International Update: Global Covid-19 cases approach 19 million – Florida infections pass half million – Trump says virus is ‘going away’

6 August 2020 (Last Updated August 6th, 2020 10:08)

6 August

Global: The coronavirus pandemic death toll passed 707,000 late on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data. Meanwhile, the global infection rate passed 18.8 million. The US accounts for the highest portion of Covid-19 deaths, with 158,256. The next worst-affected in terms of the number of lives lost is Brazil with 97,256.

US: Donald Trump on Wednesday repeated that he believes coronavirus will “go away”, despite his top public health expert warning that it could take most of 2021 or longer to get the pandemic under control and that it is “unlikely” the virus can ever be eradicated. At a White House briefing, the US president said of Covid-19: “It’s going away, it will go away, things go away, absolutely. No question in my mind, sooner rather than later.”

Florida has surpassed 500,000 coronavirus cases as testing ramps up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias.

A rash of poisonings and four deaths in May and June were tied to drinking hand sanitizer that contained methanol in Arizona and New Mexico, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The incidents happened after President Donald Trump mused on ingesting disinfectants to treat the novel coronavirus.

California reported 202 new virus deaths, marking its second-deadliest day of the pandemic. The state has had 9,703 Covid fatalities.

Twitter and Facebook have taken action against a video posted by Trump campaign’s account and shared by the US president for breaking the company’s Covid-19 misinformation rules. The clip came from an interview with Fox & Friends in which Trump claimed that children are “almost immune” to Covid-19.

The US Supreme Court lifted a lower court order that required specific steps to curb Covid-19 at four southern California jail facilities that have seen more than 400 cases since the outbreak began.

South Africa: The World Health Organization has deployed a “surge team” of 43 health experts to South Africa to help the country deal with the pandemic, which has seen nearly 530,000 cases confirmed in the country – the fifth-highest in the world – and 9,298 deaths.

Australia: Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews has announced that 471 new coronavirus cases were confirmed overnight, along with eight new deaths. Both figures are lower than Wednesday’s, which marked Victoria’s most devastating day of Covid-19 cases and deaths, with 15 deaths overnight and 725 new cases.

France: France’s daily Covid-19 infections reached the highest in more than two months on Wednesday, with 1,695 new cases. The seven-day moving average stood above the 1,300 threshold for the first time since the end of April when the country was still in lockdown.

Turkey: Fears grow in Turkey as daily virus cases top 1,000. Officials have expressed concern over the rising number of coronavirus cases as the daily infection toll exceeded 1,000 for the second day in a row.

Brazil: Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that President Jair Bolsonaro’s government must adopt measures to stop the spread of novel coronavirus to the country’s vulnerable indigenous communities. A majority of the justices voted to give the government 30 days to draw up a plan to reduce the threat to Indigenous people from Covid-19, which could wipe out some tribes.

Lockdown updates

US: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said travellers who have visited 35 states or territories with high Covid-19 transmission rates are required to complete the state’s traveller form as they pass through checkpoints at key entry points into the city.

North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of its reopening plan for another five weeks, Governor Roy Cooper said in a twe​et. The order keeps businesses including bars, movie theatres and bowling alleys closed while limiting gatherings to ten people indoors and 25 people outside.

Japan: Hideaki Ohmura, the governor of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, announced a regional “state of emergency”, urging people to stay home at night and businesses to close altogether or close early to curb the coronavirus. The measures will continue through August 24, a period that coincides with the Obon holidays, when schools and many companies close.

Netherlands: Amsterdam and the port of Rotterdam on Wednesday made face masks compulsory in certain busy areas, including the Dutch capital’s Red Light district, as coronavirus infections showed a worrying spike. The new measures come as the number of infections doubled in a week in the country, where more than 55,000 people have now been infected and some 6,150 have died.

Germany: Germany addeed Belgium’s virus-hit Antwerp to quarantine list. Antwerp province was added to the list of coronavirus risk zones, requiring travellers arriving from the region to go into quarantine for 14 days unless they can produce a negative Covid-19 test.

Economic updates

Italy: Italy’s national civil aviation authority has threatened to suspend Ryanair’s permit to fly in the country over alleged non-compliance with coronavirus safety rules, but the low-cost carrier denied flouting them.

China: Small businesses in China are being told by their foreign banks that loan extensions mandated by the government no longer apply to them as the nation dials back one of the relief measures unleashed after the coronavirus lockdown.

Philippines: The Philippines plunged into recession after its biggest quarterly contraction on record, according to data from the country’s Statistics Authority. Gross domestic product shrank 16.5% on-year in the second quarter, data showed, as the Philippine economy reels from one of the world’s longest stay-at-home orders that has wrecked businesses and thrown millions out of work.

North Korea: Leader Kim Jong Un directed his government agencies to act immediately to stabilise the livelihoods of residents in a city locked down over coronavirus concerns, state media reported. North Korea declared an emergency and locked down Kaesong near the inter-Korean border in late July after finding a suspected virus case there. It has not confirmed yet if the person tested positive.