Meanwhile, China reported 18 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including nine in Beijing and two in neighbouring Hebei province.
It was the first time in more than a week that the number fell to single digits in an outbreak in the Chinese capital. Previously, the city had reported more than 20 cases every day for eight straight days. The total number of cases since the first one was confirmed on June 11 rose to 236.
S Korea fears it’s losing control of second virus wave in Seoul
Seoul: The mayor of South Korea’s capital fears the country is losing control over a virus resurgence and said Seoul will reimpose stronger social distancing measures if the daily jump in infections doesn’t come below an average of 30 over the next three days.
“If Seoul gets penetrated (by the virus), the entire Republic of Korea gets penetrated,” Park Won-soon said Monday in a televised briefing, referring to South Korea by its formal name.
He also lamented what he described as complacency of citizens in social distancing, citing an increase in public transport that he says has been approaching last year’s levels in recent weeks.
Citing research by health experts, Park said the country could be possibly reporting as much as 800 new cases a day a month from now if it fails to stem current trends in transmissions. He said the basic reproduction number of virus carriers, which measures the number of infections caused by an individual, has reached nearly 1.8 for the period between April 30 and June 11. Any number above 1 indicates a growing epidemic.
In a separate briefing, Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledged the country was now going through a second wave of the virus, following a surge in late February and March centred around the southeastern city of Daegu.
The country has been reporting around 40 to 50 new cases per day since late May, mostly from the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live.
South Korea was reporting about 500 new cases per day in early March but managed to control the outbreak with an active testing and contact tracing campaign.
German slaughterhouse under scrutiny
Berlin: Germany’s labour minister is calling for an examination of whether a company whose slaughterhouse is at the centre of a big coronavirus outbreak can be held financially liable for the fallout.
As of Sunday, with most results of tests on workers at the Toennies site in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck now in, 1331 had tested positive and another 4568 negative.
Local authorities in the western county of Guetersloh have quarantined Toennies employees and last week closed schools in the area. But they are keen to avoid reimposing a wider lockdown, and North Rhine-Westphalia state governor Armin Laschet said on Sunday there has been no “significant jump” of the virus to the rest of the local population.
Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told ARD television on Monday he expects the company to do everything to limit the damage. He added: “I think we must examine what civil-law liability possibilities there are in this area.”
The source of the infections isn’t yet clear.
Infections soar in India’s rural regions
New Delhi: India’s coronavirus caseload has risen to 425,282 as infections soar in rural areas to which migrant workers fleeing major cities have returned in recent weeks.
India’s health ministry on Monday reported 14,821 new cases and about 300 new deaths, bringing the toll of fatalities up to more than 13,000. The coastal state of Goa reported its first COVID-19 death.
India is the fourth most-affected country globally after the United States, Brazil and Russia.
India’s government planning body Niti Aayog said infections have now emerged in 98 out of 112 of the country’s poorest districts.
The Indian government ran special trains to bring thousands of migrant workers back to their ancestral villages in recent weeks.
Still, about 60 per cent of India’s cases have been reported in the states of Delhi, which includes the national capital of New Delhi, Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, where manufacturing hub Chennai is located.
NZ reports two new cases from returned travellers
Wellington: New Zealand has reported two new cases of the coronavirus as a trickle of infected people continue to arrive at the border.
The country of 5 million people now has nine active cases after having none at all earlier this month. Health officials said on Monday that all those cases involve people who have recently arrived and are in quarantine, and there’s no evidence of community transmission.
Still, many remain anxious that community transmission could return, especially after health officials admitted making a mistake by allowing two women who had arrived from London to leave quarantine before they had been tested because a parent was dying. The women later tested positive and have since isolated themselves.
The latest two cases involve people returning from India and Pakistan.
US prisoner dies from virus complications
California: An inmate from Avenal State Prison in California has died from what appears to be complications from the coronavirus.
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said over the weekend the inmate died at a hospital and the exact cause of death has yet to be determined. No additional information was provided.
Authorities said 19 inmates in state custody have died from illnesses related to the virus. It’s the first death at Avenal State Prison in Kings County, where 131 inmates have tested positive for the virus. The prison is 180 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Russia cases keep climbing
Russia on Monday reported 7600 new cases of the coronavirus, pushing its nationwide case total to 592,280, the world’s third-largest tally.
The coronavirus taskforce response said 95 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 8206.