After a record 112 days on a specialised life-support system, a South Korean Covid-19 patient is recovering from double lung transplant surgery, doctors say, in only the ninth such procedure worldwide since the coronavirus outbreak began.
The doctors who conducted the eight-hour surgery described her destroyed lungs as hard like rock, Reuters reports.
The 50-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease and hospitalised in late February and then spent 16 weeks on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support, which involves circulating a patient’s blood through a machine that adds oxygen to red blood cells.
That’s the longest that any Covid-19 patient in the world has spent on ECMO support, her doctors said.
Various drugs such as the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, the HIV treatment Kaletra and steroids failed to stop her pulmonary fibrosis – scarring in the lungs – from worsening, said Dr Park Sung-hoon, professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital.
That left few options other than a lung transplant.
“The probability of success in lung transplants on ECMO patients is 50%, and fortunately, our patient was well prepared before the surgery when we found the donor,” said Dr Kim Hyoung-soo, director of the hospital’s ECMO programme, who was in charge of the surgery.
Beijing city reports zero new coronavirus cases
China reported eight new coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 6, up from four a day earlier, the health authority said.
All of the new infections were imported cases, involving travellers entering China from abroad, while the capital city of Beijing reported zero new cases, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Tuesday. There were no new deaths.
China also reported 15 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases for July 6, up from 11 a day earlier.
As of July 6, China had a total of 83,565 confirmed coronavirus cases while the death toll remained at 4,634.
New Zealand rations places for citizens returning home during Covid-19
New Zealanders could be blocked at their own border after the government moved to slow the pace of international arrivals due to Covid-19, AAP reports.
Mounting pressure on New Zealand’s Covid-19 border regime has forced the government to ration places for New Zealanders entering the country.
Jacinda Ardern’s government has struck a deal with Air New Zealand to limit the number of places available for international arrivals, given the strain on compulsory isolation facilities. The housing minister, Megan Woods, said a ban on bookings had been implemented, and some Kiwis who have Air NZ tickets may not be let in.
“Air New Zealand has agreed to put a temporary hold on new bookings in the short term, as well as looking at aligning daily arrivals with the capacity available at managed isolation facilities,” she said.
“People who have already booked flights with Air New Zealand will still be able to enter New Zealand subject to availability of quarantine space.”
Air New Zealand said the hold would last for three weeks, and may move some customers to other flights. Woods said she was talking to other airlines “about managing flows”.
What’s this? Oh, just an update on the bubonic plague:
Russia has stepped up patrols to stop people hunting marmots near its border with China and Mongolia after the countries reported possible cases of bubonic plague, which can be carried by the animals.
Authorities in Bayan Nur, a city in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, issued a warning on Sunday after a hospital reported a suspected case of the deadly disease:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he has been tested again for coronavirus
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday that he had undergone another test for the novel coronavirus, after local media reported he had symptoms associated with the Covid-19 respiratory disease that it causes, Reuters reports.
Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace that he had just visited the hospital and been tested for the virus, adding that an exam had shown his lungs “clean.”
CNN Brasil and newspaper Estado de S.Paulo reported that he had symptoms of the disease. The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brazil has the second-highest coronavirus cases and deaths worldwide, with 1,603,055 known cases and 65,487 deaths, second only to the US. Over the course of the crisis, Bolsonaro has been dismissive of the virus, calling it “the little flu”.
In June, a Brazilian judge ordered the President to rectify his “at best disrespectful” behaviour by wearing a face mask when circulating in the capital, Brasília.
The president has sparked outrage by repeatedly flouting measures designed to slow the advance of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Brazilians.
Nearly one in six Britons would refuse Covid-19 vaccine – survey
Nearly one in six Britons will refuse a coronavirus vaccine if and when one becomes available, and a similar number are unsure whether they will get one, according to a survey.
The findings come amid a significant rise in anti-vaccination sentiment on social media, and represent a threat to efforts to contain the disease.
Speaking of Kenya, allow me to introduce (if you don’t already know her) Nairobi’s Elsa Majimbo – a lockdown comedian unlike any other.
Viral videos filmed in her bedroom while under lockdown – during which she updates followers on her search for a boyfriend and warns her future child that they will never be given a car (“You have legs. Two in fact.”) – have made Majimbo a social media star.
“Ever since corona started we’ve all been in isolation,” one of her most famous videos begins, seeming as though it will continue with a heartfelt message.
“And I miss no one!” she says, laughing with abandon. “Why am I missing you? There is no reason for me to miss you.”
She continues: “And these ones who keep on telling me ‘I miss you’. Why?” She repeats the question four times. “Do I pay your school fees? Do I pay your rent? Do I provide food for you? Why are you missing me?”
Kenya emerges from lockdown
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced a “phased reopening” of the country, with the resumption of international flights from August 1 as well as the lifting of internal travel restrictions.
The move comes as pressure mounts to kickstart the country’s ailing economy after nearly four months of coronavirus restrictions that have devastated key industries such as tourism. Kenyatta said in a televised address that “international air travel into and out of the territory of Kenya shall resume effective 1 August 2020.”
He also announced that a ban on movement in and out of the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa and northeastern Mandera, would be lifted from 15 July. However, a curfew from 9pm to 4am will remain in place for another 30 days.
Kenya has recorded just over 8,000 cases of the virus and 164 deaths – the highest official figures in East Africa – and has seen a steep increase in numbers in recent weeks, with a fatality rate of 2.09 percent.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday warned “our healthcare facilities risk being overwhelmed”. Fewer than 200,000 people have been tested in the population of 47 million people.
Israel reimposes restrictions
Israel has reimposed certain restrictions after a surge in cases, to avoid a wider lockdown that could devastate the economy.
Bars, nightclubs, gyms and event halls have been closed in Israel as restrictions are reimposed to combat a rise in infections. Restaurants, buses and synagogues will limit the number of entrants also.
Israel has 30,749 cases and 334 deaths, but in recent days has seen daily increases of over 1,000 cases at least three times, after a drop in daily infections in May.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for coronavirus
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Monday that she had tested positive for Covid-19.
The 50-year-old Democrat is among the women named as a potential vice-presidential running mate for presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden.
She told MSNBC that she decided her family members should get tested again because her husband “literally has been sleeping since Thursday.”
She said the only other symptoms she and her husband have been experienced are those similar to allergies they have.
“It leaves me for a loss for words because I think it really speaks to how contagious this virus is,” Bottoms told MSNBC. “We’ve taken all of the precautions that you can possibly take. We wear masks, we’re very thoughtful about washing our hands, I have no idea when and where we were exposed.”
Bottoms tweeted, “Covid-19 has literally hit home. I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive.”
Bottoms’ national profile has risen in recent months both as a mayor handling the coronavirus pandemic and amid the national reckoning on race that has followed a white Minneapolis police officer’s killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, on 25 May.
A first-term mayor, Bottoms issued a firm plea for peaceful protest as demonstrators gathered on downtown streets after Floyd’s killing and urged the protesters to get tested for Covid-19.
US cases near 3 million
Known US coronavirus cases stand at almost 3 million, with 2,911,888 currently confirmed on the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
The country’s death toll passed 130,000 on Monday, following a massive surge of new cases that has derailed efforts to restart the economy.
As my colleagues Jessica Glenza and Joan E Greve report, the White House claimed on Monday that the US has been “a leader” in the global fight against coronavirus, despite and America recently witnessing the highest ever number of new daily cases reported in the world, with over 55,000.
With the majority of US states reporting increases in new cases, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said at a briefing on Monday afternoon: “I think the world is looking at us as a leader in Covid-19.”
The US has not yet got new infections under control, according to the leading public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci’s recent alarmed comments to Congress. And the EU chose not to include the US as a country approved for non-essential travel as it starts to open its borders.
This as officials in states across America’s southern sun belt are closing down parts of the economy again.
Parts of Arizona, Florida and Texas are all rolling back economic reopenings due to surges in Covid-19 infections. All three states reopened swiftly this spring, and local officials are now attributing an explosion of cases to those early decisions.
Fury as Boris Johnson accuses care homes over high Covid-19 death toll
Care leaders, unions and MPs have rounded on Boris Johnson after he accused care homes of failing to follow proper procedures amid the coronavirus crisis, saying the prime minister appeared to be shifting the blame for the high death toll.
With nearly 20,000 care home residents confirmed to have died with Covid-19, and estimates that the true toll is much greater, there has been widespread criticism about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and clear guidelines for the sector. On Monday, the total UK coronavirus death toll rose to 44,236, up 16 on the day before.
Here is the full story:
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest from around the world for the next few hours.
You can get in touch with my directly throughout that time – and win my eternal gratitude, for what it is worth, if you send something that could make our blog readers laugh – on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accused care homes of failing to follow proper procedures during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a widespread backlash from care leaders, unions and MPs, who said the prime minister appeared to be shifting the blame for the high death toll. Nearly 20,000 care home residents have been confirmed to have died with Covid-19, and the true toll has been estimated to be much higher.
In the US, cases are nearing 3 million, as they continue to surge following the easing of restrictions. In California alone, the number of people hospitalised has increased by 50% over the past two weeks.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- The US coronavirus death toll passed 130,000 following a massive surge of new cases that has put Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis under the microscope and derailed efforts to restart the economy. Cases stand at almost 3 million, with 2,911,888 currently confirmed on the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
- Newly identified cases soared in California over the 4 July weekend, stressing some hospital systems and leading to the temporary closure of the state capitol building in Sacramento for deep cleaning, local officials have said. The number of people hospitalised has increased by 50% over the past two weeks to about 5,800, according to the state governor Gavin Newsom.
- The US saw a 27% increase in new cases in the week to 5 July, compared to the previous seven days, with 24 states reporting positivity test rates above the level that the World Health Organization has flagged as concerning.
- Brazilian president suffers symptoms – reports. Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right president of Brazil, is suffering Covid-19 symptoms and is awaiting the results of a test, according to CNN Brasil. Bolsonaro, who has previously tested negative after people close to him were infected, has repeatedly dismissed the risks posed by the virus, even as his country’s suffering increased.
- Brazil registered 20,229 additional cases over the last 24 hours and 620 more deaths, the country’s health ministry has said. The nation has now registered a total of 1,623,284 cases and 65,487 deaths attributable to the virus, Reuters has reported.
- Egypt has reported 969 new cases the health ministry has said, the first drop below 1,000 registered daily since 27 May. In total, 76,222 cases and 3,422 deaths have been reported, including 79 deaths on Monday, the ministry said.
- The New Zealand government and Air New Zealand have agreed to “manage” incoming international flights together, as the country struggles with huge numbers of Kiwis returning home, and requiring two weeks of quarantine at the government’s expense.
- Israel reimposed certain restrictions after a surge in cases, to avoid a wider lockdown that could devastate the economy. Bars, nightclubs, gyms and event halls have been closed in Israel as restrictions are reimposed to combat a rise in infections. Restaurants, buses and synagogues will limit the number of entrants also.
- Covid-19 cases in Qatar exceeded 100,000, as it recorded another 546 cases in the last 24 hours. With a population of about 2.8 million people, the Gulf state has one of the world’s highest per capita number of confirmed cases.
- Flights between Greece and the UK will resume from 15 July. Greek government sources said the UK’s “greatly improved epidemiological data” had finally convinced the committee of scientists advising the prime minister to lift the ban, after it was initially extended for two weeks on 1 July.