Coronavirus latest: Brazil still faces a ‘big challenge’

  • WHO calls for Brazil to better coordinate efforts against coronavirus

  • Arizona closes all bars, night clubs and gyms and bans public gatherings of more than 50 people

  • China temporarily halts meat imports from three Brazilian plants

  • Puerto Rico extends curfew by three weeks

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

03:40 Researchers have discovered a flu virus in Chinese pigs that has become increasingly infectious to humans and needs to be monitored closely due to its potential to become a “pandemic virus,” a new study has said. However, experts cautioned there was no imminent threat to humans. 

A team of Chinese researchers observed influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and found a “G4” strain of H1N1 that has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” a paper published by the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) said. 

Pig farm employees also displayed elevated levels of the virus in their blood. The authors said that “close monitoring in the human population, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented.” 

The study emphasized the risks of the virus jumping to humans, especially in densely populated parts of China, where millions of people live in close proximity to pig breeding facilities, slaughterhouses and wet markets. 

The PNAS study said that pigs are important “mixing vessels” for the generation of pandemic influenza viruses. The authors called for “systematic surveillance” of the situation. 

The new strain of H1N1 is a recombination of a once prevalent strain found in pigs and a variant that caused an outbreak in China in 2009, prompting restriction and quarantine measures.

02:51 Germany recorded 313 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute, bringing total national cases to 194,259. Fatalities increased by 12, bringing total deaths to 8,973. Some 179,100 people in Germany have now recovered from COVID-19, an increase of around 1,000 over the day before. The infection rate in Germany is currently 0.74, meaning that the average infected person infects less than one other person.

02:19 The United States recorded at least 42,000 coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the Johns Hopkins University tally showed Monday, as the country confronts a rapid surge in the disease.

The new infections, concentrated in southern and western states, bring the total number of infections in the US to nearly 2.6 million. The number of daily US deaths in the world’s largest economic power continues to decline however, with 355 deaths in 24 hours.

Several state governors have been forced to reimpose lockdowns on businesses such as restaurants and bars, though the White House blames the rise in cases to record levels largely on expanded testing and not community spread.

01:37 China has recorded 19 new cases of coronavirus on the mainland, up from 12 new cases a day earlier, health authorities have said. No new deaths were reported. Seven of the new infections were in in the capital city Beijing, where a fresh outbreak has emerged in recent weeks, the National Health Commission said in a statement. 

Mainland China has so far confirmed a total of 83,531 cases of COVID-19. The country’s reported death toll currently stands at 4,634.

Beijing implemented mass coronavirus testing after the first case in the latest outbreak emerged on June 11. The case was linked to a large wholesale food market. 

The State Post Bureau, which manages the country’s postal service, said that 104,807 workers at major delivery firms in the city have been tested for COVID-19 and thus far no positive results have been found, according to a report by state broadcaster CCTV.

01:16 Mexico has reported 3,805 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 473 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 220,657 cases and 27,121 deaths. The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

After almost three months of various types of lockdowns, the nation’s capital Mexico City began allowing more businesses to reopen Monday. Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said Monday that officials estimate the gradual reopenings this week could put another 1 million to 1.5 million people on the streets of the capital.

00:58 Researchers in the US have identified almost 300 cases of a rare, life-threatening syndrome in children and adolescents associated with COVID-19. Two studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine come after multiple reports of such a syndrome among patients in Europe. 

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has symptoms in common with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease. These include fever, rashes, swollen glands, and, in severe cases, heart inflammation. The syndrome occurs two to four weeks after the patient is infected by the coronavirus, according to Michael Levin, professor of pediatrics and international child health at Imperial College London.

The symptom affects two in every 100,000 young people (defined as people under the age of 21), out of 322 in 100,000 who contract the virus, Levin wrote in an editorial accompanying the studies. 

The studies identified around 300 cases in the US, but Levin noted that there have been over 1,000 such cases reported worldwide. A relatively high proportion have occurred among Black, Hispanic, or South Asian persons. It is not clear why the syndrome develops in some children and adolescents but not others.

00:49 Brazil is still facing a “big challenge” to get its coronavirus outbreak under control and should do more to integrate efforts at different levels of government, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official has said. 

“We would encourage once more that Brazil continues to fight against the disease, that Brazil links the efforts at federal and at state level in a much more systematic way,” said Michael Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program.

The country should “focus on a comprehensive approach to controlling the disease and doing that in a sustained fashion,” he said.

Health experts have strongly criticized Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for how Brazil has handled the crisis. On Monday, the Ministry of Health said it had distributed 4.3 million doses of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, a drug with little evidence showing it is effective against COVID-19. 

With 58,314 fatalities, Brazil has the second-largest coronavirus death toll in the world.

00:30 Arizona’s governor ordered bars, nightclubs and water parks to close again for at least a month starting Monday night — a dramatic about-face as coronavirus cases surge in the US. Republican Governor Doug Ducey also ordered public schools to delay the start of the classes at least until August 17. Many districts planned to start the school year in late July or early August. Both orders can be extended.

Arizona emerged from stay-at-home order in mid-May, but infections have since begun spiking. On Sunday, it reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases, the most in a single day for state and the seventh time in recent days that the daily toll surpassed the 3,000 mark.

Doug Ducey, the governor of Arizona, said that the state was closing bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters and water parks. Ducey also said that public schools would restart after August 17. Arizona has also prohibited public gatherings of more than 50 people.

Read more: How millions of America’s temporary layoffs could be permanent

00:25 China’s customs department has temporarily banned the import of meat from three plants in Brazil amid concern over the novel coronavirus, the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry said. The ministry declined to name the companies affected by the decision and said China had not given a formal reason for the suspensions.

Chinese customs authorities have recently asked Brazil for information about some establishments exporting to China following reports in the Brazilian press about cases of COVID-19 among their workers, the Agriculture Ministry said.

00:10 Puerto Rico has extended its curfew to contain the coronavirus by three weeks. This is the longest curfew in any US jurisdiction. Everyone except essential workers has to stay indoors from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until July 22. In addition, face masks remain mandatory, and those who disobey will be fined.

The initial curfew began in mid-March, and Governor Wanda Vazquez warned Sunday that stricter measures could return if she sees a spike in cases, with several small outbreaks already reported in some towns that health officials blame on those visiting or returning from the US mainland.

00:00 Catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus news here.

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments, and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany’s national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

am/sri (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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