Coronavirus latest: India cases surpass half a million

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New Delhi is racing to contain the pandemic, as the Indian capital remains hardest-hit by the outbreak in the country. More than 500,000 cases were recorded nationwide.

23:25 Workers at Disneyland Resort in California protested from their cars saying the company has not agreed to provide them adequate protection against the coronavirus when the facility plans to reopen.

Walt Disney Company had planned to reopen the Disneyland and California Adventures theme parks on July 17 but announced this week it would set an opening date after the state issues guidelines.

About 200 cars lined up outside the resort in a protest staged by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, a group of 11 unions that represent 17,000 Disneyland workers.

The union wants the company to provide on-site testing for COVID-19, but a Disney representative said the existing tests weren’t recommended by US health authorities for routine screening.

“When Disney does reopen, we want it to be as safe as possible for cast members, for the guests, and for the families that cast members have to go back to,” one union member who attended the rally said.

22:05 Brazil has reported 38,693 new cases of COVID-19, the country’s Health Ministry said, bringing its total number of infections to 1,313,667. The country, the second-worst hit in the world, recorded 1,109 new deaths over the past 24 hours. More than 57,000 people have now died from coronavirus in Brazil.

21:48 Coronavirus cases in the US have topped 2.5 million, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University. The US is the world’s hardest-hit country in the pandemic, with more than 125,000 deaths.

20:41 In Zurich, Switzerland, almost 300 guests and employees at a nightclub have been ordered into 10-day quarantine after a man who visited the club tested positive for the coronavirus.

A statement from the city’s health authority said five other people who were at the Flamingo Club with the man on June 21 have since also tested positive.

Nightclubs in Switzerland were permitted to reopen in June, but guests have to be registered.

The country has been seeing a rise in new infections, with the number increasing daily from 18 on Monday to 69 on Saturday, according to figures from the Health Ministry. The ministry said 31,555 coronavirus infections had been recorded so far, with 1,682 people dying.

19:52 The Facebook page of Winfried Kretschmann, the state premier of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany has been attacked by so-called “coronavirus rebels and conspiracy theorists,” forcing him to temporarily shut down the page.

His ministry said users “posted numerous false statements, conspiracies, threats, insults, and other criminally relevant content” after Kretschmann posted the latest episode of his podcast Friday night.

There were more than 4,000 comments on the page in under 20 hours. The state ministry said none of the commenters were interested in a factual discussion.

While Kretschmann’s page was taken down, the state government said it could still be reached via all other available channels.

19:16 Community transmission of the coronavirus in the western German city of Gütersloh, where a large cluster has been linked to a local meat processing plant, has “noticeably” increased, officials said on Saturday.

The district implemented mass testing this week and recorded a total of 75 cases unrelated to the slaughterhouse by Friday, up by 28 from the day before.

Officials say the increase is down to more widespread testing carried out in the wake of the discovery of more than 1,500 confirmed cases at the Tönnies meat processing plant.

The abattoir is owned by FC Schalke 04 chairman Clemens Tönnies.

Local residents remain in lockdown until the end of June. Those making summer vacation plans have been told not to travel to several German states.

18:35 A global fundraising meeting raised more than €6 billion (over $6.7 billion) for coronavirus research.

The European Commission, along with the European Investment Bank, pledged €4.9 billion ($5.5 billion). The United States gave $545 million, Germany promised €383 million, Canada gave $219 million and Qatar said it would donate $10 million to the cause.

The conference, called Global Goal: United for Our Future – the Summit, was attended by more than forty world governments. The summit was part of a joint initiative by the EU executive and advocacy group Global Citizen.

It also included a globally televised and streamed concert, including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Shakira, which began at 1800 UTC/GMT.

17:31 An Orthodox monk in Ethiopia has survived a bout of COVID-19 at the reported age of 114, according to The Associated Press.

Tilahun Woldemichael was treated in hospital with oxygen and dexamethasone, a steroid that researchers in England say can reduce deaths in severely ill patients by up to one-third. He was discharged after almost three weeks.

His grandson, Biniam Leulseged, told AP that he had no birth certificate to prove his grandfather’s age, but showed a photo of him taken on his 100th birthday. ”I am very happy because we are together again,” Biniam Leulseged said.

The country has more than 5,200 confirmed cases of infection with the coronavirus.

16:43 Bayern Munich have been awarded their eighth-straight Bundesliga title as captain Manuel Neuer lifted the trophy in an empty stadium.

“We are the Champions” echoed around Wolfsburg’s empty stadium after Munich completed the campaign with a 4-0 win there, and there were no familiar beer showers as players and officials celebrated in a low-key manner.

“It is a special moment and also a strange one. There are no fans, no celebrations, no whistles,” German Football League chief Christian Seifert said in a brief speech.

The Bundesliga was the first major league to restart in mid-May after Covid-19 had halted play for two months — with the final nine rounds played behind closed doors and with a hygiene concept that also helped other leagues restart at later stages.

Seifert spoke of an “extraordinary achievement” by all involved before distancing rules did not allow him to hand the trophy to the captain Neuer, saying instead “Bayern Munich, Manuel, here is your platter.”

16:20 The US states of Florida and Arizona have recorded daily highs for cases of COVID-19, highlighting the worsening spread of the virus in several southern and western states, some of which are taking steps to roll back their
reopening plans.

Florida on Saturday morning reported 9,585 new infections in the last 24 hours, a record for a second day, while Arizona recorded 3,591 new cases of COVID-19, matching its prior record on June 23.

The US confirmed more than 45,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the largest single-day increase of the pandemic. More than 2.5 million Americans now have tested positive.

The surge has been most pronounced in southern and western states like Florida and Texas, which are now taking steps to reinstate restrictions on businesses, threatening a hoped-for economic recovery and jobs.

In a reversal of his early moves to relax restrictions, Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday ordered bars across the state to close and required restaurants to limit indoor seating capacity to 50%.

Florida, another state that reopened its economy relatively quickly, told bar owners in the state to immediately stop serving alcohol on their premises.

15:43 The governor of Bethlehem has announced the temporary closure of the Palestinian city after a sharp rise in infections in the occupied West Bank. The 48-hour closure will begin Monday from 6:00 a.m (0300 UTC/GMT), governor Kamil Hmeid said in a statement.

The decision comes after the West Bank cities of Hebron and Nablus were closed last week for five days and 48 hours respectively. The two cities, alongside Bethlehem, have recorded a major spike in new cases.

Bethlehem, where Christians believe Christ was born, was initially put into lockdown in March. Schools were shut and non-essential travel and activities were banned, as part of the efforts to tackle the virus.

The Palestinian health ministry announced 67 new cases of the COVID-19 respiratory illness on Saturday, of which 33 were in the Bethlehem district. The ministry has recorded a total of 1,552 virus cases in the West Bank, including two deaths.

Like the West Bank, Israel has also recorded a recent surge in coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian enclave blockaded by Israel, 72 people have tested positive, with one death.

14:49 Brazil says it’s signed a $127 million (€113 million) agreement to start producing locally an experimental vaccine developed by AstraZeneca that has shown promise to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British-Swedish company’s vaccine is considered the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development to obtain licensure and become an official vaccine against the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

The drugmaker is already carrying out large-scale, mid-stage human trials of the vaccine, which was developed by researchers at Oxford University.

Elcio Franco, Brazil’s No.2 public health official, said in a press conference on Saturday that the country will initially produce some 30 million doses of the vaccine, half by December and half by January of next year.

Franco said Brazil is paying for the vaccine but is aware of the risk, in case the vaccine does not pass all necessary licensure requirements or another vaccine obtains approval faster.

The vaccine will be produced by Brazil’s Fundação Osvaldo Cruz, also known as Fiocruz, the country’s leading public health organization, Franco said.

Brazil is the world’s second most affected country by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1.2 million confirmed cases as of Friday and more than 55,000 deaths.

Anger rises with coronavirus death toll in Brazil

14:26 Observers of two protests underway in Berlin – Black Lives Matter (BLM) and an anti-homophobia rally – have reported good adherence to social distancing measures.

BLM demonstrators met at the Berlin Victory Column junction, in the city’s massive Tiergarten park, with a message for the country’s 83 million inhabitants that black people are confronted with racism nearly on an everyday basis.

Police told reporters that attendees had behaved in an exemplary manner.

Also on Saturday, Berlin played host to large-scale anti-homophobia protests on Christopher Street Day, after the traditional Pride parade was canceled due to the pandemic.

About 3,500 people marched from Nollendorfplatz to Alexanderplatz to protest against discrimination experienced by those in the LGBT+ communities.

Police said they too largely observed coronavirus restrictions.

14:00 As Germany continues its coronavirus reopening amid rising temperatures, tourists have been told not to travel to the Baltic Sea towns of Scharbeutz and Haffkrug, in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

On Saturday, Mayor Bettina Schäfer applied the emergency brake, announcing that both were filled to capacity with tens of thousands of day tourists filling parking lots and beaches at the seaside towns.

Only residents and those carrying confirmations for vacation homestays will be allowed to enter either town, all others will be instructed to turn around or continue on to different destinations but not allowed to stop.

13:32 Tunisia has reopened its air, sea and land borders after more than three months of closure. The move comes after Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said two weeks ago that Tunisia had won the battle against the coronavirus after
it recently recorded almost no new cases.

International flights to and from Tunisia resumed on Saturday, with Tunis-Carthage International Airport having received a number of flights, including from Paris. Other flights for Frankfurt, Rome and Paris are scheduled to depart.

Tunisia seeks to revive its tourism sector, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

13:06 Serbia’s Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that Vulin has no symptoms of the virus and is feeling fine.

Vulin, known for his highly pro-Russian stance, was part of Serbia’s delegation led by President Aleksandar Vucic that attended a Victory Day parade this week in Moscow. Vucic met face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it was not clear whether Vulin did so as well.

Maja Gojkovic, the speaker of Serbia’s parliament, also tested positive, according to the state Tanjug news agency on Saturday.

Serbia has seen a spike in coronavirus cases since lifting strict lockdown measures in May, allowing large gatherings without obligatory social distancing or masks. Vucic has announced he will reintroduce the tough measures if the spike continues.

COVID-19 lockdowns expose racial bias with Belgian police

11:24 Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that the country’s economic problems would worsen if the novel coronavirus spreads unchecked, saying the initial momentum to contain it had since “waned.”

The Islamic nation has struggled to curb the COVID-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases in the Shiite holy city of Qom in February. It shut down non-essential businesses, closed schools and canceled public events in March, but the government gradually lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen the country’s sanctions-hit economy.

“It is correct to say that something must be done to prevent economic problems caused by the coronavirus,” said Khamenei. The Iranian rial has plunged to new lows against the US dollar in recent days due to the temporary shutdown, border closures and halt in non-oil exports, according to analysts.

10:40 Indonesia has reported its biggest daily increase in COVID-19 infections with 1,385 new cases, taking the total to 52,812, according to the Health Ministry.

More than 2,700 people have died in the country from the virus.

09:52 German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday warned people against reckless behavior, saying that the pandemic isn’t over and the coronavirus situation in the country remains serious. “The danger posed by the virus is still serious,” Merkel said in her weekly video message. “It’s easy to forget because Germany has been doing reasonably well through the crisis, but that doesn’t mean that the danger has been averted,” Merkel said, pointing to the emergence of regional outbreaks in recent days. “Take it seriously, because the situation is serious,” she reiterated.

Politicians alone will not be able to put an end to the spread of the virus, Merkel said, adding that it requires everyone to act responsibly. “We must all view it as our shared obligation and understand that by following the rules on minimum physical distance, facial coverings and hand hygiene, every one of us contributes to our shared destiny,” she said.

08:51 A Los Angeles court has ordered US family immigration detention centers must release more than 100 children over coronavirus fears. There are three such detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania, two of which have had confirmed outbreaks. District Judge Dolly Gee said the facilities are at risk of becoming a massive health crisis despite the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency working to reduce the number of migrants behind bars.

“The (Family Residential Centers) are ‘on fire’ and there is no more time for half measures,” Gee wrote, ordering that the 124 children in custody be released by July 17.

The affected centers are separate from the US Department of Health and Human Services facilities that are holding about 1,000 unaccompanied children.

05:56 The Australian state of Victoria recorded 41 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Saturday, double the daily rate seen a week ago, struggling to gain control over the pandemic as the rest of the country continues easing social distancing restrictions. Victoria, the country’s second-most populated state, has now seen 11 straight days of double-digit new cases, most linked to known outbreaks in Melbourne’s suburbs, health officials said.

Victoria currently has 204 of Australia’s total of about 270 active cases. “We are very concerned,” the state’s deputy chief health officer, Annaliese van Diemen, said at a press conference.

One of the new cases was a returned traveler. Australia requires all locals who return to quarantine in hotels for two weeks. But about 30% of people in Victoria have declined a COVID-19 test before leaving quarantine, health officials said.

New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, recorded six new cases on Saturday and officials said that returned travelers who declined to be tested will have to stay in a mandatory quarantine 10 days longer. Despite the spike in cases in Victoria, Australia’s infection numbers of around 7,600 and 104 deaths have remained well below that of many other nations.

05:27 Germany’s federal and state governments have reached agreement on a uniform regulation for travel within Germany. As per the deal, people traveling from a district with a high occurrence of coronavirus infections may only be accommodated in a hotel if a medical certificate confirms they are not infected. The medical certificate must be based on a molecular biological test carried out no later than 48 hours prior to arrival, according to the agreement.

The discussion was prompted by a massive coronavirus outbreak at a meat processing plant in Gütersloh district.

Over 1,500 workers at the plant — operated by Germany’s biggest meat producer Tönnies — tested positive for the virus, prompting the authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia to put Gütersloh and the neighboring Warendorf district under lockdown.

04:22 India now has more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to government figures released Saturday that showed a record daily jump of 18,500 new infections.

Authorities said 15,685 people have died so far, after another 385 fatalities were added to the toll in 24 hours. The pandemic is not expected to peak in India for several more weeks and experts say the number of cases could pass 1 million before the end of July.

India has the world’s fourth-biggest outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19, below only the United States, Brazil and Russia in confirmed infections. Experts advising the federal government say the authorities should now prioritize reducing mortality over containing the spread of the virus.

03:38 Liverpool fans gathering in the city center for a second night of celebrations after their team’s Premier League title success have been urged to return home over fears of spreading the coronavirus.

Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a league title ended on Thursday and thousands of fans turned up at the club’s Anfield stadium to bask in the glory.

Merseyside Police issued a dispersal order late on Friday after more crowds gathered for a second consecutive night near the Mersey Ferry terminal.
The police said on Twitter that the order would remain in force until Sunday.

Meanwhile, city mayor Joe Anderson urged fans to return home. “I am really concerned about scenes at Pier Head tonight,” he said on Twitter. “I appreciate LFC fans want to celebrate but please, for your own safety, and that of others, go home and celebrate at home.”

“COVID-19 is still a major risk and our city has already lost far too many people to the illness.”

“People are asking why we are not moving the fans on, or taking action to prevent them from gathering. Councils simply do not have the power to do this. If you know someone who is there, please message them and ask them to come home.”

The UK has recorded the third-highest number of deaths in the world with 43,500 people succumbing to the virus.

03:03 The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen by 687, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. The total number of infections to have occurred in Germany now stands at 193,243.

The reported death toll has increased by six, meaning a total of 8,954 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19.

Yesterday, Germany logged 477 new cases and 21 deaths.

01:55 China has reported a further 21 new infections in its daily update as the latest outbreak in Beijing shows no signs of easing.

All 17 of the locally transmitted new cases were recorded in the capital, according to the latest figures from national health authorities, while there were four imported instances in Guangdong, Gansu and Shanghai.

The upsurge in new cases in Beijing means a total of 299 infections have been recorded since a cluster was traced back to the Xinfadi wholesale market on June 11.

Beijing has subsequently implemented drastic measures to curb the outbreak, carrying out mass testing, closing schools, putting neighborhoods on lockdown and banning all unnecessary travel.

On Friday the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that this latest strain of the coronavirus is not the same as the one discovered in the initial epicenter of the pandemic, Wuhan, late last year.

Close up – China – Coronavirus and Its Aftermath

01:31 Germany is getting closer to introducing an animal welfare levyaccording to Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner, after discussions over cleaning up the meat industry, which is under the microscope following a number of outbreaks at slaughterhouses across the country.

The most recent cluster was recorded at a meat processing plant near Gütersloh and has resulted in more than 600,000 citizens returning to lockdown, while also prompting a debate about working standards within the industry.

Klöcker said meat should not be an “everyday junk food” and “attempts are being made to lure consumers with dumping prices” for meat.

“That’s why we believe an animal welfare levy is necessary,” she said after meeting representatives of the meat, retail and consumer sectors.

“We have come further than ever before,” she said of efforts to come to an agreement. The levy would be used to improve the living conditions of animals.

How did German meat plants become coronavirus hotspots?

00:00 Texas and Florida, two US states that have recently reported a surge in cases, have tightened lockdown restrictions once more, with the closure of bars and tightening of regulations on how restaurants operate.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars across the state to close by mid-day and restaurants must restrict indoor seating capacity to 50%.

The announcement came as a surprise to a number of bar owners who said Abbott had given them only four hours’ notice.

In Florida, state officials told bars to stop serving alcohol with immediate effect.

Florida registered almost 9,000 new cases on Friday, a record daily figure for the state.

DW.

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