COVID-19 cases in the Gulf region surpass 400,000, according to John Hopkins University, as nations in the region start to lift restrictions.


Coronavirus hospitalisations and caseloads have reached new highs in more than half a dozen states in the US, with newly confirmed cases nationwide back near their peak level of two months ago.
The number of cases worldwide is expected to reach 10 million next week, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, warning that the virus has yet to peak in the Americas.
More than 9.4 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, more than 4.7 million have recovered, and nearly 483,000 have died, according to John Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, June 25
15:35 GMT – Pandemic getting worse globally: WHO head Tedros

The pandemic is subsiding in Europe, but getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week and the number of deaths 500,000, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO has said.

Speaking via video-conference with members of the European Parliament’s health committee, Tedros said that once the pandemic was over, the world should not return to its previous state, but build a “new normal” that would be fairer, greener and help prevent climate change.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland [Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

15:24 GMT – Macy’s cuts corporate headcount by 3,900

Macy’s has said it’s laying off 3,900 people corporate staffers, roughly three percent of its overall workforce.

The company said in a release that the headcount reduction will save the company $630m per year.

15:10 GMT – US urges Russia, China to give more aid to Venezuela in COVID fight

US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abram has called on Russia and China to provide more humanitarian aid aid to their ally Venezuela.

“We would like to see them contribute more on the humanitarian side. There have been, I believe, some contribution of goods with respect to COVID-19 by Russia and China,” Abram told a diplomatic event organised by the US mission to the UN in Geneva.

“But the scale, the dollar amount of this aid, is really quite low in comparison to the needs.”

15:04 GMT – Spain to extend furlough schemes by three months

Spain is set to extend until September 30 national furlough schemes aimed at mitigating the effect of the coronavirus lockdown, under a government agreement with labour unions and the main employers’ association, the labour ministry has said.

Hard-hit sectors like hospitality will receive the most support, though other industries not yet able to return to normal activity will also be included.

14:55 GMT – Peruvian government strikes agreement with private clinics

The Peruvian government has said it has struck an agreement with the country’s private health clinics on the cost of COVID-19 care after President Martin Vizcarra warned on Wednesday they would be expropriated within 48 hours if negotiations did not progress.

The clinics had for three weeks wrangled with Vizcarra’s government over a fair rate for care. The haggling began amid reports of overcharging for the sickest patients, who require mechanical ventilators and intensive care.

The health minister, Victor Zamora, said the agreement was finalised on Wednesday evening after a meeting with representatives of the Association of Private Clinics of Peru.









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14:37 GMT – Egypt’s national carrier to resume flights from July

Egypt’s national carrier EgyptAir Airlines has said that it will resume flights to 24 destinations from the first week of July and will add more in the following weeks.

The carrier will operate flights to 13 destinations in Europe, three in Africa, four in the Middle East, three in North America and one in China, it said in a statement on Thursday, as well as domestic flights to the tourist hotspots of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada along the Red Sea and Luxor and Aswan along the Nile River.

14:03 GMT – UK death toll rises by 149 to 43,230

The UK’s official death toll from confirmed cases of coronavirus rose by 149 to 43,230, the Department of Health has said.

13:58 GMT – Kazakh health minister resigns

Kazakhstan’s health minister has resigned, saying COVID-19 complications prevented him from leading efforts against the coronavirus outbreak as its surges once more.

Yelzhan Birtanov, who had held the post since early 2017 and caught the virus in mid-June, wrote on social media that he had developed pneumonia which required additional treatment.

13:50 GMT – Norway to lift travel curbs on European countries, with conditions: media reports

Norway will lift travel restrictions to and from European countries that respect certain criteria regarding their coronavirus situation from July 15, public broadcaster NRK and daily Dagens Naeringsliv has reported.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg is due to hold a news conference about “the coronavirus situation and travelling” at 14:00 GMT.

Norway currently allows travel to and from Denmark, Finland, Iceland and the Swedish island of Gotland since June 15, but maintains travel restrictions on mainland Sweden due to its higher level of coronavirus cases.

13:19 GMT – Kudlow says he expects some US shutdowns in certain areas

Jumps in coronavirus cases in parts of the US will likely trigger closures in certain areas, but there will not be a nationwide shutdown, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said.

Kudlow, in an interview on Fox Business Network, said he still expects to see a “strong v” shaped economic recovery and anticipated a 20 percent growth “snapback” in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.









Florida faces COVID-19 surge after reopening




13:15 GMT

Hello, this is Mersiha Gadžo in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui.

12:50 GMT – Market ‘disconnect’ could worsen virus downturn: IMF

Recent gains in global financial markets despite the coronavirus downturn’s “huge” economic uncertainties are a potential threat to the recovery if investors abruptly change their minds, the IMF cautioned Thursday.

Markets have been cheered by the massive support provided by governments and central banks, and seem to expect a quick recovery even though forecasts and consumer confidence are more pessimistic, the IMF said in its latest Global Financial Stability Report.

But the paper warns of the dangers lurking in the future from the flood of “unconventional” policies that have left the global economy awash in easy money.

12:30 GMT – New coronavirus cluster at Italy courier warehouse: report

A cluster of new coronavirus cases has emerged at a warehouse in the Italian city of Bologna used by express courier Bartolini, a local newspaper reported.

The company uncovered 44 asymptomatic cases – including two drivers – after testing all workers at the warehouse in central-northern Italy following the discovery of two members of staff with the virus, the Resto del Carlino daily said.









Shops, cafes reopen as Italy lifts coronavirus restrictions




12:10 GMT – Pandemic could lead to more narcotic use: UN

The coronavirus pandemic could see a rise in the use and trafficking of narcotics as well as increased risks for users, the UN drugs and crime agency (UNODC) said.

The virus could lead to an overall increase in drug use with a shift towards cheaper products and injecting, both of which could mean greater danger for users, the agency said in its 2020 World Drug Report.

11:40 GMT – Romania reports record high coronavirus infection numbers

Romania reported its highest number of daily infections with the new coronavirus in two months, as it prepares to assess a new phase of relaxation next week.

President Klaus Iohannis ordered a strict lockdown in early March to help rein in the outbreak and replaced the state of emergency with a softer state of alert in May, that is set to run until mid-July.

One third of Romania’s cases are concentrated in three cities: the capital Bucharest, the northern town of Suceava and in Transylvania’s medieval city of Brasov [File: Octav Ganea/Reuters]

11:15 GMT – Germany, France shore up political, financial aid to beleaguered WHO

France and Germany expressed political and financial backing for the World Health Organization (WHO) in its fight against the coronavirus, with Berlin saying it would contribute a record half billion euros in funding this year.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking at a news conference in Geneva, said the agency, criticised by the United States for being slow off the mark in tackling the pandemic, was getting the financial and political support it needed.

10:35 GMT – Coronavirus cuts force Indonesia to scale back forest protection

Indonesia has scaled back protection for some of the world’s most important tropical forests ahead of the worst season for fires because of budget cuts due to the coronavirus, the environment ministry said.

At risk are forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo and which are home to more than one-tenth of the world’s mammal species – including the rare orangutan – and nearly a fifth of its birds.

10:13 GMT – Coronavirus cases past 33,000 in Philippines

The Philippines is witnessing a constant rise in new coronavirus cases, with 778 more reported.

The country’s Department of Health said in a statement the new cases pushed the national total to 33,069 while the death toll rose to 1,212 after eight more patients died between June 1 and 21.

09:45 GMT – England COVID-19 test and trace system fails to reach a quarter of positive cases

England’s COVID-19 test-and-trace system could not reach a quarter of people who had their cases transferred to the system after a positive test for the new coronavirus, UK’s Department of Health said.

Of 6,923 people who had their case transferred to the contact tracing system in its third week of operation, 1,791, or 25.9 percent, could not be reached.

A triage nurse waits for patients to arrive in the Emergency Department at Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley, England [Steve Parsons/Pool/AP]

09:20 GMT – Eiffel tower in France reopens

The Eiffel Tower on Thursday welcomed back visitors after the coronavirus outbreak forced the Paris landmark into its longest period out of action since World War II.

Strict hygiene and safety measures are in place for the re-opening.

09:00 GMT – Indonesia’s passes 50,000 cases as business resumes

The number of coronavirus infections in Indonesia has surpassed 50,000 as the government allows businesses to reopen amid increasing economic pressure.

A government task force says the spiking case numbers align with the country’s increasing testing capacity. But testing is still lower than recommended for a country that has 270 million people.

Indonesia started reopening businesses this month and will gradually reopen more through July.

08:40 GMT – India to survey 29 million New Delhi residents

India says it will carry out a massive survey for the coronavirus, targeting New Delhi’s entire population of 29 million.

Officials will go each household to record each resident’s health details and administer a test to those who show or report symptoms.

Read more here.

The survey exercise will be completed by July 6, according to a plan issued by the government of New Delhi, the worst-hit city in the country with 70,390 confirmed cases [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

08:16 GMT – Gulf coronavirus infections surpass 400,000: John Hopkins University

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the six Gulf states has doubled in a month to over 400,000, as the region’s two biggest economies this week fully lifted curfews imposed to combat the infection.

Regional business hub the United Arab Emirates announced late on Wednesday the lifting of a nightly curfew in place since mid-March as the daily number of infections fell from a peak of some 900 in late May to average between 300 and 400 in recent weeks.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which has the highest regional count at more than 167,200 infections and over 1,380 deaths, fully removed its three-month curfew on Sunday.

07:50 GMT – Russia reports more than 7,000 new coronavirus cases

Russia confirmed 7,113 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its tally to 613,994.

Officials said 92 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 8,605.

07:25 GMT – Afghanistan uses green stimulus to hire lockdown jobless, boost Kabul’s water supply

Zaker Hussain Zaheri was a cook in Afghanistan’s capital who lost his job in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, he digs trenches to capture rainwater and snowmelt on a mountain on the outskirts of Kabul, as the city grapples with both a water and health crisis.

Lockdown measures to curb the spread of the disease have taken their toll on Afghanistan’s economy, so the government is employing more than 40,000 jobless workers to rehabilitate groundwater supplies for its fast-growing capital.

07:05 GMT- US records largest daily rise in coronavirus cases at nearly 39,000

The US has seen a major surge in coronavirus cases, weeks after many areas reopened their economies.

Seven states, mainly in the south and west, and including Texas, California and Arizona, reported record increases on Wednesday, the nationwide tally rising by more than 38,600.

Texas, Florida and California all reported record increases, with 7,100, 5,550 and 5,510 new cases, respectively, over the preceding 24 hours.

People wait for a health assessment check-in before entering Jackson Memorial Hospital, as Miami-Dade County eases some lockdown measures, in Miami, Florida [Marco Bello/Reuters]

06:40 GMT – Senegal president self-quarantines after contact with COVID-19 case

Senegalese President Macky Sall is quarantining for two weeks after coming into contact with someone who has since tested positive for the coronavirus, state television said.

The measure is precautionary as an initial COVID-19 test of Sall has come back negative, it said.

06:15 GMT – Lufthansa shares soar after major shareholder backs bailout plan

Lufthansa shares jumped more than 27 percent in early trade after billionaire investor Heinz Hermann Thiele endorsed a nine-billion-euro ($10.12 billion) government bailout to rescue the carrier hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will vote for the proposal,” Thiele, who owns a 15.5 percent stake in Lufthansa, told Frankfurter Allgemeine daily on Wednesday.

His endorsement amounted to a respite for the airline after fears had swirled that he might veto the proposed package, which would see Germany buy 20 percent of the company.









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05:34 GMT – Cases in Pakistan continue to decline

Coronavirus testing numbers in Pakistan – which has one of the highest rates of infection spread – are continuing to drop, with just 21,835 tests conducted on Wednesday.

Of those, 4,044 patients tested positive, according to government data, a test-positive rate of 18.5 percent. Countrywide cases rose on Wednesday to 192,970, according to the data. The country also recorded its second-highest number of deaths in a single day on Wednesday, with 148 patients dying, taking the overall death toll to 3,978.

The drop in testing is led by significant decreases in daily testing in Sindh and Punjab provinces, the country’s two most populous regions. In Sindh, officials told Al Jazeera the drop in testing was due to a “shortage of staff” at labs causing a backlog.

Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

04:45 GMT – Hong Kong announces coronavirus death

A 55-year-old male coronavirus patient (confirmed case No 1180) admitted to hospital in Hong Kong in late May has died early on Thursday morning, a spokesman for the Princess Margaret Hospital said

The hospital said the man had suffered a stroke in the Philippines and was airlifted back to Hong Kong.

Seven people have now died from COVID-19 in the territory.

03:50 GMT – ‘We cannot overstate the shame’: ASEAN MPs on boat pushbacks

A group of MPs from Southeast Asia are calling on leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to do more to help refugees and migrants, particularly Rohingya, taking boats across the Indian Ocean.

The open letter signed by Charles Santiago, chairman of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), urged ASEAN leaders to respect vulnerable communities and curb hateful rhetoric directed at refugees and migrants during the coronavirus epidemic.

Malaysia detained 269 Rohingya on a damaged boat earlier this month, and media reported this week that a boat carrying 300 people had been turned away. APHR said ASEAN countries needed to work with Myanmar to end the Rohingya crisis and “organise urgent collective search and rescue operations for boats carrying Rohingya refugees and to organise for their proper disembarkation.

“We cannot overstate the shame that falls upon us collectively when our governments choose to push people back to die at sea.”

03:20 GMT – More Qantas staff to lose jobs as a result of coronavirus

Australian airline Qantas is firing at least 6,000 people – 20 percent of its workforce – as part of a series of drastic measures to deal with the impact of the coronavirus,

Qantas also plans to ground 100 aircraft for as long as 12 months, and some for longer, as well as retire its six remaining Boeing 747 planes immediately, six months ahead of schedule.

You can read more on that story from our business team here.

Airlines have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic as borders closed and travel all but ground to a halt [File: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg]

03:05 GMT – Beijing increases testing capacity to keep on top of cases

Beijing has increased daily nucleic acid testing capacity to more than 300,000 samples a day, compared with about 40,000 previously, according to state media.

Authorities in the Chinese capital stepped up testing after a spike in cases linked to the main wholesale food market.

Mainland China on Thursday confirmed 19 new cases of COVID-19, 13 of them in Beijing.

Beijing increases daily nucleic acid testing capacity to over 300,000 samples to better curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. https://t.co/qdDq1Nw040 pic.twitter.com/pPLau7IwRh


— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) June 25, 2020

03:00 GMT – Disneyland delays reopening after California cases surge

Disneyland in the US state of California, which has been closed since the middle of March, has delayed plans to reopen.

The resort was due to open again on July 17, but Disney officials say they will not have time to prepare since the state government will only release operating guidelines on July 4.

Disneyland is the world’s second-most-popular theme park. 

02:10 GMT – Australia posts biggest one-day rise in cases in two months

More on the situation in Australia following the announcement that troops will be sent to Melbourne, the country’s second-biggest city and the capital of Victoria state.

The state reported 33 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, the ninth day of double-digit increases.

The country as a whole has recorded more than 7,500 cases of the disease but, with the outbreak seemingly under control, it had eased most restrictions. It has recorded 104 deaths, the latest an 85-year-old man who died in April but has now been confirmed to have had the disease.

02:05 GMT – South Korea cases ease

South Korea’s latest coronavirus data suggests it is getting a grip on the clusters that have emerged in Seoul in recent weeks.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said this morning the country had recorded 28 new cases, 23 of them local infections. That is a decrease from Wednesday’s 51 cases and Tuesday’s 46.

Most clusters are linked to delivery firms and small churches.

00:30 GMT – Australian troops head to Victoria to tackle outbreak spike

Australia’s military is to send 1,000 troops to Melbourne to tackle new coronavirus clusters that have emerged in the capital of Victoria state, which has recorded almost 150 new infections during the past week.

Up to 850 Australian Defence Force personnel will help monitor returned international travellers in hotel quarantine while about 200 others will provide logistical and medical support to COVID-19 testing facilities, she said.

Separately, Victoria premier Dan Andrews said the state was launching a “suburban testing blitz” targeting areas identified as hotspots to get on top of the outbreak.

Statement from the Premier on the Suburban Testing Blitz: pic.twitter.com/83Le7IFeW2


— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) June 25, 2020

00:15 GMT – Japan’s izakaya pub culture suffers during COVID

Japanese are being more careful about going out for after-dinner drinks, and that is harming the pubs, known as “izakayas” and known for cheap drinks, tasty food, and a cosy atmosphere. Some are tiny, with only a few seats.

Reuters says izakayas are now facing an “existential crisis” as people work from home and avoid indoor venues.

“If drinking out isn’t considered welcome, izakayas will go under,” Hitoshi Yaosaka, who owns 10 pubs in Tokyo and has seen business return to only a third of pre-COVID levels. “There’s a pretty good chance Japan’s izakaya culture will die down.”

00:00 GMT – States in northeastern US impose quarantines on travellers from eight states

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have ordered travellers from eight other states to quarantine for 14 days on arrival as the epidemic in the US gathers momentum.

The order was “the smart thing to do”, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told the media.

The quarantine applies to people arriving from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, including northeastern residents returning from those areas. It will be enforced with fines that will rise for repeat offenders.

New York is opening up again after being badly hit in the first coronavirus wave in the US. Now it is imposing quarantines on travellers from a number of states where caseloads and hospitalisations have surged [John Minchillo/AP Photo]

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (June 24) here.





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