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As global cases pass 7 million, WHO warns the pandemic is 'far from over'

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
A woman is sprayed with disinfectant before entering a shopping mall in Jakarta on Tuesday. Dita Alangkara / AP

Despite encouraging signs in east Asia and Europe, where economies are slowly reopening after months of lockdown, the World Health Organization has warned that the pandemic is "far from over" as the number of cases globally hit 7 million.

"More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Monday.

More than 135,000 cases were reported Sunday, he said, making it the worst day for new confirmed infections since the pandemic began. Some three quarters of the new cases were from 10 countries, including the U.S, which is approaching the 2 million cases mark.

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801d ago / 2:42 PM UTC

Maryland reports 500 new cases of COVID-19, 35 additional deaths

Maryland health officials announced 500 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 58,904.

The state also said another 35 people had died of COVID-19; in all, 2,811 people have died of the virus there.

801d ago / 2:29 PM UTC

France to open preliminary investigation into handling of coronavirus

The Paris prosecutor's office said Tuesday it would open an official preliminary investigation into the management of the coronavirus pandemic in France.

Rémy Heitz, the district attorney, said the investigation was prompted by 62 complaints filed by individuals and professional groups. The charges varied from endangering the lives of others to unintentional homicide.

There is no single defendant in the country as investigating judges will have to determine whether charges should be brought against a person, agency or government body.

The purpose of the judicial inquiry will be to examine the decision-making process implemented during the health crisis in order to uncover any criminal offences that may have been committed, Heitz said.


801d ago / 2:23 PM UTC

801d ago / 12:30 PM UTC

Olympic hopeful trains in girlfriend's pool to beat coronavirus restrictions

801d ago / 12:12 PM UTC

The last cruise ship passengers of the pandemic finally come home


What is thought to be the last cruise ship still carrying passengers has finally docked six months after it set off.

The eight passengers on board the MV Artania disembarked at the German port of Bremerhaven on Monday, according to the ship's owner, Phoenix Reisen. On its epic voyage, a total of 36 passengers tested positive for coronavirus when it docked in Fremantle, Western Australia. Three passengers later died.

The remaining passengers, mostly Germany nationals, chose to fly back from Australia to Frankfurt but a hardy group of eight decided to stay on board the 1,200-capacity ship since it left Australia on April 18 until now. The journey home was even extended by two weeks, as the ship stopped off at various ports to repatriate crew members.

801d ago / 11:59 AM UTC

Moscow lifts lockdown measures despite high daily case count

On Monday night Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin unexpectedly announced that from Tuesday various lockdown measures will be cancelled. A QR-code pass system, walking schedule and a self-isolation regime are all now stopped.

However, masks and gloves outside of the home remain technically mandatory — though it is clear that fewer and fewer people are following this rule.

Over the next two weeks, normal life will return to the city and economy in three phases, the first of which sees things like hairdressers, photo shops, veterinary clinics, and employment agencies reopened.

The move comes despite Moscow’s daily new case count remaining consistent at around 2,000 a day for the past month, and repeated warnings that strict measures would remain in place until daily new cases had fallen into the dozens or hundreds.

801d ago / 11:43 AM UTC

WHO says asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is rare, contradicting CDC

801d ago / 11:07 AM UTC

German imports and exports record biggest ever drop in April

German exports and imports slumped in April, posting their biggest declines since records began in 1990 as demand dried up in the coronavirus lockdown, adding to a gloomy outlook for Europe’s biggest economy, data showed on Tuesday.

Facing its deepest recession since World War Two, the big question is how quickly Germany’s export-oriented economy can recover now a shutdown that halted production and stunted retail has eased.

Desperate to speed up recovery, the government last week announced a 130 billion euro ($146.35 billion) stimulus package to help boost domestic demand. That comes on top of 750 billion euros worth of measures announced in March.

801d ago / 10:50 AM UTC

How a Texas couple claimed their baby from Ukraine despite coronavirus lockdown

Image: Darlene Straub, 45, the new mother of a newborn baby Sophia, born via surrogacy, holds her in a rented apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine
Darlene Straub, 45, the mother of baby Sophia, born via surrogacy, holds the newborn for the first time in a rented apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine.Oksana Parafeniuk / for NBC News

KYIV, Ukraine — It took the Straubs more than three days to travel from Dallas to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. But, arduous as it was, to them the trip was worth it.

A baby was waiting for them in Kyiv. Their baby. Waiting to come home.

Whether the Straubs would be able to enter Ukraine — or would be stopped by travel restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus — they did not know. Already, reports had emerged of parents traveling to Ukraine to pick up babies born to surrogate mothers, as the Straubs were doing, but being turned away at the border, leaving as many as 100 infants in legal limbo.

Read the whole story here.

801d ago / 10:04 AM UTC

New Zealand celebrates end of most coronavirus restrictions

801d ago / 9:58 AM UTC

U.S. death toll could reach 145,000 by August, researchers predict

The U.S. could have a death toll of over 145,000 people from COVID-19 by August, according to researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

If true, it would mean a further 30,000 deaths occurring in the country in the next two months. The U.S. has reported 113,000 deaths to date. 

Almost half of U.S. states have reported an uptick of cases in recent days and weeks following widespread reopening of economies raising fears of a second peak. 

801d ago / 9:40 AM UTC

Harvard analysis suggests virus was circulating in China as early as Fall 2019

The coronavirus could have been circulating in Wuhan, China as early as late summer or fall 2019, according to researchers at Harvard University. The global pandemic had previously been linked to a jump from wildlife at a so-called 'wet market' in the city in November or December. 

The study came to that conclusion after analyzing search queries on the Chinese search engine Baidu and looking at satellite imagery of hospital parking lots from the time. They found that searches for "cough", which usually follow seasonal variations, and "diarrhea," which is not seasonal in the same way, both showed an increase that preceded the reported start of the epidemic. In addition, hospital activity appeared to increase at the same time. 

There have been complaints that China initially tried to cover up the outbreak, which it denies, as well as indications that the virus arrived on European shores much earlier than initially thought

801d ago / 9:12 AM UTC

Businesses in the city that never sleeps wake up to a new reality

The city that never sleeps emerged from its coronavirus-imposed stasis Monday morning with a handful of "phase one" businesses in New York City raising their roller shutters to a landscape altered by the virus and protests over systemic racism. While some small-business owners said they were eager to get back to work after three months, they expressed uncertainty about what's next.

Retail, construction, manufacturing and agriculture are the first nonessential enterprises to cautiously resume in New York, the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

About 25,000 businesses in the Big Apple had certified with the state as of Thursday that they could reopen while following safety regulations, a prerequisite for opening, said Jonnel Doris, commissioner of the city's Small Business Services Department. Each industry has had to significantly reduce operations and implement new safety measures.

Read the full article here

801d ago / 8:55 AM UTC

Grief turns to anger in Italy's epicenter

801d ago / 8:15 AM UTC

WHO says pandemic 'far from over' as daily cases hit record high

GENEVA — New coronavirus cases had their biggest daily increase ever as the pandemic worsens globally and has yet to peak in central America, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, urging countries to press on with efforts to contains the virus.

"More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online briefing.

More than 136,000 new cases were reported worldwide on Sunday, the most in a single day so far, he said. Nearly 75 percent of them were reported from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia.

802d ago / 12:12 AM UTC

New York City begins reopening

About 400,000 workers can now return to jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail with curbside pickup. Cases in New York continue to decline, while other states that reopened sooner are seeing an increase.

802d ago / 11:44 PM UTC

Trump could resume rallies this month despite coronavirus concerns

Image: Donald Trump Holds A Campaign Rally In Colorado Springs
President Donald Trump waves to supporters during a Keep America Great rally on Feb. 20, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colo.Michael Ciaglo / Getty Images file

President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is preparing to present the president with options to resume rallies in June, according to two officials familiar with the plans.

There are no final decisions yet on where and how this could be done safely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Over the last week, Trump has been asking advisers why he can’t be holding mass rallies when thousands are gathering in the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, these people said.

"Americans are ready to get back to action and so is President Trump. The Great American Comeback is real and the rallies will be tremendous. You’ll again see the kind of crowds and enthusiasm that Sleepy Joe Biden can only dream of," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told NBC News in a statement.

Read the full story here. 

802d ago / 11:20 PM UTC

Americans drove 112 billion fewer miles this April than April 2019

Americans drove 112 billion fewer miles in April than they did during the same month last year, according to data from the Department of Transportation.

Shelter-in-place orders led to a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of miles Americans drove, the DOT said Monday. With much of the country locked down due to the coronavirus, American motorists clocked 169.6 billion miles.

The response to the coronavirus pandemic, which began in March in many states, also saw travel for the first four months of this year decline 14.8 percent versus 2019, to around 858 billion miles. That was the lowest number since 2001, said the DOT.

All forms of travel were down, reported navigation service Inrix, including personal transportation and long- and short-haul trucking. Travel is just ramping back up as states begin relaxing restrictions, but May and June are expected to still see another year-over-year decline, according to transportation experts.

802d ago / 10:08 PM UTC

It's official: The U.S. entered a recession in February

Image: Daily Life In New York City Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
A closed discount store during the coronavirus pandemic on May 25, 2020 in the Queens, N.Y.Cindy Ord / Getty Images file

The U.S. is officially in a recession, bringing an end to a historic 128 months of economic growth, after the coronavirus pandemic swept the country and shut down the economy.

For more than a decade, the American economy seemed to contradict the adage, “What goes up, must come down.” That ended in February, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the agency that identifies periods of economic growth and contraction.

The economic expansion would have turned 11 years old this month — a span unmatched in the postwar economy.

Read the full story here. 

802d ago / 9:36 PM UTC

13 high school students test positive after unsanctioned prom

An unsanctioned prom and beach party has resulted in a group of Texas high school students getting diagnosed with coronavirus and spurred calls for those affected to be banned from attending graduation.

At least 13 students from Foster High School and George Ranch High School have tested positive for COVID-19 after reportedly attending a prom event in Katy on June 5. The event was not sanctioned by the schools, and the group then spent the weekend at a beach house in Galveston, according to the Fort Bend Herald.

Principals of both high schools did not immediately respond for comment. Officials at the Fort Bend County Health & Human Services Department also did not immediately respond.

Stories of the students testing positive have circulated among parents on email. The majority of the students are recent graduates or currently attend Foster High School in Richmond, the parents said.

To read the full story