Coronavirus Global Updates: Confirmed coronavirus cases crossed 13 million worldwide and resulted in 5.72 lakh deaths so far. While Hong Kong tightened restrictions to contain a resurgence in virus cases, Queensland imposed compulsory quarantine for anyone entering the Australian state from “hotspots” in neighboring New South Wales. Hong Kong also introduced a fine of $645 for anyone refusing to wear a mask on public transport in a fresh bid to prevent the resurgent coronavirus from spiraling out of control. New York City will redouble efforts to educate young people about the importance of wearing masks and keeping socially distant after an increase in cases among those ages 20 to 29. And Japan’s government said a new state of emergency is possible if infections increase further.
Here’s all the important COVID-19 news from across the globe
UK tables new ‘cheaper, quicker and easier’ Health Visa in Parliament
The UK government tabled a new “cheaper, quicker and easier’ Health and Care Visa in Parliament on Tuesday, aimed at attracting overseas doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) as part of a new post-Brexit visa and immigration system.
The new visa, welcomed by Indian professional groups, will be launched from August to create a new fast-track visa route designed to attract the best global health professionals to work in the NHS, for NHS commissioned service providers, and in eligible occupations in the social care sector.
“We are indebted to overseas health and care professionals for their tremendous contributions, not just in saving thousands of lives throughout this crisis, but for the vital role they play year-round,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel, who worked on the new visa with Cabinet colleague Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Germany eyes local travel bans to prevent second virus wave
Germany’s point person in the coronavirus pandemic said Tuesday that the country is on course to avoid a big second wave of infections but only if people keep practicing social distancing, wear masks and if necessary, quarantine in areas that experience spikes in new cases.
Helge Braun, who as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff is tasked with coordinating the government’s pandemic response, said Germany is considering local travel bans for areas that see a sudden, unexplained surge in virus cases.
Our measures are appropriate to preventing a a second big wave, Braun told The Associated Press in an interview at the Chancellery in Berlin. But this requires us to stay the course, not get careless in our measures and maintain our respect for the virus. Germany has managed to flatten the curve of infections to three per 100,000 inhabitants a week – a very low rate by international comparison. The country of 83 million has reported just over 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,077 deaths since the start of its outbreak.
China’s global imports rose 3 per cent to USD 167.2 billion, rebounding from May’s 3.3 per cent decline, imports of American goods increased to USD 10.4 billion despite higher tariffs. Exports to the United States have also gained 1 per cent to USD 39.8 billion, AP reported.
Official figures show that the British economy managed to eke out some growth in May as lockdown restrictions started to be eased, but that it remains around a quarter smaller than before the coronavirus pandemic.
White House virus task force member says ‘none of us lie’
A top member of the White House coronavirus task force said Tuesday that none of us lie to the public, an accusation President Donald Trump had retweeted, and that while kids need to be back in school as Trump insists, we have to get the virus under control.
Adm. Brett Giroir’s comment came a day after Trump shared a Twitter post from a former game show host who, without evidence, accused government medical experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, of lying.
Trump himself has at times disregarded the advice of his medical experts on the task force and continues to play down the threat from the virus as it spikes across the country, forcing some states to slow or reverse steps to reopen their economies.
Asked on NBC’s Today, whether the CDC and other doctors are lying, Giroir allowed that mistakes have been made and that public guidance is updated when more is learned about the virus, but none of us lie. We are completely transparent with the American people.
Trump has said on several occasions that the virus will just disappear. Giroir said that is unlikely unless we take active steps to make it disappear. He appealed to people to wear masks, practice social distancing and to avoid bars and other tightly packed areas.
France to require masks at indoor public spaces
French President Emmanuel Macron says he wants to require masks inside all indoor public spaces by August 1. In an interview with French television networks marking Bastille Day, Macron says the best prevention for the virus is masks, social distancing and hand washing.
Macron says France’s virus reproduction rate is inching past 1 again, meaning each infected person is infecting at least one other. Many other European nations required masks in indoor public space when they started easing virus lockdowns. France took a more relaxed attitude, recommending but not requiring masks.
Recent rave parties in France and widespread backsliding on social distancing — even within Macron’s presidential palace and other government facilities — have raised concerns. France has confirmed more than 30,000 virus deaths.
Nepal’s coronavirus cases cross 17,000-mark
Nepal’s coronavirus tally crossed the 17,000-mark on Tuesday with the detection of 116 new cases in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said. The virus has so far claimed 38 lives in the country.
“With the detection of the 116 new cases, the total COVID-19 tally now stands at 17,061,” health ministry spokesperson Jageshwo Gautam told PTI.
While 6,695 patients are currently undergoing treatment in various health facilities across the country, 10,328 have recovered, he said. The health authorities have conducted 2,93,739 coronavirus tests, including 4,361 in the last 24 hours, Gautam said.
100-pound fines for failure to wear face masks in England shops
The UK government ended days of speculation and declared on Tuesday that wearing a face mask or face covering will become mandatory in shops across England from July 24, as part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus as the country eases out of lockdown.
The enforcement powers for the new policy will be handed to the police and anyone failing to wear a face covering while shopping will be subject to a fine of up to 100 pounds, or 50 pounds if paid speedily within 14 days. “There is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus,” a 10 Downing Street spokesperson said.
“The Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] has been clear that people should be wearing face coverings in shops and we will make this mandatory from July 24,” the spokesperson said.
While shop workers will be encouraged to prompt customers to comply, they will not be expected to enforce the rules, allaying retail union concerns about their involvement in the enforcement process. The British Retail Consortium said it hoped the announcement “will make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the High Street”.
Singapore reports 347 new coronavirus cases, tally reaches 46,630
Singapore on Tuesday reported 347 new coronavirus infections, including seven community and two imported cases, taking the total tally to 46,630, the health ministry said. Most of the new cases are foreign workers living in dormitories, it said.
Of the seven community cases, one is a Singaporean citizen and six are foreigners holding work passes.
The two imported patients have been placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore, the ministry said. With the detection of the 347 new cases, Singapore’s COVID-19 tally now stands at 46,630. The virus has so far claimed 26 lives in the country. The ministry has ordered a company to shut its premises for 14 days after three coronavirus cases were detected in the firm, which was also found to have breached safe management and social distancing measures.
Robots that can cook – from flipping burgers to baking bread – are in growing demand as virus-wary kitchens try to put some distance between workers and customers.
Starting this fall, the White Castle burger chain will test a robot arm that can cook french fries and other foods. The robot, dubbed Flippy, is made by Pasadena, California-based Miso Robotics.
White Castle and Miso have been discussing a partnership for about a year. Those talks accelerated when COVID-19 struck, said White Castle Vice President Jamie Richardson.
Richardson said the robot can free up employees for other tasks like disinfecting tables or handling the rising number of delivery orders. A touch-free environment that minimizes contact is also increasingly important to customers, he said.
The world’s just reshaped in terms of thoughts around food safety, Richardson said. Flippy currently costs USD 30,000, with a USD 1,500 monthly service fee. By the middle of next year, Miso hopes to offer the robot for free but charge a higher monthly fee.
Pandemic worsening, things won’t return to ‘old normal’ for some time: WHO
The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening globally and things won’t return to “the old normal” for some time. At a press briefing Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “there will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future.” Tedros said that while numerous countries, especially in Europe and Asia, have brought outbreaks under control, too many others are seeing virus trends move in the wrong direction. Tedros also chastised political leaders for mixed messages about outbreaks that damage trust, without referring to any politicians by name. Tedros called for countries to adopt a comprehensive strategy to curb the soaring caseloads in many countries, noting that about half of all the new cases are now coming from the Americas. Without applying basic outbreak-control methods, “there is only one way this pandemic is going to go,” WHO chief Tedros cautioned. “It’s going to get worse and worse and worse,” he said.
Japan medical workers, elderly to get vaccine first: Report
Japan will start to draft guidelines determining who will receive priority in being vaccinated for coronavirus when a treatment becomes available, Jiji reported, without attribution. Prioritizing elderly people, those with pre-existing conditions and medical workers are among suggestions being considered with local government to pay for vaccine costs, Jiji said.
LA defies Trump to start academic year with online classes
Los Angeles, home to America’s second-largest school district, and San Diego said they will start the academic year with online classes amid the resurgent coronavirus. “The health and safety of all in the school community is not something we can compromise,” Austin Beutner, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, said in a statement. “Last week was the worst yet in the Los Angeles area.” The districts’ decisions come after just one day after America’s top education official downplayed the risk of reopening schools in the fall — a top priority for President Donald Trump.
This little girl has reached her breaking point over how coronavirus has affected her life. pic.twitter.com/jdi16p2nG1
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 13, 2020
US has biggest COVID-19 testing programme in the world: Trump
The United States has the biggest COVID-19 testing programme in the world, better than big countries like Russia, China, India and Brazil, President Donald Trump said on Monday, asserting that America has “just about the lowest mortality rate” due to the disease in the world. “We have one of the lowest mortality rates anywhere,” Trump said at a White House roundtable. More than 34 lakh Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 so far and over 1,37,000 have died due to the disease, both of which are the largest numbers among all the countries. The huge number of positive cases, the president said, is due to the massive testing efforts undertaken by his administration, more extensive than any other country.
California shuts indoor dining
California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all inside dining, wineries, movie theaters and other indoor entertainment closed to control the spread of Covid-19. Bars and breweries statewide must close all indoor and outdoor operations, while fitness centers, worship services, protests and salons must shut in counties that have been on a monitoring list for three straight days. Those counties include Sacramento, Santa Barbara, San Benito and San Diego.
Masks to be mandatory in London shops
Face coverings will be compulsory in all shops in England from July 24 as part of attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce Tuesday. “There is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus,” Johnson’s office said in a statement. “The Prime Minister has been clear that people should be wearing face coverings in shops and we will make this mandatory from July 24.”
Meanwhile, Britain faces a potentially more deadly second wave of COVID-19 in the coming winter that could kill up to 120,000 people over nine months in a worst-case scenario, health experts said on Tuesday. With COVID-19 more likely to spread in winter as people spend more time together in enclosed spaces, a second wave of the pandemic “could be more serious than the one we’ve just been through,” said Stephen Holgate, a professor and co-lead author of a report by Britain’s Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS).
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