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Mexico becomes country with third most COVID-19 deaths

A hurricane is bearing down on coronavirus-stricken Florida, while Mexico has overtaken the UK to become the country with the third most deaths.
Hurricane Isaias over the Bahamas. (NOAA)
Hurricane Isaias is heading toward the Florida coast, where officials say they were closing coronavirus testing centers and navigating safety measures for evacuation facilities.

Officials in Miami have 20 evacuation centres on standby with social distancing in mind.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says the state was “fully prepared for this and any future storm during this hurricane season”, with stockpiles of personal protective equipment, generators, bottled water and meals ready to be distributed.

It comes as Florida health officials have reported 179 new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to more than 7000.

Hospitalisations for the coronavirus have been declining for the past week-and-a-half, with fewer than 8000 treated for the coronavirus on Saturday (local time). That’s down from highs of more than 9500 last week.

Meanwhile, talks on a huge US coronavirus relief measure resumed on Saturday (local time), focused on restoring a newly expired US$600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit and hundreds of billions of dollars in other aid to states, businesses and the poor.

The Trump administration is willing to extend the $600 jobless benefit, at least in the short term.

But it’s balking at other demands of Democratic negotiators like aid for state and local governments, food stamp increases, and assistance to renters and homeowners.

Workers spray each other with disinfectant solution after unloading the body of a person who died from suspected COVID-19, at the crematorium at Xilotepec Cemetery in Xochimilco, Mexico City. (Associated Press)
Mexico has become the country with the third most COVID-19 deaths in the world, behind the United States and Brazil.

Mexican health officials said Friday there were 688 deaths for the latest 24-hour reporting period, pushing the country’s confirmed total to 46,688.

That put Mexico just ahead of the United Kingdom, which has 46,119, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University. Mexico’s population is double that of Britain.

The health officials also said Mexico now has had more than 424,000 confirmed coronavirus cases during the pandemic.

India recorded the steepest spike of 57,118 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking its coronavirus caseload close to 1.7 million. In July alone, there were nearly 1.1 million infections.

The Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 764 additional deaths for a total of 36,511.

India’s Civil Aviation Ministry delayed resumption of international flights by another month until August 31.

But it will continue to allow several international carriers from the United States, Europe and the Middle East to operate special flights to evacuate stranded nationals.

A scientist advising the British government on the coronavirus pandemic says pubs in England may have to close to allow schools to reopen in September.

Graham Medley, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, told the BBC that there may have to be a “trade off” between the opening of schools — which he says is considered a priority by most people — and activities like going to pubs.

His comments on Saturday came after chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned the country was “near the limits” of loosening restrictions introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Travellers entering France from 16 countries where the coronavirus is circulating widely are having to undergo virus tests upon arrival at French airports and ports. (Associated Press)
Travellers entering France from 16 countries where the coronavirus is circulating widely must have virus tests upon arrival at French airports and ports.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last month the tests would be required starting August 1 for the arriving passengers, unless they present proof of a negative test within 72 hours of their departure.

Those who test positive in France must quarantine for 14 days.

France is not permitting general travel to and from the 16 countries, which include the hotspots of the United States and Brazil. The testing requirement only applies to people entering under limited circumstances.

Protesters against coronavirus restrictions gathered in Berlin for a demonstration titled “The end of the pandemic — freedom day”. It comes amid increasing concern about an uptick in infections in Germany.

A crowd of people whistling and cheering — and with few masks in sight — held up homemade placards featuring slogans that included “Corona, false alarm”, “We are being forced to wear a muzzle” and “Natural defense instead of vaccination”.

Demonstrations against restrictions this year have drawn a variety of people, including some conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists. People came from various parts of Germany for Saturday’s protest.

Unlike the US, Brazil and Britain, Germany’s government has been praised worldwide for its management of the pandemic.

It’s been easing lockdown measures since late April. Social-distancing rules remain in place, along with wearing masks on public transportation and shops.

People mostly without face masks attend a demonstration with the slogan The end of the pandemic – freedom day’ – against coronavirus restrictions in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. It comes amid increasing concern about an upturn in infections in Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Japan‘s capital recorded 472 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the third straight day of record numbers.

Most people getting sick are in their 20s and 30s, highlighting how they may be putting their guard down and going out partying, according to officials.

Nationwide, the daily count of coronavirus cases in Japan totaled a record 1579 on Friday.

South Korea

South Korean prosecutors have arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations the church hampered the government’s anti-coronavirus response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March.

Prosecutors are questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee over charges that the Shincheonji Church of Jesus hid some members and under-reported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines.

More than 5200 of the South Korea’s 14,336 confirmed virus cases have been linked to the church.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 31 more confirmed cases of COVID-19. At least 23 of the cases were tied to international arrivals.

Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, attends at a press conference in Gapyeong, South Korea. (Associated Press)
Italy‘s daily coronavirus infections has dipped under 300 cases for the first time in three days, after a recent flurry of clusters throughout the nation raised concern among health experts.

The Health Ministry says Italy registered 295 cases in the last 24 hours, raising the total to 247,832.

The ministry’s weekly report says there were 123 clusters of infection throughout Italy in the previous seven days.

China is reporting a more than 50 per cent drop in newly confirmed coronavirus cases in a possible sign that its latest major outbreak in the northwestern region of Xinjiang may have run its course.

Officials on Saturday say there were 45 new cases over the previous 24 hours, with 31 in Xinjiang, where the outbreak has been focused on the regional capital and largest city of Urumqi. That is down from 127 cases nationally and 112 in Xinjiang reported Friday.

No new deaths reported, leaving China’s confirmed total at 4634 dead and 84,337 cases.

Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800512348
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Source: 9News | News Colony

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