Coronavirus latest: Global death toll reaches 500,000 | News | DW | 28.06.2020
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Coronavirus latest: Global death toll reaches 500,000

Seven months after the novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, more than half a million people have lost their lives. The same number of Beijing residents have been ordered into lockdown. Follow DW for the latest.

  • Half a million people have died from COVID-19, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University

  • Global infections surpass 10 million, with more than 2.5 million in the US

  • France is casting ballots in municipal elections, while Poland is holding a presidential vote

  • Nearly 500,000 have been killed due to COVID-19

  • Brazil records 1.3 million infections, with more than 57,000 deaths  

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

21:00 More than 500,000 people around the world have now died from COVID-19, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University. The news comes as total case numbers exceed 10 million. 

The US remains the world's worst-hit country, with some 125,000 deaths and 2.5 million infections.

19:50 Bars in Los Angeles and six other Californian counties have been ordered to close again by the state governor as the United States battles to quell a surge in coronavirus cases.

"Due to the rising spread of #COVID19, CA is ordering bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare," Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Twitter.

New coronavirus cases have been surging in more than half of US states, reaching record highs. The gush of cases has been most pronounced in states that did not follow health officials' recommendations to wait for a steady decline in cases before reopening their economies.

For a third consecutive day on Saturday, the number of confirmed US cases leaped by more than 40,000, one of the largest surges in the world.

19:35 The United Arab Emirates will not receive passengers coming from Pakistan as of June 29 until a special COVID-19 lab is set up to test them for COVID-19, the civil aviation authority said on Sunday. 

The decision also applies to transit flights originating from Pakistan, where the number of cases is rising rapidly, the General Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement carried on state media.

Dubai state carrier Emirates had already said it was suspending flights from Pakistan effective June 24.

17:51 Much of the United States continues to see a spike in coronavirus cases as the White House downplays the severity of new outbreaks and sought to deflect responsibility on to local authorities. 

US Vice President Mike Pence blamed the rising infection rate on expanded testing and criticized the media's continued focus on rising case numbers.

"What the media doesn't focus on at all is because of the sacrifices the American people made... to slow the spread and the good common sense measures they continue to do, we've continued to see fatalities decline," Pence said in an interview broadcast on CBS on Sunday.

He noted that many new cases in hotspots Florida and Texas were among people below the age of 35, and claimed this posed a lower mortality risk. When pressed on a national response, Pence said local authorities were best placed to handle the situation.

Democrats meanwhile accused the Republican administration of ignoring a looming crisis, as health experts warned the situation could soon spiral out of control, with tens of thousands of new cases reported each day. 

"It's time for this administration to take this seriously," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a top Democrat, told broadcaster ABC. "We have the worst record of any country in the world and the president says we are making progress," she added. 

More than a dozen states have serious new outbreaks, with some regions seeing caseloads increase by 50%. The US last week broke its own record for new cases.

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17:30 Africa's confirmed cases of COVID-19 have climbed to a new high of more than 371,000, including includes 9,484 deaths. The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released those figures Sunday.

South Africa has more than a third of the continent's cases. It reported 7,210 new cases, its highest single daily increase to date. 

A statement from Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize says South Africa now has 131,800 confirmed cases, including 2,413 deaths for a mortality rate of 1.8%.

The Western Cape province, including Cape Town, has 45% of the cases. But Gauteng province, including the country's largest city, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria, is experiencing a surge of the virus, taking it to 26% of the country's cases.

16:14 US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has stressed that "the window is closing" for the country to take action to effectively curb the coronavirus.

Azar pointed to a recent spike in infections, particularly in the South. He told NBC and CNN that people have "to act responsibly" by social distancing and wearing face masks especially "in these hot zones."

Azar argued that the US is in a better position than two months ago in fighting the virus because it is conducting more testing and has therapeutics available to treat COVID-19.

But he acknowledges that hospitalizations and deaths could increase in the next few weeks because it is a lagging indicator.

Texas and Florida reversed course on parts of their reopening and clamped down on bars on Friday as the daily number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S. surged to an all-time high of 40,000.

13:42 Indonesian President Joko Widodo has threatened to shuffle his cabinet and potentially close down government agencies if they do not do enough to combat the pandemic.

"I see that many of us are working as though things are normal. That's what's irritating me. Don't you have feelings? This is a crisis," Widodo said in publicly released comments to his cabinet.

"I will take any extraordinary measures for our 267 million people, for the nation. It can be disbanding agencies, can be a reshuffle, I have thought of everything," he said.

Widodo said he may also issue more emergency decrees if needed.

Indonesia recorded its biggest daily rise in infections on Saturday, with 1,385 new cases. It has a total of 54,010 cases and 2,754 deaths — the highest in East Asia outside China.

Read more: Coronavirus: Stars, nations raise billions in EU vaccine drive

12:54 The English city of Leicester could face a complete lockdown due to a rise in cases, the UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel said Sunday.

"There will be support going into Leicester and in fact the health secretary was in touch with many of us over the weekend explaining some of the measures, the support on testing, resources that will go into the local authority as well," she told the BBC.

Reports in the Sunday Times newspaper said the government was set to reimpose strict lockdown rules on Leicester "within the next few days" after a spike of 658 new cases were reported in the two weeks up to June 16. 

The increases were linked to fresh outbreaks at food production plants and reports of large gatherings outside takeaway restaurants.

Boris Johnson's government is set to ease virus lockdown restrictions by opening pubs, restaurants and hairdressers among others across England from July 4 — despite predictions of a second wave.

11:02 China has imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in a province surrounding the capital Beijing to contain a fresh coronavirus cluster, as authorities warned the outbreak was still "severe and complicated."

After China appeared to have largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighboring Hebei province in recent weeks.

Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county — about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Beijing — will be "fully enclosed and controlled," the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.

Only one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county's epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.

The move comes after another 14 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total to 311 since mid-June and spurring the testing of millions of residents.

10:20 In the German district of Gütersloh — the site of a massive coronavirus outbreak at a Tönnies slaughterhouse — the number of positive tests in people unrelated to the abattoir has increased "noticeably."

The district said the rise is likely due to an increased amount of testing in the area. Many of those tested showed no symptoms. In the seven days up to and including Friday, 75 cases without any connection to the Tönnies meat company were discovered.

This was 28 more than in the comparable period the day before.

07:35 Swiss authorities say they've ordered 300 people into quarantine after a "superspreader'' outbreak of the new coronavirus at a Zurich nightclub. Officials said a man who had been at the Flamingo Club a week ago tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, and that five people who were with him subsequently tested positive.

Based on a list of guests provided by the club, authorities got in touch with the others and ordered them into quarantine for 10 days.

Swiss officials say the incident shows how important it is to stick to hygiene and distance regulations as lockdown measures are gradually lifted. Like many European countries, Switzerland had drastically reduced the number of new coronavirus infections and is now starting to see a slight uptick as it tries to restart its economy.

In its latest report posted Sunday, Switzerland reported 69 new cases overnight from Friday to Saturday for a total of 31,555 cases; 1,681 people have died.

07:17 France is holding the second round of municipal elections in 5,000 towns and cities on Sunday, after ballot casting had been postponed due to the country's coronavirus outbreak.

Voters are set to choose mayors and municipal councilors at polling stations operating under strict hygiene rules. Face masks, soap or hand sanitizers, and maintaining 1 meter (about 3 feet) distance between each person in lines are mandatory. Voters have been told to bring their own pens to sign the register.

The spread of the coronavirus has slowed significantly in France in recent weeks and almost all restrictions on social and business activity were gradually lifted over the last month.

Still, the virus is expected to hurt Sunday's turnout

France has so far reported nearly 200,000 confirmed cases and 29,781 deaths in the pandemic.

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07:09 The number of coronavirus infections in Pakistan crossed the 200,000 mark on Sunday, as authorities imposed restrictions in major cities across the country in a struggle to control the spread of the virus.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 202,944 and related deaths reached 4,118. At least 4,072 new cases and 83 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed on Sunday. More than 92,000, or 45% of people infected, have recovered whereas 2,805 are in critical condition at hospitals.  

The rise in the number of infections accelerated after Prime Minister Imran Khan lifted lockdown restrictions last month, with over 100,000 new cases reported during the last 20 days.

Officials say the country is still at least a month away from the projected peak of the pandemic. Violations of lockdown guidelines prompted authorities to seal markets, shopping malls and residential areas in several parts of the country.

06:57 The Czech Republic's daily number of new infections jumped to 260, the highest since April 8, Health Ministry data showed on Sunday. That is nearly triple that of the 93 recorded on Thursday.

Data showed a significant increase in new cases was recorded in the Karvina region, by far the most affected region in the country at present.

Chief public health officer Jarmila Razova told public radio that the rise could be linked to intensive testing in several places where the disease is spreading fast. These include a mine in the east of the country and a company in the north.

In total, the country of 10.7 million has confirmed 11,298 COVID-19 cases, with 347 deaths as of the end of Saturday.

05:28 The German state of Bavaria is to intensify COVID-19 testing on a "massive" scale, according to the state health ministry. 

"A cornerstone of our Bavarian test concept is that all people who want to be tested for SARS-COV-2 infection should be able to find out whether they have been infected," regional Health Minister Melanie Huml said in Munich. 

The tests are set to focus on abattoirs and meat processing plants in a bid to "to prevent major outbreaks like in Gütersloh," she added. 

The government was offering tests for all Bavarian residents as quickly as possible, even for people without symptoms.

04:05 Australia’s Victoria state has made it mandatory for returning travelers to get tested for coronavirus after the state recorded a spike in the number of infections. Australia also requires all returning locals to quarantine in hotels for two weeks. 

People in quarantine will be tested twice, first on day three and then on day 11 of their-two week quarantine period. Those still refusing testing will be required to remain in quarantine for a further 10 days, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrew said.

Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state confirmed 49 new cases in the past 24 hours, its highest daily increase in more than two months.

03:07 The UK government is considering imposing a lockdown on the city of Leicester after a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been examining the legislation required to shut down the city of around 350,000 people, after it confirmed over 650 cases in the two weeks leading up to June 16, the newspaper said, quoting senior government sources.

Hancock sent a mobile testing unit to the city last week to help manage the outbreak and is considering "all options" on how to respond to the latest surge of infections. 

02:55 Germany's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen by 256 to 193,499, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. There were three recorded deaths, bringing the total to 8,957.

Yesterday, Germany logged 687 new cases and six deaths.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday warned people against ignoring the dangers posed by the coronavirus, saying that the pandemic is not over — and the situation in the country remains serious.

Read moreCoronavirus outbreaks: Will Germany become Europe's next major hot spot?

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01:35 China has confirmed 17 new cases of coronavirus, out of which 14 were reported in Beijing. Officials in the capital city have temporarily closed the wholesale food market, which is believed to be the source of the latest outbreak. 

Schools in the Chinese capital have been closed and some neighborhoods have been put under lockdown. As many people are traveling during the four-day holiday weekend, anyone leaving Beijing must have tested negatively for the virus within the past week. The city has also increased its testing capacity to up to 300,000 a day. 

After the latest figures, China's total infections stand at 83,500. The death toll in the country has remained unchanged at 4,634 since mid-May.

01:05 Mexico reported 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the country's total infections to 212,802. The country's Health Ministry also reported 602 additional deaths. So far, 26,381 people in Mexico have died due to the coronavirus. The government has said the actual numbers may be significantly higher than the confirmed cases figure.

00:00 The US has confirmed more than 2.5 million cases of the coronavirus, far more than any other country. It has also recorded 125,435 deaths, about one-fourth of the worldwide tally, which stands at over 495,000.  

Southern and western states saw the most notable surge in cases, as many have begun to ease lockdown measuresTexas and Florida have reimposed some restrictions, while Washington Governor Jay Inslee is putting the state's reopening plan on hold.  

Catch up on yesterday's coronavirus news here

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments, and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany's national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

adi/mm (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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