Coronavirus: What's happening around the world on Friday
WHO chief says impacts of pandemic will be 'felt for decades to come' as global deaths hit 675,000
- Impacts of pandemic will be 'felt for decades to come,' WHO chief says.
- Trudeau says EI-like benefit for gig, contract workers will be available after CERB ends.
- Ottawa poised to extend commercial rent relief into August.
- Federal contact-tracing app made available today to residents of Ontario.
- Toronto, Peel Region enter Stage 3 of pandemic recovery plan.
- Total lockdown reinstated in western Libya.
- U.S. coronavirus relief benefit runs out today.
- Trump can't delay the election, but might avoid running instead.
World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday the global coronavirus outbreak is the sort of disaster whose effects will last far into the future, as most of the world's population remains vulnerable to infection.
"Early results from serology [antibody] studies are painting a consistent picture: most of the world's people remain susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks," Tedros told a meeting of WHO's emergency committee.
"Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths."
The pandemic has killed more than 675,000 people since emerging in Wuhan, China, with more than 17 million cases diagnosed. The United States, Brazil, Mexico and Britain have been particularly hard hit in recent weeks by the COVID-19 disease, as their governments have struggled to come up with an effective response.
Meanwhile, more than around 150 pharmaceutical companies are working on vaccines, although their first use cannot be expected until early 2021, the WHO said last week.
WATCH | Fauci explains why the U.S. is not defeating coronavirus:
In the U.S., infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci pushed back on Republicans' continued promotion of hydroxycholoroquine as a possible coronavirus remedy at a Friday hearing of the House of Representatives subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis.
Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri submitted into the record a study conducted at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit showing benefits to treating some coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine, best known as an anti-malaria drug.
"That study is a flawed study," said Fauci, stressing it wasn't a randomized, placebo-controlled trial and that patients also received corticosteroids, which in a separate study exhibited benefits for seriously ill patients.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said talks with the White House on a new coronavirus aid bill were not yet on a path toward reaching a deal Friday, hours before the expiration of a federal unemployment benefit that has been an essential lifeline for millions of Americans.
Negotiations were to continue on Friday between White House officials and congressional Democrats. Pelosi, the nation's top elected Democrat, said she thinks Congress and the White House eventually will come together on legislation, although she gave no timetable.
In some of her toughest criticisms so far, she said Republican delays on legislation and "distortions" about the pandemic have "caused death unnecessarily."
The CARES Act in March included a provision for an additional $600 US in jobless benefits for those eligible, with an expiry date of July 31.
The White House on Friday sought to put the onus on Democrats in Congress for a failure to renew the benefits, saying they had rejected four offers put forward by the Trump administration without countering.
Around the world, the coronavirus continues to disrupt major events.
Small groups of pilgrims performed one of the final rites of the Islamic hajj on Friday, a far cry from the 2.5 million pilgrims who took part last year. This year as few as 1,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia were allowed to perform the hajj.
The last days of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca coincide with the four-day Eid al-Adha, or "Feast of Sacrifice," in which Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.
The pandemic has pushed millions of people around the world closer to the brink of poverty, making it harder for many to fulfil the religious tradition of purchasing livestock.
In professional sports, six Major League Baseball teams were idled Friday by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest game to be postponed was Milwaukee's home opener against St. Louis, called off hours before the first pitch after two Cardinals players tested positive.
What's happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 9 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 116,312 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 101,227 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting indicates that 8,971 Canadians have died.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government plans to move out-of-work Canadians into the employment insurance (EI) system and provide parallel support for millions of people who are set to exhaust their emergency pandemic aid, and who don't have EI to fall back on.
The $80-billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is set to wind down over the coming weeks, and those who are EI-eligible are to start drawing assistance that way.
Speaking Friday morning, Trudeau said many people who don't qualify for CERB, such as gig or contract workers, will gain access to a transitional, parallel benefit that is similar to EI.
WATCH | Canadians using CERB benefit will transition to EI, Trudeau says:
Canada's economy expanded by 4.5 per cent in May, a strong bounce back from the low hit in April, but still 15 per cent below the level it was at in February, before COVID-19 hit.
Economists had been expecting a rebound of about 3.5 per cent, so May's numbers were better than expected. And the agency says preliminary data for June is even better, up five per cent from May's level.
But the numbers underline just how long the road back from COVID-19 is for Canada's economy. Output is still 15 per cent below where it was.
In Ontario, Toronto and Peel Region joined the rest of the province on Friday in Stage 3 of their COVID-19 recovery plan, as the Ministry of Health reported an uptick in new daily cases.
Also as of Friday, residents of Ontario can download a new app that can tell them whether they have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 over the previous two weeks.
- New COVID-19 notification app rolls out in Ontario
- Back to school: How provinces are planning for start of school year during pandemic
- Toronto, Peel move into Stage 3 as Ontario reports uptick in new COVID-19 cases
WATCH | Doctor answers viewer questions about returning to school:
What's happening in the rest of the world
Venezuela's president unveiled hundreds of hospital beds set up inside a sports dome in the capital of Caracas as his government prepares for a possible wave of infections.
President Nicolas Maduro went on state TV to show off the converted complex Friday as he urged Venezuelans to stop throwing parties and wash their hands to prevent the virus's spread. Inside, the dome's floor is walled off with beds. Outside, dozens of tents in the parking lot hold even more.
Venezuelan officials have reported 164 deaths from COVID-19 so far, among more than 18,000 confirmed infections. The official daily count Friday hit an all-time high with 715 new reported illnesses.
The internationally recognized Libyan government based in Tripoli on Friday reinstated a total lockdown for at least five days to curb the growing coronavirus outbreak in the war-torn country.
With Libya's health system and infrastructure devastated by nine years of conflict, the UN-supported government ordered people in western Libya to stay inside unless they have to purchase essentials.
Libya is divided between rival administrations in the west and east. It has reported 3,621 confirmed coronavirus infections and 74 fatalities due to COVID-19, but testing nationwide remains extremely limited.
WATCH | British prime minister postpones next stage of lockdown lifting in U.K.:
Prime Minister Boris Johnson put some planned measures to ease the U.K.'s lockdown on hold Friday, just hours before they were due to take effect, saying the number of new coronavirus cases in the country is on the rise for the first time since May.
Johnson said at a news conference that statistics show the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community is likely increasing, with an estimated 4,900 new infections every day, up from 2,000 a day at the end of June.
He called off plans to allow venues, including casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, to open from Saturday, Aug. 1. Wedding receptions were also put on hold, along with plans to allow limited numbers of fans back into sports stadiums and audiences into theatres.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Friday that the government will postpone highly anticipated legislative elections by one year, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese region.
The Hong Kong government is invoking an emergency ordinance in delaying the elections. Lam said the government has the support of the Chinese government in making the decision to hold the elections on Sept. 5, 2021.
The postponement is a setback for the opposition, which was hoping to win a historic majority in the Legislative Council, where only half the seats are directly elected and the other half stacked with pro-Beijing figures.
Vietnam's Health Ministry reported the country's second COVID-19 death on Friday, as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days without any cases.
The 61-year-old man died Friday afternoon at a hospital in Danang city, where Vietnam last week detected its first domestically transmitted coronavirus infections in more than three months, the ministry said in a statement.
The country reported its first ever COVID-19 death — that of a 70-year-old man who contracted the disease while being treated for a kidney illness at a hospital in Danang — earlier Friday.
Vietnam had been seen as a global success story in combating the coronavirus with zero deaths and no cases of local transmission for 99 days. But a week ago an outbreak began at the Danang hospital. It has grown to 93 confirmed cases in six parts of the country, including three of the largest cities, and forced authorities to re-impose restrictions.
A record surge of 55,079 new cases in the past 24 hours took India's coronavirus caseload past 1.6 million, as the government decided to lift a nighttime curfew that has been in force since late March.
The country's Health Ministry on Friday also reported 779 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 35,747. The ministry said more than 1 million people have recovered from the virus at a rate of 64 per cent.
WATCH | South Africa overwhelmed with rising coronavirus cases:
South Africa's number of confirmed coronavirus cases is edging close to half a million, with the Health Ministry reporting 11,046 new cases overnight.
That brings the country's caseload to 482,169, including 7,812 deaths.
Corruption in the country's pandemic response is also a growing problem. On Thursday, the health minister in Gauteng province, the epicentre of the country's outbreak, was forced to step down over corruption allegations related to government contracts for COVID-19 personal protective equipment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that now, more than ever, South Africa's persistent problem with widespread graft is endangering people's lives. South Africa makes up well over half the cases on the African continent and has the world's fifth-highest virus caseload.
With files from CBC News and Reuters