Coronavirus pandemic is not even close to being over: WHO

The Covid-19 pandemic is not even close to being over, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Monday.

Tedros noted that, six months after China first alerted the WHO to a novel respiratory infection, the grim milestones of 10 million confirmed infections and 500,000 deaths had been reached.

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“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” he said.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that officials are reconsidering a plan to allow indoor dining July 6, as other states experience a surge in Covid-19 cases after reopening restaurants and bars.

De Blasio cited surges of the virus in Texas, Florida and California as reasons to consider a slowdown in reopening restaurants . Florida reported 146,341 Covid-19 cases on Monday, up 3.7% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.5% in the previous seven days.

Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,447. Florida’s new cases reached 46,124, the highest level ever.

Meanwhile in California, residents hoping to celebrate Independence Day in a bar will now have to change their plans.

Bars are required to shut in seven counties – including Los Angeles – and they’re recommended to close in eight others, including Sacramento and Santa Barbara, following a surge in coronavirus cases, according to an order by Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Iran recorded the highest daily number of fatalities since the start of the outbreak, with 162 deaths in the past 24 hours. The death toll reached 10,670 from a total of 225,205 cases.

The level of infections is high or alarming in 11 of 31 Iranian provinces, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state television.

In China, 400,000 residents of a northern county were put under lockdown at the weekend after at least a dozen coronavirus cases associated with the Beijing outbreak were reported there.

Hebei province’s Anxin county has been sealed off and each household can assign only one person to go out for necessities daily, state media reported. Vehicles cannot enter the county and only those with special passes can leave.

The containment measures in Anxin, 140 kilometres from Beijing, are more severe than in the capital itself, where the cluster has grown to 311 people since it was first detected June 12.

The WHO is sending a team to China next week to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus, Ghebreyesus said.

South Korea’s health authorities called on Monday for citizens to stagger vacation schedules ahead of the holiday season and avoid gatherings at workplaces and religious facilities, as coronavirus infections from small clusters persist.

As of midnight Sunday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 42 new coronavirus cases, for a total of 12,757 cases with 282 deaths. On June 20, the daily tally reached 67, its highest since in more than three weeks.

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