COVID-19 | Top 10 global developments this Thursday morning

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More than 16.8 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. Some 9.9 million patients have recovered, and nearly 663,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the top 10 global developments this morning:

1. The world’s two worst-affected countries – the United States and Brazil – have also reported new highs for coronavirus deaths and cases. In the US the death toll has surpassed 150,000, with Florida, California, and Texas among a number of states reporting record daily fatalities.

2. Australia has reported the highest number of confirmed cases since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The state of Victoria is the worst-hit with outbreaks centered around care homes and workplaces in Melbourne and its sprawling suburbs.

3. An Australian medical emergency team has been deployed to Papua New Guinea where the outbreak has deteriorated in recent days.

AFP news agency says the country’s pandemic response centre was closed yesterday after a senior adviser was diagnosed with the virus, and the health minister is also being tested.

4. Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told local journalists the virus seems to like colder, humid environments.

He pointed to the country’s COVID-19 outbreaks – from the original source in Wuhan – to Beijing and Dalian, which have been traced to seafood markets or seafood companies.

5. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says members and staff in the House of Representatives must wear masks while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The move came after Republican Representative Louie Gohmert, who refused to wear a mask, revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, leading at least three of his colleagues to say they would self-quarantine.

6. Guatemalan hospital officials say they’ve had to bury dozens of COVID-19 victims who have never been identified, according to AP news agency.

The agency says workers at one of the country’s largest public hospitals have begun photographing patients who arrive alone and too ill to give their personal details. Those who die without being identified are placed in body bags with transparent windows over their faces in case relatives come looking for them.

7. One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world, according to Reuters.

US coronavirus deaths are rising at their fastest rate in two months and have increased by 10,000 in the past 11 days.

8. China has reported 105 new coronavirus cases in the mainland, up from 101 cases a day earlier.

9. Vietnam’s health ministry has reported an additional nine cases of coronavirus, as an outbreak that started in the popular tourist town of Danang continues to expand.

Reuters says some 81,000 people are now in quarantine as a result of the outbreak, which has spread to six cities and provinces in six days.

10. Brazil’s Health Ministry has just confirmed a record of 1,595 daily deaths from coronavirus. Taken on a weekly basis (7,677 this week), deaths are also at their highest since the pandemic began.

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