17 June

Global: Deaths worldwide passed 440,000. According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data, the global coronavirus death toll stands at 441,668. There are 8,162,276 known infections.

A cheap steroid has become the first life-saving treatment in the Covid-19 pandemic, described by scientists as “a major breakthrough” and raising hopes for the survival of thousands of the most seriously ill.

Food poses little risk of spreading the coronavirus, governments and industry groups from the US to Chile said, reassuring consumers after an outbreak in Beijing was blamed on imported fish. However, China’s customs authorities have started testing all shipments of imported meat for the coronavirus while officials in some major cities are also checking the products at domestic markets.

US: New coronavirus infections hit record highs in six US states on Tuesday. Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas all reported record increases in new cases on Tuesday after recording all-time highs last week. Nevada also reported its highest single-day tally of new cases on Tuesday, up from a previous high on 23 May.

Brazil: Brazil has had its worst day for new confirmed cases, recording 34,918 in 24 hours to bring its overall total to 923,189 total infections. The health ministry said the country has also suffered 1,282 deaths since the last update on Monday, bringing the number of confirmed fatalities there to 45,241.

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India: Mumbai revised its official death toll from the coronavirus, adding 862 fatalities in India’s epicenter of the outbreak.

Germany: The number of new cases in Germany remained far below the level at the height of the outbreak. There were 570 new infections in the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, bringing the total to 188,252 according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Japan: Japanese researchers confirmed coronavirus testing in sewers as possible outbreak warning system. The researchers confirmed the presence of the coronavirus in wastewater plants, a finding that could serve as a signal for future outbreaks. The findings mirror similar studies in Australia, the United States, and Europe.

Mexico: Mexico’s 730 deaths are its third-highest one-day total, AP reports. Even as Mexico announced plans for reopening churches and religious events, the country posted near-record numbers of newly confirmed cases and deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday.

Guinea-Bissau: More than 170 of Guinea-Bissau’s 2,000 health workers have contracted Covid-19, a World Health Organization expert said on Tuesday, warning that hospitals were close to being overwhelmed.

Honduras: The President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez said he and his wife are infected with Covid-19. Hernandez, 51, said in a national address that he began to feel unwell over the weekend and that he has light symptoms. Hernandez said he has enough energy to keep working.

Lockdown updates

Europe: European airlines are offering some attractive discounts to people itching for an escape from months of coronavirus lockdown. But fares could rise quickly as demand picks up.

China: Beijing raised its emergency level as dozens of new coronavirus cases emerged and residents were barred from any “unessential” travel. Authorities reported 31 new cases of the virus in Beijing as of Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 137 over the past six days.

New Zealand: The New Zealand government has so far identified 320 close contacts of the two women, who were not tested before they were released on compassionate grounds. PM Jacinda Ardern said she would not be replacing Minister of Health David Clark.

Australia: Australia says it expects its borders will remain closed until next year, although it might ease restrictions on students and other visitors who plan to stay for a longer period of time.


Economic updates

UK: The UK began talks with Australia and New Zealand on free trade deal. Australia and New Zealand are about to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement with the UK in what the Australian trade minister said was “a strong signal of our mutual support for free trade” in a post-Covid-19 world.

US: Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. asked the Central District of California to dismiss emotional distress claims brought by passengers who sailed aboard the Grand Princess after at least two passengers on its prior journey showed symptoms of coronavirus.