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June 6, 2020

COVID-19 worldwide toll crosses 395,000

Top Story

June 6, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The coronavirus pandemic has killed at least 395,714 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, according to international media reports.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 110,742 deaths, followed by Britain with 40,261, Brazil with 34,212, Italy with 33,774, and France with 29,111 fatalities.

Brazil´s death toll from the new coronavirus has surpasses Italy´s to become the third-highest in the world, underlining the problem the virus is posing for Latin America, the pandemic´s latest epicentre.

Brazil reports a new record of 1,473 deaths in 24 hours, bringing its overall toll to 34,212. It has now confirmed 621,877 infections, the second-largest caseload in the world, behind the United States. The pandemic is now "under control" in France, the head of the government´s scientific advisory council said, as Europe cautiously lifts a lockdown imposed in March.

"The virus is still circulating, in certain regions in particular... but it is circulating slowly," Jean-Francois Delfraissy told France Inter radio. The Czech Republic said it will fully open borders with Austria and Germany, 10 days earlier than planned.nLas Vegas casinos throw open their doors on Thursday after 11 weeks of closure, with roulette wheels and slot machines whirring to life minutes after midnight. The Indonesian capital Jakarta has reopened mosques for the first time in nearly three months.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also cancelled a weekend curfew, pointing to concerns over the economy.

Turkey has been locked down on weekends and public holidays since April, and the interior ministry said in the early hours of Friday that 15 cities would again be shuttered this weekend. However, hours later Erdogan announced on Twitter that he had cancelled the curfew after "feedback from our citizens" suggested it would have a negative economic impact.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) updated guidance on wearing facemasks during the coronavirus pandemic, encouraging their use in crowded situations in places where the new coronavirus is widespread.

As the deadly virus continues to spread, the WHO changed its stance on who should wear a mask, when it should be worn and what it should be made of.

"Governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"In areas with community transmission, we advise that people aged 60 years or over, or those with underlying conditions, should wear a medical mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible," he added.

The WHO also issued new guidance on the composition of non-medical fabric masks, advising that they should consist of at least three layers of different material.

A study showed Friday that about 53,000 people in England had the coronavirus in the last two weeks of May but less than a third of those who tested positive had symptoms. The survey of almost 20,000 people in private homes found that 21 people had the disease, the Office for National Statistics said.

"At any given time between 17 May and 30 May 2020, we estimated that an average of 0.1 percent of the community population had COVID-19," it said. "This equates to an average of 53,000 people in England."

Only 29 percent of those who returned positive tests reported feeling symptoms at any time, the data showed. The number of daily new coronavirus cases in Iran has fallen back to under 3,000, the health ministry said Friday, a day after hitting a new peak.

Authorities registered 2,886 new cases of infection, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said, bringing the total number to 167,156 since the start of the outbreak in February.

The Islamic republic on Thursday announced a record 3,574 daily infections, passing a high point set in March, after breaching the 3,000-mark for several days.

Jahanpour said Friday that 63 more people had died, with the official death toll now at 8,134, the highest in the Middle East.

There has been some scepticism at home and abroad about Iran´s official figures, with concerns the real toll could be much higher.

Authorities have been progressively lifting restrictions imposed to curb the outbreak, and life has almost returned to normal in most of the country´s 31 provinces.

But the southwestern province of Khuzestan remains classified as a "red zone" -- the highest level of risk in the country, and with greater restrictions.

Seven other provinces, mainly in the south and west, are still under a "health alert", Jahanpour said, down from nine announced earlier this week.

He urged people in these areas to "follow social distancing instructions, wear a mask and avoid unnecessary travel".

The rising trajectory of infection figures since a low in early May has authorities worried, and the health ministry has stepped up a public health campaign.

Officials have also suggested the surge could be a result of wider testing, with Jahanpour saying Thursday that Iran had conducted over a million tests.