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Coronavirus: What's happening around the world on Thursday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

  • Daily cases of COVID-19 top 50,000 in the U.S. 
  • Palestinian government orders five-day quarantine in the West Bank.
  • India’s coronavirus infections surpassed 600,000.
  • U.K. to lift quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries.

Governors of U.S. states hit hardest by the resurgent coronavirus halted or reversed steps to reopen their economies on Wednesday, led by California, the nation’s most populous state and a new epicentre of the pandemic.

New cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, shot up by nearly 50,000 in the U.S. on Wednesday, marking it the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.

“The spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in ordering the closure of bars, bans on indoor dining and other restrictions in 19 counties, affecting more than 70 per cent of the state’s population.

The change in California, which was the first U.S. state to impose sweeping “stay-at-home” restrictions in March, will likely inflict more financial pain on the owners of bars and restaurants who have struggled to survive the pandemic.

New cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, shot up by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, marking it the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. (Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images)

The epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic has moved from the Northeast to California, Arizona and New Mexico in the West, along with Texas, Florida and Georgia.

Texas again topped its previous record on Wednesday with 8,076 new cases, while South Carolina reported 24 more coronavirus deaths, a single-day high for the state. Tennessee and Alaska also had record numbers of new cases on Wednesday.

The U.S. recorded nearly 48,000 new infections on Tuesday, including more than 8,000 each in California and Texas.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham, a Democrat, on Wednesday extended the state’s emergency public health order through July 15, saying that authorities would “aggressively” enforce mandatory mask rules.

“I want to be as clear as I can possibly be: New Mexico, in this moment, still has the power to change the terrible trajectory of this virus,” Grisham said. “But our time is limited. And we are staring down the barrel of what Texas, Arizona and many other hard-hit states are grappling with.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat whose city was for months at the centre of the U.S. outbreak, said Wednesday he would postpone a plan to allow indoor restaurant dining beginning Monday.

“We see a lot of problems and we particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors, and indoors is the problem more and more,” de Blasio told reporters.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will postpone reopening plans that would have allowed indoor restaurant dining across the city. ( Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found Americans are increasingly worried about the spread of COVID-19, the serious and sometimes fatal illness caused by the coronavirus.

Roughly seven in 10 Republicans said they were personally concerned about the virus’s spread, up from six in 10 in previous polls. About nine in 10 Democrats said they are similarly worried, a level of concern that has not changed.

Conservatives have generally been less willing to wear masks or follow other restrictions imposed by local authorities to stop the spread of the virus as the issue has become increasingly politicized.


What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada

As of 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 104,271 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 67,746 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,663. 

A new mobile app meant to help with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases won’t roll out across Ontario Thursday as planned.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health says the province is still working with the federal government and the app is expected to launch soon.

The province will be the first to use the COVID Alert app, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it should be ready for downloading in the rest of the country later this summer.

This comes as large parts of Ontario look to moving to Stage 3 of the province’s COVID-19 reopening plan, with the spread of the coronavirus remaining slow in most public health units. 

Meanwhile, Canadians celebrated a Canada Day like no other as they marked the national holiday under unprecedented circumstances.

Canada Day 2020 took place amid both a global pandemic and a growing conversation about systemic racism in society.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of high-profile events and large celebrations like the annual pomp and pageantry on Parliament Hill in favour of backyard barbecues and online offerings to keep crowds from gathering. 


Here’s what’s happening around the world

The Palestinian Authority has announced a five-day quarantine in the West Bank in response to a major increase in coronavirus cases and deaths in recent days.

The Palestinian government says the lockdown will take effect Friday, and people will be required to shelter at home. A two-month total lockdown of the Palestinian territory was lifted in late May.

In the past two weeks, Palestinian health authorities have reported more than 1,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank city of Hebron and hundreds more in Bethlehem and Nablus.

The occupied West Bank has a total of 3,045 confirmed cases and 11 deaths from the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Undertakers carry coffins at the end of funeral proceedings for COVID-19 victims at a mosque in Cape Town, South Africa. Africa’s confirmed cases have surpassed 400,000 and deaths have crossed 10,000 as health officials warn the pandemic is picking up speed across the continent. (Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)

Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 400,000 and deaths have crossed 10,000 as health officials warn the pandemic is picking up speed on the continent of 1.3 billion people.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says confirmed cases are now above 404,000 on the 54-nation continent, while testing capabilities remain low because of shortages of materials.

South Africa leads the continent with more than 151,000 confirmed cases. An emerging hot spot is in Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, with 28 per cent of the country’s cases.

Kazakhstan will implement a second, softer lockdown for two weeks from Sunday to help combat a surge in coronavirus cases, the government said on Thursday.

Authorities will close some non-essential businesses, limit travel between provinces, cut public transit services’ hours of operation and ban public gatherings. The measures may be tightened or extended later, the cabinet said in a statement.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered new curbs after coronavirus cases in the Central Asian country rose more than sevenfold following the lifting of its first, more restrictive lockdown in mid-May.

South Korea says it has confirmed 54 more COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus continues to spread beyond the capital region and reach cities like Gwangju, which has shut schools and tightened social restrictions after dozens fell sick this week.

The figures reported Thursday brought the national case total to 12,904, including 282 deaths.

Health Minster Park Neung-hoo is expressing alarm over the rise of infections in Gwangju, which had one of the smallest caseloads among major South Korean cities before this week.

China is reporting three newly confirmed cases of coronavirus, and says just one of them involved local transmission in the capital of Beijing.

The report Thursday appears to put the country where the virus was first detected late last year on course to eradicating it domestically, at least temporarily.

The National Health Commission says the other two cases were brought from outside China. No new deaths were reported, leaving the toll at 4,634 among 83,537 total cases of COVID-19.

A Chinese epidemic control worker wears a protective suit as she performs a nucleic acid swab test for COVID-19 on a woman at a government testing site in Beijing. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China is moving swiftly to reopen its economy, but mass unemployment looms as the heavily indebted government is reluctant to spend lavishly on stimulus programs.

With new coronavirus cases in Tokyo surging to a two-month high, Japan faces the prospect of a second wave without the experts who tackled the first phase of the epidemic.

Instead, a new panel comprising a Nobel-prize winning geneticist, an artificial intelligence expert and a cardiologist will advise the government, as Japan seeks to revitalize its recession-hit economy.

The reshuffle has raised concerns among some health experts over Japan’s risk management capability as the pandemic could re-intensify.

A health-care worker checks the temperature of a child in Mumbai. India’s coronavirus infections surpassed 600,000 on Thursday. (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

India’s coronavirus infections surpassed 600,000 on Thursday, with 17,834 deaths, as authorities battled to contain the pandemic while easing lockdown rules, officials and the health ministry said.

Fresh challenges to protect people from the virus emerged for disaster management officials in the northeast state of Assam amid torrential rainfall, where floods and landslides killed 57 people this week and more than 1.5 million were forced to flee their homes.

Assam’s health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said the state had started testing aggressively to identify coronavirus cases among villagers forced to take shelter in community halls, schools and government buildings.

The United Kingdom’s government will effectively ditch its air bridge plans and simply end the coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries so that people can go on holiday, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The newspaper said the U.K. would shortly lift a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has been grappling with how to open up international travel after it imposed a two-week quarantine for arrivals, which has added to the woes of the shuttered tourism and travel industry.

A passenger wearing a face mask arrives at Heathrow airport, London. The U.K. government will effectively ditch its air bridge plans and simply end the coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesia is working to produce its own COVID-19 vaccine next year, amid growing anxiety that developing countries could have difficulty getting access to a future jab, the head of Indonesia’s national COVID-19 research team said Thursday.

“The production capability and capacity of biotech companies in the world is, we know, limited, and global supply chains also have challenges,” Ali Ghufron Mukti, head of the innovation team at Indonesia’s research and technology ministry, said.

“Therefore, it is necessary for Indonesia to develop its own COVID-19 vaccine. And it will be by Indonesia, from Indonesia, to Indonesia,” he said.

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Biden’s vaccine pledge ups pressure on rich countries to give more

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The United States on Thursday raised the pressure on other Group of Seven leaders to share their vaccine hoards to bring an end to the pandemic by pledging to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.

The largest ever vaccine donation by a single country will cost the United States $3.5 billion but Washington expects no quid pro quo or favours for the gift, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

U.S. President Joe Biden‘s move, on the eve of a summit of the world’s richest democracies, is likely to prompt other leaders to stump up more vaccines, though even vast numbers of vaccines would still not be enough to inoculate all of the world’s poor.

G7 leaders want to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 to try to halt the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people and devastated the global economy.

A senior Biden administration official described the gesture as a “major step forward that will supercharge the global effort” with the aim of “bringing hope to every corner of the world.” “We really want to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives,” the official said, adding that Washington was not seeking favours in exchange for the doses.

Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated so far out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, based on Johns Hopkins University data.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have agreed to supply the U.S. with the vaccines, delivering 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.

“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.

‘DROP IN THE BUCKET’

Anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam called for more to be done to increase global production of vaccines.

“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead.

“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he said in a statement.

Another issue, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting the vaccines which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Biden has also backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus yet on how to proceed.

The new vaccine donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June. There is also $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.

GAVI and the WHO welcomed the initiative.

Washington is also taking steps to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, including through its Quad initiative with Japan, India and Australia.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in St. Ives, England, Andrea Shalal in Washington and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Keith Weir;Editing by Leslie Adler, David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Giles Elgood and Jane Merriman)

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Vaccines donated by the United States and China

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Both the United States and China have pledged large donations of COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world. Washington has promised 80 million doses, three-quarters of which will be delivered via the international vaccine initiative COVAX, in what has been seen as an effort to counter China’s widening vaccine diplomacy. It began deliveries last week.

China had shipped vaccines to 66 countries in the form of aid, according to state news agency Xinhua. Beijing has not disclosed an overall figure for its donations but Reuters calculations based on publicly available data show at least 16.57 million doses have been delivered. China has also pledged to supply 10 million doses to COVAX.

VACCINES DONATED BY U.S. (plan for the first 25 mln):

Regional partners and priority recipients

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Including Canada, Mexico, 1 mln to S.Korea in June

South Korea, West Bank and

Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo,

Haiti, Georgia, Egypt,

Jordan, India, Iraq, Yemen,

United Nations

TOTAL 6 mln 1 mln

Allocations through COVAX

South and Central America

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia,

Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador,

Paraguay, Bolivia,

Guatemala, El Salvador,

Honduras, Panama, Haiti,

Dominican Republic and other

Caribbean Community

(CARICOM) countries

TOTAL 6 mln

Asia

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

India, Nepal, Bangladesh,

Pakistan, Sri Lanka,

Afghanistan, Maldives,

Malaysia, Philippines,

Vietnam, Indonesia,

Thailand, Laos, Papua New

Guinea, Taiwan, and the

Pacific Islands

TOTAL 7 mln

Africa

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

To be selected in

coordination with the

African Union

TOTAL 5 mln

VACCINES DONATED BY CHINA (source – Reuters calculations and official data):

Asia Pacific

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Afghanistan 400,000

Bangladesh Second batch of First batch of 500,000 delivered

600,000 on May 12

Brunei 52,000 in Feb

Cambodia 1.7 mln as of April 28

Kyrgyzstan 150,000 in March

Laos 300,000 in Feb

800,000 in late March

300,000 in late April

Maldives 200,000 in early March

Mongolia 300,000 in late February

Myanmar 500,000 in early May

Nepal 800,000 in late March

1 mln in early June

Pakistan 500,000 in early Feb

250,000 in Feb

500,000 in March

Philippines 600,000 in late Feb

400,000 in late March

Sri Lanka 600,000 at end March

500,000 in late May

Thailand 500,000 in May

500,000 in June

Timor-Leste 100,000 100,000 in early June

TOTAL 11.052 million

Africa

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Angola 200,000 in late March

Algeria 200,000 200,000 in Feb

Botswana 200,000 in April

Cameroon 200,000 in April

Congo 100,000 100,000 in March

Egypt 600,000 in March

Ethiopia 300,000 in late March

Equatorial Guinea 100,000 in Feb

Guinea 200,000 in early March

Mozambique 200,000 in late Feb

Namibia 100,000 by early April

Niger 400,000 in late March

Sierra Leone 240,000 by late May

Togo 200,000 in April

Uganda 300,000

Zimbabwe 200,000 in Feb

200,000 in March

100,000 in May

TOTAL 3.74 million

South America

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Bolivia 100,000 in late Feb

100,000 in late March

Venezuela 500,000 in early March

TOTAL 700,000

Europe & Middle East

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Belarus 100,000 in Feb

300,000 in May

Georgia 100,000 at end April

Iran 250,000 at end February

Iraq 50,000 in early March

Montenegro 30,000 in early March

North Macedonia 100,000 in May

Syria 150,000 in late April

TOTAL 1.08 million

 

(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Cooper Inveen in Dakar; Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare, Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Coronavirus Worldwide right now

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Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus now:

Australia’s Melbourne to exit lockdown

Australia’s second largest city Melbourne will exit a hard lockdown as planned on Thursday night, Victoria state authorities said, although some restrictions on travel and gatherings would likely remain for another week.

After two weeks in a strict lockdown that forced people to remain at home except for essential business, Melbourne’s five million residents will get more freedom to step outside from 11:59 p.m. local time (1359 GMT) on Thursday.

However, people must stay within 25 km (15 miles) of their homes, officials said, in an effort to stop transmission during an upcoming long weekend. There will also be a total ban on house gatherings and masks will be mandatory indoors.

Deliveries of Thai-made AstraZeneca vaccines delayed

Malaysia and Taiwan are expecting deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Thailand to be delayed, officials said, the latest countries to report a holdup with orders from the Thai plant.

The delay comes amid concerns over AstraZeneca’s distribution plans in Southeast Asia, which depends on 200 million doses made by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by Thailand’s king that is making vaccines for the first time.

Any questions about Siam Bioscience meeting production targets are sensitive because King Maha Vajiralongkorn is its sole owner. Insulting Thailand’s monarchy is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Indonesia aims to speed up vaccinations

President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday he hoped Indonesia’s vaccination rollout will hit one million shots a day by July, as authorities opened up inoculations to anyone aged over 18 in Jakarta to contain increased transmission in the capital.

Health officials in the world’s fourth most populous country, which aims to vaccinate 181.5 million people by next year, are trying to speed up the rollout after facing some supply issues.

The president said he wanted vaccinations to hit a targeted 700,000 doses a day this month and then rise again.

Singapore finds Delta most prevalent among variants

Singapore has found the Delta variant of the coronavirus to be the most prevalent among local cases of variants of concern (VOCs), according to health ministry data, highlighting its level of infectiousness.

There were 449 local cases with VOCs as of May 31, of which 428 were the Delta variant first detected in India and nine of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Singapore reported its 34th death due to COVID-19, taking its toll from the pandemic beyond the 33 casualties recorded during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak.

U.S. forming expert groups on lifting travel restrictions

The Biden administration is forming expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to determine how best to safely restart travel after 15 months of pandemic restrictions, a White House official said on Tuesday.

Another U.S. official said the administration will not move quickly to lift orders that bar people from much of the world from entering the United States because of the time it will take for the groups to do their work.

The groups will be led by the White House COVID Response Team and the National Security Council and include the Centers for Disease Control and other U.S. agencies.

 

(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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