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Live updates: Covid-19 pandemic worsening globally – WHO




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Pandemic is subsiding in Europe but total infections worldwide expected to hit 10 million next week, WHO chief warns.

  • The pandemic is subsiding in Europe, but getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week, WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.
  • COVID-19 cases in the Gulf region have surpassed 400,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, as nations in the region start to lift restrictions.
  • Coronavirus hospitalisations and caseloads have reached new highs in more than half a dozen states in the US, with newly confirmed cases nationwide back near their peak level of two months ago.
  • Nearly 10 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while more than 4.7 million have recovered, and nearly 484,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, June 25

18:15 GMT – The death toll in France rises by 21 to 29,752

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in France has risen by 21 from the previous day to stand at 29,752, the country’s health department has said.

France has the fifth-highest death toll in the world, but the number of casualties has steadily decreased from peaks reached in March and April.

18:10 GMT – California governor declares budget emergency due to pandemic

California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a budget emergency in the most populous US state, blaming expenses and economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Declaring a state of emergency allows California to tap into its rainy day fund. The state expects a $54.3bn budget deficit due to costs and a drop in revenue.

California Governorn Gavin Newsom adjusts his mask while speaking to reporters at Miss Ollie's restaurant amid the coronavirus pandemic in Oakland, California, USA, 09 June 2020. EPA-EFE/JEFF CHIU / A

California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a budget emergency [Jeff Chiu/EPA-EFE-AP]

17:56 GMT – the US cases maybe 10 times higher than data shows

US officials believe as many as 20 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus. That’s nearly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed.

Twenty million infections would mean about six percent of the nation’s 331 million people have been infected.

Previously, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that as many as 25 percents of infected people might not have symptoms.

17:00 GMT – Lufthansa investors back $10bn German government rescue

Lufthansa shareholders have backed a 9 billion euros ($10bn) government bailout, securing the future of Germany’s flagship airline after it was brought to the brink of collapse by the pandemic.

The plan, backed by 98 percent of the shareholder capital that cast a vote at the online meeting, will see Berlin take a 20 percent stake in Lufthansa and two board seats.

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Germany

Germany’s flagship airline Lufthansa was brought to the brink of collapse by the pandemic [Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters]

16:57 GMT – French consortium wins further approval for saliva-based coronavirus test

French technology company Vogo said a saliva-based product it was developing with partners to test for the coronavirus had won “CE marking approval”, denoting it meets required health standards set out by regulators.

16:50 GMT – France extending financial aid for the sports industry to September

France will extend financial aid measures to help the sports industry deal with the hit to business from the coronavirus through to September, the sports ministry has said.

The sports ministry said the government had so far given about 2.8 billion euros ($3.1bn) in financial aid to the sports sector over the past three months.

16:38 GMT – Portugal brings back some lockdown measures in Lisbon

Portugal will bring back the stay at home rule in several areas of Greater Lisbon to fight a worrying wave of coronavirus cases on the city’s outskirts, the government has announced.

Those living in the affected areas – a total of 19 civil parishes that do not include downtown Lisbon – can only leave their homes to buy essential goods, such as food or medication, and to travel to and from work.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lisbon

Members of the Portuguese navy distribute meals to people in need amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Lisbon, Portugal [Rafael Marchante/Reuters]

16:30 GMT – Texas temporarily halts phased reopening as infections surge

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he is temporarily halting the state’s phased economic reopening in response to a jump in COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations.

“This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Abbott said in a statement.

Medical workers coordinate testing as dozens of people wait in their cars at United Memorial Medical Center amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Houston, Texas, U.S., Jun

Medical workers coordinate testing as dozens of people wait in their cars at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, US [Callaghan O’Hare/Reuters]

16:18 GMT – Vaccine not certain, maybe in a year: WHO

It is not certain that scientists will be able to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could take a year before one were to be invented, the head of the World Health Organization has said.

Speaking via video conference to deputies from the European Parliament’s health committee, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said if such a vaccine became a reality, it should become a public good available to all.

He said the WHO had already more than 100 candidates for a vaccine of which one was at an advanced stage of development.

“Hoping that there will be a vaccine, the estimate is we may have a vaccine within one year. If accelerated, it could be even less than that, but by a couple of months. That’s what scientists are saying,” he said.

15:35 GMT – Pandemic getting worse globally: WHO

The pandemic is subsiding in Europe, but getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week and the number of deaths 500,000, WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.

Speaking via video conference with members of the European Parliament’s health committee, Tedros said once the pandemic was over, the world should not return to its previous state, but build a “new normal” that would be fairer, greener and help prevent climate change.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland [Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

15:24 GMT – Macy’s cuts corporate headcount by 3,900

Macy’s has said it is laying off 3,900 corporate staffers, roughly 3 percent of its overall workforce.

The company said in a release that the headcount reduction will save the company $630m a year.

15:10 GMT – the US urges Russia, China to give more aid to Venezuela in COVID fight

US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abram has called on Russia and China to provide more humanitarian aid to their ally Venezuela.

“We would like to see them contribute more on the humanitarian side. There have been, I believe, some contribution of goods with respect to COVID-19 by Russia and China,” Abram told a diplomatic event organised by the US mission to the UN in Geneva.

“But the scale, the dollar amount of this aid, is really quite low in comparison to the needs.”

15:04 GMT – Spain to extend furlough schemes by three months

Spain is set to extend until September 30 national furlough schemes aimed at mitigating the effect of the coronavirus lockdown, under a government agreement with labour unions and the main employers’ association, the labour ministry has said.

Hard-hit sectors like hospitality will receive the most support, though other industries not yet able to return to normal activity will also be included.

Daniel Catey, 62, a recovered COVID-19 patient, undergoes rehabilitation with a physical therapist at the Hospital Vall d'Hebron facility, a hastily converted sports centre, in Barcelona, Spain, June

Daniel Catey, 62, a recovered COVID-19 patient undergoes rehabilitation at a hastily converted sports centre in Barcelona, Spain [Nacho Doce/Reuters]

14:55 GMT – Peruvian government strikes an agreement with private clinics

The Peruvian government has said it has struck an agreement with the country’s private health clinics on the cost of COVID-19 care after President Martin Vizcarra warned on Wednesday they would be expropriated within 48 hours if negotiations did not progress.

The clinics had for three weeks wrangled with Vizcarra’s government over a fair rate for care. The haggling began amid reports of overcharging for the sickest patients, who require mechanical ventilators and intensive care.

Health Minister Victor Zamora said the agreement was finalized on Wednesday evening after a meeting with representatives of the Association of Private Clinics of Peru.

14:37 GMT – Egypt’s national carrier to resume flights from July

Egypt’s national carrier EgyptAir has said it will resume flights to 24 destinations from the first week of July and will add more in the following weeks.

The airline will operate flights to 13 destinations in Europe, three in Africa, four in the Middle East, three in North America and one in China, it said in a statement on Thursday, as well as domestic flights to the tourist hotspots of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada along the Red Sea and Luxor and Aswan along the Nile River.

14:03 GMT – UK death toll rises by 149 to 43,230

The United Kingdom’s official death toll from confirmed cases of coronavirus rose by 149 to 43,230, the Department of Health has said.

13:58 GMT – Kazakh health minister resigns

Kazakhstan’s health minister has resigned, saying COVID-19 complications prevented him from leading efforts against the coronavirus outbreak as it surges once more.

Yelzhan Birtanov, who had held the post since early 2017 and caught the virus in mid-June, wrote on social media that he had developed pneumonia which required additional treatment.

13:50 GMT – Norway to lift travel curbs on European countries with conditions

Norway will lift travel restrictions to and from European countries that respect certain criteria regarding their coronavirus situation from July 15, public broadcaster NRK and daily Dagens Naeringsliv has reported.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg is due to hold a news conference about “the coronavirus situation and travelling” at 14:00 GMT.

Norway currently allows travel to and from Denmark, Finland, Iceland and the Swedish island of Gotland since June 15, but maintains travel restrictions on mainland Sweden due to its higher level of coronavirus cases.

13:19 GMT – Kudlow says he expects some US shutdowns in certain areas

Jump in coronavirus cases in parts of the US will likely trigger closure in certain areas, but there will not be a nationwide shutdown, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said.

Kudlow, in an interview on Fox Business Network, said he still expects to see a “strong V” shaped economic recovery and anticipated a 20 percent growth “snapback” in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.

13:15 GMT

Hello, this is Mersiha Gadzo in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui.

12:50 GMT – Market ‘disconnect’ could worsen virus downturn: IMF

Recent gains in global financial markets despite the coronavirus downturn’s “huge” economic uncertainties are a potential threat to the recovery if investors abruptly change their minds, the IMF cautioned on Thursday.

Markets have been cheered by the massive support provided by governments and central banks, and seem to expect a quick recovery even though forecasts and consumer confidence are more pessimistic, the IMF said in its latest Global Financial Stability Report.

But the paper warns of the dangers lurking in the future from the flood of “unconventional” policies that have left the global economy awash in easy money.

12:30 GMT – New coronavirus cluster at Italy courier warehouse: Report

A cluster of new coronavirus cases has emerged at a warehouse in the Italian city of Bologna used by express courier Bartolini, a local newspaper reported.

The company uncovered 44 asymptomatic cases – including two drivers – after testing all workers at the warehouse in central-northern Italy following the discovery of two members of staff with the virus, the Resto del Carlino daily said.

12:10 GMT – Pandemic could lead to more narcotic use: UN

The coronavirus pandemic could see a rise in the use and trafficking of narcotics as well as increased risks for users, the UN drugs and crime agency (UNODC) said.

The virus could lead to an overall increase in drug use with a shift towards cheaper products and injecting, both of which could mean greater danger for users, the agency said in its 2020 World Drug Report.

11:40 GMT – Romania reports record high coronavirus infection numbers

Romania reported its highest number of daily infections with the new coronavirus in two months, as it prepares to assess a new phase of relaxation next week.

President Klaus Iohannis ordered a strict lockdown in early March to help rein in the outbreak and replaced the state of emergency with a softer state of alert in May, that is set to run until mid-July.

Romanian workers

One-third of Romania’s cases are concentrated in three cities: the capital Bucharest, the northern town of Suceava and in Transylvania’s medieval city of Brasov [File: Octav Ganea/Reuters]

11:15 GMT – Germany, France shore up political, financial aid to beleaguered WHO

France and Germany expressed political and financial backing for the World Health Organization in its fight against the coronavirus, with Berlin saying it would contribute a record 500 million euros ($561m) in funding this year.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking at a news conference in Geneva, said the agency, criticised by the United States for being slow off the mark in tackling the pandemic, was getting the financial and political support it needed.

10:35 GMT – Coronavirus cuts force Indonesia to scale back forest protection

Indonesia has scaled back protection for some of the world’s most important tropical forests ahead of the worst season for fires because of budget cuts due to the coronavirus, the environment ministry said.

At-risk are forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo and which are home to more than one-tenth of the world’s mammal species – including the rare orangutan – and nearly a fifth of its birds.

10:13 GMT – Coronavirus cases past 33,000 in the Philippines

The Philippines is witnessing a constant rise in new coronavirus cases, with 778 more reported.

The country’s Department of Health said in a statement the new cases pushed the national total to 33,069 while the death toll rose to 1,212 after eight more patients died between June 1 and 21.

09:45 GMT – England COVID-19 test and trace system fails to reach a quarter of positive cases

England’s COVID-19 test-and-trace system could not reach a quarter of people who had their cases transferred to the system after a positive test for the new coronavirus, UK’s Department of Health said.

Of 6,923 people who had their case transferred to the contact tracing system in its third week of operation, 1,791, or 25.9 percent, could not be reached.

A triage nurse waits for patients to arrive in the Emergency Department at Frimley Park Hospital Frimley Park Hospital, in Camberley, England, May 22, 2020. The hospital is part of a group saying that

A triage nurse waits for patients to arrive in the Emergency Department at Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley, England [Steve Parsons/Pool/AP]

09:20 GMT – Eiffel tower in France reopens

The Eiffel Tower on Thursday welcomed back visitors after the coronavirus outbreak forced the Paris landmark into its longest period out of action since World War II.

Strict hygiene and safety measures are in place for the re-opening.

09:00 GMT – Indonesia’s passes 50,000 cases as business resumes

The number of coronavirus infections in Indonesia has surpassed 50,000 as the government allows businesses to reopen amid increasing economic pressure.

A government task force says the spiking case numbers align with the country’s increasing testing capacity. But testing is still lower than recommended for a country that has 270 million people.

Indonesia started reopening businesses this month and will gradually reopen more through July.

Seven states, mainly in the south and west, and including Texas, California, and Arizona, reported record increases on Wednesday, the nationwide tally rising by more than 38,600.

Texas, Florida, and California all reported record increases, with 7,100, 5,550, and 5,510 new cases, respectively, over the preceding 24 hours.

Coronavirus - Florida

People wait for a health assessment check-in before entering Jackson Memorial Hospital, as Miami-Dade County eases some lockdown measures, in Miami, Florida [Marco Bello/Reuters]

06:40 GMT – Senegal president self-quarantines after contact with COVID-19 case

Senegalese President Macky Sall is quarantining for two weeks after coming into contact with someone who has since tested positive for the coronavirus, state television said.

The measure is precautionary as an initial COVID-19 test of Sall has come back negative, it said.

06:15 GMT – Lufthansa shares soar after major shareholder backs bailout plan

Lufthansa shares jumped more than 27 percent in early trade after billionaire investor Heinz Hermann Thiele endorsed a nine-billion-euro ($10.12 billion) government bailout to rescue the carrier hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will vote for the proposal,” Thiele, who owns a 15.5 percent stake in Lufthansa, told Frankfurter Allgemeine daily on Wednesday

Japanese are being more careful about going out for after-dinner drinks, and that is harming the pubs, known as “izakayas” and known for cheap drinks, tasty food, and a cosy atmosphere. Some are tiny, with only a few seats.

Reuters says izakayas are now facing an “existential crisis” as people work from home and avoid indoor venues.

“If drinking out isn’t considered welcome, izakayas will go under,” Hitoshi Yaosaka, who owns 10 pubs in Tokyo and has seen business return to only a third of pre-COVID levels. “There’s a pretty good chance Japan’s izakaya culture will die down.”

00:00 GMT – States in the northeastern US impose quarantines on travelers from eight states

The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have ordered travelers from eight other states to quarantine for 14 days on arrival as the epidemic in the US gathers momentum.

The order was “the smart thing to do”, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told the media.

The quarantine applies to people arriving from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah, including northeastern residents returning from those areas. It will be enforced with fines that will rise for repeat offenders.

Pedestrians pass customers dining outside Casa Mezcal, Monday, June 22, 2020, in New York. New York City ventured into a crucial stage of reopening as stores let people in Monday, offices brought work

New York is opening up again after being badly hit in the first coronavirus wave in the US. Now it is imposing quarantines on travelers from a number of states where caseloads and hospitalisations have surged [John Minchillo/AP Photo]

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