The novel coronavirus has infected more than 6.6 million people around the world. Here are pandemic-related updates for June 4:

Paramedics and members of the Emergencies Ministry wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) use a stretcher while transporting a patient amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the city of Tver, Russia May 28, 2020.
Paramedics and members of the Emergencies Ministry wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) use a stretcher while transporting a patient amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the city of Tver, Russia May 28, 2020. (Reuters Archive)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Russia's St. Petersburg records 1,552 more deaths in May than same month last year - official data

The Russian city of St. Petersburg, which has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus, recorded 1,552 more deaths in May than in the same month last year, official data shows.

Official data also shows that Russia's second-largest city only had 171 deaths from the coronavirus last month.

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, St. Petersburg has recorded 17,069 coronavirus cases and a total of 240 deaths. 

Peru hits 5,000 coronavirus deaths

Peru hit 5,000 coronavirus deaths, according to the country's health ministry, as hospitals faced a lack of oxygen for seriously ill patients.

Peru has recorded more than 183,000 cases of Covid-19, making it the second hardest-hit country in Latin America after Brazil.

Officials recorded more than 4,200 new cases and 137 deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing Peru's total number of fatalities to 5,031, the health ministry said.

French coronavirus death toll up 44 to 29,065

Confirmed new virus infections in France rose by 767 to 152,444 on the 25th day since lockdown ended on May 11, the health ministry said in a statement.

The health ministry said in a statement that the number of people hospitalised continued its decline of the past seven weeks and fell by 413 or 3.1 percent to 13,101. The number of people in intensive care also continued to fall, by 47 or 3.9 percent to 1,163.

Algeria to ease coronavirus restrictions on Sunday

Algeria will resume some economic activities and allow a number of businesses to reopen from Sunday as part of a plan to end the virus lockdown, the prime minister's office said.

It said the government would allow the construction and public works sector to resume activity to help ease the impact of the coronavirus-linked restrictions imposed in March.

UK sees 176 more deaths

The United Kingdom's death toll from people who tested positive for Covid-19 has risen by 176 to 39,904, the government said on Thursday.

On Wednesday a separate tally of UK deaths using official data from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, drawn mostly from death certificate data and including suspected cases, showed a total of more than 50,000 earlier. 

Italy records 88 new deaths, 177 new cases

Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 88 on Thursday, against 71 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the rise in the tally of new cases slowed to 177 from 321 on Wednesday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 33,689, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 234,013, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Brazil, Russia, Spain and Britain.

Turkey's Covid-19 recoveries surpass 131,700

Turkey on Thursday confirmed 926 additional recoveries from the pandemic as the country began easing measures against the novel coronavirus, according to the health minister.

The total number of recoveries from the disease hit 131,778 as 926 more patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, citing the Health Ministry data.

The country's death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,630 as Turkey reported 21 new fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Senegal to ease curfew after angry protests

Senegal said Thursday it would ease an anti-coronavirus curfew and lift restrictions on inter-city travel following two nights of protests marked by violence and more than 200 arrests.

Interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye, announcing a decision that scrapped or scaled back a raft of measures imposed in mid-March, said the start of the 9:00 pm-to-5:00 am curfew would be pushed back by two hours, to 11:00 pm.

Questions arise over Spain's Covid-19 data

Spain's overall death toll from the coronavirus edged higher on Thursday, though discrepancies between regional and national data raised questions over the methodology used by the government to produce the tally.

The ministry has stopped providing a daily death toll but reported a total of 27,133 deaths, five more than on Wednesday. Confirmed cases climbed by 195 from the previous day to 240,660.

Spain is implementing a new methodology for logging deaths and cases, leading to fluctuations in its statistics and frequent revisions of data, which officials say are likely to continue for some time.

Coronavirus spread in Canada slows

The spread of the novel coronavirus in Canada has slowed significantly, and 90 percent of the Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks have been in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, pubic health data showed on Thursday.

"The data shows that we are continuing to make progress in the fight against this virus," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his daily news conference.

"We're not out of the woods. The pandemic is still threatening the health and safety of Canadians," he said, adding that the situation in long-term care and seniors homes "remains serious."

Cuomo: Protesters have 'civic duty' to get virus tested

The thousands of people protesting the death of George Floyd have a “civic duty” to be tested for the coronavirus and help New York avoid a spike in new cases as it slowly restarts its economy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

There’s widespread concern that people packing in tightly for demonstrations, sometimes without faces coverings, could lead to more Covid-19 cases. Cuomo was particularly concerned about daily mass demonstrations in New York City, which is poised to relax some economic restrictions amid an intense, months-long effort to tame the outbreak.

“If you were at a protest, go get a test, please,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing.

Lack of virus tests pushes Afghanistan toward crisis

A prominent international aid organisation warned Tuesday that Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster because the government is unable to test at least 80 percent of possible coronavirus cases.

The International Rescue Committee said Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, is rapidly spreading undetected through Afghanistan. The IRC said the number of confirmed new cases rose by 684 percent in May, but the country’s extremely low testing capacity means many people are going untested.

'This is not New York': Mexico president 

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended his government's handling of the coronavirus on Thursday after official data showed new deaths for a 24-hour period surging to an all-time high.

The health ministry reported 1,092 new deaths on Wednesday, more than double the previous daily record, pushing Mexico's daily death toll past the United States for the first time since the outbreak started. Officials attributed the jump to improved documentation.

But Lopez Obrador said Mexico had the virus under control, praising in particular the country's care of the elderly during the pandemic.

Sweden to ease travel curbs 

Sweden will ease restrictions on domestic travel from June 13, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Thursday, despite signs that novel coronavirus infections are increasing in parts of the country.

Sweden has not imposed a social lockdown, instead relying primarily on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and hygiene to check the spread of the virus.

It has kept most schools , restaurants and businesses open and instructed people not to make unnecessary journeys.

Iran reports 3,574 new infections, its highest yet

Iran announced 3,574 new coronavirus infections, its highest daily count since the outbreak began in February.

It was the fourth straight day that the daily caseload had topped 3,000. The previous high was 3,186, recorded on March 30, at the height of the initial outbreak.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said that 59 people had died of Covid-19 over the previous 24 hours.

95 foreign airlines can apply to resume flights – China

China's aviation authority said that 95 foreign airlines that have suspended services to China can now apply to resume flights, according to the agency's official newspaper.

It estimated the number of international flights would increase by 50 from June 8 to 150 per week.

An average of 4,700 passengers are expected to arrive per day versus around 3,000 now, said the website of caac news, the official newspaper for the Civil Aviation Administration of China. 

Malaysia reports 277 new cases, no new deaths

Malaysian health authorities reported 277 new cases after infections were detected in an immigration detention centre.

The rise in new cases pushed Malaysia's cumulative total past the 8,000 mark to 8,247.

The health ministry reported no new deaths, keeping total fatalities at 115. 

Philippines reports 10 new deaths, 634 more cases

The Philippine health ministry confirmed 10 more deaths from the virus and 634 new infections.

In a bulletin, it said total deaths have increased to 984 while confirmed cases have reached 20,382, of which 4,248 have recovered.

Indonesia reports 585 new infections, 23 deaths

Indonesia reported 585 new infections, taking the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 28,818.

There were 23 new deaths, with coronavirus fatalities now at 1,721 since the outbreak started, said Achmad Yurianto, a health ministry official.

There are 8,892 people who have recovered and more than 251,000 have been tested.

Spain to open land borders with Portugal, France

Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said that all restrictions to border crossings with France and Portugal will be lifted from June 22.

The authorities closed the borders to everybody but Spaniards, cross-border workers and truck drivers from mid-March when the country went into lockdown to curb the coronavirus contagion. 

Hong Kong confirms 5 new cases

Hong Kong confirmed five new cases of coronavirus, all imported, while Cable TV reported some residents of a housing estate were evacuated after a cluster of cases was reported.

The city has 1,100 confirmed cases of the disease, including one probable infection.

Pakistan's virus cases surge past China's

Pakistan reported a record single-day spike in coronavirus-related deaths, with 82 new fatalities and 4,688 cases that it says resulted from increased testing in the past 24 hours.

It's total number of Covid-19 cases – 85,264 – has now crossed China's tally of 83,000 infections.

Pakistan's total number of deaths now stand at 1,770. 

As many as 901 patients were listed in critical condition at hospitals Thursday. The country has barely 3,000 intensive care beds serving a population of 220 million.

Pakistan for the first time conducted over 20,000 tests in the past 24 hours.

It has done more than 615,000 tests after increasing its testing capacity from only two labs in February.

The spike comes after Prime Minister Imran Khan eased lockdown restrictions over expert's recommendations to maintain them to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Authorities have blamed people not adhering to social distancing regulations for the growing outbreak.

Turkey reopens customs gates with Iran, Iraq 

Turkey reopened its customs gates with Iran and Iraq after months of closure due to Covid-19, Turkey's trade minister said on Twitter.

The Habur and Gurbulak customs gates have been reopened for international freight transport, said Ruhsar Pekcan.

She said the restrictions on these countries were lifted due to the slower international spread of possible contaminants and the waning pandemic in Iraq and Iran.

The reopening also marks the end of contact-free trade, a practice put in place amid the outbreak, she added.

In early March, Turkey shut its border gates with neighbouring countries, including Iran and Iraq, to stem the virus' spread.

Russia's case tally edges past 440,000

Russia reported 8,831 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of infections across the country to 441,108.

The country's coronavirus crisis response centre said 169 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 5,384.

South Korea confirms 39 more cases

South Korea has confirmed 39 additional cases of the coronavirus, all but three of them reported in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area as authorities are struggling to contain a resurgence of the Covid-19.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the newly reported cases raised the country’s total to 11,629 with 273 deaths.

The agency says 10,499 of them have recovered, while 857 remain in treatment for the virus.

South Korea faces a spike in new infections in recent weeks, mostly in the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of the country’s 51 million people reside. Those cases have been linked to nightlife establishments, church gatherings and a large-scale e-commerce warehouse.

Authorities in the greater capital area have subsequently shut thousands of nightclubs, hostess bars, karaoke rooms, churches and wedding halls to try to slow the spread of the virus.

New Zealand on verge of eradicating virus

New Zealand is on the verge of eradicating the virus from its shores after it notched a 13th straight day with no reported new infections.

Only a single person in the nation of 5 million people is known to still have the virus, and that person is not hospitalised. However, it remains likely that the country will import new cases once it reopens its borders, and officials say their aim remains to stamp out new infections as they arise.

The country has already lifted many of its virus restrictions and could remove most of those that remain, including limiting crowd sizes, next week. Just over 1,500 people have contracted the virus during the outbreak, including 22 who died.

China to allow limited US passenger flights

China said it would allow foreign airlines currently blocked from operating in the country over coronavirus concerns to resume limited flights, lifting a de facto ban on US carriers.

The move by China's civil aviation authority comes after Washington ordered the suspension of all flights by Chinese airlines into and out of the US from June 16 in retaliation against Beijing's restrictions on American and foreign carriers.

Thailand reports 17 new cases, no new deaths

Thailand reported 17 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, taking the total number of infections to 3,101, of which 58 were fatalities.

The new cases were Thai nationals in quarantine who recently returned from the Middle East, including 13 from Kuwait alone, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Covid-19 Administration Centre.

There are 2,968 patients who have recovered since the outbreak started.

Germany's cases rise by 394 to 182,764

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 394 to 182,764, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The death toll rose by 30 to 8,581, the tally showed. 

Brazil reports a record 1,349 deaths in 24 hours

Brazil reported a record 1,349 virus deaths in a 24-hour period, the health ministry said, as the pandemic continued to take a grim toll on Latin America's hardest-hit country.

The figure brought the total death toll to 32,548, with 584,016 confirmed infections, the second-highest caseload worldwide, after the US.

Experts say under-testing in the country of 210 million people means the real numbers are probably much higher.

Mexico reports more than 100,000 total infections

Mexican health authorities reported 1,092 virus deaths, the highest toll in one day so far, with total infections surging past 100,000.

The number of deaths was more than twice a previous record, and daily infections were also at an all time high of 3,912.

The additions bring the total number of known cases to 101,238 and deaths to 11,729. 

Health authorities have previously said the real number is higher.

China daily virus report

China reported one new case and four new asymptomatic cases for June 3, the health commission said on Thursday.

The National Health Commission said all five of the cases were imported, involving travellers from overseas. 

For June 2, China reported one confirmed case and four asymptomatic cases.

China does not count asymptomatic patients, those who are infected with the coronavirus but do not exhibit symptoms, as confirmed cases.

The total number of infections in China stands at 83,022. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634

Contact tracers in NYC reach high number of virus patients

Contact tracers in New York City hired to contain the spread have reached more than half of the 600 or so people who tested positive for the virus there. 

Ted Long, head of the city’s program, said tracers getting through to that many “shows that the system we’re setting up is working”.

US state of Arizona reports nearly 1,000 new cases

Arizona officials are reporting nearly 1,000 new cases amid a recent surge in hospitalisations a little over two weeks after Governor Doug Ducey ended his stay-at-home order.

The state has now tallied more than 22,000 cases and 981 deaths, including 40 reported Wednesday. The surge of new cases is a troubling sign for former state health director Will Humble, who said the timing is just too close to be coincidence.

“The one thing it does is it shows us that the stay-at-home order worked,” Humble said. “Because when it ended you see an increase in cases on the 26th, which is 10 days after it ended. You can look at it county by county by county and see the same thing.”

Whether the state-home order needs to be revisited is anot her issue, Humble said, because of other public health and economic effects.

Ducey, a Republican, faces pressure from businesses and GOP lawmakers not to clamp down again on the economy.

Utah records spike in Covid-19

Utah is experiencing a spike in new cases about a month after many businesses were allowed to reopen.

That has led the state’s epidemiologist to issue a renewed plea Wednesday for people to maintain social distancing and exercise caution.

Protests over the death of George Floyd have brought hundreds of people together in downtown Salt Lake City. That has added to concerns about increasing cases.

State figures show an average of about 200 new cases a day last week. That was highest weekly average by far since the pandemic began. State Representative Joel Briscoe says he’s worried these figures are a reflection of people valuing economic interests over the lives of more vulnerable populations.

UN urges fast development of people's vaccine

The UN and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are urging governments, the private sector, international organisations and civil society to unite to scale up efforts to develop, test and produce “a people’s vaccine” against that is available to all people around the world at no cost.

They said in a joint statement Wednesday that Covid-19 affects people everywhere, with a disproportionately higher impact on vulnerable groups and individuals and that “the spirit of global solidarity must prevail: no one should be left behind”.

The UN and Red Cross and Red Crescent said “a people’s vaccine” should protect the affluent, the poor, the old and young, stressing that this is “a moral imperative that brings us all together in our shared humanity”.

Their appeal came ahead of Thursday’s global vaccine summit in London organised by the Global Vaccine Alliance, known as GAVI, which is seeking to mobilise billions of dollars of funding for a Covid-19 vaccine.

UK cabinet minister tested for virus after falling ill during speech

A senior member of the British government is being tested after falling ill in the House of Commons.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has been tested and is heading home to self-isolate after becoming unwell while delivering a speech on the corporate governance and insolvency bill, his office said.

Several senior officials and government ministers fell sick in March and April, most seriously including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent three nights in intensive care at a London hospital.

Sharma was seen wiping his brow in parliament on Wednesday a day after lawmakers voted to end a system of remote voting that had allowed them to work from home during a nationwide lockdown.

The government said members of parliament should be setting an example by returning to the office as the country gradually eases restrictions imposed to stem the outbreak.

Social distancing measures have been introduced around the vast neo-Gothic building.

North Macedonia reintroduces stringent measures

North Macedonia has reintroduced stringent movement restrictions in the capital, Skopje, and another three parts of the country after registering a record number of new infections.

Health Minister Venko Filipce says an almost blanket curfew will be imposed from Thursday to Monday in these areas. People will be allowed out to visit hospitals or pharmacies.

The health ministry said 101 new infections, a record since the country’s first case in late February, and four deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours. That brings the total number of infections to 2,492, with 145 deaths.

More than half the new infections were in Skopje.

Filipce said the tiny Balkan country of 2.1 million people is seeing new infections as a result of people ignoring warnings to wear protective masks and gloves and to adhere to social distancing.

Zimbabwean judge orders government to improve conditions at quarantine centres

A Zimbabwean judge has ordered the government to improve conditions at mandatory quarantine centres, where people returning to the country are kept for 21 days to confirm they are not carrying the coronavirus. Conditions are so bad that scores are escaping.

The southern African nation has reported more than 200 cases of coronavirus, with the majority recorded at the quarantine centres.

More than 100 people have escaped from the centres, leading the health minister to describe them as “our source of danger”.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, which took the matter to court, described conditions at the centers as “deplorable” and putting “seriously at stake” the lives of people living there, health professionals and security agents enforcing the isolation.

People detained at the centres are forced to share “some few dirty ablution and bathing facilities, while others have no access to medication”, said the association in its court application. Social distancing is nonexistent, the doctors said.

High Court Judge Philda Muzofa granted the application and ordered Zimbabwe’s ministry of health to improve conditions by supplying running water and providing “segregated sanitary and hygienic conditions with proper control and protection”.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies