Coronavirus deaths top 150,000 in worst-hit US Jul 31, 2020 0 3161 12345 AFPWashingtonSouthern and western regions of the United States were grappling on Thursday with a renewed surge of coronavirus infections as the death toll in the world’s worst-affected nation passed 150,000.Brazil is second to the US in terms of cases and fatalities, and also reported a sobering figure as it surpassed 90,000 deaths.Exactly six months after the World Health Organization declared an international emergency over the deadly pathogen, countries around the globe are seeing rises in infections that are damaging economies and forcing disruptive protection measures.Even nations that believed they had largely curbed the disease are being gripped by worrying second and third-wave resurgences, with Despite efforts in place to contain the virus, COVID-19 has killed more than 666,000 people around the world and total infections have passed 17 million, according to an AFP tally.Global daily cases are now approaching the 300,000 mark, with the curve showing no sign of flattening -- it took just 100 hours for one million new cases to be recorded.The United States, however, is still battling its first wave, having never taken control of the virus, and on Wednesday alone the country recorded 1,267 new deaths in the past 24 hours and notched more than 68,000 new daily cases.Southern and western states have been particularly hard-hit -- especially Florida, where more than 6,300 people have died.Australia on Thursday reporting a record number of new infections and its deadliest day of the pandemic so far. Days after Australian authorities expressed hope that a Melbourne lockdown -- now in its third week -- was bringing persistent outbreaks under control, the surge is a potent warning that initial successes in managing COVID-19 can quickly unravel.Thirteen deaths and 723 positive tests were reported in the southeastern state of Victoria alone, well beyond the previous nationwide record of 549 cases set on Monday.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the steep rise in numbers was “very concerning”.In Hong Kong, where authorities fear a worrying third-wave of infections could cripple the healthcare system, the government reversed a day-old ban on restaurants serving dine-in customers following widespread public anger.All restaurants in the city of 7.5 million were ordered to only serve takeaways as part of a raft of ramped-up social distancing measures aimed at combating the fresh wave of virus cases.But social media was quickly swamped by photos of primarily blue-collar workers forced to eat on pavements and in parks -- and even inside public toilets to escape a torrential downpour.The EU is to update its list of countries approved for travel to the European bloc, which it reviews every two weeks. The United States was not on the list and is not expected to be included.The EU’s safe list does, however, include Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.The bloc is expected to announce that Algeria is being removed from the list after a resurgence of coronavirus.Meanwhile several countries in Europe have slapped restrictions on travel to and from Spain, while officials elsewhere bicker over the seriousness of the current outbreak. RELATED ARTICLES NASA’s Perseverance rover bound for Mars to seek ancient life Jul 31, 2020 0 1610 (Stand-alone) Jul 31, 2020 0 1288 French cities tighten virus measures as cases rise Jul 31, 2020 0 1278 Coronavirus numbers improve slightly in Spain’s hotspots MADRID: The number of daily new coronavirus infections has slightly declined in Spain’s hardest-hit regions, authorities said on Thursday. Especially in the Catalan regions Lleida and Barcelona, which recently .. Scottish schools set for full return in mid-August LONDON: Children in Scotland can return to schools full-time in the middle of next month, the devolved government said on Thursday as it eases coronavirus lockdown measures. It will be the first time since March that .. UK extends coronavirus self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days LONDON: Britain on Thursday extended the period of coronavirus self-isolation from seven to 10 days, as fears grew over a surge in cases. The UK’s chief medical officers said scientific evidence now showed that people .. WHO says it overestimated ability of wealthy countries to fight COVID-19 DPA Geneva The health systems of wealthy countries performed more poorly than expected during the early phase of the COVID-19 crisis, WHO emergency operations chief Mike Ryan said on Thursday in Geneva. It was .. Hong Kong row has ‘poisoned’ ties with UK: China’s ambassador AFP London Britain’s “interventions” in Hong Kong have “seriously poisoned the atmosphere” of relations with China, Beijing’s ambassador in London warned on Thursday. Liu Xiaoming also accused Western powers and .. Prominent Hong Kong democracy activists barred from election HONG KONG: A dozen Hong Kong democracy activists were disqualified on Thursday from standing in September’s legislative elections, a move decried by candidates as the most pressing assault yet on Beijing’s critics in .. Trump suggests delay in presidential election over coronavirus fears AFP Washington US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested delaying the 2020 election, in which he is currently lagging badly in the polls, citing the coronavirus and what he said would be “fraudulent” voting. ..