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Coronavirus around the globe

Started by thaiga, March 25, 2020, 12:51:08 PM

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Taman Tun

The latest UK Covid non scandal is that the editor of The Times, John Witherall, was seen leaving the house of Rachael Johnson, the PM's sister, in the early hours of the morning.  The UK seems to have completely lost sight of common sense in tackling Covid.  The media and political parties are just using Covid as a point scoring battleground as opposed to tackling the problem in a common sense way. 
If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Taman Tun

Oops, typo. It is John Witherow. Apologies to Mrs Witherall.
If the old only could, if the young only knew.


Quote from: Taman Tun on June 03, 2020, 08:50:39 AM
The latest UK Covid non scandal is that the editor of The Times, John Witherall, was seen leaving the house of Rachael Johnson, the PM's sister, in the early hours of the morning.  The UK seems to have completely lost sight of common sense in tackling Covid.  The media and political parties are just using Covid as a point scoring battleground as opposed to tackling the problem in a common sense way.
you could say that's a   "sign of the times"  now there doing the conga  ;D

UK lawmakers 'conga' round parliament to cast their votes
On Tuesday, lawmakers were required to attend in person and join a queue, spaced two metres apart, that stretched out of the wood-panelled debating chamber, zigzagged through an 11th-century hall where monarchs and prime ministers have lain in state, and outside into a tree-lined courtyard.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Factbox: The details of Britain's impending quarantine scheme

(Reuters) - The British government plans to introduce a 14-day quarantine period for almost everyone entering the country from June 8.

Below are details of the scheme:

Everyone arriving in the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days except those on a list of "limited exemptions", which the government said it would publish later.

Those exempt will include:

** road haulage and freight workers

** medical professionals who are travelling to help with the fight against the coronavirus

** anyone moving from within the Common Travel Area, which covers Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

** Seasonal agricultural workers will be able to self-isolate on the property where they are working

The government said it would also continue to look at the option of things such as air bridges - agreements between countries who both have low transmission rates to remove the need for quarantine measures.


All arriving passengers will have to fill in an online contact form providing details and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with, develops the disease.

This will include giving details of their self-isolation accommodation and if it does not meet the necessary requirements, they will be required to self-isolate in facilities arranged by the government, at the passenger's expense.

The government said people should use personal transport, such as a car, to travel to their accommodation where possible.

Once there, they should not go to work, school, or public areas, or use public transport or taxis. They should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential support.

They should also not go out to buy food or other essentials where they can rely on others.


The new regime will be in place across the United Kingdom, although enforcement measures will be set individually by each of the devolved nations.

In England, a breach of the self-isolation rules would be punishable with a 1,000 pound fine or potential prosecution and unlimited fine. The level of fine could increase if the risk of infection from abroad increases.

Border Force may refuse entry to any non-British citizen who refuses to comply with these regulations and is not resident in the UK.

Failure to complete the contact form is punishable by a 100 pound fine. The government said public health authorities would conduct random checks in England to ensure compliance and removal from the country would be considered as a last resort for foreign nationals who refuse to follow the rules.


The rules will come into force on June 8 and will be reviewed every three weeks.

The government said the first review would take place by June 29 and would look at factors such as:

** the rate of infection and transmission internationally

** the measures international partners have put in place

** levels of imported cases in other countries where there are more relaxed border measures

** the degree to which antibody and other testing methodologies prove effective in minimising the health risk.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


UK leads fall in global trust in government COVID responses: poll

(Reuters) - People across almost all the world's leading rich economies have turned more sceptical about their governments' handling of the coronavirus pandemic with confidence slumping the most in Britain, a survey showed on Thursday.

In May, in the Group of Seven nations as a whole, 48% of respondents approved of how authorities had handled the pandemic, down from 50% in April and 54% in March, the survey published by polling firm Kantar showed.

Britain saw the biggest drop - a sharp fall of 18 points from April to 51% - while in the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Italy, the declines ranged between two and six points. Japan was the only country to show an increase.

Britain's COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 50,000, according to a Reuters tally, making the country one of the worst hit in the world by the pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also struggled to contain the fallout from a decision by his top advisor Dominic Cummings to undertake a long road trip to get family help at the height of the coronavirus lockdown when COVID-19 hit his household.

Kantar said 50% of respondents across the G7 said they trusted their government to make the right decisions about the pandemic in the future, down four points from April.

Just over half said they would use a contact-tracing app to help to prevent a new wave of infections. Almost two-thirds of those who said they would not use it cited privacy concerns.

One in three people felt uncomfortable about returning to their workplace, a similar number said they would work at home more than before the crisis and about four in 10 said they would visit restaurants, cafes, pubs and cinemas less than before.

The survey of 7,012 people was conducted between May 28 and June 1.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Brazil, Mexico see record deaths

Brazil and Mexico reported record daily coronavirus death tolls as governments in Latin America battled to fortify their defenses against the pandemic with fresh lockdown orders and curfews.

In Europe where countries have been emerging from lockdowns, the European Central Bank was expected to beef up its plans to help virus-battered economies and Britain was preparing to host a summit to raise funds for a global vaccine alliance.

But as European countries moved to reopen their borders, South and Central America cemented their places as the new hotspots in the pandemic, while Iran — the hardest-hit country in the Middle East — announced a surge in infections.

Mexico on Wednesday announced more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a day for the first time, while Brazil, the region's worst-hit country, reported a record 1,349 daily deaths.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has staunchly opposed lockdowns but many local authorities have defied him and, with the crisis deepening, a vast section of Bahia state was placed under curfew.

In Chile, the government said it was extending a three-week shutdown of the capital Santiago after a new record for daily deaths.

And in Peru, the second worst-hit country in Latin America, desperate residents were lining up to buy oxygen tanks for their loved ones.

"We haven't found oxygen yet," said Lady Savalla in the capital Lima.

"I'm worried about my mom more than anything else, because she's going to need a lot of oxygen and the hospital doesn't have enough."

Struggle to restart economies

Since emerging in China late last year, the new coronavirus has infected nearly 6.5 million people, killed more than 380,000 and wreaked havoc on the global economy as millions were forced into lockdown.

The virus was on the rise again in Iran, which reported 3,574 new infections on Thursday, its highest daily toll since the outbreak began in February and the fourth straight day of a caseload over 3,000.

While hoping the worst of the health crisis has passed, Europe is struggling to restart its stalled economies without sparking a second wave of infections.

Governors of the European Central Bank were to meet Thursday, with analysts expecting them to boost the €750 billion ($839 billion) Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) decided in March by a further €500 billion.

An increase in the emergency bond-buying scheme would send a clear signal of support to European governments, especially for hard-hit countries like Italy, Spain and France.

After easing national lockdowns in recent weeks, European nations are now reopening their borders, with Austria set Thursday to scrap entry checks at its frontiers except for with Italy.

Spain said it would reopen land borders with France and Portugal on June 22, after Italy opened its borders to European travellers Wednesday.

Risk of spread at US protests

Europe is anxious to save its summer tourism season, though experts have warned that travel restrictions will be needed around the world in some form until a vaccine is found.

Efforts to develop one are gathering pace, with Britain set to host a major virtual meeting on Thursday with more than 50 countries as well as powerful individuals such as Bill Gates taking part, to raise money for Gavi, the global vaccine alliance.

Gavi and its partners will launch a financing drive to purchase potential Covid-19 vaccines, scale up their production and support delivery to developing nations.

"I hope this summit will be the moment when the world comes together to unite humanity in the fight against disease," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ahead of the talks.

China, meanwhile, said that foreign airlines blocked from operating in the country over virus fears would be allowed to resume limited flights, apparently easing a row with Washington following US plans to ban Chinese carriers.

The United States remains the hardest-hit nation in the world, with 1.85 million infections and more than 107,000 deaths, and there are fears that the ongoing wave of protests in the country over racism and police brutality could fuel the spread of the virus.

Many have said that while they were aware of the danger of infection at the big rallies, the cause was important enough to take the risk.

Cav Manning, a 52-year-old New Yorker, was among the tens of thousands across America willing to risk infection as he joined a protest in Brooklyn earlier this week.

"What we saw is so disturbing that we've got to be out here right now," he told AFP.

"Despite Covid, despite the fact that you might get infected."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


US faces unemployment crisis amid record trade drop

(AFP) - In further signs of the crisis facing the world's largest economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, new data Thursday showed a record plunge in US exports as layoffs exceeded 42 million.

The two key reports on economic health indicate that even as Wall Street regains its strength and some industries show signs of recovery as virus lockdowns ease, the United States is not out of the woods yet.

The Labor Department said 1.87 million workers filed new jobless claims last week, 249,000 fewer than the week prior but still a grievous figure nearly three times higher than the weekly record in the pre-pandemic economy.

"This and other indicators suggest not that the job market is improving, but that it's getting bad less quickly," Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities think tank, said on Twitter.

The decline in initial claims means the wave of layoffs caused by businesses closures ordered in mid-March to stop the spread of COVID-19 are slowing.

More than 42 million workers have lost their jobs, at least temporarily, since mid-March, but the new data showed 21.5 million people were receiving benefits in the week ended May 23, an indication that millions either had their benefit claims rejected or have since been rehired, or more likely a combination of the two.

After falling last week, the insured unemployment rate ticked up half a point to 14.8 percent -- a huge number of Americans not working, but that only reflects those with unemployment benefits.

That is a grim omen for Friday, when the Labor Department releases the all-important May jobs report, which will likely show national unemployment climbing to around 20 percent from 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest unemployment rate in 90 years.

Wall Street indices muddled through the day, with the Dow ending up just 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both closing lower, ending three days of gains that Peter Cardilo of Spartan Capital Securities said were "a little overboard" ahead of the unemployment report.

However, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said he remains confident the jobless rate will fall below 10 percent by year end, telling Fox News, "Many of these jobs will come back quickly because they were still there."

But Bernstein warned high unemployment is here to stay.

"(The) National unemployment rate is likely at or above 20 percent, twice that of the Great Recession peak, and full employment years away," he said.

- Trade slammed -

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that US exports and imports dropped by a record amount in April and the trade deficit jumped more than $7 billion to $49.5 billion as the coronavirus shuttered businesses and closed down transportation worldwide.

Compared to March, exports of US goods and services fell more than 20 percent or $39 billion to $151.3 billion, the lowest level in 10 years.

Imports in the month dropped to $200.7 billion, a more modest 13.7 percent or $32 billion decrease.

"Trade activity slowed again, this time nearly to the worst of the contraction in the financial crisis," Oxford Economics said in an analysis.

"We think trade activity will see its worst year on record in 2020."

For the year to date, the US trade gap swelled by $26 billion or more than 13 percent compared to the same period of last year, according to the report.

The impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns were widespread throughout the data and in all industries and products, including aircrafts, air travel, oil, auto parts and clothing.

Travel alone fell nearly $3 billion in the month, the report said.

Although the collapse of trade in most cases meant the US deficit in goods alone narrowed with most countries, the deficit with China jumped to nearly $26 billion from $17 billion in March.

"Exports and imports will continue to be restrained by weaker global growth and falling demand at home and abroad in the aftermath of the virus outbreak," Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics said in an analysis.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Bolsonaro threatens WHO exit as COVID-19 kills 'a Brazilian per minute'
(Reuters) – President Jair Bolsonaro threatened on Friday to pull Brazil out of the World Health Organization after the U.N. agency warned governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A new Brazilian record for daily COVID-19 fatalities pushed Brazil's death toll past that of Italy late on Thursday, but Bolsonaro continues to argue for quickly lifting state isolation orders, arguing that the economic costs outweigh public health risks.

In an editorial running the length of newspaper Folha de S.Paulo's front page, the Brazilian daily highlighted that just 100 days had passed since Bolsonaro described the virus now "killing a Brazilian per minute" as "a little flu."

"While you were reading this, another Brazilian died from the coronavirus," the newspaper said.

Brazil's Health Ministry reported late on Thursday that confirmed cases in the country had climbed past 600,000 and 1,437 deaths had been registered within 24 hours, the third consecutive daily record. The nation reported another 1,005 deaths Friday night.

With more than 35,000 lives lost, the pandemic has killed more people in Brazil than anywhere outside of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Asked about efforts to loosen social distancing orders in Brazil despite rising daily death rates and diagnoses, World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman Margaret Harris said a key criteria for lifting lockdowns was slowing transmission.

"The epidemic, the outbreak, in Latin America is deeply, deeply concerning," she told a news conference in Geneva. Among six key criteria for easing quarantines, she said, "one of them is ideally having your transmission declining."

In comments to journalists later Friday, Bolsonaro said Brazil will consider leaving the WHO unless it ceases to be a "partisan political organization."

President Donald Trump, an ideological ally of Bolsonaro, said last month that the United States would end its own relationship with the WHO, accusing it of becoming a puppet of China, where the coronavirus first emerged.

Bolsonaro's dismissal of the coronavirus risks to public health and efforts to lift state quarantines have drawn criticism from across the political spectrum in Brazil, where some accuse him of using the crisis to undermine democratic institutions.

But many of those critics are divided about the safety and effectiveness of anti-government demonstrations in the middle of a pandemic, especially after one small protest was met with an overwhelming show of police force last weekend.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Even Harrods has to adapt to the age of coronavirus

Photo: Bloomberg Photo By Chris Ratcliffe.

Harrods had always largely dismissed the idea of branching out from its seven-floor luxury shopping emporium in the exclusive Knightsbridge district of London where it's been based for 170 years.

Next month, as the U.K. retail industry inches its way back to business in the age of coronavirus, a mall a couple of miles away in a less glamorous part of the city will get a new tenant.

Harrods will showcase discounted stock during the iconic British department store's summer sale in a space that can help cope with covid-19 social distancing. Rather than uniformed doormen opening taxi doors, there's a massive, multilevel parking garage and a train station.

From the glitz of Harrods down to your average strip-mall chain, retailers are adapting to get cash registers busy again as Britain opens up a corner of the economy it depends on more than other large European countries.

The pandemic has taken a particularly heavy toll on the proverbial nation of shopkeepers. The industry provides jobs for more than 3 million people with almost 400 billion pounds ($504 billion) of sales in 2019 equivalent to about 5% of gross domestic product. Consumer spending as a proportion of the economy is higher than in France and Germany, including for clothing and footwear.

Essential retailers, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, hardware and pet stores, have stayed open and enjoyed rising sales, while all other shops had to close their doors in March as on much of the continent.

Companies will need to "recalibrate their brains" to determine new operational models, said Ewan Venters, chief executive officer of Fortnum & Mason, another high-end British food and homewares retailer. "Ultimately in business it is all about providing confidence," he said. "If confidence is back then consumption will increase, which will lead to positive sales."

Fortnum's food hall on London's Piccadilly has already opened back up after implementing safety measures. They include changing the layout of store displays, installing plexiglass screens at pay points, training staff on how to manage social distancing and offering them visors and face masks.

Even before the pandemic, retailers were struggling with high rents and property taxes and a structural shift in consumer behavior. British shoppers buy more of their goods online than anywhere else in Europe.

Debenhams, a department store chain, is in administration-a type of U.K. insolvency process-and fashion retailer French Connection has warned it could run out of money in a few months without a cash injection or a significant improvement in sales. Most retailers have drawn down their revolving credit facilities and taken advantage of government support such as a staff furlough program.

Many European countries have already allowed most retailers to reopen. Department stores in Paris did it in steps, with Le Bon Marche on the Left Bank welcoming shoppers on May 11 and Printemps Haussmann and Galeries Lafayette eventually following by the end of the month.

The U.K. government is only now cautiously beginning to ease the lockdown restrictions after the country recorded more deaths than anywhere else in Europe. Since the start of this week, car showrooms and outdoor retailers in England, such as garden centers, have reopened and the rest can do so on June 15.

In addition to setting strict hygiene guidelines, many European countries have set a fixed number of customers allowed per square meter of retail space, and the U.K. is expected to follow suit.

Primark, Britain's largest clothing chain, will put staff on doors with "clickers" to count customers entering and leaving. There will also be "sneeze screens" at checkouts, new systems to line up for payment, and "marshals" who can intervene if areas are becoming too crowded.

Associated British Foods, which owns Primark, has already opened 111 of its stores in nine European countries, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy, using these measures, said John Bason, its finance director.

Flexibility from retailers and governments will be key, according to Bason. He cited Austria as an example, which increased the number of people allowed per square meter. "We are all having to find our way in this," he said.

Balancing safety requirements with the traditional shopping experience is certainly the most significant challenge for Harrods. It has small outlets in department stores worldwide and some airports and a soon-to-be started beauty store spin-off, yet its business is focused firmly on about one million square feet of space in London's Knightsbridge.

Owned by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund for the past decade, the store is famed for selling everything and anything, from tea to artwork and furniture. At one stage, it even had an exotic pet department that sold "Gertie," a pet elephant to Ronald Reagan before he became president.

Next month, though, Harrods will open a new standalone store in the Westfield shopping center in Shepherd's Bush, a part of west London that is still classified as one of the capital's most deprived locations. The aim is to take some of the pressure off its historic hub.

As one of the world's largest shops and a major tourist attraction, Harrods typically attracts 15 million shoppers a year to a building that originally was designed for 19th century standards.

The building, with its terracotta exterior and grand dome, was built in 1883 and has multiple entry points and a warren of underground tunnels. There are 16 escalators within the buildings, multiple stairwells, and-in normal times-a bustling food hall, restaurants, and many interactive experiences, particularly in its toy department. The building also has protected status, meaning any significant alterations cannot happen without approval from the local authority.

Harrods said a senior leadership team has been meeting daily to come up with a plan to create designated entry and exit points and install signage, sneeze screens, and "sophisticated and independent software to monitor footfall" to ensure strict limited capacity is maintained across the store.

Staff have been trained on how to manage social distancing within the store and sanitization stations have been set up throughout the building. Its cafes, wellness clinic and beauty salons will remain closed for the time being. It's also not clear when the many personalized services that Harrods offers-from gift wrapping and bed linen customization to its "discreet" invitation-only personal shopping for its richest customers-will resume.

Harrods had never needed to close its doors before covid-19, said Michael Ward, its managing director. The business is now looking at every aspect of its current operations and "thinking differently to enable growth, while protecting customers and employees," he said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Lockdowns may have averted 3 million deaths in Europe by curbing COVID-19, study suggests
Wide-scale lockdowns including shop and school closures have reduced COVID-19 transmission rates in Europe enough to control its spread and may have averted more than three million deaths, researchers said on Monday.

In a modelling study of lockdown impact in 11 countries, Imperial College London scientists said the steps, imposed mostly in March, had "a substantial effect" and helped bring the infection's reproductive rate below one by early May.

The reproduction rate, or R value, measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above one can lead to exponential growth.

The Imperial team estimated that by early May, between 12 and 15 million people in the 11 countries — Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland — had been infected with COVID-19.

By comparing the number of deaths counted with deaths predicted by their model if no lockdown measures had been introduced, they found some 3.1 million deaths were averted.

"Measuring the effectiveness of these interventions is important, given their economic and social impacts, and may indicate which course of action is needed to maintain control," the researchers said in a summary of their findings.
Some limitations

The study's authors acknowledged there are some limitations to existing COVID-19 mortality data, in particular some deaths outside hospitals may go underreported.

A second study by scientists in the United States, published alongside the Imperial-led one in the journal Nature, estimated that anti-contagion lockdown policies implemented in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States prevented or delayed around 530 million COVID-19 cases.

Focusing their analysis on these six countries, the U.S. research team compared infection growth rates before and after the implementation of more than 1,700 local, regional and national policies designed to slow or halt the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

They found that without anti-contagion policies in place, early infection rates of SARS-CoV-2 grew by 68 per cent a day in Iran and an average of 38 per cent a day across the other five countries.

Using econometric modelling normally used in assessing economic policies, they found lockdowns had slowed the infection rate with "measurable beneficial health outcomes in most cases."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


New Zealand will remove social distancing requirements after reporting zero active cases of Covid-19, indicating it has achieved its aim of eliminating the virus.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Moscow exits lockdown as WHO says global crisis 'worsening'
Moscow emerged from a strict coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday despite Russia seeing thousands of new cases every day, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the pandemic was "worsening" worldwide.

Residents of Russia's capital flocked to parks after officials lifted restrictions in place since March 30, even though 8,595 new cases were registered countrywide on Tuesday and the death toll passed 6,000.

"It's nice out and there are a lot of people on the streets," said marketing manager Olga Ivanova, walking in central Moscow: "It's a beautiful day, in every sense of the word."

Russia has the third-highest number of confirmed infections in the world after the United States and Brazil, but officials say this is due to a huge testing campaign and point to a relatively low mortality rate.

However, critics say the death rate is being under-reported and accuse officials of rushing to lift restrictions for political reasons.

But as large parts of Europe and the United States reopen, the WHO reported a record number of new coronavirus cases globally.

Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that 136,000 cases had been reported in the previous 24 hours, "the most in a single day so far", with the majority of them in the Americas and South Asia.

Complacency is 'biggest threat'

"Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening," he told reporters.

Tedros said that in countries where the situation was getting better, "the biggest threat is now complacency".

"More than six months into this pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," he said.

full article  medicalxpress.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Brazil's Covid-19 deaths surge past UK, but WHO says hospital system coping
The Ministry of Health reported on Friday a cumulative total of 828,810 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 25,982 new infections in the last 24 hours

Brazil's Covid-19 death toll overtook Britain's on Friday to become the second highest in the world with 41,828 dead, but the World Health Organisation said the nation's health system was standing up to the pressure.

"The system as such from the data we see is not overwhelmed," said top WHO emergencies expert Dr Mike Ryan. He added that few areas of Brazil are using more than 80 per cent of their hospitals' intensive care bed capacity.

Brazil clearly has hotspots in heavily-populated cities, he said, but overall its health system is coping with the world's second worst number of infections.

The Ministry of Health reported on Friday a cumulative total of 828,810 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 25,982 new infections in the last 24 hours, and another 909 deaths, numbers second only to the United States.

"The data we have at the moment supports [the vision of] a system under pressure but a system still coping with the number of severe cases," Ryan said at a briefing in Geneva.

Brazil's Health Ministry has reported more than 1,200 deaths a day since Tuesday, a mounting toll as the country moves to ease quarantine restrictions and reopen businesses, a move called for by President Jair Bolsonaro.

The right-wing leader has minimised the gravity of the novel coronavirus, dismissing it "a little flu", and has accused state governments of exaggerating the number of infections and deaths to undermine him.

On Thursday night, Bolsonaro encouraged his supporters to "find a way to get inside" hospitals to film whether the ICU beds are occupied or not, to provide images that the police and Brazil's intelligence agency could investigate.

full article  scmp.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Beijing district in 'wartime emergency' after virus spike shuts market
(Reuters) – A district of Beijing was on a "wartime" footing and the capital banned tourism on Saturday after a cluster of novel coronavirus infections centred around a major wholesale market sparked fears of a new wave of COVID-19.

Concern is growing of a second wave of the pandemic, which has infected more than 7.66 million people worldwide and killed more than 420,000, even in many countries that seemed to have curbed its spread.

The virus was first reported at a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province, in December.

Chu Junwei, an official of Beijing's southwestern Fengtai district, told a briefing on Saturday that the district was in "wartime emergency mode".

Throat swabs from 45 people, out of 517 tested at the district's Xinfadi wholesale market, had tested positive for the new coronavirus, though none of them showed symptoms of COVID-19, Chu said.

A city spokesman told the briefing that all six COVID-19 patients confirmed in Beijing on Friday had visited the Xinfadi market. The capital will suspend sports events and inter-provincial tourism effective immediately, he said.

One person at an agricultural market in the city's northwestern Haidian district also tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 without showing symptoms, Chu said.

As part of measures to curb the spread of the virus, Fengtai district said it had locked down 11 neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the market.

Authorities closed the Xinfadi market at 3 a.m. on Saturday (1900 GMT on Friday), after two men working at a meat research centre who had recently visited the market were reported on Friday to have been infected. It was not immediately clear how the men had been infected.

"Preliminary judgment suggests these cases may have come into contact with a contaminated environment in the market, or were infected after being in contact with infected people. We cannot rule out subsequent cases in the future," said Pang Xinghuo, an official at the Beijing Center for Disease Control.

Beijing authorities had earlier halted beef and mutton trading at the Xinfadi market, alongside closures at other wholesale markets around the city.

Reflecting concerns over the risk of further spread of the virus, major supermarkets in Beijing removed salmon from their shelves overnight after the virus causing COVID-19 was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at the market, the state-owned Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Beijing authorities said more than 10,000 people at the market will take nucleic acid tests to detect coronavirus infections. The city government also said it had dropped plans to reopen schools on Monday for students in grades one through three because of the new cases.

Health authorities visited the home of a Reuters reporter in Beijing's Dongcheng district on Saturday to ask whether she had visited the Xinfadi market, which is 15 km (9 miles) away. They said the visit was part of patrols Dongcheng was conducting.

China reported 11 new COVID-19 cases and seven asymptomatic infections of the virus for Friday, the national health authority said on Saturday. All six locally transmitted cases were confirmed in Beijing.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand records one new COVID-19 case on Sunday
Thailand recorded just one more COVID-19 case today, while there have been no locally-transmitted infections for 20 consecutive days.

According to the CCSA, the new patient is a Thai woman who arrived from the United States and entered state quarantine in Bangkok. She brings the cumulative infections in Thailand to 3,135, with 2,987 recoveries and 90 still in hospital. The death toll remains at 58.

Dr. Nop Siriroek Songsivilai, secretary-general of National Research Committee and chief of the CCSA's medical innovations, research and development centre, offered an overview of COVID-19 pandemic situation in different countries.

He said that in most countries in Latin America, South Asia and the Middle East, such as Brazil, Chili, Peru, South Africa, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran and Indonesia, the pandemic has not yet peaked or is currently at its peak.

Countries where the disease is still spreading, but is under control, include the Philippines, Spain, Italy, Turkey, the United States, Britain and Malaysia.

Thailand is classified among countries which have gone through the first wave of infection. These also include China, Germany, Slovenia, New Zealand, Australia and Iceland.

Countries experiencing a second wave of infection, but have the situation is under control, include South Korea, Japan and Singapore.

Countries and territories which have not yet experienced a wide spread epidemic include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and Laos.

Sweden is the only country which has not applied lockdown measures and is allowing the disease to run its course.

Globally, cumulative infections to date are 7,860,752, with the United States at the top of the list with 2,142,224 cases, followed by Brazil's 850,796, Russia's 520,129, India's 321,626 and the UK's 294,375.

Thailand ranks 88th in terms of cumulative infections.

Meanwhile, spokesman for Bangkok City Hall, Pol Cpt Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, warned today that food shops, restaurants and other establishments selling alcoholic beverages must strictly observe operating hour restrictions or face closure.

He also warned that live music is still not allowed, but the playing of recorded music is permitted, subject to normal intellectual property rules.

Pubs, bars, karaoke bars, cock fighting or training rings, bull fighting rings, game and internet cafés remain closed.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


New virus outbreak in China stokes second wave fears

Chinese authorities are testing thousands of people as a new cluster of coronavirus cases sparked alarm

China's capital was facing an "extremely severe" coronavirus threat on Tuesday, as New Zealand reported its first new infections in almost a month and fears mounted that the deadly pandemic is still far from under control.

More than eight million people have now been infected with the virus worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year -- with more than 436,813 deaths -- and the tolls are still surging in Latin America and South Asia.

However, British researchers were hailing a potential "major breakthrough" on Tuesday with a steroid treatment saving the lives of one-third of seriously ill patients in clinical trials.

British officials said patients would immediately have access to the steroid, dexamethasone.

Even without an effective treatment, caseloads and death rates have declined across Europe.

The UK, however, is still struggling with the world's third largest outbreak and New Zealand said the two new cases reported there were recent arrivals from Britain.

The South Pacific nation had declared last week that it had ended community transmission of the virus.

European countries are eager to drop coronavirus restrictions to save the imminent summer tourist season, but Spain warned that it may quarantine British visitors should the UK persist with its plan to quarantine all overseas arrivals.

And the latest reminder of the threat came from China, which had largely brought its outbreak under control, as 27 new infections were reported in Beijing, where a new cluster linked to a wholesale food market has sparked mass testing and neighbourhood lockdowns.

"The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe," Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned, as the number of confirmed infections soared to 106.

While these cases have caused concern about a resurgence in countries that had suppressed their outbreaks, the disease is gaining momentum in other regions with massive populations.

Known infections in India have crossed 330,000, and already stretched authorities are bracing for the monsoon season, which causes outbreaks of illnesses such as dengue fever and malaria every year.

Vastly experienced doctor Vidya Thakur, medical superintendent at Mumbai's Rajawadi Hospital, is used to managing "heavy burdens", she says.

But COVID-19 "has left us helpless... and the monsoon will make things even more difficult", she says.

- Oscars postponed -

In Latin America, countries are struggling to contain the disease while trying to ease the crushing economic blow dealt by widespread lockdowns and social distancing measures.

Peru reported its economy shrank by more than 40 percent year-on-year in April, while Chile extended its state of emergency by three months as it struggles with a controversy over how it is counting COVID-19 deaths.

Ecuador, which has the region's fourth highest official virus death toll after Brazil, Mexico and Peru, has extended its state of emergency for 60 more days.

This allowed the government to keep in place restrictions including a curfew, the mobilisation of the armed forces and suspension of rights such as freedom of assembly.

In the United States, the world's worst-hit nation, there have been flare-ups in some states.

But President Donald Trump's administration insists there will be no new economic shutdown even if a second wave hits.

A return to normal still looks distant, however, with the Oscars postponed by two months, the latest casualty of an already interrupted sports and entertainment calendar.

- Borders reopen in Europe -

After a gradual drop in new cases, European nations including Belgium, France, Germany and Greece lifted border restrictions hoping to boost tourism and travel over the summer months.

But disruptions to normal social and economic life will continue.

In Britain, the Premier League football season resumes on Wednesday, but in empty stadiums.

There are fears some supporters will ignore social-distancing rules by congregating outside the grounds where their teams are playing, risking new clusters of infections.

But league chief executive Richard Masters said: "Please stay away and enjoy the matches at home. By turning up to the game you are putting things at jeopardy."

In Singapore, the transport minister said construction of a major new airport terminal will be halted for at least two years as the global travel sector struggles to recover.

Hungary, however, did take a step towards the post-virus world, when MPs voted to revoke the emergency powers given to Prime Minister Viktor Orban to help tackle the crisis.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Beijing cancels flights, shuts schools over new virus outbreak
Beijing's airports cancelled more than 1,200 flights and schools in the Chinese capital were closed again on Wednesday as authorities rushed to contain a new coronavirus outbreak linked to a wholesale food market.

The city reported 31 new cases on Wednesday while officials urged residents not to leave Beijing, with fears growing about a second wave of infections in China, which had largely brought its outbreak under control.

Tens of thousands of people linked to the new Beijing virus cluster -- believed to have started in the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market -- are being tested, with almost 30 residential compounds in the city now under lockdown.

At least 1,255 scheduled flights were cancelled Wednesday morning, state-run People's Daily reported, nearly 70% of all trips to and from Beijing's main airports.

The outbreak had already forced authorities to announce a travel ban for residents of "medium- or high-risk" areas of the city, while requiring other residents to take nucleic acid tests in order to leave Beijing.

Meanwhile, several provinces were quarantining travellers from Beijing, where all schools -- which had mostly reopened -- have been ordered to close again and return to online classes.

"The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe," Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned Tuesday.

Officials have closed 11 markets and disinfected thousands of food and beverage businesses in Beijing after the outbreak was detected.

The city has now reported 137 infections over the last six days, with six new asymptomatic cases and three suspected cases on Wednesday, according to the municipal health commission.

An additional two domestic cases, one in neighbouring Hebei province and another in Zhejiang, were reported by national authorities on Wednesday, while there were 11 imported cases.

Authorities have so far banned group sports, ordered people to wear masks in crowded enclosed spaces, and suspended inter-provincial group tours in response to the outbreak.

Officials said that since May 30, more than 200,000 people had visited Xinfadi market, which supplies more than 70% of Beijing's fruit and vegetables.

More than 8,000 workers there were tested and quarantined.

Until the new outbreak, most of China's recent cases were nationals returning from abroad as Covid-19 spread globally, and the government had all but declared victory against the disease.

China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the virus type found in the Beijing outbreak was a "major epidemic strain" in Europe.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Indonesia reports 1,031 new coronavirus infections; Southeast Asia's highest case total

(Reuters) - Indonesia reported 1,031 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday taking the total to 41,431 and overtaking Singapore with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said 45 more deaths were reported on Wednesday, taking the total number of fatalities to 2,276. Indonesia has the highest coronavirus death toll in East Asia outside of China.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


COVID-19 cases surge in Oklahoma, other states ahead of Trump's Tulsa rally
Several U.S. states including Oklahoma reported a surge in new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, just days before a planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Tulsa that will rank as the nation's largest social gathering by far in three months.
An uptick in coronavirus cases in many states over the past two weeks, along with rising COVID-19 hospitalizations, reflected a troubling national trend that has seen daily U.S. infection numbers climbing after more than a month of declines.

Oklahoma reported a record 259 new cases over the previous 24 hours, while Florida reported more than 2,600 new cases and Arizona more than 1,800 - the second-highest daily increases for those two states.  full article msn.com

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Brazil passes 1 million coronavirus cases with no end in sight  metro.us
(Reuters) – Brazil passed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday and approached 50,000 deaths, a new nadir for the world's second worst-hit country as it struggles with a tense political climate and worsening economic outlook.

Second only to the United States in both cases and deaths, Brazil confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus on Feb. 26. The virus has spread relentlessly across the continent-sized country, eroding support for right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and raising fears of economic collapse after years of anemic growth.

Brazil reported 1,032,913 confirmed cases on Friday, with 1,206 new deaths to take total official fatalities to 48,954, the Health Ministry said. Friday also saw a new record daily number of cases, with 54,771, suggesting the outbreak is far from over. Brazil is likely to surpass 50,000 deaths on Saturday, although weekend reporting can be lower.

Even so, the true extent of the outbreak far exceeds the official figures, according to many experts, who cite a lack of widespread testing.

"That number of 1 million is much less than the real number of people who have been infected, because there is under-reporting of a magnitude of five to 10 times," said Alexandre Naime Barbosa, a medical professor at the São Paulo State University. "The true number is probably at least 3 million and could even be as high as 10 million people."

COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, arrived in Brazil via wealthy tourists returning from Europe to major southeastern cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and has spread deep into the interior, reaching 82% of Brazil's municipalities, Health Ministry data showed.

Bolsonaro, sometimes called the "Tropical Trump," has been widely criticized for his handling of the crisis. The country still has had no permanent health minister after losing two since April, following clashes with the president.

Bolsonaro has shunned social distancing, calling it a job-killing measure more dangerous than the virus itself. He has also promoted two anti-malarial drugs as remedies, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, despite little evidence they work.

The far-right former army captain's handling of the crisis has prompted Brazilians to bang pots and pans regularly outside their apartments in protest, but it has not stopped him from wading into costly political battles with his own cabinet and the Supreme Court, stoking fears of instability.

Pressure from Bolsonaro and public fatigue after months of ineffective state and local isolation orders has led governors and mayors to begin lifting restrictions on commerce and other economic activity.

Public health experts have warned that loosening restrictions too soon threatens to accelerate contagion and drive up fatalities.

"We think that there will be a new wave after the loosening of these measures," said Ricardo Langer, a doctor treating COVID-19 patients at the Maracanã stadium field hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

A worsening outbreak could weigh on already-grim economic forecasts. The government has said the economy will contract by 4.7% this year, while economists surveyed by the central bank think it will fall more than 6%.

Latin America has registered 90,439 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, with nearly 2 million cases.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Spain to allow Britons to visit from Sunday without quarantine

(Reuters) - Spain said on Saturday it would allow in British tourists from Sunday without requiring them to spend two weeks in quarantine, opening up to one of its largest tourism markets after the hit from the coronavirus pandemic

But as much as Spain wants to welcome British tourists, the UK's current quarantine measures, requiring a two-week period of self-isolation for most people entering the country from abroad, may well put off some potential travellers.

Britain is due to review its 14-day quarantine rule on June 29, three weeks after it was introduced.

"We will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the European Union or Schengen area from 21 June freely and without the need for the quarantine," foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told BBC News.

Spain will end its coronavirus state of emergency, imposed on March 14, on Sunday, and will open its borders to EU and Schengen area countries for a much needed boost to its tourism industry.

Gonzalez Laya said British travellers would be subject to the same "triple check" as other European visitors, which consists of checking their origin, taking their temperature and taking contact details in case they need to be traced.

"We want to make sure we welcome visitors but do so in safety and security for them as well as for Spaniards," she said.

Spain is still in discussions over whether the UK will similarly lift quarantine measures for Spaniards, she said. But it was opening its borders "out of respect for the 400,000 British citizens who have second residences in Spain" and who are "dying to benefit" from them.

A British government spokesman said its position on quarantines for people entering the country remained unchanged.

"International travel corridors remain an option under consideration by the UK government, not established policy," the spokesman said. "Conversations take place regularly with governments around the world on a whole range of issues and we will not be providing any further details at this stage."

Britons account for more than a fifth of the roughly 80 million tourists Spain receives every year.

Britain, which has reported more than 42,500 deaths from coronavirus, and Spain, with over 28,300, are among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19.

Spain will open its border with Portugal on July 1.

Earlier on Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in his final weekly televised address before the end of the state of emergency, warned Spaniards not to drop their guard because the virus could return.

"Each of us can be a wall in front of the virus or a route of contagion, it depends on each of us," he said.

Spain, which implemented one of Europe's strictest lockdowns that saw people confined to their homes for nearly two months apart from for trips for food, medicines and essential jobs, has been easing restrictions in recent weeks.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Chile reports more than 7,000 virus deaths under new counting method
(AFP) – Chile nearly doubled its coronavirus death toll Saturday to more than 7,000 under a new tallying method that includes probable fatalities from COVID-19.

The toll thus increased by 3,069, Rafael Araos of the heath ministry said as he revealed officially for the first time the new government counting methodology.

The revelation of this tallying method last week by CIPER, an investigative news organization, prompted the resignation of health minister Jaime Manalich.

Until now the death toll from confirmed coronavirus cases in the South American country was 4,075.

Infections have risen steadily in Chile even though it began taking emergency measures in February — including widespread testing and the closure of borders and schools — making it one of the first Latin American countries to do so.

The capital Santiago and its seven million people were placed under lockdown more than a month ago, followed recently by the cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Germany's coronavirus reproduction rate jumps, indicating rising contagion
(Reuters) - Germany's coronavirus reproduction rate jumped to 2.88 on Sunday, up from 1.79 a day earlier, health authorities said, a rate showing infections are rising above the level needed to contain the disease over the longer term.

The rise brings with it the possibility of renewed restrictions on activity in Europe's largest economy - a blow to a country that so far had widely been seen as successful in curbing the coronavirus spread and keeping the death toll relatively low.

To keep the pandemic under control, Germany needs the reproduction rate to drop below one. The rate of 2.88, published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health, means that out of 100 people who contract the virus, a further 288 people will get infected.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had favoured maintaining lockdown measures for longer but gradually eased restrictions in recent weeks following pressure from regional politicians to reboot the economy.

Already, the country is grappling to get people to adhere to isolation rules in places where they have been imposed. Over the weekend, authorities in Goettingen needed riot police to enforce quarantine measures.

In North-Rhine Westphalia, more than 1,300 people working at a slaugterhouse in Guetersloh tested positive for coronavirus, up from 803 infections on Friday.

As a result, North-Rhine Westphalia has put 7,000 people under quarantine and closed kindergartens and schools close to the abbatoir.

"I cannot rule out a broader lockdown," North-Rhine Westphalia's premier Armin Laschet told German television ZDF on Sunday.

Outbreaks in recent weeks have occurred in nursing homes, hospitals, institutions for asylum seekers and refugees, in meat processing plants and logistics companies, among seasonal harvest workers and in connection with religious events, RKI said.

The 2.88 rate is a jump from 1.06 on Friday, based on RKI's moving 4-day average data, which reflects infection rates one to two weeks ago.

Based on a 7-day average, infection rates have risen to 2.03, RKI said, adding that an accurate reading for long-term patterns will take a couple of days.

The spike in infections is mainly related to local outbreaks including in North Rhine-Westphalia, RKI said. North-Rhine Westphalia was one of the regions most vocal about urging Merkel to ease lockdown restrictions.

A high 7-day incidence rate was observed in the towns of Guetersloh and Warendorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Further outbreaks were detected in the cities of Magdeburg, in Saxony Anhalt and the Berlin district of Neukoelln, RKI said.

In total, Germany has reported 189,822 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,882 deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported, RKI said.

In an interview published on Sunday, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that the economy had passed the worst of the crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak and was now expected to recover gradually.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


South Korea says it is battling 'second wave' of coronavirus

(Reuters) - Health authorities in South Korea said for the first time on Monday it is in the midst of a "second wave" of novel coronavirus infections around Seoul, driven by small but persistent outbreaks stemming from a holiday in May.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) had previously said South Korea's first wave had never really ended.

But on Monday, KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong said it had become clear that a holiday weekend in early May marked the beginning of a new wave of infections focused in the densely populated greater Seoul area, which had previously seen few cases.

"In the metropolitan area, we believe that the first wave was from March to April as well as February to March," Jeong said at a regular briefing. "Then we see that the second wave which was triggered by the May holiday has been going on."

At the end of February, South Korea reported a peak of more than 900 cases in a day, in the first large outbreak of the coronavirus outside of China.

An intensive tracking and testing campaign reduced the numbers to single digits by late April.

But just as the country announced it would be easing social distancing guidelines in early May, new cases spiked, driven in part by infections among young people who visited nightclubs and bars in Seoul over the holiday weekend.

"We originally predicted that the second wave would emerge in fall or winter," Jeong said. "Our forecast turned out to be wrong. As long as people have close contact with others, we believe that infections will continue."

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon told a briefing that while daily numbers may be at manageable levels, if recent infection rates continued the city could soon see hundreds of cases a day.

As of midnight Sunday, South Korea reported 17 new coronavirus cases, the first time in nearly a month that daily new cases had dropped below 20. It was a drop from the 48 and 67 cases reported in the previous two days.

South Korea has reported a total of 12,438 cases, with 280 deaths.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


No name, no pint: new rules for England's pubs after lockdown
(Reuters) - Drinkers in England's pubs will have to give their name before they order a pint, and there will be no live acts or standing at the bar, the government said in advice for re-opening the sector next month.

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will have to keep a record of customers for 21 days to assist the state health service's test and trace operation, which aims to identify and contain any local flare ups of COVID-19 and stop a second wave of infections.

Live performances, including drama, comedy and music, will also not be allowed, the government said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday pubs, restaurants and hotels could reopen in England on July 4, easing the coronavirus lockdown that has all but shut the economy.

He also reduced social distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre, a change that will allow many more pubs and restaurants to reopen.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said 75% of pubs in England – 28,000 in total – would be able to reopen. Under 2 metre social distancing rules, only a third of England's pubs – 12,500 – would have been able to reopen.

"As an industry we will be doing everything we can to ensure both our customers and staff are safe in our pubs," BBPA Chief Executive Emma McClarkin said.

"We do have significant concerns over the collection and storage of personal customer data when visiting the pub."

Business Minister Alok Sharma said he would consult with the industry on data regulation, noting that restaurants and hairdressers already kept information when people made bookings.

"We what to work with the sector, we want to work with trade unions, to make sure we get this absolutely right and I'll be doing that later on this week," he told LBC radio on Wednesday.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


US states reimpose virus measures as cases spike
With coronavirus cases surging across the US South and West, officials are once again imposing tough measures, from stay-at-home advice in worst-hit states to quarantines to protect recovering areas like New York.

Nearly four months after the United States reported its first death from COVID-19, the nation faces a deepening health crisis as a wave of infections hits young Americans and experts issue new acute warnings.

The world's largest economy is the country hardest hit by the pandemic, with a mounting death toll of over 121,000 dead.

Some officials -- including the Texas governor -- who loosened restrictions on business, dining, public gatherings and tourism, are now urging residents to again stay home.

Three northeastern states that made progress beating back the pandemic -- New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- on Wednesday urged visitors arriving from US hotspots to quarantine themselves.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the advisory applied to visitors from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.

Several states in the South and West including heavily populated Florida and Texas are suffering what White House advisor and top scientist Anthony Fauci described as "disturbing" new surges in infections.

Daily case averages are being pushed to record levels in the region, even as former epicenters like New York and Detroit have seen their figures drop.

Fauci warned that the next two weeks would be "critical" to addressing the surges, which have also hit the nation's most populous state, California.

Florida marked 5,508 new infections on Tuesday, bringing its total to more than 109,000 confirmed cases and 3,281 deaths.

Governor Ron DeSantis said the state was experiencing "a real explosion in new cases among our younger demographics," and a spike in hospitalizations.

He warned that bars and restaurants could lose their alcohol licences if they do not follow social distancing guidelines.

DeSantis declined to order a state-wide mandatory masking policy as leaders in California and Washington state have done.

But that hasn't stopped Miami from implementing its own mandatory mask rules.

- Stay home -

In Texas, which was among the most aggressive states in reopening in early June after months of lockdown, new cases hit a daily high of 5,489 on Tuesday.

A concerned Governor Greg Abbott warned Texans of the virus's "rampant" spread and said the "safest" place to be was in their homes, adding that those who needed to go out should wear masks.

"If those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary," he said.

Abbott is an ally of Donald Trump, but his warnings are at stark odds with the president, who proclaimed Tuesday that "we did a great job on CoronaVirus."

Epidemiologist Rebecca Fisher said states like Texas should have maintained their mitigating efforts longer.

"It doesn't look like we are coming close to the top of the peak," Fisher told AFP. "And we're definitely not coming down the other side of this yet."

The southwestern border state of Arizona is seeing dangerous spikes too.

Its confirmed COVID-19 cases have more than quadrupled since the stay-at-home order expired on May 15, and people getting infected are younger and younger.

Arizona's reported seven-day rolling average of 39 new cases per 100,000 residents is a nationwide high.

That compares with 14 per 100,000 residents in Texas, 11 per 100,000 in California, and just three per 100,000 in New York state, according to the Washington Post.

But the dire figures did not stop Trump from hosting a rally Tuesday in Arizona's largest city Phoenix, where most attendees did not wear masks or practice social distancing.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Masks and bleach: Europe's cities gear up for post-lockdown tourism
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After months of lockdown many Europeans are dreaming of a summer holiday, but vacations will look a bit different this year - breakfast buffets, guided tours and club nights may well be out; masks and temperature checks are definitely in.

Tourist attractions from Rome's Colosseum to Amsterdam's Hermitage museum have introduced a slew of measures to minimise the risk of a new outbreak of coronavirus which has killed about 170,000 people in western Europe.

In Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Florence's striking cathedral are turning to technology to enforce social distancing, providing visitors with electronic devices which vibrate if they get too close to one another.

In Barcelona, the authorities are launching an app to help tourists in Spain's second city plan their itineraries and avoid congestion and queues.

Countries like Italy and Spain, where tourism accounts for about an eighth of GDP, are desperate to lure back visitors as they scramble to salvage the summer season.

But there are fears that a return to mass tourism could see a second spike in the pandemic.

"This is the most difficult situation the Spanish tourism sector has faced that anyone can remember," said Jose Luis Zoreda, vice-president of tourism lobby group Exceltur.

Tourists in Spain, which reopened its borders to most European visitors this week, will see changes from the moment they check in.

Some hotels are introducing air purifiers, thermal cameras to check guests' temperatures, arches which spray them with disinfectant and mats with a bleach solution to clean their shoes and suitcase wheels.

In the morning, guests will not be able to jostle for their favourites at the breakfast buffet, but will be served by staff behind screens. Madrid has recommended getting rid of buffets altogether.

Hotels will ask guests to use mobile apps for everything from ordering a cocktail to settling bills in order to reduce physical contact.


Many museums and monuments now require visitors to book tickets online for specific timeslots, undergo temperature checks, don masks and stick to a one-way route.

With cultural attractions forced to slash daily visitor numbers, the Museums Association of the Netherlands estimates the country's museums will lose 5-7 million euros ($5.6 - $7.9 million) a week.

The United Nations' cultural body UNESCO says more than 10% of the world's museums may never reopen, while others will have to put new projects on hold.

Coronavirus closures will have a lasting impact on major institutions like the Prado in Madrid which derive most of their income from tourists, it says.

Europe's theatres have similar concerns, with Shakespeare's Globe in London, a replica of an Elizabethan theatre, warning it may fold without financial help.

In Spain, there are fears for the future of flamenco venues which rely on tourism. A famous flamenco bar in Madrid closed down this month blaming the pandemic.


For clubbers, the summer looks set to be a washout.

Spain's Balearic Islands - renowned for their hedonistic nightlife - have banned dancing at clubs and beach bars.

Some of the islands' superclubs, which can hold thousands of revellers, are staying shut after being told they can only host up to 100 people outdoors. Small clubs must cover the dance floor with tables and chairs.

Italy's clubs can reopen from July 15, but rules vary between regions. Clubbers in some tourist hotspots including Rimini and Riccione will have to dance two metres apart – and only at open-air venues.

Drinking at the bar is out, masks are compulsory indoors and bouncers may step in to enforce social distancing.

Vibrant club scenes and big music venues in London, Berlin and Amsterdam remain dormant.

In Berlin, bars and restaurants have to retain customers' contact details in case of a COVID-19 outbreak. England's pubs and restaurants have been told to do the same when they reopen from July 4.


Although Italy has been open to tourists since June 3, its cities remain quiet.

Rome's Trevi Fountain, normally jammed with sightseers, is almost empty, and the street entertainers have yet to return to Piazza Navona, one of the city's most magnificent squares.

Italy is bracing for a 44% fall in visitors in 2020 compared to last year with numbers unlikely to rebound to pre-covid levels until 2023, according to national tourism agency ENIT.

"We don't expect too many tourists to come ... people are scared," said Isabella Ruggiero, president of Rome tour guide association AGTAR.

The onset of the pandemic in March could not have been worse timing for Rome's 3,000 registered guides who work long hours for eight months a year to tide them over the quiet winter period. Most were fully booked to September.

"In a couple of weeks all those tours were cancelled. For the whole year," Ruggiero told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "The coronavirus changed our lives."

In recent years tourism has been dominated by large groups, particularly from China and the United States. Airport arrivals from both countries are down more than 80%, according to ENIT.

Ruggiero says tour groups will have to be smaller and itineraries carefully managed in cities such as Venice, Rome and Florence, whose cultural sites and narrow streets are not conducive to social distancing.

But there could be a silver lining, she says, with smaller, slower, more focussed tours potentially paving the way for a more responsible form of tourism in Italy's historic cities.

"This could be really good for the future of tourism," Ruggiero added. "It's about taking care of the tourists, taking care of the local community and local economy, and not just running for a few hours to every place."

During the lockdown, guide and archaeologist Ferdinando Badagliacca took his tours online, offering interactive sessions on everything from Italian wines to Rome's fountains and Pompeii's splendours.

He did his first proper tour on Sunday but has few bookings. "It's going very slow" he said. "I used to tell my clients 'tourism will never die in Rome'. Reality has shown me that's not true."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Bournemouth beach: 'Major incident' as thousands flock to coast
Sun-seekers have been urged to stay away from a beach as thousands flocked to the Dorset coast and a major incident was declared in Bournemouth.

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council said Bournemouth Beach was "stretched to the absolute hilt" on the second day of a UK heatwave.

Dorset Police said there were reports of gridlocked roads, fights and overnight camping.

People were urged to "act responsibly" as temperatures hit the mid-20s.

Traffic built up early on coast-bound roads - including Durdle Door - and people travelled to Bournemouth from as far as Birmingham.

By Thursday evening the Sandbanks peninsula was "heavily congested", the council said, repeating its warning for people to "please stay away".

The ferry service in Sandbanks tweeted: "Again we're struggling to get traffic off the ferry at Poole, for now we hope to carry half loads of vehicles from Studland, but depends on the gridlock in Sandbanks tonight."

A local resident took a photo of the lengthy queue for the Mudeford ferry as beach-goers left for the day.  bbc.com

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


US, Europe battle fresh virus surges
The United States on Thursday battled a resurgence of coronavirus cases in a number of states including Texas, while the World Health Organization warned that several European countries were also facing dangerous upticks.

The pandemic — which has claimed more than 480,000 lives around the world — continued to pummel Latin America. Brazil, the hardest-hit country in the region, had close to 55,000 deaths and 1.2 million infections, while Mexico on Thursday surpassed 25,000 fatalities.

In the United States, after hitting a two-month plateau, the rate of new cases is now soaring in the south and west, with the confirmed infection rate nearing levels last seen in April.

Texas was among the most aggressive states in reopening in early June.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott had been confident that Texas had escaped the worst of the US outbreak.

The United States recorded 37,667 cases and 692 deaths in 24 hours, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, with nearly 122,000 lives lost overall — by far the highest toll in the world.

Abbott was forced Thursday to halt the state's phased reopening and moved to free up hospital beds.

"The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," said Abbott, an ally of President Donald Trump, who has faced stark criticism for his handling of the crisis.

"This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread."

Twenty-nine states are now facing a rebound in cases.

Experts blame a patchwork of responses at the official level, the politicization of face masks and physical distancing, and the widespread onset of "quarantine fatigue" among restless Americans.

US health officials now believe based on antibody surveys that some 24 million people may have already been infected — 10 times higher than the officially recorded figure of around 2.4 million.

They say the demographics of the outbreak are changing as younger people engage in more risky behavior out of a desire to return to their pre-pandemic "normal."
Pushed 'to the brink'

In search of that sense of normality, a few dozen tourists braved scorching heat in Paris to climb the Eiffel Tower's iron stairs as it reopened to tourists — without the lifts, deemed too small for social distancing.

"I'm tearing up, but they're tears of joy," said Therese, 60, from the southwestern city of Perpignan.

Norway, which has some of the most severe travel restrictions still in force, said Thursday it would aim to relax the measures with Schengen and EU nations by mid-July.

And in Britain, some took the new relaxed regime too far, with thousands crowding the beach in the English coastal town of Bournemouth to soak up the sun.

The local council declared a major incident and said the beachgoers' behavior had been "just shocking."

The joyous reopening of tourist sites and beaches was nevertheless tempered by a new warning from the World Health Organization that Europe is not yet in the clear.

WHO regional director Hans Kluge warned that in 11 nations, "accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe."

Parts of Lisbon reinstated lockdown measures, following in the path of two western German districts.   

However, Europe's current caseload compares favorably with that of the Americas, with the US and Brazil continuing to lead the world in confirmed cases and deaths.
Delicate balance

Governments are still struggling to balance the public health needs of fighting a virus that has infected at least 9.5 million people with the devastating global economic impact.

There was more grim news for the world's airlines, with Australia's Qantas announcing it was cutting 6,000 staff and Germany's Lufthansa moving closer to a $10 billion state rescue when the plan was approved by the European Union.

The International Monetary Fund is the latest to quantify the economic harm — predicting that global GDP will plunge by 4.9 percent this year and wipe out $12 trillion over two years.

And the problems suffered by Qantas and Lufthansa reveal the pain felt in the airline industry — and more broadly, the tourism sector.

Governments have been desperately trying to keep firms from laying off staff — Spain on Thursday extended its state-funded furlough scheme until the end of September, three months longer than it had planned.

The EU gave a boost to the prospects of antiviral remdesivir on Thursday by recommending it for use — the first treatment to be given the green light in Europe.

But until a vaccine or treatment is found, experts have warned that restrictions on economic activity — and spiraling death tolls — could remain the norm.

Iran's death toll surpassed 10,000 on Thursday, with health officials recording more than 100 fatalities for the seventh consecutive day.

China, where the disease was first detected late last year, meanwhile declared that it had controlled an outbreak in Beijing that had briefly raised fears of a second wave and prompted restrictions and several million tests.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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