US, Europe bat­tle fresh virus surge

Iran Daily - - Internatio­nal -

The US and Europe bat­tled a resur­gence of coro­n­avirus cases as warn­ings mounted world­wide Fri­day over re­open­ing lock­downs too soon.

A ma­jor Aus­tralian city also faced a dan­ger­ous uptick in in­fec­tions, lead­ing to na­tional steps against toi­let pa­per hoard­ing, while the pan­demic also con­tin­ues to pum­mel Latin Amer­ica, AFP wrote.

More than 480,000 peo­ple world­wide have died from COVID-19 since it emerged in China late last year and cases are ex­pected to reach 10 mil­lion across the globe within the next week.

Coun­tries have been balanc­ing the need to re­open economies shat­tered by coro­n­avirus shut­downs with the need to main­tain suf­fi­cient mea­sures to pre­vent a feared sec­ond wave.

In the US, af­ter hit­ting a twom­onth plateau, the rate of new cases is now soar­ing in south­ern and western states, with the con­firmed in­fec­tion rate near­ing lev­els last seen in April.

Texas was among the most ag­gres­sive states in re­open­ing in early June but has now been forced to halt its phased re­open­ing.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go back­wards and close down busi­nesses,” said Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Greg Ab­bott, an ally of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has faced sharp crit­i­cism for his han­dling of the cri­sis.

“This tem­po­rary pause will help our state cor­ral the spread.”

The US recorded 37,667 cases and 692 deaths in 24 hours, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters of Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, with nearly 122,000 lives lost over­all – by far the high­est con­firmed toll in the world.

US health of­fi­cials now be­lieve based on an­ti­body sur­veys that some 24 mil­lion peo­ple may have al­ready been in­fected – 10 times higher than the of­fi­cially recorded fig­ure of around 2.4 mil­lion.

In Latin Amer­ica, Brazil, the hard­est-hit coun­try in the re­gion, had close to 55,000 deaths and 1.2 mil­lion in­fec­tions, while Mex­ico on Thurs­day sur­passed 25,000 fa­tal­i­ties.

In Bri­tain – which has the worst death toll in Europe so far with 43,230 lives lost – peo­ple were urged to abide by so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules af­ter tens of thou­sands of peo­ple de­scended on beaches dur­ing a heat­wave.

The sea­side re­sort of Bournemout­h de­clared a ma­jor in­ci­dent on Thurs­day af­ter thou­sands flocked to its beach on the hottest day of the year.

Po­lice also crit­i­cized the num­ber of fans who gath­ered out­side Liver­pool’s An­field ground on Thurs­day night af­ter the club se­cured the English Premier League foot­ball ti­tle for the first time in 30 years.

Ukraine mean­while re­ported a record daily in­crease in coro­n­avirus cases as au­thor­i­ties warned lock­downs may have to be reim­posed if peo­ple con­tin­ued to flout re­stric­tions.

Health au­thor­i­ties recorded 1,109 new coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions in the pre­vi­ous 24 hours, bring­ing Ukraine’s to­tal to more than 41,000.

“Peo­ple have ceased to com­ply with re­stric­tions,” Prime Min­is­ter Denys Sh­my­gal said.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion warned on Thurs­day that Europe is not yet in the clear, say­ing 11 na­tions faced a “very sig­nif­i­cant resur­gence that if left unchecked will push health sys­tems to the brink once again.”

In Aus­tralia, su­per­mar­kets im­posed pur­chase lim­its on toi­let pa­per across the coun­try Fri­day fol­low­ing panic buy­ing by peo­ple rat­tled over a surge in coro­n­avirus cases in Mel­bourne, the coun­try’s sec­ond-big­gest city.

“Stop it, it’s ridicu­lous,”

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son told his com­pa­tri­ots

He in­sisted the coun­try’s so far successful con­tain­ment was not threat­ened by the 30 new cases con­firmed overnight in Mel­bourne, the 10th straight day of dou­ble-digit rises in new cases in the city and sur­round­ing Vic­to­ria state.

The early stages of coro­n­avirus lock­downs in many coun­tries were marked by the panic buy­ing of toi­let pa­per and other sup­plies.

How­ever the pres­sure to re­open badly-hit economies and limit what prom­ises to be a his­toric global re­ces­sion re­mains im­mense.

Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank chief, Chris­tine La­garde, said Fri­day that the econ­omy has “prob­a­bly passed the low­est point”, with Europe in par­tic­u­lar re­open­ing.

She warned how­ever that the new nor­mal will look dif­fer­ent from what was be­fore and that “of course there could be a se­vere sec­ond wave if we learn any­thing from the Span­ish Flu” of 1918-19.

Viet­nam’s prime min­is­ter mean­while warned South­east Asian lead­ers that the virus pan­demic had “swept away” years of eco­nomic gains in the touris­mand ex­port-re­liant re­gion.

Air­lines have also suf­fered, with the Dutch govern­ment an­nounc­ing a €3.4-bil­lion bailout for Air France-klm, Aus­tralia’s Qan­tas an­nounc­ing it was cut­ting 6,000 staff and Ger­many’s Lufthansa get­ting the EU’S green light for a $10 bil­lion state res­cue.

The world mean­while awaits a vac­cine or treat­ment that au­thor­i­ties say is likely to take un­til at least early next year and prob­a­bly longer.

Lock­down lifted

Beijing, how­ever, par­tially lifted a weeks-long lock­down im­posed in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal to head off a feared sec­ond wave of coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions af­ter three mil­lion sam­ples were taken in two weeks, of­fi­cials said.

Dozens of res­i­den­tial com­pounds across the city were shut down, with au­thor­i­ties rolling out a mass test­ing cam­paign to root out any re­main­ing cases.

A vast ma­jor­ity of them are linked to the sprawl­ing Xin­fadi mar­ket in the city’s south that sup­plies about 80 per­cent of Beijing’s fresh pro­duce and meat.

The lock­down was eased on Tues­day for seven apart­ment blocks af­ter res­i­dents tested neg­a­tive for the virus, of­fi­cials said at a Fri­day brief­ing. The re­main­ing blocks are still in lock­down.

Eleven new virus cases across Beijing were an­nounced on Fri­day, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of in­fec­tions in the cap­i­tal since the June 11 out­break to 280.

DAVID J. PHILLIP/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS A med­i­cal worker takes pa­tients’ in­for­ma­tion at a test­ing site in Hous­ton, the US, on June 24, 2020.

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