Coronavirus Global Updates: The novel coronavirus has infected over 12.2 million (12,291,645) people worldwide and killed as many as 555,486, according to latest data released by Johns Hopkins University. More than 6.7 million patients have recovered so far.
With over 1.7 million (1,755,779) cases, Brazil remains the second worst-impacted country in the world, after the United States. The Latin American nation has reported as many as 69,184 Covid-related deaths.
The Asian shares and US stock futures fell on Friday following a record surge in virus cases. The US on Thursday recorded 65,551 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total tally to over 3.1 million, Reuters reported.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.76%. Australian stocks dropped 0.42%, while Japanese stocks declined by 0.4%. Shares in China fell 0.72%, the first decline in more than a week, as investors booked profits on a surge in equities to a five-year high.”
A look at the top developments:
Australia’s Victoria state has record 288 cases
Australia’s Victoria state on Friday reported a new daily record of 288 coronavirus cases as well as a record number of tests, more than 37,500.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the number of citizens and permanent residents allowed to return to Australia each week will be reduced by more than 4,000 from next week.
Sydney, Australia’s largest city, has been carrying a disproportionate burden of hotel quarantines that are currently paid for by the New South Wales state government.
Victoria, to the south, has banned international arrivals after breaches of hotel quarantine in Melbourne were blamed for Australia’s only widespread transmissions of COVID-19.
Vicotoria Chief Health Officer Breet Sutton said “certainly, 288 new cases today is a pretty ugly number.”
Summer getaway can begin: New UK quarantine rules in place
The traditional British summer getaway to the sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean Sea is set to pick up steam Friday as UK quarantine restrictions are removed from dozens of countries, including France, Greece and Italy.
But with many flights still cancelled, holiday resorts still working on ensuring that they are COVID-safe and many potential holidaymakers reluctant to make a trip abroad in light of the pandemic, Britain’s airports are much less busy than they would be in any other year.
However, last week’s announcement by the British government to ease its quarantine requirements for anyone arriving back in England has given some enough of a nudge to take the plunge. “We probably would have gone later,” said Ray Gordge, 64, at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal, south of London. “It’s exciting, I’m pleased the quarantine has been lifted to be honest,” said Gordge, who was on his way to Paris to see his daughter for the first time in six months, and meet his new grandson, born last week.
As of Friday, anyone arriving back in England from around 75 countries and territories won’t have to self-isolate for 14 days. The aviation and travel industries are hoping that the new rules will help them salvage part of the summer holiday booking season that has been so battered by the restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic – thousands of people have lost their jobs as business ground to a halt.
Singapore elections: Voters wear masks, gloves as they cast their ballot
Citizens wore masks and gloves as they stepped out cast their vote for the General Elections. Election officials, wearing face shields, checked voters’ temperatures before they entered the polling booth, Reuters reported. They also ensured that adequate social distance was maintained during the voting process.
A special time slot was reserved for Singapore’s senior citizens to avoid overcrowding. The rest of the electorate was assigned specific time-bands through the day.
Oxygen already runs low as COVID-19 surges in South Africa
The coronavirus storm has arrived in South Africa, but in the overflowing COVID-19 wards the sound is less of a roar than a rasp. Oxygen is already low in hospitals at the new epicenter of the country’s outbreak, Gauteng province, home to the power centers of Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, visiting a hospital Friday, said authorities are working with industry to address the strained oxygen supply and divert more to health facilities.
Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan warns citizens of pneumonia more lethal than Covid
After more than 600 people were reported dead this month due to the pneumonia outbreak in Kazakhstan, the Chinese embassy there issued a health advisory warning to its citizens residing in the central Asian nation.
In a statement released on its official WeChat account, the embassy claimed that the “unknown pneumonia” has a higher fatality rate than Covid-19, Reuters reported. There was a “significant increase” in cases in the cities of Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent since mid-June, it added.
More than 1,700 people succumbed to the “unknown pneumonia” in the first half of 2020, the embassy said in its statement. The 628 deaths reported in June included several Chinese citizens, it further alleged.
Bolsonaro again urges reopening for Brazil
Two days after being diagnosed with Covid-19, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro urged state leaders to reopen the country for business. In an online broadcast from his presidential residence in Brasilia, Bolsonaro reiterated that the economic repercussions of coronavirus in Brazil are more dangerous than the virus itself.
Besides coughing once during the broadcast, Bolsonaro showed no other symptoms of the disease, which has killed more than 69,000 people in Brazil since its onset. Known for pointedly flouting social distancing norms, the 65-year-old leader has been facing flak for his handling of the pandemic.
Bolvia’s interim president tests positive for COVID-19
Bolivia’s interim president Jeanine Añez took to Twitter Friday to announce that she had tested positive for the virus.
“I’ve tested positive for COVID-19, I’m fine, I will work from isolation,” she tweeted. In a video shared on Twitter, the 53-year-old leader said that she will remain in quarantine for 14 days, before being tested again.
He dado positivo a Covid19, estoy bien, trabajaré desde mi aislamiento. Juntos, vamos a salir adelante. pic.twitter.com/oA4YVYlZFa
— Jeanine Añez Chavez (@JeanineAnez) July 9, 2020
Añez is the second Latin-American president after Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro to contract the deadly infection this week. Earlier today, another high-ranking Latin American government official — Venezuela’s Constitutional Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
Inbound flights to Australia to be cut by half as Covid cases rise
In an attempt to contain the spread of a second wave of the Covid pandemic, Australia has announced that it will be reducing the number of international flights entering the country by half. Just 4,000 Australian citizens will be allowed into the country every week starting from Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed.
At a national cabinet meeting Friday, Morrison further announced that returning travellers will now be asked to bear the cost of 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine, which was previously covered by the government.
“That is the consequence of this decision today by the National Cabinet. More broadly, when Victoria is in a position at some stage in the future to resume receiving flights…that will obviously change the capacity,” he said.
The country has recorded as many as 9,374 cases and 106 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, data from Johns Hopkins University reveals.