The World Health Organization has warned the pandemic could get far worse if countries around the world do not follow basic healthcare precautions. “The virus remains public enemy number one,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva.
More than 13 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and nearly 572,000 have died, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. The United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Italy have recorded the most deaths.
Here are the latest updates.
Tuesday, July 14
05:15 GMT – Debt-relief measures failing to help Cambodian poor
Human Rights Watch says debt relief measures by micro-loan providers in Cambodia are failing to help alleviate the financial burden on families struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic who risk being forced to sell land and housing to survive.
The rights group says the National Bank of Cambodia and the government should suspend debt collection and interest accruals for micro-loan borrowers who can no longer meet their payments because of the pandemic.
“Many Cambodians fear losing their lands more than catching the coronavirus because they can’t pay back their loans and the government has done little to help them,” HRW’s Asia Director Phil Robertson said in a statement, urging the government to order a freeze on debt collection and interest accruals.
HRW says Cambodians have the world’s highest average amount of micro-loans at $3,804 per capita.
Strong statement from Human Rights Watch detailing how MFIs in Cambodia threaten land tenure security and human rights, especially during COVID-19. European development banks and IFC still investing in sector without any enhanced borrower protection. https://t.co/KIIsMmK6gO
— Brendan O’Byrne (@BrendanOByrne) July 14, 2020
05:00 GMT – Worse than dismal: Singapore Q2 GDP plunges 41.2 percent
Singapore’s economy suffered a coronavirus-induced record contraction in the second quarter, putting it on course for its worst-ever slump this year.
Gross domestic product (GDP) plunged by a record 41.2 percent in the three months ended March, on a quarter-on-quarter annualised basis, preliminary data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters were expcting 37.4 percent decline.
“We were expecting these numbers to look quite dismal, although this is worse than what we had expected,” Steve Cochrane, economist at Moody’s Analytics, told the news agency.
04:45 GMT – Tokyo theatregoers asked to come forward for testing
Some 800 Tokyo theatregoers are being asked to come forward for testing after at least 20 coronavirus cases were traced back to a production involving a Japanese boy band.
Health officials are focusing on the Theatre Moliere, a 190-seat theatre in the Shinjuku area of the capital, which put on the show ‘Werewolf’ for six days earlier this month.
The first case was reported on July 6 and involved a cast member.
04:30 GMT – DRC facing new Ebola outbreak as tries to control COVID, measles
Ebola is spreading in western Democratic Republic of Congo, with nearly 50 known cases across a large region bordering the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, says the outbreak, first detected on June 1, remains “very active” and of great concern.
“In the era of COVID it is very important that we do not take our eyes off these other emerging diseases,” he said.
DR Congo is also dealing with a measles epidemic that has killed more than 6,000 people and COVID-19, which has infected more than 3,000 and killed 188.
03:45 GMT – Malaysia and Singapore ease some border restrictions
Malaysia and Singapore are to ease border restrictions between the two countries to support essential business and official traffic, as well as residents who have long-term work permits for the other country.
The rules will include a ‘Reciprocal Green Lane’ for essential business and official purposes with all travellers having to undergo a PCR swab test before travel and submit a detailed itinerary for the duration of the visit.
The ‘Periodic Commuting Agreement’ will apply to residents with long term work permits for the other country and allow them to return for ‘home leave’ after three months of working.
The new measures are expected to come into force on August 10, the two countries’ governments said in a joint statement on Tuesday. The details of the arrangements – including health protocols and the application process – will be announced ten days before that.
Joint Press Statement by FM Dato’ Seri @HishammuddinH2O and Singapore FM Dr. @VivianBala on the implementation of the 🇲🇾🇸🇬 reciprocal green lane & periodic commuting agreement. pic.twitter.com/vjQ0F3sSIY
— Wisma Putra (@MalaysiaMFA) July 14, 2020
03:30 GMT – Hong Kong prepares for toughest-ever coronavirus curbs
People in Hong Kong are preparing for the toughest curbs yet to control the coronavirus with the authorities warning that the risk of a large-scale outbreak in the territory is “extremely high”.
The new measures come into force at midnight (16:00 GMT). They include mandatory face masks on public transport, and a limit on the size of gatherings to just four people.
02:30 GMT – Mystery of Argentine sailors who caught virus while at sea
Argentina is trying to solve the mystery of how 57 sailors managed to come down with the coronavirus while they were at sea even though all had tested negative and spent 14 days in quarantine in a hotel before the voyage began.
The health ministry for the southern province of Tierra del Fuego says the fishing trawler is now back in port after 35 days at sea, with 57 of the 61 crew diagnosed with the virus after a new test. Two are now in hospital.
A team is trying to establish the “chronology of contagion” among the crew.
“This is a case that escapes all description in publications because an incubation period this long has not been described anywhere,” said Leandro Ballatore, the head of the infectious diseases department at Ushuaia Regional Hospital. “We cannot yet explain how the symptoms appeared.”
01:25 GMT – No new cases confirmed in Beijing for eighth day
The wave of coronavirus cases connected with Beijing’s wholesale market that began in June appears to have been brought under control with no new cases of the disease reported in the Chinese capital for eight successive days.
China’s National Health Commission reported five new cases on the mainland on Tuesday, all among people returning from overseas.
01:00 GMT – Nearly 1,000 workers at US immigration detention centres have COVID-19
More than 930 people working for four private companies that run detention centres for US immigration have tested positive for coronavirus, according to executives speaking at a congressional hearing.
The four firms are CoreCivic (554 cases), the GEO Group (167 cases), Management & Training Corp (73 cases) and LaSalle Corrections (144 cases). US immigration has reported 45 cases amongst its own staff.
Lawmakers are concerned about the spread of the virus across the US’ nearly 70 detention centres. More than 3,000 detainees have tested positive for the disease and two have died. There are currently about 22,580 people in immigration custody.
00:00 GMT – UK to make masks mandatory in shops
The British government will announce on Tuesday that people will have to wear masks when they go into a shop from July 24.
“There is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said.
Masks have been required on public transport since June 15.
23:45 GMT (Monday) – Worldwide cases surpass 13 million
More than 13 million people around the world have now been confirmed to have had the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Below are the five most-affected countries.
United States – 3,361,042
Brazil – 1,884,967
India – 878,254
Russia – 732,547
Peru – 330,123