International Update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 13.8 million – record daily rise in US – Trump pushes to re-open schools

17 July 2020 (Last Updated July 17th, 2020 09:50)

17 July

Global: There are 13,810,534 known coronavirus cases worldwide. The number of deaths stands at 590,005, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.

Coronavirus support to poor countries has been so far “grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously short-sighted”, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said, as he asked wealthy countries for billions of more dollars in assistance.

US: The US reported 68,428 new infections in the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, setting yet another record for a single-day rise in coronavirus cases.

An official with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most recent count shows 342 US children and teens have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to Covid-19 infections.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported a record 428 new cases, ten days into the lockdown of Melbourne. The neighbouring state of New South Wales tightened restrictions on pubs, restaurants and gatherings, as it reported eight new cases, six of which were from community transmission.

Brazil: Brazil has passed the two million confirmed coronavirus cases mark, with little sign that the rate of increase is slowing as anger grows over President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the outbreak.

China: Hong Kong’s coronavirus outbreak is expected on Friday to surpass the magnitude of its earlier waves of infections, in a cautionary tale that the worst may be yet to come in the pandemic.

Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, cancelled hundreds of flights on Friday after the report of its first coronavirus case in about five months fuelled concerns of a potential new outbreak.

South Korea: South Korea reported 60 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,672, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UK: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to invest £3bn ($3.77bn) into England’s National Health Service (NHS) to try to ward off any resurgence of the coronavirus.

Vaccine News

India: Researchers from the Indian government have been given the green light to study the century-old BCG vaccine’s ability to prevent the severe incidence of Covid-19 in the high-risk elderly population.

Johnson & Johnson is in discussions with multiple countries and a charitable foundation to determine how much of its experimental coronavirus vaccine will be needed. Chief financial officer Joseph Wolk said they are in talks with the European Union, Japan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

UK: The UK has accused Russian state intelligence of hacking international pharmaceutical and academic research in a bid to win the race to secure a vaccine against Covid-19. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said vaccine and therapeutic sectors in multiple countries have been targeted, declining to list the names and number of institutions affected on security grounds.

Lockdown updates

US: Anthony Fauci said many states rushed too quickly to reopen without bringing the virus adequately under control, leading to the resurgence in states across the U.S. south and west.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: ‘The science should not stand in the way’ of reopening schools. She defended President Trump’s push to reopen schools, despite concerns about the spread of coronavirus in the classroom. “And when he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school,” McEnany noted during her White House briefing.

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says President Trump’s European travel ban was enacted too late to protect New York residents. “Although travel restrictions are an important mitigation strategy, by the time the European restrictions were implemented, importation and community transmission of Sars-CoV-2 had already occurred in NYC,” the report said.

US Democrats have urged elected leaders and party delegates to skip the national convention in August as coronavirus cases surge, the New York Times reported, in what the paper says is “a sign of the ever-shrinking aspirations for their big campaign event in the face of the spreading virus”.

New York City will not open malls and museums on Monday even if the city is allowed to move into the next phase of reopening, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, promising more crackdowns on bars and restaurants.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a ban on cruise ships through the end of September as coronavirus infections rose across the country, including in the state of Florida.

Mexico: Authorities imposed local restrictions on mobility, commerce, and leisure, particularly in popular tourist destinations, even as the government seeks to revive the battered economy. The country has 317,635 Covid-19 cases and 37,574 deaths.

Spain: Officials said on Thursday that residents in three districts in the Barcelona suburb of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat must stay indoors amid a resurgence in cases. Wednesday saw residents told to stay at home in an area in and around the north-eastern city of Lerida, a measure affecting around 160,000 people. They are allowed to leave to go to work, buy food or medication, or to exercise.

Colombia: Doctors are calling for a return to a strict city-wide quarantine to slow coronavirus infections in the capital, warning that medical services are close to collapsing. The country has reported over 165,000 cases of the coronavirus and around 6,000 deaths.

Denmark: Denmark’s foreign ministry has updated its travel guidelines in response to its latest assessment of the risks posed by Covid-19. The new list includes an easing of guidelines for several regions in Sweden, namely Halland, Kalmar and Värmland.

Israel: The government imposed a new weekend shutdown on Friday and tightened a series of coronavirus curbs to lower infection rates, amid growing public anger over the government’s handling of the crisis, Reuters reports.

India: New restrictions have been introduced in the western city of Pune and other states, including Uttar Pradesh, home to 200 million people, as well as badly hit Tamil Nadu and Assam. The northern Indian state of Bihar, with a population of around 125 million people, started a 15-day lockdown from 16 July.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta will remain under social-distancing measures for two more weeks after new coronavirus cases surged since the easing of a partial lockdown a month ago.

Puerto Rico: The governor has announced major rollbacks including the closure of bars, gyms, marinas, theatres and casinos and restricted the use of beaches as the US territory is hit by a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Economy updates

Japan: Japan’s agriculture ministry has decided to suspend bids seeking contractors for its “Go To Eat” campaign aimed at supporting eating establishments hit by the coronavirus outbreak, Jiji reports without attribution.

Canada: Canada’s federal government will give the 13 provinces and territories more than C$19bn ($14bn) to help pay for the costs of restarting the economy after several months of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.