Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Global infections pass 6.2 million
Infections from coronavirus worldwide now stand at 6,266,193 with 375,554 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
South Korea to trial QR codes in tracing
South Korea will begin trying out QR codes as part of its track-and-trace efforts to contain the virus. From 10 June, visitors to nightclubs, bars, karaoke clubs, daytime discos, indoor gyms that hold group exercises and indoor standing concert halls will be required to use an app that generates a one-time personalised QR code that can be scanned at the door. It follows difficulties tracing potential infections from last month’s Seoul nightclubs cluster of 270 cases, after people gave false or incomplete information.
People in Pakistan told to ‘live with the virus’
Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, has defended his decision to lift almost all lockdown measures because of economic losses, despite rising numbers of cases. In a televised address, Khan said his government could not afford to continue giving cash handouts to the poor on such a large scale. He urged people to act responsibly but said more infections and deaths were inevitable. “This virus will spread more. I have to say it with regret that there will be more deaths,” Khan warned. “If people do take care they can live with the virus.”
New Zealand brings forward decision on easing restrictions
The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said restrictions may be eased again sooner than planned as the country was “ahead of schedule” in tackling Covid-19. Cabinet will decide next Monday whether to move to level-1 restrictions – the most lenient – two weeks ahead of when the government had planned to make that decision. New Zealand has had no Covid-19 cases for 11 consecutive days. Level-1 is thought to only involve border restrictions.
WHO warns of over use of antibiotics in crisis
The World Health Organization has warned that the increased use of antibiotics to combat the pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond. WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them.
Covid-19 infections in UK could double without two-metre rule
The risk of Covid-19 infection could double if the two-metre rule is reduced in the UK, a study part-funded by the WHO and published in the Lancet has found. Last week, Boris Johnson said he hoped to “be able to reduce that [2-metre] distance”, to make it easier to travel on public transport and boost the hospitality industry.
Central and south America are ‘intense zones for transmission’
The WHO sounded the warning as it said the epidemic in the regions had not reached its peak. On Monday deaths in Mexico passed 10,000, while Brazil registered 11,598 additional cases of coronavirus and 623 new deaths. It takes the country’s confirmed cases to 526,447 and deaths to 29,937.
China reports five new Covid-19 cases
The National Health commission reported five new imported cases and no deaths on Tuesday. As of Monday there were 73 active cases in the country, according to the commission.