Coronavirus: latest global developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– ‘Explosive spread’ in Okinawa –

Japan’s Okinawa region declares a state of emergency and governor Denny Tamaki asks people to stay home for two weeks as the popular tourist destination sees an “explosive spread” of cases, reporting 71 new infections, bringing its total to 395.

The majority of the cases have been detected among US forces based in Okinawa.

– Hong Kong emergency hospital –

The financial hub opens a temporary field hospital in its AsiaWorld-Expo exhibition centre with 500 beds to house stable virus patients.

Once a poster child for tackling the virus, Hong Kong has seen a new outbreak, recording 125 fresh cases in 24 hours — the 11th day in a row it has registered above 100 infections, and the death toll has risen from seven to 31 since July.

– More than 680,000 deaths – 

The pandemic has killed at least 680,014 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, with more than 17.6 million people infected, according to an AFP tally at 1100 GMT on Saturday based on official sources.

The United States has the most deaths with 153,314, followed by Brazil with 92,475, Mexico 46,688, Britain with 46,119, and India with 36,511 fatalities.

– South Korea nabs sect leader –

Lee Man-hee, 88, the leader of a secretive South Korean sect at the centre of the country’s early outbreak is arrested for allegedly giving inaccurate records of church gatherings and false lists of its members to health authorities.

– Massive layoffs at LATAM –

Latin America’s biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, says it will lay off at least 2,700 crew after failing to reach a deal with the aviation workers’ union on reducing pay.

– ‘Losing battle’ in Philippines –

Dozens of doctors’ groups say the Philippines is losing the virus fight, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to tighten a recently eased lockdown as the country posts another record nearly 5,000 new cases and hospitals turn away patients.

“We are waging a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” the open letter says, signed by eighty medical associations representing tens of thousands of doctors.

– Greece welcomes cruise ships –

Greece reopens six of its main ports including Piraeus, Rhodes and Corfu to cruise ships for the first time in the shortened tourism season, but cruises will only restart after August 20. 

– Sporting doubts –

Event organisers of the Madrid Open tennis tournament — rescheduled from May to September — say the regional government of Madrid has recommended the event be cancelled due to new outbreaks.