Novel coronavirus has infected at least 9.6 million people and claimed more than 487,000 lives around the world. Here are updates for June 25:

A couple who have recovered from the coronavirus disease wear protective face masks as they wait to donate blood plasma at Basra Teaching Hospital in Basra, Iraq, June 20, 2020.
A couple who have recovered from the coronavirus disease wear protective face masks as they wait to donate blood plasma at Basra Teaching Hospital in Basra, Iraq, June 20, 2020. (Reuters)

Thursday, June 25

Iraq reports record-high fatalities

Iraq registered nearly 2,500 new coronavirus cases and over 100 deaths, setting new records in a country whose health sector had been bracing itself for such a spike.

Hospitals across the country have been overwhelmed over the last week by a jump in cases and deaths, following months of the virus spreading relatively slowly.

On Thursday, the health ministry said it had confirmed 2,437 new cases over the last day, bringing the total in the country to over 39,000 - of whom about half have recovered.

Another 107 people died of coronavirus-related causes, pushing the total death toll to 1,437.

Daily recoveries outnumber new infections in Turkey

Daily recoveries in Turkey from the novel coronavirus once again exceeded new cases, the country's health minister has said.

A total of 1,472 people beat Covid-19 over the past day, bringing the overall count to 165,706 Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, citing Health Ministry data.

The country's death toll from the virus rose to 5,046, as it reported 21 new fatalities in the past 24 hours.

Some 941 patients remain in intensive care, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.

Health care professionals conducted 52,303 tests for the disease in the past day, raising the total count to over 3.13 million.

According to test results, the total number of Covid-19 cases nationwide reached 193,115 with nearly 1,458 new infections.

"There is an increase in our number of intensive care patients. However, the duration our patients spend in intensive care and under treatment has come down considerably," he said in a tweet.

France sees 21 new deaths

The number of deaths in France from the new coronavirus has risen by 21 from the previous day to stand at 29,752, the country's health department has said.

France has the fifth-highest coronavirus death toll in the world, although the number of casualties has steadily decreased from peaks reached in March and April, which has allowed the government to gradually re-open businesses and some schools.

UK's toll surpasses 43,200

British health authorities have announced that 149 more people had died from the novel coronavirus across the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to over 43,200.

The Department of Health tweeted: "As of 9am 25 June, there have been 8,710,292 tests, with 167,023 tests on 24 June. 307,980 people have tested positive,

"As of 5pm on 24 June, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 43,230 have sadly died."

Vaccine against Covid-19 not certain - WHO

It is not certain that scientists will be able to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has caused the Covid-19 pandemic, but it could take a year before one were to be invented, the head of the World Health Organisation said.

Speaking by video-conference to deputies from the European Parliament's health committee, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that if such a vaccine became a reality, it should become a public good available to all.

"It would be very difficult to say for sure that we will have a vaccine," Tedros said.

The pandemic is subsiding in Europe, but getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week and the number of deaths 500,000, Tedros said.

He also said measures taken by China in Wuhan were very strong and identified the new virus in a record time. We cannot criticise China it didn't warn the world in time, Tedros said.

Norway to lift travel curbs

Norway will lift travel restrictions to and from European countries that meet criteria regarding their Covid-19 situation from July 15, Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said.

Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but belongs to the passport-free Schengen travel zone, currently has some of the strictest travel restrictions in Europe.

"We must strike a balance that gives us the most possible safety with the least possible risk of infections," Solberg told reporters.

From mid-July Norwegians will be able to travel to all countries in the European Economic Area or Schengen without undergoing a ten-day quarantine upon return - but only if these countries respect certain criteria set by Norwegian health authorities.

They include that the number of positive Covid-19 tests done in a country in the last 14 days is below 5 percent of total tests.

Likewise, European nationals will be able to travel to Norway without undergoing a ten-day quarantine.

The list of countries, yet to be established, will be based on criteria Norway has fixed for travel to and from its Nordic neighbours and will be renewed every 14 days.

Iran says coronavirus death toll passes 10,000

Iran announced 134 new deaths from the novel coronavirus taking the overall toll in the Middle East's deadliest outbreak past to over 10,000.

"We lost 134 of our compatriots in the past 24 hours and the total number of victims is 10,130," said health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari.

Fears of a "second wave" in Iran has been mounting in recent weeks, with the government threatening to roll back ease in restrictions.

In a sign of mounting concern Deputy Health minister Alireza Raisi called for mask-wearing to be made compulsory as the country.

India to survey 29 million New Delhi residents

India says it will carry out a massive survey for the virus targeting the entire population in New Delhi of 29 million.

Officials will go each household to record each resident’s health details, and administer a test for the virus to those who show or report symptoms.

The exercise will be completed by July 6, according to a plan issued by the government of New Delhi, the worst-hit city in the country with 70,390 confirmed cases.

Police will be deployed to enforce physical distancing and prevent the mixing of the population inside more than 200 containment zones in the capital, where large clusters of cases have been confirmed.

CCTV or drone monitoring will also be used.

France to test some 1.3 million near Paris

France is stepping up efforts to root out hidden clusters of virus infections by offering tests to nearly 1.3 million people in the Paris region.

The expansion of France’s testing program was announced by the health minister, Olivier Veran, in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. Health authorities will send out coupons that people can exchange for a test.

“The aim is to identify any sleeping clusters, that’s to say invisible concentrations of asymptomatic people,” Veran was quoted as saying.

The minister said France is also arming itself for the possibility of a second wave of infections, reconstituting its stocks of medicines and making plans to be able to treat 30,000 people in intensive care if necessary.

France had more than 7,000 patients in intensive care at the peak in April of its outbreak that has killed nearly 30,000 people. That figure is now down to under 700.

Africa's cases surge to more than 336,000

Africa’s virus cases have surged to more than 336,000, an increase of nearly 10,000 infections from Wednesday evening.

That’s according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The jump is largely due to South Africa announcing its largest daily number of new cases: 5,688.

The Africa CDC chief says the pandemic on the 54-nation continent “is picking up speed very quickly” while shortages of testing materials and medical equipment remain severe in many countries.

More than 4 million tests for the virus have been conducted on the continent of 1.3 billion people, far short of the ideal.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has more than 22,000 cases amid concerns that many infections there and elsewhere might not be recorded.

Russia reports more than 7,000 new cases

Russia confirmed 7,113 new cases of the virus, pushing its tally to 613,994.

Officials said 92 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 8,605. 

Japan to disband panel of coronavirus experts after criticism

Japan is to disband a panel of medical experts advising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet on the response to the novel coronavirus after criticism of its transparency and lack of independence.

Japan has been spared the kind of explosive virus outbreak seen elsewhere, with some 18,000 cases and 969 deaths, but it is far from over and questions about the government's response linger.

The number of daily new cases in the capital, Tokyo, climbed to 55, the highest tally in a four to six-week period after a cluster of infections was found at an office.

The panel's independence from government influence has come into question and Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Wednesday it would be disbanded and a new one created with a broader range of specialists.

Kyrgyzstan considering state of emergency

Kyrgyzstan's government will decide whether to declare a state of emergency in two major cities and two provinces over the resurgent coronavirus outbreak, the Central Asian nation's health care ministry said.

Under the previous state of emergency which ended in May, the former Soviet republic locked down several cities and districts including capital Bishkek and imposed a curfew there. 

Pakistan's testing drops by about 1/3 in week

Pakistan’s daily virus testing has dropped by about a third in a matter of days, even as the country is being urged to increase testing.

The 21,835 tests conducted in the last 24 hours until Thursday morning was down nearly 10,000 from a high of more than 31,000 tests less than one week ago.

In a letter to the government earlier this month, the World Health Organization said Pakistan should increase its testing to 50,000 daily, while urging the government to tighten lockdowns.

The decline in the daily testing numbers in the past week have been accompanied by lower daily infection numbers as a result.

Pakistan had been seeing increasingly high daily infection statistics, as WHO and medical professionals pleaded with the government to restrict movement. Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted, saying the country’s fragile economy would collapse, hurting the poorest.

Pakistan has recorded 192,970 infections.

The health care system has a shortage of critical care beds, and hospitals have begun turning away patients. The government has warned that without precautions like wearing masks in public, the infection rate could soar to 1.2 million by August.

New Delhi's rising cases prompt mass survey

India has counted another record daily high in new virus cases as New Delhi grew to its worst-hit city.

India registered 16,922 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the national total to 473,105. The health ministry also reported 418 more deaths, taking fatalities up to 14,894. The ministry said the recovery rate was continuing to improve at 56 percent.

With New Delhi causing a major concern with 70,390 cases, authorities have decided to carry out a house-to-house screening in the capital over the next two weeks.

Officials will go to each household to record each resident’s health details and test those who show or report symptoms.

New Delhi’s government has projected that cases in the capital area alone could expand to more than half a million by late July, and is considering taking over luxury hotels and stadiums to convert into field hospitals.

Thailand reports one new virus infection

Thailand  reported one new case detected in a Thai national returning from abroad, taking the country to 31 days without a local transmission.

The new case was undergoing mandatory quarantine after returning from Egypt, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokes woman for the government's Covid-19 Administration Centre.

The coronavirus has killed 58 people in Thailand since it was first detected in January, among 3,158 infections, of which 3,038 patients have recovered. Thailand will reopen schools and plans to allow some foreigners into the country from next week.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 630 to 192,079

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 630 to 192,079, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 13 to 8,927, the tally showed.

South Korea's virus resurgence has 28 more cases

South Korea has reported 28 more virus cases as the country strives to suppress a resurgence of the virus, mostly in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bring the country’s total to 12,563 cases, with 282 deaths. The agency says 10,974 people have recovered, while 1,307 patients are still in Covid-19 treatment.

South Korea has seen an uptick in infections since easing its strict social distancing rules. But the daily increase hasn’t reached the level of late February and early March, when South Korea saw hundreds of new cases every day.

Most of recent cases have been associated with nightlife establishments, church gatherings, a huge e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door sellers.

Eiffel Tower reopens with strict virus restrictions

Tourists and Parisians will again be able to admire the view of the French capital from the Eiffel Tower after a three-month closure due to the coronavirus but only if they take the stairs.

Visitors to the city's most famous monument won't be able to take the lifts until July 1, to ensure a safe distance between people to limit infection risk.

The very top of the iconic monument will remain off limits to the public for now.

The 10-tonne metal landmark will emerge from its longest closure since World War II in time for the summer season, but with limited visitor numbers at first, and mandatory face masks for all over the age of 11, said the Eiffel Tower website.

The first visitors will be allowed in from 0800GMT, a symbolic moment as France begins to tentatively open up to tourism after the virus shutdown.

Eager tourists have been able to grab their tickets since June 18, when the online ticket office opened.

Senegal president in quarantine despite negative virus test

Senegal's President Macky Sall began a preventative two-week quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus case, although the leader has tested negative for the disease, his office said.

The West African country has reported more than 6,100 virus infections and 93 deaths, and a state of emergency in place since March is being slowly lifted.

"In line with medical advice on the matter, President Sall has put himself in quarantine for two weeks from Wednesday," spokesman Seydou Gueye said in a short televised statement.

Since the pandemic erupted earlier this year a number of senior political figures worldwide have caught the disease, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalised and has now recovered.

Disneyland in California delays reopening 

Disneyland in California delayed its planned reopening as virus cases climb in the US state.

The resort near Los Angeles, including Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, had planned to welcome visitors back July 17, pending government approval.

Disney said in a statement that Californian officials would not issue reopening guidelines before July 4, leaving the theme parks insufficient time to restart as proposed.

"Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to de lay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials," a statement said.

No new reopening date was announced.

Disneyland is the world's second-most visited theme park, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each day, but it closed in mid-March due to coronavirus concerns.

Australia deploys 1,000 troops to Melbourne 

Australia's military announced it would send 1,000 troops to Melbourne in an effort to help contain the country's only significant virus outbreak over fears of a second wave.

Victoria state has seen a spike in virus cases, recording almost 150 new infections over the past week as new clusters have emerged in Melbourne.

Australia has recorded roughly 7,500 cases of coronavirus and 103 deaths in a population of 25 million, with several regions believed to be effectively virus free.

The deployment of such a large military contingent to a major Australian city is unprecedented in the coronavirus crisis.

China reports 19 new cases

China reported 19 new cases of the virus during the past 24 hours, compared to 12 from a day earlier.

Out of the new infections, 13 were reported in Beijing, the national health commission said, compared to seven cases the previous day.

According to official figures, a total of 83,449 cases have been confirmed in China with 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the centra city of Wuhan late last year.

Mexico registers 947 new deaths and 5,437 new cases

Mexico confirmed 947 more virus deaths, the country’s second-highest daily toll since the coronavirus pandemic began. The highest daily toll came June 3 with 1,092 deaths.

The Health Department said the country has seen a total of 24,324 deaths so far. 

The number of confirmed cases rose by 5,437. The case load has increased by about 5,000 each day in the last two weeks, and the total now stands at 186,847. The numbers are clearly an undercount, given Mexico’s very low rate of testing.

Mexican officials have repeatedly predicted the peak of the pandemic had been reached, or would do so soon, only to be proved wrong.

US infections soar to near record

The number of new virus infections in the US is approaching record daily levels, with more than 35,900 cases recorded during the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

That brings the number of cases in the country to nearly 2.4 million, the tracker from the Baltimore-based university showed at 0030GMT Thursday after several days in which the number of cases has surged.

Nearly half of the 50 US states have seen an increase in infections over the past two weeks, with some – such as Texas and Florida – posting daily records.  

The Hopkins tracker also showed Wednesday that 756 people had died of Covid-19 during the past 24 hours, bringing the country's death toll to 121,932.

Latin America's deaths seen hitting nearly 390,000 by October

The death toll from the coronavirus in Latin America is expected to skyrocket to 388,300 by October, with Brazil and Mexico seen accounting for two-thirds of fatalities as other nations in the region contain their outbreaks, researchers said.

The region has emerged as a new global hotspot for the fast-spreading pandemic as deaths surpassed 100,000 this week and cases have tripled from 690,000 one month ago to 2 million.

High poverty levels and large informal sectors, which mean many workers cannot afford to quarantine, have combined with overcrowding in cities and inadequate public healthcare, particularly in isolated rural communities, to hamstring Latin America's fight to stem the contagion.

Brazil is expected to exceed 166,000 deaths and Mexico 88,000, according to the forecast from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru are each forecast to see over 10,000 fatalities, while 15 nations including Paraguay, Uruguay and Belize are seen with fewer than 1,000 deaths each.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies