Coronavirus updates: Miami is now epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, says doctor

Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 570,000 people worldwide.

Over 13 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 or downplaying the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 3.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 135,582 deaths.

Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.

4:22 a.m.: Russia lifts two-week quarantine for arriving foreigners from tomorrow

A 14-day quarantine will no longer be required for anyone arriving to Russia, according to a decree signed by the country’s chief sanitary doctor on Monday.

Starting from Wednesday, people entering Russia will need to provide a document — in English or Russian — that they have tested negative for the coronavirus in the past 72 hours.

Alternatively, they can test in Russia and provide the document within three days. This news followed last week’s announcement that Russia is looking resume international air travel in mid July.

Russia confirmed 6,248 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday bringing the country’s official number of cases to 739 947.

Over the past 24 hours, 175 people have died bringing the total toll to 11,614.

A total of 8,804 people recovered over the last 24 hours bringing the overall number of recoveries to 512,825.

3:17 a.m.: U of Miami infectious disease doctor: “Miami is now the epicenter for the virus”

A group of Miami-area medical experts joined Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on a Zoom news conference Monday morning and made clear that South Florida is in a dire position when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

“Miami is now the epicenter for the virus,” said Lilian M. Abbo, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Miami Health System and the Chief of Infection Prevention for Jackson Health System. “What we were seeing in Wuhan [China] five months ago, we’re now seeing here.”

The experts were speaking minutes after Florida announced 12,624 new cases of COVID-19 — a day after Florida set a record for any state with 15,300 new cases.

The experts stressed the need to restrict large gatherings of people in indoor spaces, and Gimenez said the biggest thing that needs to be done is residents following the safety guidelines.

“The reason [for the spike] is us. There’s no Boogeyman. The reason is us,” he said. “We have to change our behavior. The no. 1 reason is our behavior.”

1:59 a.m.: Hawaii delays reopening to tourists until September 1

Hawaii Governor David Ige announced that, in light of the surge of cases on the mainland, Hawaii is delaying its reopening to tourists until September 1.

The plan was to allow tourists who have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their trip to Hawaii to bypass that mandatory two-week self quarantine starting in August. But with the increase of cases in the state and the growing number of cases nationwide, officials decided to delay it by a month.

“I am announcing today that we will be delaying the launch of the pre-travel testing program until September 1,” said Ige during the press conference. “The outbreaks on the mainland are not in control and we don’t believe that situation will change significantly by August 1st.”

Said Ige: “We did believe it would be in the best interest of everyone here in the state of Hawaii to delay the start of the program to September 1. I know this increases the burden of businesses here in Hawaii …we still believe in the pre-testing program and we will take actions to implement it safely.”

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