International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 8 million – new Beijing outbreak ‘very grim’ say officials – India to re-impose lockdown

16 June 2020 (Last Updated June 16th, 2020 10:25)

16 June

Global: A total of 8,005,294 cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The actual figure is likely to be much higher because countries often have different criteria for testing, and milder and asymptomatic cases may go undetected.

A specific mutation in Covid-19 can significantly increase its ability to infect cells, according to a study by US researchers. It may explain why early outbreaks in some parts of the world did not end up overwhelming health systems as much as other outbreaks in New York and Italy.

China: There are more than 100 cases in the new Beijing Covid-19 outbreak. The World Health Organization said it understood no new deaths have been reported thus far in the Chinese capital but added that given Beijing’s size and connectivity, the outbreak was a cause for concern.

City officials in Beijing have described the coronavirus outbreak centred on the Xinfadi market as “very grim”, according to the Global Times.

Shanghai says it will impose a 14-day quarantine on all people arriving in the city from medium to high-risk Covid-19 areas elsewhere in China.

Norway: Norway’s health authorities said they suspended an app designed to help trace the spread of coronavirus after the country’s data protection agency said it was too invasive of privacy.

New Zealand: New Zealand has confirmed two new cases of coronavirus, both connected with travel to the United Kingdom and both connected.

Lockdown updates

Europe: Germany and France reopen borders as Europe emerges from lockdown. France’s president said the country’s Schengen borders would be open from Monday and its non-EU borders from 1 July. Germany also opened its borders to fellow European travellers, but the government warned people to be careful as they planned their summer holidays.

India: A lockdown will be re-imposed on Friday on 15 million people in the Indian city of Chennai and neighbouring districts, state officials said, as coronavirus cases surge in the region.

US: Gatherings of up to 25 people will be permitted in parts of New York that have entered the third phase of the state’s reopening plan, up from a previous limit of ten, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Major US airlines have warned passengers who refuse to wear masks that they could be banned. Carriers could prevent anyone who is not covering their nose and mouth from boarding although they would provide masks to passengers without one.

Economic updates

Global: BP will slash up to $17.5bn (£14bn) from the value of its oil and gas assets, and may be forced to leave new fossil fuel discoveries in the ground, after its own forecasts found the Covid-19 pandemic may affect the world’s oil demand for the next 30 years.

The United Nations forecasts foreign direct investment globally will fall by as much as 40% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and continue to slump in 2021, hitting developing nations hardest.

US: The Trump administration is preparing a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal as part of its push to spur the world’s largest economy back to life, according to people familiar with the plan.