Surge in COVID-19 Cases Prompts Renewed Lockdowns
By VOA News June 29, 2020
A rise in coronavirus cases around the world is prompting authorities in some countries, including India and the United States, to reimpose lockdown restrictions, as the head of the World Health Organization said the pandemic "is not even close to being over."
"Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday during a virtual briefing in Geneva.
"Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up," he said.
India reported another record one-day increase in confirmed cases Monday with nearly 20,000, a jump of more than 100,000 in a week. The country trails only the United States, Brazil and Russia in total confirmed cases since the pandemic began late last year in China.
Part of India's Assam state has reimposed its lockdown through July 12, while West Bengal state extended its restrictions until the end of July.
Across the US
In the United States, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona are among the states that have seen a spike in their cases.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Sunday that he is again closing beaches in his state, blaming young people who are balking at wearing masks and practicing social distancing for driving the surge in new cases.
State officials have also put the brakes on alcohol consumption at bars because of what DeSantis calls "widespread noncompliance."
The governors of Texas and California have also closed many bars. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, "COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks." The disease is caused by the coronavirus.
The city of Jacksonville, Florida, where the Republican Party will hold its convention in August, said Monday it will require masks for all public locations.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that indoor dining will not resume as planned this week because of the threat of the virus.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom closed bars in seven counties that had reopened and urged those in eight others to follow suit.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has suspended the fourth phase of his state's reopening plans. The northwestern U.S. state reported 3,180 new cases in the last week, a figure approaching what the state saw during the height of the outbreak in March.
Nationwide, there have been more than 35,000 reported cases for six consecutive days.
Over 10 million cases worldwide
The number of global cases has passed 10.2 million and the number of deaths has passed 502,940, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The World Health Organization said the number of new cases set another daily record Sunday – 189,000 – led by Brazil's 47,000 cases in a 24-hour period.
Many health experts say the number of cases around the world may be much higher than the reported numbers due to a lack of testing and asymptomatic carriers.
In Brazil's Sao Paulo state, the epicenter of the country's COVID-19 crisis, officials said they will start fining people who do not wear masks in public places. Brazil has more than 1.3 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins.
In China, authorities reported just 12 new cases Monday, including seven in Beijing, after an outbreak centered on a wholesale market. Chinese officials said they have tested more than 8 million people in the city in an effort to trace and contain the virus.
Tedros said Monday the WHO is sending a team to China next week to investigate the origins of the virus. The United States, which said it will leave the agency over its handling of the pandemic, has called for an investigation into the virus's origin.
The British government on Monday reimposed a lockdown on the city of Leicester, which is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases.
Iran recorded its highest number of deaths from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period, according to official figures. The Health Ministry reported 162 deaths on Monday, exceeding a previous record on April 4.
With 47 new cases Monday, South Korea continued to worry about a second wave of infections, and President Moon Jae-in urged people to consider staggering their travel during vacation season in order to help with social distancing efforts and to prevent workers in the tourism industry from being overwhelmed.
In Italy, officials reported 126 new coronavirus infections, one of its lowest daily tallies since the outbreak began.
Workers at six Amazon warehouses in Germany went on strike Monday because of concerns over employees testing positive for COVID-19.
A representative for the Amazon employees labor union said as many as 40 have been infected and accused the company of putting profits ahead of safety.
Amazon denied the allegation and said it has invested billions to protect its workers all over the world. The company announced Monday it would spend $500 million on one-time bonuses to its front-line employees working during the pandemic.
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