WASHINGTON – China’s capital imposed new coronavirus restrictions Wednesday to try to control a new outbreak, while Brazil reported a record daily increase in confirmed cases and the number of deaths in the United States surpassed those the country suffered in World War One.
Among the steps taken in Beijing were canceling dozens of domestic flights, requiring stricter social distancing efforts and making those entering some residential areas undergo temperature checks and registration.
There have been at least 137 new cases in Beijing since late last week linked to a wholesale food center.
Brazilian health officials reported Tuesday 34,918 new confirmed cases during a 24-hour period. The country now has more than 900,000 total cases, trailing only the United States.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed the severity of the virus while urging businesses to reopen. His Chief of Staff Walter Braga Netto said Tuesday, “There is a crisis, we sympathize with bereaved families, but it is managed.”
“Brazil has 23% of all cases and 21% of all deaths in our region, and we are not seeing transmission slowing down,” Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne said in a briefing Tuesday. “That is, the cases in almost all countries in Latin America, and a few in the Caribbean, are rising”
Peru has also been hit hard by the coronavirus, reporting Tuesday its death toll had surpassed 7,000 people.
And in Honduras, President Juan Orlando Hernandez announced late Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The United States has more than 2.1 million confirmed cases and about 117,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Wednesday she assigned a top military leader to oversee “all quarantine and managed isolation facilities” after two citizens who arrived from Britain to visit a sick relative were allowed to leave quarantine without being tested, and later tested positive.
The development came more than three weeks after the country’s previous positive test, and the prime minister said she could not allow New Zealand to squander the gains it has made in stopping the spread of the virus.
“This case represents an unacceptable failure of the system,” Ardern told reporters. “It should never have happened, and it cannot be repeated.”
As work continues in numerous labs around the world toward the creation of a coronavirus vaccine, the World Health Organization on Tuesday welcomed initial clinical results that showed the drug dexamethasone can help treat those who are critically ill with COVID-19.
A University of Oxford team gave the drug to more than 2,000 critically ill COVID-19 patients, and reported that among those who were so sick they needed a ventilator to breath the drug reduced deaths by 35 percent.
Patients who needed less help, only oxygen to help them breathe better, the drug reduced deaths by about 20 percent. The researchers reported no benefit from the drug for patients who were mildly sick.
Spain, which at 27,000 has the sixth most COVID-19 deaths in the world, will honor its victims with a state ceremony on July 16. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the plan to lawmakers Wednesday, saying officials European Union and World Health Organization would attend.
Source: VOICE OF AMERICA