More than 12 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, and at least 548,896 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. About 6.5 million patients have recovered. The United States and Brazil have reported the most cases and the highest death tolls.
The humanitarian group Oxfam says that as many as 122 million people could go hungry this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, warning that up to 12,000 people could die each day from hunger linked to the social and economic impacts of the disease.
The US has now confirmed more than three million cases of coronavirus. The outbreak is surging in several southern and western hot spots.
Dr Antony Fauci, the leading US infectious disease expert, says he is cautiously optimistic that a coronavirus vaccine with some degree of effectiveness will be successfully developed by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021.
Here are the latest updates.
Thursday, July 9
04:01 GMT – China eases into reopening as local cases wane
China says it has nine new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought from outside the country, and no new deaths, AP news agency reported.
Thursday’s report buttresses growing signs the virus has been essentially contained inside the nation in which it first appeared late last year.
The near elimination of local virus transmission has allowed the reopening of most businesses and resumption of some social activities, including the holding of the crucial annual college entrance exams. Sports, tourism and cultural activities are also slowly starting to return.
The wearing of masks remains obligatory in most indoor spaces and a proof of health is required for entrance to many venues.
China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 83,581 cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic.
03:44 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise 442 to 197,783
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose 442 to 197,783, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday, quoting data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
RKI also reported 12 new deaths pushing the death toll to 9,048.
03:14 GMT – China seeks joint COVID-19 research
The Chinese government has announced that it is seeking international cooperation to conduct research projects on drugs, vaccines, test kits, and even traditional Chinese medicine to fight the coronavirus.
In a statement issued on Thursday, The science and technology ministry said the aim of the programme is to test and develop new technologies to quickly detect and cure the disease.
Research on vaccine that have completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials will get priority support, according to the statement.
With most of the 84,900 cases in the country already cured, China has trained its sight on strengthening and expaning its influence abroad, extending assistance to countries that are struggling to contain the deadly pandemic.
02:48 GMT – Mexico posts new case record to overtake Spain
Mexico has posted a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 6,995 infections, overtaking Spain to register the world’s eighth highest case count, according to a Reuters news agency tally.
Despite the soaring figures, Mexico’s coronavirus czar, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said the pandemic was “slowing.”
The figures pushed Mexico’s overall tally of infections to 275,003 cases. Mexico on Wednesday also recorded 782 additional fatalities, bringing its overall death toll to 32,796, the world’s fifth highest total.
The government has said the real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the confirmed numbers due to low levels of testing.
02:28 GMT – Turkey wants strict social distancing rules at weddings, engagements
Turkey is preparing to appoint “observers” at weddings and engagement parties to ensure that social distancing practices are adhered to.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters following a weekly meeting of the country’s scientific advisory council on Wednesday that the decision was reached after several recent COVID-19 outbreaks were traced back to weddings.
Authorities in eight provinces have banned traditional send-off ceremonies for young men starting their military service – considered another source for coronavirus infections.
Meanwhile, religious authorities were considering measures to ensure social distancing at funerals gatherings, Koca said.
Turkey saw an uptick in daily confirmed infections and deaths in mid-June, after it eased restrictions aimed at curbing the virus’ spread.
On Wednesday, the total number of infections in Turkey rose to 208,938. The death toll now stands at 5,282.
02:08 GMT – MSF warns of consequences after US withdrawal from WHO
The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw US membership from the World Health Organization (WHO) could have life-threatening consequences for people around the globe, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, or MSF.
“The WHO, while in need of reforms, plays a vital role in coordinating global medical research, producing evidence-based guidelines, and supporting national governments to respond to urgent public health crises,” MSF said in a statement late on Thursday.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic is certainly no time to walk away from this global health agency, of which the US is a founding member,” it added.
01:48 GMT – South Africa prepares 1.5 million gravesites as coronavirus cases rise
A health official in South Africa’s new coronavirus hot spot of Gauteng province says authorities are preparing over 1.5 million gravesites as confirmed cases rise, AP news agency reported.
Bandile Masuku, a medical doctor and member of the province’s executive council, said it was the public’s responsibility to make sure the gravesites were not needed.
“It’s an uncomfortable discussion,” he said. Gauteng province includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.
The number of confirmed virus cases in Gauteng is now over 71,000, or 33 percent of South Africa’s cases. The country has more than 215,000 confirmed cases and is posting some of the world’s highest daily totals of newly reported cases.
01:25 GMT – Chile to ease coronavirus lockdown in two southern regions
Chile will begin easing lockdown measures in two southern regions on Monday with 800,000 people able to resume some of their activities and those over age 75 able to go out once a day.
Restaurants, cinemas, theatres and cafes will be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity. Sporting activities can be carried out without an audience and can include up to 10 people in enclosed spaces and 50 in the open.
The new measures will apply in the Los Rios and Aysen regions in the country’s south. If a new outbreak occurs in either region, the government said tighter restrictions will be considered.
The number of people with confirmed infections of the new coronavirus surpassed 300,000 in the South American country, the sixth-highest figure in the world.
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 here.