Global COVID-19 cases rise to 8.3 million: Johns Hopkins University

Global COVID-19 cases rise to 8.3 million: Johns Hopkins University

Washington: The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has topped to over 8.3 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 448,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases stood at 8,329,221, while the fatalities increased to 448,474, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. With 2,162,851 cases and 117,713 deaths, the US continues with the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 955,377 infections. This was followed by Russia (552,549), India (354,065), the UK (300,717), Spain (244,683), Peru (240,908), Italy (237,828), Chile (220,628), Iran (195,051), France (194,805), Germany (188,604), Turkey (182,727), Mexico (159,793), Pakistan (154,760), Saudi Arabia (141,234) and Canada (101,491), the CSSE figures showed.

With 46,510 COVID-19 deaths, Brazil accounts for the second highest number of fatalities in the world. The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (42,238), Italy (34,448), France (29,578), Spain (27,136), Mexico (19,080) and India (11,903).

China reports 28 new coronavirus cases, Beijing ramps up testing as COVID-19 infections spike

China reports 28 new coronavirus cases, Beijing ramps up testing as COVID-19 infections spike

China has reported 28 new confirmed coronavirus cases, including 24 in Beijing, taking the total number of infections in the last few days to 161 as the capital city ramped up testing 3.56 lakh residents and cancelling hundreds of flights to stem the spread of the COVID-19, the health authorities said on Thursday.

According to China's National Health Commission (NHC) it received reports of 28 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country on Wednesday.

Of the domestically transmitted cases, 21 cases were reported in Beijing, two in Hebei Province, and one in Tianjin Municipality, the NHC said in its daily report.

No deaths related to the disease were reported on Wednesday, according to the commission.

Beijing reported 21 new confirmed cases and four asymptomatic cases on Wednesday, the city municipal health commission said on Thursday.

There were still 158 patients receiving medical treatment and 15 asymptomatic cases were under medical observation, it said.

So far, 174 imported cases have been reported in Beijing, it reported.

The NHC said there were 265 patients still being treated in the country, including nine in severe condition.

Altogether 78,394 patients have been cured and discharged from hospitals by Wednesday, the report said.

As of Wednesday, a total of 83,293 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on the mainland, among which 4,634 had died of the disease.

By Wednesday, Beijing reported 578 confirmed domestically transmitted cases since January, including 411 who have been discharged from hospitals after recovery and nine deaths.

Beijing moved on a war footing on Wednesday, cancelling hundreds of domestic flights, testing 3.56 lakh residents, suspending sports events and closing certain gyms as China's capital city reported 31 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 137.

Two airports in Beijing have cancelled 1,255 domestic flights, nearly 70 per cent of the scheduled trips, the official media reported. Beijing currently does not operate international flights.

The national railway operator will allow passengers, who have booked train tickets in and out of Beijing as of Tuesday, to refund without any extra charges.

An epidemic-control official in Beijing said on Wednesday that the capital has tested about 3.56 lakh residents since Saturday, after more than 100 locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases were spotted in the city.

Zhang Qiang, a member of the city's epidemic-control office who oversees nucleic acid testing efforts, said those tested include workers at the sprawling Xinfadi food wholesale market in southern Beijing, where an employee was confirmed infected on Sunday, as well as residents living in nearby residential communities and people who travelled near the region.

Currently, the city is testing an average of 400,000 people a day and plans to step up testing capacity, Zhang said at a news conference here.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports issued an urgent notice on Wednesday, suspending sports events, as well as closing certain gyms as the capital city, upgraded its emergency response to COVID-19 from level III to II.

Since Wednesday, Beijing halted return to campus and resumed online courses for middle and primary school students, as well as suspend college students' return to campus, the reports said.

Beijing has asked libraries, museums, parks to limit visitors up to 30 per cent of full flow and halted cross-province group tours, the reports said.

US FDA withdraws emergency use authorisation of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients

US FDA withdraws emergency use authorisation of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients

The US food and drug regulatory body on Monday withdrew the emergency use authorisation of anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 patients after concluding that they may not be effective to cure the virus infections.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said its decision is based on new information, including clinical trial data results, that have led it to conclude that the drugs may not be effective to treat COVID-19 and that its potential benefits for such use do not outweigh its known and potential risks.

FDA chief scientist Denise Hinton, in a letter dated June 15 to Gary Disbrow of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), said as of the date of this letter, the oral formulations of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and (chloroquine) CQ are no longer authorised by the FDA to treat COVID-19.

On March 28, FDA had issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for use of oral formulations of chloroquine phosphate (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine sulfate (HCQ) to be distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

Hinton said that FDA now believes that the suggested dosing regimens for CQ and HCQ are unlikely to produce an antiviral effect.

"Earlier observations of decreased viral shedding with HCQ or CQ treatment have not been consistently replicated and recent data from a randomised controlled trial assessing probability of negative conversion showed no difference between HCQ and standard of care alone," he said.

Current US treatment guidelines do not recommend the use of CQ or HCQ in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial, and the NIH guidelines now recommend against such use outside of a clinical trial, the FDA said.

"Recent data from a large randomised controlled trial showed no evidence of benefit for mortality or other outcomes such as hospital length of stay or need for mechanical ventilation of HCQ treatment in hospitalised patients with COVID-19," the letter said.

Hinton said that while HCQ, that has been distributed from SNS, is no longer authorised under the EUA to treat hospitalised patients for COVID-19, FDA-approved HCQ can be distributed in interstate commerce.

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs. US President Donald Trump had called hydroxychloroquine a "game-changer" drug in the fight against COVID-19.

At Trump's request, India in April allowed the export of 50 million HCQ tablets to treat COVID-19 patients in America, the worst-hit country by the pandemic.

Trump had on May 18 disclosed that he was taking hydroxychloroquine daily to ward off the deadly coronavirus.

Defending the drug, he had said that hydroxychloroquine was a "line of defence" against the coronavirus.

"It is a very powerful drug I guess but it doesn't harm you and so I thought as a frontline defence, possibly it would be good, and I have had no impact from it," Trump had said, adding that the antimalaria drug has received tremendous reviews from doctors all over the world.

However, doctors can still prescribe anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to patients, US Health Secretary Alex Azar said, hours after the FDA withdrew the emergency use authorisation of chloroquine and HCQ in the treatment of COVID 19 patients.

"At this point, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and chloroquine are just like any other approved drug in the United States. They may be used in hospital, they may be used in out-patient, they may be used at home, all subject to a doctor's prescription," Azar said.

"In fact, the FDA's removal of the Emergency Use Authorization takes away what had been a significant misunderstanding by many that had made people think that somehow it could only be used in a hospital setting, and we've tried to make that clear throughout," he said in response to a question.

During a White House media appearance with President Donald Trump, Azar asserted that HCQ was approved in the United States.

"If a doctor wishes to prescribe it, working with a patient, they may prescribe it for any purpose that they wish to do so. And, this (FDA's decision) actually removes a potential barrier to them," the health secretary said.

According to the Johns Hopkins University data, US has over 2.1 million COVID-19 cases with more than 1,15,000 deaths.

Black Lives Matter protesters vandalise Christopher Columbus statue in Boston

Black Lives Matter protesters vandalise Christopher Columbus statue in Boston

Britain has ‘support bubbles’ for people living alone

Britain has ‘support bubbles’ for people living alone

People living alone in England will be able to stay at one other household as part of a further easing of the coronavirus restrictions, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

He announced that, from Saturday, single adults can spend the night at another house in a so-called "support bubble", which means all members of the bubble must self isolate in case any one member develops symptoms of COVID-19.

He said the change aims to help combat loneliness and allow for some further relaxation to the rules, which so far only allow for a gathering of up to six outdoors.

"All those in a support bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household, meaning they can spend time together inside each others' homes and do not need to stay two metres apart," Johnson explained.

"I want to stress that support bubbles must be exclusive, meaning you can't switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households. And if any member of the support bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the normal advice on household isolation," he said.

One part of the bubble has to be a single household, or be a single parent to children aged under 18. It does not apply to grandparents who live together, people living in houses of multiple occupancy, such as flat shares, or to couples who already live together.

Those who are "shielding" due to other underlying health conditions, are not advised to form a bubble.


Donald Trump will hold his first post-corona rally in Oklahoma next Friday

Donald Trump will hold his first post-corona rally in Oklahoma next Friday

US President Donald Trump has announced to resume his election rallies from Oklahoma next Friday, followed by a series of others in the States of Texas, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he had suspended his election rallies for the past three months.

Trump, 77, is seeking his re-election in the November presidential elections. Former vice president Joe Biden is his main challenger from the opposition Democratic party.

"We're going to start our rallies back up now. We've had a tremendous run at rallies," he told reporters at the White House.

"I don't think there has been an empty seat since we came down on the escalator," the President said on Wednesday, referring to his historic flight down the escalator along with First Lady Melania Trump at the Trump Towers in New York in 2015 announcing the launch of his 2016 presidential campaign.

"It's been an amazing thing to behold, and we're going to be starting our rallies. The first one, we believe will be probably -- we're just starting to call up -- will be in Oklahoma, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a beautiful new venue, brand-new," he said.

"We're going to be coming into Florida, do a big one in Florida, big one in Texas. They're all going to be big. We're going to Arizona. We're going to North Carolina at the appropriate time," Trump said. The 45th President of the United States has been the biggest crowd puller of his Republican Party and so far has drawn much larger crowd that his main rival Biden.

Biden, 77, the Democratic presidential nominee, is, however, leading the average of major national polls by more than eight percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.

Traditionally, Republican leaders and the Trump Campaign have doubted the reliability of major national polls, given that in 2016 presidential polls every major poll had written him off against his then main rival Hillary Clinton.

During his White House interaction with reporters, Trump was critical of the Democratic Governor from North Carolina, where the Republican Party is scheduled to hold the National Convention in August. The North Carolina Governor, he said, is slow in opening the State from coronavirus.

"The governor is a little backward there. He's a little bit behind, and unfortunately we're going to probably be having no choice but to move the Republican Convention to another location. That will be announced shortly, but we'll have no choice," he said.

"We wanted to stay in North Carolina very badly. We love it. It's a great state, a state I won. Many, many friends, many relatives, frankly, that live there. And we'll see how it all works out, but the governor doesn't want to give an inch, and what he's doing is losing hundreds of millions of dollars for his state. But we'll probably have no other recourse but to move it to another state," he said.

Pakistan's former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi tests positive for coronavirus

Pakistan's former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi tests positive for coronavirus

Pakistan's former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and incumbent Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad were tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday, making them the latest amongst the country's top politicians to contract the virus that has infected over one lakh people in the country.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb confirmed that 61-year-old Abbasi was infected by the virus.

Abbasi, who is the Senior Vice President of the PML-N, served as the prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018 after his party leader Nawaz Sharif was de-seated by a court ruling in a corruption case.

He has gone into self-isolation at his house after receiving a positive COVID-19 test report on Monday, his party officials said.

PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif wished Abbasi a speedy recovery.

Railways Minister Ahmad was tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement by his office.

"Sheikh Rashid has tested positive for COVID-19," the statement said, adding that he has gone into self-isolation and will remain in quarantine for two weeks as per doctors' advice.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and former provincial minister Sharjeel Memon was tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's provincial lawmaker Chaudhry Ali Akhtar was also tested positive for the virus, his spokesperson said.

Anti-racism protests 'subverted by thuggery', says UK PM Boris Johnson

Anti-racism protests 'subverted by thuggery', says UK PM Boris Johnson

The anti-racism demonstrations in the UK are "subverted by thuggery", Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, condemning the attacks on police officers after the 'Black Lives Matter' protests held over the custodial killing of George Floyd turned violent, with the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill here targeted with graffiti.

Thousands of demonstrators breached the COVID-19 lockdown for a second consecutive day on Sunday to protest against the custodial killing of African-American Floyd, leaving the word "racist" imprinted on the steps below the plinth of the Gandhi statue at Parliament Square in London.

The words "was a racist" were emblazoned on Churchill's plinth nearby as statues became the focal point, with the city of Bristol witnessing the dramatic pulling down of a bronze sculpture of a former slave trader by groups of angry protesters.

Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after white police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground and knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while the 46-year-old handcuffed man gasped for breath.

The footage, which went viral, showed Floyd pleading with the officer, saying he can't breathe. The four police officers seen in the footage have since been charged. Floyd's death has triggered widespread protests across the US and in many other countries.

Prime Minister Johnson took to social media on Sunday to say that the anti-racism cause of the demonstrations had been betrayed by the "thuggery" of some protestors as the Metropolitan Police made 12 arrests for public order offences as well as criminal damage to monuments in central London.

"People have a right to protest peacefully and while observing social distancing but they have no right to attack the police," said Johnson.

"These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery - and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve. Those responsible will be held to account," he said.

The Met Police said a "small minority" of protestors had provoked scenes of violence and launched attacks at officers and threw objects, including glass bottles and fireworks at them.

It said as many as 35 of its officers had reported suffering injuries, two of them requiring hospital treatment for a head wound and a shoulder injury.

"In recent days a minority of protesters sought confrontation with police leading to many officers being injured, including several seriously. When officers sought to protect colleagues and iconic landmarks they faced further obstruction and sustained assault," said Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

"The violent criminality we saw is disgraceful and will have been very frightening for others. It will never be acceptable to attack police officers, damage property and leave others in fear of their safety. We will be carrying out a thorough investigation so that those responsible for criminal acts are brought speedily to justice," she said.

Man plows car through Seattle protest, 1 shot

Authorities say a man drove a car at George Floyd protesters in Seattle Sunday night, hit a barricade then exited the vehicle brandishing a pistol. At least one person was injured. The Seattle Fire Department said the victim was a 27-year-old male who was shot and taken to a hospital in stable condition.

Video taken by a reporter for The Seattle Times showed part of the scene in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood, where demonstrators have gathered for days near a police precinct.

Seattle City Council members sharply criticized Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best after police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to disperse protesters a day after Durkan and Best said they were trying to de-escalate tensions.

Authorities said rocks, bottles and explosives were thrown at officers in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood Saturday night. Police said via Twitter that several officers were injured by "improvised explosives." The mayhem in the Capitol Hill neighborhood came on the ninth consecutive day of George Floyd protests in the city. It followed a large, peaceful demonstration earlier. It also came a day after Durkan and Best imposed a 30-day moratorium on the department's use of one kind of tear gas.

Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder quits board; wants African American member to replace him

Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder quits board; wants African American member to replace him

Alexis Ohanian who is Tennis superstar Serena Williams' husband and co-founder of Reddit, has quit from his position from the company, urging the board to fill his position with an African American member. He tweeted about the same.

Alexis Ohanian Sr. ????

 · 16h
Replying to @alexisohanian
I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: “What did you do?”⁰ …

"What Did You Do?" — Alexis Ohanian Sr.
I co-founded Reddit 15 years ago to help people find community and a sense of belonging. It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country.  I’m...

Alexis Ohanian Sr. ????

I've resigned as a member of the reddit board, I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, + I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $1M to @kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp

9:29 AM - Jun 5, 2020
Twitter Ads info and privacy
18.8K people are talking about this
"I co-founded Reddit 15 years ago to help people find community and a sense of belonging. It is long overdue to do the right thing. I'm doing this for me, for my family, and for my country," Ohanian wrote on Twitter.

"I'm saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: 'What did you do?"

Ohanian said he has resigned as a member of the Reddit board.

"I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, + I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I'm starting with a pledge of $1M," he tweeted.

Ohanian stepped down as Reddit CEO in 2018 but kept a seat on the board.

"Ohanian has also become a more outspoken advocate for policies like paid family leave, calling for more equitable, flexible leave policies and citing his own experience as a father," reports TechCrunch.

George Floyd Protest: 57 Buffalo police officers quit emergency team after 2 suspended for allegedly shoving 75-year-old man

George Floyd Protest: 57 Buffalo police officers quit emergency team after 2 suspended for allegedly shoving 75-year-old man

Fifty-seven police officers in Buffalo, New York, have resigned from the force's emergency response team following the suspension of two officers who allegedly pushed a 75-year-old protester to the ground, a source close to the situation informed CNN on Friday (local time).

An investigation is underway in a protest incident Governor Andrew Cuomo called "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful." The man was seriously injured.

After a video of police shoving a 75-year-old white protester who approached them in a city in New York state went viral, two of them were suspended, but all the members of the emergency team resigned in protest.

Video of the demonstration on Thursday showed a row of officers walking toward the man and as he nears them a policeman shoves him with his baton and another with his hand and he falls backwards and injures his head. His head bleeds onto the sidewalk as officers walk past him, some looking down at him.


WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT Video shows two police officers in Buffalo, New York, shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground. The sound of a crack is heard and blood trickles from the man’s head 

Embedded video
12:00 AM - Jun 5, 2020
Twitter Ads info and privacy
4,860 people are talking about this
Gugino was hospitalised and his lawyer told the local NBC affiliate, WGRZ, on Friday that he was "alert and oriented".

The demonstrators in Niagara Square were, like those across the country, calling for racial justice after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

The 57 officers resigned from the emergency unit but not from the force. The Buffalo mayor's office told CNN that the 57 members that resigned from the unit make up the entire active emergency response team.


A 75-year-old protester falls to the ground after being shoved by Buffalo, New York, police, on June 4, 2020, after Buffalos curfew went into effect, according to media reports.AFP

he protester was reported to be in stable but serious condition at a local hospitalAFP
A few members of the unit are out currently and are not included in the 57 that resigned, according to the mayor's office.

"Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders," Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans told WGRZ on Friday.

But responding to the suspensions, all the 57 members of Buffalo's police emergency response team resigned from the unit "in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders", WGRZ quoted police union president John Evans as saying.

The man identified as Martin Gugino, as confirmed by Cuomo's office, is currently hospitalized and is reported to be in serious but stable condition, as per authorities.

Attorney Kelly V. Zarone representing Gugino released a statement saying he is "alert and oriented" and described him as a longtime peaceful protester and human rights advocate.

"Mr. Gugino requests privacy for himself and his family as he recovers," Zarone said.

"He appreciates all of the well wishes he has received and requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful," Zarone added.

Megan Toufexis, Gugino's daughter, told CNN that her father attended the protest Thursday to discuss First Amendment rights with police.

Protests in the city continued into the evening Friday.

While police excesses, especially against minorities, are in focus because of the nationwide protests triggered by the dead of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man in Minneapolis on May 25 while in police custody, the force have also come under attack.

In the most serious incident in New York City, one police officer was stabbed in the neck and two others were shot on Wednesday night while on patrol to stop looters.

A police officer was shot in the head in Las Vegas and four police officers were injured and a retired police captain killed by gunfire in St Louis, Missouri, on Tuesday.

Police have also been hit with stones, bricks and other objects during protests, while videos are also surfacing every day of police excesses against protesters.

After brazen looting of stores across in New York City on Monday night, Cuomo faulted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and called his leadership a "disgrace".

But after he tightened enforcement, he was criticised for police actions and booed on Thursday when he spoke at a memorial service for Floyd.