President Donald Trump has said the 200,000 US deaths from coronavirus were “a shame” in response to a reporter’s question about the milestone in the country’s fight against the pandemic.
As Trump was departing for an election campaign event in Pittsburgh he told the media: “I think if we didn’t do it properly and do it right, you’d have 2.5 million deaths.”
The US has the most Covid-19 deaths in the world, 60,000 deaths more than Brazil, which has the next worst toll. The total US figure on Tuesday night was 200,768. The administration has been criticised for not acting faster and more firmly to stop the virus’ spread. The US accounts for nearly 6.9 million of the world’s 31.4 million cases. There are fears that the coming winter in the US will cause the virus to spread more rapidly as people are driven indoors.
Trump also blamed China, where the virus emerged late last year, saying the country should have “stopped it at the border” and went on to say: “China let this happen, and just remember that.” The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases for mainland China stands at 85,307, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.
In a video address on Tuesday at the United Nations general assembly, Trump said the UN had to take action against China and called for Beijing to be held accountable by the UN for “releasing the virus”. He also falsely claimed the World Health Organization was “virtually controlled by China”. China’s UN representative, Zhang Jun, said the country rejected the “baseless accusations” before introducing President Xi Jinping.
Meanwhile, Japan is considering allowing more foreign arrivals into the country for longer stays starting as early as next month, while keeping the Covid-19 entry curbs in place for tourists, the Asahi newspaper reported on Wednesday.
In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, Japan has adopted some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world, with even permanent residents unable to re-enter the country without prior permission.
The government eased some of those restrictions on students and businesspeople from seven countries in late July.
Under the latest proposal, Japan would allow those staying longer than three months, such as students and medical workers, to enter from any country, the Asahi reported, citing multiple government sources. Entry would be limited to 1,000 people a day, it said.
Japan has so far managed to keep infections and deaths at relatively low levels, with a cumulative 79,900 infections and 1,519 deaths.
Other developments include:
In Scotland, hundreds of students have been told to isolate after a suspected Covid-19 outbreak in a hall of residence. NHS Tayside is investigating a single positive Covid case and a small number of suspected cases linked to private student accommodation Parker House in Dundee.
The weekly number of new recorded infections worldwide was last week at its highest level ever, the WHO announced. With a new seven-day high of just short of 2 million new cases recorded, the latest tally represents a 6% increase on the previous week as well as “the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic”, the UN health agency said.
In the UK, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, introduced new restrictions for England that could last six months following a surge in cases in recent weeks. The raft of new measures include telling the public to continue working from home, a 10pm curfew for hospitality venues, and limiting weddings to 15 people.