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World updates: 10 million-plus infected with coronavirus, almost 500K dead



almost 500K dead
An employee of a funeral home wears a protective suit at the Parque Memorial Jardin de los Angeles cemetery, 14 km north of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on June 21, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Global coronavirus cases have now passed the 10 million mark, and related fatalities have approached 500,000, according to a Reuters tally.

Seven months since the new virus first emerged, some countries are reporting resurgences in their infections, and have started to partially reinstate lockdowns that had paralyzed their economies.

Experts say life under social restrictive measures could become a pattern in the coming months and into 2021, until a vaccine is made available.

almost 500K dead

The United States has reported some 2,510,151 infections — the world’s heaviest caseload — and an increase of more than 44,000 cases from its previous count on Saturday, according to another tally, by Johns Hopkins University.

The US death toll has reached more than 125,539.

India and Brazil, which report over 10,000 daily cases each, accounted for over a third of all new cases in the past week.

Health experts say fatalities in Latin America could rise to over 380,000 by October, from around 100,000 this week.

The following are updates on the pandemic from around the world:

Brazil cases pass 1.3 million mark

Brazil registered 38,693 new cases of the viral infection in the past 24 hours and 1,109 additional deaths, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

Brazil, now the second after the US in terms of caseload, has recorded 1,313,667 cases and 57,070 related deaths.

Mexico reports over 600 new deaths

Mexico reported 4,410 new coronavirus infections and 602 additional deaths on Saturday.

The figures took the total in the country to 212,802 cases and 26,381 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

China reports 17 new cases, 14 of them in Beijing

China on Sunday reported 17 new cases, 14 of which were detected in the capital of Beijing, according to the National Health Commission.

Beijing, which reported its first case in the current outbreak on June 11, now has 311 confirmed cases.

Mainland China has at least 83,500 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 4,634.

South Korea reports spike in infections

South Korea reported a spike in the number of infections on Sunday, after 62 people tested positive for COVID-19.

That pushed the total to 12,715, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The new tally was higher than the 51 cases reported on Saturday, and was over 60 for the first time since June 20.

The total death toll remained unchanged at 282.

Australia’s Victoria State mandates testing for travelers

Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria will implement mandatory COVID-19 tests for returning travelers.

The state’s premier Daniel Andrews said that Victoria had 49 new cases on Sunday — the highest in more than two months, also marking the 12th consecutive day of double-digit rises.

Australia’s total number of cases is 7,686, with a death toll of 104.

Germany reports 256 additional cases

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 256 to 193,499, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

The reported death toll also rose by three to 8,957.

Two top Serbian officials test positive

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Defense Ministry statement, which said Vulin had no symptoms of the virus and is feeling fine.

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

Serbia has reported 13,792 cases and 267 deaths as of the end of Saturday.

Wearing face masks, French go to polls for delayed vote

Voters in France donned face masks to cast their ballots on Sunday in a delayed second round of country-wide municipal elections, a mid-term test for President Emmanuel Macron and his ruling party.

almost 500K dead

The vote had been delayed for three months due to the outbreak.

On Saturday, French health officials reported a previously-unseen increase of the cases since the end of May. Officials reported more than 1,500 new confirmed cases, bringing the total figure to 199,473.

The recorded death toll in France stands at 29,781.

almost 500K dead

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Violent clashes erupt in Belgrade as thousands protest against new COVID-19 lockdown



Violent clashes erupt in Belgrade
Demonstrators are seen amid tear gas during a protest at the Serbian parliament building against a lockdown planned for the capital this weekend to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Belgrade, Serbia July 8, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Violent clashes have erupted between protesters and police forces in Belgrade as thousands protest against new COVID-19 restrictions in defiance of warnings.

Serbian police fired tear gas at protesters after being pelted with flares and stones on Wednesday as thousands protested in front of the Belgrade parliament despite warnings such gatherings could spread coronavirus infections.

The evening before, violence erupted when a crowd stormed parliament in protest at plans to re-impose a lockdown following a new spike in COVID-19 cases. Forty-three police officers and 17 protesters were injured and there were 23 arrests.

Hours before Wednesday’s protest, President Aleksandar Vucic called on people to stop attending anti-government rallies to avoid a further spread of the coronavirus, warning there were no beds left in hospitals.

Violent clashes erupt in Belgrade

“There are no free beds in our hospitals. We will open new hospitals,” he said in an address to the nation. He accused far-right groups and unspecified regional “intelligence officials” of orchestrating riots to “undermine Serbia’s position”.

Most of the protesters on Wednesday evening wore face masks, blew whistles and shouted “Vucic leave!” as they faced off with riot police guarding the parliament complex. Some threw stones and flares at police who responded with volleys of tear gas.

Protesters also skirmished with police in the northern city of Novi Sad.

Although he had on Tuesday said a new lockdown would be imposed in Belgrade this weekend, Vucic said on Wednesday he had ultimately advised the government and health authorities not to introduce it. The government will announce a new set of restrictive measures on Thursday, he said.

Serbia, a country of 7 million, has reported 17,076 COVID-19 cases and 341 deaths. Health authorities say hospitals are running at full capacity and staff are exhausted. The number of new infections rose to 357 on Wednesday from 299 on Tuesday.

Critics say the government’s decisions to allow soccer matches, religious festivities, parties and private gatherings to resume, and parliamentary elections to go ahead on June 21, are to blame for the new surge in infections.

The government blames a lack of sanitary discipline among the public, especially in nightclubs.

Violent clashes erupt in Belgrade

(Source: Reuters)

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Pandemic may push 50 million Africans into extreme poverty: AfDB



50 million Africans
A resident of Plot 323 in Wilgespruit, Johannesburg, pauses on May 8, 2020 in front of a wooden shack during a ministerial visit aimed to ensure that the vulnerable residents of the informal settlement are soon properly accommodated in temporary residential units. (Photo by AFP)

Nearly 50 million Africans could be driven into extreme poverty in the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said Tuesday.

Roughly a third of the continent — 425 million people — was already expected to live below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day in 2020, the AfDB said in its African Economic Outlook, forecasting that the situation would further deteriorate.

After Oceania, Africa is the least affected continent in the pandemic, recording nearly 500,000 infections and almost 11,700 deaths, according to an AFP tally on Tuesday.

But the health crisis and ensuing lockdowns have destroyed jobs, crippled incomes and devastated economies continent-wide.

“Between 28.2 and 49.2 million more Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty” this year and next, the AfDB report said, with the first figure the baseline prediction and the latter the worst-case scenario.

The Abidjan-based institution, one of the world’s five largest multilateral development lenders, expects Africa to suffer a major recession, with GDP forecast to contract between 1.7 percent and 3.4 percent this year.

That would be 5.6 to 7.3 percentage points lower than pre-pandemic forecasts.

Late last month, the International Monetary Fund forecasted that sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP would shrink by 3.2 percent, and that incomes would drop to levels last seen in 2010.

The AfDB said that between 24.6 and 30 million jobs would be lost this year due to the virus crisis.

Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, would see the greatest rise in poverty, it said.

Between 8.5 and 11.5 million of its 200 million population were forecast to fall into extreme poverty this year, as a drop in oil prices compounds the economic impact of the pandemic.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, where 72 percent of the 90 million inhabitants already live below the poverty line, would see between 2.7 and 3.4 million more extreme poor.

50 million Africans

(Source: AFP)

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Top Israel health official resigns, blasts regime’s performance vs. virus



Israel health official resigns
Picture taken on May 09, 2020 shows an Israeli protester, wearing a protective mask that bears the slogan "crime minister," during a demonstration in Tel Aviv amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by AFP)

A senior Israeli health official has resigned, blasting the regime in Tel Aviv for its lax performance in the face of the new coronavirus outbreak and for turning a deaf ear to her relevant pieces of advice.

“For a few weeks now, our compass for dealing with the pandemic has become disoriented,” Siegal Sadetzki, the health ministry’s director of public health services, wrote in a Facebook post while announcing her decision to resign.

“Despite repeated warnings in different forums, we are watching with frustration as our window of opportunity [to contain the virus] is running out,” added the epidemiologist.

Top Israel health official resigns

“I’ve reached the conclusion that, in a new context where my professional opinion is not being accepted, it is no longer in my capacity to help prevent the pandemic’s spread,” she wrote.

As of Tuesday morning, Israel had recorded more than 31,000 coronavirus’ cases, including 338 deaths. In recent weeks, the occupying entity has regularly registered between 500 to 1,000 new cases each day.

Israel began loosening anti-virus restrictions after introducing precautions in March and April. The re-opening spree has involved event venues, clubs, bars, gyms, and public pools.

Sadetzki said the regime had negated the effects of the lockdown by “the swift and broad opening of the economy.”

Also in April, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Shin Bet internal spy service to halt its use of phone-surveillance technology in the battle against the virus.

The regime’s ultraorthodox health minister Yaakov Litzman resigned the same month amid mounting criticism over his lack of seriousness in fighting the virus.

Litzman had been found appearing ill-prepared at news conferences and reportedly resisting proposals to tighten some lockdown measures. An ally of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with no formal medical training, Litzman tendered his resignation after himself was diagnosed with the virus.

Top Israel health official resigns

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