Rwanda reports its first death from the virus
Rwanda’s ministry of health reported the East African nation’s first death caused by the coronavirus on Sunday.
The patient was a 65-year-old driver who opted to return home from a neighboring country after falling severely ill, the ministry said in a statement on Twitter. He died from severe respiratory complications while receiving treatment at a specialized COVID-19 treatment facility.
The country has recording 359 cases in total.
It comes as Rwanda has deployed robots at virus treatment centers to carry out simple tasks like taking temperatures and monitoring patients, in a bid to minimize contact between infected patients and healthcare workers.
Colombia to fully shut down Bogota neighborhood amid rising virus cases
The mayor of Colombia’s capital is planning to shut down one of the city’s largest neighborhoods as cases there continue to rise.
Mayor Claudia Lopez said Saturday that starting June 1 the working-class Kennedy area of Bogota— home to nearly 1.5 million people — will be under a strict quarantine. Police and military will enforce the lockdown and no one will be allowed out, except to seek food, medical care or in case of an emergency.
Lopez said that testing for the virus will be doubled. The area on Sunday has more nearly 2,500 cases and hospitals there are reaching maximum capacity.
The mayor said that in the rest of Bogota no new sectors of the economy will be allowed to reopen until at least the middle of June.
Global virus cases surpass 6 million
Global coronavirus cases surpassed 6 million on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University data, as death toll worldwide nears 370,000.
While the United States has the highest number of cases globally — with more than 1.7 million recorded — Brazil recently surpassed badly-hit European countries to sit second on the grim chart.
The South American country has reported nearly 500,000 cases, and with 28,834 death recorded as of Sunday, it has the world’s fourth highest death toll behind the U.S., Britain and Italy respectively.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the gravity of the epidemic and criticized lockdowns for paralyzing the economy and causing widespread unemployment and some states are preparing to ease quarantine restrictions despite warnings from public health experts who say the worst is still to come.
Los Angeles shuts down COVID testing centers due to protests
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Saturday that all of the city’s COVID-19 testing centers were closed as of 3 p.m. local time.
Garcetti also said that the city would be under curfew from 8 p.m. till 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Protests in the city were already underway on Saturday as buses were overtaken and multiple police cars were set on fire in the city’s 4th day of protests.
With NYC poised to reopen starting June 8, focus is on city’s infection hotspots
With New York City poised to begin reopening on June 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that the state has identified 10 coronavirus hotspots in the city.
“We are laser-focused on the 10 hotspots where infection rates are highest. It is not just coincidence that the hotspots are in low-income and minority communities. The inequality in health outcomes of this pandemic is just one of countless inequalities,” Cuomo said during a press conference.
Most of the hotspots are located in neighborhoods around the Bronx and a few other areas in Brooklyn and Queens. Ten new coronavirus-testing sites will be added to these areas to address the disproportionate rate of infections. Efforts to distribute personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and information on how to better practice social distancing around crowded living conditions will also be ramped up in these areas.
Cuomo also announced a partnership with Northwell Health, the largest hospital system in the state, to “go deeper” and “address the inequality in health care.”
“Why are black people dying from COVID at higher rates than white people? Why are health outcomes worse in communities of color?” said Cuomo. “If you look across the nation, many more people of color died from the virus than white people. That is a fact.”
Coronavirus deaths across New York reached an “all-time low,” with the state reporting 67 deaths on Friday, said Cuomo. New hospitalizations and intubations have also continued to decrease across the state.
Supreme Court rejects challenge to coronavirus limits on church services
A divided Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services that have been imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Over the dissent of the four more conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, in the San Diego area.
The church argued that limits on how many people can attend their services violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and had been seeking an order in time for services on Sunday. The church said it has crowds of 200 to 300 people for its services.
Roberts wrote in brief opinion that the restriction allowing churches to reopen at 25 percent of their capacity, with no more than 100 worshipers at a time, “appear consistent” with the First Amendment.
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India’s coronavirus caseload surges again
India on Saturday registered another record single-day jump of 7,964 virus cases and 265 deaths, a day before the two-month lockdown is set to end. The Health Ministry put the total number of confirmed cases at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an open letter marking the first year of his government’s second term, said India was on the path to victory in its battle against the virus. He said India will set “an example in economic revival” and asked the nation to show a “firm resolve.”
Modi also acknowledged the “tremendous suffering” of millions of migrant workers who had lost their jobs during the lockdown and have been forced to make grueling and dangerous trips back to their hometowns.
The federal government is expected to issue a new set of guidelines this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas.