China, South Korea and Egypt report rise in virus cases as restrictions ease
14 June 2020, 09:34
China had 57 new confirmed cases in the 24 hours to midnight on Saturday, including 36 in the capital, Beijing.
China reported its highest daily total of new coronavirus cases in two months on Sunday and infections in South Korea also rose, showing how the disease can come back as restrictions on business and travel are lifted.
Meanwhile, Egypt reported its biggest daily increase on Saturday and infections were rising in some US states as President Donald Trump pushed for businesses to reopen despite warnings by public health experts.
China had 57 new confirmed cases in the 24 hours to midnight on Saturday, the National Health Commission reported. That was the highest since mid-April and included 36 in the capital, Beijing, a city of 20 million people.
Beijing’s cases were all linked to its biggest wholesale food market, which was shut down on Saturday, the official China News Service reported, citing the city’s disease control agency. It said 27 worked there and nine had direct or indirect exposure to it.
The Xinfadi market was closed after 50 people tested positive for the virus in the Chinese capital’s first confirmed cases for 50 days.
The world is seeing more than 100,000 newly confirmed cases every day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
China, where the pandemic began in December, and other countries that suffered early on including South Korea, Italy and Spain have seen numbers of new infections decline. Brazil, India, the United States and other countries are seeing large increases.
China responded to the outbreak with the world’s most intensive anti-disease controls, isolating cities with some 60 million people and shutting down much of its economy in steps that later were imitated by some other governments.
The ruling Communist party eased most limits on business and travel after declaring victory over the disease in March. Some curbs still are in place, including a ban on most foreign travellers arriving in the country.
On Saturday, authorities in Beijing locked down 11 residential communities near the Xinfadi market. White fencing sealed off a road leading to apartment buildings and drivers were required to show identification to enter the area.
South Korea’s government reported 34 more coronavirus cases, adding to an upward trend in infections.
The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said 30 of the new cases were in the greater Seoul area, where half of the country’s 51 million people live. New cases have been linked to nightlife establishments, church services, a large-scale e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door sellers.
The Egyptian Health Ministry announced 1,677 new confirmed cases. Egypt is the Arab world’s most populous country and has its highest coronavirus death toll. The country has reported 1,484 deaths and 42,980 confirmed cases.
In the US, the number of new cases in the south-western state of Arizona has risen to more than 1,000 per day from fewer than 400 when the state’s shutdown was lifted in mid-May, according to analysis by the Associated Press.
Governor Doug Ducey has not ordered Arizona residents to wear masks in public despite warnings by health experts outside the government.
Elsewhere, bar owners in New Orleans were preparing to reopen. San Francisco restaurants resumed outdoor seating on Friday and the California government allowed hotels, zoos, museums and aquariums to reopen.
The states of Utah and Oregon suspended further reopening of their economies due to a spike in cases.
The latest Chinese cases raised the mainland’s total to 83,132, with 4,634 deaths, according to the Health Commission. South Korea has reported 12,085 cases and 277 deaths.
Also on Sunday, China’s air regulator announced that China Southern Airlines was required to suspend flights between Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the southern city of Guangzhou for four weeks after 17 passengers on Thursday’s flight tested positive for the virus.
Beijing allows each airline to make one flight per week on each route. Under rules announced on June 4, a route will be suspended for one week if five passengers on a flight test positive and four weeks if the number rises to 10.
In Europe, France’s highest administrative court ruled on Saturday that virus concerns no longer justify banning public protests.
The Council of State’s decision allows for demonstrations and marches as long as health protections are respected. Events must be declared in advance to local authorities and not deemed a risk to public order.
The ruling came as an unauthorised protest against police violence and racial injustice wound down in Paris. Police had stopped at least 15,000 protesters from a planned march through the city on Saturday, citing virus-related restrictions on any gathering of more than 10 people.