New lockdown measures are being imposed for one week in a German region that has seen a large increase in coronavirus infections linked to a slaughterhouse, officials said Tuesday.
More than 1,500 people have tested positive for coronavirus at the Toennies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, and thousands more have been put under a quarantine to try to halt the outbreak.
The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state said people in Guetersloh and parts of a neighbouring county will now face the same kind of restrictions that existed across Germany during the early stages of the pandemic in March and April.
These include limiting the number of people who can meet in public to those from a single household or two people from separate households, Gov. Armin Laschet said.
Cinemas, fitness studios and bars will also be closed, although restaurants can continue to cater to people from the same household, he said. Previously, the western county had only closed schools and child-care centres.
Laschet said the measures will be lifted on June 30 if the situation has improved, but declined to provide specific parameters for how success will be measured.
Prior to the latest outbreak, Germany had been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic. Widespread testing, tracing and hospital preparation measures tamped down the outbreak and kept Germany’s death toll five times smaller than Britain’s. Germany has seen 8,899 confirmed virus deaths.
As of Tuesday morning, there were more than nine million reported coronavirus cases worldwide with more than 472,000 deaths, according to a tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. accounts for more than 2.3 million of those cases and more than 120,000 of the reported deaths.
After more than 100 days of a coronavirus lockdown, New York City residents celebrated the lifting of more restrictions by getting their first haircuts in months, shopping at reopened stores and dining at outdoor cafes.
But there’s increasing concern about cases in the U.S. south and west. In Houston, COVID-19 hospital admissions have tripled since Memorial Day to more than 1,400 admissions across eight hospital systems, said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital.
WATCH | COVID-19 cases rise in U.S. south and west:
“It is snowballing,” Boom said. “We will most certainly see more people die as a result of this spike.”
In three weeks, Boom predicted, hospitals could be overwhelmed and “although we may not have a government official shutdown, we may be in an effective shutdown.” He pleaded with Houston residents to wear masks and practice physical distancing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other leading health experts and officials were appearing on Tuesday at a House committee about the government’s ongoing coronavirus response.
Brazil reached more than a million confirmed coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths over the weekend as throngs of people swarmed Rio de Janeiro beaches, but a top WHO official said on Monday that even more cases were likely going uncounted.
What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada
WATCH | Big risk for new Ontario openings is ‘complacency,’ says infectious disease specialist:
As of 11:40 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 101,902 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 64,622 of the cases listed as resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,488.
There are no proven treatments or vaccines for the novel virus, which causes an illness called COVID-19. Health officials say most people who contract the virus will experience mild to moderate illness, but some — particularly those with underlying health issues and the elderly — are at greater risk of severe illness and death.
WATCH | Reopening concerns after COVID-19 cases linked to Edmonton restaurants:
Millions of people in Britain will be able to go to the pub, visit a movie theatre, get a haircut or attend a religious service starting July 4, in a major loosening of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. But they will have to wait a bit longer to see a concert, get a tattoo or go to the gym.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Tuesday that a swath of businesses can reopen next month, including restaurants, bars, hotels, hairdressers, cinemas and museums. Other businesses, including gyms, pools, spas and tattoo parlours have to stay shut for now.
The government’s decision will help thaw a British economy that has been in deep freeze for three months under a countrywide lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the virus.
Johnson told lawmakers that “our long national hibernation” is coming to an end.
“We cannot lift all the restrictions at once, so we have to make difficult judgments,” Johnson said. “The more we open up, the more vigilant we will have to be.”
Starting July 4, places of worship will be allowed to hold services, though singing by choirs and congregations remains banned since it could transmit the virus. For the same reason, live music and theatre performances are still off-limits.
A Saudi official said Tuesday that the hajj pilgrimage, which usually draws millions of Muslims from all over the world, will only see at the most “thousands” of pilgrims next month due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
The kingdom’s Hajj Minister Muhammad Benten said a “small and very limited” number of people already residing in the kingdom will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage to ensure physical distancing and crowd control amid the virus outbreak globally.
“The number, God willing, may be in the thousands. We are in the process of reviewing so it could be 1,000 or less, or a little more,” Benten said in a virtual press conference.
During the press conference, Saudi officials said that no one over the age of 65 will be allowed to perform the hajj and that all pilgrims and those serving pilgrims this year will be quarantined both before and after the pilgrimage.
“This is a very sensitive operation and we are working with experts at the Health Ministry,” Benten said, stressing the importance of protecting the lives and health of pilgrims.
India has added nearly 15,000 new infections to its coronavirus caseload as some of the states less affected by the initial surge of the virus are considering new lockdowns to staunch growing numbers.
India’s health ministry said Tuesday that the nationwide tally had reached 440,215 cases, including 14,011 deaths.
The state of Delhi, which includes the capital of New Delhi, has reported 62,655 cases, with the rate of new infections rapidly expanding in recent weeks as a nationwide lockdown has eased.
States remote from the capital including Assam in the northeast that initially reported few cases have plans to reimpose stringent lockdowns in certain districts.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi lifted months-long restrictions on movement and industrial and commercial activity to restart India’s ailing economy, which has shed millions of jobs.
But Sonia Gandhi, president of the main opposition Congress party, has asked the government to extend a three-month free food distribution program for India’s poorest that is due to expire soon to address a “hunger crisis.”
South Africa’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 100,000 as the country makes up close to one-third of all recorded infections on the African continent.
The latest daily update shows a worrying new trend as Gauteng province, home to South Africa’s economic hub of Johannesburg, has a higher number of new cases than the hot spot of Western Cape province centred on the city of Cape Town. Virus cases in Gauteng, which also contains the capital, Pretoria, now make up more than one-fifth of South Africa’s total.
South Africa continues to loosen its lockdown despite the rise in cases because of economic pressure, with casinos and beauty parlours the latest businesses allowed to open.
Africa overall has more than 315,000 cases, including more than 8,000 deaths. The true number of cases remains unknown because of the low level of testing on the continent due to a shortage of materials.
Egypt is gradually loosening its partial coronavirus lockdown amid a steady increase of daily infections in recent weeks.
Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly said Tuesday that his government would reopen mosques and churches starting Saturday, but the ban on Friday’s Muslim prayers at mosques and Sunday’s masses at churches would remain in place for now.
He said restaurants, coffee shops, clubs and theatres will allowed to reopen at 25 per cent capacity. The government has also extended the hours public and private transportation can operate by four hours, until midnight. It also lifted the country’s nighttime curfew.
Madbouly says Egypt’s beaches and parks remain closed until further notice.
The gradual reopening was announced as the the daily number of new coronavirus cases in Egypt has often surpassed 1,000 in recent weeks.
The Arab world’s most populous country has officially reported around 57,000 confirmed cases, including at least 2,278 deaths.
Finland’s government decided on Tuesday to scrap from July 13 travel restrictions for leisure travellers from certain European countries such as Italy and Germany, if infection rates remain at current levels, as well as a requirement for them to go into quarantine for 14 days when entering Finland.
The government will allow in travellers from European countries where infections remain at a maximum eight cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of two weeks, Finland’s Minister of Interior Maria Ohisalo said.
The travel restrictions and the quarantine rule will remain in place for travellers from neighbouring Sweden.