COVID-19 UPDATES : New “travel corridor” list by UK includes HK, 8,124 new cases in South Africa, total worldwide cases reached 11 million


4th July 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 11,080,601with 526,252 deaths as of 1am today.


Countries including Britain, Germany and Switzerland sought to allay concerns that they won’t have sufficient stocks of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir, one of two drugs shown to treat Covid-19, after the U.S forged a deal to snap up almost all the supplies for three months.

The UK government has revealed a new “travel corridor” list – including 59 states and 14 British Overseas Territories – from which travellers will now be exempted from the formerly established 14-day isolation period.  Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are  the countries and territories that are part of the “travel corridor”.

“The government is satisfied that it is now safe to ease these measures in England and has introduced travel corridors for some countries and territories,” the Department for Transport said Friday in a statement.  Three of Europe’s biggest airlines are to end a legal challenge against the British government after it scrapped its quarantine rule for travellers coming from some of the most popular tourist destinations.

Boris Johnson has said that he “bitterly” regrets the number of coronavirus-related deaths seen in care homes, telling radio station LBC that there were “far too many” lives lost.  The United Kingdom’s death toll from confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rose by 137 to 44,131, government figures showed on Friday.

Portugal’s foreign ministry said in a tweet it was “absurd” that Britain imposed quarantine on travellers coming from Portugal despite having 28 times more deaths from the coronavirus.

European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has urged European countries to apply “as wide a definition of partnerships as possible” to exempt the “partner or ‘sweetheart’,“ of an EU citizen from EU coronavirus travel restrictions.

The European Commission has granted “conditional marketing authorization” for remdesivir as a treatment for coronavirus infection, Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the COVID-19 drug, announced in a press release on Friday morning.

A French court is opening an inquiry into former prime minister Edouard Philippe and two other ministers over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, a prosecutor said.

Five Americans who flew by private jet to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia were refused entry to Italy on Wednesday due to new EU travel restrictions on countries with high coronavirus infection rates, police told CNN.

The central Italian region of Lazio, fringing the capital Rome, has asked its large Bangladeshi community to undergo “blanket testing” for the coronavirus following a recent increase in the number of infections.

U.S. and Canada

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 2.85 million.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump head to Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday to celebrate an early Fourth of July at a gathering of an estimated 7,500 people during a global pandemic.

Eight Secret Service agents assigned to Vice President Mike Pence’s detail ahead of his trip to Arizona tested positive for the coronavirus right before Pence was scheduled to travel there, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said there’s no reason against a statewide mask mandate, but it’s the “best bet” to leave orders up to mayors and county administrators.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber says there should be a statewide mask mandate in Florida and across the whole US.

When mask mandates for Texas and Kansas go into effect Friday, at least 19 states and Washington, DC will have such requirements.

Arizona only has 156 intensive care unit beds remaining today as it fights off a surge of COVID-19 cases, state health data shows. This is the lowest number of available beds the state has had available, according to records that go back to late March.

Texas posted a record 8,076 new virus cases, pushing the total to 168,062, according to state health department figures. Fatalities jumped by 57 to 2,481 for the biggest one-day increase since 14th May.

California reported 9,740 new infections, its biggest-ever daily jump.

Houston’s intensive-case units exceeded full capacity as the COVID-19 outbreak spread, according to data from the Texas Medical Center.

“There’s over 1,300 COVID patients in my county right now and 1,000 people have died. … It’s not time to make political statements about wearing a mask. It’s time to comply and make sacrifices for everybody else,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

Florida is now averaging more new reported COVID-19 cases per day than any other state, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous, reported the highest numbers of COVID-19 intensive-care patients since at least early April.

Central and Latin America

Despite having nearly 1.5 million COVID-19 cases, experts say Brazil has yet to see the worst of the pandemic. However, the country’s second-largest city Rio de Janeiro has started to allow bars, restaurants and gyms to reopen.

Venezuela will reimpose total lockdown measures next week as COVID-19 cases spread in the country, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez announced. The measure was announced as part of a plan the country is implementing to fight the pandemic. 

Puerto Rico will have some stringent new rules for people travelling to the island amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced said she will sign an executive order that, among other things, will require visitors to provide a negative COVID-19 test result produced within 72 hours of arrival.

Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina are the Latin American countries that earned the best grades for their response to the coronavirus, according to a poll conducted in the region, while Brazil was tagged as the worst performer.

China and Hong Kong

China vowed to gradually phase out the slaughter and sale of live poultry at food markets, in a move welcomed by animal rights activists amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement came as China stepped up inspections of wholesale food markets and outlawed the sale and consumption of wildlife, after a recent COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing was traced to a major agricultural wholesale market.

5 more new imported cases reported in Hong Kong yesterday.

Elsewhere in the world

Saudi Arabia passed the grim milestone of 200,000 confirmed novel coronavirus cases, the health ministry said, weeks ahead of an annual hajj pilgrimage drastically cut back because of the pandemic.

South Africa reported a record 8,124 new coronavirus cases over a 24-hour period on Wednesday, with the infection-rate in the economic hub that includes Johannesburg and Pretoria set to rise to the highest in the nation over the next few weeks.

Luxembourg is facing a new trend of rising infections that can no longer be ignored, the nation’s health minister, Paulette Lenert, said at a press conference Wednesday.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirms he has tested positive for COVID-19 via his official Twitter account on Friday.

Singapore reported 169 new COVID-19 infections as of noon on Friday, including 11 cases in the community and three imported cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.