Modi says India’s coronavirus spread at critical juncture

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country’s COVID-19 death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.”

  • A global trial designed to test whether the anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can prevent infection with COVID-19 is to restart after being approved by British regulators.

  • World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the pandemic is “not even close to being over” and while there had been some progress initially, it was “actually speeding up”.
  • More than 10.2 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, more than 5.2 million have recovered, and more than 504,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Tuesday, June 30

    12:10 GMT – UN rights chief slams virus response in China, Russia, US

    The UN rights chief said COVID-19 was being instrumentalised to silence free speech, citing China and Russia, while voicing alarm at statements in the US that “deny the reality” of the virus.

    Michelle Bachelet pointed to Russia, China, Kosovo, Nicaragua among others where “threats and intimidation against journalists, bloggers and civic activists, particularly at the local level, (were being used) with the apparent aim of discouraging criticism of the authorities’ responses to COVID-19”.

    Bachelet also voiced concern about “severe restrictions on freedoms of expression” in Egypt and “excessive and arbitrary enforcement” of pandemic response measures in El Salvador.

    “Censorship and criminalisation of speech are likely to suppress crucial information needed to address the pandemic,” she told the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    11:35 GMT – India’s prime minister says virus’s spread still critical

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a live address on Tuesday that the country’s coronavirus death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.”

    Modi’s sixth address since the pandemic began came as India reported nearly 560,000 infections and over 16,000 deaths.

    “People are becoming careless,” he said, adding, “we need to call out the violators.”

    In India, the world’s fourth-worst affected country, cases have shot up since the end of a 10-week lockdown in early June. 

    10:25 GMT – UN calls for $10bn aid for Syrians beset by war and COVID-19

    The United Nations has pushed governments at a virtual conference for nearly $10bn in aid for Syria, where nine years of war has displaced millions in a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by soaring food prices and the coronavirus crisis.

    The now annual fund-raising round for Syria brought together 60 governments and non-official agencies via video in an event hosted by the European Union.

    “Syrian men, women and children have experienced injury, displacement, destruction, terror … on a massive scale,” said UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

    “The danger of COVID-19 remains acute.”

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