Coronavirus: What's happening around the world Friday

The United Kingdom became the second country to officially record more than 40,000 coronavirus-related deaths as more than 100 scientists wrote to the British government on Friday to urge it to reconsider lifting virus lockdown restrictions.

There are more than 6.6 million coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 391,000 deaths

WHO issues new guidance on the use of masks in fight against COVID-19


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The WHO is urging more use of masks in areas of possible community transmission and providing advice about the best materials to use for cloth masks. 2:59

The latest:

The United Kingdom became the second country to officially record more than 40,000 coronavirus-related deaths as more than 100 scientists wrote to the British government on Friday to urge it to reconsider lifting virus lockdown restrictions.

The government said another 357 people who had tested positive for the virus have died in the U.K. across all settings, including hospitals and care homes. That takes the total to 40,261, the world's second-highest pandemic death toll behind the United States.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, at the government's daily press briefing, called it "a sorrow for us all."

Britain's official human rights watchdog, meanwhile, is to mount an inquiry into the racial inequalities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has topped 6.6 million cases worldwide and led to more than 391,000 deaths.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it was a "once in a generation" opportunity to tackle deep-seated inequalities and create a fairer country. The move follows the publication of a government-commissioned report earlier this week, which found that people from ethnic minorities have died from COVID-19 in larger relative numbers in England than their white compatriots.

In this image provided by the British government, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is seen donating COVID-19 antibodies at the blood donation centre in London on Friday. (Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Reuters)

Europe could have its free-travel zone up and running again by the end of this month, but travellers from farther afield will not be allowed in before July, a European Union commissioner said Friday after talks among the bloc's interior ministers.

Free movement is a jewel in Europe's crown that helps its businesses flourish, and many European officials feared that the very future of the Schengen zone was under threat from coronavirus travel restrictions. These added to border pressures already caused by the arrival in Europe of well over one million migrants in 2015.

"I personally believe that we will return to a full functioning of the Schengen Area and freedom of movement of citizens no later than the end of the month of June," European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Friday after the video-conference meeting.

A man cleans the closed check-in counter of the airline Eurowings at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Wednesday. European officials discussed the way forward on Friday with respect to travel restrictions from inside the European Union, as well as from other countries. (Martin Meissner/The Associated Press)

The meeting came as the Czech Republic was easing restrictions with some of its neighbours: Austria, Germany and Hungary. Also Friday, Switzerland said it plans to lift restrictions on travel from EU nations and Britain on June 15. Switzerland is not an EU member but is part of the Schengen travel zone.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, whose country plans to lift its remaining border checks on June 15 like many other EU countries, said "the internal border controls will be over in all of Europe at the end of June."

Non-essential travel into Europe from outside is restricted until June 15, but many ministers suggested Friday that they want this deadline extended until early July.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell unexpectedly in May to 13.3 per cent — still on par with what the nation witnessed during the Great Depression — as states loosened their coronavirus lockdowns and businesses began recalling workers faster than economists had predicted.

A casino worker distributes buckets of sanitizing wipes at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday as the property opens for the first time since being closed on March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (David Becker/Getty Images)

The government said Friday that the economy added 2.5 million jobs last month, driving unemployment down from 14.7 per cent in April.

The U.S. accounts for more than 1.8 million cases of the novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19, and more than 108,660 deaths, a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University reported. 

As of noon ET on Friday, there were 94,325 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 52,114 cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC's reporting stood at 7,749.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Ottawa had $14 billion to help "relaunch the country" and would go to "the things that all Canadians need," such as child care and personal protective equipment. The announcement came Friday, as he also announced a one-time payment for people with disabilities.

Here's a look at what's happening with COVID-19 in Canada

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said on Thursday the country has been successful at slowing the spread of COVID-19, but warned that relaxing public health restrictions too quickly could lead to a rampant resurgence of the disease.

Tam said most of the country has seen spread of the disease diminish substantially, but there remain hot spots of community transmission in Toronto and Montreal that are concerning. In the last two weeks, Ontario and Quebec accounted for 90 per cent of new cases, and most of those were in those two cities.

Some countries have seen upticks in COVID-19 cases as lockdowns ease, and populations must protect themselves from the coronavirus while authorities continue testing, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

While most cases are mild to moderate, some people — including the elderly and people with underlying health issues — are at greater risk of severe illness and death.

Read on for a look at what's happening around the world.

Pakistani authorities backed by security forces shut down more than 3,000 shops and markets across the country in a series of raids for violating physical distancing regulations, after COVID-19 cases surpassed those in China.

The virus has spread at a fast pace since Prime Minister Imran Khan eased a lockdown in May. Pakistan on Friday reported 68 more coronavirus-related deaths, raising its overall fatalities to 1,838. As many as 4,896 more people tested positive in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day infections, bringing the overall total to 89,249.

Government officials seal shut a barber shop for not observing the standard operating procedures issued by the Pakistan government to contain the spread of coronavirus, in Peshawar on Thursday. (Muhammad Sajjad/The Associated Press)

Medical workers are bracing for a surge of COVID-19 patients and some hospitals are turning back those with mild infection, asking them to quarantine themselves at home.

Critics blame Khan for easing restrictions prematurely. The government says the virus spread because people did not adhere to physical distancing regulations.

India on Friday registered more than 9,800 new cases of the coronavirus in another biggest single-day spike. The Health Ministry said the total number of confirmed cases hit 226,770, with 6,348 deaths, 273 of them in the past 24 hours. The overall rate of recovery is around 48 per cent.

There has been a surge in infections in rural areas following the return of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who left cities after the lockdown in late March.

A street vendor arranges face masks to sell on the roadside as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Friday. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced India's contribution of $15 million US to the international vaccine alliance during his address to the virtual Global Vaccine Summit hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday. Modi said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the limitations of global co-operation and that for the first time in recent history, the world faces a clear common enemy.

Nurses at a top hospital in India's capital that treats coronavirus patients threatened Friday to stage a one-day walkout next week if working conditions don't improve.

The nurses at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a leader in treatment of COVID-19 cases, have been protesting since Monday over long shifts and the need to use congested cubicles to change in and out of personal protective equipment, a possible health risk.

More than 350 medical workers at AIIMS and 150 family members have been infected by the virus since March, said Dr. D.K. Sharma, the hospital's medical superintendent. He said about 60 per cent have recovered.

The union issued the threat to stay home from work next Wednesday after talks with the hospital administration on Thursday ended without agreement, he said. Hospital authorities refused to comment on the protest.

Iraq reported more than 1,000 new infections in a single day for the first time on Friday, with its total approaching 10,000 confirmed cases.

South Africa has seen its largest daily jump in new coronavirus cases. The 3,267 new cases bring the country's total to 40,792. More than 27,000 of those are in the Western Cape province centred on the city of Cape Town.

South Africa has the most virus cases in Africa, where the total number is now above 163,000. 

The continent still represents less than three per cent of the global total of cases, but South Africa and Egypt are hot spots, and Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is another growing concern with more than 11,000 cases and relatively little testing for the virus.

People practice physical distancing as they queue outside a Telkom branch during the coronavirus outbreak in Johannesburg earlier this week. (Marius Bosch/Reuters)

Shortages of testing and medical equipment remain a challenge across the 54-nation continent, where just 1,700 tests are being carried out per one million people.

WATCH | Are you making these mask mistakes?

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull the country out of the World Health Organization after the UN agency warned governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the virus.

A new Brazilian record for daily COVID-19 fatalities pushed Brazil's death toll past that of Italy late on Thursday, but Bolsonaro continues to argue for quickly lifting state isolation orders, arguing that their economic costs outweigh public health risks.

In an editorial running the length of newspaper Folha de S.Paulo's front page, the Brazilian daily highlighted that just 100 days had passed since Bolsonaro described the virus now "killing a Brazilian per minute" as "a little flu."

"While you were reading this, another Brazilian died from the coronavirus," the newspaper said.

Brazil's Health Ministry reported late on Thursday that confirmed cases in the country had climbed past 600,000 and 1,437 deaths had been registered within 24 hours.

With more than 34,000 lives lost, the pandemic has killed more people in Brazil than anywhere outside the U.S. and U.K.

In comments to journalists on Friday, Bolsonaro said Brazil will consider leaving WHO unless it ceases to be a "partisan political organization."

South Korea has reported 39 new cases of the coronavirus over a 24-hour period, a continuation of a modest upward trend in new infections. All but five cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea's 51 million people live.

A health official wearing protective gears puts a sample of a person into a plastic bag during COVID-19 testing at a makeshift clinic in Seoul, South Korea on Friday. (Ahn Young-joon/The Associated Press)

The additional figures released Friday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the country's total to 11,668 cases, with 273 deaths.

Muslims in Indonesia's capital held their first communal Friday prayers as mosques closed by the coronavirus outbreak for nine weeks reopened at half capacity. Authorities checked temperatures and sprayed hand sanitizers at the entrance to the mosques, and police and soldiers ensured the faithful observed physical distancing and wore masks.

WATCH l Mosques in Jakarta open for 1st time in 2 months:

Mosques in Indonesia open at half capacity


1 year ago
Places of worship are open in Indonesia for the first time in nearly 3 months due to the coronavirus lockdown.  0:37

Worshipers were asked to bring their own prayer rugs and were expected to stay at least one metre apart with no handshaking. Sermons were shortened.

Indonesia has been the hardest-hit country in east Asia outside China from the pandemic and Jakarta has been the epicentre of the outbreak, with 7,766 cases and 523 deaths.

With files from Reuters and CBC News

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