June 23 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:05 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020
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8:29 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reveals big relaxation of lockdown rules

From CNN's Angela Dewan

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons in London, on Tuesday, June 23.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons in London, on Tuesday, June 23. House of Commons

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that people across England will be able to go to restaurants and pubs, hair salons, museums and cinemas from July 4, in the most significant relaxation of restrictions since they were imposed three months ago.

"All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service, and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and limited contact," Johnson told the House of Commons on Tuesday.

He added that hair salons could open with appropriate precautions, such as the use of visors.

"Thanks to our progress we can now go further and safely ease the lockdown in England," he said.

The PM added that from July 4, two households of any size would now be able to meet "in any setting inside or out." Current rules only allow groups of up to six people to meet outside, while keeping 2 meters apart.

Johnson said that while people should still be keeping 2 meters apart when possible, the rule would be reduced to 1 meter if additional mitigation measures were in place.

WATCH:

7:45 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

500 Delta Air Lines employees have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Joe Sutton 

A Delta Airlines plane lands at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on June 5.
A Delta Airlines plane lands at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on June 5. Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines says they have seen 500 positive cases of coronavirus among their 90,000 employees worldwide.

The airline said they have added more space, clean surfaces and introduced safer service which includes the requirement that all employees and customers wear face masks as layers of protection, according to a statement from airline spokesman Joseph Warpinski. 

Warpinski said these efforts have resulted in the rate of positive Covid-19 cases among Delta’s global employees being nearly five times lower than the U.S. national average in May and during the first half of June 2020.

In addition to the 500 employees testing positive for Covid-19, 10 airline employees have passed away from the virus since the start of the pandemic in March, Warpinski told CNN.

7:40 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Public restrooms: What you need to know about using them safely amid the pandemic

From CNN's Jen Rose Smith

When Mariel Balaban drove across the United States in the middle of the pandemic, she knew that avoiding public restrooms was not an option for her young family.

"Traveling with a toddler and being seven months pregnant means lots of 'potty stops,'" said Balaban, a communications professional who moved from San Francisco to the Philadelphia area in early April. But Balaban worried that finding safe, clean public restrooms was going to be a challenge.

To mitigate the risk, she packed masks and disposable gloves. When stopping at gas stations, the family tried to avoid touching anything unnecessarily.

Everyone disinfected their hands each time they returned to the car, and Balaban wiped down "high-touch" surfaces likely to contain germs.

Still, the restroom thing was stressful.

And a new study underscores the potential risk, showing how flushing a toilet can send plumes of germs into the air. While the World Health Organization has said the risk of contracting Covid-19 from fecal matter appears to be low, it noted studies that have suggested the Covid-19 virus can be excreted in feces.

Read the full story here:

7:36 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

New testing center opened to catch asymptomatic cases around Germany's slaughterhouse outbreak

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Members of the German armed forces prepare to help with taking throat swab samples for Covid-19 testing of employees at the Toennies meat packing plant in Guetersloh, Germany on June 19.
Members of the German armed forces prepare to help with taking throat swab samples for Covid-19 testing of employees at the Toennies meat packing plant in Guetersloh, Germany on June 19. Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

A new coronavirus testing center will be opened in Guetersloh, Germany, on Tuesday, according to a local association of physicians.

The region is at the center of a Covid-19 cluster that has sickened some 1,553 workers following an outbreak at a Toennies meatpacking plant.

The center is opening because of the “current special situation,” according to a press release from the association of statutory health insurance physicians in Westfalen-Lippe (KVWL). The center will opens its doors at 2 p.m. CET Tuesday to test asymptomatic people.

“Testing of asymptomatic people is usually not in our remit of registered physicians. Because of the current special situation in Guetersloh district, the public health service has tasked us to run these tests in our practices in the region. It is clear for us: we help where we can,” Dr. Dirk Spelmeyer, chair of the KVWL said in a statement.

Here's some background: The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia has imposed a new lockdown in the area around the Toennies meat processing factory.

The state's Prime Minister Armin Laschet announced that the entire district of Guetersloh -- home to more than 360,000 people -- would be locked down for the next seven days.

7:15 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

World trade dropped by nearly a fifth in second quarter, says World Trade Organisation

From CNN's Robert North

World trade fell by 18.5% in the second quarter of the year as the Covid-19 pandemic hit the global economy, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said on Monday. 

"The fall in trade we are now seeing is historically large – in fact, it would be the steepest on record," said Director‑General Roberto Azevêdo. "But there is an important silver lining here: it could have been much worse."

In April the WTO had warned that the worst case scenario for global trade was a 32% fall in the quarter. It praised the global response to the crisis for limiting the fall.

The WTO Director-General said: “Policy decisions have been critical in softening the ongoing blow to output and trade, and they will continue to play an important role in determining the pace of economic recovery. For output and trade to rebound strongly in 2021, fiscal, monetary, and trade policies will all need to keep pulling in the same direction."

 

7:05 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Fugaku, the world's fastest computer, is researching the spread of Covid-19

From CNN Business' Sherisse Pham

The Fugaku supercomputer is pictured at the Riken Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan, on June 16.
The Fugaku supercomputer is pictured at the Riken Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan, on June 16. Stringer/JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time in years, Japan has the fastest supercomputer in the world and it's being used to research the spread and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

Fugaku, which was developed by Fujitsu and government research institute Riken, ranked first in the Top500 list of global supercomputers, Fujitsu and Riken announced on Tuesday. It marks the first time a Japanese system has taken the top slot since 2011.

The Top500 measures benchmarks such as processing speed and the performance of computing used in artificial intelligence and deep learning.

Fugaku can perform more than 415 quadrillion (or 415,000 trillion) computations a second, making it 2.8 times faster than Summit, the supercomputer built by IBM which previously held the top spot.

How has it been used so far? The Japanese supercomputer is already being used on an experimental basis for research on Covid-19, including on diagnostics, therapeutics, and simulations of the spread of the virus, Riken said in a statement in April.

Fugaku — which is another name for Mount Fuji — is scheduled to be operating at full capacity next year.

Read the full story here.

6:23 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

She's on the frontline of a rape epidemic. The pandemic has made her work more dangerous

From CNN's Bukola Adebayo

At the start of each day, Dr. Anita Kemi DaSilva-Ibru and her team put on gloves, facemasks and other personal protective equipment to see their patients.

They're not treating people for Covid-19, but they are on the frontline of the pandemic, working at the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a rape crisis center in Lagos, Nigeria.

Wearing protective gear is the new reality for crisis center workers, like DaSilva-Ibru.

"We change these kits each time we see a survivor as we are mindful of the risk of transmission of the virus between the survivor and us and the cross-contamination between a survivor and the next," she told CNN.

US-trained gynecologist DaSilva-Ibru has spent most of her career treating hundreds of sexual violence victims but it was the growing scale of the crisis in Nigeria that prompted her to set up WARIF in 2016.

The clinic in Yaba, a suburb of Lagos, provides medical treatment, legal assistance therapy and space for rape victims and survivors of sexual abuse to get back on their feet.

One in four Nigerian girls has been the victim of sexual violence, according to UN estimates but DaSilva-Ibru says the numbers are higher as many cases go unreported due to the stigma attached.

DaSilva-Ibru says her work with survivors of sexual violence has become more critical during the outbreak, with restrictions to curb the virus from spreading fueling a surge in calls.

It's a story echoed in other parts of the region, as authorities grapple with a growing number of Covid-19 cases and the impact restrictions are having on women.

Read the full story:

6:00 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

As cases spike around the world, the coronavirus crisis is far from over 

Medical workers speak with a person at a temporary coronavirus testing station in Seoul, South Korea, on June 11.
Medical workers speak with a person at a temporary coronavirus testing station in Seoul, South Korea, on June 11. Chris Jung/NurPhoto/Getty Images

More than 9.1 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

But as some countries have not yet controlled the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, others have announced new outbreaks.

South Korea and Germany -- who initially seemed to have the virus under control -- are racing to contain newer clusters, which are threatening their relative progress at containing the pandemic.

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has imposed a new lockdown in the area around a meat factory hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

The district where the Toennies plant is located -- and the scene of a Covid-19 cluster that has sickened some 1,553 workers -- will return to lockdown measures, it was announced Tuesday.

In South Korea, a second wave of coronavirus outbreak is already underway, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Officials believe the current wave began during the May holiday period.

With the number of cases expected to increase in the autumn and winter months, KCDC director Jung Eun-kyeong added that health authorities are readying enough beds to deal with a large-scale outbreak.

A woman has her temperature checked at Iztapalapa market, in Mexico City, on June 22.
A woman has her temperature checked at Iztapalapa market, in Mexico City, on June 22. Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty images

Meanwhile in the US, cases are spiking in some states as the nation continues to reopen. The major thrust of new coronavirus cases is in the South and West, where officials say more young people are ignoring social distancing measures and testing positive.

India, with the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, has seen more than 100,000 new cases in the past eight days as the country struggles to contain the virus

In Latin America, which has seen the biggest recent increases in cases, the also situation continues to worsen. 

On Monday, Mexico recorded a higher daily death count than Brazil for the second consecutive day, with 759 newly recorded deaths and almost 5,000 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to over 185,000 and the death toll to more than 22,500.

Brazil, which has the second highest numbers of cases worldwide, has reported an average of 1,000 virus-related deaths a day over the past week. Brazil’s Health Ministry reported an additional 654 deaths on Monday, bringing that country’s official coronavirus death toll to 51,271.

5:30 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Germany imposes new lockdown around slaughterhouse outbreak

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has imposed a new lockdown in the area around a meat factory hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

The district where the Toennies meat processing plant is located -- and the scene of a Covid-19 cluster that has sickened some 1,553 workers -- will return to lockdown measures, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westfalia announced Tuesday.

Armin Laschet said the restrictions in Guetersloh would be valid for a week until June 30 and would be similar to the lockdown measures introduced in March.

The outbreak in the meatpacking plant has been linked to a spike in Germany's overall coronavirus reproduction rate by the country’s public health body.

The cluster prompted the closure of daycare centers and schools in the region, and the army was deployed to aid testing efforts.

The lockdown measures will include no group contact, and all restaurants, pubs, bars, swimming pools and fitness studios will be closed.

Meanwhile, the district of Guetersloh is trying to improve communication with the workers at Toennies and has called for volunteer translators. Officials have said that the workers being tested are mostly from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, and on Tuesday, the district announced it is looking for 150 translators until the end of September.