- This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Today's top stories: India's case fatality rate spikes, Beijing raises health alert and a drug breakthrough that reduces COVID-19 deaths.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
- Confirmed coronavirus cases have now surpassed 8.1 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 443,000 people have died from the virus, while over 3.9 million have recovered.
- India's case fatality rate has spiked from 2.9% to 3.4%, reports the Hindustan Times, after the country recorded almost 12,000 deaths in 97 days, with a total of more than 350,000 infections.
- New cases have reached record highs in six US states as restrictions are being lifted. Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Oregon, Nevada and Texas all reported record increases on 16 June.
- Beijing has raised its health alert, closed schools and urged people to work from home, as the total of new cases in the past week rose to 137.
- The president of Honduras has become the latest world leader to test positive for the virus. President Juan Orlando Hernández said his wife and two aides also have COVID-19.
2. WHO welcomes lifesaving drug trial breakthrough
The World Health Organization has said it will update its clinical guidance after a UK trial of dexamethasone was shown to reduce mortality of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
It was shown to reduce mortality by about one third in patients on ventilators, and by about one fifth for patients requiring only oxygen.
The inexpensive and widely available steroid has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation and is part of a larger trial by the University of Oxford which tests existing drugs for their effectiveness in COVID-19 patients.
“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“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.”
3. Nepal facing COVID-19 remittance crisis
As the world slides into recession, Nepal faces twin issues of falling remittances - a lifeline to workers' families and a key source of liquidity for banks - as well as thousands of stranded or returning migrants now out of work.
Earnings sent home as remittances by Nepal's migrant workers in the Gulf states and elsewhere represent more than a quarter of the Nepal's economic output.
Lockdowns in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two of the most popular destinations for migrant workers from Nepal and India, have hit the tourism, hospitality and construction sectors hardest, where many migrant workers were concentrated.
More than 210,000 Nepalis need to be rescued and repatriated, Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali told a parliamentary committee in May.
Globally, it's projected there will be a 20% in remittances in 2020, according to KNOMAD and the World Bank, equal to $110 billion.
But global cooperation efforts are underway to address the crisis. The governments of Switzerland and the UK are spearheading a high-level call to action to keep remittances flowing.