US, Russia, Britain Top List of COVID Infections
By VOA News May 16, 2020
Nearly 4.6 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 310,000 have died because of it, according to figures available Saturday afternoon from Johns Hopkins University.
The United States, Russia and Britain top the list of countries with the most COVID-19 cases. The U.S. has almost 1.5 million cases, Russia – which is widely suspected of under-reporting – has more than 272,000 and Britain has more than 241,000.
A new World Health Organization modeling study warned that nearly a quarter-billion people would eventually be infected by the virus, and that 150,000 people in Africa could die if urgent action was not taken. The study, published Friday in the journal BMJ Global Health, projected lower infection rates and death totals in other parts of the world, such as Europe and the U.S.
A study released Saturday suggested that financial status is a key factor in determining who contracts the coronavirus. Oxford University conducted the study and found that residents of the most impoverished areas of Britain were four times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than residents of the wealthiest neighborhoods.
The study, which examined over 3,600 COVID-19 test results, discovered that deprivation, as well as age and chronic liver disease, increased the chances of testing positive.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Saturday that he would ask parliament to extend the country's state of emergency one final time by four weeks. The emergency was first declared on March 14 and the spread of the disease has largely been brought under control. The daily death toll has dropped to its lowest point in nearly eight weeks.
Less than a week after full lockdown measures were lifted, the Greek government reopened public beaches Saturday under strict social distancing rules. The government is thinking about reopening restaurants and bars on May 25.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her fiance were turned away Saturday from a cafe because it was over capacity under coronavirus guidelines. They tried to attend brunch at a restaurant in Wellington but they were rejected because it was already full.
Italy has signed a decree allowing travel to and from the country, beginning June 3. Travel between the country's regions will also resume on the same day. More than 31,700 people have died in Italy from the virus. The country has more than 224,000 infections, but its infection rate has recently fallen.
Britain was the latest country to announce it had established a program to train dogs to sniff out people who may be carriers of the coronavirus. The animals would be used at airports and other places. The U.S. and France have announced similar programs. Dogs have already been trained to use their sense of smell to detect cancer, diabetes and other diseases in people.
In Slovenia, the government declared an end to the epidemic Friday and opened its borders, although new cases were still being reported.
The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lifted movement restrictions and established a free movement zone for themselves. Officials in Finland and Poland have indicated they may join the zone soon.
Despite the easing of restrictions in Europe, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Friday that the country would probably maintain travel restrictions until August 20.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that his administration was considering proposals pertaining to the World Health Organization. One proposal would see the U.S. pay the WHO 10% of what it used to contribute before Trump suspended contributions on April 14 after accusing it of promoting China's "disinformation" about the outbreak.
House Democrats in the U.S. passed a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill Friday that has no chance of being approved by the Republican-led Senate. The White House has threatened to veto the measure. The move is widely seen as an election year campaign statement.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver a commencement address Saturday to millions of high school seniors across the U.S. who are unable to physically attend graduation ceremonies because of the pandemic.
The virtual "Graduate Together, Class of 2020 High School Commencement" will be hosted by the XQ Institute, the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Eritrea had good news Friday. Its Health Ministry said in a statement that all 39 of its confirmed coronavirus cases "have recovered fully." It cautioned, however, that "this important milestone should not induce complacency."
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