Coronavirus has infected more than 13.8 million people, of whom over 8 million have recovered and some 589,000 have died. Here are the updates for July 16:

People wait in line outside of a Covid-19 testing site during the coronavirus pandemic in Opa-locka, Florida, the United States on July 16, 2020
People wait in line outside of a Covid-19 testing site during the coronavirus pandemic in Opa-locka, Florida, the United States on July 16, 2020 (AP)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Florida reports record number of coronavirus deaths

Florida, the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, has reported a record 156 Covid-19 deaths and nearly 14,000 new infections.

The total number of virus cases in the "Sunshine State" has now surpassed 315,000 and there have been 4,782 deaths, according to Florida Department of Health figures.

The reporting of 156 virus deaths in the state in a 24-hour period surpasses the previous high of 132 deaths announced just two days earlier.

Spain to cull nearly 100,000 mink with virus

Spain has ordered the culling of nearly 100,000 mink on a farm in the northeast after confirming many were carrying coronavirus, a regional minister said.

Speaking to reporters, Joaquin Olona, agriculture minister for the Aragon region, said the cull would involve the slaughter of some 92,700 mink who are prized for their pelt.

Located in Puebla de Valverde, about 100 kilometres northwest of the coastal resort of Valencia, the mink farm has been carefully monitored since May 22 after seven workers tested positive for Covid-19, he said.

Since then, no animals have left the property, which is the only mink farm in Aragon.

933 new cases in Turkey

As many as 1,087 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus in Turkey over the past day, bringing the total number to 198,820, said the country's health minister.

According to the Health Ministry data, the total number of nationwide infections rose to 216,873, as 933 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours.

The country's death toll from the virus rose to 5,440, with 21 new fatalities reported.

Healthcare professionals conducted a total of 42,411 tests for the disease over the past day, raising the overall count to over 4.14 million.

UK deaths rise to 45,119
The United Kingdom's death toll from confirmed cases of the virus rose to 45,119, up 66 on the previous day, the government said.

The British government said it will partially ease a two-week-old local lockdown imposed on the central English city Leicester after the number of new coronavirus cases had fallen.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told lawmakers that indicators of the virus in the city remained well above the average seen across England and in surrounding areas.

India locks down 125 million

More than 125 million people in India have been put under a new lockdown on Thursday.

After India registered more than 600 deaths in a single day, the 125 million people in impoverished Bihar state, neighbouring Nepal, started a new 15-day lockdown.

The Red Cross has warned that South Asia is fast becoming the next epicentre.

"While the world's attention has been focused on the unfolding crisis in the United States and South America, a concurrent human tragedy is fast emerging in South Asia," said John Fleming, Asia-Pacific head of health for the organisation.

Bihar, a largely rural state with feeble health infrastructure, went into lockdown at midnight, a day after IT hub Bangalore –– home to 13 million people –– shut down for a week. A new lockdown has also started in the popular western beach state of Goa, two weeks after it reopened to tourists.

All schools, clubs, temples and non-essential businesses were ordered to close in Bihar, but construction and agricultural activity are allowed to continue.

And while public transport was shut down, private vehicles are still permitted to operate, and the streets of the state capital Patna thronged with cars, lorries, bikes and auto-rickshaws.

Many people were still shopping for food with little regard for social distancing advice.

Indonesia reports 1,574 new coronavirus infections

Indonesia reported 1,574 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections to 81,668, its health ministry said.

Indonesia also reported 76 new virus deaths, taking the overall death toll to 3,873, ministry official Achmad Yurianto told a televised news briefing.

Moscow begins widespread free Covid-19 testing

Moscow authorities launched free Covid-19 testing for 12.6 million residents of the capital in a bid to control the spread of infection.

Testing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is organised in 207 Moscow clinics, with 45 of them also capable of running tests on children, the city administration said in an announcement on its official website.

The test results will be entered into patients' electronic chart within three days from the date of testing, it said.

Russia provides free health care and medical assistance to all citizens, including testing and medical help to people affected by Covid-19.

Malta marks a week without new coronavirus cases

Malta marked a week without new virus cases, the first since the virus was detected there for the first time on March 7.

Health Minister Chris Fearne confirmed in a tweet that no new cases had been detected for a week. The last was a single case on July 9.

"We must continue to be prudent to maintain our success," he said.

Malta saw 674 cases and nine deaths in almost four months but now only has four active cases of the virus, the rest having recovered. The Mediterranean island has benefited from its small size by employing a high rate of testing – with some 20 percent of the population tested – and contact tracing.

Pakistan cricketer back in squad after positive test

A Pakistan cricketer has been cleared to return to the squad on its tour of England after testing positive for the coronavirus, England said.

The player, who wasn't identified, returned the positive test “for the remnants of a previous Covid-19 infection” and underwent a precautionary period of self-isolation after arriving in Britain, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.

“The player has since returned two negative tests with no risk of infection to other players and staff,” the ECB statement said.

Pakistan arrived in Britain last month and is scheduled to play three tests and three Twenty20s against England.

As Israel virus cases surge, government weighs new lockdown

Israel reached a new daily record of confirmed coronavirus cases, the country's health ministry said, as a new nationwide lockdown to curb the pandemic appeared imminent.

Adding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's troubles, a new economic bailout plan announced by the embattled premier came under tough criticism from some of the government's top economic experts.

The growing coronavirus outbreak, coupled with a struggling economy, have marked a dramatic turnaround for Netanyahu. The Israeli leader received widespread praise for moving quickly to contain the coronavirus last spring.

Jordan to reopen airport for commercial flights next month

Jordan said it will partially resume commercial flights from August to a limited number of European and Asian countries on an internationally approved safe list.

Government spokesman Amjad Adailah told state-owned Al Mamlaka TV that regular commercial flights from Alia international airport, suspended since March, could begin in the first or second week of August.

Passengers from the safe country list that includes Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Hong Kong and Thailand would be allowed into Jordan and the list could extend depending on the state of the pandemic, he added.

Spain to honour its 28,400 coronavirus victims

With a watchful eye on the latest virus outbreaks, Spain has paused to honour its 28,400 victims at a state ceremony joined by top EU and World Health Organization figures.

Barely three weeks after coming out of lockdown, Spain has seen a surge in cases and health officials monitoring more than 120 active outbreaks.

The most worrying is in and around the northeastern city of Lerida, where the Catalan regional government has issued a stay-home order affecting 160,000 people.

Authorities there and in several other regions have stepped up precautions, with mask-wearing compulsory in public at all times, even if the safety distance can be respected.

India sees new surge in virus cases

India’s virus cases have surged another 32,695, taking the nation closer to 1 million. The new confirmed cases took the national total to 968,876. The health ministry also reported a record number of 606 deaths for a total of 24,915.

The Indian Medical Association said 99 doctors have died and another 1,302 are infected with the coronavirus. It called for shortening of working hours for health workers following safety concerns.

South Korea cases rise to 13,612

South Korea has reported 61 new confirmed cases of the virus, most of them tied to international arrivals.

The tally reported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the country’s caseload to 13,612 during the pandemic, including 291 deaths. The centre says 12,396 people have been released from hospitals while 925 remain in treatment.

Officials say 47 of the new cases involved people arriving from overseas. South Korea has been requiring two-week quarantines on all passengers arriving from abroad since April. 

This week, it began requiring foreign nationals arriving from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to provide health certificates proving they have tested negative for the virus.

Venezuela tightens anti-virus measures

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced a tightening of virus containment measures in the capital, Caracas, and neighbouring Miranda state to try to halt the spread of the deadly disease.

The country was one of the least affected in Latin America in the early stages of the pandemic but has seen an alarming rise in cases and deaths in recent weeks.

It took 70 days for Venezuela to record its first 1,000 Covid-19 cases – but just three days to go from 7,000 to 8,000 cases.

This week Venezuela surpassed 10,000 officially confirmed infections, although the opposition and organisations, such as Human Rights Watch, believe the true numbers are much greater.

Australia launches $1.4B pandemic retraining plan
Australia announced  $1.4 billion to retrain workers impacted by the virus fallout, as unemployment rose to its highest level in more than two decades.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new funding would create more than 300,000 places in training programmes that aimed to funnel graduates and the newly jobless into "growth" sectors.

"It is upsetting for many Australians that the industries and places where they'd been working, they will find it very difficult to find new employment in those sectors," he said.

"And so we want to ensure they have the opportunity ... to find employment in other sectors, potentially, so they can actually move forward with their own lives."

China’s economy bounces back from pandemic contraction

China saw forecast-beating economic growth in the second quarter after a record contraction in the previous three months, as businesses cautiously returned to normality following strict lockdowns across the country.

The figures follow a string of data showing the world's number two economy slowly emerging from the outbreak, and should provide hope to other governments looking to get back on track from a crisis that has likely caused a global recession.

Gross domestic product expanded 3.2 percent in April-June, the National Bureau of Statistics said, smashing expectations and a massive improvement on the 6.8-percent contraction in the first quarter.

Bangladesh arrests hospital owner over fake virus results

A Bangladesh hospital owner accused of issuing thousands of fake negative coronavirus test results to patients at his two clinics was arrested while trying to flee to India in a burqa, police said.

The arrest marked the end of a nine-day manhunt for Mohammad Shahed over allegations of giving fake certificates to patients saying they were virus-free without even testing them.

Shahed, 42, was one of more than a dozen people detained by authorities over the past few days in connection with the scam.

Experts warn the false documents has worsened the already dire virus situation in the country of 168 million people by casting doubt about the veracity of certificates issued by clinics.

US expert not worried about China winning drug race

The leading US expert on infectious diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, has predicted the country will meet its goal of a coronavirus vaccine by year's end and was unmoved by the prospect that China would get there first.

While there are no guarantees, "I feel good about the projected timetable", Fauci told Reuters news agency in an interview.

His comments follow promising early-stage data for the Moderna Inc's coronavirus vaccine, released on Tuesday, that was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci directs.

Fauci said Moderna's results were especially promising because the vaccine appeared to offer the type of protection seen in a natural infection.

Fauci was unmoved by the prospect that China could cross the finish line first.

Although he said he hopes China succeeds, he does not think they will win the vaccine race, at least not by much.

"I think everybody's sort of on the same track." If they do get there, he said, "they're not going to get it particularly sooner than we get it. That's for sure".

Australia's Victoria state reports 317 new cases

Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria said on Thursday two men in their 80s died overnight from the coronavirus, as the state logged a record daily rise in new infections.

Victoria reported 317 new daily cases, the highest since the pandemic began. 

The state's previous high of 288 new cases came last week.

NZ to host 2020 Rugby Championship after virus success 

Southern hemisphere governing body SANZAAR announced plans on Thursday to hold this year's Rugby Championship in New Zealand, as the game's Kiwi powerbrokers gathered to discuss a radical revamp of Super Rugby.

SANZAAR said it wanted to play the Rugby Championship in one location because of the Covid-19 pandemic and New Zealand was the preferred option because of its success in containing the virus.

"SANZAAR is well advanced in option planning with New Zealand Rugby, which in turn, is now seeking New Zealand government approval," it said in a statement.

The four-way international tournament involves South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina and is administered by SANZAAR.

It was originally scheduled to begin on August 8 with a clash between the Wallabies and All Blacks in Melbourne, but the fixture has little chance of proceeding as the city battles a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

US sees record 67,632 daily infections 

The US posted a new daily record of 67,632 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the spread of the disease.

The global leader in infections has seen a surge in the virus since late June, mostly in the south and west of the country. 

For the past 10 days, the number of new cases being reported has been between 55,000 and 65,000 every 24 hours.

Bolsonaro tests positive, again

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Wednesday that he still has the coronavirus after undergoing a new test the day before.

"I'm fine, thank God. Yesterday morning, I took the test, and in the evening the result was that I am still positive for the coronavirus," the far-right leader said in a Facebook Live broadcast from the gardens of his official residence in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro said he is not experiencing symptoms and that his use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which he said he has been taking since he was diagnosed last week, is working.

"I am not recommending anything. I recommend that you talk to your doctor. In my case, a military doctor recommended hydroxychloroquine and it worked," he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies