December 4, 2020

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Coronavirus latest: Tokyo restores restrictions after spike

Toyko is bringing back some lockdown measures, urging people to stay home after a spike in cases. Elsewhere, former high-ranking politicians have called for a G20 summit to help poor countries.

  • The number of global deaths now stands at 375,208 with over 6 million confirmed cases
  • City of Tokyo issues stay-home alert after a sharp jump in new infections
  • Brazil reports 11,598 new cases of COVID-19 and 623 deaths in the last 24 hours.
  • More than 225 prominent politicians and experts call for a G20 meeting to launch global economic recovery plan

All times in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

23:50 We are now closing coverage on these updatesHead over to Wednesday’s coverage for the latest

23:09 The total number of coronavirus deaths in Brazil has now surpassed 30,000.

The Latin American country reported 28,936 additional cases of coronavirus infections and a new record number of daily deaths with 1,262 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Brazil has now registered 555,383 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 31,199 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

22:55 Across Latin America, many health care professionals are reporting that they have little or no access to personal protective equipment. They are carrying the heaviest burden in the fight against the coronavirus.

22:33 Movie shoots that came to a standstill following the coronavirus lockdown now aim to resume. The film industry was inspired by the Bundesliga’s concept — with quarantines and constant testing — to keep cameras rolling.

22:00 Britain has confirmed that it is looking into whether “air bridges” can be established with countries that have a low rate of coronavirus infections. The move would exempt these countries from controversial quarantine measures. Last month, Britain had announced a plan whereby international arrivals from June 8 will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Many airlines and business leaders have criticized this blanket approach.

Ireland is the only country that is exempted from the quarantine measures so far. Lorry drivers, police officers, seasonal farm workers and healthcare workers are also already exempt from the quarantine plan, which will be initially reviewed after three weeks.

“We are working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so we can go abroad and tourists can come here,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. 

He added that the measures will be reviewed every few weeks.

A statement from the interior ministry confirmed that these plans involve “arrangements, known as ‘air bridges’ or international travel corridors” which would “remove self-isolation measures and safely open up routes to and from countries with low transmission rates”.

The statement said there would need to be an agreement with individual countries before the implementation of these measures. 

21:10 Belgium has been criticized for its seemingly sky-high COVID-19 death toll, which currently has one of the highest death toll per capita rates in the world.

Belgium’s head of viral diseases told DW that the high numbers are actually the result of a radically transparent system. Even suspected COVID-19 cases are counted regardless whether the deceased person was tested.

21:00 Zoom Video Communications Inc has seen its revenue rocket in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which has gone from a purely business-oriented tool to also being part of the social hangouts market, has reported a first-quarter revenue of $328.2 million (€293.8 million), easily surpassing analysts’ forecasts of $202.7 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

As a result of the jump, Zoom has increased its full-year revenue prediction to between $1.78 billion and $1.80 billion. Previously it forecast $905.0 million to $915 million.

20:40 British lawmakers have spent over an hour in lengthy lines in the House of Commons, casting their first ever socially-distanced votes.

The government has abandoned the notion of remote voting and debates by video conference. Now lawmakers have been told to return to parliament, queuing two metres apart.

“Voting while enjoying a sunny walk or whilst watching television does democracy an injustice… We ask members to vote in person for a reason: because it is the heart of what parliament is about,” House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said.

Some critics described the elongated method as a farce, while others dubbed it the ‘Rees Mogg Conga’ on Twitter.

“A total farce … This is supposed to be a functioning parliamentary democracy, not a theme park,” opposition Labour lawmaker Afzal Khan posted on Twitter.

20:15 Here’s a wrap of the latest in Europe:

Germany’s governing coalition has been unable to reach a final decision over a massive economic stimulus package to combat the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc and their Social Democrats (SPD) said they plan to resume talks during a Cabinet meeting the following day.

Greece is preparing to accept tourists from around the globe this summer, but will follow the advice of health experts. “Every tourist is welcome. … This has been a very stressful year for everyone, and the refilling of the batteries is the call of the day,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said. “But of course, we will have to wait for the experts, for the international bodies, to say when this is safe to do so.”

France’s coronavirus death toll increased by more than a 100 for the first time in 13 days. The health ministry said the number of fatalities had risen by 107, or 0.4%, to 28,940 — the fifth-highest tally in the world. The figures came a day after Parisian cafes and restaurants partially reopened for the first time in 11 weeks. Indoor tables remain closed to customers until at least June 22. Outdoor seating require one meter (3 feet) between all tables. Meanwhile, defying a coronavirus-related ban, thousands of protesters gathered at Paris’ main courthouse to show solidarity with US protesters denouncing the killing of George Floyd and to condemn the death of a black man – Adama Traore – in French police custody.

France has also launched its StopCovid coronavirus tracking app. Users can voluntarily download the app on their smartphones. If a user of the app tests positive for COVID-19, they will have the ability to send a notification to every person they came into close contact with for at least 15 minutes. The app, which uses Bluetooth technology, says it will not disclose any personal data, and records will be erased when the crisis is over. 

Italian opposition leaders, including the far-right Northern League party chief Matteo Salvini, marched with hundreds of protesters on Italy’s national day to demand the government resign, defying a ban on large rallies due to the coronavirus. The protest was declared as a silent sit-in and in accordance with social distancing rules, but it soon turned into a mass rally led by Salvini as well as Giorgia Meloni of the far-right Brothers of Italy, and Antonio Tajani, co-founder of ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia.

Russia reported 8,863 new COVID-19 cases and 182 deaths, as the nationwide outbreak showed little sign of subsiding. The country has recorded more than 8,000 new cases per day for the past month as total cases during the pandemic exceeded 423,000, including more than 5,000 deaths. Its total tally is the third-most worldwide, behind only the US and Brazil.

Slovenia has deployed around 1,000 additional police to its border with Croatia amid an expected surge in migration toward Western Europe with the relaxing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Police are using surveillance drones, thermal cameras, motion detection cameras and helicopters, according to Slovenia’s Deputy Police Commissioner Joze Senica.

The Spanish government is seeking to extend its state of emergency until June 21 when most remaining restrictions on movement and businesses are set to be lifted. Figures showed that new confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths are at its lowest since before Spain’s nationwide lockdown in mid-March. The extension still needs to be approved by Spain’s lower house of parliament.

Ukrainian soccer club Karpaty Lviv has been placed in quarantine after 25 of its players tested positive for the coronavirus, the country’s Premier League said in a statement. Sixty-five people were tested for the virus. Ukraine has registered a total of 24,340 cases of the coronavirus and 727 deaths.

The European Commission (EC) has begun a process to overhaul pharmaceutical manufacturing rules to make medicines and vaccines more easily available for Europeans. The Commission cited antibiotics, cancer medicines and vaccines as essential items often in short supply across the bloc, adding that the shortage is expected to worsen if a COVID-19 vaccine is developed due to an insufficient lab capacity to manufacture large amounts of vaccine doses. 

19:53 Sweden has left residents to decide for themselves how to behave in the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s outraged some foreign residents, who now plan to move away from the country as soon as they can.

While most countries have opted for lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Sweden has gone a different route, releasing loose guidelines on social distancing, leaving schools, restaurants and bars open and asking citizens to act responsibly. The Swedish strategy has elicited praise and condemnation both at home and abroad.

People who feel they have been affected adversely by Sweden’s policy — or who would rather the country took a different tack — have started forging plans to move away once the pandemic is over.

19:25 South Africa’s lockdown has been declared illegal as it goes against the country’s constitution, the High Court of Gauteng Province has ruled.

The court has given the government 14 days to alter the regulations so they do not infringe upon people’s rights.

The restrictions, which began on March 27, prohibit the sale of cigarettes and mean most businesses and factories cannot operate at full capacity. The lockdown has also put a stop to large public gatherings whilst funerals must have no more than 50 people in attendance.

South Africa currently has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the continent with more than 34,000 infections, from which 705 people have died.

18:08 Germany’s governing coalition has been unable to reach a final decision on a massive economic stimulus package to combat the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing a possible decision back to Wednesday.

Members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc and their co-governing Social Democrats (SPD) said they plan to negotiate on the deal on Tuesday and resume talks during a Cabinet meeting the following day.

Some of the major sticking points in the plan are about aid for lower and middle-income households as well as whether to push for more environmentally-friendly policies — particularly in cash incentives to buy new cars.

The plans so far include cash handouts for families, extra relief for municipalities struggling with lower tax revenues and funds for companies with fewer than 250 employees. The fiscal stimulus fund wound come on top of the unprecedented 750 billion ($837 billion) rescue fund that was agreed in March.

17:28 Two lawmakers in Pakistan have died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus amid a surge in both cases and deaths across the country.

Officials said that Munir Khan Orakzai, a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, died in northwest Pakistan, while they added that a minister, Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, died in hospital in Karachi, the port city and capital of the southern Sindh province.

16:50 The European Commission (EC) has begun a process to overhaul pharmaceutical manufacturing rules to make medicines and vaccines more easily available, the Reuters news agency says, citing an EC document from Tuesday. 

The decision comes as the European Union continues to combat the coronavirus outbreak amid healthcare insufficiencies and its dependence on foreign supplies of essential drugs and chemicals, mostly from China and India.

The Commission cited antibiotics, cancer medicines and vaccines as essential items often in short supply across the bloc, adding that the shortage is expected to worsen if a COVID-19 vaccine is developed due to an insufficient lab capacity to manufacture large amounts of vaccine doses. 

The EU has long suffered shortages of medicines but the pandemic has added additional strain with global supply chains disrupted and supplier countries suspending exports of a number of medicines. Last week, EU representatives in Brussels proposed a budget of €9.4 billion ($10.5 billion) until 2027 to support these reforms. .

15:46 More details are emerging regarding the situation in Tokyo, where citizens have been reminded of their responsibilities amid concerns of a resurgence in cases, only a week after a state of emergency came to an end.

Governor Yuriko Koike has issued a “Tokyo alert” after 34 new cases were confirmed in the Japanese capital, where infections of the novel virus were down to just a few a day as recently as last week.

Koike said: “The alert is to precisely inform the people of the status of infections and to advise caution.” 

Lighting on Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge will be changed from rainbow-colored to red, as a sign of the new level of caution. However, the alert does not mean restrictions that just got eased, such as reopening theaters, fitness gyms, and other commercial facilities, will be reimposed immediately.

Koike added: “I want to remind everyone once again that we are fighting against an unknown virus as we still don’t have any vaccines or treatment for it.”

14:39 The pandemic lockdowns have shown how much healthier city life could be without clogged streets, deafening noise and polluted air.

According to the latest data from Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, Germany’s biggest cities, saw their traffic fall by more than a third during the weeks in which lockdown measures were imposed in March, April and May, significantly reducing both rush-hour traffic congestions and CO2 emissions.

But will the virus boost efforts for greener cities? The technology is already there.

13:48 The Tokyo city government has warned residents to stay at home unless they have urgent business to conduct, and urged citizens to maintain social distancing, after registering its highest number of infections in almost a month.

The Japanese capital lifted a state of emergency just a week ago but after 34 new cases were recorded, it has taken this new stance in an effort to stem the outbreak.

13:20 Here is a roundup of the latest coronavirus news from Asia:

The first Rohingya refugee died from the new coronavirus while living in one of Bangladesh vast refugee camps. The refugee, a 71-year-old man, was among 29 refugees to have tested positive in the Bangladesh camps.

A vast testing campaign in Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 pandemic originated, turned up no new cases of the new coronavirus. Authorities conducted 9.9 million tests and found just 300 asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

India approved the emergency use of the antiviral drug remdesivir in COVID-19 patients for five doses. The drug, which is administered intravenously in a hospital, is the first drug to show improvement in COVID-19 patients in formal clinical trials.

Indonesia canceled its annual hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia — home to Islam’s two holiest cities Mecca and Medina. Around 220,000 people were expected to take part, and Indonesians have to wait an average of 20 years to get their chance to do the pilgrimage.

Japan’s government approved saliva-based tests for the new coronavirus. It is a safer, simpler way to conduct tests as nasal swabs expose testers to coughs and sneezes at time of collection. Japan has fallen way behind other industrialized nations when it comes to coronavirus testing.

Singapore reopened 75% of its economy as part of a three-phase, controlled approach to relaxing lockdown measures. The reopening went ahead despite the city-state reporting 544 new cases over the past 24 hours.

South Korea’s capital of Seoul reinstituted restrictions on large gatherings after the city reported an outbreak of the new coronavirus. Of the 38 cases South Korea reported on Monday, all but one of them were in the densely populated capital.

12:50 Cafes and restaurants have partially reopened in the French capital, Paris, but indoor tables remain closed to customers until at least June 22. 

Paris City Hall authorized the reopening of outdoor seating areas in smaller numbers but hygiene practices remain in place.

“The reopening of cafes, hotels, and restaurants marks the return of happy days!” tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron, adding that “the state will continue to support this sector.”

Seating requires one meter (3 feet) between all tables, which, due to limited spacing in the French capital, could significantly reduce the number of customers allowed. In a bid to help restauranteurs, the City Hall is allowing eateries to enlarge their outdoor areas until September 30. 

Customers are permitted to eat without their facemasks, but must wear them if they need to go indoors.

11:45France launched its StopCovid coronavirus tracking app as other European countries prepare to do follow suit with similar platforms.  French users can voluntarily download the app on their smartphones. If a user of the app tests positive for COVID-19, they will have the ability to send a notification to every person they came into close contact with for at least 15 minutes.

The app, which uses Bluetooth technology, says it will not disclose any personal data, and records will be erased when the crisis is over.

The app launch comes a day after Italy’s Health Ministry announced the launch of its Immuni tracking app, which also utilizes Bluetooth technology. Germany, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK are also expected to unveil tracking apps in the coming weeks.

10:43 Seven US states and the District of Columbia are holding primary elections in what is seen as a trial run for the general presidential election in November. Four states — Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — delayed their primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Voters will have to navigate curfews and health rules to go to the ballots, but the real test for poll organizers will come from a sharp increase mail-in ballots. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to collect 89% of the delegates in order to officially secure the nomination on Tuesday.

09:42 Formula One has announced an eight-circuit European tour in July and August as it tries to salvage its season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, will host the motorsport’s first two events — on its original date of July 5 and a week later on July 12. That will be followed by the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 19.

The UK’s Silverstone Circuit will also hold two consecutive races during the first two weekends in August before the Belgian Grand Prix on August 30 and the Italian Grand Prix on September 6. F1 said further races will be announced at a later date.

The first 10 races of the F1 season have either been postponed or canceled, including the Monaco Grand Prix that takes place on the streets of Monte Carlo.

The schedule presents a unique challenge for F1 teams and drivers, who are used to competing on a biweekly basis. 

09:24 Russia recorded 8,863 new COVID-19 cases and 182 new coronavirus-related deaths, as the nationwide outbreak showed little sign of subsiding.

The country has recorded more than 8,000 new cases per day for the past month as total cases during the pandemic exceeded 423,000, including more than 5,000 deaths. Its total caseload is the third-most worldwide, behind only the US and Brazil.

09:00 Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, is pulling out of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, this year citing coronavirus concerns.

More than 220,000 Indonesians were expected to take part in the Mecca pilgrimage, which Muslims must perform at least once in their lifetime if able. For many Indonesians, a pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime event, with an average wait of 20 years due to a quota system.

“This was a very bitter and difficult decision,” Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said in a press briefing. “But we have a responsibility to protect our pilgrims and hajj workers.”

08:45 South Korea’s Center for Disease Control (KCDC) and Prevention said it expects human trials for an experimental COVID-19 treatment to take place in Europe next month.

Celltrion, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Incheon, South Korea, reported that its antibody COVID-19 treatment reduced the presence of the virus 100-fold during animal tests. It aims to start human testing by the end of July.

Due to South Korea’s low caseload — it reported 38 new cases over the past 24 hours — the company is looking to do human testing in Europe, where many countries are still reporting hundreds of new cases per day.

“It would be difficult to conduct clinical trials at home due to the low number of new cases, and we understand discussions are underway with European countries for trials,” KCDC Deputy Director Kwon Jun-wook said in the center’s daily briefing.

There are currently no treatments for the new coronavirus, and human trials of new drugs have yet to show any efficacy.

06:42 The first Rohingya refugee living in the vast camps in Bangladesh has died from coronavirus, a senior health official in the Cox’s Bazar district said.

The victim, a 71-year-old man, died on May 31, but the cause of death was only confirmed on Monday night, said Toha Bhuiyan.

The man, who lived in the Kutapalong camp, was among at least 29 Rohingyato have tested positive for the virus in the Bangladesh camps, which are home to nearly 1 million Rohingya who have fled persecution in Myanmar.

06:30 A Wuhan doctor who worked with coronavirus whistleblower Li Wenliang died of the virus last week, becoming China’s first reported COVID-19 fatality in weeks, according to state media.

Hu Weifeng, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, died on Friday after being treated for the virus and related issues for more than four months, state broadcaster CCTV said Tuesday.

Hu’s former colleague, Li Wenliang, had been one of the first doctors in China to sound the alarm over the virus in December, but was told by police to stop “making false comments” and was accused of “severely disturbing the social order.” He died in February after contracting the virus at Wuhan Central Hospital, where Hu also died this week. Li’s death triggered a wave of grief and frustration with the government, as the doctor documented his final days on social media. 

Hu is the sixth doctor from the hospital to have died from the virus, while 68 staff members have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to the hospital. The facility has not yet issued a formal statement on Hu’s death. Hu’s condition became a topic of national concern when Chinese media showed images of him with his skin turned black due to liver damage. 

China has recorded a total death toll of just 4,634, and 83,022 confirmed cases.

06:11 Over 40% of German students lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey conducted by online student job network Zenjob. Over a third of students have had to use their own savings to get through the pandemic, while a fifth was no longer able to pay their rent and bills as usual and had to borrow money from their family or friends. 

One in three students said they were very concerned about the current financial situation. Another third also said that despite the crisis, they were able to continue working in temporary jobs or as temporary students. 

Most of the 1,837 respondents were optimistic that they will be able to find a student job again shortly after the crisis: 38.3% were confident, while only one in five expects that the search will be more difficult.

According to the survey, three-quarters of the respondents will also use the federal government aid, which allows students to apply for an interest-free loan of up to €650 ($724) a month.

04:54 Healthcare systems across Latin America risk being overwhelmed by the coronavirus, the World Health Organization has warned. The warning comes as the death toll in hard-hit Brazil nears 30,000, and as another UN agency issued new guidelines for pandemic-hit airlines.

As other parts of the world, including Europe and parts of Asia, begin returning to a new normal, many South American countries have seen a spike in their coronavirus infections. Four of the 10 countries with the highest number of new cases on Monday were in Latin America, according to WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan.

Brazil, Peru, Chile and Mexico are seeing the highest daily increases, but numbers are also spiking in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Haiti. 

“Countries are having to work very, very hard to both understand the scale of infection but also health systems are beginning to come under pressure,” said Ryan.

Latin America has so far recorded over 1 million cases and more than 50,000 deaths, with Brazil accounting for more than half of those cases.

“I don’t believe we have reached the peak in that transmission and, at this point, I cannot predict when we will,” said Ryan.

04:10 Cafes, restaurants, parks and gardens are re-opening across France as the country eases its lockdown measures.

However, in Paris, the country’s epicenter of the virus, establishments are limited to only opening up their outside terraces. 

To prepare for the rush back to the city’s restaurants, the city council gave special permission for tables to be placed on sidewalks, parking spots and other public places. Several roads will also be closed to automotive traffic. The spread of the disease is in the “green zone,” or under control in most of the country — but Paris and the overseas territories of Guiana and Mayotte are still in the higher-risk “orange” category.

France was placed under a strict lockdown between March 17 and May 11, and is one of the most-affected countries in Europe, behind Italy and Spain. France has reported over 189,000 cases, with a death toll of 28,836.

03:50 The tally of confirmed cases after an outbreak of coronavirus in the German city of Göttingen has risen to 68.

Thirty-five people had earlier tested positive after attending a series of private gatherings, which are banned as part of the coronavirus restrictions in the country. 

More test results are awaited.

The authorities are tracing all those who came in contact with the infected, including some people from adjacent towns, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms.

The new cases come only a few days after Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the country had “passed” the coronavirus test so far, adding that there was still some hard work ahead. 

Germany has seen a drop in new cases since nationwide restrictions were imposed in March. Many of these restrictions have gradually been eased by the regional governments. 

According to the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany on Monday recorded 333 new cases of coronavirus. The total number of infections is now over 181,815.

03:15 Singapore has reopened 75% of its economy amid a three-phase, controlled approach to end the coronavirus lockdown which has been in place since the beginning of April.

The city-state is giving a go-ahead to activities that  “do not pose high risk of transmission”, despite having reported the second-highest number of cases of COVID-19 infections in East Asia. 

Sectors like finance, electronics manufacturing and logistics will resume operations but with stringent safety measures. 

Children are going back to school and religious places have reopened. Dine-in facilities in restaurants, gyms and cinemas, however, remain closed.

The government has said further restrictions will be lifted only if infections remain low.

Singapore has reported a total of 35,292 cases.

02:40 New Zealand has not reported any new cases of coronavirus in the last 10 days.

The country that was under lockdown for almost seven weeks is on the verge of domestically eliminating the virus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that all restrictions may be removed next week after a review that is planned for June 8.

The review was earlier slated to take place on June 22 but party leaders are under growing pressure from the public to ease restrictions.

“We are exceeding our expectations in terms of our progress, which is a fantastic position to be in,” Ardern said.

02:20 Yemen has suffered through years of civil war, poverty and cholera — and now COVID-19 is also rampant. Aid organizations say the country is on the brink of collapse.

02:00 Hollywood could see the cameras rolling again after studios and labor unions proposed a series of guidelines to allow actors and crew members to resume filming. 

A task force from the entertainment industry sent recommendations to the governors of California and New York. The proposal includes extensive coronavirus testing and daily monitoring of symptoms on the sets. The crew will be required to wear face masks.

The blueprint, that consists of 22 pages, suggests that actors would not be able to wear masks or other personal protective equipment during the shoots. However, they will be advised to minimize scenes requiring close contact to curb the transmission of the virus. There is also a recommendation to use digital effects to portray intimate moments. 

Under the guidance, TV shows will be told to not film with a live audience. 

The task force included representatives from Walt Disney Co, Netflix Inc, AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros and Comcast Corp’s NBC Universal, and also unions including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Directors Guild of America.

Filming across the world was halted mid-March due to the pandemic.

01:56 When we have a vaccine, how can we provide enough shots to inoculate everyone? Is there a difference between PCR tests and ELISA tests? DW’s science correspondent Derrick Williams answers questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

01:45 Japan will allow saliva-based coronavirus tests to help boost the number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, the country’s health ministry has said.

Until now Japan was predominantly using nasal swabs to run tests. Sneezing at the time of collecting samples was putting health workers at the risk of contracting the virus.

01:15 As air travel resumes in several parts of the world, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has published health protocols for the airline industry.

The guidelines include wearing masks, temperature controls and disinfection of the aircraft.

The UN agency drew the recommendations with the help of other agencies like the World Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association.

“These guidelines will facilitate convergence, mutual recognition and harmonization of aviation COVID-19 related measures across the globe,” Philippe Bertoux, France’s representative on ICAO’s board, said in a statement.

The new recommendations are being deemed as the most important for air travel since the security protocols put in place after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The recommendations aim to serve as a “framework” for ensuring the safety of passengers and employees onboard the planes and at airports.

Under the new guidelines, travelers are required to produce a health certificate upon their arrival at the airports and also undergo an initial temperature check.

The guidance recommends prioritizing online check-in before arriving at the airport and advises mobile tickets. Other forms of contactless technology like facial and eye scans have also been recommended. 

On board the planes, passengers have been advised to wear masks and limit movement within the cabin. They will be assigned specific toilet stalls in relation to where they are seated. 

Flight attendants will be given personal protective equipment that could include visors, gloves and medical masks.

The guideline is not mandatory but is the product of a broad consensus that imparts “an authority that will make them a global reference for the first time on this issue since the start of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Bertoux.

00:30 Turkey is taking some of its biggest steps yet to ease its coronavirus restrictions. Flights and car travel resumed between big cities on Monday. Cafes, restaurants, parks and museums have begun to reopen. And: Istanbul’s 15th-century Grand Bazaar is back in business.

00:20 Mistrust and rivalry have been simmering between the US and China for years. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has given way to open hostility. Could this lead to a new Cold War?

00:15 Here’s the latest from the Americas:

Brazil has reported 11,598 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. A total of 632 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The overall number of registered cases now stands at 526,447 with 29,937 deaths.

Meanwhile, many South American nations began relaxing coronavirus restriction even as the region is on the path to its viral peak. This is in conflict with the European example, where countries that battled coronavirus eased measures after waiting for the worst to pass.

In Brazil, some of the worst-hit cities like Manaus and Rio de Janeiro are beginning to allow increased activity. 

Mexico’s death toll has surpassed 10,000 after the health ministry reported an additional 237 deaths in the country.

Total deaths reached 10,167, while an additional 2,771 cases brought total known infections to 93,435, although health officials have said the real number is higher.

The Bolivian government has given the green-light to re-open most of the country. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has also given the order to ease restrictions.

In Ecuador airports are resuming flights and in some of Colombia’s malls shoppers have returned. 

“Clearly the situation in many South American countries is far from stable. There is a rapid increase in cases and those systems are coming under increasing pressure,” said Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program.

He added that the region has become an “intense zone of transmission for this virus”, which is yet to reach its peak.

00:05 At least 200 formerly high-ranking politicians, researchers and health experts are calling for an early G20 summit to help poor countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 225 ex-politicians include former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, ex-Prime Ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Mayor. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also among the signatories.

The group has called for a significant debt relief for poor countries and effective financial measures to support the countries dealing with poor health care.

The “Group of 20” is being chaired by Saudi Arabia this year and is not scheduled to take place until the second half of November.

The signatories calling for an early summit think that its current timing is too late considering the scale of the coronavirus crisis.

00:00 Catch up on Monday’s coronavirus updates here

dvv/rt (Reuters, AFP, AP) (DW)