June 2 coronavirus news

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11:20 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

US surgeon general: "Every reason to expect" new Covid-19 clusters following protests

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

People link arms in front of the Colorado State Capitol to protest on June 1 in Denver, Colorado.
People link arms in front of the Colorado State Capitol to protest on June 1 in Denver, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

As protests over the death of George Floyd continue across the United States, there is concern that coronavirus could spread among demonstrators, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Politico on Monday.

"I remain concerned about the public health consequences both of individual and institutional racism [and] people out protesting in a way that is harmful to themselves and to their communities," Adams said in a phone call with Politico’s Sarah Owermohle.

"Based on the way the disease spreads, there is every reason to expect that we will see new clusters and potentially new outbreaks moving forward," Adams said.

Many protesters nationwide have worn masks while marching — and in his interview with Politico, Adams praised Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' administration for making masks available for protesters in that state and for encouraging Covid-19 testing.

 "You understand the anger, you hope that we can find ways that really can help people channel their anger into meaningful steps forward," Adams told Politico. "There is going to be a lot to do after this, even to try and get the communities of color back to where they need to be for people to be able to recover from Covid, and for people to be able to recover from the shutdown and to be able to prosper."

9:46 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

WHO warns Covid-19 could fuel a rise in harmful antibiotic resistance around the world

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A health professional works in the intensive care unit ward, where patients infected with the COVID-19 are being treated, at the Santa Casa hospital in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on June 1.
A health professional works in the intensive care unit ward, where patients infected with the COVID-19 are being treated, at the Santa Casa hospital in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on June 1. Douglas Magno/AFP/Getty Image

The World Health Organization has raised alarm about the risk of using antibiotics to treat Covid-19, fueling a rise in antimicrobial resistance around the world.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses evolve in a way that makes them no longer affected by antibiotics or other medicines -- leading to infections that can no longer be treated with the medications commonly used today.

The overuse of antibiotics, or using them unnecessarily, can lead to harmful antimicrobial resistance.

WHO noted in a news release on Monday that new global data shows that bacterial infections across nations already are increasingly resistant to the medications used to the treat them -- and warned that the use of antibiotics during the coronavirus pandemic could drive this trend even more.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday.

WHO last week released clinical guidance for doctors not to use antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis among patients with mild or moderate Covid-19 unless there is a clear clinical indication to do so.

"In the current Clinical Management of COVID-19, Interim Guidance, WHO has outlined the appropriate use of antibiotic therapy for medical professionals to treat patients. Therefore, both tackling antimicrobial resistance, while also saving lives," Tedros said.

Tedros added that a "record number" of countries are continuing to monitor and report cases of antimicrobial resistance, and "as we gather more evidence, it’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines all over the world."

Additionally, using antibiotics appropriately can become a complex balancing act.

 "On the demand side, in some countries there is an overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial agents in both humans and animals. However, in many low- and middle-income countries these lifesaving medicines are out of reach for those that need them, leading to needless suffering and death," Tedros said. 

"On the supply side, there is essentially very little market incentive to developing new antibiotics and antimicrobial agents, which has led to multiple market failures of very promising tools in the past few years," Tedros said. "As well as finding new models to incentivize sustainable innovation, as seen with the Covid-19 Solidarity Trial, we must find ways to accelerate viable candidates."

 

9:41 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Iran records highest coronavirus daily increase in 2 months

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Nada AlTaher in Abu Dhabi

Members of the Iranian Red Crescent test people for coronavirus symptoms outside Tehran, Iran, on March 26.
Members of the Iranian Red Crescent test people for coronavirus symptoms outside Tehran, Iran, on March 26. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Iran has recorded more than 3,000 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest in two months, the Ministry of Health's spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said Tuesday.

According to Johns Hopkins, the last time Iran recorded a 3,000 case hike in 24 hours was on April 1.

“The number of positive cases detected in several provinces is increasing. It is reported that social distancing and wearing facial masks is not being observed in crowded areas,” Jahanpour said in a televised statement Monday.

If social distancing and hygiene standards are not observed, a new wave of infections will emerge, the spokesperson warned.

Jahanpour said that 975,936 coronavirus tests have been conducted so far in the country.

On April 11, Iran reopened "low and medium-risk" businesses like bazaars and shopping centers across the country except for Tehran, and on April 18, allowed low-risk businesses to operate in the capital, semi-official Tasnim news agency reported earlier.

9:04 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Hong Kong extends social distancing regulations over fears of a new local outbreak

From CNN's Isaac Yee in Hong Kong 

People are seen on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, on May 31.
People are seen on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, on May 31. Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials in Hong Kong have extended a ban on group gatherings of more than eight people for another two weeks following the discovery of several new locally transmitted coronavirus cases.

“We need to maintain gathering restrictions for another 14 days from June 5 to June 18,” Professor Sophia Chan, the secretary for food and health, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

She said people in Hong Kong “must not let their guard down” after new community cases with unknown sources were discovered.

Chan warned that “in the future, we expect there will be sporadic local cases or even mini-outbreaks,” adding that the government will continue to monitor the situation and try to balance public health considerations with social and economic needs.

Dr. Chuang Shuk Kwan of the Center for Health Protection confirmed six new confirmed coronavirus cases in the city on Tuesday, including four new local cases linked to a cluster of cases at a housing estate in Sha Tin.

The new cases bring Hong Kong’s total number of cases to at least 1,094, including four deaths.

The latest extension of the eight-person gathering ban will cover key upcoming protest anniversaries including the one year anniversary “2 million man march” on June 16th.

Chan also announced that the government will extend “Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation” for another three months until the September 18.  

8:09 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

133 potential Covid-19 vaccines in the works worldwide

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen and Devon M. Sayers

The World Health Organization says 133 potential Covid-19 vaccines are in development around the world, according to documents posted on the organization’s website.

Ten of the potential vaccines are in clinical trials in the United States, the UK and China.

The other 123 are in pre-clinical evaluation around the world, including at the University of Tokyo, Tulane University, the University of Alberta and the University of Pittsburgh, according to the WHO.  

8:23 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

These are the European countries lifting coronavirus restrictions this week

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Vasco Cotovio in London

Customers sit at tables with social distancing tape markers at a cafe in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, June 1.
Customers sit at tables with social distancing tape markers at a cafe in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, June 1. Peter Boer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Belgium: Preschool classes will resume from Tuesday. Lessons in primary schools will be able to resume from June 8 (possibly with a "trial" day on June 5). 

Netherlands: Restaurants, cafés and bars, cinemas, theatres and concert halls reopened Monday. Secondary schools are reopening Tuesday. Students and teachers must stay 1.5 metres apart. Primary schools will reopen from June 8. Face masks must be worn by people aged 13 and above on public transport.

Switzerland: From June 6, private and public events with up to 300 people will be allowed, including family events, fairs, concerts, plays and film screenings, as well as political and civil society demonstrations. Sports training resumes without any restrictions on group sizes from June 6. Larger groups will be allowed in restaurants from June 6 and activities such as playing pool or live music shows will also be allowed. Classroom teaching at upper secondary and vocational schools and at higher education institutions will resume from 8 June. 

Italy: Fifty museums and archeological parks will reopen Tuesday (a national holiday). More than 180 cultural institutes have reopened so far. Museums have to follow government guidelines. Games in Italy's Serie A football championship will restart on June 20. 

Portugal: Most of the country entered the third phase of de-escalation on June 1. People can gather in crowds no larger than 20 people, work in offices is gradually resuming. Larger stores and restaurants in shopping malls can re-open and the 50% maximum capacity for restaurants has ended as long as a distance of 1.5 meters is maintained. Pre-schools are reopening, along with cinema, theaters and bars and clubs on the island of Madeira until 2 a.m. Tourists do not need to quarantine when entering Portugal. Beaches will reopen June 6.

Ireland: "Phase 2" starts on June 8. People will be able to travel up to 20km away from home as opposed to the 5km limit which has been in place since May 5. Small retail outlets can reopen with a small number of staff. Public libraries may open so long as the numbers allowed in are limited, social distancing is observed and there is strict hand-sanitizing. On June 29, crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers will open in a phased manner; the opening of all other non-essential retail outlets will be phased in; cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food and beverages can reopen. They must comply with social distancing and strict cleaning protocols.

7:54 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Wuhan tests nearly 9.9 million residents with no new cases found

From Shanshan Wang in Beijing and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong  

Wuhan residents register for coronavirus testing on May 15.
Wuhan residents register for coronavirus testing on May 15. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Wuhan’s Health Commission announced Tuesday that it had completed coronavirus tests on 9.9 million of its residents with no new confirmed cases found.

"From May 14 to the end of June 1, 9,899,828 people in Wuhan have received nucleic acid tests," Lu Zuxun, of the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, said at a news conference.

Lu said no new cases had been found as a result of the city-wide testing, but 300 asymptomatic infections were discovered. China does not count asymptomatic cases as confirmed cases.

"At present, the proportion of asymptomatic infections in Wuhan is extremely low in the entire population, and no cases of asymptomatic infections infecting other people have been found," he added.

According to Hu Yabo, the deputy mayor of Wuhan, the city spent around $126 million on the testing campaign. 

6:37 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

UK government denies report into impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic communities has been delayed because of US protests  

From CNN’s Sarah Dean and Max Ramsay in London

The UK government has denied British media reports that the publication of its review into how the coronavirus pandemic has affected BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) communities has been delayed because of protests in the United States over the death of George Floyd.

The report, analyzing how different factors -- including ethnicity, gender and obesity -- can impact on people’s health outcomes from Covid-19, had been due for publication by the end of May, according to Public Health England.

It was commissioned by England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty in April, amid fears that the coronavirus pandemic is "disproportionately" affecting black and ethnic minority communities.

"There are a number of reasons for this that have been posited, and it is right that we do thorough research swiftly so that we can better understand it and take action as required," Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on April 18.

In response to CNN questions about why the report has been delayed, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said in a statement:

Ministers received initial findings yesterday [Monday]. They are being rapidly considered and a report will be published this week."

"It is not true to say this has been delayed due to global events," the spokesperson added. 

UK opposition leader, Labour's Keir Starmer, on Tuesday called on the government to "stop the excuses" and "publish the review," in a post on Twitter.

“BAME communities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. We need the findings of this review published and action taken now,” he said.

Labour's Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities, Marsha De Cordova, urged the government to name a date for publication, saying "its findings could save lives." 

"The government has already delayed the report's release from the end of May. BAME communities across the country need reassurance that this issue is being taken seriously, and not being kicked into the long grass," she said.

"It is unacceptable to delay the release of a report into the unequal suffering of the BAME community on the basis of global events that relate to the suffering of black communities around the world."

At the beginning of May, analysis by the London-based Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) found ethnic minorities in England and Wales were dying from coronavirus at far higher rates than their white peers.

The think tank found that after eliminating age and geography, people from black African backgrounds were 3.7 times as likely to die in hospital from the disease than their white British counterparts. Death rates for those from Pakistani backgrounds were 2.9 times higher than the white British group, while Bangladeshi fatalities were twice as high.

The IFS said the British study highlighted "stark inequalities" between different ethnic groups in England and Wales.

A University College London analysis of National Health Service data about patients with a positive Covid-19 test who died in hospitals in England from March 1 to April 21 found that the average risk of dying in hospital from the virus was around two to three times higher for BAME groups in England, when compared to the general population.

6:39 a.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Cruise operator to keep journeys on hold until at least October 15

From CNN's Chris Liakos

P&O cruise ships Aurora, left, and Arcadia are pictured at berth in Weymouth Bay, England, on May 17.
P&O cruise ships Aurora, left, and Arcadia are pictured at berth in Weymouth Bay, England, on May 17. Andrew Matthews/PA/Getty Images

P&O Cruises is extending the pause in its operations until October 15, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

"As a business, our operational focus is not: 'When can we resume sailing?' but instead: 'How can we develop a comprehensive restart protocol that will keep everyone on board -- crew and guests -- safe and well, and still give our guests an amazing holiday?'" P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow said.

The cruise line, which is owned by US firm Carnival, said it is in close coordination with all relevant public health bodies.