Published: 10:33, August 5, 2020 | Updated: 20:50, June 5, 2023
Johnson lambasted for lifting virus border controls in March
By Agencies

UK PM Boris Johnson wears a face mask as he visits Tollgate Medical Centre in London on July 24, 2020. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)

MEXICO CITY / BRASILIA / TEGUCIGALPA / WASHINGTON / PARIS / DUBLIN / ATHENS / MADRID / PRAGUE / KIEV / ZURICH - Boris Johnson’s government made an “inexplicable” decision to lift border restrictions as coronavirus was spreading out of control in the UK, a cross-party panel of lawmakers said in a scathing report.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee said Wednesday that the March 13 decision to remove all restrictions on the movements of people arriving in the UK came as other countries were tightening border controls. As many as 10,000 cases of coronavirus may have been imported into the country around this time, the committee said

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee said Wednesday that the March 13 decision to remove all restrictions on the movements of people arriving in the UK came as other countries were tightening border controls. As many as 10,000 cases of coronavirus may have been imported into the country around this time, the committee said.

It also criticized the way ministers talked up the opportunity for people to take summer vacations abroad as they lifted travel restrictions, only to reimpose them on some countries without warning last month. The panel said the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre should publish information about the different levels of risk in each country, to help people assess the chances of getting caught out if they book holidays.

The UK has had the highest level of deaths related to COVID-19 in Europe, and Johnson has promised a public inquiry into his government’s handling of the pandemic. The Home Affairs Committee’s report is a taster of how difficult that process will be.

The committee said that from March 13 to June 8 there were no quarantine or isolation requirements for any travelers without symptoms, and no testing or screening at the border. This meant the virus “spread faster and reached more people,” said committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper, a member of the opposition Labour Party.

“The UK was almost unique in having no border checks or quarantine arrangements at that time,” Cooper said in a statement. “That alone should have rung loud alarm bells for ministers and made them think again. Many times ministers told us they were following the science, but we cannot find any science at all behind their completely inexplicable decision.”

Parliament’s Health Committee, led by Johnson’s former leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, has announced it will begin commissioning an independent grading of the government’s record on delivering pledges, rating them from “outstanding” to “inadequate.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s government reimposed lockdown restrictions on Aberdeen, the country’s oil hub, after a spike in new coronavirus cases, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Local restrictions on travel and indoor gatherings between households, along with the closing of both indoor and outdoor hospitality, were introduced in the northeastern city with immediate effect, Sturgeon told reporters in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

“This shows what can happen if we let our guard drop and it should serve as a warning to all of us,” the Scottish leader said. “The risk of an even more significant outbreak is very real, which is why we have to take the decisive action we’ve announced today.'’

Aberdeen has seen a surge in confirmed cases in recent days, with 54 people testing positive in the last week. The reintroduction of restrictions is expected to last for a week, though could be extended for longer, Sturgeon said.

The UK has reported more than 307,000 confirmed cases and over 46,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Global Tally

The global death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities.

Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.

That equates to 247 people per hour, or one person every 15 seconds.

There are now more than 18.5 million coronavirus cases recorded worldwide, according to the tally.

The United States and Latin America are the new epicenters of the pandemic and both are struggling to curb the spread of the virus.

The coronavirus was initially slower to reach Latin America, which is home to about 640 million people, than much of the world. But officials have since struggled to control its spread because of the region’s poverty and densely packed cities.

More than 100 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean live in slums, according to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Many have jobs in the informal sector with little in the way of a social safety net and have continued to work throughout the pandemic.

The United States, home to around 330 million people, has also been battered by the virus despite being one of the richest nations in the world.

Even in parts of the world that had appeared to have curbed the spread of the virus, countries have recently seen single-day records in new cases, signaling the battle is far from over. 

ALSO READ: Australia fears contagion as Victoria sees record virus deaths

Latin America

Latin America surpassed Europe on Tuesday to become the region with the highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The region has now recorded more than 206,000 deaths, approximately 30 percent of the global total.

Brazil, the Latin American country most affected by the novel coronavirus, has now recorded a total of 95,819 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the tally. Mexico, the second-most affected country in the region, has 48,869 deaths.

READ MORE: Bolsonaro tells supporters anti-virus measures kill

The spread of the pandemic has also accelerated in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia.

Last week, Latin America became the most-affected region by the number of cases. On Monday, its number of infections surpassed 5 million, according to a Reuters tally based on government data.

The number of cases increased after authorities relaxed lockdown measures in order to stimulate economic growth.


The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported across the African continent surpassed 968,000 on Tuesday, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC said in its latest situation update that the tally had risen from 957,035 on Monday to 968,020.

Meanwhile, the death toll stood at 20,612, up from 20,288 on Monday, it said.

South Africa has the highest number of confirmed cases, followed by Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Morocco, Africa CDC said.

The Southern Africa region is the most affected area in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Northern Africa and Western Africa regions, respectively, it added.

Students wearing face masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus walk past a school gate with a sign that reads "No face mask no entry" in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug 4, 2020. (SUNDAY ALAMBA / AP)


Young people who are hitting nightclubs and beaches are leading a rise in fresh coronavirus cases across the world, with the proportion of those aged 15 to 24 who are infected rising three-fold in about five months, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

An analysis by the WHO of 6 million infections between Feb 24 and July 12 found that the share of people aged 15-24 years rose to 15 percent from 4.5 percent.

Apart from the United States which leads a global tally with 4.8 million total cases, European countries including Spain, Germany and France, and Asian countries such as Japan, have said that many of the newly infected are young people.

Among those aged 5-14 years, about 4.6 percent were infected, up from 0.8 percent, between Feb 24 and July 12, the WHO said, at a time when testing has risen and public health experts are concerned that reopening of schools may lead to a surge in cases.

“We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: young people are not invincible,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing in Geneva last week. “Young people can be infected; young people can die; and young people can transmit the virus to others.”

ALSO READ: WHO chief: There might be no 'silver bullet' for COVID-19


An eighth minister in Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's Cabinet has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the government said on Tuesday, as Brazil fights the world's worst outbreak of the coronavirus outside the United States.

Jorge Oliveira, secretary of the presidency, has been working remotely in isolation since his diagnosis, his office said in a statement. Eight of Bolsonaro's 23 Cabinet ministers have now tested positive for COVID-19.

The president and his wife, Michelle, also contracted the disease. Bolsonaro resumed official meetings and travel after a test showed he was no longer infected on July 25.

Brazil has confirmed more than 2.8 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began. The official death toll has risen to 94,665, with 51,603 new cases and 1,154 deaths in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.


Canadians shouldn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to end the coronavirus pandemic and return to normal, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said on Tuesday.

"We're going to have to manage this pandemic certainly over the next year, but certainly it may be planning for the longer term on the next two to three years during which the vaccine may play a role," Tam said at a press conference on COVID-19 in Ottawa.

"People might think that if we get a vaccine then everything goes back to normal the way it was before. That's not the case. All of the measures we've put in place now will still have to continue with the new reality for quite some time," Canada's Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo said at the press conference.

Tam reiterated the importance of physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and mask wearing.

Canada has reported 119,659 confirmed cases and 9,005 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.


The Chilean Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 362,962, with 9,745 deaths.

According to the ministry, 1,462 new cases and 38 more deaths were registered in the last 24 hours.

Health authorities said that 336,330 people have recovered from the disease and that there are currently 16,887 active cases.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic reported on Wednesday its biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases since the end of June as a recent uptick in infections stays elevated.

The central European country of 10.7 million recorded 290 new cases on Tuesday, Health Ministry data showed, bringing the total number of cases detected to 17,286. Of those, 11,812 have recovered and 383 have died.

Almost a quarter of the new cases, 77, were in the eastern region of Moravia-Silesia, bordering Poland, where many cases recently appeared among miners and their families.

The overall number of active cases reached 5,091. Some epidemiologists have suggested that the virus has weakened, pointing to a relatively low number of people being hospitalized, currently totalling 123.

Also, the daily number of those who died in connection with the coronavirus has been below five since May 20.

However, health officials have cautioned that some measures taken to curb the illness are likely to return after the summer holidays when cities will be more crowded and the flu season will arrive.

Prague chief public health officer Zdenka Jagrova told daily paper Pravo that people in the capital will definitely be required to wear face masks again at some point inside public spaces such as shopping malls and on public transport.


Ecuador will reopen 40 beaches to visitors on Wednesday after a five-months closure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Tourism Minister Rosi Prado said on Tuesday.

The reopening of the beaches in the coastal provinces of Guayas, Santa Elena, Manabi, Esmeraldas and El Oro aims to reactivate tourism, she said, adding the public would still need to observe social distancing measures.

Ecuador, one of the Latin American countries hit the hardest by the pandemic, has reported 87,963 cases and 5,808 deaths.


Egypt reported 112 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the tally to 94,752, the Health Ministry said.

Another 24 deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 4,912, while recoveries rose by 1,503 to 45,569, the ministry's spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.


Ethiopia's confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 19,877 after 588 new infections were confirmed on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said.

The ministry reported that seven more deaths were recorded, raising the death toll to 343.

A total of 8,240 patients have so far recovered, including 309 in the last 24 hours period, the ministry said.


France should prepare for a coronavirus resurgence in November as cooler temperatures prompt people to spend more time indoors, according to the head of the country’s scientific council on the disease.

“There will be more contacts, and it will come back from the southern hemisphere,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy said on RTL radio Wednesday.

Delfraissy urged the country’s 20 largest cities, where there are more interactions at work and in public transport, to do “everything” they can to be prepared.

On Tuesday, the health ministry said that confirmed infections rose by another 1,039 to 192,334 while the death toll increased by just two to 30,296, the lowest single-day figure since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.

The number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) in French hospitals by four to 388, the second day of increase in a row, reversing a downward trend that had lasted 16 weeks.


The coronavirus will be present in Germany “for a long time” and the health care system must be ready to cope if infections rise further, according to the chair of the World Medical Association Council. 

Germany’s health system has coped “up to now, but we are worried that at some point capacity limits will be breached,” Frank Montgomery, who was born in Hamburg, said on DLF radio.

Germany has seen an uptick in daily infections in recent days compared with mid-July. The number of cases rose by 717 in the 24 hours through Wednesday, taking the tally to 212,828, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, confirmed cases increased by 741 to 212,022 and the death toll rose by 12 to 9,168.

The infection rate dropped to 1.02 on Tuesday, from 1.09 the previous day, according to RKI.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Germany lifted a warning against traveling to four Turkish seaside provinces with low coronavirus infection rates as part of a deal to help revive tourism between the two countries, the foreign ministry in Berlin said. It said it was dropping warnings against travel to Antalya, Izmir, Aydin and Mugla on the Mediterranean, where prevalence stood at only five new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

A man wearing a face mask is seen running next to a bank headquarters in Athens, Greece, on Aug 4, 2020. (PETROS GIANNAKOURIS / AP)


Greece's top scientific adviser warned against complacency on Tuesday over risks lurking from the novel coronavirus after the country reported its highest single-day increase in infections in weeks.

Authorities reported 121 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday after a steady rise over the past 10 days. Tuesday's tally was the highest since April 22, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 4,855 since the start of the outbreak in late February.

There have been 209 deaths recorded in total.

Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, who gave his first public briefing after a more than two-month hiatus, said there had been no pressure on the public health system, but cautioned that the situation could get out of hand without vigilance.

There were outbreak clusters, he said, in a meat processing unit, and from two wedding parties. A significant number of infections were without symptoms, he said, adding that there had been cases detected after Greece reopened its borders in June. But he added that a surge between July 31 and Aug 2 appeared to be domestic infections.

Over the past two months, he said, there was a 'clear shift' towards the virus affecting younger people. One reason may be that during the tourism season travelers, who are usually younger, are being tested, he said.


Honduras announced Tuesday it will reopen its airports to domestic and international flights in mid-August, after a nearly five-month closure due to the pandemic.

The reopening of the airport terminals is part of the government's efforts to reactivate the economy, which is expected to contract between 7 percent and 8 percent, according to the Central Bank of Honduras.

"Under strict biosecurity measures, domestic flights will resume on Aug 10 and international flights will resume on Aug 17," said Maria Antonia Rivera, minister of economic development, in a virtual presentation.

The novel coronavirus has infected 43,794 people in Honduras and killed 1,384 people.


Ireland announced a new three-week delay on Tuesday to the full reopening of bars and nightclubs, and further restricted travel after a doubling of COVID-19 infections left the country in what the government described as a "precarious situation."

Ireland has reported an average of 46 cases per day over the past seven days, up from an average of 19 the previous week. The country has so far reported 26,253 confirmed cases and 1,763 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Bars operating as restaurants have been allowed to open since the end of June, but those serving just alcohol must remain closed for at least another three weeks to Aug 31, Prime Minister Micheál Martin told reporters. He said he could not guarantee bars would reopen this year.

The government removed Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino from its 15-country travel Green List, meaning people arriving from all but 10 countries must now self-isolate for two weeks. It also left in place a 50-person limit for indoor gatherings and a 200-person limit for outdoor events.


Italian healthcare officials said Tuesday they are concerned by the results of a national serological testing initiative, which showed that just 2.5 percent of the people in Italy had been exposed to the coronavirus, meaning it could be easy for a second wave of the virus to gain footing in the country.

Under the initiative, regional health officials examined the blood of nearly 65,000 people in more than 2,000 cities and towns across Italy.

Based on the results, the Ministry of Health estimated late Monday that 1.48 million Italians had been exposed to the coronavirus, around six times more than the official figures of nearly 250,000 infections. The number is the equivalent to nearly 2.5 percent of the country's population of around 60 million.

"The low rate means that the vast majority of Italians have not yet encountered the virus," said Pierluigi Lopalco, an epidemiologist with the University of Pisa and the head of the regional anti-coronavirus task force in the southern region of Apulia, on Tuesday.   

Italy has so far reported 248,419 confirmed cases and 35,171 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.


Kenya's Ministry of Health said on Tuesday that the country's COVID-19 tally topped 23,000 after 605 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours.

Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that the country now has a total of 23,202 confirmed cases.

The number of recoveries stood at 587, said Aman, while the death toll rose to 388 after six more deaths were recorded.

According to the ministry, eight healthcare professionals have died while more than 600 have been infected.


The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Wednesday reported 161 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally to 4,224.

Up to 633 recoveries and 96 deaths have so far been reported in the country, the center said.


Mexico's health ministry on Tuesday reported 6,148 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 857 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 449,961 cases and 48,869 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

READ MORE: Moscow cracks down on mask avoiders as COVID-19 cases rise


Morocco on Tuesday reported 1,021 new COVID-19 cases, raising the tally to 27,217.

Recoveries increased by 661 to 19,629 while the death toll rose by 16 to 417, said Mouad Mrabet, coordinator of the Moroccan Center for Public Health Operations at the Ministry of Health.


Poland reported another 18 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the most in a day since June 30, taking the death toll to 1,756 as an outbreak in the country’s industrial heartland worsens.

The pace of new cases slowed from Tuesday’s record 680, rising by 640 to 48,789, mostly in the southern coal mining region of Silesia and at a poultry processing company in the western district of Wielkopolska.

The government expects about 600 new cases per day in the next period, Wojciech Andrusiewicz, a spokesman for the health ministry told reporters on Wednesday. 

Authorities will soon announce new restrictions, including on restaurants and weddings, to fight the epidemic in 20 particularly affected counties, he said.

A woman wearing a face mask to protect herself against the coronavirus puts on gloves as she rides an escalator to enter a subway station in Moscow, Russia, Aug 4, 2020. (PAVEL GOLOVKIN / AP)


Russia reported 5,204 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its nationwide tally to 866,627, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

Russia's coronavirus taskforce said 139 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 14,490.

South Africa

Three South African provinces considered coronavirus hotspots have seen new infections slow in recent weeks, though it is too early to say whether the country’s peak has passed, the health minister said on Wednesday.

South Africa has the world’s fifth highest number of infections, with cases passing 500,000 over the weekend, despite a strict lockdown since late March.

On Wednesday the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was sending a “surge team” of 43 experts to the country to help the Health Ministry with “surveillance and streamlining of epidemiological systems and WHO global COVID-19 response guidelines”.

Financial hub Gauteng, tourist centre Western Cape and the Eastern Cape have seen steep rises for months, with total cases at roughly 183,000, 97,000 and 80,000 respectively.

“The number of new infections is increasing at a lower rate than what had been happening in the whole of June and up to the middle of July. That clearly indicates to us that there is a declining trend,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told a news conference, referring to Gauteng.

Mkhize noted a presentation showing the average number of new cases in the country’s nine provinces and said that in Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape, surges in infections might have peaked.

Despite signs of progress, Mkhize warned that two other provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, had seen high rates, and that a failure to follow containment measures such as wearing masks could see infections rebound.

“We may well be over this peak sometime towards the end of August. But if we don’t insist on distancing and use of masks we actually can have a second surge,” he said.

An earlier easing in lockdown rules from June coincided with a surge, with more than 13,000 new cases on some days.

The minister said while bed capacity in hospitals and field hospitals had not been breached, the system was showing signs of strain. “We are not out of the woods yet, because those who are managing the admissions and treatment and hospitalization of patients can still feel that the wards are full.”


Spain on Tuesday reported 1,178 new coronavirus infections in the past day, mainly in the regions of Madrid and Aragon, while the cumulative number of deaths grew by 26, to 28,498.

The daily increase in cases was higher than the 968 reported on Monday, when the data did not include information from three regions.

Cumulative cases, which also include results from antibody tests on people who may have recovered, increased to 302,814 from 297,054, the health ministry said.


Anders Tegnell, Sweden's state epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, told Swedish Radio (SR) on Tuesday that Sweden would not recommend the use of face masks as the agency was still waiting for more research results supporting the positive effect of face masks on reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Tegnell made the remarks a day after the Karolinska Institutet (KI) unveiled their findings that cloth face masks can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and recommended the use of face masks to contain the pandemic.

On the contrary, Tegnell believed that the use of face masks can be counterproductive. "There are theoretical discussions that there is a risk that if you handle the face masks incorrectly, you can risk spreading the infection," he said.

Sweden has so far reported 5,747 deaths and 81,181 infections in a population of over 10 million. 


Switzerland's health minister said on Wednesday that new country-wide measures to check the recent spike in coronavirus cases are "unlikely" at present.

The number of cases has quadrupled in recent days compared to June's figures, sparking concerns that restrictions may have to be tightened again to tackle a second wave of COVID-19.

A senior adviser to the government has recommended that mask wearing be compulsory indoors and that the size of events, currently restricted to 1,000 people, be limited to 100.

"In such an uncertain situation, nothing is impossible," Alain Berset told newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. "But it seems unlikely to me," he said when asked if he was considering national restrictions. People needed to maintain social distancing rules to check a rise the recent rise in cases, he said.

Meanwhile, Switzerland is close to signing a deal to secure access for a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Moderna of the US, a government official has said.

So far, Switzerland has reported 35,746 cases, with 4,306 deaths out of a population of 8.6 million.

The Gambia

Gambian Health Minister Amadou Samateh was put under quarantine Tuesday while the mayor of Kanifing municipality, Talib Ahmed Bensouda, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Samateh was put under quarantine after Finance Minister Mambury Njie, Energy Minister Fafa Sanyang and Agriculture Minister Amie Fabureh were diagnosed with COVID-19.

"The preliminary results of his first COVID-19 test are inconclusive. While awaiting additional tests, Dr. Samateh, who is in high spirits, will continue to lead the operations of the Health Ministry from the quarantine," the Health Ministry said in a press release.

The Gambian presidential office also issued a press release Tuesday confirming that President Adama Barrow still tested negative. He was placed under self-isolation last week after the vice-president tested positive.

According to the official site of the health ministry, The Gambia has reported 671 confirmed cases, including 14 deaths and 79 recoveries. 


A health official in Tunisia on Tuesday denied the possibility of closing borders again amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Closing borders will not help in controlling the spread of the epidemic, Nissaf Ben Alaya, director-general of the National Observatory of New and Emerging Diseases, told local Al-Jawhara Radio.

Medical measures must be taken to stop and control its spread, she said, stressing the need to follow preventive measures, including avoiding gatherings and wearing masks, to protect vulnerable groups, especially those with chronic diseases.

Noting that 26 staff members at Tunis International Airport had been infected in the past few days, the official said that all of them had been transferred to hospital or a quarantine site.

Tunisia reported 19 new cases Tuesday, bringing the tally to 1,584.


Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,271 new coronavirus cases on Aug 4, the country's council of security and defense said on Wednesday.

The number of new infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late-May.

The total number of cases rose to 75,490, including 1,788 deaths and 41,527 recoveries as of Aug 5.

A sign along a main road reminds visitors and residents to wear face masks to protect against the new coronavirus. In Winter Park, Colorado, on Aug 4, 2020. (DAVID ZALUBOWSKI / AP)


President Donald Trump said the coronavirus outbreak is as under control as it can get in the United States, where more than 155,000 people have died amid a patchy response to the public health crisis that has failed to stem a rise in cases.

Trump continued to press for US schools to reopen in an overnight Twitter post, and defended his administration's response to the virus in an interview with the Axios news website released late on Monday.

In the interview, Trump again insisted that increased diagnostic testing in the US accounted for the increase in cases.

Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration's commissioner, however said on Tuesday the outbreak was still not under control and urged Americans to "take this seriously."

Coronavirus cases in the US increased 1.1 percent Tuesday, as compared with the same time Monday, to 4.74 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. Deaths rose 0.7 percent to 156,133.

California posted its lowest daily tally since June, according to state health data. 

Meanwhile, Oxiris Barbot, head of New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, resigned following months of disagreements with Mayor Bill de Blasio over the city’s virus policies. Dave Chokshi will be the new commissioner, the mayor said in a news release.

In another development, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said that a Phase 2 clinical trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential new therapeutics for COVID-19, including an investigational therapeutic, LY-CoV555, which is based on synthetic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to treat the disease.