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An epidemic control worker conducts a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 on a woman at a testing center in Beijing on June 20.

Fauci doesn’t see COVID-19 summer lull: Global virus update

An epidemic control worker conducts a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 on a woman at a testing center in Beijing on June 20.

Fauci Doesn’t See COVID-19 Summer Lull

The coronavirus isn’t taking a summer break judging from its persistent spread in the US Sun Belt, according to America’s top infectious-disease doctor.

COVID-19 cases continue to mount in warmer states including Florida, Texas and Arizona, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview. “It doesn’t look like there’s any significant impact right now from the weather,” he said.

As many as 31 states have R0 figures above 1, according to the Rt.live website, meaning that each person with the virus infects at least one other. Morgan Stanley estimates R0 for the entire .S stands at 1.1 — a rate at which the epidemic would double every 52 days.

Schoolchildren Don’t Spread Virus: French Study

School kids don’t appear to transmit the virus to peers or teachers, a French study found. Scientists at Institut Pasteur studied 1,340 people in Crepy-en-Valois, a town northeast of Paris that suffered an outbreak in February and March, including 510 students from six primary schools. They found three probable cases among kids that didn’t lead to more infections among other pupils or teachers. The study confirms that children appear to show fewer telltale symptoms than adults and be less contagious, providing a justification for reopening schools.

Africa’s First COVID Vaccine Trial to Include HIV Patients

South Africa will begin a coronavirus vaccine trial on Wednesday, the first such test on the continent, with its 2,000 volunteers planned to include some living with HIV. The trial will begin at three sites in the country’s most populated province, Gauteng, and include 50 volunteers who have HIV, said study leader Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, in a briefing with reporters.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca Plc, is already undergoing human tests in the UK with separate studies slated to begin in Brazil and the US Coronavirus cases in South Africa have surged to more than 100,000 with almost 2,000 deaths, while the country’s lockdown was eased on June 1.

England’s Pubs and Hotels to Open from July 4

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for England’s tourism and hospitality industry to emerge from three months of lockdown. Hotels, pubs, restaurants and cinemas will reopen from July 4. Johnson also announced a halving of the minimum social distance between people to 1 meter, provided they also take mitigating actions like wearing a face covering.

Djokovic Tests Positive After Tournament Halted

Novak Djokovic, the world’s leading men’s tennis player, tested positive for Covid-19 days after an exhibition tournament in the Balkans featuring him was cut short. The Adria Tour ended abruptly Sunday after participants including Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Borna Coric of Croatia tested positive.

Local media criticised the event — and Djokovic himself — for embracing few virus restrictions and for holding parties in Belgrade alongside the tournament.

Serbia Imposes Mask Wearing

Serbia reinstated the mandatory wearing of masks amid a resurgence in cases, the nation’s special crisis committee said on Tuesday. Optional for several weeks, masks now must be worn in all indoor places and people without them won’t be allowed onto public transport.

European Car Sales Forecast to Plunge

European car sales are forecast to drop by a record 25% this year after the pandemic shuttered showrooms, leading to a collapse in demand and threatening one of the region’s biggest industries.

Just 9.6 million vehicles are expected to be sold in the European Union, compared with 12.8 million last year, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said Tuesday in its first forecast since January, before the health crisis unfolded in the region.

UK Cost for Pandemic Job Support Rises

The cost of the UK government’s programs for supporting jobs accelerated last week, and employers furloughed more workers in a sign of the economy’s struggle to recover from the pandemic crisis.

Companies added 100,000 jobs to the furlough plan, taking it to 9.2 million employees, and the price tag climbed to 22.9 billion pounds ($28.5 billion) from 20.8 billion pounds a week earlier. A separate program to support self-employed workers held steady at 2.6 million claims and 7.6 billion pounds.

Iran Death Tally Climbs

Iran’s death toll from the virus reached 9,863 out of a total of 209,970 known cases. The country recorded 2,445 new infections in the past 24 hours compared with 2,573 a day earlier.

Philippines Sees Highest Number of Daily Cases

The Philippines recorded its highest number of daily infections on Tuesday as the economy reopened further this week. The Southeast Asian nation reported 1,150 new infections, surpassing the previous record of 1,049 cases on May 29, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

WTO Says Rapid Response Cushioned Trade Downturn

The WTO tempered its pessimism about the outlook for cross-border commerce and said global trade could see a 5% to 20% rebound next year, but that outcome remains far from certain, depending on whether there’s a second wave of Covid-19 outbreaks, weaker than expected economic growth or widespread recourse to trade restrictions.

England, Wales Deaths Continue to Fall

Weekly deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales fell 30% to 1,114 in the week ended June 12, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday. The decline began in April and brings weekly Covid-19 related deaths to their lowest in nine weeks.

UK Economy Shows Signs of Recovery as Factories Expand

The UK economy started to bounce back from the coronavirus this month, with jump in an early indicator of activity.

IHS Markit’s composite Purchasing Managers Index climbed to 47.6 from 30 in May. While that’s still below the critical 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction, the size of the monthly gain was the biggest since the survey began in 1998.

Singapore Calls for General Elections Amid Pandemic

Singapore started the process to hold a general election, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong seeking a renewed mandate to govern amid the coronavirus pandemic that has pummelled the country’s economy.

Lee said in a speech on Tuesday that he saw President Halimah Yacob to advise her to dissolve parliament and issue the writ of election, setting the stage for the upcoming polls.

Euro-Area Economy Moves Toward Slow Recovery

Economic activity in the euro-area picked up from its record slump, but the good news was tempered by a warning that the recovery will be protracted.

The June Purchasing Managers Index from IHS Markit showed improvement at the region’s manufacturers and service firms, and confidence at the highest since February. There was also plenty of reason for caution: the headline number still signalled contraction, a decline in new orders and falling employment.

Russian Infections Drop to Lowest Since April 30

Russia reported 7,425 new confirmed COVID-19 infections over the past day, the lowest since April 30. That raised the total to 599,705, according to data from the government’s virus response center.

South Korea Says It Has 46 New Cases

The country, which has seen success in containing the virus, reported 46 more cases in 24 hours — bringing its total tally to 12,484 — data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention showed. It said 30 of the new cases were imported.

Beijing Sees Slight Rebound in New Cases

The Chinese capital reported 13 additional local coronavirus infections June 22, up from nine the day before, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission. The number of cases in the city’s fresh outbreak has now reached 249.