Coronavirus: What’s happening around the world Wednesday

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The latest:

Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 200,000, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 54-nation continent has 202,782 cases and 5,516 deaths.

While Africa still represents a small percentage of the world’s total COVID-19 cases, officials in South Africa and elsewhere have expressed concern because the number of infections continues to climb.

South Africa leads the continent with 52,991 cases, with almost two-thirds of them in the Western Cape province centred on the city of Cape Town. Egypt has 36,829 reported cases and Nigeria has 13,464 reported cases.

As of Wednesday morning, there were more than 7.2 million coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 411,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. accounted for more than 1.9 million cases and more than 112,00 deaths, according to the Baltimore-based university’s tracking tool.

As of 7:30 a.m. ET, there were 96,653 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with more than 55,572 considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 7,952.


Here’s a look at what’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Will COVID-19 pandemic continue through the summer?

An infectious disease specialist answers viewer questions about COVID-19, including whether the pandemic will continue through the summer and whether recent protests could cause outbreaks. 3:48

Public health officials in Canada and around the world are warning that even as case numbers decline in some areas, the pandemic is far from over. There are no proven treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by a novel coronavirus that first emerged in China. 

While most people who contract the virus experience mild or moderate disease, some people — including the elderly and people with underlying health issues — are at increased risk of experiencing more severe disease or death.

Read on to see what’s happening with COVID-19 around the world.

The virus crisis has triggered the worst global recession in nearly a century — and the pain is not over yet even if there is no second wave of infections, an international economic report warned Wednesday.

Hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs, and the crisis is hitting the poor and young people the hardest, worsening inequalities, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in its latest analysis of global economic data.

“It is probably the most uncertain and dramatic outlook since the creation of the OECD,” Secretary General Angel Gurria said. “We cannot make projections as we normally do.”

Volunteers prepare food rations to be distributed to people in need at the Nazaret Association food bank in Madrid in late May. Hundreds of millions of people are out of work around the world. (Pierre Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)

In the best-case scenario, if there is no second wave of infections, the agency forecast a global drop in economic output of six per cent this year, and a rise of 2.8 per cent next year.

If the coronavirus re-emerges later in the year, however, the global economy could shrink by 7.6 per cent, the OECD said.

Austria has announced it will open its borders to most European neighbours beginning June 16, with the exceptions of Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Britain.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also said Wednesday that the border with Italy to the south would be open without conditions, but that a travel warning for Austrian citizens is in place for Lombardy.

An employee of the ticket desk waits for the start of a sold-out concert at Vienna’s State Opera in Vienna, Austria on Monday. Concert houses in Vienna reopened their doors last weekend for limited audiences after being completely closed due to the coronavirus lockdown. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

The northern Italian region has been the epicentre of Italy’s epidemic, showing triple-digit growth in daily infections while much of the rest of the country counts a handful or fewer.

While Italy opened its borders on June 3, Austria’s reluctance to open the shared border has been a sore spot between the neighbours, especially as the summer tourism season gets underway.

Germany is prolonging its travel warning for more than 160 countries outside Europe until the end of August.

The government agreed Wednesday to extend the guidance introduced on March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic to almost all non-EU countries, with the exception of some that have successfully contained the outbreak.

Last week, Germany downgraded its travel warning for the rest of the 27-nation EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Britain.

Also Wednesday, the government announced the end of border controls for EU citizens coming to Germany. Almost all German states require travellers arriving from countries that have 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days to quarantine for two weeks. This is currently the case for fellow EU member state Sweden.

Pakistan’s coronavirus infections soared past 5,000 as the World Health Organization urged the government to impose a two-week lockdown to stem the relentless spike in new cases. Pakistan has recorded 113,702 confirmed cases and 2,255 deaths.

Until now, Pakistan’s daily testing rate has hovered around 25,000, but the WHO says it should be double that.

Women wearing face masks ride on a motorbike in Karachi. Pakistan has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Imran Khan has come under criticism from political opponents and health professionals for easing lockdowns despite soaring numbers and no progress in tracking COVID-19 outbreaks.

Khan, who has reprimanded Pakistanis for not wearing masks and keeping physical distance, says the economy cannot survive a total lockdown and the poorest in Pakistan would be the hardest hit.

Pakistan was slow to rein in religious leaders who were initially allowed to invite Islamic missionaries to attend a massive gathering in mid-March, which was blamed for spreading infection as far as the Gaza Strip.

Khan also refused to shut down mosques during Ramadan and eased restrictions ahead of the Eid-al Fitr holiday. Since then, the number of cases has continued to rise and medical workers worry the weak health system that has barely 3,000 ICU beds for a population of 220 million will be overwhelmed.

Malaysia reopened nearly all economic and social activities Wednesday after a nearly three-month lockdown successfully brought down viral infections.

Malaysians can now travel for domestic holidays, get haircuts and shop at street markets. Schools and religious activities also will gradually resume.

While happy to be back at work, hairstylist Shirley Chai said she is nervous about the strict health rules for hairdressers, especially the one-hour limit for each client.

Hairstylist Shirley Chai cuts hair at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday. Chai says she is nervous about the strict health rules for hairdressers, especially the one-hour time limit for each client. (Vincent Thian/The Associated Press)

“I couldn’t sleep at all last night. Very excited because everything is changing,” she said at her salon in a Kuala Lumpur shopping mall.

Malaysia has entered a “recovery” phase until the end of August with certain prohibitions still in place, but officials warn restrictions will be reinstated if infections soar again.

Nightclubs, pubs, karaoke bars, theme parks and reflexology centres will stay shut. Contact sports or those with many spectators, and activities involving mass groups, are still banned.

Malaysia has had 8,336 confirmed infections and 117 deaths. Daily cases have dropped to only seven since Monday, the lowest since the lockdown started March 18.

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