A family member wearing a protective masks mourns during the burial of a relative who died from the coronavirus at the Nueva Esperanza cemetery in Lima on June 17. (Photo: Angela Ponce/Bloomberg)

Americas account for 63% of new infections; global cases approach 9 million

A family member wearing a protective masks mourns during the burial of a relative who died from the coronavirus at the Nueva Esperanza cemetery in Lima on June 17. (Photo: Angela Ponce/Bloomberg)

Key Developments:

Americas Account for 63% of New Cases: WHO

The Americas region accounted for almost two-thirds of new cases reported by the World Health Organization on Sunday. The eastern Mediterranean region, including the Middle East, represented 10% and Europe had 9.8% of new infections, the WHO said.

The United Nations group reported 183,020 cases — the most in a day — for the 24 hours through early Sunday, led by Brazil with 54,771, the biggest jump by any nation. The US and India followed.

The Americas also accounted for almost half of the 461,715 deaths tracked by the agency. The WHO total often lags behind tallies from John Hopkins University, which showed 465,475 deaths on Sunday.

UK Deaths Lowest Since March

The UK reported fewer than 1,000 new cases for the first time since its lockdown was declared on March 23.

There were 15 deaths related to coronavirus, according to the daily update from the Department of Health and Social Care, the lowest since March 15. Reported deaths are usually lower on Mondays due to a lag in recording deaths over the weekend.

The UK’s reported figures will be closely watched ahead of an expected easing of lockdown restrictions on July 4, with more details due this week.

A total of 139,659 tests were carried out over the daily period, taking the cumulative total of tests to 8.03 million.

Delta to Resume US-China Flights on June 25

Delta Air Lines says it will restart service between Seattle and Shanghai-Pudong via Seoul-Incheon on June 25, operating twice per week.

It will operate once-weekly flights from Seattle and Detroit, also via Incheon, and says it is the first US airline to reconnect US and China since the COVID-19 travel suspension in February.

Gilead CEO Targets Inhaled Remdesivir Study for August

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said the company is screening healthy volunteers this week for Phase I trials of an inhaled formulation of its remdesivir drug. The treatment would be administered via a nebuliser, which is potentially easier to use outside of the hospital.

Remdesivir has already been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use with COVID-19 patients. The next wave of clinical development will study remdesivir for treatment earlier in the disease.

Netherlands Reports First Day With No Deaths Since March

The Netherlands reported no new COVID-19 fatalities for the first time since March 12. Total confirmed cases rose by 69 to 49,658, the lowest daily increase since March 10.

EU Health Chief Aims for Virus Vaccine Within 18 Months

European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the bloc aims to see a vaccine against the coronavirus in 12 to 18 months. Kyriakides offered the timetable in remarks to a European Parliament committee in Brussels while outlining EU efforts to negotiate agreements with vaccine developers on the advance purchase of possible doses. She said the usual time for developing vaccines is about a decade.

Hong Kong Cases Increase Most Since April 3

Hong Kong recorded 30 new imported cases of coronavirus Monday, the city’s Department of Health said. All but one had travelled to Pakistan during the incubation period, and one person had returned from the Philippines.

That was the biggest single-day increase in cases since April 3, bringing the confirmed tally to 1,161.

Iran Cases, Deaths Increase

Iran recorded 2,573 new infections in the last 24 hours, with 119 deaths. The daily case tally has held above 2,000 since May 26, while the latest death toll is close to the daily aveage of the past week.

The nation, a hotspot for the virus in the region, has 207,525 total cases.

South Africa Cases Approaching Peak, Minister Says

The outbreak in South Africa is about to peak and the government expects hospitals to start filling up with patients, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

The number of new infections is projected to first peak in the Western Cape, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic, followed by Gauteng and the Eastern Cape province, Mkhize said in an interview with radio station Safm on Monday.

Deaths in Russia Drop to Lowest Level Since May 25

Russia reported 7,600 new confirmed infections in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 592,280, according to data from the government’s virus response center.

The number of cases remained below 8,000 for a sixth straight day. Of those, 32.5% were asymptomatic, the government said.

The daily death toll was 95, the lowest since May 25, bringing the total to 8,206. Also in the past 24 hours, 4,705 people recovered.

BOE’s Bailey Signals Major Shift in Stimulus Strategy

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey signalled a major shift in the central bank’s strategy for removing emergency stimulus, stressing the need to reduce the institution’s balance sheet before hiking interest rates.

Writing for Bloomberg Opinion, Bailey said such a plan would give officials more firepower in future crises. The BOE’s balance sheet has swelled to almost 700 billion pounds ($864 billion) because of its extraordinary measures during the coronavirus pandemic, and is set to grow much larger because of the central bank’s bond-buying program.

Mexico Has 1,044 Deaths, Second-Highest Daily Toll

Mexico reported 1,044 coronavirus deaths Sunday, the second-highest daily fatality toll from the pandemic, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

A total of 21,825 have died from the COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected 180,545 in the country, the data showed. The rise in deaths doesn’t reflect only those that occurred in the previous 24 hours, as it can take longer for the ministry to compile data on coronavirus fatalities.

The rising number of cases prompted Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum to delay the capital’s gradual reopening.

South Korea Sees Lowest Infections in a Month

South Korea reported 17 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the smallest increase in about a month. The daily count brings the total number of infections to 12,438, data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention showed.

UK to Detail Steps to Ease Lockdown (5:30 p.m. NY)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out which further parts of the UK economy can open in July, and give an update in Parliament on Tuesday after hearing conclusions of the review into England’s two-metre (6 feet 7 inches) social distancing rule.

A week after the government encouraged its citizens to go shopping again, the country is on track to reopen additional parts of the economy including hospitality businesses, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday on Sky News. Any reduction in social distancing could be done with other measures such as wearing masks or using perspex screens in shops, he said.

The country’s pandemic alert level was lowered last week, with the virus no longer spreading exponentially after nearly three months of lockdown.

Brazil Cases Rise 1.6%; Deaths Top 50,000

Brazil reported 17,304 new cases on Sunday, a 1.6% increase, bringing the total to 1.08 million, according to the States Health Secretaries known as Conass on its website. Deaths increased by 1.3% to 50,608, Conass said.