US notches 4 million virus cases, Europe tops 3 million amid fresh outbreaks
Nurses and their supporters protest demanding better Personal Protective Equipment outside MedStar's Washington Hospital Center on July 23, 2020, in Washington, DC.
AFP/Brendan Smialowski
US notches 4 million virus cases, Europe tops 3 million amid fresh outbreaks
Issam Ahmed (Agence France-Presse) - July 24, 2020 - 8:06am

WASHINGTON, United States — The coronavirus pandemic hit grim new milestones on Thursday as cases topped four million in the United States and three million in Europe, as fresh spikes from Belgium to Tokyo to Melbourne forced new restrictions on citizens. 

While EU lawmakers combed through a huge aid package for their economies, the UN called for a basic income for the world's poorest to help slow the spread of the pandemic, and the Red Cross warned of "massive" new migration caused by the economic devastation.

The United States, the hardest-hit country in the pandemic, added one million new cases in just over two weeks, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 143,000 US deaths overall.

The country has seen a coronavirus surge, particularly in southern and western states, as Texas, California, Alabama, Idaho and Florida all announced record one-day death tolls.

Meanwhile, the European continent now accounts for a fifth of the world's more than 15 million cases and remains the hardest hit in terms of deaths, with 206,633 out of 627,307 worldwide.

A 750-billion-euro post-coronavirus recovery plan was hammered out at an EU summit this week, where fiscally rigid nations butted heads with hard-hit countries like Spain and Italy that have called for huge aid grants.

EU chief Charles Michel said the total stimulus would eventually reach 1.8 trillion euros ($2.2 trillion).

"This moment, it's my conviction, is pivotal in European history. We acted fast and with urgency," Michel told the bloc's parliament in Brussels.

"Europe's response is greater than that of the United States or China," he said.

Meanwhile, the UN warned that the world's poorest also need help. 

Funding of $199 billion per month would provide 2.7 billion people with a temporary basic income and the "means to buy food and pay for health and education expenses," the UN Development Programme said.

"Bailouts and recovery plans cannot only focus on big markets and big business," said UNDP administrator Achim Steiner.

UN projections have warned the virus could kill 1.67 million people in 30 low-income countries.

The knock-on effects will also be huge, warned Red Cross chief Jagan Chapagain. 

"Many people who are losing livelihoods, once the borders start opening, will feel compelled to move," he told AFP. 

"We should not be surprised if there is a massive impact on migration in the coming months and years."

New restrictions

There were signs the virus can quickly re-emerge when lockdown measures are lifted.

Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong and the Japanese capital Tokyo all had early successes in containing outbreaks, but are now facing an upsurge, prompting new restrictions. 

Anyone venturing out in Australia's second-biggest city Melbourne will have to wear a mask. The same will be true in Belgium's outdoor markets and busy areas from Saturday.

"These measures are not advice, they are orders," Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said. 

"Announcing a strengthening of the rules is a hard blow for our morale, but we'd prefer to take these measures today than to regret it tomorrow."

South Africa's Medical Research Council has reported a 60-percent increase in overall numbers of natural deaths in recent weeks, suggesting a much higher toll of coronavirus-related fatalities in Africa's worst-hit nation.

'Untrue, unacceptable'

The politics around the virus continued, with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus rejecting an allegation by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he owed his position to a deal with China.

Tedros said the claim was "untrue and unacceptable" and warned against the "politicization of the pandemic."

Meanwhile in France, while the number of foreign tourists in Paris, the world's most visited city, has dwindled during a two-month lockdown, there has been a noticeable increase in home-grown visitors.

"Most clients are clearly French, with lots of families," said a spokesman for catering firm Sodexo, adding that the chic Jules Verne restaurant on the Eiffel tower was booked solid every night in July. — with AFP bureaus

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 27, 2020 - 12:14pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

November 27, 2020 - 12:14pm

An official says Germany's coronavirus infections pass one million.

November 26, 2020 - 5:37pm

Russia on Thursday registered record numbers for daily infections and deaths from the coronavirus for the second time in less than a week. 

Health officials reported 25,487 new infections, bringing the national total to 2,187,990 cases since the beginning of the pandemic — the fifth-highest caseload in the world.

Health authorities also reported 524 deaths, raising Russia's total fatalities from COVID-19 to 38,062. — AFP

November 26, 2020 - 2:14pm

South Korea reported its highest daily number of coronavirus cases since March on Thursday, with a surge of new infections sparking fears of a major third wave.

Officials announced 583 new cases after several weeks of fresh infections ranging between around 100 and 300.

The latest cases have mostly been clusters at offices, schools, gyms and small gatherings in the greater Seoul area, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

New infections also emerged within the military, including dozens of newly enlisted soldiers at a boot camp — prompting the defense ministry to bolster its virus measures. — AFP

November 26, 2020 - 1:29pm

South Korea reported its highest daily number of coronavirus cases since March on Thursday, with a surge of new infections sparking fears of a major third wave.

Officials announced 583 new cases after several weeks of fresh infections ranging between around 100 and 300.

The latest cases have mostly been clusters at offices, schools, gyms and small gatherings in the greater Seoul area, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said. — AFP

November 26, 2020 - 8:31am

The coronavirus pandemic is no excuse for not getting enough exercise, the World Health Organization says Wednesday, warning that even before the crisis many were getting too little physical activity. 

In an update of its physical activity guidelines, the UN health agency stressed that exercise was vital to physical and mental health, while sedentary behaviour can have serious repercussions.

"WHO urges everyone to continue to stay active through the Covid-19 pandemic," the agency's head of health promotion Ruediger Krech told reporters.

"If we do not remain active, we run the risk of creating another pandemic of ill-health as a result of sedentary behavior." — AFP

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with