COVID-19 Apocalypse : US economy contracts by 32.9% between April and June, Norway to imposes 10-day quarantine on travellers from Belgium, 1,904 new cases reported in Indonesia


30th July 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 17,295,790 with 672,364 deaths as of 11.45pm today.

Today marks six months since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency of international concern, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said earlier this week.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “absolutely vital” for people in the UK not to “delude ourselves into thinking we are out of the woods or that this is somehow all over” as Europe feels the initial ripples of a second coronavirus wave.

England registered the highest excess death rate in Europe for the first six months of 2020, according to a report published Thursday by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The UK has increased the self-isolation period for anyone who potentially has the coronavirus to 10 days, according to a statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers Thursday.

 Mexican Formula One driver Sergio Perez was self-isolating on Thursday after an inconclusive test for COVID-19, the governing FIA said at the British Grand Prix.

Norway will reimpose a 10-day quarantine requirement for travellers arriving from Belgium after a rise in COVID-19 cases there, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The new rule goes into effect on Saturday. 

Italy’s Health Minister warned on Thursday that Europe’s battle against coronavirus has not been won as the continent braces for a possible second wave with infection rates rising in several countries.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said his fellow countrymen should continue to work from home this autumn on the advice of the National Health Agency.

Cases of the new coronavirus in the Czech Republic have surpassed 16,000 as a recent spike in infections continues, health ministry data showed. The country of 10.7 million has faced a rise in cases in several hotspots this month, including an eastern mining region and in the capital, Prague, which reported a daily record of 101 cases on Tuesday. The ministry recorded 278 cases nationwide on Wednesday, the second-highest daily rise in July. 

Clubbers in Portugal eager to shake off the coronavirus blues will have to wait a little longer to dance the night away, as nightclubs were given the green light to reopen from Saturday but with early closing and no dance floors allowed.

U.S. and Canada

The US economy contracted by 32.9% between April and June, its worst drop on record, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said there is no evidence that people can contract Covid-19 from wearing masks, after a Republican congressman incorrectly suggested as much.

President Trump took the extraordinary step Thursday morning of openly suggesting in a tweet the possibility that the 2020 election, set for 3rd November, 96 days from now, should be delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

About 1.4 million people filed for initial jobless claims last week, up 12,000 from the prior week’s revised level, which was the first increase in 16 weeks.

Wall Street opened sharply in the red on Thursday, following an economic data-heavy morning. 

There is “no evidence” that hydroxychloroquine works for treating COVID-19, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Thursday.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said Thursday that his agency “will not cut corners” when it comes to approving a COVID-19 vaccine.

For a second straight day, Florida broke its record for the number of daily coronavirus deaths. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that the county will see a high number of deaths for a while, but that there is a “silver lining.”  Florida reported a record 253 new COVID-19 deaths among residents Thursday, bringing the cumulative total to 6,586. It was the third straight day of record fatalities.

As the state of Georgia continues its fight against coronavirus, state records show 87% of critical care beds are in use, according to data released on Wednesday by Georgia Emergency Management. 

Coronavirus cases in Texas have risen to more than 418,000, putting the state at a higher case count than New York.

Virginia Beach’s school board approved a plan for all schools in the district to start remotely in September, according to a press release Wednesday.

For the third day in a row, the state of Florida is reporting a record number of coronavirus related deaths. On Thursday, the state reported 253 additional deaths, breaking the previous record of 216 deaths on Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

Herman Cain, the former presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has died from coronavirus, according to an obituary sent from his verified Twitter account and Newsmax, where he was launching a television show.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) confirmed 153 cases of the coronavirus among its campus community, the university said in a news release on Wednesday.

Central and Latin America

Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Marcos Pontes announced he has tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Pontes said he is fine and has few symptoms via Twitter. 

Mexico’s economy sank the most on record in the second quarter, putting the pace of the recovery in doubt and posing a dire challenge to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Gross domestic product in the three months through June fell 17.3% compared to the previous quarter, according to preliminary data.

China and Hong Kong

Authorities imposed travel restrictions on people coming in and out of Urumqi, the capital of China’s western Xinjiang region, seeking to contain a coronavirus outbreak there, as 96 of 105 cases reported on Wednesday in mainland China were found there. 

Hong Kong confirmed its highest daily record of new infections with 149 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, the ninth day of triple-digit cases for the city. 

Elsewhere in the world

The number of infections in Iran has reached 301,530, according to official health ministry figures.

Russia reported 5,509 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 834,499, the world’s fourth-largest caseload.

With Africa approaching one million reported coronavirus infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday warned against the easing of restrictions across the continent as case numbers doubled over the past month. Coronavirus cases in African countries are much higher than official numbers suggest because of “lack of data due to a variety of factors,” the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned Thursday.

People are crowding into markets, ignoring distancing orders and rarely wearing masks as they prepare for Eid al-Adha in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

India recorded more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Nepal started issuing climbing permits for Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks, a Ministry of Tourism spokesman said, four and a half months after it halted expeditions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Iceland’s government announced tougher coronavirus-related restrictions Thursday following new outbreaks in the country. 

Tokyo has asked restaurants, bars and karaoke parlours to shorten operating hours as coronavirus cases in Japan’s capital hit a new daily high.

Cases in the Philippines rose by a record on Thursday to 89,374, with recoveries also posting the highest daily increase after an overhaul in data reporting. The Philippine COVID-19 task force confirmed 3,954 new infections, the country’s largest single-day increase.

Indonesia’s capital delayed a plan to further relax social distancing measures after easing of some curbs last month sparked a resurgence in infections. 

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is taking more steps to manage costs, announcing further pay cuts for management staff and a salary reduction of 10 per cent for other employees.T he airline will cut of the full quantum of the monthly variable component of salaries from 1st August.