COVID-19 UPDATES : 19,459 new cases reported in India, Florida has 146,341 total cases, Thailand plans “business-travel bubbles”


29th June 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 10,302,092 with 505,506 deaths as of 11.30pm today.


European Union ambassadors are meeting today to finalize advice on which countries’ travellers should be banned from the bloc, amid fears that summer tourism will create new hotspots.  The European Union will have a list of coronavirus-safe countries for travel purposes ready by Tuesday at the latest, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said.

Officials are preparing a list of 15 countries that are safe for open borders based on epidemiological criteria, she told local radio Cadena SER, as the coronavirus pandemic wanes on most of the continent. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that the government should “keep going with an activist, interventionist approach” to help the economy recover from the coronavirus crisis. “That’s the way also to get business to be confident, to start investing, to start taking people back and start creating new jobs and driving new growth,” Johnson told reporters.

Germany will extend by one week restricting measures enforced around one of the two districts that were put under lockdown on 23rd June. 

A small study by researchers in Italy has found that COVID-19 patients who were tested for the novel coronavirus at a hospital there in May had fewer virus particles than those who were tested a month earlier.

In the U.K., 5.3% of care home residents may have died from coronavirus infections, a figure 13 times worse than in Germany, according to a report by researchers from the London School of Economics. Of 15 countries analyzed the only one with a higher rate of Covid-19 fatalities was Spain, at 6.1%.

Scotland may seek to impose quarantine restrictions on visitors from other parts of the U.K. should there be a spike in coronavirus infections as the nation starts easing rules on movement.

The organizer of the Tour de France will hold a virtual version of the event starting this week as cycling grapples with maintaining interest in a sport that was already in trouble before the pandemic hit.

The Czech government is tightening quarantine measures in two northeastern counties to contain local outbreaks of coronavirus after the number of cases jumped in the past few days, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said. Starting Tuesday, events of more than 100 people will once again be banned in the two counties, with restrictions on the opening hours of restaurants and bars; foreign workers crossing borders to the counties will be tested. The number of new cases jumped to 305 on Sunday, the biggest daily increase since 3rd April.

Luxembourg’s new cases increased more than usual in the last four days, and the government is seeking clarity on the causes, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said.

U.S. and Canada

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes to avert labour layoffs in October from the US$1 billion budget cuts. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that officials are reconsidering a plan to allow indoor dining July 6, as other states experience a surge in COVID-19 cases after reopening restaurants and bars.

The daily number of people admitted to hospitals in New York City for COVID-19 is at 51, under the 200 threshold. New York City will re-examine and possibly pause indoor dining, which had been set to resume next week in phase three of reopening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today calling for Republicans to negotiate for another round of COVID-19 relief.  

Beaches in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, popular with residents and tourists, will be closed Fourth of July weekend as officials keep a cautious eye on the rapidly rising number of new coronavirus cases in Florida.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) figures show about 2.3 million people passed through airport security checkpoints between Thursday and Sunday, down from the 10.4 million people the agency screened on the same days last year.  

Gilead Sciences, the company that makes COVID-19 drug remdesivir, announced in an open letter this morning that it has decided to set a price of US$390 per vial for the US government, which would include Medicaid, and for the governments of developed countries.  A typical five-day treatment course would include six vials, which would equate to US$2,340 per patient, Daniel O’Day, Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO, said in the letter. The US government will continue to manage US allocations of remdesivir to hospitals through September, the company said.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the United States, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urged Americans to practice social distancing and wear face coverings as people go back to work and school. 

On Sunday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned that the “window is closing” for the country to get the pandemic under control.

The Houston bars Scott Repass co-owns had been open about three weeks before the governor shut down their business again in response to a surge in new coronavirus cases.

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 5,266 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the state total to 146,341, according to data released by the state on Monday. 

Central and Latin America

Brazil reported a total number of cases of 1,345,470. The death toll stands at 57,659, while the country continues reopening measures in certain areas — Rio de Janeiro city issued a decree Friday allowing the public to attend stadiums to watch soccer matches of the local Carioca Championship.

Meanwhile in Mexico, 4,050 new coronavirus cases were reported Sunday, according to the Mexican Health Ministry. The new numbers come as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the country’s capital, Mexico City, is set to begin a gradual reopening process Monday.

Mexico has the 7th highest number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide, with a total death toll of 26,648.

Argentina reported 2,189 new COVID-19 cases as the total number of infections reached 59,933, according to data released by the country’s Health Ministry on Monday morning. The country’s death toll stands at 1,245, with 13 new deaths.

China and Hong Kong

About 400,000 people have been placed under strict lockdown in Anxin county, in the central province of Hebei, after just 18 fresh cases were detected.

China suspended meat imports from more plants, including chickens from a JBS unit, beef from a Cargill factory in Canada and pork from a Danish Crown plant, taking the total to 15 by 28th June, according to the country’s customs department.

According to CGTN, the first clinical trial of China’s first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is underway in east China’s Hangzhou City. On Monday afternoon, volunteers received their first dose at Shulan Hospital. The project started enrolling volunteers on 23rd June, and plans to recruit 168 healthy individuals, half of them aged 18 to 59 years old and the other half aged at least 60 years, to evaluate the safety and tolerance of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) mRNA vaccine.

4 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), taking the number of cases to 1,204 in Hong Kong so far.

Elsewhere in the world

Russia recorded 6,719 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 641,156, according to the government’s virus response centre.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev gave his cabinet two days to prepare a package of coronavirus restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus.

“In foreign observers’ opinion, the situation in Kazakhstan is critical, on the brink of spiralling out of control,” Tokayev said, rebuking senior officials for reopening the country in a disorganized way and allowing the novel virus to resurge.

India has recorded its biggest one-day jump in new coronavirus cases for the eighth consecutive day, after 19,459 new cases were reported on Monday, according to the country’s health ministry.

In Pakistan, coronavirus cases crossed 206,512 mark on Sunday with 3,602 new infections reported. 

Qatar recorded 693 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said, taking the total number of infections to 95,106. More than 80,000 of the infected have recovered from the virus. 

Employees of the United Arab Emirates federal government will return to their workplaces from 5th July while implementing social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the UAE official news agency WAM said on Monday.

Kenya has lost 80 billion shillings (US$751.88m) so far in revenue from its tourism sector, about half of last year’s total, due to the coronavirus crisis, its tourism minister said on Monday. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised statement on Sunday that 2020 has been the toughest year in the nation’s history because of US sanctions and the spread of coronavirus.  Iran reported 162 deaths from the novel coronavirus, the highest single-day toll since the outbreak began in the country in February.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the World Health Organization announced on Sunday that there are now more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 in the eastern Mediterranean alone. Places reporting a recent rise in cases in the area include: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian territories and Oman. There also have been 23,461 COVID-19 deaths recorded in the region, which spans from Morocco to Pakistan, according to WHO.  

Tokyo found around 60 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, TBS reported, citing Governor Yuriko Koike.

The fourth day of a coronavirus “testing blitz” in the Australian state of Victoria returned 75 positive results on Sunday, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced Monday.

The state of Maharashtra, home to the financial hub Mumbai and Bollywood film production, will continue with lock down measures until July 31st as the number of cases steadily rise. 

Bolivia reported a total of 1,014 deaths from COVID-19, according to figures released by the country’s Health Ministry Monday. Bolivia now exceeds the 1,000-figure mark, with the addition of 44 new deaths reported in the last 24-hour period, according to the ministry’s statistics.

Singapore is distributing a digital contact-tracing device to people who don’t use smartphones, as part of the city-state’s efforts to contain coronavirus.

The TraceTogether Tokens are aimed at vulnerable seniors who aren’t digitally connected but are at higher risk from coronavirus, according to a statement from the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO).

Thailand plans to allow foreign business travellers into the country for the first time since closing its borders to most international flights in March. Passport holders from Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, and people from some Chinese provinces, may be allowed to travel to Thailand as part of proposed “business-travel bubbles” from July. Thailand will allow all schools, nightclubs and bars to reopen in the country’s fifth stage of reopening. Thailand has reported its 35th day without community transmission.

Indonesia reported 1,082 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the total number of infections to 55,092, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Singapore reported 202 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including six cases in the community, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in its preliminary update. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore to 43,661.

In a sign that the badly hit cruise industry may be sputtering back to life, Genting Cruise Lines announced on Monday that one of its brands, Dream Cruises, will resume operations in Taiwan.