BERLIN (AP) — The German government plans to introduce an obligation that cases of coronavirus in pets be reported to authorities. It says the move is needed to assist research on the virus.
Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said Tuesday the plan is to be considered by parliament next month.
Kloeckner said there will be no obligation for people to test their pets, but it would make sense to do so in certain situations — for example, if a cat living in a household with human coronavirus cases shows symptoms. She said there’s no evidence so far that pets can transmit Covid-19 to humans.
Germany has about 31 million pets and 83 million people. The head of the country’s animal disease research center said there has only been one known animal case there so far.
Experimental Vaccine Rolled Out in Britain
LONDON — Scientists at Imperial College London will start immunizing people in Britain this week with their experimental coronavirus shot, becoming the latest entry into the race to find an effective vaccine to stop the pandemic.
The British government said 300 healthy people will be immunized with two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed at Imperial, which has been backed by 41 million pounds ($51 million) in government funding.
So far, the vaccine candidate developed by Imperial College London has been tested only in animals and in the laboratory, where it produced much higher levels of antibodies than would normally be seen in infected people.
Many scientists have warned that the pandemic might be stopped only with an effective vaccine, which typically takes years to develop.
Japan Keeps Key Interest Rate at -0.1%
TOKYO — Japan’s central bank echoed the Federal Reserve’s pledge of support for financial markets by beefing up its support for corporate lending. The Bank of Japan ended its policy meeting Tuesday without a change to its minus 0.1% benchmark interest rate and ultra-lax monetary stance.
It did expand its Special Program, including purchases of commercial paper and corporate bonds and its lending programs for commercial banks, from 75 trillion yen to 110 trillion yen ($690 billion to $1.02 trillion).
The Bank of Japan said the economy “is likely to remain in a severe situation for the time being due to the impact of Covid-19,” though it expects economic activity to resume gradually.
Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said that recovery for the world’s third-largest economy could come in the latter part of the year if the effects of the outbreak are mitigated. He said the central bank’s board agreed on taking extra action if needed.
Zelensky’s Wife Hospitalized With Covid-19
KYIV, Ukraine — The wife of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has been hospitalized with double-sided pneumonia after getting infected with the new coronavirus.
Zelensky’s office said Tuesday that Olena Zelenska’s condition was stable and the president and the couple’s children tested negative for the virus on Monday.
Zelenska said she tested positive for the virus on Friday.
Ukrainian authorities started to gradually ease lockdown restrictions in late May, resuming the operation of public transport, reopening malls and gyms. On Monday, the country resumed international flights to several countries.
Race Is on in France for a Vaccine
LYON, France — France’s president and the CEO of drug maker Sanofi are visiting a vaccine lab amid a worldwide race to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus.
Tuesday’s visit comes after rival pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca this weekend announced a deal to supply 400 million vaccine doses to EU countries, including France. The company hopes to have it ready by the end of the year.
Efforts by AstraZeneca and Sanofi are among dozens of vaccine candidates being pursued around the world. The race has prompted concerns that an eventual vaccine will go to the richest countries first.
Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson prompted outrage in France in May by promising to give the United States first access to the company’s eventual vaccine, because the United States had invested more in its research. After pressure from the French government, Sanofi backtracked and said it would be available in all countries.
Finland Lifts Emergency Orders
HELSINKI — Finland says it has lifted the emergency powers act adopted by lawmakers in mid-March to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the measure to end the state of emergency, effective Tuesday, was taken as the Covid-19 infection rate has slowed down in the Nordic nation.
Marin said there was no need anymore for the exceptional measure act allowing more powers for the government and Finland would gradually return to normal conditions.
She stressed that “the end of the emergency act does not mean the threat of the epidemic is over” and urged Finns to continue practicing social distancing and pay attention to hygiene.
Pakistan Enforces Orders With Raids
ISLAMABAD — Authorities in Pakistan are taking action to seal off high-risk areas in the country’s 20 biggest cities after an increase in coronavirus infections.
Pakistan’s National Command and Control Center said raids are being carried out to impose fines and shut markets, industries and shops where social distancing regulations were being violated.
The sealing of high-risk areas began after Pakistan reported a big jump in Covid-19 deaths and a steady increase in infections.
Pakistan put its entire population of 220 million under lockdown from March until May, when Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government loosened restrictions, saying it was necessary to save the country’s economy.
Critics say the government’s gamble resulted into a sharp increase in infections and deaths.
On Tuesday, Pakistan reported 111 new Covid-19 fatalities. It raised the overall death toll from the virus to 2,839 among 148,921 confirmed cases.
Masks Compulsory in 42 Turkish Provinces
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has made the wearing of face masks mandatory in five more provinces after an uptick in Covid-19 cases.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted early Tuesday that the wearing of masks was compulsory in 42 of Turkey’s 81 provinces.
In the remaining provinces, residents are required to wear masks on public transportation and in shops and malls and are advised to wear masks and keep to social distancing practices elsewhere.
Koca tweeted: “We cannot struggle against the virus without masks.”
Turkey is seeing an increase in the daily number of infections after the government authorized cafés, restaurants, gyms, parks, beaches and museums to reopen, lifted intercity travel restrictions and eased stay-at-home orders for the elderly and young in early June. The daily number of infections climbed to above 1,500 in the past five days after hovering around 800-900 previously.
Africa Virus Cases Top 250,000
JOHANNESBURG — Africa’s coronavirus cases rose above 250,000 after South Africa registered a series of daily record-high new cases over the weekend.
South Africa further loosened its lockdown measures on June 1, allowing alcohol sales, more business openings and religious gatherings limited to 50 people.
The country has more than a quarter of the cases on the 54-nation African continent ,with more than 73,000. It saw its highest jump in cases on Sunday with more than 4,300.
South Africa’s struggle to balance measures to slow the spread of the virus and relieve economic pain are common throughout Africa, where the World Health Organization last week said the pandemic is “accelerating.”
Health Workers Protest in Greece
ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of health care workers have marched through central Athens demanding the hiring of permanent workers for the health sector, while Greece’s hospital doctors’ union declared a 24-hour strike Tuesday.
The union for state hospital workers also declared a seven-hour work stoppage for the Greek capital and a 24-hour strike for the rest of the country with the same demands.
Greece’s center-right government hired hundreds of workers for state hospitals on fixed-term contracts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Unions are demanding permanent hires, and more funding for the country’s health care system.
Covid-19 Deaths Approach 10,000 in India
NEW DELHI — India recorded another 10,000-plus coronavirus infections as patients swamp health services in its largest cities.
The Health Ministry on Tuesday reported a 24-hour increase of 380 deaths due to Covid-19, driving the death toll to 9,900, a number widely believed to be an undercount.
The 10,667 new cases raise the nation’s total to 343,091, fourth-highest in the world behind the United States, Brazil and Russia. The actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons, including limited testing and domestic politics.
Maharashtra, the western state that is home to Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, continues to have the highest state toll. Mumbai, Chennai and the capital New Delhi are seeing rising infections swamp their health services.
New Delhi is a growing concern, with the federal government criticizing its contact-tracing and hospital capacity. The capital has about 10,000 beds dedicated to Covid-19 patients, half of which are occupied. Hotels and sports stadiums are being considered for use as field hospitals.
Philippines Puts Major City Under Lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine officials have placed a central city back under strict lockdown and retained quarantine restrictions in the capital for another two weeks as coronavirus infections continue to spike alarmingly.
President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised meeting Monday night with key Cabinet officials approved a recommendation to lock down Cebu city anew and retain quarantine restrictions in metropolitan Manila, where many of the nearly 26,500 infections and more than 1,000 deaths have been recorded.
Imposed in mid-March, the Covid-19 restrictions in metropolitan Manila have been among the longest in the world.
“The battle with Covid isn’t over,” Duterte said. “I can’t stop you from going out and I can’t catch all of you … don’t blame us. Do not forget that we warned you about the grave consequences.”