COVID-19 UPDATES : Africa’s cases climb above 600,000, Columbia imposes lockdown, at least 48 hospitals in Florida have zero ICU beds


14th July 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 13,306,016 with 577,205 deaths as of 11.30pm today.

The number of coronavirus infections around the world hit 13 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, climbing by a million in just five days.


Spain’s Catalonia has approved a resolution to place the residents of the city of Lleida and seven nearby towns under home confinement to stem a surge in coronavirus infections, after a judge earlier ruled that such a measure was unlawful.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he is “in favour” of making wearing face masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces to limit the spread of coronavirus, adding during a televised interview that the measure could be enforced as early as 1st August. France held a scaled-down annual Bastille Day celebration on Tuesday, with none of the usual tanks and troops parading down Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue, in a concession to the COVID-19 epidemic still stalking Europe.

Wearing face masks in shops and supermarkets in England will be compulsory from 24th July, with those failing to comply with the new regulation facing fines of up to £100 ($125), the UK government was set to announce Tuesday. A potential new wave this winter poses a serious risk to the U.K. and could lead to as many as 120,000 hospital deaths from September to June, according the country’s Academy of Medical Sciences. The number of coronavirus-linked fatalities in England and Wales accounts for just 5.8% of total deaths in the countries, the Office for National Statistics said.

According to Bloomberg, British Airways is planning to raise more than $1 million from the sale of paintings and prints from its corporate art collection at Sotheby’s. The 17 artworks will be offered in two auctions and are expected to fetch from 920,000 pounds ($1.16 million) to 1.4 million pounds, Sotheby’s said Tuesday. The top lot of the group an abstract painting by British artist Bridget Riley will be part of Sotheby’s Rembrandt to Richter evening sale on 28th July.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. is poised to announce a rescue worth at least 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion), after clearing the last major hurdle to the deal, according to people familiar with the matter. Negotiations with credit-card processors holding back some 200 million pounds of sales have been resolved, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter.

Delta Air Lines said the virus resurgence and related travel restrictions have stalled a fledgling recovery in U.S. travel demand and prompted it to slash the number of flights it had hoped to return to its schedule next month. 

Austria added 10 countries to its aircraft landing ban, while allowing flights from Milan again. Aircraft coming from Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia and the other non-EU countries of former Yugoslavia, as well as Egypt and Moldova, won’t be allowed to land in Austria starting Thursday.

The Swiss Indoors tennis tournament has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany’s federal government is in discussions with states about rules that would prevent residents in an area hit by a coronavirus outbreak from traveling, Angela Merkel said Tuesday. 

 Belgium, which has reined in the coronavirus after becoming the worst-hit mid-sized country in the world, reported zero new coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday for the first time since 10th March.

Companies linked to tax havens such as Panama and the Cayman Islands shouldn’t get subsidies from cash-strapped governments amid the pandemic, according to European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.

The European Union will recommend keeping its external borders shut to Americans and most other foreigners for at least two more weeks as fears grow of a second coronavirus wave, according to three officials familiar with the matter.

Swatch Group AG cut about 2,400 jobs, its biggest cull in at least three decades, to trim its store network as the Swiss watchmaker became unprofitable for the first time.

U.S. and Canada

US stocks opened lower Tuesday after big banks warned of significant challenges to the economic recovery. The Dow dropped 25 points, or 0.1%

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it is “absolutely urgent” to approve a new coronavirus stimulus package. During an interview with CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Tuesday, she reiterated the Democratic priorities, including extending enhanced unemployment insurance benefits and sending another round of direct payments to Americans.

New York added four states to the 14-day quarantine list, bringing the total to 22. Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin meet the metrics to qualify for the quarantine advisory, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday in a statement. Delaware has been removed.

The mayor’s fund to advance New York City has raised US$54.5 million for COVID-19 emergency relief. Over 9,000 donors contributed to this fund to help frontline workers and vulnerable New Yorkers, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said Tuesday that US health officials are “very concerned” about the COVID-19 outbreak, but some early indicators point to “some early light at the end of this tunnel.” 

Doctor Anthony Fauci is staying on with the White House coronavirus task force despite the recent White House attempts to discredit him, a source familiar with the situation told CNN.

Coronavirus cases are soaring in Florida. Across the state, at least 48 hospitals have zero ICU beds available, and Miami is “now the epicentre of the pandemic,” an infectious disease expert with the area’s Jackson Health System said. The situation is so serious in Florida, the state has more cases than all but eight entire countries — including some of the pandemic’s first hotspots. COVID-19 deaths among Florida residents rose by a record 132 to 4,409, according to a report Tuesday, which includes data through Monday.

Vice President Mike Pence has departed Washington for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a coronavirus hotspot, where he is expected to meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards, Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy and local and state officials.

Philadelphia has cancelled all large public events through 28th February, 2021, Lauren Cox, deputy communications director in Mayor Jim Kenney’s office, told CNN Tuesday morning.

The US-Canada border is expected to remain closed until at least 21st August, two Canadian government sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN.

Miami-Dade County has continued to see staggeringly high Covid-19 positivity rates and an increase in the number of hospitalizations and ventilator use, according to the latest data released by the county’s government.

Central and Latin America

Latin America and the Caribbean have now recorded more coronavirus deaths than the US and Canada. As of Tuesday, Latin America and the Caribbean have reported at least 146,515 deaths due to Covid-19. The United States and Canada combined have recorded at least 144,451 coronavirus deaths. 

At least 1,705 Mexicans have died of COVID-19 in the United States, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released late Monday night. 

Colombia’s largest cities have reimposed lockdown measures, after a surge in cases during the last seven days pushed the Latin American country beyond 150,000 total cases.   On Monday evening, the country reported 3,832 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 154,277. The death toll stands at at least 5,455.  

China and Hong Kong

Chinese authorities have pressed criminal charges against 23 people for illegal building alterations that led to the collapse of a quarantine hotel in which 29 people died and 42 were injured in March.

Intensive testing of meat, seafood and other products for the coronavirus has tripled customs clearance times at some major Chinese ports, raising concerns the delays could ensnare global trade flows.

Hong Kong on Tuesday reported 48 additional coronavirus cases, comprised of 40 locally transmitted cases and 8 imported cases.

Elsewhere in the world

Africa’s coronavirus caseload has climbed above 600,000 as the pandemic on the 54-nation continent continues to pick up speed.

Ecuador’s Galapagos islands’ tourist sites have reopened to visitors, the country’s Ministry of Environment and Water said in a statement today.

Iran has reported 179 new deaths from the novel coronavirus as authorities announced a decision to once more shutter some businesses in the capital to contain the virus’ resurgence.

Israel’s Health Ministry said the country confirmed 1,681 new coronavirus cases, a record high.

Iraq on Tuesday recorded at least 2,022 new coronavirus cases, according to the country’s health ministry. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Iraq to more than 81,700 according to the health ministry.

Authorities in Thailand have urged almost 1,900 people to quarantine themselves and get tested for the virus after a breakdown in screening allowed two foreigners with the disease to pose a risk to public health. Thailand’s government tightened regulations for the entry of foreigners on Tuesday, after two new imported coronavirus cases with possible exposure to the public raised concern about a second wave of infections

A 16-day lockdown will begin in the Eastern Indian state of Bihar starting on 16th July, the Bihar government announced in an order on Tuesday.  India’s IT hub Bangalore will go back into lockdown Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases in the country surged towards a million with about 500 people dying daily. India has reported 28,498 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total number of infections to 906,752. Cases have jumped by 100,000 in four days.

Authorities in Tehran closed schools, universities, Shia seminaries, mosques and other sites of religious gatherings for a week, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. 

Russia’s virus response center reported a 0.9% rise in new infections, or 6,248 cases, raising the total to 739,947.

One of the 16 cities that make up Metro Manila will go into lockdown for two weeks from Thursday after it saw coronavirus cases “suddenly inflate,” the Mayor of Navotas said Monday on his official Facebook page. Philippine authorities and police will carry out house-to-house searches for COVID-19 patients to prevent wider transmission, a minister has said, amid soaring death and infection numbers and some areas returning to a stricter lockdown. The Philippines’ health ministry has reported six new coronavirus deaths and 634 additional infections, the lowest daily increase in cases in nearly two weeks.

An additional case of COVID-19 was reported Tuesday at the US Kadena Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa, a statement from the base said.

The decline in South African mining output slowed in May, even as data showed that lockdown restrictions had a more severe impact than previously reported.

Oman will start allowing its citizens to fly outside the country, but they must apply with authorities to do so and quarantine upon their return, state television has reported.

 Singapore reported 347 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Tuesday, with seven infections in the community.