Iran marks new daily record in coronavirus cases: Live updates

Concerns over a potential second wave as health officials record 3,574 new infections in the past 24 hours.

  • Iran marked its highest daily jump since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak with 3,574 coronavirus cases. The figures marked the third consecutive day that the country recorded more than 3,000 daily new infections.
  • After two months of restrictions, mosques, churches, ports, business activities, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to re-open from Sunday. 
  • The coronavirus death tolls in Brazil and Mexico have soared to new daily records, with 1,349 and 1,092 confirmed fatalities, even as the countries begin to ease lockdown restrictions. Brazil now has more than 32,000 deaths, while Mexico has over 11,000.
  • Around 6.5 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 388,000 people have died, including some 107,000 in the US. More than 2.7 million people have recovered from the disease.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, June 4

20:56 GMT – Algeria to ease restrictions from Sunday

Algeria will resume some economic activities and allow a number of businesses to reopen from Sunday as part of a plan to end the coronavirus lockdown.

The prime minister’s office said the government would allow the construction and public works sector to resume activity to help ease the impact of the restrictions imposed in March.

The government will also permit the reopening of businesses such as home appliances, vegetable and fruit markets, pastries and men’s barbershops.

The second stage of the lockdown relaxation will start on June 14, allowing more businesses to resume, the government said, without giving details.

20:09 GMT – Iran braces for a potential second wave

Iran recorded 3,574 coronavirus cases, a new daily record, bringing the total number of known infections to 164,270. The overall death toll stood at 8,071 after the recording of 59 new fatalities.

The figures marked the third consecutive day that the country recorded more than 3,000 daily new infections, raising worries Iran could be on the verge of a second wave.

So far, Iran’s previous high was on March 30 when it marked 3,186 new cases in 24 hours. Iran was the first country in the Middle East to be swept by the pandemic.

“More serious compliance with physical distancing and more serious and smarter use of masks is an absolute necessity in the days ahead,” Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Wednesday in an interview with Iranian state TV news.

19:22 GMT – Authors retract hydroxychloroquine study that raised safety fears

Three of the four authors behind a large-scale study in The Lancet that raised safety fears over the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 retracted their paper.

The dataset used in the study, a retrospective analysis of patient records, had come under serious scrutiny in recent weeks, with dozens of scientists expressing concerns over its authenticity in an open letter.

One of the authors, Sapan Desai, who heads a little-known firm called Surgisphere that supplied the data, did not join the retraction.


18:49 GMT – British Airways, IAG no-show in meeting with UK interior minister 

British Airways and its parent company, IAG, did not attend a meeting with the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary Priti Patel to discuss the country’s new quarantine plans.

While an IAG spokesperson did not give an explanation on the reasons behind the company’s absence, the BBC earlier reported that the operator was upset at what it saw as a lack of consultation over the quarantine’s introduction.

The UK government imposed a 14-day quarantine to travellers entering the country

18:20 GMT – Countries’ latest figures 

Spain: 287,740 cases (+195), 27,133 deaths (+5)

Turkey: 167,410 cases (+988), 4,630 deaths (+21)

France: 152,444 cases (+767), 26,065 deaths (+44)

17:43 GMT – Jordan to lift ‘most’ coronavirus restrictions

After two months of restrictions, Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz announced “a period of general easing” of the lockdown starting from Saturday.

The announcement comes amid a decline in confirmed new infections to less than 10 per day over the last week.

Mosques, churches, ports, business activities, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to re-open and travel between cities will also be authorised.

Tourism activities will also be permitted for Jordanian residents, with internal flights resuming and hotels re-opening.

17:15 GMT – US authorities urge protesters to get tested

Protesters in the United States should “highly consider” getting tested for coronavirus, said Robert Redfield, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For several days, people across the US have taken to the streets to protest against police brutality and racial injustice following the killing of another Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of white officers.

“Those individuals that have partaken in these peaceful protests or have been out protesting, and particularly if they’re in metropolitan areas that really haven’t controlled the outbreak … we really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Redfield said before a House of Representatives committee.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made a similar appeal to demonstrators: “Coronavirus tests are available to all protesters. We ask protesters to be responsible. Wear a mask. Get tested,” he said on Twitter.

Qatar Airways is gradually resuming flights to more than 40 designations, including Bangkok, Barcelona and several cities in Pakistan. The airline also announced in a statement the upcoming resumption of flights to other hubs including Berlin and New York.

The company had to reduce some of its activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

16:11 GMT – UK to make face coverings compulsory on public transport

Public transport users in the UK will have to wear face masks on public transportation starting from June 15. 

“The evidence suggests that wearing face coverings offers some, albeit limited, protection, against the spread of the virus,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. 

15:47 GMT – Curing flu and coronavirus could slam US health care system

As this fall’s flu season approaches, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeking emergency use authorization for a test to detect and differentiate flu from COVID-19. 

Fighting both the novel virus and the flu could put a tremendous burden on the health care system, said the agency’s director Robert Redfield in prepared testimony before a House of Representatives committee.

Redfield added that the agency was working with manufacturers to maximize the availability of the influenza vaccine.

15:22 GMT – GAVI alliance raises $567m to buy COVID-19 vaccines for poor

International donors have pledged $567 million for a financial instrument launched by the GAVI vaccines alliance set up to incentivising vaccine manufacturers to produce sufficient quantities of eventual COVID-19 vaccines, and to ensure access for developing countries.

“Today’s launch moves us one step closer to the essential vision of equitable access for all,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Gavi Board.

“By de-risking the cost of investing in high volumes of manufacturing against an unknown outcome – and making sure those investments are made now – the Gavi Covax AMC increases the likelihood that when we have a successful vaccine or vaccines, it will be available in sufficient quantities and affordable to developing countries,” he said. 

14:57 GMT – Ukraine may ease access to China, Australia, Arab states’ citizens

As a new strategy to attract more tourists, Ukraine is considering cancelling its visa requirement for travellers coming from China, Australia, New Zealand and Arab states.

“It is necessary to liberalise the visa policy: if countries cancel visa requirements for Ukrainians who come to them, we will cancel for them too. We need to compete for tourists,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Increasing the flow of tourists would boost the country’s economy which is expected to shrink by 12 percent in the second quarter.

14:27 GMT – ‘Test, Trace, Treat’: African countries set up new strategy 

In an effort to ramp up testing, African states rolled out the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT).

The initiative “is led by three pillars: test, trace, treat,” John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Twitter. 

#PACT is a continental strategy to help Member States limit #COVID19 transmission by ensuring uninterrupted supply of diagnostics and medical supplies, as well as frontline personnel, needed to support response at the country level. #TestTraceTreat #Africa pic.twitter.com/GE7CCv3kEP

PACT “goals include conducting 10 million COVID19 tests over the next few months; deployment of 1 million community health workers to respond; and training 100,000 healthcare workers to support COVID-19 response,” he added. 

Nkengasong also said that 3.4 million tests have been conducted in Africa so far, about 1,700 tests per 1 million people, compared to 37,000 tests per 1 million in Italy and 30,000 per 1 million in Britain.

13:54 GMT – More EU countries reopening borders

A number of European countries are gearing to up reopen their borders after months of closures due to the pandemic.

The Czech government will further ease travel restrictions from and to Austria, Germany and Hungary starting on Friday.

Slovenia will also open its border to Austria starting on Friday, while Croatian and Hungarian citizens are already allowed to travel to the country.

Germany has said it will drop border restrictions on June 15. Sweden will ease its travel restrictions from June 13.

Hi, this is Virginia Pietromarchi in Doha, Qatar and I will now take over the live blog from my colleague Arwa Ibrahim. 

13:09 GMT – UK PM Johnson met business minister Sharma, shortly before Sharma taken ill

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a 45-minute meeting with business minister Alok Sharma on Wednesday, just hours before Sharma was taken ill and tested for the coronavirus, Johnson’s spokesman said.

The spokesman said the meeting, also attended by finance minister Rishi Sunak, was socially distanced throughout and that Johnson would follow medical advice if Sharma’s COVID-19 test result came back positive.

12:24 GMT – Virgin Atlantic says to restart some flights on July 20

Virgin Atlantic said it would restart some flights that have been grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic on July 20 and aimed to restore further services in August.

The airline said that services to Orlando and Hong Kong from London Heathrow would resume on July 20, with flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, and Shanghai set to restart on July 21.

11:47 GMT – China will promote resumption of tourism, culture and sports -state media

China will promote the resumption of the tourism, culture and sports sectors, a top-level meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang said, state radio reported.

11:33 GMT – France’s Bastille Day military parade replaced by ceremony in Paris

France’s Bastille Day military parade marking its national day will be replaced by a ceremony on the Place de la Concorde square in central Paris, President Emmanuel Macron’s office said.

The ceremony, which will include the traditional fly-over by the French air force, will honour the military’s participation in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic as well as frontline health care workers, the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

11:08 GMT – Malaysia reports 277 new coronavirus cases, no new deaths

Malaysian health authorities reported 277 new coronavirus cases after infections were detected in an immigration detention centre.

The rise in new cases pushed Malaysia’s cumulative total past the 8,000 mark to 8,247.

The health ministry reported no new deaths, keeping total fatalities at 115.

10:47 GMT – China says 95 foreign airlines can apply to resume flights

China’s aviation authority said that 95 foreign airlines that have suspended services to China can now apply to resume flights, according to the agency’s official newspaper.

It estimated the number of weekly international flights would increase by 50 from June 8, from 150 flights currently.

The average of passengers arriving per day would rise to 4,700, up from around 3,000 now, said the website of caacnews, the official newspaper for the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

10:23 GMT – Philippines reports 10 new coronavirus deaths, 634 more cases

The Philippine health ministry confirmed 10 more deaths from the coronavirus and 634 new infections.

In a bulletin, it said total deaths have increased to 984 while confirmed cases have reached 20,382, of which 4,248 have recovered.

10:03 GMT – Indonesia reports 585 new coronavirus infections, 23 deaths

Indonesia reported 585 new coronavirus infections, taking the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 28,818.

There were 23 new deaths, with coronavirus fatalities now at 1,721 since the outbreak started, said Achmad Yurianto, a health ministry official.

There are 8,892 people who have recovered and more than 251,000 have been tested.

9:43 GMT – Spain to open land borders with Portugal, France from June 22

Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said that all restrictions to border crossings with France and Portugal will be lifted from June 22.

The authorities closed the borders to everybody but Spaniards, cross-border workers and truck drivers from mid-March when the country went into lockdown to curb the coronavirus contagion.

9:20 GMT – Hong Kong confirms five new coronavirus cases; Cable TV says residents evacuated

Hong Kong confirmed five new cases of coronavirus, all imported, while Cable TV reported some residents of a housing estate were evacuated after a cluster of cases was reported.

The city has 1,100 confirmed cases of the disease, including one probable infection.

8:46 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus case tally edges past 440,000

Russia reported 8,831 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total number of infections across the country to 441,108.

The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 169 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 5,384.

8:13 GMT – UK’s ‘useless and ineffective’ quarantine will hammer tourism, Ryanair boss says

Britain does not have a proper plan for its 14-day international quarantine and the introduction of such a “useless and ineffective” scheme will do untold damage to the country’s tourism industry, the head of Ryanair said.

Britain is due to introduce a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals from June 8 to prevent a second surge in the coronavirus pandemic.

“You don’t have a quarantine, people are going to be allowed to come in next week through Heathrow and Gatwick, they then get on the London Underground, the trains, the busses, the taxis, to get to their destination. They can stop off at the supermarket, they can play a round of golf,” Michael O’Leary told BBC TV.

“This is going to do untold damage to British tourism, the thousands of hotels and restaurants and guest houses all over the UK that depend on European visitors will be deterred by this useless and ineffective quarantine.”

7:56 GMT – Armed men in PPE rob supermarket in South Africa

A group of armed men, dressed as healthcare workers, took an undisclosed amount of money following a robbery at a pension point at the Scottsville Mall in Durban, South Africa on Wednesday morning. 

The men pretended to be Covid-19 health inspectors wearing PPE, lab coats, masks, face shields and gloves, reported local South African media. 

7:45 GMT – China reports one new COVID-19 case, four asymptomatic ones

China reported one new coronavirus case and four new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases for June 3, the health commission said.

The National Health Commission said all five of the cases were imported, involving travellers from overseas. For June 2, China reported one confirmed case and 4 asymptomatic cases.

China does not count asymptomatic patients, those who are infected with the coronavirus but do not exhibit symptoms, as confirmed cases.

The total number of infections in China stands at 83,022. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

7:36 GMT – US Senate passes bill lengthening coronavirus small business loan terms

The US Senate approved legislation giving small businesses up to 24 weeks to use Paycheck Protection Program loans created during the coronavirus pandemic, up from the current eight-week deadline.

The legislation, already passed by the House of Representatives, now goes to President Donald Trump to sign into law. The program was created in March to support small businesses during the pandemic and encourage them to retain their employees.

7:24 GMT – Pakistan register more than four thousand new coronavirus cases

Pakistan registered its highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, with 4,801 new cases taking the country’s total tally to 85,264.

The country’s number of cases has now surpassed those officially reported in China, where the first outbreak of the novel coronavirus was reported, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. World health authorities have, however, cautioned that the Chinese government’s official figures on infections and deaths from the coronavirus may not be accurate.

At least 85 patients died in Pakistan on Wednesday, taking the total death toll since the country’s outbreak began in late February to 1,813.

Among those who died on Wednesday were two provincial lawmakers – Shaukat Manzoor Cheema of the opposition PML-N party in the central province of Punjab and Mian Jamsheduddin Kakakhel of the ruling PTI party in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Their deaths came a day after Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, a minister in the Sindh provincial government, died after contracting the coronavirus.

7:00 GMT – Thailand reports 17 new coronavirus cases, no new deaths

 Thailand reported 17 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, taking the total number of infections to 3,101, of which 58 were fatalities.

The new cases were Thai nationals in quarantine who recently returned from the Middle East, including 13 from Kuwait alone, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s COVID-19 Administration Centre.

There are 2,968 patients in Thailand who have recovered since the outbreak started.

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Hello. I’m Arwa Ibrahim in Doha, Qatar, taking over the blog from my colleague Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

05:00 GMT – Australia airport opens register for travellers to New Zealand

Canberra Airport has opened a register for travellers interested in flying from the Australian capital to New Zealand on July 1 in a proposed resumption of international travel, AP news agency reported.

Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron said the proposal to restart travel between the two countries with flights connecting the capitals was under discussion between the two governments as well as Qantas and Air New Zealand.

Under the proposal, the flights between Canberra and Wellington would not require the quarantine of passengers. Canberra Airport opened its register of interest on Thursday for the first flight on July 1 and 140 names were added within the first hour.

04:45 GMT – ICRC: Protect jobs or risk a boom in aid dependency

Economic hardships brought about by the coronavirus pandemic could increase aid dependency in countries in conflict without coordinated responses from governments and international institutions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

“The ongoing economic and food security impact of COVID-19 is massive and appears likely to worsen over time,” it added, after releasing a survey on the effects of the pandemic.

In Nigeria, for example, 95 percent of people surveyed said their livelihoods had suffered because of the pandemic, resulting in reduced salaries or revenue. In Iraq the number was 83 percent, and 52 percent in Libya.

04:30 GMT – Japan to explore ‘simplified’ Olympic Games: Tokyo governor

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday it may be necessary to a stage a “simplified” Olympics next year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and that organisers were already discussing possible changes.

“Holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games calls for sympathy and understanding of Tokyoites and the Japanese people,” Koike told reporters.

Koike’s comments come after the Yomiuri newspaper reported that various options, such as mandatory coronavirus testing and having fewer spectators, were being considered by organisers.

John Coates, the head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) inspectorate for Tokyo, has said a lack of a defence against the new coronavirus threatened the games and organisers had to start planning for what could be a “very different” Olympics if there were no signs of COVID-19 being eradicated.

04:04 GMT – North Macedonia reintroduces strict movement order

North Macedonia has reintroduced stringent movement restrictions in the capital, Skopje, and another three parts of the country, after registering a record number of new COVID-19 infections, according to AP news agency.

Health Minister Venko Filipce said an almost blanket curfew will be imposed from 9pm (local time) on Thursday till 5am (local time) on Monday in these areas. People will be allowed out to visit hospitals or pharmacies.

The health ministry said 101 new infections – a record since the country’s first case in late February – and four deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours. That brings the total of infections to 2,492, with 145 deaths.

03:43 GMT – Philippines’ youngest coronavirus survivor dies

An infant, who contracted the coronavirus disease and later recovered, has died in the Philippines. 

According to an ABS-CBN report on Thursday, Kobe Manjares became infected with the coronavirus five days after he was born on April 12. He had been released from hospital on April 8.

He was later brought back to hospital due to complications, including blood infection and bloated stomach, ABS-CBN quoted his father as saying. The infant died early on Thursday.

The Philippines has reported more than 19,000 coronavirus cases and 974 deaths as of Wednesday.

03:08 GMT – South Korea reports 39 new coronavirus cases

South Korea has confirmed 39 additional cases of the coronavirus, all but three of them reported in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, as authorities are struggling to contain a resurgence of COVID-19.

AP news agency quoted the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying that the newly reported cases raised the country’s total to 11,629 with 273 deaths.

The agency says 10,499 of them have recovered while 857 people are still being treated for the disease.

02:23 GMT – Brazil looks to reopen despite record coronavirus deaths

Brazil has registered a record number of daily deaths from the novel coronavirus for a second consecutive day, according to the latest data from the health ministry, even as city and state authorities move aggressively to reopen commerce.

The nation recorded 1,349 new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday and 28,633 additional confirmed cases, the data showed. Brazil has now registered 32,548 deaths and 584,016 total confirmed cases.

President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, saying on Tuesday that death was “everyone’s destiny”.

02:08 GMT – New Zealand on verge of eradicating coronavirus

New Zealand is on the verge of eradicating the virus from its shores after it notched a 13th straight day with no reported new infections, the Associated Press news agecy reported.

Only a single person in the nation of 5 million people is known to still have the virus, and that person is not hospitalised. However, it remains likely that the country will import new cases once it reopens its borders, and officials say their aim remains to stamp out new infections as they arise.

The country has already lifted many of its virus restrictions and could remove most of those that remain, including limiting crowd sizes, next week. Just over 1,500 people contracted the virus during the outbreak, including 22 who died.

01:33 GMT – Mexico reports new one-day high of 1,092 coronavirus deaths

The coronavirus toll in Mexico has soared to a new daily high, with the health department reporting 1,092 test-confirmed deaths – more than double the previous one-day record and in line with numbers in the United States and Brazil, according to AP news agency.

The announcement was an embarrassment for officials, who have consistently predicted that cases in Mexico were about to start levelling off. The country began a gradual reopening of industrial and business activity on Monday.

Mexico has at least 101,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths.

01:03 GMT – Baby among new fatalities of coronavirus in US

A nine-month-old infant who tested positive for COVID-19 was among another eight people whose deaths were related to the coronavirus in the US state of Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear has announced.

The latest deaths raised the statewide death toll to 450 since the pandemic began. There are more than 107,000 fatalities across the US.

In announcing the infant’s death, Beshear said: “Far too often, people think that it’s something that only happens to medically compromised seniors. This is a reminder of how deadly this virus can be. How precious all of our lives are.”

00:20 GMT – China reports new COVID-19 cases

China reported on Thursday one new coronavirus case and four new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases as of the end of June 3, according to Reuters news agency quoting the health commission.

The national health commission said all five of the cases were imported, involving travellers from overseas. For June 2, China reported one confirmed case and 4 asymptomatic cases.

China does not count asymptomatic patients, those who are infected with the coronavirus but do not exhibit symptoms, as confirmed cases. The total number of infections in China stands at 83,022. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

00:05 GMT – Report raises coronavirus concerns about China, WHO; Beijing denies

At least two US senators said that China hid data from the World Health Organization (WHO) that could have altered the course of the coronavirus outbreak, even as a Chinese official denied delays in sharing information and said the government acted openly and transparently.

They were referring to an Associated Press investigation published this week that found China stalled on providing critical coronavirus information to WHO, which expressed considerable frustration in private even as it praised the country in public. Politicians said the report raised key questions and public health experts said it shed light on a story that has become highly politicised.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the AP report “seriously inconsistent with the facts”. He read off a timeline of events that did not contradict the AP’s findings and added that China had always maintained “close and good communication and cooperation with WHO”.

00:01 GMT – Malaria drug fails to prevent COVID-19 in a rigorous study

A malaria drug US President Donald Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease, AP news agency reported.

Results published by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine was no better than placebo pills at preventing illness from the coronavirus. The drug did not seem to cause serious harm, though – about 40 percent of people on it had few side effects, mostly mild stomach problems.

“We were disappointed. We would have liked for this to work,” said the study leader, Dr David Boulware, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota. “But our objective was to answer the question and to conduct a high-quality study,” because the evidence on the drug so far has been inconclusive, he said.

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Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Read all the updates from yesterday (June 3) here.

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