10th July 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 12,453,872 with 558,639 deaths as of 11pm today.
The International Monetary Fund urged governments to exercise fiscal caution as they borrow more to support economies hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, saying debt levels could soar to a record this year.
Autopsies on people who died of the coronavirus are helping doctors understand how the disease affects the body and one of the most remarkable findings concerned blood clotting, a pathologist says.
According to REUTERS, European Union countries and their open border neighbours were supposed to ease restrictions in unison in mid-June and then start allowing non-EU visitors in this month. However, the coordinated opening agreed by ambassadors last week has started to unravel, with a patchwork of widely differing rules and countries going it alone with new controls.
The EU governments agreed on a list of 14 “safe” countries, including Canada, Japan and Serbia, from which non-essential travellers could come, with an update two weeks later with the idea of opening up more.
However, while some countries such as the Netherlands initially opened up to all 14, Italy and Belgium decided they would open to none. The Netherlands has since concluded that Serbia and Montenegro are no longer safe.
The United Kingdom’s death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 44,650 on Friday, up 48 on the previous day, the government said. The U.K. has decided not to join the European Union’s coronavirus vaccine program. U.K. online job vacancies declined last week, a sign of a weakening labour market just as Chancellor Rishi Sunak attempts to stem unemployment in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Quarantine measures for those travelling to Britain from around 70 countries and overseas territories, including France and Italy, no longer apply from Friday in a boost to the ailing aviation and travel industries hit by COVID-19.
A group of top U.K. scientists criticized the government’s decision to re-open gyms, saying it came too soon after other venues such as pubs and bars were allowed to get back to business. In a discussion held by the Independent SAGE group — set up earlier this year as an alternative to the U.K. government’s official COVID-19 scientific advisory panel — scientists said Britain should wait to see how other services do before gyms re-open. They also raised concerns about the virus’s ability to spread indoors and a lack of checks on safety measures.
Gilead Sciences Inc. said its remdesivir virus treatment is associated with a 62% reduction in death risks compared with the standard of care in an initial analysis that the company says needs confirmation in clinical trials.
An Oxford institute where one of the most advanced experimental inoculations against the coronavirus is being developed received 3.5 million pounds ($4.4 million) from the family of Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive officer of steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA, to support a professorship.
Italy is likely to extend the state of emergency imposed in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said.
Finland expressed reservations to a revised budget proposal by European Council President Charles Michel, and the massive COVID-19 recovery fund plan being debated at a special meeting next week.
German firm BioNTech is confident it will seek regulatory approval by the end of the year for a coronavirus vaccine, the company’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal in an interview conducted Wednesday and published on Friday.
The government of Spain’s western region of Extremadura is the latest to approve new rules to make the use of masks mandatory in its territory at all times in public.
Norway will lift travel restrictions to and from more than 20 European countries from 15th July, including France, Germany and Britain as well as some provinces of neighbouring Sweden, the government said.
The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) may delay the start of the next domestic season, scheduled for July 24, after coronavirus infections at several clubs surged, its medical commission said.
U.S. and Canada
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called his party’s plans for a 2020 convention “a challenging situation.” President Donald Trump is heading to virus-hit Florida even as the U.S. added more than 60,000 cases for the first time.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reiterated that efforts are underway to educate people about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
Florida has been reporting high numbers of new cases each day. On Saturday, the Sunshine State reported more than 11,400 new cases — the most reported in a single day, beating the previous record that was set just three days before that. Officials in Florida’s Miami-Dade County reported a staggering 33.5% COVID-19 positivity rate on Thursday, according to data released by Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office.
Florida officials are securing 1,000 nurses for hospitals in the state as the new surge of Covid-19 cases test Florida’s hospital system, Jared Moskowitz, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FLSERT), said in a tweet on Friday.
There are less than 1,000 ICU beds available throughout the state of Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said he’d consider “potential alterations” such as stay-at-home orders as Texas’ coronavirus numbers rise, but he emphasized that it is now up to individuals to follow guidelines from medical experts.
China and Hong Kong
China on Friday announced that it has suspended imports from 23 overseas meat companies in countries that include the United States, Brazil, Germany, and the United Kingdom due to coronavirus outbreaks at production facilities.
China said samples of imported shrimp tested positive for coronavirus, raising questions again over whether the pathogen can spread through food or frozen products. China’s customs authority said it was suspending imports from three shrimp producers in Ecuador after detecting the new coronavirus in recent shipments. It said samples taken from shipments from Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila SA, Empacreci SA and Empacadora Del Pacifico Sociedad Anonima Edpacif had produced six positive results. However, tests on the frozen shrimp and inner packaging were negative.
Hong Kong confirmed 38 new coronavirus cases on Friday as the number of confirmed locally transmitted infections continues to rise in the city. 20 more local cases were reported this evening according to sources.
Elsewhere in the world
Russia registered 172,914 deaths in May, up by 18,375 or 11.9 percent from the same month the previous year, data from the state statistics service Rosstat showed. The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre reported 6,635 new cases, bringing its nationwide tally of infections to 713,936, the world’s fourth highest caseload.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced on Friday in a statement that it had granted provisional approval to remdesivir as the first treatment option for the novel coronavirus in Australia. The Australian state of Victoria registered a record 288 new coronavirus cases on Thursday — the highest any Australian state has reported in a single day since the pandemic began, the state’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Friday.
A United States Marine tested positive for COVID-19 at Robertson Barracks in Darwin, Australia on 8th July, according to the Australian Defence Department.
The Premier of South Africa’s financial-hub and most populous province Gauteng, David Makhura, said he has tested positive for COVID-19, as infections in the country continue to soar.
India reported a record 26,506 new coronavirus cases as authorities re-imposed lockdowns in its most populous state and in an industrial hub, home to automakers, drug factories and brewers.
Caribbean nations are so strapped for cash after the pandemic hammered their tourism industries that they have begun dangling deep discounts on the passports they sell to wealthy foreigners.
Authorities in Kazakhstan have denied a report published by Chinese officials that the country is experiencing an outbreak of “unknown pneumonia” potentially deadlier than the novel coronavirus.On Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan issued a warning to citizens living in the Central Asian country that the pneumonia had killed more than 1,700 people. In a statement later on Friday, the Kazakhstan health ministry acknowledged the presence of “viral pneumonias of unspecified etiology,” but denied that the outbreak was new or unknown.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that if the coronavirus situation in the Central Asian country does not improve by the end of its second lockdown, it would raise questions about the cabinet’s ability to work in its current composition.
Indonesia reported 1,611 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total count to 72,347, its health ministry said.
The economic fallout from the pandemic has negatively impacted about 31 million workers in Vietnam, with 900,000 out of work and nearly 18 million people receiving less income than before, a government agency said.
Singapore reported 191 new COVID-19 infections as of noon on Friday, including 16 cases in the community, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a preliminary update.