Covid-19 wrap: US virus hotspots reopen as second wave looms, Ukraine's first lady tests positive

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  • Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
  • There are now over seven million reported infections globally.
  • Conflict, division blight virus response in Libya.


Coronavirus: latest global developments

The pandemic has killed at least 421 691 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 11:00 GMT on Friday, based on official sources.

There have been 7 529 910 cases registered in 196 countries and territories.

The United States has the most deaths, with 113 820, followed by Britain with 41 279, Brazil with 40 919, Italy with 34 167 and France with 29 346 fatalities.

- AFP


Ukraine's first lady tests positive for coronavirus

Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska said on Friday she had tested positive for the novel coronavirus amid a rise in infections.

Zelenska, 42, added that her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and their two children tested negative.

"Today I've received a positive Covid-19 test result," she said on Facebook.

On Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said there had been an "alarming" rise in coronavirus cases as the country eases lockdown restrictions.

On Friday, the ex-Soviet country reported 29 753 cases and 870 fatalities.

- AFP


New virus cases raise fears in Chinese capital, schools delay return

Beijing said on Friday it would delay primary school students returning to class after three fresh coronavirus cases emerged in the capital - the first after two months of no infections in the city.

China has largely brought domestic coronavirus infections under control, and the majority of cases in recent months have been overseas nationals tested as they return home.

But local authorities announced one new case with no recent travel history outside the capital on Thursday, followed by two more cases on Friday.

The two latest patients are employees of the China Meat Research Centre, city officials said at a daily press conference.

One of them had travelled to Qingdao in east China within the past two weeks.

Beijing's Xinfadi meat wholesale market and Jingshen seafood market were closed Friday for disinfection and environmental sample collection after it emerged both were visited by the patients, local media reported.

The city's education commission said Friday it had cancelled first, second and third-graders' planned return to school on Monday - affecting some 520 000 students, Xinhua reported.

The commission said students who had already returned to school would carry on lessons as normal, but with stricter anti-epidemic measures in place.

Beijing students have gradually resumed lessons in waves since late April, after schools had been closed for three months during the coronavirus outbreak.

The city's last case before the recent spike was reported in mid-April.

- AFP


Conflict, division blight virus response in Libya

 Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA)'s Inte
Members of security forces affiliated with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA)'s Interior Ministry stop a vehicle at a checkpoint in the town of Tarhuna, about 65 kilometres southeast of the capital Tripoli.

War and division are weakening Libya's fight against the novel coronavirus, with the government struggling to deal with an outbreak deep in the desert south.

The oil-rich North African nation has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) controls the west, including the capital Tripoli, while military strongman Khalifa Haftar controls the east and some of the far-flung oases and oilfields that dot the south.

With Libya already largely cut off from the rest of the world by conflict when it reported its first coronavirus case at the end of March, the situation appeared relatively contained.

Cases of infection were "very low" compared to neighbouring countries, according to Badreddine al-Najjar, head of Libya's centre for disease control.

But health measures "are difficult to apply due to the political and security context", Najjar said.

The GNA has reported 393 coronavirus infections and five deaths nationwide, around half of them in and around Sebha.

But that only accounts for cases that the Tripoli-based disease control centre has been able to confirm.

Libya lacks adequate infrastructure for quarantining arrivals on its soil, and the security situation prompted fears that armed individuals could release people from isolation by force.

AFP



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