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Global Coronavirus Updates, 02 July: UK to reopen schools in class bubbles from Sept; ‘Scary’ surge in Oman, country boosts hospital capacity

Global Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Updates: The record jump in US follows a warning by the government’s top infectious diseases expert that the number could soon double to 100,000 cases a day if Americans do not come together to take steps necessary to halt the virus’ resurgent spread

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 2, 2020 9:20:37 pm
The Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up with a message that reads in Portuguese; “More than 500 thousand lives world” in reference to the people who have died from COVID-19 worldwide, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 1, 2020. (AP Photo)

Coronavirus Global Updates: More than 10.7 million (10,712,304) people have been infected by the novel coronavirus worldwide and over 5.15 lakh people (516,552) have died due to the disease, according to a Reuters tally. Around 210 countries have reported infections since the outbreak was first discovered in China in December 2019.

Global tourism revenues are expected to decline by up to $3.3 trillion, with the United States standing to lose the most, according to a UN study, cited by Reuters.

The United States, currently the worst-hit country by the coronavirus, recorded 128,062 deaths and its caseload stands at 2,686,587, so far. Following US, Brazil remains the second-most affected nation with 1,448,753 infections with 60,0632 fatalities.

Here are the top developments of the day

Oman boosts hospital capacity as Covid-19 cases spike

Oman’s health minister Ahmed bin al-Saeedi Thursday said the sultanate had witnessed a “scary” surge in COVID-19 cases that required boosting hospital capacity, especially for intensive care units. “In the last six weeks there has been a radical change which is very disturbing and scary,” he told a news briefing, Reuters reported. The country reported another 1,361 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and three deaths in the last 24 hours, to take its total count to 42,555 cases with 188 deaths.

Blaming individuals who did not wear masks or practice social distancing, Saeedi said some employees were going into offices when they had been in contact with infected people, instead of self isolating. He said there had been more than 9,000 new infections and 43 deaths since last Thursday, the biggest weekly spike since Oman first reported cases in late February. Saeedi said Oman was working to increase capacity at intensive care units and planned to set up a field hospital with 250 to 300 beds in the Muscat region for non-urgent cases.

A woman wearing a face mask due to the coronavirus pandemic watches kayak racers take off from the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, June 19, 2020. (AP Photo)

Schools in UK to reopen in class ‘bubbles’ from September

The United Kingdom Thursday announced plans for compulsory reopening of all schools in England from September after months of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown, on the broad principle of keeping classes apart in separate “bubbles”. I know these past three months have been some of the most challenging that schools have faced,” said UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who made the announcement in a House of Commons statement, PTI reported.

“Nothing can replace being in the classroom, so ever since schools, colleges and nurseries closed to most children, we have been working hard to ensure they can reopen as soon as possible. We have already seen more than 1.5 million children and young people return, but we must make sure all pupils can go back to school in September, giving them the opportunity to thrive and fulfill their potential,” Williamson said.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson waits in line in the playground to wash his hands during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, England, Friday June 19, 2020. (Steve Parsons/Pool via AP)

US reports record daily coronavirus cases at over 50,000

The United States has reported yet another record daily number of new coronavirus infections, over 50,700 cases, according to a tally being kept by Johns Hopkins University. The country is experiencing a surge of new cases, especially in the South and West, as states have reopened their economies from coast to coast, AP reported.

Ahead of the a Fourth of July weekend that could fuel the spread of the virus, California closed bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining all over again across most of the state Wednesday. The surge in new cases has been blamed in part on Americans not wearing masks or obeying social-distancing rules.

An elderly activist, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, waves the US flag during a rally in Tbilisi, Georgia. (AP Photo)

Smokers at higher risk of contracting virus: WHO

The World Health Organisation in recent scientific brief said smoking is linked to a higher risk of severe illness and death from the coronavirus in hospitalised patients, although it was unable to specify exactly how much greater those risks might be, AP reported. The UN health agency noted that smokers represent up to 18% of hospitalised coronavirus patients and that there appeared to be a significant link between whether or not patients smoked and the severity of disease they suffered, the type of hospital interventions required and patients’ risk of dying.

In April, French researchers released a small study suggesting smokers were at less risk of catching COVID-19 and planned to test nicotine patches on patients and health workers but their findings were questioned by many scientists at the time who cited the lack of definitive data.

Workers take a smoke break near posters promoting the use of face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in Beijing. (AP Photo)

Closing bars to stop virus spread is backed by science: Experts

As several honky tonks, bars and other drinking establishments in some parts of the US are closing to curb the spread of the coronavirus, health experts said it comes down to the danger of “heavy breathing in close proximity,” AP reported. Crowded indoor spaces filled with people yelling, leaning close to hear one another and touching the same sticky surfaces are “the opposite of social distancing,” said Dr. David Hamer of the Boston University School of Medicine. “Can you do social distancing at a bar? Can you wear a mask while drinking?” Hamer said. “Bars are the perfect place to break all those rules.”

“In 12 days, we went from two identified cases to 128, and, honestly, I don’t have today’s numbers yet,” Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said Wednesday before cases shot up again. She described her outlook as “shocked and overwhelmed.”

Two other factors at play in bars make them potential virus flashpoints. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, so people forget precautions, said Natalie Dean, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Florida. Plus, the attractive, healthy person buying you a drink could be a silent carrier, shedding contagious virus with each breath.

In this June 22, 2020, a bartender pours a beer for a customer at Shade Bar NYC in New York.  (AP Photo)

China urges testing capacity ramp-up for potential outbreaks

China’s National Health Commission Thursday said the country’s local governments and medical institutes should ramp up and reserve coronavirus testing capacity in preparation for increased demand amid potential outbreaks, Reuters reported. Publishing a guidellines for the same, the national health authority said local authorities should have emergency response plans to be able to swiftly expand nucleic test capacity. Nucleic acid test results should be delivered within six hours for patients at fever clinics and within a day for those who volunteer to be tested, according to the guideline.

People line up for coronavirus testing at a large factory in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province.  (Chinatopix Via AP)

Russia coronavirus case tally crosses 6,60,000

Russia on Thursday reported 6,760 new cases of coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 6,61,165, Reuters reported. Authorities said 147 people had died in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 9,683.

Global Coronavirus Updates, 02 July: Russia cases cross 6,60,000; over 100 new cases in Tokyo A woman, wearing a face mask and gloves to protect against coronavirus and observing social distancing guidelines, casts her ballot at a polling station in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. (Andrei Nikerichev, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

South Africa reports highest daily toll of cases

South Africa reported as many as 8,124 Covid-19 cases, another daily record, taking the overall caseload to more than 159,000 cases, the Associated Press reported. Johannesburg has become a new hotspot with hundreds of health workers among those infected. Gauteng province which comprises of Johannesburg has over 45,000 confirmed cases.

There are over 405,000 confirmed cases on the African continent.

188 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore

Singapore reported 188 new infections on Thursday, majority of them foreign workers living in dormatories, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 44,310, PTI quoted the health ministry as saying.

Out of the 188 cases, 178 are foreign workers in dormatories, while 10 are community infections.

The ministry said that 209 patients were in hospitals, including one in the intensive care unit, while 4,876 people are recuperating in community facilities.

As many as 39,011 people have fully recovered and 26 people have died from complications due to the disease.

Brazil death toll passes 60,000 

Global Coronavirus Updates, 02 July: US records 50,000 new cases in one day; Brazil death toll crosses 60,000 A member of Brazilian Armed Forces medical team examines a man from the indigenous Yanomami ethnic group, at the 4th Surucucu Special Frontier Platoon of the Brazilian army in the municipality of Alto Alegre, state of Roraima, Brazil July 1, 2020. (Reuters)

Brazil surpassed 60,000 coronavirus fatalities on Wednesday, according to their Ministry of Health. Around 1,038 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, the ministry said. The total number of confirmed cases in the country rose by 46,712 cases to reach 1,448,753. Brazil is the the second worst-hit country in the world after the United States.

Sao Paolo remains the epicentre of the outbreak in Brazil, with over 2,90,000 cases and 15,000 deaths, as per data from the Health Ministry.

US records nearly 50,000 covid cases in biggest one-day spike

New US Covid-19 cases rose by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.

The record follows a warning by the government’s top infectious diseases expert that the number could soon double to 100,000 cases a day if Americans do not come together to take steps necessary to halt the virus’ resurgent spread, such as wearing masks when unable to practice social distancing.

In the first week of June, the United States added about 22,000 new coronavirus cases each day. But as the month progressed, hotspots began to emerge across the Sun Belt. In the last seven days of June, daily new infections almost doubled to 42,000 nationally.

Tokyo reports over 100 new cases

Global Coronavirus Updates, 02 July: US records 50,000 new cases in one day; Brazil death toll crosses 60,000 Visitors practice social distancing while waiting to enter the park in the poor weather during the reopening of Tokyo Disneyland along with Tokyo DisneySea, in Urayasu, east of Tokyo, Japan July 1, 2020. (Reuters)

Tokyo on Thursday reported over 100 cases of coronavirus, public broadcaster NHK said, the highest daily tally in two months, Reuters reported. The city’s daily count last exceeded 100 on May 2.

The city witnessed less than 20 daily new cases since the government lifted a state of emergency on May 25, but its tally has been consistently exceeding 50 over the past week. As infections surpass the city government’s target, two weeks into its final phase of easing virus restrictions, officials have repeatedly said they see no need to declare a new state of emergency.

Japan, with about 19,000 cases and 976 deaths so far, has reported a lower overall rate of infection as compared to many other countries.

Australia sets up suburban checkpoints to contain Melbourne virus hotspots

Global Coronavirus Updates, 02 July: US records 50,000 new cases in one day; Brazil death toll crosses 60,000 Police stop drivers at a checkpoint, set up in response to the state of Victoria’s surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and resulting suburb lockdowns, in Melbourne, Australia, July 2, 2020. (Reuters)

Australian police set up suburban checkpoints in new coronavirus hotspots in Melbourne on Thursday as authorities struggled to contain new outbreaks in the country’s second-largest city, even as travel restrictions eased elsewhere.

Images published by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday showed police flagging down cars in suburban streets after 36 suburbs in Melbourne in Victoria state went into lockdown following a spike in new infections there.

The state reported 77 new cases on Thursday, up slightly from the previous day and in line with two weeks of double-digit daily increases.

South Korea records 54 new cases

South Korea reported 54 new cases as the virus continued to spread beyond the capital and reach cities like Gwangju, where schools have been shut and social restrictions tightened after dozens were found to be infected this week, Reuters reported.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo expressed alarm over the rise of infections in Gwangju, which has one of the lowest caseloads among major South Korean cities before this week. He urged the city’s residents to refrain from unnecessary gatherings, maintain distance from others and wear masks.

Three new coronavirus cases in China

China on Thursday reported three new cases of coronavirus, with just one case of local transmission in Beijing, Reuters reported. The other two cases were reported from outside the country, according to the National Health Commission.

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