Covid-19 wrap: US records 1 081 more deaths, Brazil death toll tops 30 000 and Italy reopens borders

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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1 081 more US coronavirus deaths in 24 hours - Johns Hopkins

Washington – The novel coronavirus killed another 1 081 people in the United States in the 24 hours leading up to 20:30 (00:30 GMT) on Tuesday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

That means 106 180 people have so far officially died from the virus out of 1 831 435 official cases, according to the Baltimore-based school.

The US has had by far the most Covid-19 cases and deaths of any country in the world. The virus has killed at least 379 585 people worldwide since it appeared in China late last year, according to a count by AFP as of 00:30 (GMT).

Every American state has to some degree begun relaxing containment measures to stop the spread of the virus.

 - AFP



Brazil tops 30 000 coronavirus deaths - official

Rio de Janeiro – Brazil surpassed 30 000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday as the disease continued to rip through South America's worst-hit country.

Figures released by the health ministry showed a new record 1 262 deaths in the previous 24 hours, as well as 28 936 new infections.

The figures come as some Brazilian states began to emerge from weeks of economically stifling quarantine measures, despite warnings from the WHO and epidemiologists.

The overall number of confirmed cases – 555 383 – makes Brazil the second most affected country after the United States.

The official Covid-19 death toll of 31 199 released on Tuesday is the fourth-highest in the world, after the US, Britain and Italy.

Experts estimate the real number of infections could be up to 15 times higher than official figures, given relatively little testing across the vast country of 210 million people.

 - AFP



South Korea approves remdesivir for virus patients

Seoul – South Korea on Wednesday issued an emergency authorisation for the anti-viral drug remdesivir to be used to treat coronavirus patients, paving the way for imports.

The US authorised the emergency use of remdesivir in hospitals at the start of May, followed by Japan, while Europe has been considering following suit.

A South Korean government review of remdesivir research said it had proven "clinically meaningful" in cutting patients' recovery times, the food and drug safety ministry said.

South Korea has so far reported 11 590 confirmed cases and 273 deaths from the outbreak. More than 800 patients are still under treatment or observation.

 - AFP



Italy reopens to tourists from Europe

Rome – Italy reopens to travellers from Europe on Wednesday, three months after the country went into coronavirus lockdown, with all hopes pinned on reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.

Gondolas are ready to punt along Venice's canals, lovers will be able to act out "Romeo and Juliet" on Verona's famed balcony, and gladiator fans can pose for selfies at Rome's Colosseum.

But there were fears many foreign tourists would be put off coming to a country still shaking off a vicious pandemic.

"Come to Calabria. There's only one risk: that you'll get fat," the southern region's governor Jole Santelli said on Sunday as the race began to lure big spenders – or any spenders – back to Italy's sandy shores.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and has officially reported more than 33 000 deaths. It imposed an economically crippling lockdown in early March and has since seen its contagion numbers drop off dramatically.

 - AFP



Schools reopen in North Korea after virus delays

Seoul – North Korean children returned to their classrooms in face masks on Wednesday as schools reopened after the new term was delayed for months by coronavirus precautions.

Pyongyang has not confirmed a single case of the deadly disease that swept the world after first emerging in neighbouring China, but has imposed strict rules, including closing its borders and putting thousands of its people into isolation.

The new school term was originally scheduled to start in early April but was repeatedly postponed. Some universities and high schools were allowed to resume classes in mid-April.

Uniformed students made their way to their schools on Wednesday morning, all wearing red commemorative flowers and face masks. Some used disposable surgical coverings while others wore pastel-shaded cloth masks, some featuring animal characters.

At an elementary school in Pyongyang pupils wearing backpacks had their temperatures checked as they arrived for lessons.

 - AFP



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