Novel coronavirus has infected more than 182 million people and killed over 3.9 million. Here are the latest Covid-related developments for June 28:

Turkey has announced further easing of Covid-19 restrictions from July 1 as part of a gradual normalisation from the outbreak.
Turkey has announced further easing of Covid-19 restrictions from July 1 as part of a gradual normalisation from the outbreak. (AA)

Monday, June 28:

Turkey halts flights from six countries due to coronavirus variants

Turkey has halted flights and all direct travel from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka due to new variants of the coronavirus, the Interior Ministry said.

Those who arrive from other places but have been in the countries listed within the last 14 days will need to show a negative PCR test within a maximum of 72 hours before entry and they will need to quarantine for 14 days, it said.

Those arriving from Pakistan and Afghanistan or who have been there in the last 14 days will need to quarantine in Turkey for 10 days upon arrival, it said.

Those coming from the United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt and Singapore will need to show a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival, the ministry added. 

Turkey has administered over 48.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January, according to official figures.

Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.41 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 49,634 with 58 new fatalities.

Amid a nationwide fall in virus cases, Turkey is set to end all virus-related restrictions starting this Thursday [July 1].

EU airlines, airports warn digital Covid certificate roll-out risks chaos

Groups representing Europe's largest airlines and airports have warned of chaos and hours-long queues unless countries better coordinate the roll-out of the EU's digital Covid-19 certificate and ensure passengers are processed before arriving at airports.

The European Union's system of digital Covid-19 travel certificates is due to come into force on Thursday, but airports group ACI and airlines representative bodies A4E, IATA and ERA warned in a letter to EU national leaders of a "worrying patchwork of approaches" across the continent.

"As passenger traffic increases in the coming weeks, the risk of chaos at European airports is real," the groups said in the joint letter sent on Monday and seen by Reuters news agency.

Italy reports 28 deaths, 389 new cases

Italy has reported 28 coronavirus-related deaths, up from 14 the day before, the Health Ministry has said, while the daily tally of new infections declined to 389 from 782.

Italy has registered 127,500 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.26 million cases to date.

The number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 1,723 on Monday , down from 1,743 a day earlier.

There were 5 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 10 on Sunday. The total number of patients in intensive care fell to 289 from 294.

Some 75,861 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 138,391, the health ministry said.


Britain to lift remaining restrictions on July 19: health minister

British Health Minister Sajid Javid has confirmed that the government would lift most of its remaining Covid-19 restrictions on July 19, saying he would not "wait a moment longer" to hand freedom back to the public.

"Whilst we decided not to bring forward step four, we see no reason to go beyond the 19th of July," he told parliament, saying he had spent the first day in his new role studying the data of coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalisations.

"July 19th remains our target date. The prime minister has called it our terminus date. For me, the 19th of July is not only the end of the line but the start of a exciting new journey for our country."

Covid infections rise to 300 among returning Finnish Euro fans

Finland's health authorities have called on fans returning from European championship matches in St Petersburg to urgently seek testing after 300 of them proved positive for Covid-19.

Last week Prime Minister Sanna Marin and top public health officials expressed alarm after testing staff at the Nordic country's Russian border were overwhelmed by the arrival of some 3,000 fans, coming home after Finland was knocked out of the tournament by Belgium.

Around 800 Finnish travellers, particularly those arriving by coach, were let into the country without testing and without a formal order to quarantine.

Britain records 22,868 new cases, 3 deaths

Britain has recorded 22,868 new coronavirus infections, up from 14,876 a day earlier, and three deaths, lower than the 11 reported on Sunday, official data showed.

Daily positive cases have been rising in Britain for a month but a rapid vaccination programme appears to have weakened the link between infections and deaths, with daily fatalities remaining around 20 or lower.

The data also showed that 44.45 million people have had a first dose of the vaccine and 32.58 million have had two shots.

Indonesian president says vaccination of children aged 12-17 can start soon

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said vaccination for children aged 12-17 could start soon with the vaccine of Sinovac Biotech after the country's food and drug agency grants emergency use approval.

Hong Kong bans passenger flights from UK to curb Delta variant infections

Hong Kong will ban all passenger flights from the United Kingdom from landing in the city from July 1 in order to curb the spread of Delta variant virus strain, its government said.

The UK will be specified as extremely high-risk, the Hong Kong government said in a statement. Persons who have stayed in the country for more than two hours would be restricted from boarding passenger flights bound for Hong Kong. 

Russia reports 21,650 new Covid-19 cases, 611 deaths

Russia has reported 21,650 new Covid-19 cases, including 7,246 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,472,941.

The government coronavirus task force said 611 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 133,893.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths from April 2020 to April 2021. 

Portugal to quarantine unvaccinated British tourists for 14 days

Passengers arriving in Portugal from Britain must quarantine for 14 days if they are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Portuguese government said in a statement late on Sunday.

The new rule, which will remain in place until at least July 11, comes amid a surge in cases in Portugal, where the number of daily new infections is back to February levels, when the country of just over 10 million was still under a strict lockdown.

Daily positive cases have also been rising in Britain for a month.

Britons arriving in Portugal by air, land or sea must show proof they are fully vaccinated or self isolate for 14 days at "home or at a place indicated by health authorities," the government said in a statement.

Australia battles several clusters 

Australia was battling to contain several clusters around the country in what some experts have described as the nation’s most dangerous stage of the pandemic since the earliest days.

Sydney in the east and Darwin in the north were locked down on Monday. Perth in the west made masks compulsory for three days and warned a lockdown could follow after a resident tested positive after visiting Sydney more than a week ago.

Brisbane and Canberra have or will soon make wearing masks compulsory. South Australia state announced new statewide restrictions from Tuesday.

Australia has been relatively successful in containing clusters throughout the pandemic, registering fewer than 31,000 cases since the pandemic began. But the new clusters have highlighted the nation’s slow vaccine rollout with only 5 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

New South Wales state reported 18 new cases in the latest 24-hour period. The tally was fewer than 30 cases recorded on Sunday and 29 on Saturday.

New Zealand mulls mandatory masks, scanning 

New Zealand is considering making masks compulsory at high alert levels as well as compulsory scanning of QR codes to boost contact tracing in efforts to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

New Zealand halted quarantine-free travel with neighbouring Australia last week as an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant triggered a lockdown in Sydney and renewed restrictions elsewhere.

It also extended the Covid-19 alert level 2 in the capital Wellington until Tuesday, as authorities said there was still a risk that an Australian tourist who tested positive for the coronavirus after visiting the city last weekend had infected others.

Curbs reimposed in Moscow 

Work-from-home restrictions were reimposed in Moscow as Russia tried to contain a deadly coronavirus wave fuelled by the Delta variant.

Russia has seen an explosion of new cases in the last two weeks because of this variant, and authorities announced fresh restrictions from Monday in the capital as they pushed vaccine-sceptic citizens to get a shot.

From Monday, people will have to work from home in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia's outbreak, with exceptions for vaccinated employees.

They will also have to present a QR code to enter restaurants, certifying that they are either vaccinated, have had Covid-19 in the last six months, or have a valid negative test.

More infectious variants account for most UAE cases, authority says

New  infections in the United Arab Emirates are mostly from more infectious variants leading to an increase in the number of virus-linked deaths, a federal authority has said.

The Gulf Arab state, with a population of about 9 million, has had one of the world's fastest vaccination campaigns.

However, cases have risen over the past month to more than 2,000 new infections a day, though that is still below a peak in February.

On Saturday, the UAE recorded 10 deaths, its highest single daily toll since March, according to the Reuters Covid-19 tracker.

India reports 46,148 new cases, 979 deaths

India reported 46,148 new infections over the past 24 hours, data from the Health Ministry showed.

The South Asian country's total case load now stands at 30.27 million, while total fatalities are at 396,730, the data showed. India's coronavirus-related deaths rose by 979 overnight.

Taiwan reports smallest daily rise in new domestic cases since May 15

Taiwan has reported 60 new domestic infections, down from 88 a day earlier.

It was the smallest rise in the daily figure since May 15, when the government raised the alert level for Taipei and its neighbouring city in the wake of a sudden spike of 180 domestic cases from just 29 on May 14. 

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 219 

 The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 219 to 3,726,929, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by eight to 90,762, the tally showed.

Saudi Arabia to inoculate 12 to 18-year-olds with Pfizer shot

Saudi Arabia will start inoculating young people aged 12 to 18-year-olds with the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine after it was approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, the health ministry confirmed.

Germany seeks to ban British travellers from EU

Germany will attempt to ban British travellers from the European Union regardless of whether or not they have had a vaccine, The Times reported on Monday.

The German chancellor wants to designate Britain as a "country of concern" because the Delta variant is so widespread, the newspaper said.

Brazil reports over 33,000 new daily cases

Brazil recorded 33,704 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, along with 739 deaths, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 18.4 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 513,474 according to ministry data.

UK's Konta out of Wimbledon because of virus contact

Three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Johanna Konta, the only British woman seeded in singles at Wimbledon, was dropped from the tournament because a member of her team had tested positive.

The All England Club said the 27th-seeded Konta was determined to have been in close contact with the team member and so is required to self-isolate for 10 days.

The Grand Slam tournament begins Monday. It was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, the first time since 1945 that Wimbledon wasn't contested.

Konta, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2017, is the first singles player in either the women's or men's bracket to be withdrawn from the field because of virus protocols.

The All England Club said the team member showed COVID-19 symptoms Friday morning and took a PCR test, which came back positive for the illness.

The 30-year-old Konta also was a semifinalist at the Australian Open in 2016 and the French Open in 2019.

US has administered over 323M vaccine shots so far

The United States has administered 323,327,328 doses of vaccines in the country, and distributed 381,282,720 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

Those figures are up from the 322,123,103 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by June 26 out of 381,276,030 doses delivered.

The agency said 179,261,269 people had received at least one shot, while 153,028,665 in the United States are fully vaccinated.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer-BioNTech , as well as Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine.

South Africa tightens restrictions to fight resurgent virus

Battling a fast-increasing surge of cases, South Africa has reintroduced tough restrictions including a ban on alcohol sales and an extended nightly curfew.

The delta variant, first discovered in India, appears to be driving South Africa’s new increase, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Sunday night, announcing the return to strict measures.

South Africa recorded more than 15,000 new cases Sunday, including 122 deaths, bringing its total fatalities to near 60,000.

Gauteng, the country’s most populous province which includes the largest city Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria, has the brunt of the current surge, accounting for about 66% of new infections.

Health authorities are concerned that the country’s eight other provinces are likely to soon see spikes in cases to match those in Gauteng, where hospitals are running short of beds and patients are being taken to health facilities in other provinces.

Neighbouring Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique are also fighting growing numbers of cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies