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Coronavirus cases surpass 150,000 in Africa: Live updates | News


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  • Africa’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 150,000 while more than 4,300 deaths have been confirmed across the continent.

  • Throughout January, the WHO publicly praised China for its response, but behind the scenes, there was growing frustration over not getting the information to fight the virus.

  • Millions of people in Yemen are at risk from a “tragedy” fuelled by the coronavirus, an international UN-backed pledging conference is expected to hear on Tuesday. 

  • More than 6.27 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 375,500 people have died, including more than 105,000 in the US. At least 2.7 million have recovered from the disease.

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, June 2

11:15 GMT – Iran bemoans ill-discipline as virus cases crest again

Iran lamented that people were ignoring social distancing rules as it reported more than 3,000 new coronavirus infections in a second cresting wave.

“The fact that people have become completely careless regarding this disease” was of great concern, said Health Minister Saeed Namaki.

“They either have total confidence in us or think the coronavirus has gone. The latter is not true at all,” the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.

WATCH: Iranian scientists ramp up efforts to improve COVID-19 tests

11:00 GMT – Zimbabwe confirms cornavirus in jail: State media

State media say Zimbabwe has confirmed its first coronavirus cases in prisons, with four inmates and two guards testing positive.

The Herald newspaper says authorities declared the prisons in Plumtree, which borders Botswana, and in Beitbridge, which borders South Africa, as “no-go areas,” Authorities also have suspended movement out of prisons resulting in some prisoners failing to attend court hearings.

10:45 GMT – Turkish Airlines to start flights from six European countries 

Turkish Airlines has said it will start direct flights from 16 cities in six European countries to 14 cities in Anatolia as of June 18, including new routes it had not flown to before.

The airline said it will resume international flights from Istanbul on June 10, and the new flights on June 18 will specifically be to Anatolia, the Asian territory which makes up the vast majority of Turkey.

The flights are planned with 16 cities in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Denmark. 


10:30 GMT – Spain jobless figures down significantly as crisis eases

The number of new jobseekers in Spain was close to 27,000 in May, around 10 times lower than in March and April during the coronavirus lockdown, the labour ministry has said.

Spain imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 14 to slow the spread of the virus, and that month it counted more than 302,000 new jobseekers and another 280,000 in April. 

But in May, as the lockdown was gradually eased, the government counted a total of 26,573 new jobseekers in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy, where the total number of unemployed stands at 3.8 million.

10:15 GMT – Tunisia to reopen land, sea, air borders at end of June

Tunisia plans to reopen its borders at the end of June, after more than three months of being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After a meeting of the National Committee to Combat Covid-19, the government announced that the land, sea and air borders will reopen starting from June 27.


The government also decided that travel between cities will be resumed from Thursday [File:Reuters]

10:00 GMT – Can Bangladesh deal with mountains of COVID-19 medical waste?

Bangladesh was already struggling with poor medical waste management before the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, it is at risk of being hit hard by a “sudden onslaught” of single-use medical plastic.

Around 250 tonnes of medical waste was generated by hospitals last month, and sanitation workers often lack the protective gear to keep them safe from COVID-19.

Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury reports from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

9:45 GMT – ‘Far from complete’: UK stats watchdog says of COVID-19 test data

Britain’s statistics regulator chided the government for publishing data on coronavirus tests that it said were “far from complete and comprehensible”.

“The aim seems to be to show the largest possible number of tests, even at the expense of understanding,” David Norgrove, the head of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote in a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.


9:30 GMT – Novacyt shares fall on French refusal to refund virus test

Shares in healthcare and clinical diagnostics company Novacyt fell after a French regulator decided not to approve its novel coronavirus test for reimbursement, dampening Novacyt’s stellar stock market rally.

France, in common with other European countries, is betting on mass testing for the covonavirus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, as part of its strategy to emerge safely from the epidemic.


City laboratories in France that carry out testing almost exclusively use tests the country’s social security system reimburses [File:Reuters] 

9:15 GMT – China’s Wuhan finds no new COVID-19 cases in city-wide testing

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus outbreak first emerged, found no new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 300 asymptomatic cases in city-wide testing that began in mid-May, officials said.

The city launched its ambitious campaign on May 14, testing 9.9 million people, after a cluster of new cases in the city raised fears of a second wave of infections.


The central Chinese city, capital of Hubei province, was placed under a lockdown on January 23 [AFP]

9:00 GMT – Coronavirus deaths in Russia surpass 5,000

Coronavirus deaths in Russia have passed the 5,000 mark as authorities eased lockdown measures and prepared to announce steps to kickstart the economy.

Health officials registered 182 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 5,037.

The government tally also reported 8,863 new infections for a total of 423,741, the third-highest number after the US and Brazil.


8:45 GMT – Senegal postpones school restart after teachers test positive for COVID-19

Senegal has postponed the restart of schools until further notice after several teachers tested positive for the new coronavirus, the education ministry said.

Schools were scheduled to gradually resume on Tuesday, after weeks of shutdown due to the pandemic. Senegal has recorded 3,739 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak, with 43 deaths.

WATCH: Senegal’s $1 COVID-19 test kit and the race for a vaccine

8:30 GMT – Africa’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 150,000

Africa’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 150,000 while the World Health Organization says the continent of 1.3 billion people is still the region least affected.

Concerns remain high as some of Africa’s 54 countries struggle with when to reopen schools and parts of their economies.

Rwanda, the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, this week slowed the easing of it after reporting its first COVID19 death.

8:15 GMT – Ugandan to lose $1.6bn in tourism earnings as a result of COVID-19

Uganda will lose $1.6bn a year in earnings from tourism as visitors stay away due to the impact of the coronavirus, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

The president did not say what time frame he was referring to. Latest available data from the country’s statistics’ office shows Uganda earned $2bn from tourism activities in 2017, up from $1.7bn the previous year.

8:00 GMT – Virus deaths reach 375,000 as Latin America struggles

The global death toll from the coronavirus topped 375,000 as the disease continued to tear through Latin America, but in Europe the return to normality gathered pace with the French heading back to cafes and restaurants.

Healthcare systems across Latin America risk being overwhelmed by the illness, the World Health Organization said, as fatalities from the disease in hard-hit Brazil neared 30,000.

WATCH: Bolsonaro’s coronavirus response: A threat to Brazil’s economy

7:45 GMT – US Marines arrive in Australia despite the pandemic

The first group of 200 US Marines have arrived in tropical northern Australia for their annual rotation despite the coronavirus pandemic border closures.

Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said the marines were tested for COVID-19 on arrival in Darwin and will be quarantined in military facilities for the next 14 days.

7:30 GMT – Iranian scientist detained in US on the way home

Iran’s foreign minister has said the Iranian scientist imprisoned in the US is now on his way back home.

Sirous Asgari had been pleading for weeks to be released from an immigration centre, after contracting COVID-19.

He has been in custody since 2017, while on trial for charges of fraud and selling state secrets. Asgari was acquitted last month, but was transferred into immigration custody over an expired US visa.

7:15 GMT – Indonesia cancels hajj pilgrimage over coronavirus concerns

Indonesia has cancelled the hajj pilgrimage this year for people in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation due to concerns over the coronavirus, the religious affairs minister has said.

Each year hundreds of thousands of Indonesians go on the haj to Saudi Arabia, where Islam’s two holiest sites – Mecca and Medina – are located. For many Indonesians, the religious pilgrimage is a once-in-a lifetime event, with the average wait time 20 years due to a quota system, according to the country’s cabinet secretariat.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has asked Muslims to defer preparations until there is more clarity about the pandemic. 

7:00 GMT – First Rohingya refugee dies from coronavirus in Bangladesh: official

A 71-year-old man has become the first Rohingya living in vast refugee camps in Bangladesh to die from the coronavirus, an official said.

“He died on May 31. But last night we got the confirmation that he died of COVID-19,” said Toha Bhuiyan, a senior health official in the Cox’s Bazar district.

The man, who lived in the Kutupalong camp, was among at least 29 Rohingya to have tested positive for the virus in Bangladesh camps, which are home to nearly one million Rohingya who fled Myanmar.

WATCH: Inside the Rohingya Refugee Crisis | Between Us

6:45 GMT – Embargo and pandemic stoke autonomy drive in Qatar 

A Qatari arms factory that makes rifles and grenade launchers has added a product that saves rather than takes lives – ventilators, needed at home and abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The venture is the latest salvo in Doha’s charm offensive to cement old partnerships and secure new friends as a bitter spat with Saudi Arabia and its allies drags into its fourth year this Friday.

The factory is preparing to churn out 2,000 life-giving ventilators weekly, in collaboration with US defence manufacturer Wilcox. Many are earmarked for export to what Qatar deems “friendly countries”.

WATCH: Qatar health minister: ‘Coronavirus rate not high, but realistic’

6:30 GMT – French economy to shrink 11 percent this year: minister

The French economy is expected to shrink 11 percent this year, a “brutal” shock and worse than previous estimates for an eight percent contraction, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said.

“The shock (from the coronavirus) is very brutal,” Le Maire said on RTL, adding: “I am absolutely certain that we are going to bounce back in 2021.”

6:15 GMT – Thais return to temples 

Thais are starting to visit temples again as the mostly Buddhist country emerges from a coronavirus lockdown, although visitors are taking precautions such as wearing masks and getting temperature checks before entering the grounds.

The Southeast Asian country has seen just over 3,000 COVID-19 infections and 58 deaths, but has reported no local transmission in the past week, helping accelerate moves to ease restrictions.

WATCH: Most businesses resume operations in Thailand

6:00 GMT – More than 30 coronavirus cases in Tokyo 

More than 30 new coronavirus infections were reported in Tokyo on Tuesday, Japan’s NHK public broadcaster said, marking the first time the number of daily cases has topped 30 in 19 days.


05:45 GMT – Pakistan coronavirus cases register highest single-day spike

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his government’s position that a renewed lockdown was economically unviable, reopening the country’s tourism sector and allowing shops and businesses to remain open until 7pm each day, even as the country registered its highest single day spike in coronavirus cases.

Cases rose by 3,938 to 76,398, with 79 deaths taking the toll to 1,658, according to government data. Khan also announced that his government would be operating additional flights to allow overseas Pakistanis to return home if they so wish.

Hi, this is Elizabeth Melimopoulos in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

05:30 GMT –

I will be handing the blog to my colleagues in Doha shortly. A quick update on developments over the past few hours.

The UN and its partners are calling for more than $2 billion to continue relief efforts in war-torn Yemen warning of a coronavirus-fuelled ‘tragedy’. In much of Asia, countries continue to ease social distancing restrutions with Singapore the latest to allow most people to return to work and children to attend school. And, a new study published in the Lancet shows masks, social distancing and handwashing are effective ways to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

05:10 GMT – Malaysia’s detention centres emerge as coronavirus hotspots

Malaysia’s immigration detention centres have become the country’s latest coronavirus hotspots amid a series of raids on undocumented migrants.

“These raids under the pretence of stopping the spread of COVID-19 have only served to further spread the virus,” Beatrice Lau, Head of Mission for Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) in Malaysia told Al Jazeera. “The authorities had been warned about the risk of infection in detention centres many times.”

From 35 cases at a detention centre near Kuala Lumpur on May 22, by the end of the month there were 410 cases across four facilities. 

Malaysia has managed to largely contain the virus within the wider community and has had no deaths from the disease in ten days.

Read more on the story here.

Malaysia migrants

Undocumented migrants handcuffed together as they are escorted to an immigration detention centre after a raid on May 20 in a residential area near Kuala Lumpur [Hasnoor Hussain/Al Jazeera]

04:15 GMT – Hong Kong reports four new cases; concerns of ‘super spreader’

Hong Kong has discovered four new cases of coronavirus and is concerned about a ‘super spreader’ at the housing estate where all the affected people live, according to the South China Morning Post.

The four people diagnosed with the virus are all neighbours of a 34-year-old woman who worked at a warehouse distribution centre and was found to have the coronavirus on Sunday. Her husband, two co-workers and the paramedic who took her to hospital have all been confirmed with the virus too.

“There may be super spreaders spreading the virus in the building,” the newspaper quoted Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, as saying. “Initial investigations believe that greatest chance of spreading is from public facilities.”

Yuen was one of the experts sent to inspect the building.

03:45 GMT – Australia’s New South Wales to open up some sports facilities

The state of New South Wales, home to a third of Australians, is to open some sports facilities from the middle of June.

Gyms, indoor swimming pools and saunas will be allowed to reopen from June 13 and children’s community sport can start from July 1.

“Sport is in the DNA of everyone in Australia,” NSW Sport Minister Geoff Lee told reporters in Sydney. “It’s important not only for the mental wellbeing but for their physical fitness.”

03:00 GMT – Singapore begins to ease ‘circuit breaker’ imposed in March

Singapore has begun to ease some of the so-called circuit breaker measures it introduced in March.

Some children are returning to school, about three-quarters of businesses have been allowed to reopen and restrictions on gathering eased to allow families to meet and small-scale religious services to take place. 

The city state has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, more than 90 percent of them among the more than 300,000 people brought from overseas to work in construction and other industries and housed in crowded worker dormitories.

The government on Monday announced new regulations for dormitories to improve facilities and give the men more space.

02:45 GMT – Wuhan doctor dies after four months with coronavirus

Wuhan Central Hospital doctor Hu Weifeng, who was diagnosed with coronavirus four months ago, has died, state media reported on Tuesday.

Dr Hu, whose face became darker during his treatment as a result of liver problems, was previously reported to have recovered. The Global Times said he had been treated with Polymyxin B, an antibiotic usually used for meningitis and sepsis.

02:00 GMT – South Korea mandates QR codes after nightclub cluster

South Korea will impose a new quick response (QR) code system to keep track of visitors to higher risk venues after a spike in coronavirus cases linked to a nightclub.

From June 10, visitors to clubs, bars, karaoke spots, indoor gyms and other entertainment venues will need to register with a QR code. The individual’s information will be logged in a database kept by the Social Security Information Service for four weeks before it is deleted. The system is currently being tested at 17 venues.

01:30 GMT – Study shows masks, social distancing effective 

Masks and social distancing can help control the coronavirus but hand washing and other measures are still needed, a new study has found.

Researchers concluded single-layer cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks, while tight-fitting N95 masks provide the best protection, according to the study published in the medical journal, The Lancet.

A distance of one metre (more than 3 feet) between people lowers the danger of catching the virus, while two metres (about 6 1/2 feet) is even better.

Eye protection such as eyeglasses or goggles can also help.


00:00 GMT – Millions in Yemen at risk from unfolding coronavirus-fuelled ‘tragedy’

The UN is appealing for $2.41bn to continue its humanitarian programmes in Yemen until the end of the year to prevent an unfolding “tragedy” driven by the coronavirus.

A UN-backed international pledging conference will take place later on Tuesday.

The UN and its partners have been providing humanitarian aid to some 10 million people a month as a result of the five-year conflict in the country.

Yemen reported its first case of coronavirus in April. The UN says initial findings from intensive care units suggests 20 percent of those treated after being confirmed with the virus are dying, compared with a global average of 7 percent. 

23:15 GMT (Monday) – Brazil reports thousands of new cases, 623 deaths 

Brazil’s Health Ministry has reported some 11,598 new cases of coronavirus and 623 deaths over the past 24 hours.

Brazil has the second-highest number of cases in the world (526,447) after the United States. Nearly 30,000 people have died from the disease. 

23:00 GMT (Monday) – Met Opera to remain closed until the end of the year

New York’s Metropolitan Opera will reopen only for its traditional New Year’s Eve performance, cutting short its 2020/2021 season because of the coronavirus.

“Social distancing and grand opera simply don’t go together,” general manager Peter Gelb said in a video message.

The 137-year-old company, one of the world’s leading opera houses, had planned to start its season in September. 


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 1) here.

www.aljazeera.com 2020-06-02 11:19:36

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