A medical personnel uses her mobile phone before a swab test for the people who visited or live near Xinfadi Market at Guang'an Sport Center in Beijing on June 14, 2020. Photographer: Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Beijing to shut schools amid resurgence – Global virus update

A medical personnel uses her mobile phone before a swab test for the people who visited or live near Xinfadi Market at Guang'an Sport Center in Beijing on June 14, 2020. Photographer: Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: global cases surpass 8 million, deaths exceed 437,000
  • Once a virus role model, Chile now among the world’s worst hit
  • England’s soccer Premier League returns on Wednesday
  • Virus-ravaged supply chains of 2020 are the banks of 2008
  • Global oil demand won’t fully recover until 2022 at earliest
  • Trump’s Tulsa rally defies public health and protest concerns

Texas Hospitalisations Rise to Record

Texas recorded an 8.3% rise in hospitalizations to a record 2,518, the biggest daily increase since June 4, according to state health department data. In the Houston metropolitan area, there were 795 patients hospitalized and 247 intensive care units beds available.

Governor Greg Abbott scheduled a media briefing to discuss the state’s hospital capacity at 1 p.m Central time.

Beijing to Shut Schools Amid Resurgence

Beijing City has raised its COVID-19 emergency response to the second-highest level after coronavirus infection cases resurged, according to China Central Television, citing a briefing by the city’s government.

All schools will restore online courses, and college students will stop returning to campus, according to CCTV.

US Agency to Continue Hydroxychloroquine Trial

The US National Institutes of Health will continue its clinical trial on the potential for hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalised with COVID-19 despite regulators’ revoking the drug’s emergency authorization, the agency said in an email.

The NIH trial, called Orchid, began enrolling patients in April and is screening those who may be susceptible to erratic heart rhythms that are a risk associated with hydroxychloroquine. Data from a University of Oxford study led the Food and Drug Administration on Monday to determine hydroxychloroquine’s benefit no longer outweighed its cardiovascular risks.

A data and safety monitoring board will continue to monitor the trial, NIH said. The anti-malaria drug was touted by President Donald Trump as treatment for COVID-19.

British Airways Owner Said to Prepare Review

IAG SA, the parent of British Airways, is reviewing its strategy to help reposition the group as it emerges from the pandemic, people familiar with the matter said. The company is working with advisers and is examining options that could include debt or equity fundraising, the people said.

Low-Cost Drug Is First to Improve Survival

A low-cost anti-inflammatory drug is the first treatment shown to improve survival in patients with COVID-19, University of Oxford researchers said.

Deaths in patients who needed assistance to breathe were lower over a period of four weeks when they got an anti-inflammatory called dexamethasone than among those who received standard care, the researchers said Tuesday in an emailed statement. The study was stopped early because of the important preliminary results.

The UK government has 200,000 courses of the drug “ready to go,” the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said in a tweet, citing an unidentified person in the government.

Denmark Looking at Reopening Borders to More Countries

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in parliament that the country now wants to open its borders to nations with “acceptable contagion numbers,” adding a workable model will be presented shortly. Denmark currently is primarily open to Germany, Norway and Iceland.

Sinopharm Vaccine Candidate Shows No Adverse Reactions

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate that is under development by Sinopharm’s Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co. has shown no serious adverse reactions during phase I/II clinical trials, according to a post on the company’s official Weibo page.

Uganda Rules Out Election Rallies

Uganda banned political-party rallies before presidential elections in February to stem the spread of the virus. Instead, parties must use media-based campaigns to canvass support, Electoral Commission Chairman Simon Byabakama said Tuesday in a televised address from the capital, Kampala. The decision was made after consultations with the Health Ministry, he said.

Iran Fatalities Continue to Rise

Iran continued to see a spike in daily fatalities linked to the coronavirus, with 115 deaths in the past 24 hours. The total death toll reached 9,065 while the number of known infections rose to 192,439 as the country recorded 2,563 new cases overnight, up from 2,449 the day before.

Friday prayer gatherings will resume next week in Tehran and many other areas where the spread of the virus is considered to be under control, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency reported. Iran started to cancel communal prayers in late February, a week after detecting its first positive case of COVID-19.

Indonesia Cases Top 40,000 as New Hotspots Emerge

The number of infections in Indonesia exceeded 40,000 with the emergence of new hotspots amid an increase in testing and contact tracing to contain the pandemic.

The world’s fourth-most populous nation reported 1,106 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 40,400, official data showed Tuesday. Thirty-three people succumbed to the disease, taking the total fatalities to 2,231, the highest in Southeast Asia, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

England, Wales Deaths Fall for Seventh Straight Week

Deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales fell for the seventh week running. There were 1,588 deaths linked to Covid-19 in the week ending June 5.

While that’s the lowest in nine weeks, it’s still above the level before lockdown was introduced in March, showing the government will have to be wary of the risk of a second wave.

Russia Says New Infections Continue to Slow

Russia reported 8,248 new infections and 193 deaths over the past day, raising the total to 545,458 and the death toll to 7,284, according to data from the government’s virus response center. The 1.5% infection rate increase is the slowest to date, continuing the trend of gradual decline in June.

UK Jobless Claims Jump as Lockdown Bites

UK jobless claims more than doubled to almost 3 million during the virus lockdown, when the closure of businesses across the country put people out of work.

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits increased by more than 1.5 million in the two months through May, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. In April alone, employment dropped 429,000, even as the government’s furlough program protected millions of jobs. Meanwhile wage growth slowed to the lowest level since 2014.