South Africa has surpassed 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases as the first wave of the pandemic crashes into the African continent.
South Africa’s 311,049 cases make up close to half of those across the 54-nation continent.
Already shortages of medical oxygen and hospital beds are being reported.
While more than 4,400 deaths in South Africa have been attributed to the virus, a report by the South African Medical Research Council says the country had nearly 11,000 excess deaths between 6 May and 7 July.
The government this week tightened some restrictions, making face masks mandatory in public places and re-imposing a ban on alcohol sales.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the senior public health expert on the White House coronavirus task force, says that the US needs to focus from the federal level on getting the virus now surging in the south and west under control “rather than these games people are playing.”
“We’ve got to almost reset this and say, ‘Okay, let’s stop this nonsense,’” he said in an interview with the Atlantic when he was asked to describe “the truth about the federal response to the pandemic”.
Fauci’s comments came as US cases increased by a world daily case record of 67,000, taking the total to 3.4 million confirmed infections.
Meanwhile in South Africa, cases have passed 300,000, the highest in Africa and in among the 10-highest in the world.
- In Majorca, Spain, the town of Magaluf is closing its party strip of Punta Ballena, after footage of drunken British tourists flouting regulations about wearing masks and social distancing while dancing on cars prompted an outcry. The Balearic Islands’ tourism minister also announced the closure of two other notorious party strips.
- Ireland delayed the easing of lockdown measures and introduced a requirement that face coverings be worn in shops. The taoiseach Micheál Martin said the pause was disappointing, but necessary.
- A war of words between Trump allies and the White House’s top infectious disease expert continued. Dr Anthony Fauci said he could not understand efforts by some to discredit him, though the US president himself rebuked his own aide over the criticism.
- Spain has recorded 390 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours – the highest single-day figure since 22 May. Most of the new cases are in the northeastern regions of Aragón and Catalonia.
- The US has seen 67,000 cases in a single day – the highest number in 24 hours so far, according to John Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the figure at 60,971.
- Iran said today that 140 of its health workers had died of coronavirus and 5,000 have been infected. Amnesty International has estimated that more than 3,000 health workers have died globally, although it says the figure is likely to be a significant underestimate.
- Levels of childhood immunisations against dangerous diseases such as measles, tetanus and diphtheria have dropped alarmingly during the Covid-19 pandemic, putting millions of children at risk, United Nations agencies have warned.
- The European commission said today that European Union states should bring forward vaccinations against flu to the summer to reduce the risk of simultaneous influenza and Covid-19 outbreaks in the autumn. It also urged states to increase the number of people vaccinated.
- Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is making face coverings mandatory for shoppers in all its stores from Monday. It said that about 65% of its more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is already some form of government mandate on face coverings and by making it compulsory in all outlets it will bring consistency.