China’s capital recorded a further drop in COVID-19 cases amid tightened containment measures, while Brazil surpassed more than 1 million confirmed infections, second only to the US.
Officials yesterday reported 22 new cases in Beijing, along with five others elsewhere in China. There were no new deaths and 308 people remain hospitalized for treatment.
South Korea recorded 67 new cases, the largest 24-hour increase in about three weeks. Most of them come from the densely populated Seoul area, where about half of the country’s 51 million people reside. Many cases have been linked to exposure in nightlife outlets.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said the pandemic is “accelerating” and that more than 150,000 cases were reported the day before — the highest single-day number so far.
He told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, that nearly half of the newly reported cases were from the Americas, with significant numbers from South Asia and the Middle East.
The Brazilian Ministry of Health said the total number of cases had risen to by more than 50,000 from the previous day.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro still downplays the risks of the virus after nearly 49,000 fatalities in three months.
He has said that the impact of social isolation on Brazil’s economy can be more deadly.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 8.6 million people worldwide and killed more than 460,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The actual number is thought to be much higher, because many cases are asymptomatic or go untested.
South Africa and Ethiopia have said they are recommending the limited use of the commonly available drug dexamethasone for all COVID-19 patients on ventilators or supplementary oxygen.
South African Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said “this breakthrough is excellent news for us and we are especially fortunate that it came as we are preparing for our upcoming surge” in cases.
South Africa has about 30 percent of the virus cases on the African continent, or more than 87,000.
French authorities are keeping a close eye on signs of an accelerating spread of the coronavirus in Normandy, a region that has until now been spared the worst of the outbreak, which has hit Paris and the east of France particularly hard.
The UK lowered its coronavirus threat level one notch, becoming the latest country to claim that it is getting a national outbreak under control.
Meanwhile, Germany reported its highest daily increase in virus cases in a month after managing to contain its outbreak better than comparable large European nations.
WHO Health Emergencies Program executive director Michael Ryan has confirmed that China shared coronavirus sequences from its latest outbreak with the global community and said it appears the virus was imported to Beijing from strains circulating in Europe.
At a press briefing on Friday, Ryan said that “strains and viruses have moved around the world” throughout the pandemic.
Ryan said that many viruses in New York “were of European origin,” but that does not mean Europe necessarily was the original source.
He said analysis of the genetic sequences so far suggests that the virus spread to people in China from other humans instead of jumping from animals directly into humans.
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