India sees biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases

  • India’s coronavirus caseload is nearing 850,000 with a record surge of 28,637 in the past 24 hours, prompting authorities to announce a weeklong lockdown in the key southern technology hub of Bangalore.

  • South Africa has reported 13,497 new coronavirus cases, reaching a total of 264,184 including 3,971 deaths. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warns of a COVID-19 “storm”.

  • Brazil, the world’s number-two coronavirus hotspot after the United States, has recorded 1,071 new deaths from the outbreak, pushing its death toll to 81,469, with a total of 1,839,850 confirmed cases.
  • US President Donald Trump, who has avoided wearing a mask in public even as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, donned one on Saturday at a military medical facility outside Washington, DC where he visited wounded soldiers and front-line healthcare workers.

  • More than 12.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than 565,000 have died, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University. More than seven million patients have recovered.
  • Sunday, July 12

    10:33 GMT – Vatican highlights plight of maritime workers

    The Vatican is highlighting the plight of maritime workers during the pandemic, saying bans on shore leave are severely stressing crews stuck aboard ship, some to the point of suicide.

    Cardinal Peter A. Turkson, who heads a Vatican office dealing with issues of human development, said in a message Sunday that maritime workers “really deserve our esteem and gratitude” for ensuring movement of goods for a “healthy global economy” while much of the world is in lockdown to combat spread of COVID-19 infection.

    He said that tens of thousands of seafarers who were due to fly home for leave between long stints at sea were prevented from doing so due to lockdown rules.

    Similarly, thousands of seafarers due to head to sea on new tours of duty were stranded in hotels and dormitories.

    Turkson lamented that those stranded on board vessels “suffer isolation, severe physical and mental stress that brings many crews on the verge of desperation and, unfortunately” suicide.

    The cardinal said Catholics worldwide during August are being encouraged to pray for all those who work and live from the sea, including sailors and fishers and their families.

    10:06 GMT – Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan tests positive for coronavirus

    Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter tested positive for the new coronavirus on Sunday, a day after her father-in-law and top Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan and her husband and actor Abhishek said they were infected with the virus.

    Maharastra state health minister Rajesh Tope said in a tweet Aishwarya and her daughter had tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. It was not clear whether they had been admitted to hospital, as Amitabh and Abhishek were on Saturday, when they said they had mild symptoms.

    09:38 GMT – Hungary imposes border checks, quarantine to prevent spread of virus

    Hungary has imposed new restrictions on cross-border travel as of next Wednesday in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after a surge in new cases in several countries, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff announced.

    Under the new rules, Hungarian nationals returning from high risk countries listed as “yellow” and “red” will have to go through health checks at the border and will have to go into quarantine. The same applies to foreigners coming from “yellow” countries, but their entry will be banned from “red” countries.

    Countries in the Balkans and neighbouring Ukraine belong to the red category, among other states. Serbia and Romania are listed as “yellow”, while travel from Croatia is free for the time being.

    09:20 GMT – Spain holds regional elections amid coronavirus

    Spaniards in two northern regions are voting in regional elections Sunday amid tight security measures to avoid more outbreaks of the coronavirus.

    Regional authorities in both Basque Country and Galicia have prohibited over 400 people who have tested positive for the virus from leaving their homes to vote.

    Spain’s Supreme Court backed the decision in a ruling Friday in response to a complaint by opposition parties in both regions.

    Voters must wear face masks to vote and remain 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart in polling stations, which are equipped with hand sanitizers.

    Both regional governments originally called elections to be held on April 5 but postponed them due to the rapid rise in infections that Spain could only rein in by locking down the country until June.

    Health authorities are watching small outbreaks in both regions, as well as in other parts of Spain. Over 28,000 COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed in Spain.

    The conservative Popular Party in Galicia and the Basque regionalist party PNV are hoping to remain in power.

    08:40 GMT – India reports record surge of 28,637 new coronavirus cases

    India’s coronavirus caseload is nearing 850,000 with a record surge of 28,637 in the past 24 hours, prompting authorities to announce a weeklong lockdown in the key southern technology hub of Bangalore.

    The new confirmed cases took the national total to 849,553. The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported another 551 deaths for a total of 22,674.

    India has overtaken Russia in the number of cases and is currently behind the United States and Brazil, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

    Southern Karnataka state, whose IT hub Bangalore is home to Microsoft, Apple and Amazon offices, extended Sunday lockdowns to one week beginning Tuesday.

    New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune are among the key Indian cities witnessing a surge in infections. Several states also have announced stringent lockdowns in high-risk areas.

    08:15 GMT – Abu Dhabi fund suspends debt service repayments for countries, companies

    Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has suspended debt service repayments for some countries and companies for the year, the state-financed fund announced.

    The fund provides financial assistance to companies in the United Arab Emirates and to developing countries, which has included Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

    Debt service repayments would be suspended for eligible countries and individual companies in the developing world from January 1 until December 31, the fund said in a statement.

    Countries and companies would need to request to have repayments suspended, it said.

    The fund did not say what the criteria would need to be met to be eligible for the scheme.

    08:15 GMT – Abu Dhabi fund suspends debt service repayments for countries, companies

    Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has suspended debt service repayments for some countries and companies for the year, the state-financed fund announced.

    The fund provides financial assistance to companies in the United Arab Emirates and to developing countries, which has included Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

    Debt service repayments would be suspended for eligible countries and individual companies in the developing world from January 1 until December 31, the fund said in a statement.

    Countries and companies would need to request to have repayments suspended, it said.

    The fund did not say what the criteria would need to be met to be eligible for the scheme.

    08:00 GMT – Russia reports 6,615 new coronavirus cases

    Russia on Sunday has reported 6,615 new coronavirus cases, taking its nationwide tally of infections to 727,162.

    The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 130 people had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 11,335. Russia said 501,061 people have recovered from the virus.

    07:40 GMT – Fears high as first four coronavirus cases confirmed in Idlib

    Syria-Turkey border – Three doctors and a nurse tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Syria’s northwest Idlib governorate, the first cases to emerge in the region, raising fears it could rapidly spread through densely populated camps for internally displaced Syrians.

    The number of people living in the sprawling camps has increased in recent months after Russian-backed Syrian government forces launched a campaign to regain control of the last rebel-held bastion in the war-torn country.

    “The first case of the new coronavirus was confirmed on Thursday night. He is a doctor working in Bab al-Hawa border hospital,” Emad Zahran, media manager at Idlib’s health directorate, said on Saturday, adding the physician appeared to have contracted the virus during a visit to his family in Turkey last month.

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