The novel coronavirus has infected more than 6.4 million people around the world. Here are pandemic-related updates for June 3:

A man wearing a facemask walks past a billboard featuring (L-R) Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and posted by political campaign group 'Led By Donkeys' in Kentish Town, north west London on June 3, 2020.
A man wearing a facemask walks past a billboard featuring (L-R) Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and posted by political campaign group 'Led By Donkeys' in Kentish Town, north west London on June 3, 2020. (Reuters)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

UK death toll rises by 359

The United Kingdom's death toll from people who tested positive for COVID-19 has risen by 359 to 39,728, the government said.

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 on Wednesday.

Italy records 71 more deaths

Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 71 on Wednesday, against 55 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases was roughly stable at 321 versus 318 on Tuesday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 33,601, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 233,836, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Brazil, Russia, Spain and Britain.

Of the 321 new infections on Wednesday, 237 were in the northern Lombardy region which has been by far the hardest hit by Italy's epidemic in terms of both cases and deaths.

France's death toll now over 29,000

France's coronavirus death toll rose by 81 on Wednesday to reach 29,021, which is the fifth-highest death toll in the world.

The rate of increase has decreased compared to Tuesday, when fatalities were up 0.4 percent, and the number of people hospitalised for Covid-19 disease has continued its long-running decline, the health ministry said in a statement

Turkey's recoveries top 130,000

Turkey confirmed over 130,000 recoveries as the country began easing measures against the novel coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry.

The total number of recoveries from the disease hit 130,852 as 931 more patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters after a meeting of the country's Coronavirus Advisory Board in the capital Ankara.

Some 867 new cases were reported in the country, bringing the total to 166,422, Koca added.

The death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,609 as the country reported 24 new fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Healthcare professionals performed over 52,305 more tests for the virus in the last 24 hours, raising the overall number to over 2.15 million.

Currently, some 612 patients are being treated in intensive care, the ministry data showed.

Spain reports first new death since Sunday

Spain on Wednesday reported its first death from the coronavirus since Sunday as the government sought parliament's backing for a final extension to the country's state of emergency.

Confirmed cases increased by 219 from the previous day to 240,326, while the cumulative death toll reached 27,128.

Just a month ago Spain was logging over a thousand new cases and hundreds of deaths every day, overwhelming the health service.

Germany lifts travel warning for Europe from June 15

Germany will lift its blanket travel warning for European nations from June 15, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, as the continent looks to further ease restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus.

"We have decided today that the travel warning for the named circle of countries will not be continued but replaced by travel advice," Maas said, referring to EU nations plus a handful of countries in the region including Switzerland and Iceland.

Afghanistan testing just 20 percent of suspected cases

Afghanistan is testing only about 20 percent of its daily suspected coronavirus cases, officials and experts said, as confirmed infections crossed 17,000 in the impoverished country.

Afghan health authorities reported 758 new positive cases of Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, taking total confirmed infections to 17,257.

"The health ministry is really concerned about the spread of the virus," deputy health minister Waheed Majroh told reporters.

"Unfortunately, the number of cases nationwide is more than what we record daily. We have capacity to conduct up to 2,000 tests a day, but the demand is way more."

Belgium to reopen businesses on June 8, borders on June 15

Belgium will allow almost all businesses to reopen on June 8, including cafes and bars, after its lockdown to combat the coronavirus, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said on Wednesday, although social distancing measures will remain.

She said Belgium, among the European countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic but now seeing a significant drop-off in the infection rate, will also reopen its borders to all fellow European Union states on June 15.

"From June 8 everything will be allowed, with exceptions," Wilmes told a news conference after a meeting of the country's national security council.

"The virus is still among us, it is still taking victims and will probably take more, and certainly if we are not vigilant," she added, saying large gatherings would remain banned until Aug. 31. 

Nightclubs also cannot open before the end of August.

Turkey set to resume face-to-face lessons 

Late this summer, Turkey is set to make up for education missed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the country's National Education Ministry said on Wednesday.

The distance education program implemented during the outbreak will end on June 19 as the country enters a normalisation period thanks to its success in slowing down the virus' spread, said the ministry in a statement.

Face-to-face compensatory, supplementary, and compliance education for public educational institutions will start on Aug. 31 and will last for three weeks, and will continue throughout the academic year with additional courses, it added.

National Education Minister Ziya Selcuk also said that the distance education program will be supported by the compensation lessons.

Selcuk added that during the process, students will be provided with psychosocial support while their adaptation to school will also be monitored.

Brazil to start testing Oxford vaccine 

Brazil this month will start testing an experimental vaccine against the novel coronavirus being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc, Brazil's health surveillance agency Anvisa and the Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) said.

Anvisa authorised the testing late on Tuesday. Some 2,000 people will participate in the trial, which will be conducted with the support of the Health Ministry, Unifesp said.

"The most important thing is to carry out this stage of the study now, when the epidemiological curve is still rising and the results may be more assertive," said Lily Yin Weckx, coordinator of the Reference Center for Special Immunobiologicals (CRIE) at Unifesp.

Sweden should have done more - expert

Sweden's chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday the country should have done more to combat the coronavirus but backed the broad strategy, which avoided the strict lockdowns seen in many other countries.

Ander Tegnell told Swedish radio in a morning interview that Sweden, which research group Ourworldindata.org says has the eighth highest number of coronavirus-related deaths per capita, "clearly" could have done better in fighting the virus.

"We continue to believe the strategy is good but then there are always improvements one can make, especially if you look back over time," he told the news conference. 

"It would be strange if you gave a different answer to that question."

Malaysia reports 93 new cases, no new deaths

Malaysian health authorities reported 93 new coronavirus cases, raising the cumulative total to 7,970.

The health ministry reported no new deaths, leaving the toll at 115.

Italy reopens to tourists from Europe despite warnings

Italy reopened to travellers from Europe three months after the country went into coronavirus lockdown, with all hopes pinned on reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.

But there were fears many foreign tourists would be put off coming to a country still shaking off a vicious pandemic.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and has officially reported more than 33,000 deaths.

But it is still reporting hundreds of new cases a day, particularly in the northern Lombardy region, and experts warn the government may be being hasty in permitting travel between regions and abroad.

Study shows antibodies in 5.5 percent of Dutch blood donors

A study of Dutch blood donors has found that around 5.5 percent of them have developed antibodies against the new coronavirus, blood donation firm Sanquin said.

The study, conducted among 7,000 donors between May 10 and 20, gives an indication of what percentage of the Dutch population may have already had the disease.

A similar study in April showed antibodies in 3 percent of Dutch blood donors.

As of Tuesday, 46,647 infections with the new coronavirus had been confirmed in the Netherlands, with 5,967 deaths.

India's cases cross 200,000 mark

The number of coronavirus infections in India has crossed 200,000, the health ministry said, and a peak could still be weeks away in the world's second-most populous country.

Cases jumped by 8,909 over the previous day in one of the highest single-day spikes, taking the tally to 207,615. 

The death toll from the disease stands at 5,815.

Thailand reports one new case, no deaths

Thailand reported one new coronavirus infection and no new deaths, bringing the country's total to 3,084 confirmed cases and 58 fatalities since the outbreak started in January.

The new case is a 26-year-old Thai man who recently returned from Saudi Arabia, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government's coronavirus task force.

A total of 2,968 patients have recovered.

Germany's infections rise by 342 to 182,370

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 342 to 182,370, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 29 to 8,551, the tally showed.

China tests almost 10M people, 300 asymptomatic

Health authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan said that tests on some 10 million people revealed 300 were carrying the novel coronavirus but were asymptomatic.

Officials said no confirmed cases were found in the mass testing that was launched on May 14.

China does not count asymptomatic cases as confirmed cases, but still requires people without symptoms to isolate until they test negative for the virus.

Mexico reports highest daily increase in new cases

Mexican health authorities reported 3,891 cases in a single day, a new record, and 470 more deaths.

This brings the total number of known cases to 97,326 and 10,637 deaths. Health authorities have previously said the real number is higher.

UK mulls 'air bridges' with low-risk countries

Britain confirmed it was looking at establishing "air bridges" with countries with low rates of coronavirus, exempting them from controversial quarantine measures.

Under a plan announced last month to try to limit the spread, international arrivals from June 8 will be required to self-isolate for a fortnight.

Ireland is currently the only country with an exemption and business leaders and airlines have condemned the blanket approach.

"These measures will be reviewed every few weeks," said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement.

"And we are working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so so that we can go abroad and tourists can come here."

Combat 5G fake news, urges Europe

EU nations banking on 5G to boost economic growth are eager to tackle conspiracy theories linking the wireless technology to the spread of the novel coronavirus that have seen masts torched in several places.

According to telecoms lobbying groups ETNO and GSMA, such false claims have resulted in over 140 arson attacks on infrastructure such as mobile phone masts in 10 European countries and assaults on scores of maintenance workers.

Britain has seen 87 arson attacks and the Netherlands 30, while cases have also been reported in France, Belgium, Italy and Germany.

According to an EU document seen by Reuters, member countries emphasised their concern at a video conference between themselves to discuss digital issues last Friday.

Outbreak at Manhattan federal jail worse than reported

The true number of infections among inmates at Manhattan’s federal lockup was likely about seven times what the Bureau of Prisons has previously publicly reported, a government lawyer conceded Tuesday.

The bureau's website says five inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center have had the virus. But Assistant US Attorney Jean-David Barnea, representing the MCC's warden at a court hearing, said at least 34 inmates had been quarantined with symptoms because they were believed to have it.

Barnea shared this at a federal court hearing for a lawsuit that seeks court oversight over conditions for the nearly 800 inmates at the MCC.

“The MCC has been able to keep the epidemic under control at the prison,” he said, adding that no inmates have been found to have the virus since April 23.

The judge did not immediately rule.

Brazil Covid-19 death toll crosses 30,000

Brazil surpassed 30,000 deaths from the outbreak as the disease continued to rip through South America's worst-hit country.

Figures released by the health ministry showed 1,262 deaths in the previous 24 hours, as well as 28,936 new infections. 

The overall number of cases, 555,383, makes Brazil the second most affected country by the crisis after the US in terms of infections.

The official death toll of 31,199 released Tuesday is the fourth-highest in the world after the US, Britain and Italy.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies