‘No time to take foot off pedal’ – WHO: Coronavirus live updates | News

    • Malls and temples reopened in several Indian cities on Monday despite the country reporting a record daily number of new coronavirus infections, with the pandemic expected to ravage the country for weeks to come
    • New Zealand’s Ministry of Health says the country, which implemented one of the toughest lockdowns anywhere in the world, no longer has any active cases of coronavirus.

    • Pakistan’s coronavirus cases have crossed the 100,000 mark after 4,728 new infections were reported on Sunday. 

    • More than seven million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus with at least 409,000 dying from the disease, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US, the UK and Brazil have recorded the highest death tolls.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, June 8

18:25 GMT – Brazil’s contradictory data deepens confusion

Causing further confusion over the real number of coronavirus cases and deaths, Brazil’s health ministry published data contradicting official figures uploaded to the ministry’s online data portal.

The ministry said in a statement the discrepancy was predominantly due to mistakes in the numbers from two states that were later corrected. It explained that the later, lower daily death toll of 525 was the correct one.

“By changing the numbers, the Ministry of Health covers the sun with a sieve,” Rodrigo Maia, speaker of the lower house, said on Twitter.

“The credibility of the statistics needs to be urgently recovered. A ministry that manipulates numbers creates a parallel world in order not to face the reality of the facts,” he added.

18:08 GMT – Poland to shutdown dozens of coal mines over COVID-19

Poland announced the closure of a dozen coal mines for three weeks starting from Tuesday in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus as miners account for 20 percent of reported cases.

The move came as the country recorded its largest daily jump with 599 new infections.

“Such action is needed to eventually quell these epidemic outbreaks,” Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin told a news conference, adding that miners would receive full pay for the three weeks and coal deliveries would not be affected.

However, the news was not welcomed by the miners’ Solidarity union that believes the closure would lead to a permanent shutdown of the mines as the government was already planning to restructure the industry.

17:37 GMT – Tunisia orders lifting of coronavirus lockdown

Tunisian President Kais Saied has ordered the lifting of a nationwide curfew imposed in March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The decision, announced by the presidency in a statement on Monday, came after health authorities said they continued to see a drop in the number of infections.

Get to know more here.

Tunisians wearing protective masks leave after attending the first Friday prayer following a 3-months suspension due to the novel coronavirus, at the Malek Ibn Anas Mosque in Carthage

Tunisians wearing protective masks leave after attending the first Friday prayer following a 3-months suspension due to the novel coronavirus, at the Malek Ibn Anas Mosque in Carthage near the capital Tunis [Fethi Belaid/AFP]

17:15 GMT – ‘Hunger is worse than corona’: Sudanese demand end to lockdown

Car mechanic Mohamed Othman said the government must end its coronavirus lockdown so that he can get back to work because “me and my family have no other source of income”.

Othman’s feelings are echoed by many other Sudanese who say the government extended restrictive

measures without addressing their core economic needs.

Read the full story here.

16:47 GMT – Countries latest figures:

Canada: 95,699 cases (+642), 7,800 (+27)

Italy: 234,998 cases (+532), 33,964 deaths (+65)

Spain: 241,550 cases (+48), 27,136 deaths (+56)

16:23 GMT – Lockdowns averted 3m deaths across Europe: Study

Restricting measures imposed by governments in 11 European countries have averted the deaths of more than three million people, according to a new modelling study produced by the Imperial College of London.

“Our results show that major non-pharmaceutical interventions, and lockdown in particular, have had a large effect on reducing transmission,” the authors said in the study, published in Nature Research.

Using European Centre of Disease Control data on deaths in 11 nations in the period up to May 4, they compared the number of observed deaths in the countries against those predicted by their model if no restrictions had been imposed.

As a result, they estimated that around 3.1 million deaths had been averted by the policies.

15:57 GMT – WHO head urges countries to keep up fight against virus 

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to press on with efforts to contain the novel coronovirus, noting the global situation is worsening.

“More than six months into the pandemic this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online briefing.

“This is the time for countries to continue to work hard, on the basis of science, solutions and solidarity”.

15:31 GMT – Saudi Arabia ‘considers’ limiting Hajj pilgrims

Saudi Arabia it is considering to drastically limit the number of people allowed for the annual Hajj pilgrimage expected to start in late July, sources told Reuters news agency.

Some 2.5 million pilgrims visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

According to sources familiar with the matter, authorities were now considering allowing “only symbolic numbers” this year, with restrictions including a ban on older pilgrims and additional health checks.

While some officials are pushing for a cancellation of the haj, others are considering allowing up to 20 percent of each country’s regular quota of pilgrims, another source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Muslims pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power, the holiest night for Muslims, while practicing social distancing, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-1

Muslims pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, while practicing social distancing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the fasting month of Ramadan, at the Grand Mosque in Mecca [Saudi Press Agency via Reuters]

15:06 GMT – Extra stimulus measures to support Thai economy

Thailand plans to introduce additional stimulus measures from the third quarter to stimulate its domestic consumption and key tourism sector.

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana told reporters the measures would follow billions of dollars of economic packages to help Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which is expected to show this year the deepest contraction since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives will offer soft loans worth 170 billion baht ($5.41bn) to shore up the farming sector.

14:37 GMT – EU regulator assessing Gilead application for treatment

US drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc has applied to a European Union health regulator for the approval of its antiviral drug, remdesivir, as a potential COVID-19 treatment in Europe.

“The assessment of the benefits and risks of remdesivir is being performed under a reduced timeline and an opinion could be issued within weeks depending on the robustness of the data submitted and whether further information is required to support the evaluation,” the European Medicine Agency said in a statement.

13:52 GMT – UK reports lowest daily COVID-19 deaths

The United Kingdom reported 55 new coronavirus-related deaths, the lowest since the lockdown was imposed on March 23.

It is the second consecutive day that the country recorded less than 100 fatalities, however the official reported numbers have been smaller during the outbreak due to lower reporting at weekends.

No new deaths were reported at London hospitals on Monday, according to the National Health Service England.

The death toll now stands at 40,597 and a total of 287,399 people have been infected so far.

13:20 GMT – Iran urges people to wear masks amid new wave fears

The Iranian health ministry called on people to wear face masks in public areas as authorities warned of the danger over a second wave of infections.

“Everyone should wear masks when attending public places like shops or any other places where fully observing social distancing is not possible,” health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said.

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus reached 8,351, with 70 deaths in the previous 24 hours. The number of new cases had fallen to 2,043, bringing the total to 173,832.

In the past week, officials rebuked Iranians for failing to respect physical distancing rules as the number of daily new infections stood above 3,000 for three consecutive days, surpassing on Thursday, with 3,573, the previous high recorded in late March.


Hello, this is Virginia Pietromarchi in Doha, Qatar and I’ll be taking over the live blog from my colleague Hamza Mohamed.


11:55 GMT – Moscow to lift all major restrictions this month

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said all major restrictions relating to the novel coronavirus would be lifted in the Russian capital in June.

Writing on his personal website, Sobyanin said beauty salons and veterinary clinics could open from June 9, museums and outdoor areas at cafes from June 16, and gyms and restaurants from June 23. 

11:25 GMT – As India reopens, one state outnumbers China in cases

As India begins to reopen more public spaces after a 10-week lockdown, its western state of Maharashtra has crossed a grim milestone by having more coronavirus cases than China.

India’s health ministry on Monday said Maharashtra – the country’s most industrialised state – now has a total of 85,975 coronavirus cases, including more than 3,000 deaths.

As of Monday, China had 84,191 cases of the virus with 4,638 deaths so far, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.

Read more here.

10:55 GMT – Students return to schools in South Africa

In South Africa, children started returning to classrooms on Monday as part of a gradual loosening of lockdown restrictions even as some parents worried that not enough had been done to protect the health of pupils.

The reopening of schools was delayed after teachers’ unions urged school staff to defy the government order last week, saying schools lacked sufficient health and hygiene measures to keep educators and pupils safe.

South Africa school opening - COVID19- Westbury Primary school in Johannesburg [Dorion Alexander/Al Jazeera]

The government said it will find alternative arrangements for pupils at schools unable to open on Monday [Dorion Alexander/Al Jazeera]

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said on Sunday ramped-up efforts to equip schools over the past week meant that 95 percent of South Africa’s primary and secondary schools were now able to host classes, and the biggest teachers union dropped its resistance to the reopening.

“The golden rule is there will be no school that will resume if not ready to do so,” Motshekga said.

The government will find alternative arrangements for pupils at schools unable to open on Monday, she said.

South Africa has recorded nearly 50,000 cases of the new coronavirus – the most of any African country – along with almost 1,000 deaths.

10:35 GMT – Ryanair will not cancel flights despite start of UK travel quarantine rules

Ryanair will not cancel British flights despite Monday’s start of what the boss of Europe’s biggest budget airline called a “rubbish” 14-day quarantine for international arrivals.

Ryanair, easyJet and BA-owner IAG have threatened legal action over the quarantine, which they say will cripple the British tourism industry.

Asked by BBC Radio whether Ryanair would cancel July and August flights if the quarantine remained in place, group CEO Michael O’Leary said: “No, because the flights are full outbound of the UK. British people are ignoring this quarantine, they know it’s rubbish.”

Ryanair - reuters

Ryanair is Europe’s biggest budget airline [Peter Cziborra/Reuters]

The three airlines have sent a “pre-action protocol letter”, which can be followed by legal action, in the most vociferous clash between the UK government and the industry since the pandemic began.

Airlines have warned it could deter British travellers, some of the top spenders, from flying to Europe and prevent Europeans from visiting cities such as London and Edinburgh and sites including Stonehenge.

There were 41 million visits to the UK in 2019, according to the national tourism agency, with visitors spending $36bn and supporting millions of jobs.

10:25 GMT – Norway: Domestic alcohol sales up 44 percent 

Norway’s government-run wine and liquor monopoly increased its sales by 44 percent in May from the same month last year as coronavirus travel restrictions prevented the purchase of cheaper alcohol abroad, the Vinmonopolet retailer said.

Norway closed its borders in mid-March to most foreigners and imposed quarantine restrictions on anyone returning home from abroad, while also shutting its restaurants, thus leaving Vinmonopolet as the only source of alcohol other than beer.

“Sales have increased, but not more than could be expected in light of the halt to border trade, duty-free stores and restaurants, bars and cafes,” Vinmonopolet spokesman Jens Nordahl said in a statement.

On May 29, Norway agreed to allow travel from neighbouring Denmark to resume from June 15 while maintaining quarantines for all other nations, including Sweden – a popular destination for Norwegians seeking to save on their alcohol bill. 

10:10 GMT – Indonesia records more than 800 new COVID-19 cases

Indonesia’s health ministry reported 847 new coronavirus infections and 32 new deaths, taking the total number of cases to 32,033 and deaths to 1,883.

The Southeast Asian country has tested more than 274,400 people for the virus, according to a document compiled by its COVID-19 taskforce.

Some 10,904 patients have recovered, the ministry said.

09:20 GMT – Pakistan’s former prime minister tests positive for COVID-19

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his family and party confirmed.

Abbasi, who served as prime minister for 10 months from 2017 to 2018 following the disqualification of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has gone into self-isolation.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi attends a panel discussion with the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan, New York

Abbasi served as prime minister for 10 months [Jeenah Moon/Reuters]

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, and former health minister for northeast Punjab province, Khawaja Salman Rafiq, have also contracted the virus.

A spokesman for Pakistan Railways confirmed that Ahmed, who has no apparent symptoms, has isolated himself at his home in Rawalpindi after testing positive.

Other high-profile politicians who were infected in Pakistan include governor of the southeastern Sindh province Imran Ismail, and parliament speaker Asad Qaiser.

08:30 GMT – Heathrow boss says millions of jobs could be lost if planes stay grounded

Hundreds of thousands of jobs, if not millions, could be lost in Britain if aviation is not able to resume quickly, the chief executive of London’s Heathrow Airport said.

The UK introduced a 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals on Monday despite warnings from its biggest airlines that the move will decimate domestic tourism and damage exports.

“We cannot go on like this as a country,” Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye told Sky News. “We need to start planning to reopen our borders.

“If we don’t get aviation moving again quickly, in a very safe way, then we are going to lose hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs in the UK just at the time when we need to be rebuilding our economy.”

UK heathrow arrivals

From Monday, most people arriving in the UK will have to quarantine for two weeks [File: Toby Melville/Reuters]

08:00 GMT – Beijing calls on US senator to present evidence of China COVID-19 vaccine ‘sabotage’

China said US Senator Rick Scott should present the evidence for his accusation that Beijing is trying to slow down or sabotage the development of a COVID-19 vaccine by Western countries.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, made the remarks during a daily briefing on Monday, responding to the Republican senator’s comments during an interview on BBC TV.

Scott declined to give details on the evidence when asked during the interview but said it had come through the intelligence community. 

07:42 GMT – India: More public spaces reopened despite record infections

Malls and temples reopened in several cities across India on Monday despite the country reporting a record daily number of new coronavirus infections, with the pandemic expected to ravage the country for weeks to come.

After a 10-week lockdown, the government has risked lifting some restrictions in a bid to ease the devastating blow to the economy dealt by the coronavirus.

India blog entry

India is reopening its restaurants, shopping malls and religious places in most of its states [Rafiq Maqbool/AP]

But the number of new cases rose by 9,983 to 256,611, according to government figures announced on Monday, putting the country of 1.3 billion on course to overtake the UK and Spain among nations with the highest number of infections.

The reported death toll of 7,135 is much lower than reported in other badly-hit countries, but the epidemic is only expected to peak locally in July, according to health experts.

07: 25 GMT – Thailand reports two weeks without local transmission

Meanwhile, in Thailand, seven new coronavirus infections and no new deaths were reported on Monday, with the new cases found in quarantine, taking the country to two weeks without local transmission.

Thailand has reported 77 cases in the past 14 days and all were contained after being imported from overseas, said Taweesin Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

The total number of confirmed cases stands at 3,119, with 58 deaths.

07:15 GMT – Cuba says coronavirus pandemic ‘under control’

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has declared the coronavirus pandemic “under control” after the island nation registered an eighth straight day without a death from COVID-19.

It paves the way for an announcement next week on Cuba’s strategy to gradually lift its lockdown.

The country of 11.2 million has recorded just under 2,200 cases and 83 deaths from the virus. With 1,862 people having recovered, Cuba has only 244 active cases.


Cuba blog entry

Cuba is expected to announce the easing of restrictions next week [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

However, Diaz-Canel said the country could not become complacent given a spate of new infections since May 28.

“We need to keep focusing on how we’re going to eliminate the residues that remain, especially those associated with the incompetence or poor functioning of any institution, which give rise to events that can provoke a rebound,” he said.

07:00 GMT – Denmark increases public gathering limit

Denmark has lifted the limit on public gatherings to 50 people from 10 as it relaxes measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the ministry of health has said.

The restrictions on public gatherings were put in place on March 17. 

06:32 GMT – Pakistan coronavirus infections cross the 100,000 mark

In Pakistan, coronavirus cases increased at a rapid pace last week, crossing the 100,000 mark on Sunday, according to government data. Also on Sunday, the country registered 4,728 new cases, taking the total since the outbreak began in late February to 103,671, the data shows. 

At least 68 people died on Sunday, bringing the death toll countrywide to 2,121, according to the data. On average, cases rose by 4,458 cases per day last week, a doubling from the rate of a week before.

Pakistan blog entry

As of Sunday night, Pakistan’s coronavirus death toll stands at 2,121 [Pervez Masih/AP]

Pakistan’s government has largely lifted restrictions on businesses and economic activity, with Prime Minister Imran Khan cautioning citizens to police themselves and follow hygiene guidelines in order to avoid infection.

Last week, Khan ordered the tourism sector be reopened across the country.

06:28 GMT –

Hello, this is Hamza Mohamed in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry.

05:30 GMT –

I will be handing over the blog to my colleagues in Doha shortly. Before I go, a quick recap on developments this morning.

There is a great deal of happiness in New Zealand which has managed to stop community transmission of the coronavirus and will return to a near-normal life in a few hours. Globally, the picture does not seem quite as encouraging with the number of cases now in excess of seven million and the Americas the epicentre of the pandemic. Some countries are looking to reopen though – the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, loosened restrictions on Monday morning.

05:05 GMT – Sugar rush at Brazil port of Santos

More than 70 ships are lined up at the Brazilian port of Santos waiting to load some three million tonnes of sugar as the coronavirus complicates efforts to fulfil a rush of orders as a result of poor harvests in India and Thailand.

Reuters news agency says the queue could take as long as a month to clear.

“It is mayhem in Santos,” one sugar trader told the news agency.

Traders are worried how the ships will be cleared with Brazil now reporting the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world.

“The situation has been complicated by the virus,” said Stephen Geldart, head of analysis at Czarnikow Group, a food supply chain services company. “Everyone is nervous about what happens if vessels are unable to berth or load quickly.”

05:00 GMT – No local transmission for two weeks in Thailand

There has been no local transmission of coronavirus in Thailand for the past two weeks, with all 77 cases over the last 14 days imported from overseas.

Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration says the authorities confirmed seven new cases of the disease on Monday with no deaths. All the cases were among people returning from overseas and they were quarantined, he said.

04:35 GMT – Hong Kong announces certain quarantine exemptions

Hong Kong has announced quota-based exemptions to compulsory quarantine for directors and executives of certain listed companies who travel to mainland China.

Eligible companies must apply for the exemption and those who travel will be subject to a number of conditions. A maximum of two directors and executives can be nominated each calendar month.

“We strive to balance the need of safeguarding public health and promoting Hong Kong’s economic development,” Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, said in a statement.

“The new scheme will facilitate directors or executives of sizeable Hong Kong-listed companies to perform business activities that are essential to their operation. This is conducive to maintaining the normal business operation of these enterprises under the very dynamic and challenging business environment.”

04:05 GMT – South Korea new coronavirus cases slow, focus on Seoul

New cases of coronavirus have slowed in South Korea but concerns remain over a second wave of the outbreak in Seoul as the country entered the final phase of its plan to reopen schools.

On Monday morning, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 38 new cases compared with 57 the day before, according to Yonhap news agency.

Of the 38 new cases, 33 were locally-transmitted – all of them in the Seoul metropolitan area. Distancing restrictions that had been relaxed have recently been tightened again.

South Korea

People walk along a road in Hongdae in western Seoul earlier this month. South Korea has reported new clusters of coronavirus, mostly in Seoul [Yonhap via EPA]

03:10 GMT – New Zealand to lift last COVID-19 curbs at midnight, borders stay closed

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is speaking now.

She has announced that New Zealand will lift its last remaining restrictions to curb the coronavirus at midnight (12:00 GMT) when the country will return to Level 1 on its four-level system of alerts.

Ardern said New Zealand had introduced a strict lockdown 75 days ago with the aim of getting to a level “where life feels as normal as it can in the midst of a global pandemic. Today, I can announce that cabinet has agreed we can now move to Level 1.”

International borders will remain closed given the challenge of COVID-19 around the world.

“There’s no denying this is a milestone,” Ardern said. “Thank you, New Zealand.”

Jacinda - Coronavirus

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the country will lift its lockdown restrictions after eliminating community transmission of coronavirus, but borders will remain closed [Hagen Hopkins/Pool Photo via AP Photo]

03:05 GMT – Guatemala’s president to work remotely after 18 staff get coronavirus

Guatemala’s president Alejandro Giammattei says he will work remotely after 18 members of his office and security detail were diagnosed with coronavirus.

“I and the vice president will carry out our activities remotely,” he said in a televised address. “We’ve been tested. We don’t have coronavirus.”

The presidential office will be deep-cleaned and disinfected.


02:35 GMT – Honduras extends curfew by a week to June 14

Honduras has extended its coronavirus curfew by one week until June 14. The extension was announced on television by security ministry spokesman Jair Meza as the Central American country was due to begin a gradual reopening of its economy.

01:30 GMT – New Zealand clear of coronavirus as last patient leaves hospital

New Zealand has confirmed it is clear of coronavirus with no new cases of the virus reported and no active cases.

The last patient was released from isolation after showing no symptoms for 48 hours.

“This is really good news for the person concerned and it’s also something the rest of New Zealand can take heart from,” Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement. The last reported case of coronavirus in New Zealand was on 22 May.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to give an update on New Zealand’s lockdown at 3pm local time (03:00 GMT).

00:20 GMT – Vietnam reports two new cases – both imported

Vietnam has reported two new cases of the coronavirus. Both were returning from Mexico and have been quarantined.

The country has not had a domestically transmitted case in 53 days.

00:00 GMT – More countries loosen restrictions despite high caseloads

Offices, restaurants and places of worship will start opening in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta from Monday, providing they operate at only 50 percent of capacity. Public transport will also operate at 50 percent capacity while shopping centres will be able to reopen next week.


Jakarta, where roads have been uncharacteristically empty for weeks, is getting back to business on Monday [Mast Irham/EPA]

India is also further relaxing its lockdown, even as case numbers surge. In Delhi, which has about 10 percent of India’s 246,628 confirmed cases, authorities earlier ordered hospital beds be reserved solely for the city’s residents.

23:30 GMT – Chile death toll jumps sharply as data consolidated

Chile has revised its coronavirus death toll sharply higher after reviewing death registry data and information from laboratories carrying out COVID-19 tests and consolidating the list.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich reported 653 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total toll to 2,290. Of the 653, 96 were new deaths.

“This is an adjustment we have to make and report, a commitment to legitimacy especially when we’ve made a huge effort to search additional databases for information not present in the databases we were using before,” it said.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (Sunday) here.

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