Coronavirus update: US expert blames increased cases on people ignoring guidelines, WHO warns pandemic far from over
US health authorities are looking at significantly increasing coronavirus testing in areas where cases are soaring due to people not wearing masks and ignoring social-distancing rules.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the “hard reality” is the pandemic is not even close being to over.
This story was last updated at 3:00am on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s key moments:
Fauci blames people ignoring health advice for rise in cases
America’s top infectious disease official says a spike in US coronavirus infections has been fuelled in large part by people ignoring advice to practise social distancing and wear masks.
A daily surge in confirmed cases has been most pronounced in southern and western states which did not follow health officials’ recommendations to wait for a steady decline in infections for two weeks before reopening their economies.
“That’s a recipe for disaster,” Anthony Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN in an interview broadcast on Monday.
“Now we’re seeing the consequences of community spread, which is even more difficult to contain than spread in a well-known physical location like a prison or nursing home or meatpacking place.”
More than 2.5 million people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US and more than 125,000 have died.
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Pandemic far from over: WHO
The COVID-19 pandemic is not even close to being over, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Monday.
“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” Dr Tedros said.
The head of the WHO’s emergencies program, Mike Ryan, told the briefing that tremendous progress had been made towards finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection, but there was still no guarantee the effort would succeed.
In the meantime, countries could fight the spread of the disease by testing, isolating confirmed cases and tracking their contacts, he said. He singled out Japan, South Korea and Germany for their “comprehensive, sustained strategy” against the virus.
The global body was planning to convene a meeting this week to assess progress in research towards fighting the disease.
Infections surge by almost 20,000 in India
India has reported nearly 20,000 new coronavirus infections — a record for the country.
India has seen a jump of nearly 100,000 cases over the past week, the health ministry said.
In all, the country has confirmed 548,318 cases, making it the world’s fourth-worst affected country after the US, Brazil and Russia.
Its death toll has reached 16,475.
Several Indian states have reimposed partial or full lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus, but most restrictions have been eased in the country’s worst-hit areas, with restaurants, shopping centres and parks reopened, and public buses and ride share services back on the roads.
Leicester may remain under lockdown as rest of UK begins to reopen
The central England city of Leicester is waiting to find out if lockdown restrictions will be extended as a result of a spike in coronavirus infections.
The city’s mayor, Peter Soulsby, told BBC radio the British Government had recommended “we continue the present level of restriction for a further two weeks beyond July 4”.
On Saturday, England will see a number of lockdown restrictions eased.
Pubs and restaurants, for example, will be allowed to reopen provided they abide by social-distancing rules.
There has been some confusion after Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Sunday that Leicester, a city of 330,000, faced a possible local lockdown in the wake of figures showing 866 new cases of coronavirus in the last two weeks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is “concerned about Leicester, we are concerned about any local outbreak”.
He said he wanted to stress that “we are not out of the woods yet”.
Cases double in Tokyo, officials concerned
Japan’s capital city has reported 58 new cases of coronavirus, as the number remained similar to recent highs, and a top Government official said the trend doesn’t look good.
The number of cases in Tokyo rose to 60 on Sunday, the highest since early May and nearly doubling from 31 five days ago.
About half of recent daily confirmed cases have been detected among staff or customers of Tokyo’s nightlife districts.
“We are closely watching the latest development,” Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters.
He said he planned to meet with the Governor of Tokyo to discuss the situation and how to balance disease prevention with maintaining economic activity.
A new set of infection monitoring measures are expected to also be announced in the coming days.
The latest cases brings Tokyo’s total infections to 6,172, with 325 deaths — about a third of the national total.