India overtakes Italy as the sixth worst hit country by the coronavirus pandemic after another record single-day spike in confirmed infections, bringing the total to 236,657 cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its position on face masks and is now encouraging people to wear them in crowded places, citing anecdotal evidence that supports their value in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
United States President Donald Trump has called for a shift in strategy against the coronavirus pandemic to focus resources on protecting “high-risk populations” while calling for a total end to stay-at-home orders in states throughout the country.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to pull his country out of the WHO, accusing the body of being “partisan” and “political”. With more than 34,000 coronavirus deaths, Brazil now has the third-highest toll in the world.
About 6.7 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 394,000 people have died, including some 109,000 in the United States. More than 2.9 million people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
June 6, Saturday
09:33 GMT – Iranian wedding party fuelled new COVID-19 surge, Rouhani says
A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.
Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.
“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.
New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.
09:00 GMT – California says film, TV production can resume on June 12
California will allow film, television and music production to resume from June 12 if conditions permit after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governor’s office said on Friday.
Film and television productions in the Golden State have been shuttered since mid-March. The reopening will be subject to approval by local health officers, the California Public Health Office said.
“To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labour and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers,” it said.
However it is not clear if major Hollywood studios will be able to resume operations from next week because Los Angeles county is one of the main coronavirus epicentres in California, recording about half the infections and deaths in the state. To date, more than 125,000 cases and 4,500 deaths have been confirmed in California.
08:35 GMT – Poland to extend ban on international flights to June 16
Poland plans to extend a ban on international flights until June 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic, state-run news agency PAP said, citing a government decree.
State-controlled Polish airlines LOT restarted flights between the country’s biggest cities, including Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow and Wroclaw, from June 1.
As of Friday, Poland had reported 25,410 coronavirus cases, including 1,137 deaths.
08:15 GMT – Number of virus cases in Africa tops 176,800
The total number of coronavirus cases in Africa rose to 176,807 on Saturday, as the continent grapples with community spread, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
At least 4,902 patients have died so far across the continent due to the virus, it said in a Saturday update.
A total of 78,267 patients have so far recovered from the disease.
North Africa has so far confirmed 51,300 cases and a death toll of 2,200; Southern Africa has 46,000 cases and 933 deaths; West Africa has 39,900 cases and 795 deaths; East Africa has 20,600 cases and 592 deaths; and Central Africa has 18,900 cases and 421 deaths.
07:50 GMT – Fans and football return to Vietnam after coronavirus shutdown
Football was back and so were the spectators in Vietnam when the top domestic league resumed after the coronavirus shutdown.
Fans were allowed into Ho Chi Minh City’s scoreless draw with Hai Phong on Friday among three matches. But unlike Germany’s Bundesliga and South Korea’s K-League, which returned to action in May with empty arenas, more than 1,000 fans attended the V-League game at Hai Phong.
Allowing spectators to the matches was the result of Vietnam’s successful efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Despite sharing a long land border with China, where the virus originated, Vietnam, with a population of almost 100 million, has recorded just 328 cases and not a single recorded death.
Fans were subjected to temperature checks as they entered the stadiums, which were limited to half of normal capacity. They were not required to wear masks.
07:32 GMT – Hydroxychloroquine is ‘useless’ against COVID-19, says Oxford study
A study of thousands of patients led by the University of Oxford has said that the hydroxychloroquine drug does not work against the new coronavirus disease and should not be given to any more hospital patients around the world.
“If you are admitted to hospital, don’t take hydroxychloroquine,” said Martin Landray, deputy chief investigator of the Recovery trial and professor of medicine and epidemiology at Oxford University. “It doesn’t work.”
“It is being touted as a game changer, a wonderful drug, a breakthrough. This is an incredibly important result, because worldwide we can stop using a drug that is useless.”
07:00 GMT – Most of 51 new South Korea cases linked to door sales
South Korea has reported 51 new cases of COVID-19, mostly in the densely populated capital region, as authorities scramble to stem transmissions among low-income workers who cannot afford to stay home.
The figures announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 11,719 workers and 273 deaths.
At least 34 of the new cases were linked to door-to-door sellers hired by Richway, a Seoul-based health product provider.
Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said the spread of the virus among Richway sellers was particularly alarming as most of them are aged in their 60s and 70s. He called for officials to strengthen their efforts to find and examine workplaces vulnerable to infections.
06:40 GMT – Pakistan reports highest single-day virus deaths
Pakistan has broken its previous record of the highest single-day deaths ever from the novel coronavirus, reporting 97 fatalities over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said.
With the latest surge, the death toll in the country has reached 1,935.
With 4,734 new cases over the past day, the country’s number of coronavirus cases has reached 93,983, already surpassing China, and landing the country at the 17th spot in terms of coronavirus cases, the data shows. Some 32,581 patients have recovered.
Hello, this is Linah Alsaafin in Doha taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.
05:08 GMT – India’s confirmed infections overtake Italy’s
India has surpassed Italy as the sixth worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic after another record single-day spike in confirmed infections.
The health ministry reported 9,887 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 236,657.
Most of the new cases are in rural areas following the return of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who left cities and towns after the lockdown in late March.
101 EAST | India: Under Lockdown (24:56)
The lockdown is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas while authorities have partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen. Shopping malls and religious places are due to open on Monday with restrictions to avoid large gatherings.
03:51 GMT – Beijing eases emergency response level to second lowest
China’s capital Beijing further eased its coronavirus measures on Saturday, lowering the city’s emergency response level to the second lowest.
That will lift most restrictions on people travelling from Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei, where the virus first appeared late last year. They will no longer face 14-day mandatory quarantines and other forms of monitoring, and those currently in such situations will be allowed to return to their normal lives.
Beijing residential compounds will not be required to conduct temperature checks and masks no longer must be worn for outdoor activities. Kindergartens will reopen and other grades still suspended will restart classes.
Beijing has reported no new cases of local transmission in at least 50 days and as many as 90 days in some districts.
Foreign airlines to resume flights to China (2:07)
02:51 GMT – China urges citizens to shun Australia
China has advised its citizens not to visit Australia, citing racial discrimination and violence against Asians during the coronavirus pandemic.
A notice issued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism late on Friday said there had “been an increase in words and deeds of racial discrimination and acts of violence against Chinese and Asians in Australia, due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic”.
“The ministry advises Chinese tourists to raise their safety awareness and avoid travelling to Australia,” the notice said.
The move comes after China threatened retaliation following Australia’s decision to push for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and responses to it.
02:14 GMT – China reports three new COVID-19 cases
China has recorded three new confirmed cases of the new coronavirus as of the end of Friday, down from five the day before, the National Health Commission said.
All of the cases were imported, involving travellers arriving from abroad, the NHC said.
The total number of infections in China, where the virus first emerged late last year, stands at 83,030. With no new deaths reported, the death toll remained at 4,634.
02:07 GMT – California to allow pro-sports, day camps
California broadly relaxed its coronavirus-related shutdowns, moving to allow professional sports to be played without audiences and reopen day camps, tribal casinos, museums and zoos as soon as June 12.
The most populous US state will also allow film, television and music production, a key sector of the economy that provides thousands of jobs, to restart.
Still not allowed in California are nail salons, tattoo parlors, movie theatres, nightclubs, concert venues, theme parks or higher education, the state’s website showed.
01:23 GMT – Brazil’s Supreme Court halts police raids in Rio’s favelas
A Brazilian Supreme Court minister has banned police raids in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas during the coronavirus pandemic, as criticism of brutal police tactics grows in Latin America’s largest nation.
In the decision, Minister Edson Fachin forbid raids on Brazil’s informal shanty towns “except in absolutely exceptional cases”, which must be preapproved by the state prosecutor’s office.
Rio’s police forces are notoriously violent, having killed more than 1,800 people in 2019. In May, police in Rio drew criticism for an operation in which a 14-year-old boy was killed, as well as another shootout in a coronavirus-stricken favela, which drew hundreds into the streets.
Congressman Alessandro Molon, whose Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) filed the suit that resulted in the decision, called the ruling “historic”.
00:39 GMT – Bolsonaro threatens WHO exit
President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull Brazil out of the WHO after the United Nations agency warned governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking to journalists, Bolsonaro accused the WHO of being “partisan” and “political”. He said Brazil will consider leaving the body unless it ceased to work “without ideological bias”.
Brazil, Mexico coronavirus deaths hit daily record (2:15)
Earlier on Friday, when asked about efforts to loosen social-distancing orders in Brazil despite rising daily death rates and diagnoses, a WHO spokeswoman said a key criteria for lifting lockdowns was slowing transmission.
“The epidemic, the outbreak, in Latin America is deeply, deeply concerning,” Margaret Harris told a news conference in Geneva. She said that among six key criteria for easing quarantines, “one of them is ideally having your transmission declining.”
00:01 GMT – G20 pledges $21bn dollars to fight coronavirus
The Group of 20 (G20) – a bloc whose member nations have the world’s largest economies – has pledged more than $21bn to fight the coronavirus, a statement by the group said early on Saturday.
“The G20, with invited countries, has coordinated the global efforts to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, G20 members and invited countries have pledged over US$21 billion to support funding in global health,” the statement said.
The pledges will be directed towards diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and research and development, the statement added.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the updates from yesterday, June 5, go here.