Coronavirus update: Wuhan conducts 1.4m tests in one day, far-right protests Spain’s lockdown
The Chinese city of Wuhan completed almost 1.5 million tests for the novel coronavirus in one day, as authorities undertake a testing blitz to avoid new clusters.
In Spain, where deaths have surpassed those in China and which was previously the epicentre of Europe’s outbreak, far-right groups took to the streets to protest restrictions on social gatherings as the Prime Minister announced the country will reopen for tourism in July.
Malaysia, meanwhile, reported a second cluster of coronavirus cases in its immigration detention centres, after the arrests of thousands of undocumented migrants including Rohingya refugees in recent weeks.
In just a few months, the pandemic has killed at least 338,000 people worldwide and infected more than 5.2 million, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
This story will be regularly updated throughout Sunday.
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Wuhan’s testing spree sees millions tested
The city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, conducted 1,470,950 nucleic acid tests for the virus on Friday, the local health authority said. Some 1,000,729 tests had been completed the previous day.
By comparison, as of Friday, Australia had conducted more than 1,192,262 tests since the outbreak began.
Wuhan kicked off a campaign on May 14 to look for asymptomatic carriers — infected people who show no outward sign of illness — after confirming on May 9-10 its first cluster of COVID-19 infections since its lockdown was lifted on April 8.
Authorities have said they aim to test all 11 million of the city’s residents, an exercise likely to cost more than 1 billion yuan ($220 million).
China on Saturday reported no new confirmed cases for the first time since it began announcing infections in January.
This chart uses a logarithmic scale to highlight coronavirus growth rates. Read our explainer to understand what that means — and how COVID-19 cases are spreading around the world.
Spanish far-right protest COVID-19 restrictions
Several thousand followers of Spain’s far-right Vox party have gathered in Madrid and other cities to protest the Government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that the country would reopen for international tourism from July, as the country emerges from one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. Its football league will be allowed to resume from June 8.
Vox called for protesters to come in their cars and motorbikes to skirt the current prohibition on social gatherings in effect under a two-month long state of emergency.
“Let your desire be heard for the resignation of the Government,” Vox leader Santiago Abascal said from the open-top bus leading the cars inching down a Madrid boulevard. Vox called the protest the ‘Caravan for Spain and Liberty’.
Most cars were decked with Spanish flags and there were also small groups of people who participated on foot, with some not respecting the two-metre social distancing rules.
More protests were held in Barcelona, Sevilla and other provincial capitals. Over 28,000 Spaniards have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19.
The lockdown successfully reduced the daily contagion rate of over 20 per cent at the height of the crisis to under 1 per cent for the past week.
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Outbreaks at Malaysia’s immigration detention centres
A new cluster of coronavirus infections has broken out in Malaysia at a detention centre for undocumented migrants, authorities have confirmed.
Malaysia has this month arrested more than 2,000 foreigners for not having permits that allow them to be in the country following raids in areas under lockdown. The centres they are detained in are often crowded, with dozens of migrants packed in a single cell.
The United Nations and rights groups have called on Malaysia to stop the crackdown and criticised authorities for going after a vulnerable community during the pandemic.
The South-East Asian country has so far reported 7,185 virus infections and 115 deaths.
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The health ministry said on Saturday that 21 cases were identified at the Semenyih detention centre near the capital Kuala Lumpur, which houses around 1,600 detainees.
It is the second detention centre at which a cluster of virus infections has broken out. Around 60 cases were reported among the 1,400 detainees at the Bukit Jalil centre earlier this week.
Rohingya refugees in particular have been targets of harassment and threats.