Coronavirus infectionsinfections inin thethe UnitedUnited StatesStates toppedtopped thethe threethree millionmillion markmark Wednesday,Wednesday, asas PresidentPresident Donald TrumpTrump beganbegan withdrawingwithdrawing thethe countrycountry fromfrom thethe WorldWorld HealthHealth Organization.Organization.
TheThe USUS remainsremains byby farfar thethe worstworst affectedaffected country,country, withwith overover 131,000 deaths,deaths, whilewhile Brazil -- whosewhose virus-skeptic PresidentPresident Jair Bolsonaro hashas testedtested positivepositive forfor thethe diseasedisease -- isis aa distantdistant secondsecond withwith closeclose toto 67,000 deathsdeaths fromfrom almostalmost 1.7 millionmillion cases.cases.
DespiteDespite thethe figures,figures, bothboth TrumpTrump andand Bolsonaro havehave continuedcontinued toto argueargue againstagainst lockdowns andand otherother restrictiverestrictive measures,measures, reflectingreflecting aa widerwider dividedivide overover thethe responseresponse toto thethe crisis.crisis.
TrumpTrump WednesdayWednesday calledcalled forfor studentsstudents toto returnreturn inin thethe fallfall despitedespite thethe virusvirus surgingsurging inin severalseveral southernsouthern statestate hotspots.
Meanwhile,Meanwhile, millionsmillions inin thethe AustralianAustralian citycity ofof Melbourne werewere preparingpreparing forfor aa returnreturn toto lockdown toto fightfight anan upsurgeupsurge thatthat isis seeingseeing moremore thanthan 100 newnew casescases reportedreported eacheach day,day, withwith panicpanic buyersbuyers strippingstripping supermarketsupermarket shelves.shelves.
ButBut therethere werewere signssigns inin Europe thatthat harshharsh restrictionsrestrictions wouldwould bebe difficultdifficult toto reimpose, withwith thousandsthousands protestingprotesting inin Serbia againstagainst aa weekendweekend curfewcurfew andand France vowingvowing notnot toto havehave aa blanketblanket lockdown again.again.
TheThe virusvirus hashas infectedinfected almostalmost 12 millionmillion peoplepeople worldwideworldwide andand killedkilled moremore thanthan 500,000 sincesince itit emergedemerged inin ChinaChina latelate lastlast year.year.
- 'Knee-deep''Knee-deep' -
HavingHaving justjust aa handfulhandful ofof casescases atat thethe startstart ofof February,February, thethe USUS infectioninfection raterate passedpassed thethe oneone millionmillion milestonemilestone onon AprilApril 28 andand hithit twotwo millionmillion onon JuneJune 11, accordingaccording toto anan AFP tallytally ofof officialofficial sources.sources.
AllAll thethe while,while, thethe deathdeath tolltoll hashas beenbeen creepingcreeping upup toto itsits currentcurrent figurefigure ofof 131,480, almostalmost one-quarter ofof thethe globalglobal total.total.
TopTop USUS infectiousinfectious diseasesdiseases expertexpert Anthony Fauci hashas warnedwarned thatthat thethe countrycountry isis stillstill "knee-deep""knee-deep" inin onlyonly itsits firstfirst coronavirus wave,wave, butbut TrumpTrump saidsaid onon TuesdayTuesday America waswas "in"in aa goodgood place"place" andand thatthat hehe disagreeddisagreed withwith Fauci.
ToTo thethe consternationconsternation ofof expertsexperts andand politicalpolitical opponents,opponents, TrumpTrump formally startedstarted withdrawingwithdrawing fromfrom thethe WHOWHO onon Tuesday,Tuesday, makingmaking goodgood onon threatsthreats toto deprivedeprive thethe UNUN bodybody ofof somesome $400 millionmillion inin fundingfunding afterafter hehe accusedaccused itit ofof beingbeing tootoo closeclose toto China.China.
Joe Biden, whowho willwill faceface himhim inin aa presidentialpresidential electionelection inin November,November, promisedpromised toto rejoinrejoin thethe WHOWHO "and"and restorerestore ourour leadershipleadership onon thethe worldworld stage"stage" ifif hehe wins.wins.
UnderliningUnderlining America's unilateralunilateral approach,approach, thethe governmentgovernment WednesdayWednesday announcedannounced moremore thanthan $2 billionbillion inin fundingfunding forfor researchresearch intointo vaccinesvaccines andand treatments.treatments.
InIn itsits biggestbiggest grantgrant yet,yet, $1.6 billionbillion waswas awardedawarded toto biotechbiotech firmfirm Novavax.
TheThe companycompany hashas agreedagreed toto deliverdeliver 100 millionmillion dosesdoses ifif successfulsuccessful andand saidsaid itit wouldwould nownow movemove withwith "extraordinary"extraordinary urgency".
SeveralSeveral potentialpotential vaccinesvaccines areare beingbeing developeddeveloped aroundaround thethe worldworld -- $1.2 billionbillion waswas recentlyrecently awardedawarded toto drugdrug firmfirm AstraZeneca asas partpart ofof anotheranother projectproject inin Britain.
- 'Fascist''Fascist' protestersprotesters -
FollowingFollowing inin thethe footstepsfootsteps ofof worldworld leadersleaders includingincluding BritishBritish PrimePrime MinisterMinister Boris Johnson, Bolsonaro waswas thethe latestlatest statesmanstatesman toto testtest positivepositive forfor COVID-19.
HeHe hashas consistently playedplayed downdown thethe risksrisks ofof thethe disease,disease, mockingmocking itit asas aa "little"little flu".flu".
TheThe 65-year-old saidsaid hehe feltfelt "tiredness, illnessillness andand aa fever"fever" butbut insistedinsisted hehe waswas feelingfeeling "good,"good, calm"calm" andand tooktook offoff hishis maskmask toto emphasizeemphasize thethe point.point.
ExpertsExperts havehave criticizedcriticized thethe USUS andand Brazil forfor stokingstoking thethe virusvirus byby failingfailing toto enforceenforce rigorousrigorous socialsocial distancingdistancing measuresmeasures andand lockdowns.
InIn Europe, wherewhere millionsmillions livedlived forfor monthsmonths underunder severesevere restrictions,restrictions, thethe possibilitypossibility ofof returningreturning toto thatthat scenarioscenario triggeredtriggered violentviolent protestsprotests inin Serbia.
DozensDozens werewere hurt,hurt, policepolice carscars setset alightalight andand thethe parliamentparliament buildingbuilding breachedbreached asas thousandsthousands protestedprotested inin Belgrade afterafter thethe governmentgovernment saidsaid itit wouldwould reimpose aa weekendweekend curfew.curfew.
OutrageOutrage focusedfocused onon PresidentPresident Aleksandar Vucic, whowho brandedbranded thethe protestersprotesters "fascists""fascists" butbut laterlater saidsaid thethe curfewcurfew couldcould bebe reconsidered.reconsidered.
- 'Extraordinary'Extraordinary solidarity'solidarity' -
MindfulMindful ofof potentially disastrousdisastrous consequencesconsequences ofof attemptingattempting toto thrustthrust millionsmillions backback intointo theirtheir homes,homes, France'sFrance's newnew primeprime ministerminister aimedaimed toto soothesoothe fearsfears byby promisingpromising nono newnew fullfull shutdown.shutdown.
"We're"We're notnot goinggoing toto imposeimpose aa lockdown likelike thethe oneone wewe diddid lastlast March,March, becausebecause we've learned...learned... thatthat thethe economiceconomic andand humanhuman consequencesconsequences fromfrom aa totaltotal lockdown areare disastrous,"disastrous," Jean Castex said,said, promisingpromising "targeted""targeted" measuresmeasures instead.instead.
France isis amongamong thethe EuropeanEuropean nationsnations attemptingattempting toto frameframe aa nationalnational responseresponse toto thethe crisiscrisis whilewhile alsoalso leadingleading EuropeanEuropean Union'sUnion's attemptsattempts toto repairrepair thethe massivemassive economiceconomic damage.damage.
GermanGerman Angela Merkel saidsaid Brussels neededneeded toto reachreach aa dealdeal quickly onon aa proposedproposed $843 millionmillion packagepackage toto helphelp crisis-hit economieseconomies inin thethe bloc.bloc.
"We"We needneed extraordinaryextraordinary solidarity,"solidarity," sheshe saidsaid aheadahead ofof anan upcomingupcoming EUEU summit.summit.
Australia neitherneither sufferedsuffered thethe kindkind ofof outbreakoutbreak thatthat ravagedravaged Europe, nornor thethe economiceconomic damagedamage fromfrom draconiandraconian lockdowns.
ButBut seekingseeking toto staunchstaunch aa surgesurge ofof casescases inin itsits second-biggest city,city, itit isis sealingsealing offoff thethe statestate ofof Victoria -- aa movemove thatthat sparkedsparked panic-buying andand promptedprompted supermarketssupermarkets toto introduceintroduce limitslimits onon thethe purchasepurchase ofof somesome goods.goods.
"This"This isis notnot thethe situationsituation thatthat anybodyanybody wantedwanted toto bebe in,in, butbut itit isis thethe realityreality thatthat wewe mustmust confront,"confront," saidsaid Victoria premierpremier Daniel Andrews.