India to reimpose coronavirus lockdown in Chennai: Live updates

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China has turned to mass testing and district lockdowns in Beijing after a jump in cases connected with a wholesale food market in the capital.

UN agencies have warned the pandemic could lead to the deaths of more than 50,000 under-fives in the Middle East and North Africa by the end of the year.

More than 7.9 million people are confirmed to have the coronavirus around the world. Nearly 3.8 million have recovered, while at least 433,394 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, June 15 14:18 GMT - Sweden extends ban on visits to elderly care homes due to pandemic

Sweden will extend its ban on visits to elderly care homes to August 31, Health Minister Lena Hallengren said.

"This is one of many tough measures that needs to remain in place," Hallengren told reporters at a news conference.

More than 4,800 people have died in Sweden after being infected with the coronavirus, the vast majority of them over 70 years old and of those, many were resident in elderly care homes.

The ban on visits was put in place on March 30.

14:08 GMT - India's Chennai city to reimpose lockdown as cases surge

A lockdown will be reimposed Friday on some 15 million people in the Indian city of Chennai and several neighbouring districts, state officials said, as coronavirus cases surge in the region.     

"Full Lockdown from 19th for Chennai, Thiruvallur, Chengalpet & Kanchipuram districts," the Tamil Nadu state government tweeted.

It will be in place until the end of June. 

Tamil Nadu, where Chennai is the capital, is the second-worst hit state after Maharashtra. The southern state has recorded just over 44,000 cases out of a nationwide total of 332,424, according to official figures. 

Hello, this is Farah Najjar taking over from my colleague Shereena Qazi.

12:45 GMT - Review into two-metre rule to be completed in coming weeks

The UK's government hopes to complete a review into whether the country should stick to a social distancing measure of keeping people two metres (six feet) apart in the coming weeks, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

The review into the two-metre rule comes after some businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, complained they could not return profits if customers had to stand far apart, citing other countries where the distances are smaller.

"It will be completed in the coming weeks," the spokesman told reporters, adding that the review would be chaired by Simon Case, permanent secretary at Number 10, and would report to Johnson.

12:10 GMT - Singapore to remove most coronavirus restrictions from Friday

Singapore will allow small gatherings and the reopening of restaurants and shops from June 19, its health ministry has said.

Social gatherings of up to five people will be permitted from Friday, when the majority of activities resume after more than two months of restrictions. Social distancing requirements will remain in place.

Tiny Singapore has one of the highest infection tallies in Asia, with more than 40,000 cases, because of mass outbreaks in dormitories for its migrant workers.

11:50 GMT - Finland withdraws emergency powers act as virus spread slows

Finland is withdrawing the emergency powers act that Parliament adopted in March to tackle the coronavirus as the infection rate has slowed and exceptional measures are no longer needed, the prime minister said.

Sanna Marin said there were no longer legal grounds for the government to keep the emergency legislation and the state of emergency would end at midnight on Monday.

There were 26 hospitalised COVID-19 patients and only one person in intensive care on Monday across Finland, the government said, adding there had been around 15 to 25 new cases a day for several weeks, totalling at 7,104 on Sunday.

10:50 GMT - Virus effects could kill over 50,000 children in MENA: UN

UN agencies have warned the coronavirus pandemic could lead to the deaths of an additional 51,000 under-fives in the Middle East and North Africa by the end of the year.

5.800 civilians displaced in Idlib in the last 24 hours

While there are not many cases of COVID-19 among children in the region, it is evident that the pandemic is affecting children's health firsthand, UN said [Source: Mediawire]

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, said the disruption of essential health and nutrition services risked "reversing progress (on) child survival in the region by nearly two decades".

Such a number of extra deaths would represent an increase of almost 40 percent more than pre-COVID-19 figures, they said in a joint statement issued in Amman.

09:50 GMT - Norway to halt COVID-19 track and trace app

Norway will halt its COVID-19 track and trace app and delete all data collected so far after criticism from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said.

The app was introduced by some Norwegian authorities to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.

The data protection watchdog said on Friday that considering the low spread of the infection, among other issues, collecting data through the app could no longer be seen as reasonable amid privacy concerns.

09:15 GMT - Coronavirus cases surge in Pakistan

Pakistan saw an exponential rise in cases of the coronavirus last week, with the country's planning minister predicting that the South Asian nation could see more than 1.2 million cases by the end of July if citizens do not abide by the government's advice on social distancing and hygiene.

Last week, Pakistan saw cases of the coronavirus rise by 39 percent, from 103,671 to 144,478, according to government data.

Deaths rose by 31.4 percent, to 2,787.

09:00 GMT - The coronavirus is changing the way Londoners get to work

The crowded daily commute in London has long been a source of misery for millions. But getting to work will be even more of a challenge following the UK's coronavirus lockdown.

London bicycle commute

A cyclist rides along a newly created bicycle lane by Transport for London on Park Lane in London [Toby Melville/Reuters]

Capacity on the transport network in one of the world's biggest financial hubs has been reduced by 85 percent to comply with social-distancing rules, protecting commuters by preventing them from cramming into trains, the London Underground and buses.

Read more here

08:55 GMT - The second wave?

Global markets started the week on the back foot while oil prices slipped as fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections in China and a surge in cases in the United States sent investors scurrying for safe-haven assets such as gold.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 2.5 percent with all sectors and regional markets trading deep in the red after losses accelerated in the final hours of trading in Asia.

Read more here

08:45 GMT - Tajikistan starts easing restrictions

Tajikistan has announced the first easing of restrictions, as it allowed malls, bazaars, restaurants, hotels and other service providers to reopen after a two-month shutdown.

State borders will remain closed, the government said in a statement, and so will mosques and mass transit facilities such as railways.

The Central Asian nation bordering China has confirmed 5,035 COVID-19 cases with 50 related deaths.

08:30 GMT - Montenegro reports first case since May

Three weeks after declaring it was free of the coronavirus, Montenegro has reported a new COVID-19 case - a person who arrived from neighbouring Bosnia

It was the first new infection reported in the tiny Balkan country since May 5.

The Institute for Public Health, which is tasked with combating the new coronavirus, said the infected patient was in self-isolation in the Balkan country's capital, Podgorica.

Montenegro, a former Yugoslav republic of 620,000 people whose economy relies heavily on tourism revenues, has so far reported 325 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus and nine deaths.

Prime Minister Dusko Markovic declared Montenegro coronavirus-free on May 25.

07:50 GMT - India may use train carriages for virus beds

India's home minister has offered 500 railway carriages for use as makeshift coronavirus hospital wards as the capital New Delhi struggles to contain a rise in cases.

New Delhi has about 9,000 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients among public and private hospitals, but a state government panel of experts has said the city will need at least 15,000 beds by the end of June.

India's health ministry reported a jump of more than 11,000 new coronavirus infections nationwide for a third consecutive day, taking the total caseload to more than 332,000, including 9,520 deaths.

07:47 GMT - Qatar eases Industrial Area restrictions

In line with the first stage of the gradual lifting of restrictions, Qatar has removed the requirement for entry and exit permits to and from the Industrial Area, a commercial hub outside the capital Doha where many of its migrant workers live, effective Monday, June 15.

The Industrial Area was partially closed after the discovery of a number of coronavirus cases among its residents.

The Gulf state will also implement phase one of the lifting of restrictions where certain shops in malls, as well as selected parks and mosques, will reopen.

07:45 GMT - Greece welcomes foreign visitors, restarts summer tourism

Greece has reopened its main airports to more international flights, hoping to kick-start its vital tourism sector after three months under lockdown.

Tourism employs about 700,000 people and accounts for some 20 percent of Greece's economic output, so how the sector fares is significant for the country's recovery. Greece emerged from a decade-long debt crisis two years ago.

COVID restrictions

Tourists and locals mill about outside of a cafe opened for take-away business in the Plaka district in Athens [Getty Images]

Passengers arriving from airports deemed high-risk by the European Union's aviation safety agency will be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined for up to 14 days, depending on the test result.

Restrictions remain for passengers from the UK and Turkey. Arrivals from other airports will be randomly tested.

07:30 GMT - Djokovic tennis event gets flak over coronavirus fears

A charity tennis event organised by men's top-ranked player Novak Djokovic that drew big crowds over the weekend has sparked criticism for its lack of safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of fans were seated closely inside the stadium and without face masks as top players were seen exchanging high fives and hugs on court in the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

Read more here.

06:30 GMT - Indian journalists targeted during lockdown: Report

At least 55 journalists have either faced arrests, physical assaults, alleged destruction of properties or threats for reporting on the coronavirus crisis during India's lockdown from March 25 to May 31, the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) has said in a report.

"India has become the riskiest place for journalists in the world," said the report. It said the Indian state and political activists alleged that journalists acted "prejudicial to maintenance of harmony" and "the national integrity, sovereignty and security of India"

The RRAG said the highest number of attacks on media persons was reported from Uttar Pradesh state (11 journalists), followed by Jammu and Kashmir (6) and Himachal Pradesh (5).

05:05 GMT - Coronavirus case updates

A number of countries have been updating their data.

Thailand has reported no new cases or deaths, and its 21st day without local transmission. All recent cases have been found in Thai people returning from overseas.

In Europe, the Czech Republic says total cases have now risen above 10,000. Germany, meanwhile, has reported 192 new cases bringing its total to 186,461. It also reported four more deaths.

04:15 GMT - England's high street shops to reopen on Monday

Shops in the UK are set to reopen on Monday after being forced to remain closed for 83 days because of the coronavirus.

They will have to abide by social distancing rules that will limit the number of customers and make it more difficult for people to try on clothes, test furniture and browse books.

From tomorrow, 15 June, all our Clothing & Home stores in England and Northern Ireland will be open. We look forward to welcoming you back, with some new measures in place to keep you well. Read more about how you can shop with confidence here:

— M&S (@marksandspencer) June 14, 2020

Shops in Scotland and Wales are still waiting to find out when they can resume trading. Only supermarkets and other "essential" retailers were allowed to operate during the coronavirus lockdown.

Thank you from our Selfridges family. Discover personal notes of thanks from team members, displayed across our windows. From kind strangers, NHS workers & delivery drivers, our team has expressed their gratitude ahead of reopening on 15.06.20

— Selfridges (@Selfridges) June 11, 2020 04:00 GMT - Peasant brigades mete out rough justice in Peru coronavirus fight

The Peruvian peasant brigades who once battled leftist rebel groups are now being deployed against people breaking coronavirus quarantines, according to the Reuters News Agency.

The community brigades were created in the 1970s in northern highland areas.

Aladino Fernandez, the president of a group in the region of Cajamarca, told the news agency rule-breakers risked being caned.

"A serious crime would be about 15 lashes," he said.

Peru has the second-highest number of cases in South America after Brazil.

03:30 GMT - Hong Kong Disneyland to reopen on June 18

Disneyland in Hong Kong has announced it will reopen on June 18, nearly six months after it closed in late January.

The theme park, including its shops and restaurants, will open with "controlled capacity" and social distancing will be enforced.

The Disneyland in Shanghai reopened last month.

03:20 GMT - Areas around another Beijing market locked down after positive tests

State broadcaster CGTN has more on the areas of Beijing that have been locked down. It seems they are in the northwest of the city, around a market where some staff were diagnosed with coronavirus.

Ten communities around Yuquandong market in Beijing's Haidian District were shut down after some market staffers tested positive for #coronavirus, with all of them having links to Xinfadi wholesale market that is at the center of new cases, local official told a briefing Monday.

— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) June 15, 2020 03:15 GMT - China seals off another 10 Beijing neighbourhoods

Another 10 neighbourhoods in Beijing have been sealed off as part of the city's attempt to deal with a sudden spike of cases linked to a wholesale food market, according to AFP news agency.

02:45 GMT - South Korea checks cases, but keeps wary eye on Seoul

South Korea has reported new cases below 40 for the second day in a row, according to Yonhap news agency, but is concerned about cluster infections and untraceable cases in the Seoul metropolitan area.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 37 new cases on Monday, 24 of them local infections and all but two of those in the Seoul area.

The new cases are clustered around a door-to-door business group, small churches and a table tennis centre.

But the number of cases where the origin is unknown is also growing, according to the KCDC, up 1.8 percentage points to 9.2 percent of cases over the first two weeks of June. 

South Korea

Life has been returning to normal in Seoul but with clusters of coronavirus emerging some restrictions have been reimposed [Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

02:15 GMT - Japan says it has not decided to ease entry ban

Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says the government has made no decision to ease the entry ban imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus after local media reported it might lift it for people from certain countries.

Motegi told parliament the government was looking at ways to ease the ban and would do so in stages if it decided to do so.  

00:05 GMT - China ramps up testing in Beijing after spike in cases

China's vice premier Sun Chunlan is calling for "decisive measures" in Beijing as the capital moves to mass coronavirus testing after a spike in cases connected to a major wholesale food market.

Late on Sunday, all companies were ordered to supervise a 14-day home quarantine for employees who had visited the Xinfadi market or been in contact with anyone who had been there. The market has been closed and a number of residential estates around it sealed off. Schools and kindergartens in the area have been closed too.

"Beijing has entered an extraordinary period," city spokesman Xu Hejian said.

According to state media, the latest figures show 49 new cases in mainland China, 10 imported and 39 acquired locally - 36 of them in Beijing. 

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who had led anti-#COVID19 fight in #Wuhan for months, urged authorities to take decisive measures in containing virus spread in #Beijing after latest infection clusters. The capital city is still facing high risks of further virus spreading: Sun

— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 15, 2020

Beijing market outbreak sparks fears of second COVID-19 wave

00:00 GMT - Australia banking on infrastructure to escape coronavirus economic rout

Australia is expected to spend a further 1.5 billion Australian dollars ($1.03 billion) on infrastructure and fast-track approvals for a series of projects including the expansion of the Olympic Dam. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is due to speak later on Monday. 

"As we come out of the COVID crisis, infrastructure can give us the edge many countries don't have," he's expected to say, according to extracts of the speech sent to Reuters by his office.

The government has already brought forward 3.8 billion Australian dollars in infrastructure funding with the country facing its first recession in 30 years.

23:00 GMT (Sunday) - EasyJet to resume some flights in UK

The UK's easyJet will resume operations on Monday with a limited number of domestic flights within the UK. The first will leave Gatwick Airport for Glasgow at 06:00 GMT.

All passengers will have to wear face masks, aircraft cleaning will be enhanced and no food services will be offered.

EasyJet plans to add more services as the months progress and expects to be flying about three-quarters of its routes by August but at a much lower frequency.

EasyJet entry

Easyjet planes on the ground at Luton airport after the airline grounded its entire fleet in late March [File: Matthew Childs/Reuters]

22:05 GMT (Sunday): Ghana's health minister confirmed with coronavirus

Ghana's health minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu has been diagnosed with the coronavirus and is in a stable condition.

"Let us wish our hardworking minister for health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, a speedy recovery from the virus, which he contracted in the line of duty," President Nana Akufo-Addo said on television on Sunday.

Ghana has recorded nearly 12,000 cases of coronavirus, one of the highest infection rates in Africa, but has also tested far more people than most other countries. It has reported 54 deaths.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera's continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I'm Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (June 14) here.

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