The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
– Students return to high schools in the Palestinian territories
– Egypt orders its people to wear face masks in public
– Merkel says she won’t commit to attending G-7 in person
– India has another record single day jump of nearly 8,000 coronavirus cases
– 400 German managers, workers and family members have begun returning to China
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Students are returning to high schools in the Palestinian territories for the first time in two months for final exams.
The Education Ministry said Saturday that 78,400 12th-graders are taking the exams in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Schools have been closed since March as part of Palestinian efforts to contain the coronavirus.
In Gaza, police and paramedics took studentsâ€™ temperatures as they entered, and the students sat spaced apart in classrooms.
The Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has reported more than 380 confirmed cases of the virus, including two deaths.
Authorities have reported 61 cases and one death in Gaza, which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007. All the cases in Gaza have been detected inside quarantine facilities housing returnees from abroad.
MOSCOW – Russia has recorded nearly 9,000 new cases of the coronavirus, roughly consistent with the increases reported over the past two weeks.
The national coronavirus task force said Saturday that 4,555 Russians have died of COVID-19 and 396,575 infections have been confirmed overall.
The relatively low mortality rate compared with other countries has prompted skepticism domestically and abroad. In a bid to dispel suspicions that authorities are trying to lower the death toll for political reasons, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova explained Friday that Russiaâ€™s count contains only those confirmed to have died of the infection, but she also gave figures for people who tested positive for the virus but died of other causes.
If all categories are counted as COVID-19 deaths, the nationâ€™s total toll for April would stand at 2,713, or nearly 60% more than the previously announced number.
CAIRO – Egypt on Saturday ordered its people to wear face masks in public, when taking private transportation, and inside government offices as it eases the partial lockdown imposed during the weeklong Muslim holiday of Eid- el-Fitr.
Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly said violators will be fined. He said the nationwide curfew will be 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for another two weeks.
Egypt, the Arab Worldâ€™s most populous country, has seen a jump of daily reported infections in the past week, with a total of 879 deaths among 22,082 confirmed cases. The country of 100 million people has the highest announced deaths from COVID-19 in the Arab World.
BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not personally attend a meeting in the U.S. with the leaders of the worldâ€™s major economies if President Donald Trump goes ahead with it, unless the course of the coronavirus spread changes by then, her office said Saturday.
After canceling the Group of Seven summit, originally scheduled for June 10-12 at Camp David, Trump said a week ago that he was again considering hosting an in-person meeting of world leaders because it would be a â€œgreat sign to allâ€ of things returning to normal during the pandemic.
Immediately after that announcement, Merkel suggested that she had not yet made up her mind on whether to attend in person or by video conference, but her office told the dpa news agency that she has now made a decision.
â€œAs of today, given the overall pandemic situation, she cannot commit to participating in person,â€ Merkel’s office said.
ISLAMABAD – Even as Pakistan recorded its single highest overnight death toll of 78 and its numbers of COVID-19 confirmed cases soared passed 66,000, the countryâ€™s Civil Aviation Authority announced international flights can resume in and out of Pakistan.
As of Saturday Pakistan had recorded 1,395 deaths from COVID-19 since mid March and daily counts of new cases showed a daily jump of nearly 2,500.
Still Pakistan has eased most of its lock-down measures and earlier this month the Supreme Court even ordered shopping malls to open. Despite pleas from the countryâ€™s medical profession, and dire warnings of more deaths from the spread of the coronavirus,
Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to close down mosques, bowing to Pakistanâ€™s radical religious leaders, who threatened violent protests if mosques were closed. Pakistan has barely 3,000 intensive care beds throughout the country of 220 million people, who have paid little to no attention to government directions to social distance. Domestic flights resumed earlier this month.
NEW DELHI – India has registered another record single day jump of 7,964 coronavirus cases and 265 deaths, a day before the two-month-old lockdown across the country of 1.3 billion people is set to end.
The Health Ministry on Saturday put the total number of cases in India at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths. The total infections included 86,422 active cases and 82,369 recoveries.
More than 70% of coronavirus cases in India are concentrated in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan states.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an open letter on one year of the governmentâ€™s second term, asserted that India was traversing on the path to â€œvictoryâ€ in its battle against the virus. He said India will set â€œan example in economic revivalâ€ and asked the countrymen to show a â€œfirm resolve.â€
Modi also acknowledged the â€œtremendous sufferingâ€ of migrant workers and laborers who were the worse hit after India imposed a nationwide coronavirus lockdown in late March, forcing millions of them to flee cities after losing their jobs and make grueling and dangerous trips back to their hometowns.
The federal government is expected to issue a new set of guidelines this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas.
India started easing lockdown restrictions earlier this month, allowing reopening of shops and manufacturing and resumption of some trains and domestic flights and vehiclesâ€™ movement.
Metro services, schools and colleges, hotels and restaurants are shuttered nationwide.
India has surpassed China both in terms of confirmed cases and deaths from the disease.
BEIJING – Around 400 German managers, workers and family members have begun returning to China aboard charter flights as multinational companies in the worldâ€™s second-largest economy seek to get their operations running again at full speed.
A pair of flights from Frankfurt to the Chinese business hubs of Tianjin and Shanghai were organized by the German Chamber of Commerce in China in cooperation with Germanyâ€™s diplomatic missions and airline Lufthansa and are the first repatriation flights from Europe to China for foreign nationals. China has largely banned all foreigners from entering China because of the coronavirus outbreak.
â€œThis is an important step to reconnect Chinaâ€™s and Germanyâ€™s economies,â€ Jens Hildebrandt, executive director of the German Chamber of Commerce in North China, was quoted as saying in a news release. â€œIt is our common interest to contribute in helping the economy return to normalcy and pre-virus levels.â€ More than 5,200 German companies operate in China, employing more than 1 million people. â€œWe know there is a huge demand in the German business community to get more foreign employees back to China,â€ Hildebrandt was quoted as saying.
The first flight with 200 passengers was due to arrive shortly before noon on Saturday in Tianjin, a port city just east of the capital Beijing. Another flight to Shanghai. The second flight was expected to arrive in Shanghai around midday on Thursday, June 4.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea reported 39 new cases of the coronavirus, most of them in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have found more than a hundred infections linked to warehouse workers.
Figures from South Koreaâ€™s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday brought national totals to 11,441 cases and 269 deaths. At least 12 of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.
KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong said during a virus briefing Friday afternoon that at least 102 infections have been linked to workers at a massive warehouse operated by Coupang, a local e-commerce giant that has seen orders spike during the epidemic.
The company has been criticized for failing to implement proper preventive measures and enforce distance between employees, with virus discovered on the safety helmets, laptops, keyboards and other equipment they share.
Health workers have also found at least 266 infections linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues in the Seoul metropolitan area, which saw huge crowds in early May as officials eased social distancing guidelines.
The resurgence in infections have alarmed officials as millions of children have been returning to schools nationwide.
While shutting nightspots and public spaces to slow the spread of the virus, government officials have so far maintained the phased reopening of schools, expressing hope that the recent transmissions could be contained quickly.
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