June 4, 2020
Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
New mortality data from St. Petersburg has reignited questions about whether the country’s official tally has discounted thousands of deaths from the Coronavirus outbreak. Russia’s second-largest city issued 1,552 more death certificates this May than in the previous year, a nearly 32% rise indicating that hundreds of deaths tied to the pandemic are not reflected in the city’s official coronavirus death toll for 171. However, it is not clear how many of those people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus or were suspected to have been infected.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 6,530,067 coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide and 386,392 deaths reported. The figures, which are based on official and media reports, are likely to significantly underestimate the scale of the pandemic due to differing testing and recording regimes and suspected under-reporting.
An international survey has increasing scepticism over governments’ handling of the coronavirus crisis in the world’s richest countries, with the UK suffering the biggest slump in confidence, Reuters reports. In May, in the Group of Seven nations, 48% of respondents approved of how authorities had handled the pandemic, down from 50% in April and 54% in March, the survey published by polling firm Kantar showed. The UK saw the biggest drop – a sharp fall of 18 points from April to 51% – while in the US, Canada, Germany, France and Italy, the declines ranged between two and six points. Japan was the only country to show an increase.
Brazil registered a record number of daily deaths from the novel Coronavirus for a second consecutive day, according to Health Ministry data released on Wednesday, even as city and state authorities move aggressively to open commerce back up. The data showed that the nation recorded 1,349 new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday and 28,633 additional confirmed cases. Brazil has now registered 32,548 deaths and 584,016 total confirmed cases. In Brazil, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, saying on Tuesday that death was “everyone’s destiny.”
Armenian prime minister warns ‘situation worsening’
Hospitals in Armenia can no longer cope with the number of coronavirus patients, the country’s prime minister warned on Thursday. Nikol Pashinyan, who has himself tested positive, said there could be as many as 20,000 people infected but showing no symptoms in the country, which has so far registered 11,221 cases and 176 deaths.
The European Union is preparing to use an emergency €2.4bn fund to make advance purchases of promising vaccines against the new coronavirus, EU officials have told Reuters. The move was discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, after Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands said they were speeding up negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to secure access to vaccines currently under development. The four were also talking to Britain, Norway, Singapore and Japan about possible cooperation.
The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, said on Thursday it may be necessary to stage a “simplified” Olympics next year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and that organisers were already discussing possible changes. “Holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games calls for sympathy and understanding of Tokyoites and the Japanese people,” Koike told reporters. “For that, we need to rationalise what needs to be rationalised and simplify what needs to be simplified.”
The Spanish tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, has said that all restrictions on border crossings with France and Portugal will be lifted from 22 June. The authorities closed the borders to everybody but Spaniards, cross-border workers and truck drivers from mid-March when the country went into lockdown.
China on Thursday said foreign airlines blocked from operating in the country over virus fears would be allowed to resume limited flights, lifting a de facto ban on US carriers, Agence France-Presse reports. This comes a day after Washington ordered the suspension of all Chinese travel into and out of the US.
Mexico overtook the United States in daily reported deaths from coronavirus for the first time on Wednesday. The health ministry registered a record 1,092 fatalities and attributed the increase to improvements in documenting the pandemic. Plans to further relax social distancing measures this week were put on hold.
The Minneapolis man who died with a policeman’s knee on his neck tested positive for coronavirus, according to a full autopsy report released by the Hennepin county medical examiner’s office. The report noted that the virus was not a contributing factor in his death and that Floyd had no symptoms. KSTP news reported: “A postmortem nasal swab was taken, which confirmed that Floyd was positive for SARS-CoV-2.”
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