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South Asia set to become new COVID-19 hotspot

June 6, 2020

India has reported nearly 10,000 new coronavirus patients, surpassing Spain by the number of confirmed cases. The record spike comes just days before restaurants and temples are set to open. Follow DW for the latest.

A healthcare worker checks the temperature of a man in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai
Image: picture-alliance/H. Bhatt
  • Indonesia sees a new daily record number of coronavirus cases
  • Italy says it hopes EU borders will reopen for its citizens by mid_june
  • There have been over 6.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 400,000 deaths

03:00 China would increase international cooperation if it succeeds in developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the science and technology minister said.

China would make a vaccine a "global public good" when it is ready, the minister, Wang Zhigang, told a news conference in Beijing.

01:15: Brazil has reported 904 deaths and 27,075 cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, according to data released by the Health Ministry. Brazil now has 672,846 cases — the second-highest in the world after the United States. The data from the Health Ministry comes shortly after it was excluded for a short time from the global data statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University after the government restricted the publication of a consolidated data on cases and deaths from the coronavirus.

The Health Ministry released partial data following this incident — by hiding the total number of infections since the virus first hit the country.

The news of Brazil fudging its coronavirus numbers comes at a time when the government, led by Jair Bolsonaro, is looking to ease lockdown measures. On Friday, the governor of Rio de Janeiro authorized the partial reopening of bars, restaurants, shopping malls and some sports activities.

01:04: Mexico reported 3,593 cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, taking the total number cases up to 113,619. The country reported 341 deaths from the virus in 24 hours.  About 13,511 people have now died from the coronavirus in Mexico.

00:49: Panama, which had rescinded its lockdown restrictions by gender, reimposed the order from June 8 in two provinces after a spike in cases. The country reported 541 infections on Saturday, taking the total count to just over 16,000 cases. Panama's announcement comes just days after it relaxed a fierce lockdown imposed on March 25, which allowed people to go out just two hours a day, according to gender and personal identity number.

21:20: Peru moved ahead of France in total number of infections from the coronavirus on Saturday. The country's Health Ministry reported 4,358 new cases, taking the total toll of infections up to 191,758.

21:00: India's cases of the coronavirus have surpassed those of Spain, according to the latest tally by the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. India reported 10,521 cases on Saturday, taking its total tally to 246,454 cases. The country's total death toll from the virus stands at 6,946. The spike in cases comes at a time when cities in the world's second-most populous country are struggling with accommodating new coronavirus patients in hospitals and testing is said to be abysmally low. The spike in cases is being correlated to a rushed opening of the economy.

20:07: Pakistan reported 97 deaths, a new high, from the coronavirus on Saturday. The country now has 1,935 deaths from the virus, while the total number of cases is bordering 94,000. Pakistan has overtaken China in the total number of infections – pushing South Asia to the limelight as a new hotspot for the coronavirus.

19:52 After months away due to the pandemic, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf has returned to Stockholm, taking the opportunity to praise Swedes for their fight against the virus.

The 74-year-old monarch, speaking on Swedish National Day, said that many in Swedish society had shown "admirable and heroic commitment" during the coronavirus crisis, for which he owed them great thanks.

He also called on them to continue to persevere and said that people should spend the summertime responsibly, as well as wisely.

The king and his wife, Queen Silvia, have been staying at Stenhammar Palace, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south-west of Stockholm, since March.

Sweden has had more relaxed virus measures than many other countries, which has also meant a relatively higher number of infections and deaths per resident compared to the rest of Europe.

Read more: Sweden starts to doubt its outlier coronavirus strategy

18:30 Spain's internationally renowned Prado Museum, in the capital Madrid, has reopened its doors, following nearly three months of forced closure during the coronavirus pandemic.

The museum, which houses one of the most important art collections in the world, will only initially open a third of its exhibition space and the number of visitors will be limited to 1,800 at a time.

Museum curators have put together a special exhibition to mark the occasion: named the "Reencuentro" – meaning re-encounter, it showcases 250 works, among them those by Fra Angelico, Rogier van der Weyden, Francisco Goya and Peter Paul Rubens.

The museum's 8,600 paintings, drawings and prints, and up to 700 sculptures remained open to visitors in the form of virtual exhibits during the coronavirus lockdown.

Yet the museum has still taken a hit – it expects a revenue loss of about 70% compared with last year because of the pandemic.

18:00: Bangladesh on Saturday placed Cox's Bazaar — the biggest refugee camps for Rohingya refugees — under strict lockdown from June 6 to June 20, after a fresh spike in cases. District administrator Komal Hussein said many areas in Cox's Bazaar have been declared "red zones." The district of Cox's Bazaar has reported 877 cases of the coronavirus. Bangladesh's total tally of infections is 63,086 - more than that of Belgium.

Ranks of poor swell in Spain

16:29 Hundreds of Italian neo-fascists and hardcore football fans have gathered in Rome's Circus Maximus to protest against the government's coronavirus response.

Some protesters threw bottles and smoke bombs towards police and journalists after a fight between two demonstrators, apparently sparked when one began talking to the media.

The organizers wrote on the "Boys of Italy" Facebook page, popular with neo-fascist and so-called ultra fans, that they were standing "side by side" with people who "no longer know how to put a plate on the table for their children".

"It is not and will not be a violent protest, nor will it carry a political label," the group wrote.

The protests involved fans of big clubs such as Lazio, but Inter Milan's largest ultra group, for example, said the protest was too political.

Eight people were arrested, according to Il Messaggero newspaper, and an initial crowd of roughly 2,000 quickly dwindled to a few hundred.

14:39 Indonesia has reported nearly 1,000 new cases of the virus, a new single-day high for the country that brought its total caseload past 30,000.

The health ministry said there were 993 newly infected people over the past 24 hours. Indonesia has confirmed 30,514 cases, including 1,801 deaths, the most in Southeast Asia.

The government has unveiled a stimulus package worth $47.6 billion to anchor the virus-battered economy.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the aid aims to strengthen the health care system, direct more spending toward social protection to boost consumption and provide incentives to rescue Indonesian businesses from bankruptcy and workers from layoffs.

12:49 Italy hopes other European Union countries will reopen their borders to Italian citizens on June 15, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Saturday, as coronavirus travel restrictions across Europe are gradually eased. 

Italy — which has the world's fourth-highest COVID-19 death toll after the United States, Britain and Brazil — opened its doors to other EU citizens on June 3, but most European states are still largely off-limits for Italian nationals.

Di Maio said Germany and Switzerland have indicated that they could open their borders to Italians from that date. He said he hoped the relaxed measures would apply to people from all parts of Italy, including those areas worst-affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

11:18 The pandemic has forced Germany's Bundesliga teams to keep their fans out of stadiums, but this could soon change, according to Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

"In my heart, I'm already confident that we will be able to gradually let the audience in during the next season," Seehofer said, referring to the 2020-2021 competition that is reportedly due to start in September.

Seehofer, whose portfolio also includes sports, said that the easing of measures would not happen immediately and would not reset the situation to what it was before the pandemic. Instead, the authorities would allow "a reduced number of viewers, and in a way that would allow distancing between stadium visitors," the minister said.

With the pandemic on the downturn in Germany, several other politicians and sports officials signaled they would support letting in a limited number of fans to the stands. At the same time, former head of Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, warned that most clubs needed full stadiums to survive.

"If we don't get a vaccine in the next six months, then it would be very difficult to play before 75,000 in (Bayern's home stadium) before Christmas," Hoeness told Bavarian public radio.

07:57 India has again reported a record daily jump in coronavirus patients, with 9,887 new cases confirmed in the previous 24 hours. The latest spike brings the nation's caseload to 236,657 patients. According to the tally provided by the US-based Johns Hopkins University, India has now overtaken Italy to become the sixth heavies-hit country by the number of confirmed infections.

Indian authorities also reported 294 new deaths for a total of 6,642.

The latest spike comes just days before the government was set to further ease lockdown measures. Malls, restaurants, and places of worship are set to reopen on Monday.

India – The environment during lockdown

04:00 South Korea has registered 51 new cases of COVID-19, most of them occurring in the densely populated capital region of Seoul, as authorities recognize the difficulties in preventing transmissions among low-income workers who can't afford to stay home.

The figures announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the total number of cases to 11,719 and its death toll now stands at 273.

At least 34 of the newly registered infections were linked to door-to-door salespeople hired by Richway, a Seoul-based health product provider.

Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said the emergence of the novel coronavirus among Richway workers was especially worrying as many of them are in their 60s and 70s.

03:30 Germany has registered an additional 407 coronavirus infections, bringing the country's total number of cases to 183,678, according to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health institute.

A further 33 people have died from the novel virus meaning the death toll now stands at 8,646.

The number of new cases decreased from yesterday's figure of 502, while the number of deaths increased from 32 on Friday.

02:40 As nations in Latin America continue to cope with rising death tolls and rates of infection, here's a summary of developments in the region:

Panama has reported 400 new cases of COVID-19, taking the total to 15,463 infections, according to the country's Health Ministry. The country reported seven new deaths on Friday, taking the death toll to 370 deaths. On Thursday, the country's minister of health, Rosario Turner, said the capital city and the province of Panama Oeste would be under curfew from Saturday evening till Monday morning, as they had high incidences of the virus.

El Salvador is set to lose about $990 million in tax revenue by the end of 2020 owing to the pandemic. "The previous month there was no movement in the economy that generated value-added tax," said Finance Minister Nelson Fuentes.

Guatemala's Health Ministry said its death toll is 23 people till now from COVID-19. The country reported 34 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of infections in the country to 832.

Mexico reported 4,346 new infections on Friday, taking the total number of infections in the country to 110,000. The country reported 625 new deaths, taking the death toll to 13,000.

Honduras said it had received a donation of N95 masks, surgical gloves and caps, oxygen reservoir, and other supplies from Spain. The delivery for health personnel was received by the Spanish ambassador to Honduras, and executives of the National Cardiopulmonary Institute of Honduras.

The government of Venezuela said next weekend would be a working weekend, as part of a plan to make the coronavirus quarantine more flexible. Several sectors will reopen for seven days, then seven days of confinement, to allow businesses to resume slowly.

02:30 Beijing has reduced its emergency response to the second-lowest level with immediate effect.

That will mean the lifting of the majority of restrictions on citizens traveling from Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei, where the outbreak emerged late last year. People will no longer have to endure 14-day obligatory quarantines and other forms of monitoring, and those currently in such situations will be free once more.

Residential compounds in the Chinese capital will not be required to conduct temperature checks as part of the easing of restrictions. In addition, masks will not have to be worn for outdoor activities and kindergartens will reopen.

Beijing has reported no new examples of local transmissions of the novel coronavirus for almost two months.

01:21: Officials of the capital of Mexico said they were investigating doctors who reportedly issued false death certificates for people who died from COVID-19. Mexico City's mayor said Friday that the doctors also charged for these services. The scheme apparently involved 10 doctors and one government employee. No charges have been filed yet. The news comes at a time when Mexico is struggling to dispose of dead bodies and hospital waste.

00:25: The G20 countries announced on Saturday that they have contributed more than $21 billion (€18.6 billion) to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The G20 said that the contribution was expected to "bridge" the immediate health financing gap by investing in diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and research and development.

00:04: The US state of California said it would allow film, television and music production to restart and allow professional sports matches to be played without fans in the stadiums by June 12. The most populous US state said that day camps, casinos, museums and zoos would also be allowed to open by that deadline.

00:00: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull out of the World Health Organization after the agency warned against lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of COVID-19. Bolsonaro's statement follows rising deaths from the virus in his country. Brazilian daily, Folha de S.Paulo said the virus was killing "a Brazilian per minute."

The Brazilian Health Ministry reported 1,005 more virus deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the country's total number of infections to 30,830. Johns Hopkins University statistics had the number higher at 614,941 infections and 34,021 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Catch up on Friday's developments here: Coronavirus: 'Wear masks in public,' WHO advises

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.

DW staff (sms)