By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 372,000 people worldwide.
Over 6.1 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with nearly 1.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 104,383 deaths.
Here’s how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:
6:47 a.m.: Armenian prime minister tests positive for COVID-19
Armenian Prime Minsiter Nikol Pashinyan revealed Monday that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“I didn’t have any symptoms,” Pashinyan said in a live video on Facebook. “I decided to take a test as I was planning to visit the front line.”
The prime minister said his entire family has also been infected.
Armenia, which has a population of around three million, has reported more than 9,400 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 with at least 139 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
6:08 a.m.: Sweden reports no new deaths for first time in 11 weeks
Sweden has reported zero coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours for the first time since March 13.
Just last week, the Scandinavian nation reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe per capita over a seven-day period.
Sweden has drawn both international praise and criticism by choosing to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic rather than instituting a policy of lockdown.
More than 37,000 people in Sweden have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 4,395 have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
4:57 a.m.: India sees highest single-day rise in infections as lockdown eased
India reported a record spike in coronavirus infections on Monday, as the government eases lockdown restrictions across much of the country.
The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare registered 8,392 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours — the largest amount the country has identified in a single day since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. That brings India’s tally of diagnosed cases to 190,535, which is the seventh most worldwide, surpassing Germany and France.
The latest daily caseload shattered India’s previous record of 8,380 cases recorded Sunday.
There were also 230 coronavirus-related deaths registered in the last 24 hours, bringing its toll to 5,395. More than 60% of the fatalities have occurred in just two of India’s states — Maharashtra, the country’s financial hub and second-most populous state, and Gujarat, the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Although coronavirus infections are increasing rapidly in India, the country began its three-phase reopening on Monday as the nationwide lockdown became unbearable for millions of daily wage earners who had no means of income under the restrictions. The lockdown was lifted in most places except for the containment zones, which are now isolated.
3:52 a.m.: US sends two million doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil
The United States has sent to Brazil more than two million doses of an antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump as a possible “game changer” treatment for COVID-19, even though there’s no evidence the medication is safe or effective for preventing or treating the disease.
In a joint statement released Sunday with the Brazilian government, the White House said the doses of hydroxychloroquine had been sent “as a prophylactic to help defend Brazil’s nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals against the virus.”
“It will also be used as a therapeutic to treat Brazilians who become infected,” the statement added.
The United States and Brazil are launching a joint research effort that will include randomized controlled clinical trials to “help further evaluate the safety and efficacy” of hydroxychloroquine for both the prevention and early treatment of COVID-19, according to the statement.
Last month, Trump announced that he was taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine as a safeguard against contracting the novel coronavirus after two White House staffers tested positive. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a close ally of Trump, has also been promoting the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.
So far, no large scientific studies have backed up using the drug for protecting against and treating COVID-19. Moreover, one recent study of more than 96,000 coronavirus patients in hospitals around the world found that those who were treated with chloroquine or its analogue hydroxychloroquine had a considerably higher risk of death than those who did not receive the antimalarial drugs. The findings, published last Friday in The Lancet medical journal, prompted the World Health Organization to halt global trials of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
Last week, Trump suspended travel to the United States from Brazil as the South American country emerged as a new hotspot in the coronavirus pandemic. The new rule does not affect trade between the two nations.
As Latin America’s hardest-hit country, Brazil now has one of the highest number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the world, second only to the United States.
The White House said it will also soon be sending 1,000 ventilators to Brazil.
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