South Korea reported just three new coronavirus cases Tuesday, while the country’s professional baseball league returned to action with a slate of games played in stadiums without fans.
Two months ago, South Korea was adding around 500 new cases each day, but used a series of measures, including aggressive testing and a smartphone app alerting people to nearby infections, to push down the spread of the virus.
Sports leagues all over the world were forced to put their seasons on hold amid stay-at-home orders and limits on public gatherings.
The Korea Baseball Organization is one of the first to resume play, and in a sign of the appetite for watching sports at this time, the league struck a deal to have some of its games broadcast on the U.S. cable sports giant ESPN in the middle of the night, U.S. time.
The U.S. National Football League is set to announce its schedule Thursday, but has decided to abandon plans to hold games this season in London and Mexico City.
New Zealand is also reporting promising progress with its second consecutive day of zero new cases. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday they were working on a plan to reopen travel between the two countries, but cautioned it would take some time to put in place.
Monday brought cooperation from all over the globe on a European Union-led effort to raise more than $8 billion to fund the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.
About 40 countries, philanthropic organizations and individuals pledged donations, including $1 billion from the European Commission, $1 billion from Norway, $800 million from Japan and more than $500 million each from France, Saudi Arabia and Germany.
The World Health Organization (WHO) praised the effort as a sign of international solidarity in the fight against the virus.
“This virus will be with us for a long time, and we must come together to develop and share the tools to defeat it,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Notably absent was any participation from the United States. French President Emmanuel Macron said he has held talks with President Donald Trump on the issue and that he is confident the United States will join the effort.
A senior State Department official said the United States is closely partnering with European allies, G-20 nations and the G-7 to respond to the coronavirus.
“The United States is in the process of providing $2.4 billion in global health, humanitarian, and economic assistance towards the COVID-19 response, and we continue to ensure that the substantial U.S. funding and scientific efforts on this front remain an essential and coordinated part of this worldwide effort against COVID-19,” the official told reporters in a briefing.
About 3.6 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 250,000 have died.
Britain’s Office of National Statistics reported the death toll Tuesday had surpassed 30,000. That is roughly equal to Italy as the highest reported in Europe. Globally, only the United States has reported more COVID-19 deaths with about 69,000.
In India, a day after the government eased lockdown restrictions in some areas, thousands of people flocked to liquor stores, prompting authorities to institute a special 70% tax starting Tuesday to deter the crowds.
Source: Voice of America