Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
South Korea tightens restrictions again after spike in cases
South Korea has tightened restrictions in the metropolitan area of Seoul after a spike in infections. Restrictions had been lifted across the country on 6 May after the outbreak appeared to be brought under control. However, officials have recorded the biggest spike in infections in nearly two months, prompting the closure of museums, parks and art galleries in the Seoul area for two weeks from Friday. Half of South Korea’s 51 million people live in the metropolitan area where restrictions are being tightened.
US deaths pass 100,000
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the United States has recorded more than 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, moving past a sombre milestone even as many states relax mitigation measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The US has recorded more deaths from the disease than any other country in the pandemic, and almost three times as many as the second-ranking country, Britain.
Trump silent on US death toll
Donald Trump remained silent on the death of more than 100,000 Americans from Covid-19 as the US mourned the milestone. The president made no comment on Twitter about the momentous day, but used the platform to attack tech companies for trying to censor him, a day after Twitter put a fact-check warning on one of his claims.
Total case numbers exceed 5.7m worldwide
The number of people infected by the coronavirus has exceeded 5.7 million, according to data compiled by the John Hopkins University. The US is home to to 29.8% of the 5,707,163 people with the disease around the world, the data shows, way ahead of Brazil (7.2%), Russia (6.6%), the UK (4.7%), Spain (4.1%) and Italy (4%). The true number of infections is likely to be much higher, however, given the vast number of unrecorded and asymptomatic cases.
UN: Virus could push 14 million into hunger in Latin America
The UN World Food Program is warning that at least 14 million people could go hungry in Latin America as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. New projections released late on Wednesday estimate a startling four-fold increase in severe food insecurity.
European investment slashed
Over a third of European foreign direct investment projects announced in 2019 have been either delayed or cancelled outright because of the coronavirus pandemic, an annual survey by professional services group EY found. Some 65% of the 6,412 projects in question are already in place or continuing “albeit with downgraded capacity and recruitment”, EY said. A further 25% were delayed and 10 percent cancelled, its Europe Attractiveness survey found.
Ireland faces record recession, says think tank
Ireland is facing its deepest ever recession as the coronavirus lockdown devastates jobs and strains the public finances, a think tank said Thursday. A report by Ireland’s Economic and Social Research Institute predicts the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) will decline 12.4% this year. That was the “most likely” scenario under a government plan to lift the lockdown in August but with the economy struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels owing to physical distancing measures, ESRI said.
Tory anger at Dominic Cummings builds
Sixty-one Conservative MPs defied British PM Boris Johnson’s calls to “move on” from the Dominic Cummings crisis as a senior minister broke ranks to accuse the special adviser of inconsistencies in his account of his behaviour during lockdown. Former chancellor Sajid Javid also said the journey was not “necessary or justified” as the number of backbenchers calling for Cummings to resign or be sacked grew to 44, with more than 60 Tory MPs weighing in to criticise him. Two of those condemning Cummings are government whips.
Hydroxychloroquine study raises concerns
Questions have been raised about a study published in the Lancet that prompted the World Health Organization to halt global trials of the drug hydroxychloroquine. The Lancet said the authors were “investigating urgently” an apparent discrepancy in the data. It comes amid scientists’ concerns that rigorous standards are falling by the wayside in the race to understand the virus.