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Coronavirus: What’s happening around the world Monday

WHO says virus ‘definitely accelerating’ in U.S., South Asia, Middle East and Africa

The Associated Press · Posted: Jun 22, 2020

The latest:

The record levels of new daily COVID-19 cases are due to the fact that the pandemic is peaking in a number of big countries at the same time and reflect a change in the virus’s global activity, the World Health Organization said.

At a media briefing on Monday, WHO’s emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said that “the numbers are increasing because the epidemic is developing in a number of populous countries at the same time.”

Some countries have attributed their increased caseload to more testing, including India and the U.S. But Ryan dismissed that explanation.

“We do not believe this is a testing phenomenon,” he said, noting that numerous countries have also noted marked increases in hospital admissions and deaths — neither of which can be explained by increased testing.

“There definitely is a shift, in that the virus is now very well established,” Ryan said. “The epidemic is now peaking or moving towards a peak in a number of large countries.”

He added the situation was “definitely accelerating” in a number of countries, including the U.S. and others in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada

As of 3:45 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 101,573 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with the majority in Quebec and Ontario. Of those cases, 64,284 of the cases were listed as resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial information, regional health data and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,472.

Ontario reported 161 new cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in that province to 33,637 with 2,647 deaths.

Quebec reported 69 new cases, bringing the total number of cases there to 54,835 with 5,417 deaths. The daily figure is the lowest Quebec has seen since March 21, and the first time Quebec has had no new deaths to report since March 17, when the province reported its first COVID-19-related death.

What’s happening around the world

Saudi Arabia says this year’s hajj will not be cancelled, but due to the coronavirus, only “very limited numbers” of people will be allowed to perform the major Muslim pilgrimage.

The kingdom said Tuesday that only people of various nationalities already residing in the country would be allowed to perform the hajj. The government did not specify how many people would be permitted to take part.

The announcement came as Saudi Arabia ended its nationwide curfew over the weekend.

India reported a record number of new cases on Monday and the deaths of more than 400 people in the past 24 hours.

Nearly 14,000 people have died from the disease caused by the virus since India’s first case in January. The death toll there remains low when compared to countries with similar numbers of cases but public health experts fear its hospitals will be unable to cope with a rise in cases.

Despite the peak of infections projected to be weeks if not months away Prime Minister Narendra Modi relaxed most curbs of a near three-month lockdown on June 8 in order to ease economic pain.

Brazil — the country with the second-most infections and deaths in the world behind the U.S. — has “certainly seen a spike in cases” in the last 24 hours, said the WHO’s Mike Ryan, adding there were “worrying increases” throughout Latin America.

In the state of Rio de Janeiro —  which has recorded almost 100,000 COVID-19 cases and 9,000 deaths — the health secretariat in a statement on Monday confirmed Health Secretary Fernando Ferry has left the post, without providing a reason.

The state’s governor, Wilson Witzel, fired his prior health secretary in mid-May after a failure to construct several promised field hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

WATCH | Brazil deeply affected by COVID-19 due to high population, WHO says:

Brazil deeply affected by COVID-19 due to high population, WHO says

  • 4 hours ago
  • 4:32

Though the number of COVID-19 cases is high in Brazil, numbers need to be viewed relative to the rest of Latin America, says the World Health Organization. 4:32

Africa’s reported cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 300,000 as the spread of the disease quickens across the continent.

The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday the continent now has 306,567 confirmed cases, including 8,115 deaths and 146,212 recoveries. It took more than 90 days for Africa’s 54 countries to reach 100,000 cases, 19 days to reach 200,000 and now 12 days to go above 300,000. The actual number of cases is believed to be much higher because testing across the continent is low.

South Africa, with 97,302 cases, accounts for nearly a third of the continent’s total cases. The country had initially hoped it could control the disease through testing and tracing. But despite conducting more than 1.3 million tests, the highest number in Africa, it currently takes an average of 12 days to get results, which medical experts say is much too long to do any effective tracking and quarantining.

People wearing protective face masks queue at a bus terminal amid a protest by taxi operators in Soweto, South Africa, on Monday. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Britain says more than two million elderly and vulnerable people who have been in isolation at home for three months will soon be able to meet other people.

The government says that as of July 6, people in this group in England will be allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to six, and some can form a “support bubble” with another household.

The government also says the “shielding” program, which has provided food and support to those at greatest risk from the coronavirus, will be phased out at the end of July.

A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask passes a sign requesting people practice physical distancing with a 1989 red phone box sculpture in the background in London on Monday. (Matt Dunham/The Associated Press)

German officials say steps are being taken to ensure that workers at a large slaughterhouse in the west of the country are strictly quarantined following an outbreak of the new coronavirus there, to prevent it from spreading around the region. More than 1,300 workers from the Toennies meat-packing plant in the western Guetersloh region have tested positive for COVID-19, and 20 have been hospitalized, with several in intensive care.

Most are subcontractors from Eastern Europe who are housed in buildings together. Karl-Josef Laumann, the health minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said it was now critical that they remain in isolation.

He said during a visit to the region that efforts were underway to assure the workers they would be provided food and other supplies while in quarantine, and medical care regardless of insurance status.

In the U.S., Florida health officials say more than than 100,000 people in the state have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

The state reached the milestone Monday morning, as public health officials reissued advisories urging social distancing and mask-wearing and some businesses reevaluate their decisions to reopen. More than 3,100 people in Florida have died.

Over the weekend, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the Health Department to reissue advisories urging Floridians to consider wearing masks to help keep the virus from spreading.

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