Brazil has overtaken Britain for the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths, only behind the U.S. The country now has more than 828,810 confirmed cases and 41,828 deaths, according to its Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, India’s coronavirus caseload has become the fourth-highest in the world, also overtaking Britain, by adding 10,956 new cases in yet another largest single-day spike.
India’s two-month lockdown kept transmission low, but in a large population of 1.3 billion people, residents remain susceptible and the campaign against the virus is likely to go on for months, said Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research.
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India’s lockdown was imposed nationwide in late March but has eased since, and it is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases rose after India reopened shops, shopping malls, manufacturing and places of worship.
Subways, schools and movie theatres remain closed.
The increase reported Friday raised India’s confirmed cases to 297,535, with 8,498 deaths.
China’s capital is suspending plans to restart classes for the first three years of elementary school next week amid reports of new cases of community transmission in the city.
Beijing’s municipal government said it wants to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers.
Local authorities on Thursday announced a 52-year-old man had become the city’s first confirmed case of local transmission in weeks after he arrived alone at a clinic complaining of fever.
The official Xinhua News Agency said another two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Beijing on Friday.
The man whose diagnosis was announced Thursday had reportedly visited a market on June 3. The hall where he shopped has now been closed for disinfection, state media reported. It wasn’t clear if there was a connection between the three new cases.
China, which has faced questions over its disclosures and how it reported cases, has defended its record amid growing criticism from the United States. The novel virus now known as SARS-Cov-2 was first reported in China in late 2019 before spreading around the world.
According to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University, as of early Friday morning there were more than 7.5 million reported cases worldwide, with more than 421,000 deaths.
The U.S. accounts for more than two million of those cases and more than 113,000 of the deaths, according to the Baltimore-based university.
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Nevada health officials are closely monitoring a recent uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide, including the biggest one-day increase to date in the Reno area reported Thursday.
But the state’s response director isn’t convinced a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak has arrived.
Nevada COVID-19 response director Caleb Cage said the state has seen an above-average rise in daily positive cases this week and experienced six consecutive days of an increase in the number of cases requiring hospitalization. He said the most recent spike is the fourth-highest since the pandemic was declared in mid-March in Nevada, which now has nearly 10,400 cases and 458 deaths.
But Cage said that “our assessment based on this data is that we are not seeing evidence of a second wave of COVID-19 in the state of Nevada yet.”
Meanwhile in Texas, the University of Houston is suspending all voluntary workouts for its athletes after six tested positive for COVID-19.
The university announced it was shutting down workouts due to “an abundance of caution” and an increase of positive tests in the greater Houston area over the last week.
The school said the athletes have been placed in isolation and medical staff is conducting contact tracing.
Schools around the country have begun bringing athletes back to campus this month for voluntary workouts.
Positive test results had been expected and quickly have become fairly common as schools bring athletes back. Arkansas State announced seven athletes test positive. Alabama has had at least five. Clemson University in South Carolina reported three athletes testing positive.
Houston was the first school to report its positive athletes were symptomatic and to halt workouts because of the results.
What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada
As of 11:50 a.m. ET on Friday, there were 97,893 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 58,484 cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,093.
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Prosecutors questioned Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on Friday about the lack of a lockdown of two towns in Lombardy’s Bergamo province that became one of the hardest-hit areas of the country’s outbreak.
Doctors and virologists have said the two-week delay in quarantining Alzano and Nembro allowed the virus to spread in Bergamo, which saw a 571 per cent increase in so-called excess deaths in March compared to the average of the last five years.
Lead prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota questioned Conte, along with the health and interior ministers, at the premier’s office in Rome. She stressed that the officials were interviewed as witnesses in the investigation, not suspects.
“The hearing went on in a cordial manner and there was maximum institutional co-operation,” she told reporters at the end of the session. “We leave grateful for the declarations received, and we’ll go finish our job.”
To date, no one has been placed under investigation, and it’s unclear what, if any, criminal responsibility might be assigned to public officials for the decisions taken or not taken in what was the epicentre of Europe’s outbreak.
Among other things, the prosecutors’ probe is looking into whether it fell to the national government in Rome or the Lombardy regional authorities to create a “red zone” around the two towns.
After interviewing Lombardy regional officials last month, Rota said it appeared it was the national government’s responsibility. But Conte’s office has pointed to norms that delegate such authority to regions, and noted that other regions have instituted “red zones” on their own.
Italy registered its first domestic case on Feb. 21 in the Lombardy province of Lodi, and 10 towns in the province were immediately locked down to try to contain the spread.
Alzano and Nembro registered their first cases two days later, on Feb. 23, but the government didn’t quarantine them for two weeks, until all of Lombardy was locked down on March 7. Conte told La Stampa daily that he acted based on “science and conscience.”
Three airlines have launched legal action against the British government, describing the country’s plan to quarantine most incoming travellers as “flawed.”
British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair said in a statement Friday that the quarantine will have a “devastating effect” on tourism and the wider economy. The airlines want the government to re-adopt its previous policy, where quarantine was limited to passengers from high-risk countries.
Quarantine measures imposed this week stipulate that all passengers — barring a handful of exceptions like truckers or medical workers — must fill in a form detailing where they will self-isolate for two weeks. The requirement applies regardless of whether they are U.K. citizens or not, and those who fail to comply could be fined.
The quarantine was imposed after a heated debate over whether it would help British efforts to tamp down the outbreak or simply stamp out any hopes that the tourism industry will recover following months of lockdown.
South Korea is reporting 56 new cases of COVID-19 as the country continues to see a resurgence of the virus concentrated in the capital area.
Figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought national totals to 12,003 cases and 277 deaths. It says 10,699 people have so far been released from hospitals after recovery, but 1,057 others remain in treatment.
At least 45 of the new cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live. Health officials have struggled to track transmissions linked to entertainment and leisure activities, church gatherings and low-income workers who couldn’t afford to stay home.
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