International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 17.3 million – infections rising in US mid West – US deaths pass 152,000

31st July 2020 (Last Updated July 31st, 2020 09:54)

31 July

Global: World wide Covid-19 cases have passed 17.3 million, with more than 673,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University. US cases are nearing 4.5 million.

The World Health Organization has warned that spikes in coronavirus transmission in a number of countries were being driven by young people “letting down their guard”. “Young people are not invincible,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva on Thursday.

Countries have made “a deep under investment in public health infrastructure,” said Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program. Ryan said he was surprised by countries’ unpreparedness for the contact tracing and testing that would be necessary.

US: Coronavirus infections appear to be picking up in the Midwestern United States, the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said. According to Fox News, the coronavirus outbreak is “moving up” into Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska from the south “because of vacations and other reasons for travel.

California recorded 194 new virus deaths, second only to the 197 reported Wednesday and above the 14-day average of 112. Total fatalities now number 9,026.

India: India’s death toll climbed to 35,718, surpassing fatalities in Italy, the former European epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry posted 639 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday bring the country’s toll to 46,000, almost the same as the United Kingdom which has the third-highest death toll worldwide from the pandemic.

Argentina: Argentina posted a record daily increase of 6,377 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 185,373. There were 130 new deaths, taking the death toll to 3,441.

Japan: Japan does not need to reimpose a state of emergency chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said on Friday, reiterating the government’s stance amid a surge in new infections across the country. The country reported a record high for new cases for the second day in a row on Thursday with at least 1,274 cases, including a record 367 in Tokyo.

Vietnam: Vietnam has reported 45 new coronavirus infections in the city of Danang, marking the country’s biggest single-day jump in cases, as the health ministry sent more health experts to the central city in a bid to combat the outbreak.

China: Hong Kong reported a new daily record of coronavirus cases, logging 149 more infections by Thursday end. Amid the rise in cases, authorities reversed a ban on indoor dining, along restaurants to operate under limited hours and with limited capacity.

Iran: Iran’s government ignored repeated requests from senior prison officials for help in containing coronavirus in the country’s overcrowded jails, according to Amnesty International.

Australia: Victoria reported 627 new cases in the past 24 hours, a day after suffering a record 723 additional infections. There were eight more deaths.

Lockdown updates

UK: New restrictions have come into force in the north of England, including people not being able to mix with other households. The measures apply in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire after an increase in cases. Households may go to hospitality, for instance, bars and pubs, but new guidance will make clear that two households should not go to hospitality together.

France: Some French cities are expected to introduce additional face mask requirements. From Friday in Orleans, in central France, masks will be required in open-air markets and after 9:00pm along the Loire river, where crowds of people have been gathering in the evenings. The mayors of Bayonne and the nearby Atlantic resort of Biarritz also announced that face masks would be compulsory in their city centres starting next week.

China: China tightened travel restrictions in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, requiring people arriving in the city from regions deemed to have high infection risks to undergo a two-week quarantine.

Philippines: President, Rodrigo Duterte, says restrictions in the capital Manila will remain until mid-August. He also announced free vaccines to combat a surge in infections that has overwhelmed health care workers and facilities. President Duterte extended quarantine restrictions, limiting movements of the elderly and children, and the operations of businesses from restaurants to gyms.

Indonesia: The resort island of Bali has reopened to domestic tourists after an almost four-month lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic.

Botswana: Botswana’s capital city Gaborone has returned to a two-week lockdown to stem its latest surge in coronavirus infections.

Economy updates

US: The US economy shrank by an annual rate of 32.9% between April and June, its sharpest contraction since demobilisation following WW2, government figures revealed on Thursday.

Southeast Asia: Is on the brink of a “socio-economic crisis” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that could reverse decades of poverty reduction, the United Nations has warned.