The pandemic has infected more than 12 million people, of whom some seven million have recovered. Here are updates for July 9:

A boy stands in front of a graffiti promoting the fight against the coronavirus disease in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya on May 22, 2020.
A boy stands in front of a graffiti promoting the fight against the coronavirus disease in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya on May 22, 2020. (Reuters)

July 9, 2020

Pandemic in Africa is now reaching 'full speed'

The Covid-19 pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed,” the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief said, while a South African official said a single province is preparing 1.5 million graves.

Just a day after confirmed coronavirus cases across Africa surpassed the half-million milestone the total was over 522,000 and climbing, with more than 12,000 deaths. With testing levels low, the real numbers are unknown.

South Africa has the most confirmed cases with over 224,000, and for the first time Gauteng province – home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria – has the country’s most cases with over 75,000, or 33 percent.

US CDC reports 3,047,671 coronavirus cases

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 3,047,671 cases of the virus, an increase of 64,771 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 991 to 132,056.

Turkey, WHO to open office in Istanbul

Turkey and the World Health Organization (WHO) signed an agreement to open an office in Istanbul for humanitarian and health emergencies.

Once opened, the office will guide efforts to meet current needs in the coronavirus outbreak, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said at a press conference alongside WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri Kluge. 

Kluge said the planned office in Turkey’s largest city would serve Europe.

"We expect WHO to become a more proactive structure in the new era, especially in emergencies," Koca said.

He urged a "period of global consultation, in which WHO is reevaluated with its truths, mistakes, successes, and failures."

On Turkey’s success in the fight against Covid-19, Kluge attributed this to factors such as wise political leadership and policies, implementation, and speed.

“Turkey was quick. We saw the speed that the country replied to European countries made a huge difference,” he said.

Data since April shows Turkey "turning the corner" in its battle with Covid-19, reducing case loads and deaths by over 75 percent, said Kluge, stressing the importance of emergency preparation and readiness, developing local diagnostic tests, and strengthening testing, contact tracing, and treatment.

Voicing appreciation and respect for Turkey’s solidarity in the face of Covid-19, Kluge also praised the country's success in fighting the pandemic with low deaths among the elderly.

"We must also be ready to address high risks, especially [among the] elderly, in the autumn, when the influenza season arrives," Kluge said.

Morocco extends Covid-19 emergency decree

Morocco extended an emergency decree until August 10 giving local authorities leeway in taking restrictive measures in response to Covid-19.

The cabinet maintained the decree in force to allow for restoring lockdowns on a region-by-region basis depending on the coronavirus developments. Domestic travel has resumed, while borders are set to reopen on July 14 to nationals in addition to foreign residents and their families.

Morocco has recorded 15079 cases, including 242 deaths and 11447 recoveries with total tests rising to 835,264.

Daily recoveries nearly triple new cases in Turkey

Over the last 24 hours nearly three times as many people in Turkey recovered from Covid-19 than those who contracted the virus, said the country’s health minister.

A total of 2,879 people recovered from the virus in Turkey over the last day, bringing the total number to date to 190,390, Fahrettin Koca said.

The total number of infections nationwide rose to 209,962 with 1,024 new cases. The country's death toll from the virus rose to 5,300, with 18 new fatalities reported in the last 24 hours.

Hong Kong records 34 locally transmitted cases

Hong Kong tightened social distancing measures to combat a fresh coronavirus outbreak in a city that had largely managed to quash local transmissions in recent months.

Health officials have been rattled by a cluster of new infections that have suddenly spread through the tightly packed business hub of 7.5 million people.

The city recorded 34 locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest daily tally in more than three months. 

Authorities announced a reintroduction of limits to how many people can gather together, a repeat of measures taken earlier in the year that helped stifle the coronavirus outbreak. 

A maximum of eight people can sit together at restaurants while bars, pubs and nightclubs are capped at four people per table.

Catering businesses can only operate at 60 percent of their usual capacity. Gyms and karaoke lounges must have no more than 16 people in each room or facility.

Indonesia reports more than 70,000 infections

Indonesia reported its biggest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases, with 2,657 infections, taking the case total to 70,736.

There were 58 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 3,417, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Russia reports more than 6,500 new cases

Russia reported 6,509 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its official nationwide tally to 707,301, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

The national coronavirus taskforce said 176 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official virus death toll to 10,843.

South Korea reports 50 new cases 

South Korea has reported 50 new cases of the coronavirus as new clusters continue to emerge across the country.

Nineteen of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a virus resurgence since late May. Fifteen were reported from the southern city of Gwangju, where infections have been tied to various places, including a Buddhist temple, Christian churches and office buildings.

Twenty-two of the new cases were linked to international arrivals as the Covid-19 continues to spread in southern Asia, the US and elsewhere.

Bali island begins to reopen after three-month lockdown

Indonesia’s resort island of Bali partially reopened after a three-month virus lockdown, allowing local people and stranded foreign tourists to resume public activities before overseas arrivals resume in September.

The local government began lifting the limits, but tourists will face stringent rules in hotels, restaurants and on beaches, Bali Governor, Wayan Koster said.

The government established guidelines for reopening tourist spots and may close certain areas again if infections spike, he said.

India reports 487 new deaths

India has reported nearly 25,000 new coronavirus infections and 487 new deaths.

The new infections announced by the health ministry bring the nationwide total to 767,296, the third most reported by any country.

The surge in infections comes as the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai says its calculated transmission rate for the virus rose during the first week of July to 1.19 after steadily falling from a peak of 1.83 in March. A transmission rate is the number of new infections estimated to stem from a single case.

The US, Brazil and India, the three nations worst-affect by the virus, are accounting for more than 60 percent of new cases, according to recent tallies from Johns Hopkins University.

Germany's confirmed cases rise to 197,783

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose 442 to 197,783, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 12 to reach 9,048.

China easing into reopening as local cases wane

China says it has nine new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought from outside the country, and no new deaths.

The latest report buttresses growing signs the virus has been essentially contained inside the nation in which it first appeared late last year.

The near elimination of local virus transmission has allowed the reopening of most businesses and resumption of some social activities, including the holding of the crucial annual college entrance exams. Sports, tourism and cultural activities are also slowly starting to return.

Tokyo sees most new infections since April

The Japanese capital has confirmed more than 220 new coronavirus infections, exceeding its previous record.

The number reported on Thursday exceeds 206 daily cases recorded on April 17 when Tokyo’s infections were at their peak.

Health officials say the majority of recent cases are linked to night clubs, but they are raising the alarm about an increase of infections inside households, workplaces and drinking parties.

Texas hits new high for Covid-19 deaths, with 98

Texas has reported its deadliest day of the pandemic, with nearly 100 new deaths as newly confirmed cases continue soaring. Officials in the state capital of Austin have begun preparations to turn the downtown convention center into a field hospital.

The 98 reported deaths in Texas set a one-day record, surpassing the previous high of 60 a day earlier. Texas has recorded a total of 2,813 deaths. The state reported 9,979 new coronavirus cases after hitting a record 10,028 Tuesday.

Hospitalisations for Covid-19 continued to climb, with 9,610 patients in hospitals across the state.

Governor Greg Abbott aggressively began one of America’s fastest reopenings in May but has begun reversing course in recent weeks, ordering bars closed and mandating face coverings.

Australia's Melbourne city heads into renewed lockdown

Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, has gone back into lockdown, forcing five million Australians to stay home for all but essential business for the next six weeks to contain a flare-up of coronavirus cases.

State police were patrolling the city and setting up checkpoints on major roads to stop people heading out to regional areas and spreading the virus from what is now Australia's pandemic epicentre, with 860 active cases.

"The window for police discretion is very small and is closing as the threat to public health and safety created by those breaching the Chief Health Officer's directions is too great," Victoria police said in a statement.

Cafes, bars, restaurants, and gyms which only recently reopened had to shut again. 

Police had no comment on whether anyone has been stopped or fined since midnight. 

The renewed lockdown follows the closure of Australia's busiest state border, between Victoria and the most populous state New South Wales, on Tuesday night.

US reports record daily rise of 58,559 infections

The US has reported more than 58,000 new Covid-19 cases, the biggest increase ever reported by a country in a single day.

The US faces a bleak summer and infections surge and many states are forced to close bars and popular beaches to try to curb the rise.

In addition to nearly 10,000 new cases in Florida, California and Texas each reported over 7,000 new cases. 

Tennessee, West Virginia and Utah all had record daily increases in new cases and infections are rising in 42 out of 50 states, according to a Reuters analysis of cases for the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.

The US tally stood at 58,559 with not all local governments yet reporting.

Mexico sees record 6,995 cases

Mexico has posted a record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 6,995 cases, bringing its overall tally of infections to 275,003, health ministry data showed.

The country also recorded 782 additional fatalities, bringing its overall death toll to 32,796.

Mexico's previous one-day record was last week on Thursday when 6,741 new cases were registered.

Trump's rally in Tulsa may have contributed to spike

A controversial campaign rally held by President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month likely contributed to a rise in the number of coronavirus cases there, a top local health official said on Wednesday.

Tulsa has confirmed hundreds of new cases of Covid-19 over the past two days, said Dr Bruce Dart, health director for the city and county.

Asked by a reporter if Trump's campaign event at the Bank of Oklahoma Center on June 20 could be responsible for that surge, he said: "In the past few days, we've had almost 500 cases. And we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right. So I guess we just connect the dots," Dart said, apparently referring to the rally and accompanying protests.

Dart cautioned that several more days of results would be needed to determine if the spike represented a trend.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said she had not seen data to support Dart's conclusions.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies