BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Coronavirus latest: Global death toll passes 400,000 as China defends its response in new report

Comments
Migrants queue to get sanitisers and other items distributed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) outside a hotel near Kranidi, Greece, on April 21, 2020
Migrants queue to get sanitisers and other items distributed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) outside a hotel near Kranidi, Greece, on April 21, 2020   -   Copyright  LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP
Text size Aa Aa

The global death toll passed 400,000 on Sunday, while over 6.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The US has the world's highest number of deaths, while the UK is Europe's worst-hit country.

  • No virus deaths in Scotland for first time since lockdown
  • Holy See declares victory over coronavirus
  • Portugal forecasts 9.6% unemployment rate in 2020
  • China defends its COVID-19 response in new report
  • UK reopens places of worship on June 15
  • Greece extends confinement in all migrant camps
  • France to approve €40bn aid measures next week
  • Brazil stops publishing total COVID-19 data
  • India records new biggest spike in coronavirus cases
  • South Korea struggling to contain second wave
  • Peru faces lack of medical oxygen

No virus deaths in Scotland for first time since lockdown

Scotland on Sunday reported no new deaths from coronavirus for the first time since the country began lockdown measures to tackle the pandemic.

The figures, announced by Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, came with news that there had been a further 18 cases of the new virus confirmed in the last 24 hours.

But Freeman warned the public to take the figures with "a note of caution" due to the lag in recording deaths over the weekend.

Figures on Sunday showed the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK overall had risen by 77, the lowest daily figure since the lockdown began. There were no additional deaths either in Northern Ireland.

The UK has the highest official COVID-19 death toll in Europe, at over 40,000.

Holy See appears to have defeated coronavirus

"The last person to have contracted coronavirus in recent weeks has tested negative," director of press services Matteo Bruni said in a statement on Saturday evening.

"To date, there is no longer any coronavirus case among the employees of the Holy See" or within the Vatican, the press release said.

The Vatican had 12 cases overall and no deaths reported.

Portugal: Government forecasts 9.6% unemployment rate in 2020 due to pandemic

The health crisis will cause Portugal an economic recession of 6.9%, while the unemployment rate should reach 9.6%, according to government figures.

In 2019, Portugal had recorded a budget surplus of 0.2% of GDP, a historic result for a country which had to undergo severe austerity measures to overcome the debt crisis that hit it in 2011.

The country has reported over 34,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1,400 deaths.

China defends COVID-19 response in new report

“The Chinese government did not delay or cover up anything," National Health Commission Chairman Ma Xiaowei said on Sunday.

“Instead, we have immediately reported virus data and relevant information about the epidemic to the international community".

An Associated Press investigation argues that government labs sat on releasing the genetic map of the virus for more than a week in January, delaying its identification in a third country and the sharing of information needed to develop tests, drugs and a vaccine.

Ma did not address the specific findings in the AP report, but said there were many unknowns in the early stage of the outbreak and that it took time to gather evidence and figure out the characteristics of the new virus.

Xu Lin, Vice head of the Publicity Department of Communist Party shows a copy of the white paper on fighting COVID-19 China in action during a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Sunday, June 7, 2020
AP Photo/Andy WongXu Lin, Vice head of the Publicity Department of Communist Party shows a copy of the white paper on fighting COVID-19 China in action during a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Sunday, June 7, 2020

UK to reopen places of worship on June 15

Only private prayer will be allowed, weddings and other services will not be permitted and people will be expected to adhere to social-distancing rules.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it has been a “priority” to get places of worship to open again. He said people of all faiths have “shown enormous patience and forbearance” during the lockdown, unable to mark Easter, Passover, Ramadan or Vaisakhi in the traditional way.

Under the government’s road map for easing the lockdown, places of worship are not due to fully reopen until at least July 4.

As things stand, nonessential shops, including department stores, are due to reopen on June 15.

Greece extends confinement in migrant camps

Greece has extended confinement in its migrant camps until June 21, the Hellenic Parliament's Official Gazette announced.

Confinement in migrant camps was already extended twice, the last time on May 21, until June 7.

No coronavirus deaths have been recorded among migrants, while only a few dozen of COVID-19 cases were reported.

More than 33,000 asylum seekers live in five camps on the Aegean islands, with a capacity for only 5,400 people, and some 70,000 in other facilities on the mainland.

France to approve new rescue package in next week's budget

The French government is presenting on Wednesday a new rectified budget, the third since March, aiming to release an additional €40 billion for the sectors most affected by the coronavirus crisis, like tourism and automotive.

The new budget forecasts France GDP will drop by 11% in 2020, instead of the previously stated 8%, the country's biggest recession since 1945.

South Korea struggles to contain second coronavirus wave

South Korea has reported 57 additional cases of the coronavirus, marking a second day in a row that its daily jump is above 50 as authorities struggle to suppress a spike in fresh infections.

South Korea’s caseload peaked in late February and early March but a later significant easing amid aggressive tracing, testing and treatment prompted authorities to loosen strict social distancing rules.

The country has since seen an increase in new infections, mostly in the Seoul region, where about half of its 51 million people live.

India reports biggest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases

India reported 9,971 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, in a new biggest single-day spike, just as it prepares to reopen shopping malls, hotels and religious places next week after a 10-week lockdown.

India has now surpassed Spain as the fifth hardest-hit in terms of infections, with over 246,000 cases. Fatalities have been nearly 7,000.

Brazil stops publishing total COVID-19 data

Brazil's government has stopped publishing a running total of coronavirus deaths and infections.

The move came after months of criticism from experts saying Brazil’s statistics are woefully deficient so it may never be possible to gain a real understanding of the depth of the pandemic in what has so far been Latin America's hardest-hit nation, accounting for over 35,900 deaths.

Meanwhile, the governor of Rio de Janeiro announced lockdown will be relaxed from Saturday.

The decree signed by Governor Wilson Witzel authorized the partial reopening of bars, restaurants, shopping centers and the resumption of certain sports activities.

Peru's hospitals struggling with medical oxygen shortage

Peru, Latin America's second country per number of cases, is facing a shortage of medical oxygen.

According to sources from the Ministry of Health, the country lacks some eight thousand bottles of it.

The government announced measures to increase the supply of oxygen cylinders and import them, if necessary, as it called on people to "be careful" and try not to "get sick" because the "health system is very affected".

The country has been in lockdown for 83 days.

Saturday's key updates

  • Denmark reopens swimming pools and gyms on Monday

  • Sri Lanka to reopen to tourists in August

  • OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

  • Thousands of Europeans defy gathering bans in George Floyd protests

  • Prince William secretly working on coronavirus helpline

  • Bolsonaro says Brazil could leave WHO
  • Merkel calls for courage and determination to overcome crisis
  • Cyprus to reopen for tourism on Tuesday
  • Belgium denounces "competition" between states amid frontier reopening