Covid-19 has now killed over 448,000 people worldwide since the outbreak started in China last year, according to tracking websites. Here are the developments for June 17:

An army member washes a tray as comrades get ready to apply disinfectant before a food delivery in a socially vulnerable community following the coronavirus outbreak in Maipu area at Santiago, Chile, June 16, 2020.
An army member washes a tray as comrades get ready to apply disinfectant before a food delivery in a socially vulnerable community following the coronavirus outbreak in Maipu area at Santiago, Chile, June 16, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey reports 1,429 cases

The total number of registered coronavirus cases in Turkey rose to 182,727 as 1,429 more people tested positive for the virus, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Turkey's death toll from Covid-19 reached 4,861 as 19 more people died over the past 24 hours.

The tally of Covid-19 recoveries in Turkey rose to 154,640 with 1,261 additions in the last 24 hours, Koca added.

657 people test positive in German meat plant

Regional officials in western Germany said that the number of new Covid-19 cases linked to a large meatpacking plant has risen to 657, a higher figure than many recent daily increases for the entire country.

Health officials in Guetersloh said a total of 983 test results have so far been received from workers at the Toennies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck. Of those, 326 tests were negative.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised regional officials for swiftly closing schools in the region.

Chile tightens lockdowns as cases exceed 200,000

The Chilean government announced a tightening of lockdowns and "maximum" movement restrictions in its capital Santiago as the country's confirmed coronavirus caseload exceeded 200,000.

The total number of coronavirus cases was 220,628 cases, the Health Ministry said in a briefing, after officials said yesterday they had discovered 31,412 confirmed cases that had not been added to the tally previously, and announced 4,757 freshly confirmed cases overnight.

Pelosi wants masks for lawmakers for House hearings

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is requiring that House members wear masks when attending committee hearings, an edict that comes amid spiking Covid-19 cases in many states.

The requirement does not apply to the House floor, where a Republican lawmaker who tested positive for coronavirus was recently seen without a face covering. Pelosi, D-Calif, wears a mask when making her way about the Capitol but removes it when speaking.

The tightening mask rules came as the House Judiciary panel conducted a drafting session on Wednesday on a policing bill, the first such meeting held under new rules permitting remote attendance.

WHO halts trial of hydroxychloroquine

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that testing of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in its large multi-country trial of treatments for Covid-19 patients had been halted after results from other trials showed no benefit.

"The hydroxychloroquine arm of the SOLIDARITY trial has been stopped," WHO expert Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo told a news briefing.

Kremlin installs antiseptic tunnels to protect Putin

The Russian government built special tunnels to protect President Vladimir Putin from the coronavirus at home and at work, Putin's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Reports about tunnels where anyone passing through gets sprayed with germ-killing antiseptics appeared in Russian media on Tuesday night. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that one tunnel was installed at the president’s home outside Moscow and two at the Kremlin.

“When it comes to the head of the state, additional precautionary measures are justified,” Peskov said, adding that the tunnels were put in when Russia's coronavirus “was in full swing.”

Information about the tunnel at Putin's residence in Novo-Ogaryovo first appeared on the official website of the Penza region, a province some 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Moscow where the equipment was manufactured.

BBC seeks UK job cuts as part of £125m virus savings

The BBC said it has invited staff to apply for voluntary redundancy as the broadcaster seeks $156 million (£125 million, 140 million euros) in savings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The cuts, which the broadcaster described in a statement as "necessary," would be put in place in the current financial year to March 2021.

"The impact of the coronavirus pandemic means the BBC needs to make £125 million of savings this financial year, in addition to the considerable efficiency savings the Corporation had previously committed to and planned for," it said.

"The BBC is therefore inviting public service staff to express an interest in voluntary redundancy."

It did not say how many jobs could be lost but the broadcaster currently employs more than 22,000 people.

Italy reports 43 deaths, 329 new cases

Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 43 against 34 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases increased to 329 from 210 on Tuesday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 34,448, the agency said, the fourth highest in the world after those of the United States, Britain and Brazil.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 327,828, the seventh highest global tally.

Nursing home site the latest outbreak in Portugal

Small outbreaks are piling up for Portuguese authorities as they try to keep a lid on what so far has been a relatively successful battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest hot spot is in Alcobaca, a town about 100 kilometres north of the capital Lisbon, where 29 elderly people and 10 staff, as well as several of the staff’s family members, have tested positive for Covid-19 at a nursing home.

Police were evacuating the home on Wednesday in preparation for disinfection.

Also, officials were still trying to trace some of the about 100 people who attended an illegal weekend party in Lagos, on the southern Algarve coast.

Officials have so far confirmed 16 cases among the partygoers, some of whom reportedly danced together without wearing masks.

By Tuesday, Portugal had officially recorded 37,336 confirmed cases and 1,522 deaths.

Swedish Parliament honours nearly 5,000 dead

Sweden’s Parliament held a 15-minute remembrance for the victims of the pandemic in a country that has seen nearly 5,000 Covid-19 deaths.

Parliament Speaker Andreas Norlen said “this particular moment is for all of them. Those who lost their jobs, their health, their lives. But also, for those who remained when a relative’s life ended".

Norlen told the dark-clad, somber-looking lawmakers who stood for a minute' silence in the Riksdagen: “Before we continue our fight against the pandemic, we stop together and acknowledge their suffering, their sacrifice. ... And we say to all those who now mourn and suffer: You are not alone.”

Sweden, which is an outlier in the way it is handling the outbreak, has one of the world’s highest death rates per capita.

Denmark urges protesters to get tested

The Danish government is urging participants in a large racial justice demonstration earlier this month to get tested after a person in the crowd tested positive for the coronavirus.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said 15,000 people attended the June 7 rally in downtown Copenhagen and "some of them stood very close to each other.”

He urged them to get tested “whether you have symptoms or not.”

He says "as long as we have the virus in Europe and in Denmark, it will flare up. We are dealing with a very, very contagious disease.”

Two other outbreaks have been reported in Denmark, including a nursing home in the north where at least 26 persons have tested positive.

Six people on a June 6 flight from Pakistan also have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and more may have been exposed. Authorities are currently tracking other passengers.

Russia says new cases at lowest since April 30

Russia reported 7,843 new cases of the novel coronavirus, its lowest daily caseload registered since April 30, pushing the nationwide total to 553,301.

Russia's virus response team said 194 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 7,478 since the crisis began.

Pakistan reports highest one-day death toll

A top health official says Pakistan will consider the use of Britain’s new drug that experts say reduces death risk in seriously ill Covid-19 patients.

The announcement by Zafar Mirza, who advises Prime Minister Imran Khan on health issues, came as Pakistan reported 136 more Covid-19 deaths, the highest single-day number of fatalities.

The government has moved to seal off hot spots across the country to contain the rising trajectory of infections.

Pakistan reported 5,839 new cases for a total of 154,760, including 2,975 deaths.

India adds over 2,000 deaths as new cases soar 

India has added more than 2,000 Covid-19 deaths to its tally after Delhi and Maharashtra states included 1,672 unreported fatalities, increasing the total number to 11,903.

The health ministry reported 10,974 new coronavirus cases for a total of 354,065. Of the 2,003 newly added fatalities, 331 were reported during the past 24 hours.

India has been reporting some 10,000 new infections and more than 300 deaths each day over the last two weeks. The previously unreported deaths have driven India’s fatality rate from 2.9 percent to 3.4 percent.

Earlier, health experts had warned that India was undercounting fatalities as some states used different criteria.

Like elsewhere, the actual numbers are thought to be higher as testing remains limited.

Thailand reports no new cases or deaths

Thailand reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths, marking 23 successive days without a domestic transmission.

The country has recorded a total of 58 deaths related to Covid-19 among 3,135 confirmed cases, of which 2,996 patients have recovered, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Covid-19 Administration Centre.

Wednesday is the third consecutive day that no cases were reported. All recent cases have been found among Thais in quarantine after returning from abroad. 

Honduran President says he is infected with coronavirus

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said late on Tuesday he has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, but did not immediately provide further details.

"As president of the nation and a responsible citizen, I want to communicate that during the weekend I started to feel some discomfort and today I was diagnosed as having been infected with Covid-19," Hernandez said in a televised speech.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 345 to 187,184

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 345 to 187,184, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 30 to 8,830, the tally showed.

Beijing airports cancel 1,255 flights over virus fears

Beijing cancelled at least 1,255 inbound and outbound flights, representing nearly 70 percent of all services, the state-run People's Daily reported, as fears grow over a new coronavirus outbreak.

City officials have urged residents not to leave the city, and several provinces have quarantined travellers from Beijing after more than 130 new cases were confirmed in the capital in recent days. 

Macau to require quarantine people with Beijing travel history

Macau's government said it will require all people who have been to Beijing within two weeks prior to entering the city to be put under 14 days of medical observation at a designated location.

The Macau government said in a notice the measure would be effective as of 0400GMT on June 17. 

Brazil reports record cases in 24 hours

Brazil set a daily record on Tuesday for new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in a single day, as its case load grew by 34,918 patients in 24 hours to 923,189 total infections, the most in the world outside the US.

Brazil also registered 1,282 Covid-19 deaths since its last update on Monday, the health ministry said, bringing confirmed fatalities in the country to 45,241.

New Zealand military to oversee borders after virus bungle

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appointed the military to oversee New Zealand's borders Wednesday after a quarantine bungle that allowed Covid-19 back into the country.

"My view is that we need the rigour, we need the confidence, we need the discipline that the military can provide," Ardern told reporters.

A 24-day run with no new cases was broken on Tuesday when it emerged two women who recently arrived from Britain were allowed out of quarantine early without being tested for the virus, even though one had mild symptoms

Beijing reports 31 new cases

Beijing's city government reported 31 new confirmed cases as of end-June 16, up from 27 cases reported a day earlier as the city moves to curb the spread of the disease.

The city's health authority said in a statement posted on its Weibo social media account that 19 of the new cases were reported in southwestern Fengtai district, where a cluster of infections emerged last week.

Mexico's death toll tops 18,000

Mexico's total Covid-19 infections rose to 154,863 and 18,310 total deaths on Tuesday, as the health ministry reported 4,599 new cases along with 730 additional fatalities.

The government says the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the official count.

Around 9 percent of Guinea-Bissau health workers infected

More than 170 of Guinea-Bissau's 2,000 health workers have contracted Covid-19, a WHO expert has said, warning that hospitals were close to being overwhelmed.

The tiny West African nation's under-equipped healthcare system has been struggling to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected over 1,400 people and killed 15. 

Health authorities have raised the alarm over a lack of oxygen to treat patients.

"The three main Bissau hospitals are currently facing rooms filled with Covid-19 patients and a breakdown in essential medical services," said Joana Cortez, a WHO expert in Guinea-Bissau, during an online seminar on the impact of the epidemic on Portuguese-speaking African countries.

WHO hails virus steroid 

The Who has hailed as a "lifesaving scientific breakthrough" the British use of a basic steroid to treat severely ill Covid-19 patients, saving about a third of them.

"This is great news and I congratulate the government of the UK, the University of Oxford and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies