Coronavirus Global Updates, 22 July: Brazil president Bolsonaro still tests positive for virus

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FILE - In this May 25, 2020, file photo, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, stands among supporters as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro said Tuesday, July 7, he tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus's severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

Coronavirus Global Updates: Coronavirus infections across the world surpassed 15 million on Wednesday, while the death toll due to the disease crossed 6,16,000, according to a Reuters tally. The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases at 3.97 million, followed by Brazil with 2.17 million cases and India at 1.19 million cases.

President Donald Trump Tuesday encouraged Americans to wear masks if they cannot maintain social distancing and warned that the novel coronavirus pandemic would get worse before it got better, Reuters reported. His remarks were a change in strategy from his robust emphasis on reopening the US economy after its long virus-induced shutdown and represented his first recent ackowledgement of how bad the problem has become.

The United States reported over 1,000 deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday, marking the first time since June 10 it has surpassed that grim milestone.

Brazil president Bolsonaro still tests positive for virus

Brazil’s government says President Jair Bolsonaro is still testing positive for the coronavirus following his July 7 announcement. The positive test Tuesday came after a follow-up check on July 15. The government says he remains in good health.

The World Health Organisation says the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks. The government say Bolsonaro will keep holding videoconferences instead of face-to-face meetings. He had to cancel a trip to northeastern Brazil. At least four members of Bolsonaro’s Cabinet have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Bolsonaro repeatedly dismissed the disease as a “little flu” and often mingled in crowds, sometimes without wearing a mask. He is treating his COVID-19 with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven effective against the virus and can be dangerous for some people. Brazil’s government says the country has recorded more than 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 81,000 deaths. That’s second only to the United States in both categories, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

US leading the world in testing, India second: Trump

The United States is leading the world in terms of COVID-19 testing and India is at second position, President Donald Trump said while giving an update on his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far more than 140,000 Americans have died due to coronavirus and 3.8 million have tested positive. While the US economy is slowly coming back to normal, the pandemic is now spreading in the Sun Belt of the country.

“As one family, we mourn every precious life that’s been lost. I pledge in their honour that we will develop a vaccine and we will defeat the virus. We’re doing very well with vaccine development and therapeutic development,” Trump said at a White House news conference on Tuesday, his first on coronavirus after several weeks.

Trump also said his administration will stop at nothing to save lives and shield the vulnerable.

“We’ve learned so much about this disease. And we know who the vulnerable are, and we are going to indeed shield them,” he said.

Trump assured that the vaccines against the novel coronavirus will be coming a lot sooner than expected.
Replying to a question, Trump said the US is “leading the world” in terms of COVID-19 testing.

“We’re going to be over 50 million tests,” he said, adding that “second country is India with 12 million (tests). Then you have seven million, six million, and four million. I think that we are doing a tremendous amount of testing.”

S Africa counts for over half of continent cases, now a global hotpsot

South Africa has well over half of the confirmed coronavirus cases on the African continent as the country is now a global hot spot. New Health Ministry data show 381,798 cases including 5,368 deaths.

The country’s current epicenter is Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and one-quarter of the population. It has over one-third of South Africa’s cases.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has pleaded with people against pandemic fatigue and urged them not to abandon face masks.

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