Spotlight: Countries alerted to coronavirus resurgence amid easing lockdowns

BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Countries are alerted to a resurgence of the novel coronavirus pandemic while gradually easing lockdowns and phasing in economic recovery.

Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious-diseases expert, said on Tuesday the United States is "not in total control" of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving a dire warning that infection cases could go up to 100,000 per day.

"We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told senators at a hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

His comments came as the U.S. daily number of reported new cases is outpacing that of April, bringing the total tally to more than 2.6 million, with over 127,000 fatalities as of Tuesday afternoon, showed data from Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci warned that some states are "skipping over" checkpoints in the federal reopening guidelines and that this is leading to new hotspots in states like Texas, Florida and Arizona.

The outbreaks in various parts of the country put "the entire country at risk" and "clearly we don't have this under control," Fauci added.

In the United States, many states have either paused or partially reversed their staged re-openings over the resurgence of COVID-19 cases nationwide, while mandating mask-wearing in public places.

Governor Ron DeSantis of southeastern state Florida on Friday ordered to close bars immediately as a record 8,942 new COVID-19 cases were reported in a single day. The previous record of 5,511 was set just two days before.

"It is increasingly clear that many governors reopened their states too quickly, reigniting the virus and hurting their economies," Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, wrote Monday in an analysis, citing the states of Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that a second outbreak of the coronavirus could force governments and people to "withdraw again from economic activity."

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced a 5-billion-pound (about 6.2-billion-U.S.-dollar) plan to fuel economic recovery, saying the government "is wholly committed not just to defeating coronavirus, but to using this crisis finally to tackle this country's great unresolved challenges of the last three decades."

An earlier planned easing of lockdown restrictions from July 4 is expected to bring the hard-hit tourism industry to a rebound, with a phased resumption of operation.

Out of the over 400 sites that English Heritage cares for, only six sites are currently open. On July 4, 44 sites are set to be open and a similar amount from Aug. 1, with some sites remaining closed possibly until next year.

In the last few weeks, businesses in Turkey are wary of a second wave of coronavirus contagion following the government decision to relax lockdown restrictions since June 1.

In the last 10 days, Turkey recorded between 1,200 and 1,500 new daily cases, compared with between 800 and 900 daily infections during the strict lockdown period.

"The economy cannot survive another round of business shutdowns. We are facing this massive threat because people are not taking necessary precautions," Machinery Exporters Association Chairman Adnan Dalgakiran said during a television interview, referring to citizens who are reluctant to wear masks and disrespect distancing rules.

After revising down its forecast for the global output last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday also revised down its forecast for the Asian economy amid the mounting COVID-19 fallout, projecting a 1.6-percent contraction in 2020 and warning of "clouds on the horizon."

"Projections for 2020 have been revised down for most of the countries in the (Asian) region due to weaker global conditions and more protracted containment measures in several emerging economies," Chang Yong Rhee, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, wrote in a blog post.

The projection came as COVID-19 continued to spread in the Asia-Pacific region while the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the worst was yet to come in the pandemic as global cases and death tolls climbed.

In Canada, the government on Tuesday extended the current ban on international travellers until July 31, according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

"The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada," said the CBSA in a news release.

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed a proposal to relax the ban on international travellers, saying that moving too quickly could spark a second wave of the coronavirus in Canada.

[ Editor: ZY ]