spread of Covid-19 since 75 days . Its two new cases reported Wednesday and all of its 27 active cases are people quarantined after foreign travel.
Ardern said a system of local or regional lockdowns would be used if community spread occurs and national lockdown would only be considered as a last resort.
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