Happy last day of June everyone, and what a six months it has been:
Jacinda Ardern labels calls for borders to reopen as "dangerous"
Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the Guardian:
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, has labeled “dangerous” calls for the country’s borders to be opened to travelers other than returning citizens and their families, as her opponents call for specifics about her plans for reopening the nation to the world.
At a news conference in Wellington, Ardern spoke of “a world where the virus is escalating not slowing, and not even peaking in some countries yet, where cases exceed ten million globally, and deaths half a million, where countries are extending and returning to lockdown.”
She added: “All of the while, we get to enjoy weekend sport, go to restaurants and bars, our workplaces are open, and we can gather in whatever numbers we like.”
“These are hard-won gains, and we have as a government no intention of squandering them,” Ardern said.
“The idea that we should open our border in this environment has a price, and that price could be a second wave of Covd-19 in our country at worst – at best, added restrictions for the rest of us.”
New Zealand has 22 active cases of Covid-19, all diagnosed during routine testing of returning travellers. There is no known community transmission in the country, and all of the current cases are quarantined at managed isolation facilities – except one person, who is in hospital.
Leicester lockdown: what are the new Covid-19 restrictions?
A regional flare-up of coronavirus cases means Leicester will not emerge from parts of lockdown as swiftly as the rest of England. Here’s what you need to know about the restrictions:
Podcast: Lockdown easing: why the UK is better prepared for a second wave
This Saturday, lockdown measures in England will ease further, with people able to get a pint in a pub, have a haircut and see another household indoors. The Guardian’s heath editor, Sarah Boseley, looks at whether another lifting of restrictions might result in a second wave, and if it does, why we are better prepared this time round:
Researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic, according to a study in the US science journal PNAS.
Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009, AFP reports.
Between 2011 and 2018, researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital, allowing them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses.
More than one in 10 swine workers had already been infected, according to antibody blood tests which showed exposure to the virus.
The tests also showed that as many as 4.4% of the general population also appeared to have been exposed.
The virus has therefore already passed from animals to humans but there is no evidence yet that it can be passed from human to human – the scientists’ main worry.
“It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic,” the researchers wrote.
The authors have called for urgent measures to monitor people working with pigs.
The full story on Arizona state in the Us now:
The governor of Arizona has ordered bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks to shut down, in a dramatic move that echoed similar efforts by states around the country to roll back plans for reopening.
The order from the Republican governor, Doug Ducey, came on Monday and went into effect immediately, and will last for at least 30 days. Ducey also also ordered public schools to delay the start of the classes at least until 17 August.
“Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse,” he said.
Arizona health officials reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday, the most reported in a single day in the state so far and the seventh time in the last 10 days that daily cases surpassed the 3,000 mark. Since the pandemic began, 74,500 cases and 1,588 deaths stemming from the virus have been reported in Arizona.
Most Arizona bars and nightclubs opened after Ducey’s stay-at-home and business closure orders were allowed to expire in mid-May.
No new cases recorded in New Zealand
Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the Guardian:
New Zealanders have been delivered the sweet words from health officials that for more than a week they had been yearning to hear again: on Tuesday, there were no new cases of Covid-19 reported in the country.
New Zealand has effectively eliminated the coronavirus after a strict national lockdown in March and April, with no known community transmission.
But cases continue to arrive over the border as New Zealanders and their families return from Covid-19 hotspots abroad. All current instances of the virus were diagnose during routine testing at government-managed quarantine facilities, where returning travelers must spend two weeks upon entering the country.
There are 22 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, with one person in a stable condition in hospital. The other 21 remain in managed isolation at the hotels being used for border quarantine.
Returning travelers are tested twice for Covid-19 during their managed isolation, with those refusing to take a test kept in quarantine for longer.
There have been 1,178 confirmed cases of the virus in New Zealand, with 22 deaths.
APEC to be hosted virtually
Auckland, New Zealand won’t host the 2021 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit as planned, with the New Zealand government instead hosting a virtual event due to Covid-19, AAP reports.
The major gathering of Asia-Pacific world leaders – including the USA, China, Japan, Russia and Australia – was to be staged in New Zealand for the first time in 22 years.
However, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced a scaleback of plans on Tuesday, saying “Covid-19 has seriously impacted how we conduct international diplomacy”.
“For planning and security reasons, we had to make a call on our APEC hosting now,” he said.
“Given the current global environment, planning to have such a large volume of high-level visitors in New Zealand from late 2020 onwards is impractical.”
Hosting APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) involves staging a series of meetings across the year, culminating in the leaders’ gatherings in November.
This year’s host, Malaysia, has also run virtual meetings. Last year’s summit in Chile was cancelled to due to major inequality protests in the capital, Santiago.
Broadway theatres to stay closed until January 2021 due to coronavirus
Broadway theatres will remain closed through 3 Janurary 2021, industry group the Broadway League has said, extending their coronavirus-related shutdown for another four months.
The New York City theatres, which went dark in mid-March, had previously set a tentative reopening date of 6 September, but physical distancing requirements for audiences, actors and production staff have made it impossible for plays and musicals to resume.
Thirty-one Broadway shows were in production when the shutdown began. Those that come back are expected to resume over a series of rolling dates in early 2021, the Broadway League said in a statement.The organisation is developing safeguards to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus among audience members, actors and staff.
Producers of some shows, including the stage musical version of the Disney film Frozen, have said they will not return at all.Others are looking even further ahead to the spring of 2021.
The debut of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman, was shifted to May 2021 from October 2020.Music Man rehearsals were to have begun 29 June, but due to the ban in New York City on large gatherings, they were rescheduled to early February.
More than 300,000 planned new homes may remain on the drawing board over the next five years, deepening the UK’s housing crisis, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, new research predicts.
Stalled construction and the recession will slash the number of new homes being built, with 85,000 predicted to be lost this financial year, according to a study by the property agency Savills with the housing charity Shelter.
Construction of the cheapest social housing could fall to a “catastrophic” low of 4,300 units annually – the smallest number since the second world war. Shelter said this would not even be enough to clear the waiting list for a social home in Wakefield, never mind the rest of the country.
Iran records highest one-day death toll
Iran recorded its highest number of deaths from Covid-19 within a 24-hour period, official health ministry figures showed on Monday.
The 162 deaths reported on Monday exceed the previous record on 4 April, when the health ministry reported 158 deaths in a day.
The Islamic Republic has recorded a total of 10,670 deaths and 225,205 infections from the coronavirus, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said in a statement on state TV. There have been 186,180 recoveries, she said.
The number of new daily infections and deaths has increased sharply in the last week following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in mid-April.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, expressed concern on Monday about the rising number of deaths. He said government officials should wear masks to set an example for Iranian youth.
Masks will become mandatory in gathering places determined by the health ministry starting on 5 July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, according to his official website.
The government will assess whether to extend the policy on 22 July. Senior officials caution that restrictions will be reimposed if health regulations to contain infections are not observed.
Masks to be mandatory in Kansas but not Arizona
Kansas governor Laura Kelly on Monday said that she will sign an executive order requiring that most state residents must wear a mask in public in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Under the order that will go into effect on Friday, most Kansans must wear masks in stores and shops, and in any place where social distancing of 6 feet (1.83m) cannot be maintained, including outside, her office said in a statement.
The governor of the US state of Arizona, Doug Ducey, announced a string of new measures he hopes will curb the spread of coronavirus. While he encouraged people to wear masks in public, he refused to issue a statewide order requiring them to do so.
From 8pm local time on Monday, bars, gyms, cinemas, waterparks and tubing rentals will close for at least one month, and organised events of more than 50 people are prohibited.
New York governor calls on Trump to issue national face coverings order
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York on Monday called on Donald Trump to “put a mask on it” and sign an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings in public. Cuomo told the president, who has consistently refused to wear a mask in public, to “lead by example” and wear one himself to stop the surge in new coronavirus cases.
“We did it two months ago in this state,” said Cuomo, adding that other states that initially resisted mask mandates were now requiring them, despite some backlash.
“Let the president have the same sense to do that as an executive order and then let the president lead by example and let the president put a mask on it, because we know it works.”
UK locks down city of Leicester
The British government on Monday imposed a lockdown on the city of Leicester, which has a much higher Covid-19 infection rate than anywhere else in the country, in its first major attempt to curb an outbreak with local rather than national measures.
The United Kingdom is in the process of gradually easing its national lockdown, with non-essential shops now open and further relaxation of rules due on 4 July, but Leicester and the surrounding area were told to go into reverse.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the seven-day infection rate in Leicester was 135 cases per 100,000 people, three times higher than the next highest city, and that Leicester accounted for 10% of all positive cases in the country in the past week.
“Given the growing outbreak in Leicester, we cannot recommend that the easing of the national lockdown due to take place on the 4th of July happens in Leicester,” Hancock said in a statement to parliament.
“From tomorrow, non-essential retail will have to close, and as children have been particularly impacted by this outbreak, schools will also need to close from Thursday,” he said. He said children remained at low risk, but were likely to be spreading the disease.
Hancock urged people to avoid all non-essential travel to and from Leicester and within the city, which is in central England.
Hello and welcome to today’s live global coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
I’m Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.
The World Health Organization is sending a team to China next week in connection with the search for the origin of the virus that sparked the global pandemic. The WHO has been pressing China since early May to invite in its experts to help investigate the animal origins of the coronavirus.
“We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.
Tedros also said that the pandemic had brought out the best and worst humanity, citing acts of kindness and solidarity, but also misinformation and the politicisation of the virus. Unless international unity replaces fractious division, “the worst is yet to come. I’m sorry to say that,” he said.
“With this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”
- Cases near 10.2m. The known number of cases worldwide stands at 10,199,798, with 502,947 deaths recorded, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
- Pandemic “not even close to being over” - WHO chief. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing: “The hard reality is that this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up.”
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York on Monday called on Donald Trump to “put a mask on it” and sign an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings in public. Cuomo told the president, who has consistently refused to wear a mask in public, to “lead by example” and wear one himself to stop the surge in new coronavirus cases.
- Los Angeles County recorded an “alarming” one-day spike of nearly 3,000 new Covid-19 infections on Monday, taking its total to more than 100,000 cases, public health officials said, warning that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.
- Canada is over the worst of the coronavirus outbreak but a spike in cases in the United States and elsewhere shows Canadians must remain vigilant as the economy reopens, prime minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.
- New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said on Monday indoor dining will no longer resume on Thursday in the state as previously planned, and will instead be postponed “indefinitely.”
- The British government on Monday imposed a lockdown on the city of Leicester, which has a much higher Covid-19 infection rate than anywhere else in the country, in its first major attempt to curb an outbreak with local rather than national measures.
- The number of reported new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland has begun to increase in a “worrying” trend, the chief medical officer warned, which could halt plans for further easing of restrictions.At least six fresh diagnoses were associated with international travel, the government’s top health advisers said, as they reiterated warnings against encouraging overseas tourism too soon.
- Abu Dhabi will allow people to enter the emirate if they have tested negative for coronavirus in the previous 48 hours, the local government media office said on Monday.Abu Dhabi, the largest and wealthiest member of the United Arab Emirates federation, has had a ban on people entering since 2 June.
- Iran reports its highest daily death toll. Iran reported 162 more deaths from Covid-19, the highest single-day toll since the country’s outbreak began in February.
- Daily new cases in India near 20,000 as Mumbai extends lockdown. India reported close to 20,000 new Covid-19 cases for the second day running on Monday, as the financial hub of Mumbai extended its lockdown by a month.
- China ‘seals off’ more than 400,000 in Anxin county to tackle small Covid-19 cluster. Authorities have put almost half a million people in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, under lockdown as a22fresh outbreak in the capital fans fears of a second wave of the coronavirus.
- US visitors set to remain banned from entering EU. Most US visitors are set to remain banned from entering the European Union because of the country’s rising infection rate in a move that risks antagonising Donald Trump.