Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, is undergoing treatment in hospital for pneumonia after he tested positive for COVID-19 this week, the government said. His spokesman said, “his general health status is good.” Hernandez’s wife, Ana Garcia, also tested positive for COVID-19.
Peru topped 240,000 total cases of coronavirus, surpassing hard-hit Italy, government data showed, even as the pace of infections has begun to moderate in the South American nation. More than 7,000 Peruvians have died from the disease, the government reported.
A genetic analysis of COVID-19 patients suggests that blood type might influence whether someone develops severe disease, according to a New England Journal of Medicine report. Scientists who compared the genes of thousands of patients in Europe found that those who had Type A blood were more likely to have severe disease while those with Type O were less likely.
More than 8.3 million people have been confirmed to have the new coronavirus around the world. More than four million have recovered, while 447,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The United States has the most cases and deaths, followed by Brazil.
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, June 18
03:08 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 580 to 187,764
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 580 to 187,764, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday quoting data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
The reported death toll rose by 26 to 8,856, the tally showed.
02:51 GMT – Trump: US will not lock down again amid rising coronavirus cases
President Donald Trump has said the United States would not close businesses again as several states reported rising numbers of new coronavirus infections.
“We won’t be closing the country again. We won’t have to do that,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel.
Trump’s comments come after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both said the United States could not shut down the economy again.
Restaurants, gyms, schools and other locations closed down in March as the country braced for the coronavirus, which has so far sickened 2.16 million Americans and killed nearly 118,000.
02:22 GMT – Wuhan study: There may be no immunity against COVID-19
A new study conducted by Chinese and American scientists said that humans may never develop immunity against the coronavirus, the South China Morning Post reported.
The conclusion was based on a non-peer reviewed study looking at whether hospital workers in Wuhan, where the infection was first reported, developed antibodies, after being exposed to the disease.
The report said only 4 percent of the samples studied had developed antibodies as of April. This was based on the assumption that at least a quarter of the more than 23,000 samples tested were infected.
02:02 GMT – UN: Many Jordanians struggling as country emerges from lockdown
Many people in Jordan are struggling to meet basic needs after a more than two-month lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic, a UN Development Programme (UNDP) study said, with reports of unemployment expected to rise to 19 percent.
Although Jordan has contained the first wave of COVID-19 and is now reopening most businesses, the full impact of the pandemic is still unfolding in the aid dependent country of 10 million people, the UNDP study said.
Officials have adopted recent estimates by the World Bank that the economy was set to shrink by 3.5 percent this year – the first such contraction since 1990 – compared with an IMF estimate of 2 percent growth before the health crisis.
01:37 GMT – Beijing reports 21 new COVID-19 cases in city as of June 17
The total number of infections in Beijing has risen to 158 over the past week [Ng Han Guan/AP]
Beijing confirmed 21 new COVID-19 cases as of June 17, China’s health authority said on Thursday, down from 31 a day earlier.
Beijing logged its first case in the current outbreak, the worst in the city since early February, on June 11. The total number of infections has risen to 158 over the past week, according to Reuters news agency.
01:25 GMT – Study shows how quickly coronavirus spreads at home
The novel coronavirus is twice as infectious within households than similar diseases such as SARS, with a substantial number of additional infections spreading before a COVID-19 sufferer shows any symptoms, AFP news agency reported on Thursday quoting a new study.
Using data on 350 COVID-19 patients and nearly 2,000 of their close contacts in the city of Guangzhou, China, the researchers from US and China found that while the average patient had just a 2.4 percent chance of infecting someone they did not live with, that figure jumped to 17.1 percent – around one in six – among cohabitants.
The overall chances of infecting a family member or live-in partner with COVID-19 are twice as high as with SARS, and three times higher than MERS, another coronavirus, they found.
The study suggested that quarantine of asymptomatic patients can help prevent transmission.
00:51 GMT – WHO stops hydroxychloroquine trial
The World Health Organization has halted the trial test of the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus.
According to the WHO recent trials showed that the anti-malaria drug does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
“Patients who have already started hydroxychloroquine but who have not yet finished their course in the trial may complete their course or stop at the discretion of the supervising physician,” the WHO statement said.
00:36 GMT – Qantas halts most international flights until October on border closure
Qantas Airways Ltd said on Thursday it had cancelled most international flights until late October after the Australian government indicated its border closure because of the coronavirus was likely to extend to 2021.
“We will still have some flights scheduled across the Tasman in the coming months with the expected travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand,” the airline said in a statement, referring to the Tasman Sea between the countries.
“Should travel between Australia and other countries open up and demand return, we can add more flights back into our schedule,” it added.
00:15 GMT – Mexico reports 4,930 new coronavirus cases, 770 more deaths
Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,930 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 770 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 159,793 cases and 19,080 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases, according to Reuters news agency.
Members of biological sciences of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico Cit test people for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the university [Henry Romero/Reuters]
00:08 GMT – Biden calls on Trump to ‘wake up’ to havoc caused by virus
Joe Biden unleashed a stinging critique of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus, calling on Trump to “wake up” to the havoc caused by the pandemic and do more to prevent further harm, AP news agency reported.
“Donald Trump wants to style himself as a wartime president,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said at a recreation centre in the Philadelphia suburbs. “Unlike any other wartime leader, he takes no responsibility; he exercises no leadership. Now, he has just flat surrendered the fight.”
Biden has steadily stepped up his attacks on Trump’s leadership in recent weeks. But his remarks Wednesday were especially sharp, trying to counter the populism Trump hopes to ride to reelection with stern warnings about how dangerous such an approach would be.
The US has topped 2.16 million confirmed coronavirus infections with at least 117,000 deaths, and some states are reporting increases in cases after reopening their economies.
00:01 GMT – Honduran president hospitalised for COVID-19, treated for pneumonia
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, accompanied by his wife Ana Garcia, addresses supporters during a rally outside the Presidential House in 2019 [File: Jorge Cabrera/Reuters]
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, is undergoing treatment in hospital for pneumonia after he tested positive for COVID-19 this week, Reuters news agency reported quoting a government spokesperson.
Francis Contreras, a spokesperson for Honduran health agency SINAGER, said that while Hernandez needed specialised medical care in a military hospital, including receiving medicines via intravenous drip, he is generally in good health.
The health news is a fresh blow to the 51-year-old Hernandez, who has come under increasing pressure at home as one of his brothers was swept up by a drug trafficking probe in the United States which has threatened to engulf him too.
“His general health status is good,” Contreras told reporters outside the military hospital. However, he said X-rays of Hernandez have revealed lung problems.
Hernandez’s wife, Ana Garcia, also tested positive for the coronavirus, along with two presidential aides, but has not presented any symptoms of the disease, Contreras said.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Read all the updates from yesterday (June 17) here.