Coronavirus Global Updates: The global cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection touched 7,500,777 Friday, with the US reporting the highest number of infections (2,022,488), followed by Brazil (802,828), Russia (501,800), and the United Kingdom (292,860).
The worldwide death toll due to the infection rose to 4,20,993, with more than 3.5 million recoveries. The US reported the highest deaths (1,13,803), followed by the UK (41,364), Brazil (40,919), and Italy (34,167), according to John Hopkins University. The highest rate of recoveries is also reported from the US (5,38,645).
Meanwhile, a study by King’s College London and the Australian National University noted that over one billion people could slip into poverty as a result of the pandemic. It added that Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines, are considered to be particularly vulnerable to the pandemic’s economic shockwaves with lockdowns severely curtailing activity.
Here are the top developments from around the globe:
Mainland China reports 7 new imported cases
Mainland China reported seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one asymptomatic case on June 11. The National Health Commission said in a statement on Friday that six of the new confirmed patients reported were so-called imported cases involving travellers from overseas.
China’s national health commission reported 11 confirmed cases, all of which were imported, and seven asymptomatic cases a day earlier. The total number of COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 83,064, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634. China does not count asymptomatic patients, who are infected with the virus but symptomless, as confirmed cases.
Egypt to reopen tourist destinations less hard-hit by virus
Egypt will reopen select tourist destinations from July 1, the Cabinet said Thursday, allowing travelers from around the world to return to parts of the country less hard-hit by the coronavirus. The government hopes to draw tourists to popular yet remote attractions that have been spared so far. Those include the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula, home to the major resort and beach destination of Sharm el Sheikh, the Red Sea resort areas of Hurghada and Marsa Alam, as well as Marsa Matrouh, on the Mediterranean coast.
The decision comes even as the pandemic surges in the densely populated capital of Cairo and other major cities, where many people say they can’t find hospital beds. The health ministry has recorded over 39,000 cases of COVID-19 in Egypt, including 1,377 deaths the highest confirmed death toll in the Arab world.
Alarming rise in virus cases as US states ease restrictions
Cases are rising in nearly half the US’ states as lockdowns are rolled back and people return to work, an Associated Press analysis has found. There is no single reason for the surges. In some cases, more testing has revealed more cases. In others, local outbreaks are big enough to push statewide tallies higher.
But experts think at least some are due to lifting stay-at-home orders, school and business closures, and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
In Arizona, hospitals have been told to prepare for the worst. Texas has more hospitalised COVID-19 patients than ever before. And the Governor of North Carolina said recent jumps caused him to rethink plans to reopen schools and businesses.
Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street Thursday as coronavirus cases in the US increased once again, deflating recent optimism that the economy could recover quickly from its worst crisis in decades. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 1,800 points and the S&P 500 dropped 5.9%, its worst day since mid-March, when stocks had a number of harrowing falls as the virus lockdowns began.
Many market watchers have been saying that a scorching comeback in the market since late March was overdone and didn’t reflect the dire state of the economy. The S&P 500 rallied 44.5% between late March and Monday.
Final tests of some COVID-19 vaccines to start next month
Moderna Inc. said Thursday the vaccine it is developing with the National Institutes of Health will be tested on 30,000 people in the US. Some will get the real shot and some a dummy shot, as scientists carefully compare which group winds up with the most infections.
With far fewer COVID-19 cases in China, Sinovac Biotech turned to Brazil, the epicenter of Latin America’s outbreak, for at least part of its final testing. The government of Sao Paulo announced Thursday that Sinovac will ship enough of its experimental vaccine to test in 9,000 Brazilians starting next month. If it works, with this vaccine we will be able to immunize millions of Brazilians, said Sao Paulo’s Guv. Joao Doria.
New Zealand to allow some maritime vessels, cruise ships still banned
New Zealand said on Friday that it would allow entry of some maritime vessels as it looks to open up its economy after lifting all coronavirus restrictions earlier this week. Cruise ships and people travelling for leisure, however, will continue to be banned from entering the country, the government said in a statement.
The government said it will allow entry to those arriving at the maritime border, where there is a compelling need for the vessel to travel to New Zealand.
New Zealand lifted all social and economic restrictions except border controls after declaring on Monday it was free of the coronavirus, one of the first countries in the world to return to pre-pandemic normality. It’s now looking to kick-start its economy that was battered by the lockdown.
Thailand eases more coronavirus restrictions, ends curfew
Thailand announced Friday it is easing some restrictions that were imposed to fight the spread of the coronavirus, including allowing some schools to reopen and scrapping a curfew. The new measures, which take effect Monday, were announced after more than six weeks in which the daily increase in cases was usually less than 10, and almost all new infections originated abroad. Four new cases were announced Friday, bringing the total to 3,129, including 58 deaths.
“We should stay vigilant, the risk of a second outbreak remains,” said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the government’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, who announced the steps.
On Monday, almost all businesses reopen, including ones with high risks. Now Thailand should focus on developing vaccines and drugs. Social distancing rules will remain in effect for restaurants, and bars and pubs must stay closed. Incoming international passenger flights will remain banned until the end of the month.
Ukraine’s first lady has virus, but not husband
The wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says she is infected with the novel coronavirus. First lady Olena Zelenska wrote in an Instagram post on Friday that her husband and their children have tested negative.
She said she feels good, is receiving outpatient treatment and is isolated from her family “in order not to put them in danger”. Ukraine has so far reported over 29,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 870 deaths.
The government started gradually easing lockdown restrictions in late May with the resumption of public transportation and the reopening of malls and gyms.