British health minister hails responsible behaviour after pubs reopen
People in England appear to have broadly behaved themselves as pubs reopened this weekend, Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said after the latest step towards a return to normality from the coronavirus lockdown, Reuters reported.
“From what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary [...] largely people have acted responsibly,” health minister Matt Hancock told Sky News.
“Overall, I’m pleased with what happened yesterday. It was really good to see people out and about, and largely socially distancing.”
South Africa deploys military medics to virus hotspot
Dozens of military medics were deployed to help combat the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa's third most affected province, where there has been a surge in infections, AFP reported.
The deployment to East Cape province comes a day after South Africa recorded more than 10,800 new Covid-19 cases, its biggest single-day jump during the pandemic, taking the cumulative infections to 187,977.
“The province is not coping. They have personnel and equipment problems,” defence force spokesman Thabo Sello, told AFP.
Kazakhstan imposes 'second wave' of restrictions as coronavirus surges
Kazakhstan imposed a second round of nationwide restrictions to counter a huge surge in coronavirus cases since the previous lockdown, which has overwhelmed the oil-rich country's healthcare system, AFP reported.
Shopping centres, gyms, swimming pools, hairdressers and beauty salons have all closed down for the next two weeks, a measure that authorities may choose to extend.
The new restrictions are notably less stringent — travel between most cities remains possible and citizens can fly in and out of the country.
Pope hails UN global ceasefire move to fight pandemic
Pope Francis threw his support behind a UN Security Council resolution calling for a halt to conflicts to facilitate the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, AFP reported.
The UN Security Council had unanimously adopted the resolution after more than three months of negotiations calling for “an immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations” on the Security Council's agenda.
“The request for a global and immediate ceasefire, which would allow that peace and security necessary to provide the needed humanitarian assistance is commendable,” the pope said after his weekly Angelus prayer at St Peter's in Rome.
FDA official refuses to defend Trump claim that 99pc of virus cases are 'harmless'
The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration declined to defend President Donald Trump's unfounded claim that 99 per cent of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless" and repeatedly refused to say whether Trump's remark is true or false, CNN reported.
"I'm not going to get into who is right and who is wrong," Dr Stephen Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union".
Fresh Spanish virus outbreak sees 70,000 locked down
Spain's northwestern Galicia region ordered the lockdown of 70,000 people amid fears of a fresh coronavirus outbreak, following a larger one in the northeast, according to AFP.
All residents of the town of La Marina, 140 kilometres east of La Coruna, will be unable to leave the vicinity and gatherings of more than ten people will be banned to limit the possibility of contagion.
The move came only a day after regional officials put 200,000 people back in confinement following a “sharp rise” in infections near the northeastern town of Lerida some 150 kilometres west of Catalan regional capital Barcelona.
Sindh has reported 2,222 coronavirus cases and 25 deaths during the past 24 hours, according to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
In a statement issued by the CM House, he said 10,705 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours. With the new cases, the provincial total has risen to 94,528 while the death toll has risen to 1,526.
Israel, Palestinians face new restrictions amid virus surge
Israel ordered thousands of people into quarantine after a contentious phone surveillance programme resumed while Palestinians in the West Bank returned to life under lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus cases in both areas, according to AP.
A statement Sunday from Israel's Health Ministry said many messages had been sent to Israelis following the renewed involvement of the Shin Bet domestic security agency. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that more than 30,000 people were notified they must enter quarantine since Thursday.
After imposing strict measures early on during a first wave of infections, Israel and the Palestinian territories appeared to have contained their outbreaks, with each reporting only a few dozen new cases a day in May. But an easing of restrictions led to a steady uptick in cases over the past month.
"We are at the height of a new corona offensive. This is a very strong outbreak that is growing and spreading in the world and also here," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a meeting of his Cabinet on Sunday.
Ireland to ease foreign travel restrictions from July 20
Ireland is to ease quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad on July 20, with people from a “green list” of countries with low Covid-19 rates to be exempt from isolating themselves for 14 days, Reuters quoted the transport minister Eamon Ryan as saying.
Former prime minister Leo Varadkar had said in June that the restrictions would be eased from July 9.
“A so-called green list... will be published on July 20,” Ryan said in an interview with Newstalk radio station. “The green list will be operating after that.”
Madagascar re-imposes lockdown amid surge in virus cases
Madagascar has placed its capital Antananarivo under a fresh lockdown following a new surge in coronavirus infections, two months after the restrictions were eased, AFP quoted the presidency as announcing on Sunday.
“The Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown,” the presidency said in a statement.
No traffic will be allowed in or out of the region starting Monday until July 20, while a strict curfew will be imposed on street movement by people.
The measures have been taken “because of the spread of the epidemic and the increase of Covid-19 cases,” it added.
Britain puts $10 million into study on long-term effects of Covid-19
Britain is putting $10.49 million into a new study to examine the long-term effects of Covid-19 on patients, the health ministry said, according to Reuters.
“As we continue our fight against this global pandemic, we are learning more and more about the impact the disease can have, not only on immediate health, but longer-term physical and mental health too,” Health Minister Matt Hancock said.
The health department said 10,000 people would take part in the study, which is being led by the University of Leicester and hospitals in the city.
Smart lockdown in Dera Ismail Khan has shown good results: Ajmal Wazir
Adviser to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Wazir has said that the smart lockdown enforced in Dera Ismail Khan has shown good results according to reports he received.
During a media briefing, he said that coronavirus infections in the province were decreasing and urged people to continue following standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government. "We have to follow SOPs. The government will further ease restrictions if SOPs are followed."
Wazir appreciated doctors and medical workers for fighting on the front lines of the pandemic. He also thanked officials of the district administration, police and journalists. "Our brothers in media have also given sacrifices," he said while mentioning Fakhruddin Syed, a senior journalist who passed away from the coronavirus in May.
Mainland China reports eight new coronavirus cases, two in Beijing
China recorded eight new coronavirus cases for July 4, up from three a day earlier, Reuters quoted the national health authority as saying on Sunday, while city officials in Beijing said nearly all the cases in a recent outbreak in the capital were mild.
Of the new cases, six were imported and two were in Beijing, which has been scrambling to quash an outbreak traced to a massive wholesale market in the city early last month.
In Beijing, 47 per cent of the 334 confirmed cases since June 11 were staff at the Xinfadi market, Pang Xinghuo, a senior Beijing disease control official, told a media briefing on Sunday.
Of all the cases in the city since then, 98pc were “mild and normal,” she said.
Xu Hejian, spokesman of the capital city told the briefing that the new coronavirus situation in Beijing was “stabilising” and “controllable”, but transmission risks remain.
Coronavirus cases rising in Saudi Arabia, UAE after curfews lifted
Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus infections have passed 200,000 and neighbouring United Arab Emirates 50,000, with the number of new cases climbing after the Arab world’s two largest economies fully lifted curfews last month.
According to Reuters, restrictions had been in place in both countries since mid-March and their gradual lifting has allowed commercial businesses and public venues to reopen.
Saudi Arabia, which has the highest count among the six Gulf states, reported more than 4,100 cases on Friday and on Saturday to take its total to 205,929, with 1,858 deaths. The daily tally first rose above 4,000 in mid-June, but had dipped.
The United Arab Emirates, where daily infection rates recently dropped to between 300 and 400 from a peak of some 900 in late May, registered more than 600 cases on Friday and over 700 on Saturday, taking its toll to 50,857, with 321 deaths.
The party's spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the result of Shehbaz's latest test had come back negative. "By the grace of God and the nation's prayers, Shehbaz Sharif has tested negative," she said in a statement.
The PML-N president had tested positive on June 11 and had isolated himself at home.
Pakistan signs agreement to send 600 medical workers to Kuwait
Pakistan has signed an agreement to send 600 medical workers to Kuwait on its request, ArabNews reported.
"100 doctors, 500 nurses and paramedics as of now," Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari was quoted as saying by ArabNews. It added that Pakistan had agreed in May to send hundreds of medical workers to Kuwait amid rising coronavirus cases and deaths in the country.
The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory for Emerging Pathogens has detected Sars-CoV-2 genome from the urine and fecal samples of the Covid patients and sewage in a bid to develop a smart surveillance strategy at the community level for better execution of smart lockdowns.
This pilot study was conducted with the cooperation of the provincial healthcare department, in collaboration with Institute of Public Health Lahore, to further strengthen the efforts of the government in the fight Covid-19.
The smart surveillance of sewage water for the genome of etiological agents of Covid-19 may reveal the actual burden of a locality where under-reporting and address fraud is expected. It will also aid in better execution of smart lockdowns.
Sars-CoV-2 genome in sewage only indicates Covid-19 burden in a particular area. However, it does not reveal if the virus is in infectious or non-infectious form.
Tokyo has confirmed 111 new coronavirus infections, the fourth straight day that the tally of fresh cases has exceeded 100, public broadcaster NHK said.
Tokyo reported 131 new cases the previous day, prompting Governor Yuriko Koike, who is widely expected to win Sunday’s gubernatorial election, to urge residents to avoid non-urgent trips out of the capital and embrace working from home.
South Korea reports more than 60 cases for third consecutive day
South Korea has recorded 60-plus Covid-19 cases for a third consecutive day, a continuation of a virus spread beyond the greater Seoul area.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has confirmed 61 additional cases, bringing the national total to 13,091. It says the death toll remained at 283.
The agency says 43 of the newly reported cases were locally infected patients. All but two of those cases were either from the Seoul metropolitan area or two central cities, Gwangju and Daejeon. The remaining 18 cases were linked to international arrivals.
According to AP, South Korea has been grappling with an uptick in new infections since it eased social distancing rules in early May. South Korea recorded 63 new cases on both Saturday and Friday.
WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in Covid trials after failure to reduce death
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with Covid-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.
“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised Covid-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect,” the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multicountry trials that the agency is leading.
The UN agency said the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients or as a prophylaxis.
Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on the 100th day of its establishment, lauded its role in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus and directed it to take steps to prevent resurgence of the disease during Eidul Azha.
Noting that the government had managed to slow down the spread of the virus, PM Khan directed the officials concerned to ensure strict implementation of the standard operating procedures, undertake all required administrative actions for smart lockdowns and the awareness campaign to prevent any resurgence of disease during the upcoming Eid.
From daily monitoring of the situation to the capacity enhancement of health system and from establishing a credible database to better resource management and formulation of appropriate SOPs, the NCOC led from the front in the fight against pandemic, the prime minister said.
He also appreciated the resilience and adaptability of the nation to adjust to the new normal by following SOPs and face the challenge as one nation.
KP registers 337 cases, 18 more deaths from Covid-19
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 27,843 with 337 new cases reported today, according to the KP health department.
Eighteen more people died from the disease in the province — six in Peshawar, four in Lower Dir, three in
Abbottabad, three in Swabi and one each in Mardan and Swat. KP's death toll now stands at 1,020.
British PM's father defends trip to Greece despite Covid-19 advisory
The father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended his decision to fly to Greece even though at that time the government advice was for UK nationals to avoid all but essential international travel.
Greek government officials confirmed on Thursday that Stanley Johnson had arrived, likely via Bulgaria, in the northern region of Pelion, where he has a holiday home. Johnson told reporters he was on a business trip.
“I don't know what the reaction of the British public [has been], I came here to have a quiet time to organise the house,” he said in comments to local reporters carried by Sky News, referring to measures to make the property Covid-19 secure for lettings.
Jordan slaps wristbands on arrivals to monitor virus quarantine
Jordan has begun putting electronic bracelets on travellers who have recently arrived in the kingdom to ensure that they observe home-quarantine against the spread of the coronavirus, an official said.
People arriving in Jordan must isolate for 14 days at hotels designated by the authorities on the shores of the Dead Sea, west of the capital Amman.
After that period, they must self-isolate for an additional 14 days at home, according to Nizar Obeidat, spokesman for Jordan's virus task force.