Russia surpasses 500,000 coronavirus cases: Live updates

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Russia surpassed 500,000 cases after 8,779 new infections were reported by health officials. The death toll stands at 6,532, a number the World Health Organization has cast doubt over. 

Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the UK's coronavirus strategy, says that the country's death toll could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier. The UK has more than 291,000 cases and at least 41,000 deaths. Students' mental health is in focus in post-lockdown China, amid an increase in the number of suicides. In one Shanghai district, there have been 14 suicides by primary and secondary school students so far this year. More than 7.36 million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus and at least 416,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, June 11 10:40 GMT - Malaysia bars citizens from Hajj pilgrimage on coronavirus fears

Malaysia said its citizens would be barred from making the haj pilgrimage this year due to concerns over the new coronavirus, following in the steps of neighbouring Indonesia, which is also a Muslim-majority nation.

Every year Malaysia sends tens of thousands of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina. Malaysian pilgrims can wait up to 20 years to make the trip due to a quota system negotiated with Saudi Arabia.

Muslims pray during the Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power, the holiest night for Muslims, while practicing social distancing, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-1

Saudi Arabia has suspended the haj and umrah pilgrimages until further notice in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, though it has begun easing some restrictions on movement and travel [File: Saudi Press Agency/Reuters]

10:20 GMT - Brussels sets out plans to reopen EU borders

Brussels on Thursday set out plans to fully reopen the EU's internal borders on June 15 and to allow travellers from Balkan countries to enter the bloc from July 1.

The recommendation to the EU's 27 member states comes as restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus are eased and national governments seek to restart tourism in time for the summer peak.

09:40 GMT - Bahrain school holds graduation on F1 circuit

As coronavirus bans wreak havoc on school-leaving events, one Bahrain school has honoured its seniors with a "drive-through" graduation ceremony complete with fireworks at the kingdom's Formula One circuit.

In rows of well-spaced vehicles, students and their families lined up Wednesday evening in front of the main podium of Bahrain International Circuit, where Grand Prix races are held.

This year's race was postponed as the pandemic threw the racing calendar into chaos, but the venue was repurposed to bid farewell to the Bahrain Bayan School graduates.

09:18 GMT - UEFA set to choose schedules, venues for European football

Match schedules and venues for international soccer in Europe disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic will be decided by UEFA next week.

The Champions League, for this season and next, and the postponed European Championship playoffs and final tournament are at the top of the executive committee agenda published by UEFA.

08:58 GMT - Philippines reports nine novel coronavirus deaths, 443 more infections

The Philippines' health ministry confirmed nine more new coronavirus deaths and 443 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections have increased to 24,175 while deaths have reached 1,036.


A security guard (L) takes the temperatures of passengers wearing personal protective suits at the entrance to the check-in area at the international airport in Manila [File: Ted Aljibe/AFP]

08:40 GMT - British Airways to put artworks on sale in COVID-19 cash crunch

British Airways will sell at least 10 works of art from its extensive collection, a source said, to try to raise millions of pounds to boost its cash reserves as it struggles through the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has come under fire from British politicians for plans to cut 12,000 jobs. But with planes grounded and no revenue, it says the job losses are necessary because travel demand is set to shrink in coming years.

08:20 GMT - Russia's coronavirus cases surpass 500,000

Russia's coronavirus caseload surpassed 500,000 on Thursday, after health officials reported 8,779 new infections.

The nation's total currently stands at 502,436 confirmed cases, including 6,532 deaths.

Experts both in Russia and abroad expressed doubts about the country's remarkably low pandemic death toll, with some alleging that numbers were manipulated for political reasons. The Russian government repeatedly denied the allegations.

Despite recording almost 9,000 new cases daily for the past month, Russian authorities have started easing lockdown restrictions in many regions - including Moscow, which accounts for about 40 percent of all virus cases and almost half of officially reported deaths.

07:59 GMT - Resurgence of virus threatens South Korea's success story

Just weeks ago, South Korea was celebrating its hard-won gains against the coronavirus, easing social distancing, reopening schools and promoting a tech-driven anti-virus campaign President Moon Jae-in has called "K-quarantine".

But a resurgence of infections in the Seoul region where half of South Korea's 51 million people live is threatening the country's success story and prompting health authorities to warn that action must be taken now to stop a second wave.

South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday reported 45 fresh cases of infection, a daily rise that has been fairly consistent since late May. Most have been in the Seoul metropolitan area, where health authorities have struggled to trace transmissions.

South Korea

South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday reported 45 fresh cases of infection [Ahn Young/AP]

07:38 GMT - European shares slide on Fed outlook, worries of new virus cases

European shares moved further away from their three-month peak on Thursday after a downbeat economic outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve and on worries of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 2.6 percent, its fourth straight day of decline, with travel and leisure stocks, banks and automakers losing between 4.5 percent and 5 percent.

A possibility of a fresh rise in U.S. coronavirus cases dampened risk appetite, with a Reuters analysis showing infections rose slightly after five weeks of declines, partly due to more testing.

07:17 GMT - US surpasses 2 million coronavirus cases

The US COVID-19 cases has surged past two million, according to data compiled by the Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University.

The country has so far registered 2,000,464 coronavirus infections including nearly 113,000 deaths and more than 533,000 recoveries.

06:58 GMT - France's Montchalin: EU must reach deal on coronavirus relief plan by July

The European Union must reach a deal on a proposed 750 billion euro economic recovery plan to cope with the impact of the coronavirus crisis by July, French Junior European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said.

"There is no other solution than having a deal by July. If we do not have a stimulus plan, we will have a problem," Montchalin told BFM Business radio.

Gradual end to a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris

France has recorded over 192,000 cases with nearly 30,000 deaths [File: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

06:40 GMT - Heathrow starts voluntary redundancy scheme, can't rule out more job losses

Britain's Heathrow Airport, which before the coronavirus pandemic was the busiest in Europe, said it had started a voluntary redundancy scheme after passenger numbers fell to an all-time low and it could not rule out further job losses.

Heathrow said that passenger numbers in May were down 97 percent and it was preparing for further declines due to Britain's quarantine rule.

06:20 GMT - India sees biggest one-day jump in cases

India reported a record of 9,996 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours with health services in the worst-hit cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai getting swamped by the rising infections.

The Health Ministry reported an increase of 357 deaths. India's tally of positive cases has reached 286,579 so far, the fifth highest in the world, and 8,102 deaths.

Most Indian states have lifted lockdown restrictions, with train services partially restored and shops and manufacturing reopened. Subways, hotels and schools remain shuttered nationwide. 

Outside image - blog - india headline

The Health Ministry said testing capacity has increased and the number of recovered patients exceeds the number of active cases for the first time [File: Divyakant Solanki/EPA]

06:00 GMT - Pakistani government downplays WHO warning on coronavirus spread

Pakistan's defacto health minister has downplayed a World Health Organisation warning to the country on reimposing a lockdown in order to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Zafar Mirza issued a statement on Wednesday saying "we have made best sovereign decisions in the best interest of our people. We have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods".

Pakistan registered 5,834 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, a new single-day record, taking its countrywide tally to 119,536 cases. The total death toll in the country is at 2,356.

Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my collegue Ted Regencia.

05:21 GMT - Arrests made over alleged body-snatching incidents in Indonesia

Indonesian authorities have arrested dozens of people suspected of snatching the bodies of COVID-19 victims from several hospitals so the dead could be buried according to their wishes.

Provincial police spokesman Ibrahim Tompo said that at least 33 suspects have been detained by police in South Sulawesi province in the past week. Ponto said charges against 10 of them will proceed to prosecutors.

He says if convicted, the suspects face up to seven years in prison and $7,000 in fines for violating health laws and resisting officers.

Indonesia has reported at least 34,316 cases and 1,923 coronavirus-related deaths in the country.

04:45 GMT - Thailand reports no new coronavirus cases, no new deaths

Thailand on Thursday reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths, maintaining the total of 3,125 confirmed cases and 58 fatalities, according to Reuters news agency.

It was the first time in nearly three weeks that no cases were reported and the 17th day without a local transmission. All recent cases have been found in quarantine among Thais returning from abroad.

There are 2,987 patients who have recovered, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government's COVID-19 Administration Centre.

04:01 GMT - Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise 555 to 185,416

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 555 to 185,416, data obtained by Reuters from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

The reported death toll rose by 26 to 8,755, the tally showed.

03:51 GMT - Italian nurses demand better pay, more manpower

Dozens of hospital nurses have protested in downtown Milan to demand better pay and the hiring of more colleagues, AP news agency reported.

Nurses have been hailed as Italy's heroes during the country's COVID-19 outbreak. But organisers of the protest noted that nurses in Italy are among the lowest paid in Europe.

Recently, three nurses, including one who collapsed on a keyboard from exhaustion while caring for infected patients, were among those honoured by the Italian president for special service to the nation. At least 40 nurses with the virus have died in Italy. The country reported more than 235,000 cases and at least 34,000 deaths.

Coronavirus - Italy

Nurses belonging to the NurSind union hold up signs with writing in Italian: "We honour our fallen in the fight against COVID-19" as they stage a protest calling for better working conditions in Milan on Wednesday [Luca Bruno/AP]

03:23 GMT - Puerto Rico eyes lifting of quarantine restrictions

As Puerto Rico considers lifting pandemic quarantine restrictions, health officials say the US territory passed its peak of coronavirus cases and related deaths more than two months ago. However, independent experts said those numbers are in doubt.

Health Department consultant Miguel Valencia said at a news conference that Puerto Rico's confirmed COVID-19 cases peaked at 84 cases on March 31 and deaths at six on April 6. Overall, Puerto Rico has reported more than 5,300 cases and at least 143 deaths on the island of 3.2 million people.

02:50 GMT - Japan eyes partial reopening to business trips this summer

Japan - coronavirus

Japan has an estimated 17,146 coronavirus infections and 922 fatalities [Franck Robichon/EPA]

Japan may restart business trips to and from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand as early this summer, easing an entry ban to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday quoting the Yomiuri newspaper.

Up to 250 business travellers a day will most likely be allowed into Japan from the four countries, which have seen their infection situations stabilise, the newspaper said, without citing sources.

Prospective visitors will be required to submit a document ahead of their trips to Japan showing they are not infected, and will be asked to go through a PCR, or polymerase chain reaction test, upon entry, the paper said.

In another step to ease coronavirus-related restrictions, the Tokyo metropolitan government is set to lift the "Tokyo alert" issued last week to urge residents to keep up their guard as early as the end of the week, the Nikkei business daily said. The number of daily new infections in Tokyo has stayed below 20 for the past four days.

02:31 GMT - South Korea reports 45 new infections

South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thurday 45 new coronavirus cases, including 40 local infections - a slight decrease from 50 the previous day.

The total caseload in the country now stands at 11,947, with a total of 10,654 considered recovered, according to Yonhap news agency quoting the country's health agency.

The total death tally remained unchanged at 276, with the fatality rate reaching 2.31 percent.

02:07 GMT - China reports 11 imported coronavirus cases

China has reported a small spike in imported confirmed cases of coronavirus to 11. There were no new deaths or cases of local transmission in Thursday's report.

Chinese officials say just 62 people remain in treatment for COVID-19. In addition, 130 people are under observation and isolation for showing signs of the illness or testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms, as a safeguard against them possibly spreading it to others.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 - a figure that has not changed in weeks - among 83,057 cases recorded since the virus was first detected in the central industrial city of Wuhan late last year.

01:25 GMT - Latin America hits 70,000 pandemic deaths, daily record in Mexico

Latin America's coronavirus crisis reached a grim new milestone on Wednesday with total deaths exceeding 70,000, according to a Reuters count, as Mexico hit a daily record for confirmed infections.

Brazil, with the largest economy in the region, remains Latin America's most affected country as total fatalities are just shy of 40,000, the world's third highest death toll after the United States and Britain.

In the region's second biggest country, Mexico, a new daily record of 4,883 confirmed cases was reported by the health ministry, along with 708 additional fatalities. The daily totals bring Mexico's overall official count to 129,184 infections and 15,357 deaths.

00:01 GMT - Mexico City to increase COVID-19 testing defying national government

Coronavirus - Mexico

Medical staff protest in Acapulco against the non-payment of the COVID-19 bond for the healthcare workers looking after those infected by the virus [David Guzman/EPA]

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum says the capital will embark on a large-scale COVID-19 testing effort as the centrepiece of its plan to reopen its economy, diverging from the federal government's strategy, which has shunned widespread testing as a waste of resources.

The goal will be performing some 100,000 tests a month by July and will use the results to detect and isolate new clusters of infection as quickly as possible, Sheinbaum said in a news conference. It will be paired with an intensive information campaign.

The sprawling city of nine million - with an equal number or more in the suburbs - has confirmed more than 32,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 3,200 deaths, both considered to be undercounted because of limited testing. Nationwide, there were more than 129,000 cases and 15,357 deaths as of the end of Wednesday.

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


Read all the updates from yesterday (June 10) here.

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