Nepal | June 04, 2020

Virus cases drop to zero in China but surge in Latin America

Associated Press
Share Now:

TOKYO: The coronavirus pandemic continued to drop in much of Asia on Saturday even as the outbreak surged in Latin America, as the world grappled with balancing the urge to restart economies with fears about health risks.

China, where the outbreak began late last year, reported no new confirmed cases for the first time. In South Korea, there were 23 fresh infections, mostly from the densely populated Seoul area where authorities shut down thousands of nightclubs, bars and karaoke rooms to stem transmissions.

The encouraging signs are likely to set off a much awaited thrust to get back to business as governments have been readying social-distancing measures to reopen economies.

In Japan, a group representing bar hostesses and other nightlife workers issued guidelines to protect employees as outfits reopen, telling them to wear masks, gargle every 30 minutes and disinfect karaoke microphones after each use.

The Bank of Japan, which recently announced measures to ensure easy lending in the world’s third largest economy, said in a joint statement with the government that both sides “will work together to bring the Japanese economy back again on the post-pandemic solid growth track.”

Japan’s new cases have dwindled lately to double-digit figures each day. Deaths related to the coronavirus are below 800 people.

South Korea had been reporting around 500 new cases a day in early March before using aggressive tracing and testing to stabilize its outbreak. More than 200 of the recent infections have been linked to clubgoers in Seoul as the country began easing restrictions.

In the U.S., some regions were opening more quickly than others. In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the state’s stay-at-home order by slightly more than two additional weeks, through June 12, while keeping theaters, gyms and other places of public accommodation closed until at least then.

The Democratic governor also kept her coronavirus emergency declaration through June 19. Both the stay-at-home measure and state of emergency had been set to expire late next Thursday, though Whitmer said extensions were likely.

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” said Whitmer, whom President Donald Trump has pushed to reopen the state.

Michigan on Friday reported 5,158 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 complications, the fourth largest tally of any state. The daily death toll rose by 29 and the number of new confirmed cases in the state increased by 403, to nearly 54,000 since the pandemic started.

Nevada is preparing to reopen its shuttered casinos, including glitzy ones in Las Vegas. Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has set a tentative June 4 date, as Nevada continues to see decreasing cases of the coronavirus and hospitalizations of COVID-19. Some restrictions began to be lifted nearly two weeks ago.

Nevada’s gambling regulators plan to meet Tuesday and will consider reopening plans submitted from casinos, which need to be approved at least seven days before restarting.

By country, the U.S. has been the hardest hit, with more than 96,000 deaths among 1.6 million confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said there have been 75 cases of COVID-19 in the U.N.’s 13 far-flung peacekeeping missions, which have a total of 110,000 troops, police and personnel.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix told reporters that preventive measures taken early on in the crisis appear to have prevented the spread of the virus, with the exception of conflict-torn Mali where 58 cases were reported. He said there have been no deaths and none of the cases was serious.

Latin America’s two largest nations — Mexico and Brazil — reported record numbers of infections and deaths almost daily this week, fueling criticism of their presidents, who have slow-walked shutdowns in an attempt to limit economic damage.

Brazil has reported more than 330,000 confirmed cases, surpassing Russia to become the nation with the second-highest number of infections, behind only the U.S., according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Brazil also has recorded more than 21,000 deaths, though experts believe the numbers are higher.

The virus “does not forgive,” Uber driver Bruno Almeida de Mello said at the burial of his grandmother Vandelma Rosa, 66, in Rio de Janeiro. “It does not choose race or if you are rich or poor, black or white. It’s a cruel disease.”

De Mello said his grandmother’s death certificate reads “suspected of COVID-19,” but the hospital didn’t have the tests necessary to confirm it. That means her death was not counted in the official toll.

Experts said the surging deaths across Latin America showed the limits of government action in a region where millions have informal jobs and many police forces are weak or corrupt and unable to enforce restrictions. Infections also rose and intensive-care units were swamped in Peru, Chile and Ecuador, countries lauded for imposing early and aggressive business shutdowns and quarantines.

Colombia’s Ministry of Health also reported its biggest daily increases Friday, with 801 new confirmed infections and 30 deaths. Nearly 20,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus in a country that has been locked down for nearly two months.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Brazil

Brazil sets another record for daily coronavirus deaths

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil registered another record number of novel coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday evening, as the pandemic in Latin America's largest country shows no signs of slowing down. The nation registered 28,936 additional cases of the nove Read More...

High-level panel to decide on easing lockdown by tomorrow

KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 The High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 formed under Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokharel will decide in a day or two whether or not to ease the lockdown. Member Secretary of the committee Narayan Prasad Bi Read More...

FIFA adds voice to protests over Floyd's death

BERN: World soccer's governing body FIFA has joined sports leagues, teams and players around the globe to express solidarity amid outrage over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in the United States. The National Football League, National Hockey League an Read More...

Nepal's ruling party stresses dialogue with India to resolve territorial dispute 

Kathmandu, June 2  Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Narayan Kaji Shrestha urged India to sit for dialogue with Nepal to resolve Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani issues. He welcomed Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's remark about resolving border disputes with Nepal through dia Read More...

Nepali Congress registers statute amendment bill 

Kathmandu, June 2 The main opposition Nepali Congress today registered a private constitution amendment bill at the Parliament Secretariat seeking to change the constitution's provisions related to citizenship, language, provincial boundaries and formation of a boundary commission. Eight Nepal Read More...

Dhangadi  quarantine

Quarantines in Sudurpaschim bursting at seams 

Dhangadhi, June 2  With the increasing number of returnees from India, the quarantine facilities in Sudupaschim Province are almost packed. The number of migrant workers returning home from India is increasing every day. According to Kailali District Administration Office, around 5,000 Read More...

Nine businessmen held for gambling, remanded to custody 

Kathmandu, June 2 Nine businessmen, some of whom are ‘well-known faces’ in the business fraternity, were sent to five-day police custody after being arrested from a gambling den last night. Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar KC, also the spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range,  Read More...

PCR tests of all quarantined persons fraught with problems 

Kathmandu, June 2  The Ministry of Health and Population said that implementing the Supreme Court’s order to conduct tests for coronavirus on all quarantined persons across the country using polymerase chain reaction method was a daunting task. Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued an order Read More...