Greece faces 'huge difficulties' when flights resume; 'irregularities' in Slovenia PPE purchase – as

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Summary

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • There are 10,393,467 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, and 508,392 deaths.
  • Dr Anthony Fauci told US senators he “would not be surprised” if cases go up to 100,000 a day. He said the US is “going in the wrong direction” in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and warned that the death toll “is going to be very disturbing” unless officials intervene, and urged Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing in public spaces.
  • Speaking in Delaware, Joe Biden said the pandemic is unlikely to have subsided by January 2021, and if he’s elected. “On the day I’m sworn in, I’ll get right to work implementing all aspects of the response that remain undone,” he said.
  • India’s prime minister has warned citizens against “negligence” in following coronavirus guidance. Narendra Modi raised concerns that social distancing and hand washing advice was being ignored as daily new cases in the country remain close to 20,000.
  • The United Nations has called on governments to provide nearly $10bn in aid for Syria, as the war-torn country’s humanitarian crisis deepens amid the coronavirus pandemic. The UN said it needed $3.8bn to help 11 million people in Syria – where food prices have soared – and a further $6.04bn to help the 6.6 million Syrians who have fled the country.
  • Greece should prepare for a “very difficult” tourist season, the country’s prime minister has said. Tourism officials say the country – which usually makes around 18.1 billion a year from tourism – would be lucky if revenues hit the 4-5 billion euro mark this year.
  • Face masks in public spaces are to be made mandatory in Toronto. The city’s mayor and medical officer announced the rules, which will take effect on July 7 if the city council passes the motion today, on Tuesday.
  • The United States is not on a European Union “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel. From Wednesday, the EU will allow travel to 14 countries beyond its borders.

US President Donald Trump has tweeted, blaming China for the “damage [coronavirus] has done to the USA”:

Hi, Helen Sullivan joining you now.

I’ll be taking you through the latest fro the next few hours – if you’re following along, get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

Brazil has suffered 1,280 more deaths, bringing the country’s confirmed death toll to 59,594, according to Health Ministry data. The total number of confirmed cases rose by 33,846 to reach 1,402,041, the worst outbreak in the world outside the United States.

Slovenia’s interior minister has resigned and the economy minister has been detained in connection with an investigation into alleged irregularities in the purchase of protective gear during the pandemic.

Announcing his resignation, the interior minister Aleš Hojs said he had only been informed about the probe that day, claiming it was launched to discredit and bring down the current four-party centre-right coalition government.

“I think this is a politically motivated action,” the Associated Press has quoted Hojs as saying. He added that the police chief also resigned in protest over the action, which Hojs said was solely the initiative of the country’s special police forces.

Slovenian media have reported numerous alleged irregularities during the acquisition of protective equipment and respirators shortly after a new centre-right government was appointed in March.

They have accused the economy minister Zdravko Počivalšek of favouring some companies that did not offer adequate equipment. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Three people in a camp for asylum seekers on the Mexico-US border have tested positive, marking the first cases in a settlement that advocates have long viewed as vulnerable amid the pandemic.

Since confirmed cases in Mexico began rising in March, advocates and government officials have worried about the potential for an outbreak in the Matamoros camp, where an estimated 2,000 people live in tents on the banks of the Rio Grande river. Michele Heisler, the medical director at US-based non-profit Physicians for Human Rights, said:

For months, public health experts have sounded the alarm that people in these under-resourced migrant encampments and shelters ... face disproportionate risks from Covid-19.

The Airbus chief executive has warned staff that the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic could still get worse after the group announced plans to cut 15,000 jobs across Europe. Reuters has reported that Guillaume Faury urged staff to avoid descending back into nationalism, which has plagued the Franco-German-led company in the past as workers battle for jobs.

Summary

Here’s a summary of today’s key global coronavirus developments:

  • India’s prime minister has warned citizens against “negligence” in following coronavirus guidance. Narendra Modi raised concerns that social distancing and hand washing advice was being ignored as daily new cases in the country remain close to 20,000.
  • The United Nations has called on governments to provide nearly $10bn in aid for Syria, as the war-torn country’s humanitarian crisis deepens amid the coronavirus pandemic. The UN said it needed $3.8bn to help 11 million people in Syria – where food prices have soared – and a further $6.04bn to help the 6.6 million Syrians who have fled the country.
  • Greece should prepare for a “very difficult” tourist season, the country’s prime minister has said. Tourism officials say the country – which usually makes around 18.1 billion a year from tourism – would be lucky if revenues hit the 4-5 billion euro mark this year.
  • Face masks in public spaces are to be made mandatory in Toronto. The city’s mayor and medical officer announced the rules, which will take effect on July 7 if the city council passes the motion today, on Tuesday.
  • The United States is not on a European Union “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel. From Wednesday, the EU will allow travel to 14 countries beyond its borders.

In the US, three major government agencies are warning of scammers posing as contact tracers as a way to steal personal information.

The Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Trade Commission have warned that fraudsters were asking for money and trying to collect social security numbers, bank and credit card information from individuals.

Contact-tracing is a disease control tactic in which authorities identify and test people who were recently near a virus carrier, based on the patient’s interactions. The HHS’ deputy inspector general for investigations Gary Cantrell has said:

Covid-19 fraud is rapidly evolving. Operating contact tracing schemes is just one method that criminals use to target unsuspecting patients nationwide, attempting to steal their personal information and commit healthcare fraud.

The DoJ said it would continue to prosecute those committing such fraud.

The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world.

Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmanoeuvre all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US.

Sweden is to set up a commission to evaluate the its response to the pandemic, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The country has taken a softer approach than the rest of Europe. Its prime minister Stefan Lofven said:

The ability of the entire community to come together is one of Sweden’s great strengths. But, at the same time, this crisis has put a spotlight on shortfalls in our society.

The committee would be “tasked with evaluating the government’s, the authorities’, the health regions’ and municipalities’ measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus and the effects of the spread,” Lofven added.

Airbus’ plans to shed 15,000 jobs are “excessive” and need to be revised, a French finance ministry source has told Reuters.

Airbus earlier unveiled the job cut plans, saying its future was at stake after the pandemic hit the air travel industry particularly hard.

The source said:

The number of job cuts announced by Airbus is excessive. We expect Airbus to fully use instruments put in place by the government to reduce job cuts. Airbus also needs to reduce involuntary cuts as much as possible.

Summary: the day so far

Here’s a summary of today’s key global coronavirus developments:

  • India’s prime minister has warned citizens against “negligence” in following coronavirus guidance. Narendra Modi raised concerns that social distancing and hand washing advice was being ignored as daily new cases in the country remain close to 20,000.
  • The United Nations has called on governments to provide nearly $10bn in aid for Syria, as the war-torn country’s humanitarian crisis deepens amid the coronavirus pandemic. The UN said it needed $3.8bn to help 11 million people in Syria – where food prices have soared – and a further $6.04bn to help the 6.6 million Syrians who have fled the country.
  • Greece should prepare for a “very difficult” tourist season, the country’s prime minister has said. Tourism officials say the country – which usually makes around 18.1 billion a year from tourism – would be lucky if revenues hit the 4-5 billion euro mark this year.
  • Face masks in public spaces are to be made mandatory in Toronto. The city’s mayor and medical officer announced the rules, which will take effect on July 7 if the city council passes the motion today, on Tuesday.
  • The United States is not on a European Union “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel. From Wednesday, the EU will allow travel to 14 countries beyond its borders.

That’s it from me, Amy Walker. I’ll now be handing over to my colleague Kevin Rawlinson.

Updated

The US has suffered 370 more deaths and registered 35,664 new cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has said. That takes the respective totals to 126,739 and 2,581,229.

The number of people who died in France rose by 30 to 29,843 on Tuesday, as the health ministry included weekly data for the death toll in nursing homes.

The number of people who died in hospitals increased by 21 to 19,346, compared to the daily average of 16 over the past seven days.

The ministry also reported that nine people died in nursing homes over the last seven days, more than three times fewer than the 31 reported a week ago.

The death toll from Covid-19 could rise to 438,000 in South America by October if prevention measures are not kept up, the World Health Organisation has warned.

WHO regional director for the Americas, Carissa Etienne, said on Tuesday that mathematical model projections should not be taken literally but as planning guides.

Under current conditions, the pandemic is expected to peak in Chile and Colombia by mid-July, but not until August in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru and in October in Costa Rica.

Governments in Nigeria and Senegal are the latest in West Africa to ease restrictions on internal travel and reopen schools, amid increasing steps by countries to adapt daily life to the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senegal’s state of emergency and curfew, imposed on March 23rd will be lifted from tomorrow, President Macky Sall said in a televised address yesterday. Air borders will reopen from July 15, with international flights resuming under a raft of health protocols set to be announced.

Land and sea borders will remain closed, yet Sall, who is himself under quarantine after coming into contact with an infected person, said the loosening of measures would support the country’s economy. Growth is predicted to collapse from 6.2% last year to 1.1% this year or less, due to the epidemic.

Two-thirds of Senegal’s 6,800 infections have recovered, while 112 people have died.

Officials in Nigeria, have also lifted bans on interstate travel and allowed domestic flights to resume. Universities and secondary schools will reopen for final-year students too to sit exams while primary schools and nurseries remain closed.

There are 25,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria, the third largest outbreak in Africa, doubling over the last three weeks. 9,400 people have recovered and 573 people have died.

Officials are keen to ease measures as quickly as possible amid bleak projections for Africa’s largest economy.

Last week, the World Bank said 5 million people could fall into poverty this year, in what could be the worst economic recession since the 1980s, caused by the pandemic and a global oil price crash.

Nigeria already has the highest number of people living in extreme poverty in the world, 94 million according to the World Poverty Clock, which monitors global progress against poverty.

Updated

Canada’s largest city will make face masks mandatory in public spaces as it works to control the spread of the coronavirus. On Tuesday morning, Toronto’s mayor and the city’s medical officer announced the new rules, which will take effect on 7 July if the city council passes the motion today.

“You have told us you don’t want to see a repeat of what you see when you turn on your TV and see reports from the United States,” said mayor John Tory, in reference to a surge in coronavirus infections throughout the south-western parts of the US.

While Canada is believed to be over the worst of the virus, the majority of new Covid-19 cases have been centred around the greater Toronto area.

The announcement comes a day after municipalities in Ontario asked the province to implement a mask requirement. But premier Doug Ford had said a provincial order would be difficult to enforce, instead suggesting that municipalities put their own rules in place.

On Tuesday morning, the neighbouring cities of Brampton and Mississauga also announced new requirements that residents wear masks when possible in indoor public locations.

Tory said there wouldn’t be “aggressive” enforcement of the new rules, instead working with residents to educate them about the importance of masks.

“It is about respecting and protecting each other,” he said, expecting the requirement to be in place until at least September.

Updated

Handing the blog back to my colleague Amy Walker now.

With travel restrictions in place, dozens of American universities based in Italy could close their doors for good, leaving hundreds of professors jobless unless US students are allowed to return to Europe, Lorenzo Tondo reports.

According to the Open Door report, more than 35,000 students enrolled in American universities in Italy may not return, given the restrictions put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“It is a very dramatic situation in which almost all in-person summer study sessions have already been cancelled,” says Matteo Duni, president of ASAUI, the Association of Scholars at American Universities in Italy. “Some small- and medium-sized institutions risk closure for lack of enrolments, and other American universities with programmes in Italy could decide to keep their students in the States.”

There are more than 160 American institutions of higher learning in Italy, among colleges, summer schools and universities, the majority of which are based in Rome and Florence. Among the most famous are Syracuse, New York University, Kent State in Florence, and Cornell, Notre Dame, and Temple University in Rome. With the onset of the coronavirus emergency in Italy, between the end of February and early March, all American students in Italy were sent back to the US by their home campuses. It is by no means clear when students may return to Italy.

“This is not just an Italian problem,” says Duni. “Other European countries, like France and Spain, are also affected because they, too, host hundreds of American institutions.”

Most US visitors are set to remain banned from entering the European Union because of the country’s rising infection rate.

Universities are studying various solutions, among which the possibility of European students enrolled in the US, if not allowed to return there, to attend classes in American universities based in Europe.

Updated

Here is an update on the latest figures from New York : 52,025 tests were performed yesterday. 524 tests came back positive (1.0% of total). Total hospitalisations are at 891. There were 13 COVID fatalities yesterday, according to New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

Over in Greece prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says the nation should brace for “a very difficult tourist period” ahead of international flights resuming to all destinations tomorrow, Helena Smith reports.

Hosting a virtual cabinet meeting earlier the centre right leader warned the tourist-dependent country was likely to face “huge difficulties” as it grapples with the economic fallout of the pandemic. “We are aware that the bar is set very low and that this will be a very difficult tourist period but we will do the best we can,” he told ministers.

As Greece’s heavy industry, tourism accounts for over 25 percent of GDP according to the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE). Last year it brought in more than 18.1 billion euros in earnings – revenue that played a pivotal role in reviving the country’s debt-stricken economy – employing close to a million people.

This year tourism officials say they will be lucky if revenues hit the 4-5 billion euro mark not least because the UK, US, Russia and Sweden are among the countries that generate almost a quarter of that income and as a result of their ‘epidemiological profiles’ have yet to be given the green light to resume flights to the popular holiday destination.

Announcing what the Greek media described as a “strategic deal” with the travel giant TUI, the Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis said the hope this year was to attract 50 percent of the total number of holidaymakers who had travelled to Greece with the company in 2019. “We have a common target to bring 50 percent of last year’s tourists,” he said noting that TUI brought between 2.8 to 3 million visitors to the country in 2019.

On Monday Athens announced that it would continue to suspend air links with the UK and Sweden until July 15th when travel from both countries will be reviewed again.

In Canada, the mayor of Toronto is asking the city council to make masks mandatory in public indoor spaces.

“You have told us you don’t want to see a repeat of what you see when you turn on your TV and see reports from the United States,” mayor John Tory said.

Tory believes the vast majority of councillors will support it. The bylaw will come into effect July 7, if passed, AP reports.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, said there is growing evidence that shows non medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and noted many cities in the U.S. are seeing a resurgence in cases since reopening.

In the UK, the debate on masks is also continuing, as my colleague Sarah Boseley reports.

Prof Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he did not understand why the UK government had only ordered their use on trains, tubes and buses in England.

“I don’t understand why it is not official policy to have compulsory face masks not only on public transport but when you go into public places, enclosed places and shops and all that,” said Piot in an interview with the Guardian.

He contrasted Britain with Japan, where people use face masks even if they have a cold in the interests of protecting others, and have done since the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, he said. Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have also adopted masks as “an act of civic duty and of the collective wellbeing”.

You can read her full report here:

Updated

Hi. This is Caroline Davies taking over the blog for a short while. You can reach me on [email protected]

Chile’s unemployment rate hit 11.2% between March and May amid the coronavirus lockdown, according to the country’s government.

People working in the commerce, accommodation, food services and construction sectors were the worst impacted, the national statistics agency (INE) said, while self-employed people were the worst hit across the board in Chile, once among Latin America´s most stable economies.

Australia’s defence force is to acquire long-range missiles and research hypersonic weapons systems, as Scott Morrison warns the country to prepare for a more dangerous post-Covid-19 world and an increasingly contested Indo-Pacific region.

The Australian prime minister will use a speech on Wednesday to outline a more muscular defence posture, arguing the ADF needs “stronger deterrence capabilities” as the Indo-Pacific becomes “the focus of the dominant global contest of our age” amid tensions between China and the United States.

Morrison will reveal a pledge to spend $270bn on new and upgraded defence capabilities over the next decade – a substantial increase from the $195bn committed in the 10 years from 2016 when the last defence white paper was released, although it covers a later time period.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on 19 June.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on 19 June. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/EPA

You can read the full story from our Guardian Australia political reporter, Daniel Hurst, here:

Tokyo is to move away from numerical targets in containing Covid-19, and rely more on advice from a committee of experts.

Japan’s capital, which has a population of 14 million, has sought to keep new cases below20 a day since the country lifted a state of emergency on May 25, but has experienced five consecutive days of more than 50 new recorded cases.

On Tuesday, 54 infections were reported in Tokyo, which is two weeks into the final phase of loosening coronavirus restrictions.

People wearing face masks as they walk along a street on Tuesday in Tokyo, where 54 new Covid-19 infections have been recorded in the last 24 hours.
People wearing face masks as they walk along a street on Tuesday in Tokyo, where 54 new Covid-19 infections have been recorded in the last 24 hours. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

Officials have repeatedly said there is no need to declare a new state of emergency and that the medical system can handle the current level of cases, with increased testing partly explaining the rise in infections.

It’s an extremely different situation from what it was at the end of March when patients were increasing rapidly, but we still must be watchful,” Governor Yuriko Koike told a news conference, where she announced the new measures would start on Wednesday.

Under the new guidance, Tokyo will move away from the strict numerical targets to determine if new restrictions are needed. A group of experts will instead evaluate the situation on a weekly basis.

Modi warns citizens against 'negligence'

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has warned citizens against “negligence” in following coronavirus guidelines.

Several Indian cities are preparing to extend their lockdown to combat the spread of the virus, as daily new cases in the country remain close to 20,000.

“Ever since [the easing of restrictions] started in the country, negligence in personal and social behaviour has been increasing,” Modi said in a televised address, adding that citizens were ignoring guidelines on social distancing and hand washing.

During the address, Modi also announced a scheme providing free food grains to 800 million people, at a cost of around $12bn.

The opposition Congress Party have criticised the measures as being inadequate, and have instead called for direct cash transfers to the poorest in the country.

Federal health data released today showed India had reported 18,522 new cases in the previous 24 hours, down slightly from Sunday’s record of 19,906.

In total, the country has 550,000 recorded infections – the fourth largest number in the world.

Updated

Costa Rican coffee beans may go unharvested this year because of a coronavirus induced labour shortage, farmers have warned.

Fears have grown that the raw material may not be picked because of a lack of workers, mainly from Nicaragua and Panama.

Farmers have blamed travel restrictions imposed by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus, which prevent people from both countries entering Costa Rica.

Migrant workers typically make up about two-thirds of the country’s coffee crop workfroce.

“We’re extremely worried. We depend on foreign labor to pick our coffee and now we don’t know if we can count on it,” Geovanny Rodriguez, a farmer from Santa Maria de Dota, in the mountainous Los Santos region, told Reuters.

Plantations in the region provide about half of Costa Rica’s arabica crop.

China has stopped almost all imports of pork from the Netherlands, following Covid-19 outbreaks at some of the largest Dutch slaughterhouses.

China banned meat delivered by four of the largest Dutch abattoirs on Sunday, a Dutch government spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

A slaughterhouse of the Vion food group in Groenlo, which was closed due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 in May. Of all 657 employees, 147 were tested positive by the health service GGD Noord- en Oost-Gelderland.
A slaughterhouse of the Vion food group in Groenlo, which was closed due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 in May. Of all 657 employees, 147 were tested positive by the health service GGD Noord- en Oost-Gelderland. Photograph: Vincent Jannink/EPA

It gave no specific reason for the ban, but workers at all of the abattoirs have recently been infected with coronavirus, said Elise van den Bosch.

“Clearly, China is looking for the source of its second wave of Covid-19 infections, which they might feel could come from imported meat”, she said. “But there is no scientific evidence for the possible transmission of the virus through food or packaging materials.”

Large outbreaks at slaughterhouses in the Netherlands and across Europe are thought to have been caused by the close working conditions and cramped shared housing of the migrant workers who largely operate them.

Updated

UN calls for $10bn in aid for Syria

The United Nations has called on governments for nearly $10bn in aid for Syria, where soaring food prices amid the coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.

Millions of people have been displaced by the nine-year war in the country.

On Tuesday, 60 governments and non-official agencies attended a virtual fundraising event hosted by the European Union.

“Syrian men, women and children have experienced injury, displacement, destruction, terror … on a massive scale,” Geir Pedersen, the UN special envoy for Syria, said. “The danger of Covid-19 remains acute.”

Josep Borrell Fontelles, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, vice-president of the European commission, chairs a conference on Syria via video conference on 30 June in Brussels.
Josep Borrell Fontelles, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, vice-president of the European commission, chairs a conference on Syria via video conference on 30 June in Brussels. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, there have only been 269 confirmed cases in Syria, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the real situation is probably far worse and the number of infections likely to accelerate.

The UN said it needed $3.8bn in aid this year inside Syria, where 11 million people require help and protection.

Another $6.04bn is needed to help the 6.6. million Syrians who have fled the world’s biggest refugee crisis.

Updated

Airbus is set to announce a restructuring involving thousands of job cuts as it deals with the impact of the coronavirus crisis, union officials have said.

Industry sources told Reuters they predicted between 14,000 and 20,000 job cuts, though it remains unclear how much will be achieved through early retirements among Airbus’s 135,000-strong workforce.

“Airbus will announce measures that could have strong employment consequences,” CGT union official Xavier Petrachi told the news organisation, adding the union would oppose outright redundancies.

The restructuring is expected to affect jobs in Britain, France, Germany and Spain.

The aerospace company, which said it will announce measures by the end of July after introducing temporary furloughs, has declined to comment.

At a European works council today, Airbus will brief unions on the status of orders and aircraft cancellations as it prepares to keep production lower than previously planned for up to five years.

Updated

Thanks for your company over the last few hours – my colleague Amy Walker will take the reins now.

The World Health Organization will “read carefully” a Chinese study on a new flu virus found in pigs, a spokesman said today, saying the findings underscored the importance of influenza surveillance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new flu virus found in Chinese pigs has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential “pandemic virus”, the study said.

“We will read carefully the paper to understand what is new,” the WHO’s Christian Lindmeier told a Geneva briefing, Reuters reports – saying it was important to collaborate on findings and keep tabs on animal populations. “It also highlights we cannot let our guard down on influenza and need to be vigilant and continue surveillance even in the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.

Updated

Spain prepares to open borders

As Spain prepares to reopen its borders tomorrow to countries in the Schengen group, the country’s health authorities are keeping a close eye on 11 fresh outbreaks of Covid-19, the most worrying of which are in Lleida in Catalonia and Huesca in Aragón. Local authorities in Lleida say it is difficult to isolate people with the virus as many are migrant agricultural workers with no fixed address. Overall, Catalonia has reported 621 new cases over the past seven days.

Fernando Simón, the head of medical emergencies in Madrid, said localised lockdowns, such as that imposed on Leicester, would be the best way of containing outbreaks, adding that he didn’t believe any one the current outbreaks were serious enough to warrant such measures.

The first stage of the trial of the Covid tracking app Radar Covid has begun on the isolated island of La Gomera in the Canaries. The app can be installed on Android and iOS mobiles and has been sent to the Google and Apple app stores.

The first phase involves training people to install and use the app. The monitoring phase, which begins on 6 July, involves a fictional outbreak of 300 cases of infection when a percentage of app users will be alerted if they have been in contact with people with the virus.

The idea is to download 3,000 apps among La Gomera’s 22,000 inhabitants but doubts remain about how this could be extended across Spain’s population of 47 million.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that 1.1 million people have been fined for breaking lockdown regulations. The fines, ranging from €600 to €30,000, have been imposed under the so-called gagging law, brought in by the previous rightwing government to restrict free speech and assembly. The incumbent president Pedro Sánchez was elected partly on a pledge to repeal the law.

Updated

Here is a vivid, thought-provoking piece of photojournalism from Cynthia R Matonhodze – charting the commuting lives of frontline workers in Harare, Zimbabwe during Covid-19.

The southern German state of Bavaria has announced a “corona test offensive” that would allow citizens to get a test for the virus even if they don’t show any symptoms.

“All Bavarian citizens will be promptly offered the opportunity to have themselves tested by an established contract physician, even without symptoms,” Bavaria’s health minister, Melanie Huml, said following the announcement on Sunday.

Testing costs that aren’t currently covered by public health insurance schemes could in the future be shouldered by the state, the minister said. Currently public health insurers tend to pay for the laboratory cost of analysing blood samples, but usually don’t cover the cost of having the sample taken.

Such a “universal” testing programme would make it easier to detect and contain local outbreaks or asymptomatic carriers of the virus, politicians in the southern German state argue.

But the plan has been met with scepticism from Germany’s federal health minister, who questioned whether the scheme could be expanded across the country as a whole. “Extensive testing makes sense, especially to contain regional outbreaks”, said Jens Spahn, of the conservative Christian Democratic Union.

“But a test is always just a snapshot. It must not give a false sense of security”.

Updated

The rickety plastic table beneath a row of towering apartment blocks in Russia’s second city, Saint Petersburg does not look much like a polling booth.

But as Russians cast votes this week on constitutional reforms that could extend President Vladimir Putin’s rule until 2036, the picnic furniture has taken on official status, AFP reports.

Makeshift polling stations popped up throughout the country last Thursday, when Russians started voting outdoors, online and in municipal buildings to green-light the changes proposed by Putin earlier this year.

“It’s practical. People can vote as they’re passing by and it also minimises the risk of coronavirus infections,” says a local election official, Ekaterina Vesselkova, as she waits for voters in a district of Saint Petersburg.

A blue cardboard screen occasionally swept away by gusts of wind is on hand to ensure privacy for the slow trickle of around 50 people per day who stop at the table to vote. In the city centre, another improvised polling booth was not equipped with the paper partition, but voters can vote “behind the ballot box,” an official says.

“We had a screen, but the wind kept blowing it over,” says Yury Chursov, an administrator who urged passers-by to come and vote. He says the outdoor placement of the booth isn’t to protect voters from being infected with coronavirus, but to make it as easy for large numbers to participate.

Ulan Ude
An election commission member registers a woman for voting in the city of Ulan Ude. Photograph: Andrei Ogorodnik/TASS

Putin insisted that Russians vote on the reforms that were hastily approved by parliament, even though it is not legally required, arguing a plebiscite would give the amendments legitimacy.

“It seems clear that this new method of voting is being used to increase participation in places where voters live,” says Vitaly Averin, a regional coordinator with independent monitoring group Golos.

As well as resetting Putin’s term limits, the reforms would consolidate presidential powers by allowing him to nominate top judges and prosecutors for approval by the upper house of parliament.

The reforms include economic benefits that guarantee the minimum wage will be no less than the minimum subsistence level and that state pensions will be adjusted annually to inflation. They also include a mention of Russians’ “faith in God” and the effective banning of gay marriage.

Videos of the makeshift polling places have sparked ridicule and criticism on social media after images circulated showing ballot boxes on public benches, in the boot of a car, in the wilderness and in a bus.

The Kremlin’s most vocal opponent Alexei Navalny, who has said the results of the vote are sure to be falsified, lashed out at the improvised polling places. “I refuse to accept that the fundamental law of my country can be adopted by ‘voting’ in the trunks of cars and tents and on tree stumps,” he wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Taxi drivers are demonstrating in Madrid, requesting a limitation in vehicles operating in the city due to a decrease in demand brought about by Covid-19.

Madrid taxis

The president of Afghanistan has ordered a probe into alleged corruption surrounding Covid-19 funds, while the number of confirmed deaths from the virus has risen by 12 to a total of 745. It was also revealed that the Taliban have carried out at least 44 attacks each day since February.

President Ashraf Ghani warned officials that any corruption and negligence in the handling of the outbreak response budget will be dealt with accordingly, and ordered an investigation.

“The presidential palace inspector should assess all accusations and allegations of corruption in the coronavirus response budget spending and inform the people about the details of the expenses,” the presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

The health ministry detected 279 new Covid-19 infections from 769 tests on Tuesday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 31,517. The war-torn country, which has admitted it has a lack of testing capacity, has tested 72,318 suspected patients since the outbreak began. The number of recoveries stands at 14,036.

The health ministry spokesman, Akmal Samsour, said Monday that the actual number of infections is higher than what the ministry has reported, as “only patients with severe symptoms go to medical centres, so the actual number may be something between 150,000 and 1.5m”.

Most new cases were confirmed in the central province of Ghor, after 65 tests from 95 came back positive. Ghor recorded its second death from Covid-19 overnight. The capital, Kabul, which has been the country’s worst affected area, reported 41 new cases and three deaths.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has carried out at least 44 daily attacks since February, according to the country’s national security council. “On average, the Taliban has carried out 44 attacks and killed or wounded 24 civilians every day in Afghanistan since the 22 February reduction in violence week,” said Javid Faisal, the council’s spokesman. “The success of the Doha deal and peace in Afghanistan requires an immediate reduction in violence and the start of direct talks.”

At least 23 civilians were killed in Helmand and dozens were wounded when mortars hit a cattle market on Monday. Twenty-one patients have lost their lives to Covid-19 since the outbreak began in Helmand.

The warring sides blamed each other for the attack on the open-air weekly cattle market in Sangin district, where hundreds of villagers from neighbouring districts had gathered to trade sheep and goats. The district is mostly under Taliban control.

At least six civilians, including women and children, were killed in the province on Sunday afternoon when their vehicle was hit by a roadside mine. Two civilians also were killed this morning when their vehicle was hit by such a mine. Save the Children condemned the deaths of children in Helmand and asked for the war on children to stop.

Milan Dinic, country director for Save the Children in Afghanistan said in a statement: “These past few months have been some of the deadliest in recent times, with a spike in the numbers of attacks that involved civilians. At a time in which the country should be focusing on the Covid-19 outbreak and the devastating effects it has on millions, the extreme violence hampers the possibility for people to get support and children to have access to education and other services.”

The Thai government has, as trailed earlier, confirmed the extension of an emergency decree until the end of July in a bid to avoid the risk of a second wave of the coronavirus as the country was poised to reopen bars and allow some foreigners into the country.

The cabinet approved the extension of the emergency decree because the global pandemic was still ongoing, Narumon Pinyosinwat, a spokeswoman for the Thai government told a briefing. With the government set to ease more restrictions on Wednesday, it was necessary for the government to continue using the decree to control travel and reduce the risk of a second wave, she said.

The emergency decree gives the government a range of additional powers including to deploy officials to investigate venues, bring in curfews, restrict gatherings and control travel, Reuters reports.

We’ve also got a detailed breakdown of Australia’s lockdown restrictions, for those affected. Some suburbs of Melbourne have returned to “stage three” today.

Our coronavirus world map, and associated range of graphics, keeps you up to date with cases around the globe:

US will not be on EU's travel 'safe list'

The United States is not on a “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel due to be unveiled by European Union governments later today, three diplomats have said.

The 27-member bloc is expected to give outline approval to leisure or business travel from Wednesday to 14 countries beyond its borders when they vote on the list by midday Brussels time, the diplomats said.

The countries are said to be Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Meanwhile Russia and Brazil, along with the United States, are among countries that do not make the initial “safe list”, Reuters reports.

The vote is aimed at supporting the EU travel industry and tourist destinations, particularly countries in southern Europe hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. China would also be provisionally approved, although travel would only open up if Chinese authorities also allowed in EU visitors. Reciprocity is a condition of being on the safe list.

The list must be passed by a “qualified majority” of EU countries, meaning 15 EU countries representing 65% of the population. Four EU diplomats said they expected it to secure the required backing. It will act as a recommendation to EU members, meaning they will almost certainly not allow access to travellers from other countries, but could potentially set restrictions on those entering from the 14 nations.

The EU’s efforts to reopen internal borders – particularly among the 26-nation Schengen area, which normally has no frontier checks – have been patchy as various countries have restricted access for certain visitors.

Greece is mandating Covid-19 tests for arrivals from a range of EU countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with self-isolation until results are known. The Czech Republic is not allowing in tourists from Portugal and Sweden. British residents can also travel to many EU countries, although non-essential travellers to Britain are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Uzbekistan has imposed an overnight curfew in some parts of the country, including the capital Tashkent, as it seeks to curb a fresh rise in Covid-19 infections following the gradual lifting of a two-month lockdown.

The central Asian nation had been cautiously lifting a nationwide lockdown that had been in place in April and May, Reuters reports. However, after a decline in Covid-19 cases between mid-April and mid-May, it has once again seen a steady rise.

The new restrictions will see residents of “red” and “yellow” areas deemed at higher risk barred from leaving their homes between 11pm and 7am, except for medical emergencies, the government said today. Large shopping malls and markets will also be closed on weekends across the country.

Uzbekistan has divided its territory into green, yellow and red zones depending on the rate of fresh Covid-19 cases in those areas. Tashkent is mostly yellow, with some red neighbourhoods which have been cordoned off. The country of 34m people has confirmed 8,298 coronavirus cases, with 24 deaths.

A coordinated response to the Covid-19 crisis in the Americas, India and Africa must be led by countries that have suppressed it, writes Adam Tooze, urging us to stay focused on the big picture of a pandemic that is very far from over.

The question is do we have the political imagination, the sympathy and the grit necessary to grasp this crisis at the world level? Can public opinion and decision-makers in Europe and Asia, where the disease has been more or less effectively suppressed, be rallied to support an adequate global response to the crisis in the rest of the world?

The full piece is here:

Over in Greece there is mounting concern over the rising number of “imported” coronavirus cases ahead of the Mediterranean country opening to holidaymakers tomorrow.

For a nation so reliant on tourism the fact that its archipelago of islands has remained so Covid-free has been crucial to projecting an image of safety and security. But since Greece reopened its main airports in Athens and Thessaloniki on 15 June, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has crept up.

Tellingly, almost a third of the 110 new infections logged by authorities over the last week were travellers from abroad. Six of those reported were on Syros, Ios and Paros – all popular islands. On Monday, three of the 15 new cases registered by health officials had arrived from overseas.

This morning, media on Zakynthos reported that seven people had now contracted the virus – the latest described as a man admitted to the local hospital on Sunday with a high fever after recently returning from Germany.

Most tourists who have thus far been detected with the virus are asymptomatic, adding to the concerns of epidemiologists. “The big problem is that the virus is transmitted via individuals who are asymptomatic or have few symptoms,” said professor Nikolaos Sypsas, a member of the scientific committee that advises the government. “The problem of dispersal via asymptomatic people remains a very big risk.”

The country’s civil protection ministry says health officials with the armed forces will be dispatched to islands to conduct tests on arriving passengers over the next three months. “They will have absolute responsibility,” said the deputy civil protection minister Nikos Hardalias as he toured regional airports in advance of direct flights to destinations being resumed nationwide on Wednesday.

At the weekend Athens’ centre-right government announced that, 48 hours prior to arrival, anyone entering Greece would have to fill out an electronic form, stating personal details and where they had travelled to in recent weeks. With the aid of special software, the input will then be weighed up by health authorities – a form of ‘smart testing’ that is hoped will help identify possible coronavirus carriers.

To date Greece has had 3,390 confirmed coronavirus cases and 191 covid-related fatalities – far lower than most other European countries. Fears of the highly contagious virus being imported played a central role in the government deciding to continue its suspensions of air links with the UK and Sweden on Monday.

French consumer spending rebounded in May as the country emerged from a coronavirus lockdown that triggered an unprecedented spending slump the previous months, official data has revealed.

The Insee official stats agency said that consumer spending rose 36.6% in May from April, when it had plunged 19.1% and following a 16% drop in March. A Reuters poll of 16 economists had an average forecast for a 30% increase in May, though estimates of the jump had ranged from 6% to 42.5% in light of the exceptional circumstances.

The French government began lifting restrictions on 11 May after the country spent nearly two months under one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. The lockdown left nearly all retail outlets but those deemed essential shuttered, plunging the eurozone’s second-biggest economy into its deepest recession on record in modern peacetime France.

Despite the rebound in May, consumer spending remained down 7.2% from pre-crisis levels in February, Insee said.

Here is Melissa Davey’s report on the lockdown announced in 10 postcodes of Victoria, Australia, as mentioned earlier in the blog:

Our UK coronavirus live blog is now up and running, with Aamna Mohdin at the helm:

It is nomination day in Singapore ahead of the general election on 10 July. Here, the prime minister Lee Hsien Loong of the ruling People’s Action Party arrives at a nomination centre to formally join the contest.

Singapire

This concerning report from Hannah Summers explains how older Covid-19 patients are turned away from hospital or left untreated in some places, while domestic abuse is also rising.

While accessing healthcare has been a challenge faced by older populations during the crisis, the pandemic has also amplified violence and abuse of older people around the world.

Chris Roles, the managing director of Age International, said: “Regrettably, the pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the abuse and neglect older people were already facing.

“Too often, elder abuse is kept hidden and not reported; older people may fear retribution or stigma, may not recognise what is happening to them as abuse or national bodies may not even record abuse over a certain age.”

The full piece is here:

Hello from London. As Helen says, I’ll be taking you through the next few hours of global coronavirus news and updates. Your tips, thoughts and feedback are always highly valued so do email me on [email protected] or send a direct message on Twitter @NickAmes82.

Global report: WHO to send team to China to investigate Covid-19 origins

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thanks for following along.

Six months into this pandemic – or since the World Health Organization was first alerted to a string of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan on 31 December last year – cases are still climbing rapidly, with more than 100,000 new cases added to the Johns Hopkins University tracker over the course of my blogging shift today.

My colleague Nick Ames will bring you the latest for the next few hours.

In the meantime, here is today’s global report:

Stay-at-home orders imposed on ten postcode areas in Victoria, Australia

The premier of Victoria, Australia, Daniel Andrews has announced the reintroduction of stage 3 stay-at-home orders for hotspot suburbs in the state.

From 11.59pm tomorrow night people living in those suburbs — which I’ll list shortly — will only be allowed to leave their home for four reasons.

The orders will be in place until 29 July.

Victoria has been battling a new outbreak of coronavirus, which has seen double-digit one-day case increases for the last several days.

Andrews said:

There will only be four reasons that you are permitted to leave your house and only if you really have to. For work or school, for care or care giving, for daily exercise, for food and other essentials. They are the acceptable reasons to leave, but only if you need to.

Cases pass 10.3 million

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections over the course of the pandemic has passed 10.3 million, increasing by over 100,000 in under eight hours on Tuesday (over the course of this blogging shift), according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data.

There are currently 10,302,052 known cases, and 505,505 deaths.

These are the ten worst-affected countries in terms of number of confirmed cases.

  • US: 2,590,552 (Deaths: 126,140)
  • Brazil: 1,368,195 (Deaths: 58,314)
  • Russia: 640,246 (Deaths: 9,152)
  • India: 566,840 (Deaths: 16,893)
  • UK: 313,470 (Deaths: 43,659)
  • Peru: 282,365 (Deaths: 9,504)
  • Chile: 275,999 (Deaths: 5,575)
  • Spain: 248,970 (Deaths: 28,346)
  • Italy: 240,436 (Deaths: 34,744)
  • Iran: 225,205 (Deaths: 10,670)

Thai government seeks to extend emergency decree

In Thailand, the government is looking to extend an emergency decree again until the end of July - despite the country going five weeks without recording any community transmission of the coronavirus.

Prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says the state of emergency has allowed Thailand to keep case numbers relatively low, but others warn the coronavirus pandemic is being used as a pretext to stifle dissent.

The emergency decree, first introduced on 24 March, prevents public gatherings, and prohibits reporting or spreading information related to Covid-19 that is “untrue and may cause public fear”.

A couple and their child walk past a sign advising visitors to wear face masks at Lumpini Park in Bangkok.
A couple and their child walk past a sign advising visitors to wear face masks at Lumpini Park in Bangkok. Photograph: Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Rights groups say the powers have been used to silence online critics, prevent student protests against the government and control rallies marking politically sensitive anniversaries.

Maria Chin Abdullah, a Malaysian MP and member of Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, pointed out that officials are seeking to extend the emergency decree even as virtually all other restrictions have been eased.

“There is clearly no reason anymore for the government to justify emergency powers,” she said. “It seems clear that any decision to extend again the emergency powers isn’t being made in the interests of public health and safety, but is instead an excuse to prevent protests from starting and the student movement from resuming.”

Recommendations to extend the state of emergency will be submitted to the cabinet on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Thailand’s pubs and bars will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, and some groups of foreigners will be permitted to enter the country.

Foreigners with work permits, residency and families in Thailand will now be able to fly to Thailand, provided they quarantine for 14 days in selected hotels. Some travelers seeking medical treatment may also be allowed to enter.

Thailand has so far reported 3,171 Covid-19 infections, and 58 deaths.

Updated

A reminder that you can can get in touch with me directly on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

UK front pages, Tuesday 30 June 2020

Here is a look at coronavirus-related newspaper front pages from around the UK this morning:

Summary

Key recent developments in the coronavirus pandemic from around the world include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Japan’s unemployment rate rose to 2.9 percent in May, official data showed Tuesday, the third consecutive monthly rise as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll on the world’s number-three economy. The 0.3-percentage-point rise from April suggests Japan’s first recession since 2015 is beginning to have an impact on the labour market.
  • 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.”
  • Broadway theatres will remain closed through 3 January 2021, industry group the Broadway League has said, extending their coronavirus-related shutdown for another four months.
  • The 2021 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit will be hosted virtually due to Covid-19. The major gathering of Asia-Pacific world leaders – including the USA, China, Japan, Russia and Australia – was to be staged in Auckland, New Zealand for the first time in 22 years.
  • New Zealand confirmed no new cases of Covid-19, after two weeks with a number of cases in returning travellers. In a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern dismissed calls to open the country’s borders.
  • 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.
  • In the state of Victoria, in Australia, 64 new coronavirus cases were confirmed, as the state struggled to contain the worst outbreak in the country.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • Mexico City begins reopening amid high coronavirus case load. Mexico City began allowing more businesses to reopen Monday, after almost three months of various types of lockdowns, AP reports. Some city subway stations that had been closed to reduce ridership reopened. The city’s metro system plans to distribute 1 million plastic face shields to passengers to lower the risk of infection on mass transportation.
  • 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.
  • Iran reported 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.

Japan jobless rate up, available jobs in worst plunge since 1974

Japan’s unemployment rate rose to 2.9 percent in May, official data showed Tuesday, the third consecutive monthly rise as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll on the world’s number-three economy, AFP reports.

The 0.3-percentage-point rise from April suggests Japan’s first recession since 2015 is beginning to have an impact on the labour market.

Another closely watched indicator showed there were 120 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers, compared to 132 jobs in April - the steepest drop since the 1974 oil shock.

Security guards monitor traffic outside a construction site in Tokyo on 30 June 2020.
Security guards monitor traffic outside a construction site in Tokyo on 30 June 2020. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Set against the millions of newly unemployed seen in major economies like the United States, Japan appears to have weathered the economic chaos of the pandemic.

However, economists say the situation is not as rosy as the low headline figure may suggest, with persistent labour shortages hampering companies and millions struggling on precarious temporary contracts.

Analysts also point out that the low rate may not account for millions of people who have simply left the labour market after giving up their search for a job.

The pandemic has not hit Japan particularly hard, with fewer than 1,000 deaths and around 19,000 cases recorded. There have been no mandatory lockdowns, with the government instead requesting people stay at home - requests that were largely heeded. But that, coupled with a shuttering of the country’s borders, crippled tourism and consumer spending.

Thailand on Tuesday confirmed two new coronavirus cases imported from abroad, marking 36 days without local transmission.

The new cases were Thai nationals returning from Qatar who were in state quarantine, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government’s Covid-19 Administration Centre.

The coronavirus has killed 58 people in Thailand among its 3,171 infections. Of those, 3,056 patients have recovered. Thailand will reopen schools and bars and allow some foreigners into the country from Wednesday.

Tents of food stalls and other vendors are illuminated at Rot Fai Market in Bangkok, Thailand as daily life resumes in the capital.
Tents of food stalls and other vendors are illuminated at Rot Fai Market in Bangkok, Thailand as daily life resumes in the capital. Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP

While the absence of tourists during the coronavirus pandemic may have deprived Nara’s famous deer of their favourite snack, it has worked wonders for their digestive health.

Before the outbreak, millions of tourists descended on the western Japanese city – once the country’s capital – to view its shrines and temples, and feed the estimated 1,300 free-roaming deer in the its main park

While their preferred snack of senbei rice crackers are a nutritious combination of flour and rice bran, the deer simply ate too many of them, triggering a raging thirst.

“I suspect some deer ended up drinking too much water,” Yoshitaka Ashimura, secretary-general of the foundation for the protection of deer in Nara, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

That, he said, took a toll on the animals’ health, causing gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea.

But now, deprived of their regular supply of senbei crackers, the deer have been forced to seek out more of their traditional staple diet of plants and nuts.

The result has been a transformation in their health, evidenced by the piles of perfectly formed pellet-like droppings affectionately referred to as “black beans”.

Victoria, Australia confirms 64 new cases

The total number of coronavirus cases in Victoria is 2,159 with 64 new cases reported yesterday. The state has been battling a new outbreak that has seen double-digit case increases for several days.

The overall total increased by 60 on Tuesday, with four cases reclassified due to duplications.

Within Victoria, 13 new cases are linked to outbreaks, 20 new cases have been identified through routine testing and 31 cases are under investigation.

No new cases have been detected in returned travellers in hotel quarantine. There have been no new deaths reported. To date, 20 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

There have been 281 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that have been acquired through unknown transmission. There are currently 321 active cases in Victoria.

Currently, nine people with coronavirus infection are in hospital, including one patient in intensive care. 1816 people have recovered from the virus.

Updated

Here’s the full story on the latest from New Zealand now:

Mexico City begins reopening amid high coronavirus case load

Mexico City began allowing more businesses to reopen Monday, after almost three months of various types of lockdowns, AP reports.

Some city subway stations that had been closed to reduce ridership reopened. The city’s metro system plans to distribute 1 million plastic face shields to passengers to lower the risk of infection on mass transportation.

Gravediggers at San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City are seen before they start digging new graves, as the coronavirus outbreak continues in Mexico, 29 June 2020.
Gravediggers at San Isidro cemetery in Mexico City are seen before they start digging new graves, as the coronavirus outbreak continues in Mexico, 29 June 2020. Photograph: Edgard Garrido/Reuters

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said Monday that officials estimate the gradual reopenings this week could put another 1 million to 1.5 million people on the streets of the capital. The capitals historic centre is scheduled to reopen Tuesday, followed by restaurants and hotels Wednesday, but with half their normal capacity.

On a four-colour alert level, in which red is the worst and green the best, Mexico City downgraded the city’s alert to orange even though it has the country’s largest numbers of infections and deaths.

The highest concentrations of new infections are clustered in more rural neighborhoods on the citys south side (Xochimilco, Milpa Alta, and part of Tlalpan).

On the national level, the number of confirmed cases in Mexico rose by 3,805 to 220,657, while confirmed deaths rose by 473 to 27,121.

At least 285 US children have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus and while most recovered, the potential for long-term or permanent damage is unknown, two new studies suggest.

AP reports that the papers, published online Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, provide the fullest report yet on the condition. The condition is known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children. It is considered uncommon and deaths are rare; six children died among the 285 in the new studies.

Including cases in Europe, where it was first reported, about 1,000 children worldwide have been affected, a journal editorial said.

The US federal Centers for Disease Control and Preventions case definition includes current or recent Covid-19 infection or exposure to the virus; a fever of at least 100.4 for at least 24 hours; severe illness requiring hospitalisation; inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or other nervous system.

Digestive symptoms including nausea and diarrhea are common. Some children may have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in children that can cause swelling and heart problems.

At least 35 states have had cases, and they seem to crop up a few weeks after local Covid-19 activity peaks, said Dr. Adrienne Randolph of Boston Children’s Hospital.

She is a lead researcher for a multi-state study that includes CDC scientists. The second paper involved 99 children in New York state, where the first US cases occurred.

Combined, the papers show 285 cases from March through mid to late May, but Randolph said additional US. children have been diagnosed in June.

Most had current or recent Covid-19 infections but had previously been healthy.
About 80% of children in the multi-state study had heart-related problems, which included coronary aneurysms a bulge in a heart artery that can be fatal.

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 travellers 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.

Updated

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.

Updated

Broadway theatres to stay closed until January 2021 due to coronavirus

Broadway theatres will remain closed through 3 January 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.

A shuttered TKTS booth that normally sells Broadway tickets is pictured in Manhattan, New York City.
A shuttered TKTS booth that normally sells Broadway tickets is pictured in Manhattan, New York City. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

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.

Updated

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.

General view of a production line manufacturing face masks at a factory in Karaj, Iran, 28 June 2020.
General view of a production line manufacturing face masks at a factory in Karaj, Iran, 28 June 2020. Photograph: Wana News Agency/Reuters

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.

A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park which will be incinerated on 29 June 2020 in Leicester, England.
A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park which will be incinerated on 29 June 2020 in Leicester, England. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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.

Summary

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.

You can get in touch with me directly on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: [email protected]

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 fresh 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.

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