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A Chinese epidemic control worker wears a protective suit and mask while performing a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 on a man who has had contact with the Xinfadi Wholesale Market or someone who has, at a testing center on June 16, 2020 in Beijing, China. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Honduras president says he has COVID-19: Global virus update

A Chinese epidemic control worker wears a protective suit and mask while performing a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 on a man who has had contact with the Xinfadi Wholesale Market or someone who has, at a testing center on June 16, 2020 in Beijing, China. (Photo: Bloomberg)

  • Virus Tracker: Global cases reach 8.2 million; deaths exceed 444,000
  • Where Are We in the Quest for Coronavirus Drugs?: QuickTake
  • India becomes eighth nation to pass 10,000 deaths
  • Germany cases stay in check; UK consumer prices fall
  • Acting fast is the key to beating a second wave
  • What pilots do when a pandemic grounds half of all planes

Honduras President Says He Has COVID-19

The President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez said he and his wife are infected with COVID-19. Hernandez, 51, said in a national address that he began to feel unwell over the weekend and that he has light symptoms. Hernandez said he has enough energy to keep working.

Hydroxychloroquine Testing Halted in WHO Trial

Researchers decided to halt the hydroxychloroquine portion of a World Health Organization trial of potential COVID-19 treatments, an official said.

A group of experts advising the WHO’s Solidarity trial concluded that the drug shows no benefit compared with the standard of care in reducing deaths, Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo, a WHO medical officer, said at a briefing in Geneva.

NYC on Track For Phase 2 Monday

New York City is on track to enter the second phase of reopening on Monday, a step that includes outdoor dining, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Statewide, less than 1% of New Yorkers tested positive for the coronavirus on June 16, the lowest percentage since the start of the pandemic, Cuomo said. There were 17 deaths on June 16, also a low.

The Westchester, Rockland, and Hudson Valley regions are on track to enter phase 3 on Tuesday, and Long Island is on track for Wednesday, he said.

German Meat Plant Ordered Shut After Surge in Cases

A meatpacking plant in Germany was ordered to shut after hundreds of workers became infected by the coronavirus, adding to a string of outbreaks at slaughterhouses across Europe.

After testing 500 workers at a factory near the western German city of Guetersloh, results showed that about 400 had the disease, prompting the shutdown of the facility that employs 6,000 people, city officials said on Wednesday.

Rwanda Reopens Wildlife Parks to Tourists on Charters

Rwanda has reopened all tourism activities to visitors arriving on chartered flights who are confirmed free of the coronavirus 72 hours beforehand. “All guests are required to maintain a distance of at least 10 meters at all times while visiting primates in Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Park,” Rwanda Development Board said in an emailed statement.

UEFA to Hold Champions, Europa Leagues Draw in Athens

UEFA’s Executive Committee decided to hold the draws for the Champions League and the Europa League soccer competitions and the award ceremony for the Golden Ball, or Ballon D’Or, in October in Athens, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said. The event is the first for UEFA since the lifting of restrictions and reflects Greece’s world image as a safe destination that is able to welcome such events, Petsas said.

Separately, Portugal ’s directorate-general of health is involved in efforts to make that country the possible host for the Champions League final, Secretary of State for Health Antonio Lacerda Sales said at a press conference in Lisbon.

Mexico Keeps Migrant Workers Away From Canada Farms

Mexico plans to keep migrant workers from traveling to Canada amid a wave of coronavirus outbreaks on farms, threatening a labour squeeze in that country’s fruit and vegetable industry as harvests start to ramp up.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry announced a “temporary pause” on migrant workers traveling to Canada while protocols and sanitary situations are reviewed.

Indonesia Overtakes Singapore as Pandemic Spreads

Indonesia now has the most coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, overtaking Singapore as it ramps up testing.

Confirmed new cases in the world’s fourth most-populous nation jumped 1,031 in the past 24 hours, taking Indonesia’s total to 41,431, a health ministry official said. That exceeded Singapore’s tally of 41,216, official data showed. The death toll stood at 2,276, also the highest in Southeast Asia.

Iran Deaths Rise for Fourth Straight Day

Fatalities in Iran reached 9,185, with the daily death tally rising for a fourth day to 120, the highest level since April 11. The total number of infections surpassed 195,000.

The spike in deaths came as Iran’s state TV showed heavy traffic on roads to popular resorts in the north ahead of a long weekend. Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeesi said the “trivialization of the situation is more frightening than coronavirus itself.” He warned that authorities will have to reintroduce lockdown measures if the upward trend in deaths and infections continues, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Sweden ‘Surprisingly Slow’ to Reach Herd Immunity

Sweden has made less progress than expected in achieving immunity to the coronavirus, according to its state epidemiologist.

After leaving schools, shops and restaurants open throughout the pandemic, contagion and mortality rates in Sweden are running high. Scientists have been eager to learn whether the flipside of widespread contagion is a higher level of immunity.

But according to Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, “the trends in immunity have been surprisingly slow.” He also says “it’s difficult to explain why this is so.”

India Deaths Top 10,000 After Mumbai Revision

India’s death toll surpassed the 10,000 mark after Mumbai revised its data, adding 862 fatalities in the country’s outbreak epicenter. Mumbai’s local government cited discrepancies in records filed from various counting centers.

A total of 11,903 people have now died in India, making it the eighth country in the world to suffer more than 10,000 fatalities. It has the fourth-largest number of confirmed cases globally, at 354,065.

forecast from a team of data scientists at the University of Michigan sees India’s outbreak nearly tripling over the next month to more than 800,000, after the government gave up on a costly lockdown.

Germany to Extend Ban on Large Events, Report Says

Germany will ban large events until at least the end of October, n-tv reports, citing a state government draft. Schools are to open normally after the summer break, if the virus situation doesn’t re-escalate before. The government said in April that large events such as concerts and festivals may be allowed after Aug. 31.

New Zealand Calls in Military After Quarantine Bungle

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called in the military to enforce border controls after two women who arrived from the U.K. were allowed to leave quarantine early and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.

“This case represents an unacceptable failure of the system. It should never have happened and it cannot be repeated,” Ardern said Wednesday.

The two women — New Zealand citizens who arrived from the U.K. to visit a dying parent — are thought to have been in close contact with 320 people, the Ministry of Health said. New Zealand, which locked down strictly and early, had been virus-free since June 8.

UK Consumer-Price Inflation Falls to 0.5%

UK inflation slowed to just a quarter of the Bank of England’s target in May, boosting the case for policy makers to add to their stimulus plan at their meeting this week.

Consumer prices increased just 0.5% from a year earlier, the weakest since 2016, amid falling prices of auto fuel and recreational goods. Most non-essential stores remained closed during May due to the U.K.’s lockdown.

German Infections Stay in Check

The number of new cases in Germany remained far below the level at the height of the outbreak.

There were 570 new infections in the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, bringing the total to 188,252 according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That compares with 164 the previous day and almost 7,000 at the peak of the pandemic in late March.

Low Risk of Food Spreading Virus, Experts Say After Salmon Panic

Food poses little risk of spreading the coronavirus, governments and industry groups from the US to Chile said, reassuring consumers after an outbreak in Beijing was blamed on imported fish.

Chile, the top seller of salmon after Norway, sought to persuade China that its fish is safe to import after orders were cancelled. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority also said there were no known cases of infection via contaminated food.

It’s unclear if the virus can be transmitted through frozen food that’s later thawed. David Hamer, a professor at Boston University School of Public Health and a physician at Boston Medical Center, said that although there is no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted through food, more research is needed.

Hundreds of Beijing Flights Cancelled After Virus Flares Up Again

More than 1,200 flights in and out of Beijing were cancelled Wednesday, state media reported.

The flight information pages on the websites of Beijing’s two airports were littered with red boxes in the “status” column to indicate flights were cancelled to Guangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai and other cities across the country. They included routes operated by the three biggest Chinese carriers: Air China Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp. and China Southern Airlines Ltd.

Pandemic Pushes Japan’s Trade Surplus with US to Record Low

Japan’s trade surplus with the US, a long-standing point of contention with President Donald Trump, has plunged to a record low as the coronavirus pandemic freezes demand for Japanese cars.

The surplus dropped 97% in May from a year ago to 10 billion yen ($96 million), the lowest in data going back to 1979, Japan’s finance ministry reported Wednesday. The result was driven by a halving of exports to the U.S., the biggest fall since March 2009, with car shipments leading the way after a 79% slide.