Moderna to test coronavirus vaccine on 30,000 people: Live

First experimental vaccine in the US on track to begin a huge study next month to prove if it can fend off the virus.

by , &
    • A vaccine against COVID-19 developed by US biotech firm Moderna will enter the third and final stage of its clinical trial in July with 30,000 participants, the manufacturer has announced.

    • Russia surpassed 500,000 cases after 8,779 new infections were reported by health officials. The death toll stands at 6,532, a number the World Health Organization has cast doubt over. 

    • Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the UK's coronavirus strategy, says the country's death toll could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier. The UK has more than 291,000 cases and at least 41,000 deaths.
    • Students' mental health is in focus in post-lockdown China, amid an increase in the number of suicides. In one Shanghai district, there have been 14 suicides by primary and secondary school students so far this year.
    • More than 7.36 million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus and at least 416,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

    Here are the latest updates:

    Thursday, June 11

    20:55 GMT - Who should look after refugees during the coronavirus pandemic?

    The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating effect on refugees around the world.

    Preventive measures such as physical distancing and frequent hand-washing are often difficult to implement in crowded camps.

    The aid agencies helping the refugees are struggling as well. Wealthy nations in Europe, North America and the Middle East are slashing donations, and keeping that money at home to tackle the economic fallout of the pandemic.

    Oxfam, one of the world's largest charities, laid off nearly 1,500 staff and pulled out of 18 countries last month. A recent survey estimated that global government aid will drop by $25bn by 2021.

    So, how do we ensure protection for some of the world's most vulnerable people?

    Who should look after refugees during the coronavirus pandemic? (25:00)

    20:35 GMT - IMF approves additional $111,06 mln to Rwanda to address COVID-19 

    The International Monetary Fund said it had approved an additional $111.06 million disbursement to Rwanda to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country's economy.

    "Rwanda's economic outlook has worsened since the approval of the first (Rapid Credit Facility) request on April 2, 2020, leading to a further downward revision in the 2020 GDP growth forecast from 5.1 to 2.0 percent due to deepening of the COVID-19 impact," the IMF said in a statement.

    The funding brings total IMF COVID-19 support to Rwanda to $220.46 million, it said, and will help finance the country's urgent balance of payments and budget needs.

    UK manufacturing industry 'on brink of historic collapse' (2:57)

    20:15 GMT - Pakistan's economy to contract for first time in 68 years 

    Pakistan says its economy will contract in the fiscal year ending June 30, for the first time in 68 years, as a result of the global pandemic.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on finance, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, said Thursday GDP in the outgoing fiscal year will shrink 0.4 percent, instead of an initially projected 2.4 percent growth. The new fiscal year starts July 1.

    Despite recently getting a $6 billion bailout plan from the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan’s economy has witnessed a steady decline since 2018 when Khan’s government came into power.

    On Thursday, Pakistan recorded 5,834 new confirmed cases, the highest single-day number of infections. That increased overall cases to 119,536 and COVID-19 deaths climbed to 2,356 with 101 new fatalities in the previous 24 hours.

    Pakistan has witnessed a spike in deaths and infections since last month, when Khan’s government eased lockdown - despite warnings from experts and medical professionals. Khan insists he took the decision to save the economy from a possible collapse.

    20:05 GMT - Canada to mandate masks on public transport 

    Canada’s largest city will make masks mandatory on public transit because of the pandemic.

    Mayor John Tory said effective July 2 masks will be required on the TTC. Toronto has the third busiest transit system in North America behind New York City and Mexico City. Passenger traffic has plummeted.

    19:45 GMT - Egypt to reopen tourist destinations less hard-hit by virus 

    Egypt will reopen select tourist destinations to international charter flights starting July 1, the cabinet has said, allowing travelers from around the world to return to parts of the country less hard-hit by the coronavirus. 

    The government hopes to draw tourists to popular yet remote attractions that have been spared the ravages of the virus. Those include the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula, home to the major resort and beach destination of Sharm el Sheikh, the Red Sea resort areas of Hurghada and Marsa Alam, as well as Marsa Matrouh, on the Mediterranean coast.

    The decision comes even as the pandemic surges in the densely populated capital of Cairo and other major cities, where many people say they can’t find a hospital bed. The health ministry has recorded over 39,000 cases of COVID-19 in Egypt, including 1,377 deaths - the highest confirmed death toll in the Arab world.

    However, the Cairo airport will remain closed to international commercial flights until further notice. Public parks and beaches will also stay closed until the end of June, said Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad. 

    19:30 GMT - France reports less than 30 new coronavirus deaths for second consecutive day 

    France's coronavirus death toll rose by 27 on Thursday, versus an average daily increase of 50 over the last 15 days, to 29,346, the fifth-highest total in the world.

    On Wednesday, 23 COVID-19 deaths were reported. 

    17:50 GMT - Moderna on track for large COVID-19 vaccine test in July 

    The first experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the US is on track to begin a huge study next month to prove if it really can fend off the coronavirus, its manufacturer has said. 

    The vaccine, developed by the US National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc, will be tested in 30,000 volunteers - some given the real shot and some a dummy shot. 

    Moderna said it already has made enough doses for the pivotal late-stage testing. Still needed before those injections begin: results of how the shot has fared in smaller, earlier-stage studies.

    But Moderna's announcement suggests those studies are making enough progress for the company and the NIH to get ready to move ahead. 

    Moderna launched its vaccine test in mid-March with an initial 45 volunteers. The company said it has finished enrolling 300 younger adults in its second stage of testing, and has begun studying how older adults react to the vaccine. These initial studies check for side effects and how well people's immune systems respond to different doses. But only the still-to-come huge trial can show if the vaccine works.

    The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine test in Thailand
    The vaccine will be tested in 30,000 volunteers - some given the real shot and some a dummy shot [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters] 

    17:25 GMT - British health minister urges protesters not to attend rallies

    British Health Minister Matt Hancock has said people should not attend large demonstrations for public health reasons after protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement attracted tens of thousands over the last week.

    "I understand that people want to show their passion for a cause that they care deeply about, but this is a virus that thrives on social contact, regardless of what your cause may be," he said at a daily news conference. 

    17:05 GMT - Musicians perform a virtual gala in COVID-19 lockdown 

    Theatres around the world are closed, and there is no indication of when - or if - they will reopen.

    Like many of us, the leader of the Metropolitan Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, has been in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

    He has used his time in isolation to organise his musicians and singers to stage a touching artistic triumph, online.

    17:00 GMT - Italy reports 53 coronavirus deaths, 379 new cases 

    Deaths from the COVID-19 in Italy climbed by 53 on Thursday against 71 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, but the daily tally of new cases rose to 379 from 202 on Wednesday.

    The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 34,167, the agency said, the fourth-highest in the world after those of the United States, Britain and Brazil.

    The number of confirmed cases is 236,142, the seventh-highest global tally behind those of the US, Russia, Brazil, Spain, UK and India.

    People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 30,637 from 31,710 the day before.

    The northern region of Lombardy, where the outbreak was first identified, remains by far the worst affected of Italy's 20 regions, accounting for 252 of the 379 new cases reported on Thursday.

    There were 236 people in intensive care on Thursday, down from 249 on Wednesday, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 171,338 were declared recovered against 169,939 a day earlier.

    16:20 GMT - WHO warns pandemic is 'accelerating' in Africa 

    The World Health Organization says the pandemic in Africa is "accelerating" and that while it took 98 days for the continent to reach 100,000 coronavirus cases it took just 18 days to get to 200,000.

    WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti said that community transmission has begun in more than half of Africa's 54 countries and "this is a serious sign".

    The virus largely arrived on the continent via travellers from Europe and is spreading beyond capital cities and commercial hubs into more rural areas where many health systems are unequipped to handle cases that require intensive care.

    Moeti pointed out South Africa, where the virus has spread from Western Cape province centred on Cape Town into the more rural Eastern Cape. South Africa has the continent's highest number of cases - more than 55,000.

    15:50 GMT - EU plans advance purchase of up to six promising COVID-19 vaccines

    The European Commission is seeking a mandate from EU governments to buy in advance from pharmaceutical firms up to six promising vaccines against the coronavirus, two officials told Reuters news agency. 

    The EU executive will ask EU health ministers at a video conference meeting on Friday to back the plan, as the bloc fears it may not have enough shots if a vaccine is developed, the officials said. 

    15:15 GMT - Norway allows airlines to fly full planes again 

    Norway will no longer require airlines to leave middle seats on planes empty, a measure previously introduced to reduce the risk of contamination with the novel coronavirus, the country's transport minister has said.

    The Nordic country, which advised its citizens in March not to travel abroad, is to open its borders for tourists coming from Denmark, and plans to update travel advice for other countries by June 15.

    Info board shows cancelled SAS flights at the Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
    The Nordic country which advised its citizens in March not to travel abroad is to open its borders for tourists coming from Denmark [File: Reuters]

    15:05 GMT - Germany in close contact with Turkey over travel warning 

    Germany is in close contact with countries outside Europe, including Turkey, over whether travel warnings in place due to the coronavirus pandemic can be lifted, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

    Lifting the warnings would depend on factors like the number of infections and capacity levels at local health systems, Maas said after talks with ministers from several popular holiday destinations for Germans. 

    14:30 GMT - International trade set to shrink 27 percent in Q2 after April 'nosedive' 

    International trade is set to plunge by 27 percent in the second quarter and by 20 percent for the year, as major sectors including the automotive and energy industries collapse from the effects the pandemic, a United Nations agency said.

    "Assuming persisting uncertainty, UNCTAD forecast indicates a decline of around 20% for the year 2020," the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report. "Trade in the automotive and energy sector collapsed while trade in agri-food products has been stable."

    14:15 GMT - UK's test and trace system reaches 26,985 in first week 

    The UK's Department of Health said its coronavirus tracing system contacted 31,794 people between 28 May and 3 June and of those it was able to reach 26,985, or 85 percent, and advise them to self-isolate.

    The government's test and trace system is seen as key to helping to ease lockdown measures.

    The 31,794 people were contacts of a group of 5,407 people who had tested positive for coronavirus and provided details of those they had met to the system, said the Department of Health.

    However, only two-thirds of the 8,117 people who tested positive for the virus during the period provided details of recent contacts to the system, with the remaining number not able to be reached.

    Coronavirus restrictions eased in LondonThe UK government's test and trace system is seen as key to helping to ease lockdown measures [Anadolu]

    14:10 GMT - WHO: Africa's coronavirus 'hotspots' in South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon

    Africa will have a "steady increase" in COVID-19 cases until a vaccine is developed and strong public health measures are needed in current "hotspots" in South Africa, Algeria and Cameroon, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

    "Until such time as we have access to an effective vaccine, I'm afraid we'll probably have to live with a steady increase in the region, with some hotspots having to be managed in a number of countries, as is happening now in South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon for example, which require very strong public health measures, social distancing measures to take place," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Africa regional director, told a Geneva briefing.

    14:00 GMT - Kremlin defends Russia's coronavirus death data after WHO query 

    The Kremlin has denied there was anything untoward with Russia's official coronavirus death data after the World Health Organisation said this week that the country's low death rate was "difficult to understand".

    Russia has reported more than half a million cases of the new coronavirus, the third-largest caseload in the world, and 6,532 deaths, a number that is many times lower than other countries with serious outbreaks.

    Asked if the Kremlin thought the data was strange, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "no", but that Russia's consumer health regulator would be ready to explain the data to the WHO. 


    Hi, this is Ramy Allahoum in Doha, taking over from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui.


     

    12:55 GMT - US sees 1.54 million new jobless claims as virus layoffs go on

    Another 1.54 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said, bringing the total since mid-March to 44.2 million.

    Massive numbers of workers filing weekly jobless claims have become routine since the beginning of shutdowns to stop the coronavirus from spreading but the wave has passed its peak and has been declining steadily, while some have returned to work.

    12:45 GMT - China rejects EU accusation it is spreading COVID-19 disinformation

    China's Foreign Ministry has criticised a European Union report alleging that Beijing was spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

    Spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters: "The EU evades many obvious facts but specifically mentions China. This undermines the credibility and authority of this report." Hua called the accusations against China "false".

    According to the European Commission, Russia and China have mounted "targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighbourhood and globally".

    12:20 GMT - England football star Dele Alli handed one-match suspension by FA over virus prank

    Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli will miss the Premier League restart after being suspended for a match by the Football Association, having been found guilty of misconduct after mocking the novel coronavirus outbreak.

    Alli, 24, was charged with breaching FA Rule E3 (1) after posting a video on social media of himself at an airport wearing a mask and apparently mocking a man of Asian appearance. He later apologised for the prank. 

    Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - RB Leipzig v Tottenham HotspurAlli will miss Tottenham's first game back after a coronavirus-enforced break on June 19 against Manchester United [File: Annegret Hilse/Reuters]

    11:59 GMT - Moderna to start final testing stage of coronavirus vaccine in July

    Moderna Inc confirmed it plans to start a trial of 30,000 volunteers of its much-anticipated coronavirus vaccine in July as the company enters the final stage of testing.

    The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company said the primary goal of the study would be to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

    The key secondary goal would be the prevention of the severe disease, as defined by keeping people out of the hospital.

    coronavirus vaccine moderna
    Moderna said it has selected the 100 microgram dose of the vaccine for the late-stage study; at that dose level, the company is on track to deliver about 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to one billion doses per year, starting in 2021 [File: Brian Snyder/Reuters]

    11:38 GMT - US-China trade deal 'impacted' by coronavirus

    The coronavirus epidemic "has an impact" on implementation of phase one US-China trade deal, a senior Chinese government adviser said, admitting the current relationship between the countries is "very unsatisfactory".

    US-China tensions have been rising this year since signing of the partial deal in January, with officials trading barbs over the origin of the pandemic - which first surfaced in central China and has since ravaged the world economy.

    Trump Xi
    US-China tensions have been rising this year since signing of the partial deal in January, with officials trading barbs over the origin of the pandemic - which first surfaced in central China and has since ravaged the world economy [File: Susan Walsh/AP]

    11:20 GMT - Virus pushes April asylum requests in Europe to 12-year low

    The number of asylum applications in Europe plunged 87 percent in April, to the lowest level since 2008, due to lockdown measures imposed to fight the coronavirus, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said.

    "Only 8,730 asylum applications were registered ... a record low in at least the past 12 years, and a massive decrease from pre-COVID-19 levels in January and February," it said in a statement, reporting on an area covering the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland.

    10:59 GMT - Iran says virus cases top 180,000

    More than 180,000 people have been infected in Iran's coronavirus outbreak since it first emerged nearly four months ago, an official said.

    As the figures were announced, President Hassan Rouhani called on Iranians to stick to guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.

    "If everyone follows the health instructions exactly, then all jobs can be reopened," he said in remarks broadcast on state television.

    10:40 GMT - Malaysia bars citizens from Hajj pilgrimage on coronavirus fears

    Malaysia said its citizens would be barred from making the Hajj pilgrimage this year due to concerns over the new coronavirus, following in the steps of neighbouring Indonesia, which is also a Muslim-majority nation.

    Every year, Malaysia sends tens of thousands of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina. Malaysian pilgrims may have to wait up to 20 years to make the trip due to a quota system negotiated with Saudi Arabia.

    Muslims pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power, the holiest night for Muslims, while practicing social distancing, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-1
    Saudi Arabia has suspended the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages until further notice to curb the spread of the coronavirus, though it has begun easing some restrictions on movement and travel [File: Saudi Press Agency/Reuters]

    10:20 GMT - Brussels sets out plans to reopen EU borders

    Brussels on Thursday set out plans to fully reopen the EU's internal borders on June 15 and to allow travellers from Balkan countries to enter the bloc from July 1.

    The recommendation to the EU's 27 member states comes as restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus are eased and national governments seek to restart tourism in time for the summer peak.

    09:40 GMT - Bahrain school holds graduation on F1 circuit

    As coronavirus bans wreak havoc on school-leaving events, one Bahrain school has honoured its seniors with a "drive-through" graduation ceremony complete with fireworks at the kingdom's Formula One circuit.

    In rows of well-spaced vehicles, students and their families lined up Wednesday evening in front of the main podium of Bahrain International Circuit, where Grand Prix races are held.

    This year's race was postponed as the pandemic threw the racing calendar into chaos, but the venue was repurposed to bid farewell to the Bahrain Bayan School graduates.

    09:18 GMT - UEFA set to choose schedules, venues for European football

    Match schedules and venues for international soccer in Europe disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic will be decided by UEFA next week.

    The Champions League, for this season and next, and the postponed European Championship playoffs and final tournament are at the top of the executive committee agenda published by UEFA.

    08:58 GMT - Philippines reports nine novel coronavirus deaths, 443 more infections

    The Philippines' health ministry confirmed nine more new coronavirus deaths and 443 additional infections.

    In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections have increased to 24,175 while deaths have reached 1,036.

    PHILIPPINES - HEALTH - VIRUS
    A security guard (L) takes the temperatures of passengers wearing personal protective suits at the entrance to the check-in area at the international airport in Manila [File: Ted Aljibe/AFP]

    08:40 GMT - British Airways to put artworks on sale in COVID-19 cash crunch

    British Airways will sell at least 10 works of art from its extensive collection, a source said, to try to raise millions of pounds to boost its cash reserves as it struggles through the coronavirus pandemic.

    The airline has come under fire from British politicians for plans to cut 12,000 jobs. But with planes grounded and no revenue, it says the job losses are necessary because travel demand is set to shrink in coming years.

    08:20 GMT - Russia's coronavirus cases surpass 500,000

    Russia's coronavirus caseload surpassed 500,000 on Thursday, after health officials reported 8,779 new infections.

    The nation's total currently stands at 502,436 confirmed cases, including 6,532 deaths.

    Experts both in Russia and abroad expressed doubts about the country's remarkably low pandemic death toll, with some alleging that numbers were manipulated for political reasons. The Russian government repeatedly denied the allegations.

    Despite recording almost 9,000 new cases daily for the past month, Russian authorities have started easing lockdown restrictions in many regions - including Moscow, which accounts for about 40 percent of all virus cases and almost half of officially reported deaths.

    07:59 GMT - Resurgence of virus threatens South Korea's success story

    Just weeks ago, South Korea was celebrating its hard-won gains against the coronavirus, easing social distancing, reopening schools and promoting a tech-driven anti-virus campaign President Moon Jae-in has called "K-quarantine".

    But a resurgence of infections in the Seoul region where half of South Korea's 51 million people live is threatening the country's success story and prompting health authorities to warn that action must be taken now to stop a second wave.

    South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday reported 45 fresh cases of infection, a daily rise that has been fairly consistent since late May. Most have been in the Seoul metropolitan area, where health authorities have struggled to trace transmissions.

    South Korea
    South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday reported 45 fresh cases of infection [Ahn Young/AP]

    07:38 GMT - European shares slide on Fed outlook, worries of new virus cases

    European shares moved further away from their three-month peak on Thursday after a downbeat economic outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve and on worries of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

    The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 2.6 percent, its fourth straight day of decline, with travel and leisure stocks, banks and automakers losing between 4.5 percent and 5 percent.

    A possibility of a fresh rise in U.S. coronavirus cases dampened risk appetite, with a Reuters analysis showing infections rose slightly after five weeks of declines, partly due to more testing.

    07:17 GMT - US surpasses 2 million coronavirus cases

    The US COVID-19 cases has surged past two million, according to data compiled by the Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University.

    The country has so far registered 2,000,464 coronavirus infections including nearly 113,000 deaths and more than 533,000 recoveries.

    06:58 GMT - France's Montchalin: EU must reach deal on coronavirus relief plan by July

    The European Union must reach a deal on a proposed 750 billion euro economic recovery plan to cope with the impact of the coronavirus crisis by July, French Junior European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said.

    "There is no other solution than having a deal by July. If we do not have a stimulus plan, we will have a problem," Montchalin told BFM Business radio.

    Gradual end to a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris
    France has recorded over 192,000 cases with nearly 30,000 deaths [File: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

    06:40 GMT - Heathrow starts voluntary redundancy scheme, can't rule out more job losses

    Britain's Heathrow Airport, which before the coronavirus pandemic was the busiest in Europe, said it had started a voluntary redundancy scheme after passenger numbers fell to an all-time low and it could not rule out further job losses.

    Heathrow said that passenger numbers in May were down 97 percent and it was preparing for further declines due to Britain's quarantine rule.

    06:20 GMT - India sees biggest one-day jump in cases

    India reported a record of 9,996 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours with health services in the worst-hit cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai getting swamped by the rising infections.

    The Health Ministry reported an increase of 357 deaths. India's tally of positive cases has reached 286,579 so far, the fifth highest in the world, and 8,102 deaths.

    Most Indian states have lifted lockdown restrictions, with train services partially restored and shops and manufacturing reopened. Subways, hotels and schools remain shuttered nationwide. 

    Outside image - blog - india headline
    The Health Ministry said testing capacity has increased and the number of recovered patients exceeds the number of active cases for the first time [File: Divyakant Solanki/EPA]

    06:00 GMT - Pakistani government downplays WHO warning on coronavirus spread

    Pakistan's defacto health minister has downplayed a World Health Organisation warning to the country on reimposing a lockdown in order to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

    Zafar Mirza issued a statement on Wednesday saying "we have made best sovereign decisions in the best interest of our people. We have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods".

    Pakistan registered 5,834 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, a new single-day record, taking its countrywide tally to 119,536 cases. The total death toll in the country is at 2,356.


    Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my collegue Ted Regencia.


    05:21 GMT - Arrests made over alleged body-snatching incidents in Indonesia

    Indonesian authorities have arrested dozens of people suspected of snatching the bodies of COVID-19 victims from several hospitals so the dead could be buried according to their wishes.

    Provincial police spokesman Ibrahim Tompo said that at least 33 suspects have been detained by police in South Sulawesi province in the past week. Ponto said charges against 10 of them will proceed to prosecutors.

    He says if convicted, the suspects face up to seven years in prison and $7,000 in fines for violating health laws and resisting officers.

    Indonesia has reported at least 34,316 cases and 1,923 coronavirus-related deaths in the country.

    04:45 GMT - Thailand reports no new coronavirus cases, no new deaths

    Thailand on Thursday reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths, maintaining the total of 3,125 confirmed cases and 58 fatalities, according to Reuters news agency.

    It was the first time in nearly three weeks that no cases were reported and the 17th day without a local transmission. All recent cases have been found in quarantine among Thais returning from abroad.

    There are 2,987 patients who have recovered, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government's COVID-19 Administration Centre.

    04:01 GMT - Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise 555 to 185,416

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 555 to 185,416, data obtained by Reuters from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

    The reported death toll rose by 26 to 8,755, the tally showed.

    03:51 GMT - Italian nurses demand better pay, more manpower

    Dozens of hospital nurses have protested in downtown Milan to demand better pay and the hiring of more colleagues, AP news agency reported.

    Nurses have been hailed as Italy's heroes during the country's COVID-19 outbreak. But organisers of the protest noted that nurses in Italy are among the lowest paid in Europe.

    Recently, three nurses, including one who collapsed on a keyboard from exhaustion while caring for infected patients, were among those honoured by the Italian president for special service to the nation. At least 40 nurses with the virus have died in Italy. The country reported more than 235,000 cases and at least 34,000 deaths.

    Coronavirus - Italy
    Nurses belonging to the NurSind union hold up signs with writing in Italian: "We honour our fallen in the fight against COVID-19" as they stage a protest calling for better working conditions in Milan on Wednesday [Luca Bruno/AP]

    03:23 GMT - Puerto Rico eyes lifting of quarantine restrictions

    As Puerto Rico considers lifting pandemic quarantine restrictions, health officials say the US territory passed its peak of coronavirus cases and related deaths more than two months ago. However, independent experts said those numbers are in doubt.

    Health Department consultant Miguel Valencia said at a news conference that Puerto Rico's confirmed COVID-19 cases peaked at 84 cases on March 31 and deaths at six on April 6. Overall, Puerto Rico has reported more than 5,300 cases and at least 143 deaths on the island of 3.2 million people.

    02:50 GMT - Japan eyes partial reopening to business trips this summer

    Japan - coronavirus
    Japan has an estimated 17,146 coronavirus infections and 922 fatalities [Franck Robichon/EPA]

    Japan may restart business trips to and from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand as early this summer, easing an entry ban to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday quoting the Yomiuri newspaper.

    Up to 250 business travellers a day will most likely be allowed into Japan from the four countries, which have seen their infection situations stabilise, the newspaper said, without citing sources.

    Prospective visitors will be required to submit a document ahead of their trips to Japan showing they are not infected, and will be asked to go through a PCR, or polymerase chain reaction test, upon entry, the paper said.

    In another step to ease coronavirus-related restrictions, the Tokyo metropolitan government is set to lift the "Tokyo alert" issued last week to urge residents to keep up their guard as early as the end of the week, the Nikkei business daily said. The number of daily new infections in Tokyo has stayed below 20 for the past four days.

    02:31 GMT - South Korea reports 45 new infections

    South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thurday 45 new coronavirus cases, including 40 local infections - a slight decrease from 50 the previous day.

    The total caseload in the country now stands at 11,947, with a total of 10,654 considered recovered, according to Yonhap news agency quoting the country's health agency.

    The total death tally remained unchanged at 276, with the fatality rate reaching 2.31 percent.

    02:07 GMT - China reports 11 imported coronavirus cases

    China has reported a small spike in imported confirmed cases of coronavirus to 11. There were no new deaths or cases of local transmission in Thursday's report.

    Chinese officials say just 62 people remain in treatment for COVID-19. In addition, 130 people are under observation and isolation for showing signs of the illness or testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms, as a safeguard against them possibly spreading it to others.

    China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 - a figure that has not changed in weeks - among 83,057 cases recorded since the virus was first detected in the central industrial city of Wuhan late last year.

    01:25 GMT - Latin America hits 70,000 pandemic deaths, daily record in Mexico

    Latin America's coronavirus crisis reached a grim new milestone on Wednesday with total deaths exceeding 70,000, according to a Reuters count, as Mexico hit a daily record for confirmed infections.

    Brazil, with the largest economy in the region, remains Latin America's most affected country as total fatalities are just shy of 40,000, the world's third highest death toll after the United States and Britain.

    In the region's second biggest country, Mexico, a new daily record of 4,883 confirmed cases was reported by the health ministry, along with 708 additional fatalities. The daily totals bring Mexico's overall official count to 129,184 infections and 15,357 deaths.

    00:01 GMT - Mexico City to increase COVID-19 testing defying national government

    Coronavirus - Mexico
    Medical staff protest in Acapulco against the non-payment of the COVID-19 bond for the healthcare workers looking after those infected by the virus [David Guzman/EPA]

    Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum says the capital will embark on a large-scale COVID-19 testing effort as the centrepiece of its plan to reopen its economy, diverging from the federal government's strategy, which has shunned widespread testing as a waste of resources.

    The goal will be performing some 100,000 tests a month by July and will use the results to detect and isolate new clusters of infection as quickly as possible, Sheinbaum said in a news conference. It will be paired with an intensive information campaign.

    The sprawling city of nine million - with an equal number or more in the suburbs - has confirmed more than 32,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 3,200 deaths, both considered to be undercounted because of limited testing. Nationwide, there were more than 129,000 cases and 15,357 deaths as of the end of Wednesday.


    Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera's continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I'm Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur.

    ______________________________________________________________

    Read all the updates from yesterday (June 10) here.

    What is the psychological cost of the coronavirus?

    Inside Story

    What is the psychological cost of the coronavirus?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies