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.
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
As of 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 101,637 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 64,334 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 8,481.
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:
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline plans Tuesday to allow Britons to go to a movie, enjoy pints in a pub and get a haircut — the latest easing of lockdown measures imposed three months ago to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Johnson will speak to Parliament on Tuesday afternoon after meeting his cabinet in the morning.
The lockdown loosening, expected to take effect on July 4, comes amid intense pressure from businesses to relax a government requirement that people who are indoors must stay two metres apart.
Britain’s pubs and restaurants, many of which operate in small spaces, are urging a reduction to one metre — the minimum recommended by the World Health Organization — saying without it many will go under.
The physical distancing requirement is also a concern for educators hoping to safely open British schools in the fall.
The Conservative government is desperate to restart the stalled British economy, and that desire is likely to be reflected in guidance to re-open businesses ranging from hotels to hairdressers. But some scientists are worried that the government is reopening the economy too fast and that a track-and-trace system meant to quickly stamp out any outbreaks is not fully functional.
The number of daily deaths and new infections in the U.K. has fallen significantly from its April peak, but the country is still confirming 1,000 or more new COVID-19 cases a day.
“This is far too premature,” said David King, a former chief scientific adviser to the government. “To come out of [lockdown] too early is extremely risky.”
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.