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Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 10:47
Virus: Ireland may tighten rules at airports after criticism
By Agencies
Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 10:47 By Agencies

An employee wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), of a face shield or visor as a precautionary measure against spreading COVID-19, poses for a photograph with a customer's pint of Guinness at the re-opened Murray's Bar in Dublin on June 29, 2020, as lockdown measures begin to be eased. (PHOTO / AFP)

MEXICO CITY / BUENOS AIRES / TORONTO / RIO DE JANEIRO / ROME / JOHANNESBURG / LONDON / MOSCOW / HARARE / MADRID - Ireland will consider strengthening measures at airports to implement 14-day quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad, its tourism minister said on Monday, following criticism by opposition politicians and tourism operators that visitors are not complying.

Ireland introduced the voluntary rule in April, and from late May required incoming travellers to provide the address where they will self-isolate. It plans to move to an electronic system capturing data from airlines and ferry operators shortly.

Restaurant, hotel and pub owners took to Twitter over the weekend to say they turned away customers from the United States after learning they had not self-isolated for 14 days. A tweet from a tour guide saying she cancelled a booking for the same reason went viral on Sunday.

“The cabinet will be discussing measures this week that may be needed, such as strengthening measures at airports, ahead of issuing a possible green list of countries,” Tourism Minister Catherine Martin told the Newstalk radio station.

Ireland plans to publish on July 20 a “green list” of countries whose residents will be exempt from the quarantine rule but has said it will be limited to a small number and based on the amount of new COVID-19 cases, the trend, and quality of testing and tracing in qualifying countries.

Germany 

Germany can prevent a second wave of the coronavirus in the autumn if people stay vigilant, particularly during the summer vacation season, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday.

Spahn said at a news conference it was important to remain alert when travelling abroad and said he was worried by pictures showing holidaymakers partying in Mallorca at the weekend and ignoring social distancing rules.

There were 210 new cases in the 24 hours through Monday morning, bringing the total to 199,919, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The death toll rose by one to 9,071. 

The reproduction factor of the virus, known as R-naught, rose to 1.04 on Sunday from 0.93 the day before, according to the latest estimate from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

According to the latest RKI data, the number of confirmed cases increased by 159 to 198,963 while the reported death toll rose by one to 9,064.

Spahn said more than 15.5 million people had installed Germany's coronavirus warning app and that 500,000 people were tested for COVID-19 last week, the most since the crisis began.

Record one-day rise in new cases globally

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. The previous WHO record for new cases was 228,102 on Friday. Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.

Global coronavirus cases were approaching 13 million on Sunday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than 568,000 people.

Argentina

Argentina exceeded 100,000 cases of novel coronavirus infections on Sunday as it struggles to contain spiraling case rates despite a strict quarantine imposed on the capital Buenos Aires and its surroundings.

The Health Ministry said 2,657 new cases confirmed overnight took the total to 100,166.

The death toll stands at 1,845, a far cry from the 71,469 in Brazil by Sunday and the 11,682 in Peru. But confirmed case numbers moved into four figures daily in early June and for the past four days have hit at least 3,000 daily.

Carla Vizzotti, deputy health minister, said the lockdowns would be maintained while hospitals continued to fill up.

Mauro Grossman, an intensive care doctor at Ezeiza Hospital in Buenos Aires, told Reuters he believed the peak was approaching. 

Belarus

Belarus reported 165 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking its tally to 64,932, according to the country's Health Ministry.

There were 461 new recoveries reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of recoveries to 55,380, the ministry said.

The death toll rose by five to 464, it added.

People sit on a field with painted circles to encourage social distancing at the Rhine promenade in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on July 12, 2020. (INA FASSBENDER / AFP)


Brazil

Brazil, the world's No. 2 coronavirus hot spot after the United States, registered 631 more deaths on Sunday, with a new total of 1,864,681 confirmed cases, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil now has an official total of 72,100 deaths, the ministry said. The numbers of deaths and cases are usually lower on the weekend because of patchy reporting. Experts say the true totals are likely far higher due to a lack of testing.

READ MORE: Virus: Brazil sees over 1,000 more deaths, cases top 1.8m

Volunteers spray disinfectant in an alleyway to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus in the Babilonia slum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 12, 2020. (LEO CORREA / AP)

Canada

Ontario Premier Doug Ford will announce details on Monday about the province's third stage of reopening, his office said on Sunday, a step likely to end most restrictions introduced in March to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Stage 3 will allow "most remaining workplaces and community spaces" to reopen, according to the province's website, although "large public gatherings will continue to be restricted".

Ontario, with a population of 14.6 million, reported 129 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths on Saturday, according to public health agency data. Ontario has the second-highest number of cases and deaths behind Quebec.

Canada has reported 107,347 cases since the pandemic began, including 8,773 deaths, according to the latest government data.

Egypt

Egypt reported on Sunday 912 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 82,070, said the Health Ministry.

Another 89 deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 3,858, according to the ministry's spokesman, Khaled Megahed.

Some 543 patients were completely cured and discharged from hospitals, taking the total number of recoveries to 24,419, the spokesman said.

Finland

A daycare center in Rovaniemi, northern Finland, was ordered to close after two COVID-19 cases were confirmed at the center, according to local authorities Sunday.

The City of Rovaniemi said in a press release that the two confirmed cases involve an employee at the daycare center, called Poropolku, as well as a child who attended the center.

The center will be closed for two weeks from July 13, according to the press release.

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, as of Sunday afternoon, Finland has confirmed a total of 7,294 COVID-19 infections, with 329 deaths. An estimated 6,800 people have recovered. 

France

France will unveil “massive” support for youth employment this week and a new broad stimulus plan, including tax cuts for companies, at the end of August, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday.

The measures will be in addition to emergency aid to protect jobs and companies during the lockdown imposed to curb the coronavirus, and a series of support plans for sectors including tourism and auto and aircraft manufacturing.

“It can go very high,” Le Maire said, when asked on RTL radio if the stimulus plan would be between 50 billion euros (US$57 billion) and 100 billion euros.

“The prime minister and president will this week announce a massive, immediate, and effective plan for youth employment,” Le Maire said Monday.

France has so far reported 208,015 confirmed cases and 30,007 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Georgia

Georgia confirmed five new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing its tally to 986.

All the five new cases are imported, the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) said.

As of Sunday, a total of 857 patients have recovered, and 15 people have died from the disease, the center said.

Greece

Greece will allow direct flights from Sweden from July 22, according to government spokesman Stelios Petsas. 

The country will also look into allowing direct flights from non-EU countries, such as the US, from end of July, depending on the situation in those countries and on condition travelers have a negative test for COVID-19 carried out within 72 hours before arrival.

Greece has so far reported 3,803 confirmed cases and 193 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Honduras

Honduras will extend its coronavirus curfew for another week in an effort to tame the coronavirus pandemic, the security ministry said on Sunday.

Honduras first imposed a curfew in March but the government has in recent weeks been talking about slowly reopening businesses to help the economy.

The country has so far reported, 28,090 confirmed cases and 774 deaths.

Italy

A series of small local outbreaks and a growing trickle of foreign arrivals are starting to nudge the number of coronavirus infections in Italy higher, according to information released by the Ministry of Health Sunday.

There were 234 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, up from 188 a day earlier. It was the seventh time in ten days that there were at least 200 new infections in Italy, a benchmark reached just twice in the ten days before.

According to Italian media reports, isolated clusters of infections and arrivals from outside Italy's borders - or a combination of the two factors - are the elements keeping infection rates from falling further. The jump in new cases was enough for Calabria's President, Jole Santelli, to call on the government to use navy vessels to test migrants for the virus before allowing them onto the Italian mainland, according to the Gazzetta del Sud, a major southern Italian newspaper.

Meanwhile, just nine more deaths were recorded across Italy on Sunday, bringing the overall toll to 34,954. The official number of active infections stood at 13,179, down by 124 in the last day. 

Kenya

Kenya's tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 10,000 mark on Sunday, as the Ministry of Health intensified measures to contain the spread of the respiratory disease.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary of the ministry, said 379 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 10,105.

He said one more death was recorded, raising the death toll to 185.

Forty-nine more patients were discharged from health facilities, bringing the number of recoveries to 2,881.

Mexico

Deaths in Mexico from the coronavirus pandemic rose above 35,000 on Sunday, with the Latin American country overtaking Italy for the world's fourth-highest death toll. 

But leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that the pandemic was "losing intensity" in Mexico, and blamed what he called "conservative media" for causing alarm. Lopez Obrador also backed Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico's deputy health minister and coronavirus czar, after criticism of his handling of the crisis.

Mexico's Health Ministry on Sunday reported 4,482 new confirmed infections and 276 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 299,750 cases and 35,006 deaths. The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Morocco

Morocco registered 203 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the tally of infections in the country to 15,745, the Ministry of Health said.

The death toll rose by five to 250, according to Hind Ezzine, head of the department of epidemic diseases of the Ministry of Health.

The number of recoveries increased by 218 to 12,283, Ezzine said.

Russia

Russia on Monday reported 6,537 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its overall tally to 733,699, the fourth largest reported in the world.

Authorities said 104 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 11,439.

Also on Monday, President Vladimir Putin supported a proposal to extend the deadline for a 25.7 trillion rouble (US$363 billion) package of state spending, known as the national projects, by six years until 2030 due to the pandemic.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin suggested Russia give itself more time to complete the 13 projects, strategic spending goals ranging from infrastructure to education and healthcare, in light of the economic slowdown brought about by COVID-19 and the resultant strain on state coffers.

Putin has ordered his administration to prepare draft decrees that would make the proposal a reality.

READ MORE: Virus puts Russians in dark mood

South Africa

South Africa will reimpose a ban on the sale of alcohol and a nighttime curfew to reduce pressure on its hospitals as coronavirus infections rise rapidly, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

The nighttime curfew will last from 9 pm to 4 am and take effect from Monday, apart from for those travelling to or from work or seeking medical help. Regulations on the wearing of masks will be strengthened, but the country will remain on the third level of its five-level coronavirus alert system. Family visits and social activities remain banned. 

Ramaphosa said current projections showed different provinces would reach the peak of infections between the end of July and late September. He said scientists had presented models that forecast between 40,000 and 50,000 coronavirus deaths before the end of the year.

The Health Ministry reported 12,058 new cases on Sunday, bringing the tally to 276,242. Deaths rose by 108 to 4,079. 

South Africa has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa and is now recording the fourth-largest daily increase in new cases worldwide.

Spain

A Spanish judge barred Catalan authorities from confining about 160,000 people to their homes in the city of Lleida and seven other towns as coronavirus cases rose, saying the regional government had exceeded its powers.

People will still not be able to leave the area, under a lockdown decided earlier this month after an increase in cases, but they can move freely within the area, Judge Elena Garcia-Munoz Alarco said.

Responding to the ruling, the regional leader of Catalonia, Quim Torra, called on Lleida residents to follow his government's home confinement orders. Torra said it was impossible to accept the judge's ruling because of the risks involved, adding that he would approve a new decree to make the confinement orders compulsory.

People in the Lleida area have been banned from leaving since July 4, except for specific reasons such as going to or from work. The Catalan government's decision has also drawn the criticim from the national prosecutor.

As dozens of new clusters were now seen across the country, regional authorities are taking new measures either to lock down small areas or make it mandatory to wear a mask everywhere in public. La Rioja, Navarra, Aragon and Andalusia regions are set to make it compulsory from Monday to wear a face mask indoors and outdoors, authorities said, following a similar move in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Extremadura.

Spain has so far reported more than 253,000 confirmed cases and 28,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that people should wear masks in confined spaces such as shops and that the government would say more in the next few days about what “tools of enforcement” would be used.

Asked if he would make it compulsory to wear masks in shops, Johnson said: “Masks have a great deal of value in confined places.”

Another 21 COVID-19 deaths were registered in Britain as of Saturday afternoon, bringing the death toll in the country to 44,819, the British Department of Health and Social Care said Sunday.

As of Sunday morning, 289,603 people have tested positive for the disease in Britain, a daily increase of 650, according to the department. 

Around 200 people employed to pick crops at a farm near Malvern in England's West Midlands region have been told to self isolate after 73 of them tested positive for COVID-19, Public Health England (PHE) and Herefordshire Council said on Sunday.

The AS Green and Co farm site has been placed in lockdown to try to contain the outbreak, which follows other clusters of cases at food producers, PHE and Herefordshire Council said.

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a street in Santa Monica, California, July 12, 2020. (MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ / AP)

US

Florida reported a record increase of more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours on Sunday, as the Trump administration renewed its push for schools to reopen and anti-mask protests were planned in Michigan and Missouri.

The latest rise in Florida was reported a day after Walt Disney World in Orlando reopened with a limited number of guests who were welcomed with a host of safety measures, including masks and temperature checks.

In addition to a record 15,000 new cases, more than four dozen hospitals in Florida reported that their intensive care units are full due to a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Nationally, coronavirus cases rose by 55,688 compared with the same time Saturday to 3.27 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. Deaths rose 0.4 percent from Saturday to 134,904.

ALSO READ: In first, Trump wears mask in public

New York City, once the epicenter of the US outbreak, reported its first day with zero confirmed or probable virus deaths on Sunday since the pandemic began, according to initial data from the city’s health department.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that her department did not have its own safe reopening plans to promote, and each school district and state must devise their own plans based on their local coronavirus infection rates.

Zambia

Zambian Minister of Transport and Communications Mutotwe Kafwaya announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Kafwaya confirmed on his Facebook page that he tested positive for the virus after attending his mother's funeral.

He is the third Zambian minister to be infected after Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya and Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliya.

Zambia has so far reported 1,895 cases and 42 deaths.

Zimbabwe

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe rose to 985 after three new cases were reported Sunday.

Recoveries increased by eight to 328 while the death toll remained at 639, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said in a statement Monday morning.

Currently there were active cases, according to the statement.

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