COVID-19 UPDATES : Total worldwide cases reach 6.6m, Floyd tests positive for coronavirus during autopsy, 42.6 million US citizens claim unemployment benefits


4th June 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 6,615,298 with 388,759 deaths as of 11.28pm today.

Speaking at the Global Vaccine Summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday that the COVID-19 vaccine must be seen as a “people’s vaccine.”


The European Central Bank announced further stimulus measures Thursday to help Europe’s economy and counter the coronavirus impact. The bank said it will expand its bond buying program by another 600 billion euros ($675 billion). This brings the total pandemic emergency purchase program to 1.35 trillion euros ($1.52 trillion).

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened a UK-hosted virtual Global Vaccine Summit Thursday, calling it “a real moment when the world comes together, uniting humanity in the fight against disease.” Britain’s Prince Charles has spoken publicly about contracting the coronavirus in March, saying he was “lucky” and had “got away with it quite lightly.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a 45-minute meeting with business minister Alok Sharma on Wednesday, just hours before Sharma was taken ill and tested for the coronavirus, Johnson’s spokesman said.

Spain’s land borders with Portugal and France will reopen starting on 22nd June, Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said at a briefing on Thursday. 

The Czech government will further ease travel restrictions from and to Austria, Germany and Hungary starting on Friday.

The European Union will soon reach agreement on a proposed 750 billion euro ($840 billion) plan to recover from the pandemic, said Michael Clauss, Germany’s ambassador to the bloc. Member states realize that a deal is urgent, he said.

Germany recorded a small decline in new cases, while the infection rate fell further below the key threshold of 1.0. 

France’s Bastille Day military parade marking its national day will be replaced by a ceremony on the Place de la Concorde square in central Paris, President Emmanuel Macron’s office said. French winemakers will transform wine that went unsold during the country’s two-month COVID-19 lockdown into hand sanitiser and ethanol to make room for the next harvest, a farming agency said on Thursday.

Swedish citizens’ confidence in the government’s handling of the pandemic fell to less than half the population, as the scientist behind the strategy acknowledged having made mistakes. 

U.S. and Canada

Stocks fell slightly as the Labour Department said 1.877 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week for the first time.

President Trump called the coronavirus “mean” and “nasty” in a pre-recorded statement at the virtual UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit on Thursday. 

More than a quarter of the labour force i.e. 42.6 million people has now claimed benefits since the pandemic began ravaging the US labour market. Another 1.9 million workers filed for initial unemployment aid last week, according to the US Department of Labour.

The U.S. is developing a test that can check for seasonal influenza and COVID-19 infections at the same time, a tool that could help health authorities more efficiently determine whether there is a second wave of coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing a test that can check for seasonal influenza and Covid-19 infections at the same time, the agency’s director said in testimony to Congress.

Floyd, the African-American man whose death at the hands of police sparked nationwide protests in the United States, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an autopsy. 

Las Vegas casinos reopened with The D and Golden Gate welcoming gamblers just after midnight. Dealers are wearing masks; hand sanitizer is widely available; guests and workers are having their temperature checked. 

Moderna Inc. named a new chief financial officer as its coronavirus vaccine moved ahead in wider testing.

Major U.S. mall owner Simon Property Group has sued apparel retail Gap for not paying rent, highlighting mounting tensions between landlords and their tenants during the coronavirus pandemic.

American Airlines is set to fly 55% of its scheduled domestic flights in July, as it has seen a steady rise in passengers since concerns of contracting or spreading Covid-19 diminished travel. 

China and Hong Kong

China will promote the resumption of the tourism, culture and sports sectors, a top-level meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang said, state radio reported. China’s aviation authority said that 95 foreign airlines that have suspended services to China can now apply to resume flights, according to the agency’s official newspaper.

Hong Kong confirmed five new cases of coronavirus, all imported with one preliminary case originated from Luk Chuen House cluster in Sha Tin.

Thousands of Hong Kong protesters joined a rally in multiple districts remembering the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, despite the government outlawing the event for the first time in three decades in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere in the World

A shipment of US-made ventilators arrived Thursday in Russia, the US Embassy in Moscow said. Russia reported 8,831 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total number of infections across the country to 441,108.

Iran reported the largest number of daily cases as it entered a second wave of the pandemic. The 3,574 positive tests exceeded the previous record, in March, by almost 400. The country now has a total of 164,270 infections and 8,071 deaths.

In an effort to ramp up testing, African states rolled out the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT). The initiative “is led by three pillars: test, trace, treat,” John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Twitter. 

Two of the region’s hardest-hit countries, Brazil and Mexico, announced record numbers of daily virus-related deaths on Wednesday. Mexico also became the 14th country to surpass 100,000 confirmed infections.

Pakistan now has 85,264 confirmed cases of COVID-19, authorities said, making it the latest country to overtake the total in China, where the pandemic began.

Israel’s Knesset cancelled meetings and told non-essential workers to stay home after a lawmaker tested positive for coronavirus. 

Virgin Atlantic said it would restart some flights that have been grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic on 20th July and aimed to restore further services in August.

Lebanon has extended its countrywide coronavirus restrictions, known as “General Mobilization” measures – from 8th June through 5th July, Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad said during a press briefing after a cabinet meeting Thursday.

Japan could “simplify” the Olympics and Paralympics Games, which were pushed back to 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said. Japan will allow some resident foreigners to re-enter the country on humanitarian grounds. 

Singapore reported 517 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Thursday, including 15 community cases that are all asymptomatic.  More than 408,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Singapore as of 1st June, Health Minister Mr Gan Kim Yong said in a written parliamentary reply on Thursday

The Philippine health ministry confirmed 10 more deaths from the coronavirus and 634 new infections.  

Jakarta’s COVID-19 curbs will be lifted in stages, beginning with the reopening of places of worship on Friday.

Malaysia reported the steepest daily increase in cases since the pandemic started. The country added 227 new positive results, bringing the total to 8,247.