Doctors and nurses work at the Intensive Treatment Unit at the Gilberto Novaes Municipal Field Hospital on May 21 2020 in Manaus, Brazil. The hospital built exclusively for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, currently operates at full capacity with all 156 beds and 39 intensive treatment unit occupied. (Photo: Bloomberg)

India’s epidemic becomes third biggest: Global virus update

Doctors and nurses work at the Intensive Treatment Unit at the Gilberto Novaes Municipal Field Hospital on May 21 2020 in Manaus, Brazil. The hospital built exclusively for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, currently operates at full capacity with all 156 beds and 39 intensive treatment unit occupied. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Key Developments:

India’s Epidemic Becomes Third Biggest

India’s coronavirus epidemic became the third-biggest in the world as infections surged after the nation eased containment measures to reverse an economic collapse that has left millions destitute.

The Asian nation reported a total of 697,413 cases, surpassing Russia. India is now trailing only the US and Brazil, and is on track to surpass the 800,000 cases forecast for this month by a team of data scientists at the University of Michigan.

The country has failed to suppress new cases despite implementing one of the world’s most-expansive lockdowns at the end of March, when there were fewer than 1,000 cases. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to ease the curbs in June to rescue an economy that’s hurtling toward its first contraction in more than four decades.

Harvard Returning 40% of Students

Harvard plans to bring 40% of undergraduates to campus starting Sept. 2, including freshmen who will live in single bedrooms and be tested every three days. Students with need-based financial aid who don’t return to campus will get $5,000 per semester for home study. Dining services will transition between touchless pick-up and more traditional operations as the situation warrants, the school said.

Sophomores and juniors would likely not return to campus this year, and if only one group could return in the early 2021 semester, priority will be given to seniors.

Florida COVID Cases Slow Rise

Florida reported 206,447 COVID-19 cases on Monday, up 3.2% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.1% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 3,778, a 1.3% rise, according to the report, which includes data through Sunday. Seen on a rolling seven-day basis, Florida’s new cases reached 60,106, the highest ever.

Risk of HIV Drug Shortage

Some 73 countries have warned they’re at risk of having shortages of antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV because of the pandemic, the World Health Organization said. Twenty-four already have critically low stocks or disruptions, according to a survey.

US Airline Travel Surges Over Holiday Weekend

Airline passenger numbers in the US exceeded 700,000 on July 2 for the first time since the pandemic began, according to the Transportation Security Administration. More than 2.6 million passengers were screened by TSA from July 2-5. There were roughly 730,000 airline passengers on Sunday, down from about 2.8 million the same day a year earlier.

Portugal Reports Smaller Increase in New Cases

Portugal reported 232 new cases on Monday, down from 328 on Sunday, taking the total to 44,129, the government said. Daily new cases in Portugal have ranged between 192 and 457 since the start of June. The additional infections are mostly in the greater Lisbon region, where authorities have tightened restrictions and increased testing.

Iran Death Toll Continues to Mount

Iran’s coronavirus death toll climbed to 11,731, with 160 more fatalities overnight, down slightly from the record high of 163 the previous 24 hours. The number of infections surpassed 243,000, with 2,613 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours, up from 2,560 the previous day.

Indian City Pioneers Mask Penalty

The city of Gwalior in central India will require people caught in public without a face mask to spend three days volunteering in hospitals treating coronavirus patients, or at police check points monitoring mask compliance and other containment measures, the Press Trust of India reported on Monday, citing a local official.

The city’s efforts come as India’s epidemic surpassed that of Russia on Monday to rank as the third-worst in the world, with a one-day increase of 24,248 cases bringing the total to 697,413. The growing number of cases has already strained health-care systems in Mumbai and New Delhi.

EU to Discuss Remdesivir Deal

European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides will have a call with Gilead Sciences Inc. executives on Monday to advance a procurement deal for remdesivir on behalf of 16 EU members, including Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark, an EU official familiar with the matter said.

The health chief will also inquire about Gilead’s production capacity and the timeline for delivery, according to the official, who asked not to be named because negotiations are continuing. Remdesivir is one of only two medicines with a proven effect against the coronavirus.

Singapore Has 183 New Cases, Some Outside of Dormitories

Singapore had 183 new cases of COVID-19 infections as of noon Monday, the Ministry of Health said. The majority of those were among work-permit holders in dormitories.

Of the new cases, 23 were in the wider community, and three were Singaporeans or permanent residents.

Russia Reports 6,600 New Cases, Up 1%

Russia reported 6,611 new infections in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 687,862, according to data from the government’s virus response center. Moscow recorded 685 cases.

There were 135 deaths, bringing the total toll to 10,296, while 3,579 people recovered, the center said.

German Infection Rate Inches Up, New Cases Steady

Germany’s coronavirus infection rate rose slightly, while remaining below the key threshold of 1.0 for a 12th day, and the number of new cases held far below the level at the height of the outbreak.

There were 325 new cases in the 24 hours through Monday morning, compared with 418 recorded the previous day, bringing the total to 197,523, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That compares with an average of 391 in the past 7 days and almost 7,000 at the peak of the pandemic in late March.