Coronavirus: Iran reports 2,000 new cases; Morocco to lock down cities

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide has now topped 16m

A small church is disinfected in Ilha Marrecão, Brazil. Photograph: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

A small church is disinfected in Ilha Marrecão, Brazil. Photograph: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times


The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has topped 16 million.

According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, the US leads the count with more than 4.1 million confirmed cases, followed by 2.3 million in Brazil and 1.3 million in India.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported a record number of 284,196 new cases of the disease worldwide on Friday and 284,083 new cases on Saturday – the highest volume since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are updates on the pandemic from across the world:

Quarantine row

Spain’s government has insisted the country is safe for tourists and Spaniards, after the UK on Sunday abruptly imposed a two-week quarantine on travellers returning from Spain, a decision that filled holidaymakers with dismay.

Meanwhile, an investigation by El País newspaper published on Sunday showed that Spain’s Covid-19 death toll could be nearly 60 per cent higher than the official figure of 28,432.

In the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported 4,163,892 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 64,582 cases from its previous daily count, and said the number of deaths from the disease had risen by 929 to 145,942. Prior to Sunday the US had recorded more than 1,000 deaths a day from Covid-19 for five days running.

The US state of Florida recorded 9,300 new coronavirus cases, becoming the second state after California to overtake New York, which was the worst-hit state in terms of cases at the start of the US outbreak, according to a Reuters tally.

President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans in the Senate are set to unveil a $1 trillion US coronavirus relief Bill on Monday that includes reduced federal unemployment benefits, with treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin saying he believes they can work with Democrats to move quickly on the legislation.

Meanwhile, the health minister of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Dr Jesus Grajeda, has died, Chihuahua’s governor said on Sunday, nearly two weeks after Dr Grajeda was hospitalised with Covid-19.

Tourist season

The latest uptick in cases in many European countries appears to have coincided with the start of the summer tourist season. The surge highlights the dilemma facing policymakers: on one hand they fear reimposing a shutdown that has devastated their economies, but on the other they worry the return of mass travel will trigger a second wave of the pandemic.

In North Korea, leader Kim Jong-un said he believes “the vicious virus” may have entered the country, and placed the city of Kaesong, near the border with South Korea, under total lockdown after a person was found with suspected Covid-19 symptoms.

Mr Kim convened an emergency politburo meeting in response to what he called a “critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”, the North’s KCNA state news reported.

A person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the fortified border that divides the two Koreas to the town of Kaesong this month with symptoms of Covid-19, KCNA reported.

“An emergency event happened in Kaesong city where a runaway who went to the South three years ago, a person who is suspected to have been infected with the vicious virus, returned on July 19th after illegally crossing the demarcation line,” KCNA said.

China reported 46 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, its highest such daily tally in more than a month, as it took steps to stem recent outbreaks that have infected more than 160 people at opposite ends of the country.

China has recorded 83,830 cases and 4,634 deaths since the pandemic began. The National Health Commission said that 288 patients remain in treatment, including 18 in a critical condition.

Record toll

In Australia, Victoria state recorded 10 deaths overnight – its highest such daily toll amid a continuing surge in cases.

State premier Daniel Andrews said the deaths included seven men and three women, including a man in his 40s.

Elsewhere, Vietnam reintroduced social distancing measures in the central city of Danang after the country reported four locally transmitted coronavirus cases over the past two days.

Iran on Sunday reported another 216 fatalities and 2,333 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising its death toll to 15,700 from 291,172 known cases. The level of infection is “red” over most of Iran, as one in five deaths in the country is linked to Covid-19, deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi said on state TV.

Morocco will stop people entering and leaving some of its biggest cities from midnight to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases, the interior and health ministries said on Sunday. The cities to be locked down include the economic powerhouse of Casablanca as well as Tangier, Marrakech, Fez and Meknes. The country eased a nationwide lockdown a month ago, though international flights are still suspended, except for special flights by national airlines carrying Moroccans or foreign residents.

On Sunday, the Moroccan health ministry said 633 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, one of its biggest daily rises so far, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 20,278, with 313 deaths. – Agencies