S. Korea reports Covid-19 spike, virus-wracked US states tighten controls

South Korea on Saturday reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases for the first time in four months while South Africa announced a surge in infections and some U.S. states tightened anti-disease controls.

Models present creations during a fashion show, wearing masks as a measure to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Seoul, South Korea July 24, 2020.
Models present creations during a fashion show, wearing masks as a measure to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Seoul, South Korea July 24, 2020. REUTERS - KIM HONG-JI

South Korea's 113 new cases included 36 workers returning from Iraq and 32 crew members of a Russian freighter, the government said. Authorities had warned to expect a spike in cases from abroad and appealed to the public not to be alarmed. 

China, which has relaxed most of its anti-disease controls after case numbers dropped off, reported 34 new cases in a new surge of infections. That included 29 that were contracted within the country. 

Worldwide, a total of 638,352 deaths and 15,672,841 cases have been reported, according to data compiled from government announcements by Johns Hopkins University. 

South Africa, Africa's hardest-hit country, reported more than 13,104 new confirmed cases, raising its total to 408,052. The government has reported 6,093 deaths.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday schools will “take a break” for a month to protect children. Despite rising infections, restaurant and hospitality workers protested this week, demand a loosening of restrictions on their industries.

India, the country with the third-highest infection total behind the United States and Brazil, reported its death toll rose by 740 to 30,601. The government reported a surge of 49,310 new cases, raising its total to 1,287,945.

The Home Ministry issued an advisory Friday calling for Independence Day celebrations on Aug. 15 to avoid large gatherings.

In the United States, Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi tightened controls on bars to protect “young, drunk, careless folks.” Bars already were limited to operating at 50% capacity. Now, patrons will have to sit down to order alcohol and sales stop at 11 p.m.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans ordered bars closed and banned restaurants from selling alcoholic drinks to take away. That came after more than 2,000 new cases were reported for the surrounding state of Louisiana, including 103 in New Orleans. 

Arizona reported 89 additional deaths, raising the state’s fatality total to 3,142. The state reported 3,349 new cases, raising its total to 156,301. 

The United States has suffered 145,391 deaths and has 4.1 million confirmed cases.

Millions of Americans who are temporarily out of work face the loss of a $600 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits that is due to end July 31. 

Legislators in Washington are negotiating a new relief bill. Democrats in Congress want to renew the $600 supplement. Republicans who control the Senate want to limit benefits to 70% of what people made before the outbreak.

In Australia, Premier Daniel Andrews of the southern state of Victoria announced five deaths and 357 new cases. Victoria, where the death toll has risen to 61, earlier closed its border with neighboring New South Wales. 

In Europe, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced travelers from the United States and 15 other countries where viral circulation is strong must be tested on arrival unless they can show proof of a negative test in the past 72 hours.

Other countries on France’s list range from South Africa, Israel and Qatar to Brazil and Peru.

In Yemen, 97 medical workers have died of the virus, a serious blow to a country with few doctors that is in the midst of a 5-year-old war, the humanitarian group MedGlobal said in a report. 

The “overwhelming death toll” will have “immense short-term and long-term health effects,” said the report’s lead author, Kathleen Fallon.



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