Updated: June 30, 2020 10:43:05 pm
Coronavirus global updates: Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, over 5.8 million people have been tested positive and more than half a million deaths have been witnessed globally. The United States accounts for a quarter of all deaths.
As more and more US states are taking a step back from reopening their economies due to a fresh wave of new cases reported in Sun Belt states, Los Angeles saw an “alarming surge” taking its total infections to over 100,000.
Meanwhile, the European Union announced Tuesday that it will reopen its borders to travelers from 14 countries, and possibly China soon, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the U.S. As Europe’s economies reel from the impact of the coronavirus, southern EU countries like Greece, Italy and Spain are desperate to entice back sun-loving visitors and breathe life into their damaged tourism industries. American tourists make up a big slice of the EU market and the summer holiday season is a key time.
As the pandemic is “not even close “ to getting over “180,000 people worldwide have tested positive in the last 24 hours”, WHO Director General said. He also notified that a team will be sent to China next week to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the top global developments today
Nepal’s coronavirus cases reach 13,564
Nepal’s coronavirus tally reached 13,564 with the detection of 316 new cases in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday. Of the 316 new cases, 245 are males and 71 females, it said. The deadly virus has so far claimed 29 lives in the country.
With the detection of the 316 new cases, Nepal’s coronavirus tally now stands at 13,564, the ministry said. As on Tuesday, 10,341 coronavirus patients were undergoing treatment in various hospitals across the country. As many as 3,194 patients have recovered so far, it said. The health authorities have so far conducted 228,341 tests to detect the viral infection.
Businesses chafe in Leicester as UK city faces new lockdown
Stores closed their doors Tuesday and schools prepared to send children home in the English city of Leicester, where the British government has imposed a local lockdown to contain a spike in coronavirus cases.
The reintroduction of restrictions on the city of 330,000 people came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised an infrastructure investment plan to help the U.K. fix the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.
People in most of England will be able to drink in pubs, eat in restaurants and get a haircut when the next phase of lockdown-easing measures begins Saturday. But the government has rolled back those freedoms in Leicester, saying that the city 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of London accounted for a tenth of all new coronavirus cases in the country last week.
Hindu, Sikh organisations in UK part of NHS’ funding scheme to promote organ donation
As many as 25 organisations, including those from the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities, were part of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Blood and Transplant funding scheme to receive financial support for promoting organ donation among the black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.
The NHS Blood and Transplant’s BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) Community Investment Scheme disbursed GBP 140,977 among the 25 community-led organisations for their projects to spread awareness about organ donation among the groups. It launched its first grant call for the BAME Community Investment Scheme in September 2018 and the progress evaluation report was published this month, detailing about the achievements of the projects.
Thirteen projects were given GBP 2,499 and 12 above the value of GBP 2,500. As per the report, more than 200 community events were conducted, while 130,000 people attended organ donation events.
Around 4,000 people engaged in conversation or took away a leaflet or information and 8,000 attended a talk or workshop.
The scheme was launched as surveys showed that black and Asian people living in England have less understanding of organ donation and are less supportive of it after death than white people, the report said.
The faith and community-based organisations designed and implemented projects to break down myths and increase support for organ donation.
UK approves resumption of hydroxychloroquine trial
Britain’s medical regulatory agency has approved the resumption of a trial testing whether hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug favoured by US President Donald Trump, might help prevent health workers from contracting the coronavirus. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency had suspended enrollment into the trial after a paper was published in the journal Lancet last month that suggested there was an increased death risk linked to the drug. The paper was found to be based on fraudulent data and was retracted.
A large British trial previously found that hydroxychloroquine did not prevent deaths among people hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to people who didn’t get the drug. The World Health Organization suspended its own trial into the drug, citing data from Britain and elsewhere, but said it was still unknown whether or not hydroxychloroquine might work to prevent coronavirus infections preventively.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said it had approved the resumption of an ongoing clinical trial testing the use of the drug in health workers. Oxford University’s tropical research center in Bangkok is leading a trial aiming to include more than 40,000 health workers and other staff at risk to determine if hydroxychloroquine can stop infections of the coronavirus.
Spain GDP shrinks 5.2% in first 3 months of year
Spanish official statistics show that the country’s gross domestic product contracted 5.2 per cent during the first three months of the year compared to the previous quarter, the biggest drop in at least half a century. The National Institute of Statistics, or INE, said Tuesday that the economic freeze imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus impacted the economy like never before since quarterly records began to be kept in 1970.
From January to March 2009, following a global financial meltdown, the country’s GDP shrank by 2.6 per cent.
If the figures for the second quarter are also negative compared to the first and nobody doubts that since the impact of a strict lockdown was felt especially in April and May, and recovery of economic activity since then has been slow the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy will officially enter in recession.
That’s a sharp contrast from GDP growth averaging 0.4% in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2019. Year on year, the drop on the first quarter of 2020 was of 4.1% compared to the same period in 2019.
Spain has recorded some 249,000 coronavirus infections confirmed by lab tests and at least 28,300 deaths.
A combination of antiviral drugs commonly used to treat HIV showed no beneficial effects in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in a large-scale randomised trial, scientists in the UK have found. The findings “convincingly rule out any meaningful mortality benefit of lopinavir-ritonavir in the hospitalised COVID-19 patients we studied,” the scientists running the RECOVERY trial at the University of Oxford said in a statement on Monday.
In March, the RECOVERY trial was established as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including lopinavir-ritonavir, an antiviral treatment commonly used to treat HIV. Over 11,800 patients have been enrolled from 176 NHS hospitals in the UK for the trial.
UK Covid-19 death toll nears 55,000 including suspected cases
The United Kingdom’s suspected COVID-19 death toll has hit 54,852, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources that underlines the country’s status as one of the worst-hit in the world. The Reuters tally comprises fatalities where COVID-19 was mentioned on death certificates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland up to June 19, and up to June 21 in Scotland. It also includes more recent hospital deaths.Unlike the lower death toll published daily by the government which health officials said on Monday stood at 43,575, the death certificate figures include suspected cases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to announce an infrastructure investment programme later on Tuesday to help revitalise the economy after the coronavirus lockdown.But the large death toll means criticism over his handling of the pandemic – that Britain was too slow to impose a lockdown or protect the elderly in care homes – is likely to persist.
Uzbekistan imposes new restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise again
As a fresh surge was witnessed following lockdown relaxations, Uzbekistan has imposed overnight curfews in some parts including the capital Tashkent.
Despite of lifting the lockdown cautiously a decline in COVID-19 cases between mid-April and mid-May, has once again seen a steady rise.
The new restrictions will see residents of “red” and “yellow” areas deemed at higher risk barred from leaving their homes between 11 pm and 7 am except for medical emergencies, the government said on Tuesday. Large shopping malls and markets will also be closed on weekends across the country.
Rare syndrome linked to COVID-19 found in almost 300 US kids, adolescents
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare life threatening syndrome associated with the coronavirus have been discovered in almost 300 children and adolescents in the United States, studies by the New England Journal of Medicine reported.
MIS-C shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.
Apart from the 300 cases identified in the US, over 100 cases are reported worldwide and the syndrome is usually occurring two to four weeks after coronavirus infection settles in, Michael Levin, professor at Imperial College London said.
Mexico City begins reopening amid high coronavirus case load
After almost three months of lockdown, Mexico’s capital has allowed more business to reopen while officials estimate that the gradual reopenings this week could put another 1 to 15 million people on the streets of the capital.
Today, the capital’s historic center is scheduled to reopen following reopening of restaurants and hotels on Wednesday but with half their normal capacity. Some city metro stations will be open, too. And the metro authorities plan to distribute 1 million face shields to lower the risk of infections.
Thailand reports no local cases in 36 days; schools, bars to reopen tomorrow
Tuesday marked 36 days without any local transmission in Thailand after the two new cases were both imported from abroad. The new cases were Thai nationals returning from Qatar who were in state quarantine, government’s COVID-19 Administration Centre spokesperson said.
Thailand is set to reopen schools and bars from Wednesday and also allow some international flights into the country. The country currently has 3,171 infections and 58 deaths.
California, Texas see record jump in coronavirus infections
The US states of California and Texas witnessed record surge in new coronavirus infections on Monday.
After New York City, Los Angeles has now become the new epicentre of the pandemic as it reported an “alarming” daily spike that has taken the number of cases over 100,00.
“The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said in a statement announcing the sharp rise.
California recorded over 7,000 cases Monday taking the state’s total tally to 223,000. COVID-19 infections in Texas rose by 6,545 on Monday to nearly 160,000, also setting a record for a one-day increase.
Russia’s tally approaches 6.5 lakh
With reporting 6,693 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, the total case tally of Russia is 647,849. In the last 24 hours 154 poeple have died from the disease bringing the death toll to 9,320.
South Australia state cancels reopening borders after cases surge
The Australian state, South Australia on Tuesday cancelled its scheduled reopening of its borders, citing a spike in coronavirus infections in neighbouring Victoria.
“We are very hopeful that Victoria will be able to bring their outbreaks under control but at this stage we cannot possibly lift that border on 20 July as we were hoping to do,” South Australia Premier Steven Marshall told reporters.”
With around 7,800 cases and 104 deaths, Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic but the recent surge has stoked fears of a second wave.
New Zealand cancels APEC summit 2021, will lead it virtually
Due to the coronavirus, New Zealand on Tuesday cancelled to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Auckland and will now host the summit virtually.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters emphasised on the necessity to cancel the meet due to security and health reasons. “So we had to accept the plain fact that we couldn’t do it other than by the mechanism we’re going to use now” he said.
Covid infections in South Korea spread beyond the capital
As the new wave of infections are on the rise since late May, they are beginning to spread beyond the greater capital area of the Korean republic which became the hotspot for virus resurgence.
The country reported 42 new infections on Tuesday bringing the national total to 12,800 cases including 282 deaths. Seventeen of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live, and 20 were linked to international arrivals.
UN says coronavirus puts millions more at risk of child marriage and FGM
The coronavirus pandemic has reversed the progress on ending child marriage and femal genital mutilation (FGM), Natalia Kanem, head of the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency said on Tuesday.
“The pandemic both makes our job harder and more urgent as so many more girls are now at risk” she said and an additional million girls could be married off and 2 million more could undergo FGM in the next decade, “beyond what would have been expected, as COVID-19 disrupts global efforts to end both practices”.
(With inputs from AP, Reuters)
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