Russia surpasses 500,000 coronavirus cases

  • Russia surpassed 500,000 cases after 8,779 new infections were reported by health officials. The death toll stands at 6,532, a number the World Health Organization has cast doubt over.

  • Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the UK’s coronavirus strategy, says that the country’s death toll could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier. The UK has more than 291,000 cases and at least 41,000 deaths.
  • Students’ mental health is in focus in post-lockdown China, amid an increase in the number of suicides. In one Shanghai district, there have been 14 suicides by primary and secondary school students so far this year.
  • More than 7.36 million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus and at least 416,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

    Thursday, June 11

    14:30 GMT – International trade set to shrink 27 percent in Q2 after April ‘nosedive’

    International trade is set to plunge by 27 percent in the second quarter and by 20 percent for the year, as major sectors including the automative and energy industries collapse from the effects the pandemic, a United Nations agency said.

    “Assuming persisting uncertainty, UNCTAD forecast indicates a decline of around 20% for the year 2020,” the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report. “Trade in the automotive and energy sector collapsed while trade in agri-food products has been stable.”

    14:15 GMT – Britain’s test and trace system reaches 26,985 in first week

    Britain’s Department of Health said its coronavirus tracing system contacted 31,794 people between 28 May and 3 June and of those it was able to reach 26,985, or 85 percent, and advise them to self-isolate.

    The government’s test and trace system is seen as key to helping to ease lockdown measures.

    The 31,794 people were contacts of a group of 5,407 people who had tested positive for coronavirus and provided details of those they had met to the system, said the Department of Health.

    However only two-thirds of the 8,117 people who tested positive for the virus during the period provided details of recent contacts to the system, with the remaining number not able to be reached.

    14:10 GMT – WHO: Africa’s coronavirus ‘hotspots’ in South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon

    Africa will have a “steady increase” in COVID-19 cases until a vaccine is developed and strong public health measures are needed in current “hotspots” in South Africa, Algeria and Cameroon, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

    “Until such time as we have access to an effective vaccine, I’m afraid we’ll probably have to live with a steady increase in the region, with some hotspots having to be managed in a number of countries, as is happening now in South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon for example, which require very strong public health measures, social distancing measures to take place,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director, told a Geneva briefing.

    14:00 GMT – Kremlin defends Russia’s coronavirus death data after WHO query

    The Kremlin denied has there was anything untoward with Russia’s official coronavirus death data after the World Health Organisation said this week that Russia’s low death rate was “difficult to understand”.

    Russia has reported more than half a million cases of the new coronavirus, the third largest caseload in the world, and 6,532 deaths, a number that is many times lower than other countries with serious outbreaks.

    Asked if the Kremlin thought the data was strange, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “no”, but that Russia’s consumer health regulator would be ready to explain the data to the World Health Organisation.

    Hi, this is Ramy Allahoum in Doha taking over from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui.

    12:55 GMT – US sees 1.54 mn new jobless claims as virus layoffs go on

    Another 1.54 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said, bringing the total since mid-March to 44.2 million.

    Massive numbers of workers filing weekly jobless claims has become routine since the beginning of shutdowns to stop the coronavirus from spreading but the wave has passed its peak and has been declining steadily, while some have returned to work.

    12:45 GMT – China rejects EU accusation it is spreading COVID-19 disinformation

    China’s Foreign Ministry has criticised a European Union report alleging that Beijing was spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

    Spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters that “the EU evades many obvious facts but specifically mentions China. This undermines the credibility and authority of this report”. Hua called the accusations against China “false”.

    According to the European commission, Russia and China have mounted “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighbourhood and globally”.

    12:20 GMT – England football star Dele Alli handed one-match suspension by FA over virus prank

    Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli will miss the Premier League restart after being suspended for a match by the Football Association, having been found guilty of misconduct after mocking the novel coronavirus outbreak.

    Alli, 24, was charged with breaching FA Rule E3 (1) after posting a video on social media of himself at an airport wearing a mask and apparently mocking a man of Asian appearance. He later apologised for the prank.

    11:59 GMT – Moderna to start final testing stage of coronavirus vaccine in July

    Moderna Inc confirmed it plans to start a trial of 30,000 volunteers of its much-anticipated coronavirus vaccine in July as the company enters the final stage of testing.

    The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech said the primary goal of the study would be to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

    The key secondary goal would be prevention of severe disease, as defined by keeping people out of the hospital.

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