Coronavirus: WHO wishes Bolsonaro ′full and speedy′ recovery | News | DW | 07.07.2020
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Coronavirus: WHO wishes Bolsonaro 'full and speedy' recovery

The WHO has wished Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a rapid convalescence, after he confirmed he had tested positive. Meanwhile, the US has formally issued notice to pull out of the WHO. Follow DW for the latest.

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive
  • The US formally withdraws from the World Health Organization, effective in a year
  • Melbourne has given its 5 million residents a 6-week stay-at-home order
  • The European Commission says the expected European recession will be worse than anticipated 
  • Over 11.5 million people have contracted the virus worldwide, with over 535,000 deaths

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

23:27 The total tally of coronavirus cases in Latin America and the Caribbean region has now surpassed 3 million, according to an AFP tally.

The region is the current epicenter of the pandemic, having reported a total of 3,023,813 cases of infections with close to 140,000 deaths.

Brazil accounts for more than half of COVID-19 cases about half of the total deaths.

21:45 Around 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Tuesday to protest a newly imposed weekend coronavirus curfew.

Some demonstrators also managed to push past a police cordon and broke into the parliament building before being pushed back by riot police. 

Protests erupted hours after Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced the imposition of the curfew due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country. 

The protesters blocked traffic and many were seen without face masks. 

Vucic said during the televised announcement that all hospitals in the capital are nearly full. He singled out Belgrade as being particularly critical. This is the first time a curfew will be imposed in the country since early May. 

Serbia's coronavirus caseload is rising eight weeks after the nation began easing its earlier restrictions — once among the strictest in Europe. The country on Tuesday reported close to 3,000 active cases with 110 patients in critical condition. The total death toll is at 330.

21:04 US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he would pressure state governors to open schools in the fall, even as COVID-19 infections in the country continue to rise.

Trump was speaking at a White House roundtable he was hosting. The event took place a day after Trump claimed on Twitter that Democrats want to keep schools closed not because of the pandemic but for political reasons.

Tuesday’s roundtable saw speakers addressing the need to reopen schools for academic and mental health reasons. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also rejected plans by some local districts for part-time reopening of schools. 

During a call with governors, she said schools must be "fully-operational" and anything less would fail students and taxpayers.

20:20 Around 1,000 people are under domestic quarantine following a coronavirus outbreak in an extended Mennonite family in Euskirchen, a town in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. 

All members of the local Mennonite community and their children are affected by the quarantine, the Euskirchen district administration said. 

Initially, one member of the family was hospitalized, and the infections of 11 other family members became subsequently known following testing. 

The Mennonite congregation’s school has been closed and church services have been banned for the time being. The measures were ordered because members of the extended family were still attending school and church services in the days before their infections became known.

19:00 US President Donald Trump has formally conveyed his intent to withdraw the country from the World Health Organization, following threats over the UN agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said. 

The would leave effective July 6, 2021, according to a State Department spokesperson. A US presidential election will take place between then and now.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, confirmed that the US gave its notice to the agency. 

Under conditions set when the US entered the WHO in 1948, Washington has to give one year of notice prior to a withdrawal, and meet its remaining assessed financial obligations, Dujarric said. 

"Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the US from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic," Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote on Twitter. "To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn't do it justice. This won't protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick & America alone."

In April, the US — previously the largest financial backer of the WHO — suspended funding and halted hundreds of millions in support for the agency. Trump has repeatedly made threats to permanently withdraw from the organization, accusing it of  "severely mismanaging" the pandemic and of being too close to China.

18:20 Zimbabwe Health Minister Obadiah Moyo has been sacked with immediate effect for inappropriate conduct, a statement from Emmerson Mnangagwa's presidency declared.

The statement, which was shared on Twitter by Secretary for Information Nick Mangwana, did not elaborate further. 

Moyo was arrested in June over allegations of corruption related to the government's procurement of $60 million (€53 million) worth of coronavirus protective equipment.

16:40 Latin America and the Caribbean now account for 50% of COVID-19 cases in the Americas, and the number of registered cases is continuing to accelerate, said World Health Organization regional director Carissa Etienne. 

"This is a pandemic of staggering proportions and we have no option but to continue to put all our energy into controlling it," she said in a virtual briefing. 

Some of Latin America's most persistent problems have contributed to the scale of the pandemic in the region, including inequality, political division and health systems that have been weakened by years of under-investment, said Etienne.

Particularly for Brazil, the infection of its president should reinforce the need to continue to take steps to limit the spread of the virus, said Pan American Health Organization director for communicable diseases Marcos Espinal. Brazil has over 1.6 million confirmed cases, and a death toll of over 65,000. Peru and Chile both have around 300,000 confirmed cases, while Mexico has just over 260,000.

16:14 Germany’s eastern state of Saxony is set to allow large gatherings of more than 1,000 people from September 1, Minister of Health Petra Köpping told reporters in Dresden.

Such events will include admission to football stadiums and sports halls, but visitors will still have to comply with hygiene rules and contact tracing measures. However, the loosened rules will not allow for the stadiums to be filled to capacity, said Köpping.

The public health department would initially allow for stadiums to be filled to half capacity, and was still deciding whether to implement a firm upper limit on the number of guests at such events, she said.  The new measures mean that at the start of the new Bundesliga season, fans of RB Leipzig will be able to watch from the stands again. 

Fairs will also be allowed in Saxony from July 18.

The state has confirmed over 5,400 cases of coronavirus and 224 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch Institute. Saxony accounts for around 5% of Germany's total population, its caseload is only around 2.7% of Germany's total.

16:02 WHO expert Mike Ryan said the agency wishes Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a "full and speedy recovery" from coronavirus. Ryan also told reporters that the WHO "saw an acceleration" in the global number of COVID-19 cases in June

15:35 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters in Brasilia on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, after saying he had symptoms and would submit for a test on Monday.

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask.

"I'm well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can't due to medical recommendations," he said, repeating that he was feeling "perfectly well" and had only mild symptoms.

The Brazilian president also said he had an x-ray and that his lung "was clean." Bolsonaro had already informed supporters that he had a fever and body aches and therefore decided to take a COVID-19 test on Monday. 

The president's sometimes cavalier attitude to the virus, only reluctantly wearing a mask in public and joining several public protests against imposing restrictions, had already attracted considerable domestic and international attention.

Full story here:  Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus

14:13 The European Commission has proposed measures to increase support for the wine producing sector, an industry blighted by the pandemic.

Winemakers will be exempt from some aspects of EU antitrust legislation for up to six months, enabling them to jointly plan production, storage and promotion.

In addition, the Commission said it wanted to increase the EU financial contribution to fund national support programs.

The executive branch of the EU also said it would allow member states to provide advance payments to cover the costs of storage.

14:00 The 2020 BMX world championships have been canceled, the world cycling governing body UCI has announced.

The event was originally due to be held in May in Houston, Texas. It was hoped that it could be rescheduled for later in the year, possibly in a different location. But that idea has now been shelved at the request of the organizers, the UCI said, "despite its best efforts to come up with an alternative."

The next world championships will take place in August next year in Papendal in the Netherlands.

12:00 The global total for recorded infections has reached 11,645,109, while the number of deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, currently stands at 538,780.

The United States has registered the most cases, with almost three million people contracting the virus, while Brazil, India and Russia have recorded roughly three million infections between them.

Peru has recently surpassed the 300,000 mark, making it the fifth hardest-hit in the world in terms of cases.

The UK has recorded the most deaths in Europe, with more than 44,000 people dying from the novel virus so far. Germany, meanwhile, has registered just over 9,000 fatalities.

11:30 Iran has recorded its highest tally of coronavirus deaths for a 24-hour period, according to Health Ministry data.

The 200 fatalities registered surpasses the previous record toll from Sunday, when the ministry reported 163 deaths in a day.

A total of 11,931 have died in Iran since the outbreak first emerged in the Islamic State earlier this year. There have been 245,688 infections recorded, making it the hardest-hit country in the region.

A gradual easing of restrictions in Iran has coincided with an upsurge in cases.

President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday introduced new measures to counteract the sharp increase in infections. Iranians who don't wear face masks in public spaces will be denied state services and workplaces that don't follow health protocols will be shut down for a week.

11:05 Health officials have expressed concern that the coronavirus could spread rapidly among hundreds of thousands of people in Japan after they were transferred to evacuation centers amid widespread and deadly flooding

Prefectures on the southern island of Kyushu have been hit with some of the most severe flooding in years, with some towns recording over 50 centimeters (19.6 inches) of rain over the weekend. Fifty-two people have been confirmed dead and eleven were listed as missing.

Over 1.2 million people have had to flee their homes and are being housed temporarily in schools, local community centers and other emergency facilities.

Health experts have called on local authorities to ensure precautions are taken to stop the coronavirus from spreading among people – many of whom are elderly -- as the situation forces them into close proximity. 

10:58 As part of restructuring measures brought about by the coronavirus crisis, Lufthansa has announced it will cut 20% of management positions. In addition, the administration of Deutsche Lufthansa AG is to be reduced by 1,000 jobs and the executive and management boards of the subsidiaries are also to be downsized.

According to the group, due to the long-term effects of the corona pandemic on air traffic, "even in the period after the crisis, there is a calculated personnel surplus of at least 22,000 full-time positions in the companies of the Lufthansa Group."

Lufthansa said it's financing was "initially secured" following the approval of Lufthansa shareholders, who had endorsed the German government's €9 billion($10.1 billion) rescue package at the end of June and the commitments made by the governments in Austria and Switzerland.

But the full repayment of government loans and deposits, including interest payments, would place an additional burden on the company in the coming years, "so that sustainable cost reductions will become inevitable for this reason as well," the company said.

10:00 The Eurozone economy will fall into a deeper recession this year than initially thought amid the coronavirus and the recovery in 2021 will be less robust, according to a European Commission forecast.

The revised forecast predicts the economy of the 19 nations that use the euro will shrink 8.7% in 2020 before recovering by 6.1% next year.

For the 27 countries that comprise the EU, a downturn of 8.3% is expected in 2020, before growing 5.8% in 2021.

This means that in 2021 Europe will still be worse off than before the global outbreak of COVID-19 forced nations around the globe into lockdowns that drastically reduced commerce.

In May, the Commission had predicted an overall downturn of 7.7% in 2020 and a rebound of 6.3% next year.

"The economic impact of the lockdown is more severe than we initially expected," said Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis in a statement released with the updated forecasts.

08:35 Care home providers in the UK have said they are disappointed and frustrated after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused some homes of not correctly following procedures during the coronavirus crisis.

Mark Adams, chief executive of the charity Community Integrated Care, said Johnson's comments were ''clumsy and cowardly.''

Johnson said Monday: ''We discovered too many care homes didn't really follow the procedures in the way that they could have, but we're learning lessons the whole time.''

Adams said that, if this really were the prime minister’s view, then the country was entering an ''alternative reality where the government set the rules, we follow them and they don't like the results and they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best.''

07:35 Did the coronavirus kill the party for cruise operators? Or, did it simply put the boom on hold? As DW Senior Business Editor Ben Fajzullin reports from Hamburg, consumers can be astoundingly quick to forgive and forget.

06:48 New Zealand's national airline has put a stop to new bookings for flights into the country while the government makes efforts to accommodate those returning home in quarantined hotel rooms.
Air New Zealand says the pause will last for three weeks.
Under the current restrictions, only New Zealand residents and citizens are allowed to fly into the country and once there, they must remain in a quarantined hotel room for 14 days.

06:13 In Australia, the state premier of Victoria has said the state is in for a very difficult time economically and that the pandemic will kill thousands of people there if not kept under control.  

Earlier in the day, Premier Daniel Andrews reimposed stay-at-home orders for the 5 million residents of Melbourne as well as for one regional area of Victoria.

"These are unsustainably high numbers of new cases," Andrews said in a media briefing.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, reported 191 new infections between Monday and Tuesday, its biggest spike since the outbreak began.

The six-week stay-at-home order will go into effect from midnight on Wednesday. 

Police in Melbourne stop drivers at a checkpoint set up in response to a surge in coronavirus infections.

Police in Melbourne stop drivers at a checkpoint set up as the city goes into lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

Hundreds of police officers and soldiers were also deployed to the state line between Victoria and New South Wales to enforce a border closing scheduled to go into effect at midnight local time. It is the first time in 100 years that the border, which stretches hundreds of kilometers (miles), will be closed.

People caught crossing the border without permission could face penalties including a fine of A$11,000 ($7,700; €9,700) and six months imprisonment.

Businesses are concerned about the logistics of a closed border, a potential headache for workers that depend on being able to cross the state line. School holidays in both states also spell trouble for those who had planned to travel.

Residents of Victoria can receive a special permit if they can prove a need to travel. Freight transporters are free to cross the border, but will be subject to random stops. 

05:50 India's death toll has exceeded 20,000 as infections there continue to surge. Despite climbing fatalities, the south Asian country is pushing ahead with relaxing its nearly two-month-long lockdown.

From Monday to Tuesday, 467 more people died from COVID-19 in India, pushing the death toll to 20,160. The number of confirmed cases rose by 22,252 to 719,665. India remains third worldwide in terms of overall infections, having stolen the unenviable title from Russia on Monday.

The infection and death rates in India are currently rising at their fastest pace in three months. While the death rate is still relatively low, experts fear the number, which tends to lag behind the detection of new infections, could rise significantly in the next weeks.

India continues to sporadically reopen its economy, worried about the consequences of keeping the nation's 1.3 billion people out of work for much longer.

Watch video 01:31

India braces to reach one million coronavirus infections

04:55 Germany's public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute, has reported 390 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total to 196,944 since the pandemic began. 

The reported death toll rose by 8 to 9,024, the figures showed.

04:30 The United States will not allow foreign students to remain in the country for the upcoming fall semester if all of their classes move online, as the country struggles to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Foreign students in US must leave if classes move online

"Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States," the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said in a statement on Monday.

F-1 visas are issued to students pursuing academic coursework, while M-1 visas are for those pursuing "vocational coursework" while studying in the US.

International students who are currently in the US for courses that have been moved online for the coming semester will have to take steps if they wish to remain in the country. This may include transferring schools for a course with "in-person instruction."

03:35 Achieving nationwide "herd immunity" to coronavirus in Spain is a long way off, according to a large-scale medical study.

Just 5% of the over 61,000 participants developed antibodies that would be able to fight the disease, found the study that was published in the Lancet Journal.

"At present, herd immunity is difficult to achieve without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems," researchers said.

Herd immunity occurs when a large proportion of a community becomes infected then builds up resistance to the disease. This means the virus is unable to spread easily within the group.

Spain was "very far" from achieving a 60% rate of infection within the community — the percentage that some experts think is needed to stop COVID-19 spreading, reported news agency dpa citing study author Marina Pollan.

The study also found that around one-third of participants who had contracted the virus remained asymptomatic, which the authors say has "important public health implications."

The researchers advised that social distancing remained the best way to combat the pandemic.

00:48 The annual fall meetings for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will be held online this year due to the pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass has announced. The meetings are scheduled for October. 

Both finance institutions held their spring meetings online this year and are looking to move more interactions to virtual platforms rather than in person in Washington DC, where both headquarters are located.

00:10 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been tested for COVID-19 after having a lung X-ray on Monday.

Bolsonaro, while addressing supporters outside the presidential palace on Monday, said he was feeling well. The results of the COVID-19 test are expected on Tuesday, according to Bolsonaro in an interview with CNN Brazil. 

The Brazilian president has repeatedly downplayed the virus and often refused to wear face masks, despite the country suffering one of the worst outbreaks worldwide, with over 1,623,200 COVID-19 cases and more than 65,000 deaths. 

Bolsonaro previously tested negative for the coronavirus earlier this year after several aides were diagnosed following a visit to US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in March.

00:01 The coronavirus pandemic could provide new opportunities for the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group, al-Qaida and their affiliates, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has warned. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and hate groups could also benefit from the pandemic, he said. 

While it was too early to assess the full implications of the pandemic on terrorism, all these groups were seeking to exploit divisions, local conflicts, failures in governing, and other grievances to advance their aims, said the UN secretary-general.

Guterres said IS was trying to reassert itself in both Syria and Iraq, where it once held large amounts of territory.

00:00 Catch up on yesterday's coronavirus news here: Coronavirus latest: Louvre reopens, Swiss make masks mandatory on public transport

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.

kmm/ stb (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)