What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

FILE PHOTO: An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:


"Not in total control"

New U.S. COVID-19 cases rose by more than 47,000 on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic, and the government’s top infectious disease expert said that number could soon double.

California, Texas and Arizona have emerged as new U.S. epicentres of the pandemic.

“Clearly we are not in total control right now,” Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a U.S. Senate committee. “I am very concerned because it could get very bad.”

“We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” he said.


Lockdown and testing blitz

Authorities will lock down around 300,000 people in more than 30 suburbs north of Melbourne for a month from midnight on Wednesday to contain the risk of infection after two weeks of double-digit rises in new coronavirus cases in Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria.

Stage three restrictions will be imposed, the third-strictest level in curbs to control the pandemic. Residents will be confined to home except for grocery shopping, health appointments, work or caregiving, and exercise.

The restrictions will be accompanied by a testing blitz that authorities hope will extend to half the population of the area affected, and for which borders will be patrolled, authorities said. Victoria's spike in cases has been linked to staff members at hotels housing returned travellers for whom quarantine protocols were not strictly followed.


Back to school in North Korea

North Korea has reopened schools, but has kept a ban on public gatherings and made it mandatory for people to wear masks in public places as part of its response to the coronavirus threat, a World Health Organization official said on Wednesday.

While North Korea has not confirmed any infections, its Ministry of Public Health has been sharing weekly updates with the WHO on steps it is taking to ward off the pandemic, said Edwin Salvador, the agency's representative to the reclusive country.

In the latest update provided on June 19, the ministry said all educational institutions are now open, with children required to wear masks and washing stations installed.

The ministry also reported that all of 922 people checked so far have tested negative, while hundreds of others, mostly cargo handlers at seaports and land borders, are regularly quarantined for monitoring, Salvador said.


No screaming at re-opened Disney resort

Tokyo Disney Resort welcomed visitors for the first time in four months after being closed because of the coronavirus, with fans engaging in social distancing as they returned.

Visitors in protective face masks clapped as the gates of the Magic Kingdom reopened, and were encouraged to clean their hands, pay without cash and avoid screaming while enjoying one of Japan's largest theme parks.

The resort will operate at a 50% capacity for the foreseeable future, while parades and shows remain suspended.


Reinventing a nightclub

As Peru begins to ease its strict coronavirus lockdown, the country's biggest LGBTQ nightclub opened its doors on Tuesday, but there will be no revellers at night.

Instead of slinging cocktails at the bar or dancing on stage, ValeTodo Downtown's staff of drag queens such as Belaluh McQueen will be selling customers daily household products as the space reopens as a market.

"You have to adapt to new challenges for the future," said McQueen, wearing a sequined suit, high heels and a mask as she headed back to work as a grocery store employee. In one small concession, a DJ will play club music as patrons shop.



(Compiled by Linda Noakes and Karishma Singh, Editing by Timothy Heritage)