Latin America hits 70,000 coronavirus deaths: Live updates

Mexico City steps up COVID-19 testing as country hits daily record of cases while US coronavirus cases hit two million.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur.

  • The United States may see 200,000 deaths because of the coronavirus at some point in September, Asihish Jha, the head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute said in an interview with CNN, while total US coronavirus cases surpassed two million.
  • Europe is set to reopen its borders as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warns the eurozone’s GDP is expected to plunge 11.5 percent amid the coronavirus pandemic. Austria will partially open up its borders beginning on June 16, while Greece will allow tourists to fly to Athens or the main northern city of Thessaloniki from June 15.

  • Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the UK’s coronavirus strategy, says that the country’s death toll could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier. The UK has more than 291,000 cases and at least 41,000 deaths.
  • Students’ mental health is in focus in post-lockdown China, amid an increase in the number of suicides. In one Shanghai district, there have been 14 suicides by primary and secondary school students so far this year.
  • More than 7.36 million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus and more than 416,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, June 11 

03:23 GMT – Puerto Rico eyes lifting of quarantine restrictions

As Puerto Rico considers lifting pandemic quarantine restrictions, health officials say the US territory passed its peak of coronavirus cases and related deaths more than two months ago. However, independent experts said those numbers are in doubt.

Health Department consultant Miguel Valencia said at a news conference that Puerto Rico’s confirmed COVID-19 cases peaked at 84 cases on March 31 and deaths at six on April 6. Overall, Puerto Rico has reported more than 5,300 confirmed cases and at least 143 deaths on the island of 3.2 million people.

02:50 GMT – Japan eyes partial reopening to business trips this summer

Japan may restart business trips to and from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand as early this summer, easing an entry ban to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday quoting the Yomiuri newspaper.

Up to 250 business travellers a day will most likely be allowed into Japan from the four countries, which have seen their infection situations stabilise, the newspaper said, without citing sources.

Prospective visitors will be required to submit a document ahead of their trips to Japan showing they are not infected, and will be asked to go through a PCR, or polymerase chain reaction test, upon entry, the paper said.

In another step to ease coronavirus-related restrictions, the Tokyo metropolitan government is set to lift the “Tokyo alert”, issued last week to urge residents to keep their guard up, as early as the end of the week, the Nikkei business daily said. The number of daily new infections in Tokyo has stayed below 20 for the past four days.

02:31 GMT – South Korea reports 45 new infections

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thurday 45 new coronavirus cases, including 40 local infections – a slight decrease from 50 the previous day. 

The total caseload in the country now stands at 11,947, with a total of 10,654 considered recovered, according to Yonhap news agency quoting the country’s health agency.

The total death tally remained unchanged at 276, with the fatality rate reaching 2.31 percent.

02:07 GMT – China reports 11 imported coronavirus cases

China has reported a small spike in imported confirmed cases of coronavirus to 11. There were no new deaths or cases of local transmission in Thursday’s report.

Chinese officials say just 62 people remain in treatment for COVID-19. In addition, 130 people are under observation and isolation for showing signs of the illness or testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms, as a safeguard against them possibly spreading it to others.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 – a figure that hasn’t changed in weeks – among 83,057 cases recorded since the virus was first detected in the central industrial city of Wuhan late last year.

01:25 GMT – Latin America hits 70,000 pandemic deaths, daily record in Mexico

Latin America’s coronavirus crisis reached a grim new milestone on Wednesday with total deaths exceeding 70,000, according to a Reuters count, as Mexico hit a daily record for confirmed infections.

Brazil, with the largest economy in the region, remains Latin America’s most affected country as total fatalities are just shy of 40,000, the world’s third highest death toll after the United States and Britain.

In the region’s second biggest country Mexico, a new daily record of 4,883 confirmed cases was reported by the health ministry, along with 708 additional fatalities. The daily totals bring Mexico’s overall official count to 129,184 infections and 15,357 deaths.

00:01 GMT – Mexico City to increase COVID-19 testing defying national government

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum says the capital will embark on a large-scale COVID-19 testing effort as the centrepiece of its plan to reopen its economy, diverging from the federal government’s strategy, which has shunned widespread testing as a waste of resources.

The goal will be performing some 100,000 tests a month by July and using the results to detect and isolate new infections as quickly as possible, Sheinbaum said in a news conference. It will be paired with an intensive information campaign.

The sprawling city of nine million – with an equal number or more in the suburbs – has confirmed more than 32,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 3,200 deaths, both considered to be undercounted because of limited testing. Nationwide, there were more than 129,000 cases and 15,357 deaths as of the end of Wednesday.


Read all the updates from yesterday (June 10) here.

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