The pandemic has infected more than 12.7 million people, of whom some seven million have recovered. Here are updates for July 11:

A man wearing a face shield and gloves is pictured on the first weekend of Llandudno Pier being reopened in Llandudno, Wales, Britain on July 11, 2020.
A man wearing a face shield and gloves is pictured on the first weekend of Llandudno Pier being reopened in Llandudno, Wales, Britain on July 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Saturday, July 11, 202

UK death toll rise by 148 

The United Kingdom's death toll from confirmed cases of Covid-19 rose to 44,798, up 148 on the previous day, the government said on Saturday.

Iran's president calls for ban on weddings

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem a rise in coronavirus infections, but insisted the country's economy had to stay open.

Shortly after Rouhani’s televised speech, a police official in Tehran announced the closure of all wedding and mourning venues in the capital until further notice.

Iran has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, but has recently reported a sharp rise in the infection rate.

The death toll rose by 188 over the previous 24 hours to 12,635, while the total number of diagnosed cases reached 255,117, up by 2,397 during the same period, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state TV.

Coronavirus recoveries approach 200,000 in Turkey

Turkey saw 1,016 more cases of Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 211,981, the Health Ministry data showed. 

The country's death toll from the virus rose to 5,344, with 21 daily fatalities reported.

The rate of cases' turning into pneumonia is decreasing in Turkey, said Fahrettin Koca. Over 193,000 patients have been recovered from the disease, he said.

Croatia makes face masks compulsory

Croatia said that wearing face masks will be obligatory in most closed public spaces from next week as the number of Covid-19 cases keeps rising. 

The national civil protection directorate said that from Monday face masks will be obligatory for both employees and clients in shops, and also for employees in bars, restaurants and other places where there is close contact with customers. The use of face masks on public transport was made compulsory several weeks ago.

The number of new infections reached 140 in the country, the highest recorded so far in a single day. Most cases are in the capital Zagreb and in east of the country.

Florida's Disney World reopens 

“The Most Magical Place on Earth” has reopened after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. In past 24 hours, there were about 10,000 new cases reported, according to state statistics. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop.

Disney's new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. 

More cases in Syria

At least two doctors in Syria's opposition-held northwest have been infected with the coronavirus.

The new infections raise the number of confirmed cases to three in the area, where health care facilities have been devastated by years of civil war, and where testing has been limited due to scarce resources.

Observers fear the virus could spread easily in Idlib province, a concern compounded as Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, moved at the UNSC to reduce cross-border aid from Turkey.

Serbia police detain 71 over virus protests 

Serbian police detained 71 people after clashes during the fourth night of anti-government protests against the Serbian president that were initially sparked by his plans to reintroduce a coronavirus lockdown. 

Fourteen policemen were injured in the rioting Friday evening when hundreds of right-wing demonstrators tried to storm the parliament building in downtown Belgrade, police director Vladimir Rebic said. 

Among the detained is a former parliament member and one of the leaders of the violent protesters, pro-Russian far-right politician Srdjan Nogo.

Bollywood megastar Bachchan hospitalised

Bollywood veteran megastar Amitabh Bachchan, 77, has tested positive for Covid-19 and was admitted to hospital on Saturday in his hometown of Mumbai, he said on Twitter, calling for those close to him to get tested.

"I have tested CoviD positive .. shifted to Hospital," Bachchan wrote, saying his family and staff had already been tested and were awaiting their results.

India cases pass 800,000 with record daily jump

India’s coronavirus cases have passed 800,000 with the biggest spike of 27,114 cases in the past 24 hours, causing nearly a dozen states to impose a partial lockdown in high-risk areas.

The new confirmed cases took the national total to 820,916. The health ministry on Saturday also reported another 519 deaths for a total of 22,123.

A surge in infections saw the cases jumping from 600,000 to more than 800,000 in nine days. The ministry said the recovery rate was continuing to improve at more than 62 percent.

Eight of India’s 28 states, including the worst-hit Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and New Delhi, account for nearly 90 percent of all infections.

WHO official cites AIDS as a guide

Healthcare systems worldwide need to upgrade to control disease transmission and cope with large numbers of sick people during the coronavirus pandemic as well as future outbreaks, the head of the World Health Organization's emergencies program warned on Friday.

Dr Michael Ryan of WHO, speaking during a video panel session organized by the International AIDS Society, said world leaders grappling with the current pandemic "need to take a leaf out of the HIV/AIDS activist book" and make sure access to healthcare is equitable and evidence-based.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has not yet peaked in many parts of the world, has exposed weaknesses and left billions of people without reliable and affordable access to essential health services, he said.

Australia's Victoria state sees another day of high infections

Australia's second most-populous state reported one of its highest daily increases in coronavirus infections and warned the numbers would get worse before they got better as its capital city began its first weekend of a six-week lockdown.

The state of Victoria logged 216 new cases, down from a record 288 the previous day but still one of the biggest daily increases of any part of the country.

"We will see more and more additional cases.

This is going to be with us for months and months," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised news conference.

German club plans mass virus testing

German football club Union Berlin is offering free coronavirus tests for more than 20,000 fans as part of a plan to hold games in a full stadium in September.

The Bundesliga club will offer testing ahead of each game to 22,012 fans, the stadium's official capacity, and club staff, Union said Friday night. Each person must test negative for the virus within 24 hours of kickoff and bring confirmation along with a ticket, the club added.

Union wants to implement the plan in time for the first home league game of the new season, which could be as soon as Sept. 18. Other clubs have experimented with socially distanced seating plans, but more than 80 percent of the capacity at Union's stadium consists of terraces where fans stand close together.

California to release 8,000 more prisoners

California will release up to 8,000 more prisoners to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in its crowded jails, according to authorities in the US state, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

The inmates could be eligible for early release by the end of August – joining 10,000 prisoners already freed in similar initiatives since the start of the virus crisis, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

"These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff," the department's secretary Ralph Diaz said in a statement Friday.

Philippines reports 12 new deaths, 1,387 more cases

The Philippines' health ministry has reported 12 new coronavirus deaths and 1,387 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths have increased to 1,372 while confirmed cases have reached 54,222. 

The Philippines has reported record daily high infection numbers on three of the past eight days.

Russia reports 6,611 new infections

Russia has reported 6,611 new coronavirus cases, taking its nationwide tally of infections to 720,547.

The country's coronavirus crisis response centre said 188 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 11,205.

Russia said 497,446 people have recovered from the virus. 

US welcomes WHO inquiry into virus origins in China

The US welcomes the World Health Organization's probe into the origins of the novel coronavirus in China, its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said.

"We welcome the WHO's investigation. We view the scientific investigation as a necessary step to having a complete and transparent understanding of how this virus has spread throughout the world," ambassador Andrew Bremberg told reporters.

It was an unexpected endorsement, given that the WHO has faced fierce US criticism over its handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier Friday, an epidemiologist and an animal health specialist from the WHO left for China to try and identify the animal source of the new coronavirus pandemic.

The WHO said the advance team would be in Beijing for the weekend as they lay the groundwork for a wider mission aimed at identifying how the virus jumped from animal to humans.

Bremberg said the US expected the Chinese authorities "will offer the team of scientists full access to data, samples and localities, and look forward to its timely report".

US President Donald Trump has accused the WHO of botching its handling of the pandemic and of being a "puppet of China".

Brazil surpasses 70,000 deaths

Brazil surpassed 70,000 coronavirus deaths, the health ministry said, though the number of daily fatalities appears to be stabilising.

The ministry said there had been 45,000 new infections and 1,200 deaths over the last 24 hours, taking the totals to 1.8 million cases and 70,400 deaths.

Brazil, a country of 212 million, is the second worst-affected country in the world after the US.

The number of deaths has doubled over the last 35 days with Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states the worst hit, respectively reporting 17,400 and 11,200 deaths.

In relative terms, though, Brazil has registered 335 deaths per million inhabitants, which is less than the US with 403 or Spain's 607.

However, in some states, such as Rio de Janeiro (653), Ceara (742) and Amazonas (726), the figures are way over the national average.

In four of the last five weeks, Brazil averaged more than 1,000 deaths a day.

Fourth day of virus protests in Serbia

Thousands of people protested for a fourth day in several Serbian cities over the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic with protesters hurling stones at police in front of the parliament in Belgrade.

Some protesters also threw firecrackers and chanted nationalist slogans, according to AFP journalists.

The protests were held as the Balkan nation announced a record daily death toll from Covid-19.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said earlier Friday the Balkan state recorded 18 fatalities and 386 new cases over 24 hours in what she described as a "dramatic increase".

At the same time, Brnabic condemned as "irresponsible" protests held in Belgrade and other cities on Thursday, after demonstrations in the capital on the previous two days had spilled over into violence.

WHO urges aggressive virus measures

The WHO urged countries grappling with coronavirus to step up control measures, saying it is still possible to rein it in, as some countries clamped fresh restrictions on citizens.

With case numbers more than doubling in the past six weeks worldwide, Uzbekistan returned to lockdown due to a spike in cases while Hong Kong said schools would close from Monday after recording an "exponential growth" of locally transmitted cases.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to adopt an aggressive approach, highlighting Italy, Spain, South Korea and India's biggest slum to show it was possible to stop the spread of the virus, no matter how bad the outbreak.

The WHO's comments came as US President Trump was forced to cancel an election rally in New Hampshire due to a storm.

While the president has pushed to hold large gatherings against health advice, epidemiologists have increasingly warned of the dangers posed by the virus in the air within crowded and confined spaces.

Pennsylvania logs 1,000-plus cases in one day

Confirmed infections in Pennsylvania hit over 1,000 in the state's highest one-day mark since May, with state health officials blaming the rising numbers on crowded bars and out-of-state travel to virus hot spots.

Pennsylvania reported more than 1,000 new confirmed infections for the first time since May 10. About 175 of the newly reported cases arose from a batch of private lab results, according to the state Health Department.

Health officials reported another 32 virus-related deaths, raising the statewide toll to 6,880.

State health officials warned in an alert to hospitals, doctors offices and other heath care providers that increasing numbers of young people are contracting the virus.

The health department also said that local outbreaks are being traced to out-of-state travel and to parties, restaurants, bars and other social gatherings.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies