Coronavirus: man, 103, recovers in Pakistan – as it happened

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Summary

We are switching this one off but you can keep following developments at our latest live blog.

Here is a summary of the latest developments:

  • The WHO reported the greatest single-day increase in global cases yet seen, with the total rising by 284,196 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report.
  • Spain have warned that a “second wave” of coronavirus may already be happening in the country. The health ministry is tracking more than 280 active outbreaks across the country. On Friday, it logged 922 new Covid-19 cases – slightly down from 971 over the previous 24 hours. María José Sierra, the deputy head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, said “It could already be a second wave”.
  • France is advising citizens not to travel to Catalonia amid rising coronavirus cases. Jean Castex, the French prime minister, also said the government would strengthen controls at the country’s borders to better control the pandemic. Nearly half of the 16,410 cases detected in Spain in the past fortnight were diagnosed in the northeastern region.
  • Norway will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving on Spain. As part of the new measures, effective from tomorrow, the government will also ease restrictions on people entering the country from Sweden.
  • Schools in South Africa have been closed for a month in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement came a day after researchers revealed that excess mortality data suggested South Africa’s Covid outbreak had contributed to substantially more deaths over a 10-week period from early May than official figures suggested.
  • A 103-year-old man has recovered from Covid-19 in a makeshift hospital in Pakistan. Aziz Abdul Alim, a resident of a village in the mountainous northern district of Chitral, was released last week from an emergency response centre after testing positive in early July.
  • Portugal has said the UK’s decision to persist with a quarantine regime for travellers from the country is not “backed by the facts”. Augusto Santos Silva, the foreign minister, made the comments after it was left off an updated list of countries exempt from the measures by the UK foreign office on Friday.

Updated

NSW Health warning after infected woman attends multiple church services

Good morning, Josh Taylor with you reporting from Melbourne for the coronavirus live blog for today.

As Australia wakes on Saturday morning, the focus will again be on the southern state of Victoria, which now accounts for the majority of cases of coronavirus and Covid-19 deaths in Australia.

On Friday, Victoria reported 300 new cases of coronavirus and seven deaths. There are warnings the number of deaths could increase substantially over the coming days. The next few days will be crucial to see if Victoria has again flattened the curve.

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has warned that those waiting for test results will be door-knocked by the army if they fail to answer calls from health officials.

In New South Wales, there were fewer than 10 cases reported on Friday.

NSW Health issued a warning late on Friday evening after a woman in her 40s tested positive after she had attended church services in Bankstown and Fairfield between 16 and 18 July.

These are the locations, and they have warned people should isolate if they were there around the same time and have symptoms:

  • 16 July St Brendan’s Catholic Church Bankstown for one hour from 6.30pm
  • 17 July Ausia Funeral Services at Fairfield East between 1pm and 8pm
  • 18 July Funeral service at St Brendan’s Catholic Church Bankstown for one hour from 10am
  • 18 July Burial service at St John of God Lawn at Rookwood between 11.30-1pm
  • 19 July Our Lady of Mt Carmel at Mt Pritchard for one hour from 7.30am

Updated

Brazil has registered an additional 1,156 deaths over the last 24 hours and another 55,891 confirmed cases, the health ministry has said. The South American nation has now registered 85,238 deaths and 2,343,366 total confirmed cases.

Footage of Niagara Falls tour boats highlights the stark differences in physical distancing between Canadian and US-managed companies.

The Canadian tour company Hornblower Niagara Cruises’s ships can carry up to 700 people but Ontario’s strict rules have permitted them to carry only six passengers at a time.

In contrast, the US-owned Maid of the Mist boats, which usually carry around 500 people, are operating at 50% capacity

Summary

Here’s a summary of the latest developments:

  • The WHO reported the greatest single-day increase in global cases yet seen, with the total rising by 284,196 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report.
  • Spain have warned that a “second wave” of coronavirus may already be happening in the country. The health ministry is tracking more than 280 active outbreaks across the country. On Friday, it logged 922 new Covid-19 cases – slightly down from 971 over the previous 24 hours. María José Sierra, the deputy head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, said “It could already be a second wave”.
  • France is advising citizens not to travel to Catalonia amid rising coronavirus cases. Jean Castex, the French prime minister, also said the government would strengthen controls at the country’s borders to better control the pandemic. Nearly half of the 16,410 cases detected in Spain in the past fortnight were diagnosed in the northeastern region.
  • Norway will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving on Spain. As part of the new measures, effective from tomorrow, the government will also ease restrictions on people entering the country from Sweden.
  • Schools in South Africa have been closed for a month in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement came a day after researchers revealed that excess mortality data suggested South Africa’s Covid outbreak had contributed to substantially more deaths over a 10-week period from early May than official figures suggested.
  • A 103-year-old man has recovered from Covid-19 in a makeshift hospital in Pakistan. Aziz Abdul Alim, a resident of a village in the mountainous northern district of Chitral, was released last week from an emergency response centre after testing positive in early July.
  • Portugal has said the UK’s decision to persist with a quarantine regime for travellers from the country is not “backed by the facts”. Augusto Santos Silva, the foreign minister, made the comments after it was left off an updated list of countries exempt from the measures by the UK foreign office on Friday.

The mayor of Mexico City has warned of a possible resurgence of cases in the sprawling capital in the coming months, noting that hospitalisations have been on the rise in recent days.

Reuters reports that Mexico City and its surrounding areas, home to more than 20 million people, have been the epicentre of the country’s epidemic after infections were first detected in late February. Cases began to level off in mid-June, but authorities now fear that downward trend could reverse.

The mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said hospitalisations have increased in the last five days. At this rate, she cautioned, hospitalisation levels by October could exceed those registered in June, at the height of the pandemic. “It is important to recognise that, if we do not change the trend, there could be exponential growth” in cases, she said.

Mexico City’s government began relaxing lockdown measures on 15 June, leading to the reopening of the dense and bustling historical centre, along with shopping centres and restaurants. In addition, thousands of factory workers have returned to their jobs.

Mexico reported 8,438 new cases on Thursday, its greatest single-day increase, bringing the total number of infections to 370,712. The country, which has the fourth highest death toll of any country, has registered 41,908 fatalities.

Here are some more details on the latest WHO figures:

The organisation reported 69,641 new cases in the United States, 67,860 in Brazil, 49,310 in India and 13,104 in South Africa. The largest increases in new deaths were 3,876 in Peru, 1,284 in Brazil, 1,074 in the United States, 790 in Mexico and 740 in India.
Peru recently reviewed its Covid-19 data and in one day increased its total death toll by 3,000 to a total of over 17,000 fatalities.

On 17 July, India became the third country in the world to record more than 1 million cases, behind only the United States and Brazil. Epidemiologists say India is still likely months from hitting its peak.

Cases in Brazil crossed the 2 million mark on 16 July, doubling in less than a month as the country adds nearly 40,000 new cases a day. A patchwork of state and city responses has held up poorly in Brazil, in the absence of a tightly coordinated policy from the federal government.

The United States, which is the world’s worst-hit country with more than 4 million cases, has also tried to curb the outbreak at the state and local level, with only limited success.

Largest increase in global cases yet – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported the greatest single-day increase in global cases yet seen, with the total rising by 284,196 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. Deaths rose by 9,753, the biggest one-day increase since a record high of 9,797 deaths on 30 April.

Previously, the greatest increase recorded by the WHO was 259,848 on 18 July. Deaths have been averaging 5,000 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June.

The lockdown imposed upon Chile’s capital is to be gradually lifted from Tuesday 28 July, the country’s health minister Enrique Paris has announced.

He said people living in the less populous and wealthier eastern suburbs of the capital will be allowed to gather in small groups and leave their homes without the police permissions previously required during weekdays and outside night-time curfew hours.

Summary

  • Spain have warned that a “second wave” of coronavirus may already be happening in the country. The health ministry is tracking more than 280 active outbreaks across the country. On Friday, it logged 922 new Covid-19 cases – slightly down from 971 over the previous 24 hours. María José Sierra, the deputy head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, said “It could already be a second wave”.
  • France is advising citizens not to travel to Catalonia amid rising coronavirus cases. Jean Castex, the French prime minister, also said the government would strengthen controls at the country’s borders to better control the pandemic. Nearly half of the 16,410 cases detected in Spain in the past fortnight were diagnosed in the northeastern region.
  • Norway will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving on Spain. As part of the new measures, effective from tomorrow, the government will also ease restrictions on people entering the country from Sweden.
  • Schools in South Africa have been closed for a month in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement came a day after researchers revealed that excess mortality data suggested South Africa’s Covid outbreak had contributed to substantially more deaths over a 10-week period from early May than official figures suggested.
  • A 103-year-old man has recovered from Covid-19 in a makeshift hospital in Pakistan. Aziz Abdul Alim, a resident of a village in the mountainous northern district of Chitral, was released last week from an emergency response centre after testing positive in early July.
  • Portugal has said the UK’s decision to persist with a quarantine regime for travellers from the country is not “backed by the facts”. Augusto Santos Silva, the foreign minister, made the comments after it was left off an updated list of countries exempt from the measures by the UK foreign office on Friday.

Updated

France’s health ministry has recorded 1,130 new cases in the past 24 hours; signalling that the rate of infection is accelerating again after the government eased lockdown restrictions. It was the second consecutive day that the daily number of new cases exceeded 1,000.

The ministry said the figures showed the need for people to show discipline by limiting unnecessary exposure and respecting hygiene rules.

Updated

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday reported 4,024,492 cases of the coronavirus, an increase of 72,219 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,113 to 143,868.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of Covid-19 as of 4pm ET on 23 July versus its previous report a day earlier.

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states

Hundreds of Nicaraguans are stuck in limbo between Costa Rica and Nicaragua after their homeland refused to allow them back without proof that they are not infected with the coronavirus, authorities said on Friday.

Nicaraguans have been exiting Costa Rica since Wednesday through the border post of Penas Blancas but about 300 are now stranded, having been barred from entering Nicaragua by its government, Costa Rica’s immigration department said.

Managua is demanding that the Nicaraguans, who are waiting for the impasse to end by the side of a road, show proof that they have taken a coronavirus test in the last 72 hours.

“They are stranded at the Penas Blancas border post, on the Nicaraguan side,” Costa Rica’s Migration Directorate said in a statement.

One Nicaraguan human rights organisation put the number of Nicaraguans caught between countries at about 500. Nicaragua’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Those trapped were not using an official agreement between Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica to repatriate Nicaraguan citizens through Costa Rica in isolation on buses, according to Raquel Vargas, Costa Rica’s migration chief.

So far some 800 Nicaraguans have been repatriated this way in July.

France advises citizens not to travel to Catalonia; Norway reimposes quarantine on people arriving from Spain

France is advising its citizens not to travel to the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia in order to help contain the spread of Covid-19, Reuters reports.

The country’s prime minister, Jean Castex said on Friday that the government would strengthen controls at France’s borders in the hope of better containing the pandemic, with people arriving from some countries being subject to compulsory testing.

Nearly 8,000 cases have been diagnosed in Catalonia over the past 14 days – accounting for almost half of the 16,410 detected across Spain.

Catalonia’s public health secretary, Josep Maria Argimon, said the situation in and around Barcelona was “at a critical moment” and called on people to heed the regional government’s request not to leave their homes unless strictly necessary.

Meanwhile, Norway has said it will reimpose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Spain from Saturday after a surge in coronavirus cases there.

However, the government also said it would ease restrictions on people coming from more counties of Sweden, according to Reuters.

Residents of the European Union, European Economic Area or Schengen countries with fewer than 20 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks are able to enter Norway without being required to go into self-quarantine.

Updated

103-year-old recovers from Covid-19 in Pakistan

A 103-year-old man has recovered from coronavirus in Pakistan to become one of the oldest survivors of the disease in the world, beating the odds in a country with a weak healthcare system, his relatives and doctors said.

Aziz Abdul Alim, a resident of a village in the mountainous northern district of Chitral, was released last week from an emergency response centre after testing positive in early July.

“We were worried for him given his age, but he wasn’t worried at all,” Alim’s son Sohail Ahmed told Reuters on the phone from his village, close to Pakistan’s border with China and Afghanistan.

A paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nasal swab of 103 year-old Abdul Alim, to be tested for Covid-19, at the Aga Khan Health Services Emergency Response Centre in Booni, Chitral, Pakistan.
A paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nasal swab of 103 year-old Abdul Alim, to be tested for Covid-19, at the Aga Khan Health Services Emergency Response Centre in Booni, Chitral, Pakistan. Photograph: Suhail Aziz/Reuters

Ahmed quoted his father as saying that he had been through a lot in life and the coronavirus did not scare him. He did however, not like being in isolation.

A carpenter until his 70s, Alim has outlived three wives and nine sons and daughters, said Ahmed, who is himself in his 50s.

Alim also had to be provided with moral and psychological support during his isolation and treatment, Dr Sardar Nawaz, a senior medical officer at the Aga Khan Health Service emergency centre told Reuters on Friday.

The makeshift centre was set up in a girls’ hostel just weeks before Alim was brought in and is the only one equipped to deal with Covid-19 patients for miles.

Pakistan has registered more than 270,000 cases of the disease and 5,763 deaths. Though the number of people testing positive has dropped over the last month, government officials fear there could be another rise during the Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Adha, which falls on 1 August.

Human trials of Russia’s second potential coronavirus vaccine, developed by the Siberian Vector institute, will begin on July 27, the TASS news agency cited Russia’s consumer safety watchdog as saying on Friday.

An early-stage human trial of a separate vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya institute in Moscow, was completed this month, with scientists hailing the results and authorities planning to move to mass production in the autumn.

Spain reported a cumulative total of 272,421 coronavirus cases on Friday, up 2,255 from the day before.

The figure includes people who have recovered from the disease but whose antibody tests were taken now.

In the past 24 hours, some 922 new infections were diagnosed, the ministry said, compared with 971 the previous day.

Since lifting a nationwide lockdown a month ago Spain has struggled to contain a rise in new infections.

Mali announced it would shortly re-open its air and land borders after a months-long closure aimed at stemming coronavirus infections.

In a statement, the government said air borders, closed on 18 March, would open again on Saturday and land borders, closed on 26 March, from 31 July.

Normal working hours of 8am to 4pm are also now back in place, it added, after having earlier shortened the working day to 2pm to slow infections.

Malian authorities have recorded 2,494 cases of coronavirus to date, with 74 fatalities. The number is low compared to other parts of the world.

But there have been fears that Mali is particularly at risk from a large outbreak because of endemic poverty and an eight-year-old jihadist conflict.

The UN’s high commissioner for human rights has warned Zimbabwe against using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext for restricting freedoms, after an investigative journalist and an opposition leader were arrested this week.

Award-winning journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, head of a small opposition party, were arrested on Monday ahead of anti-government and anti-graft demonstrations planned for 31 July.

State prosecutors accuse the pair of recklessness for organising a protest in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak.

They were charged with inciting public violence.

Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono appears at the Harare Magistrates Courts.
Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono appears at the Harare Magistrates Courts. Photograph: Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

“We are concerned at allegations in Zimbabwe which suggest that the authorities may be using the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association,” said the commissioner’s spokeswoman, Liz Throssell.

The planned demonstration against corruption and the deteriorating economy marks the second anniversary of a general election won by president Emmerson Mnangagwa amid accusations of fraud.

But the protest was effectively banned when Mnangagwa imposed a curfew and reinstated confinement measures on Tuesday to curb the spread of coronavirus after a surge in cases.

Mnangagwa has been accused of conducting a growing crackdown on dissent since he took office in 2017. Throssel said:

Merely calling for a peaceful protest or participating in a peaceful protest are an exercise of recognised human rights.

We are concerned at reports of police using force to disperse and arrest nurses and health workers for infringing lockdown restrictions as they were trying to protest for better salaries and conditions of work.

The southern African country, whose public health system is in ruins after years of economic crisis, has reported 2,124 coronavirus cases, including 28 deaths.

Austria’s push to test large numbers of hotel staff for Covid-19 in a bid to reassure tourists is falling far short of its target as too few people have signed up, tourism minister Elisabeth Koestinger said.

The scheme, which began on 1 July, is supposed to test 65,000 staff in hotels and other forms of accommodation each week - roughly matching the number of tests otherwise carried out nationally.

The total number of tests carried out so far, however, is just a fraction of that, Koestinger told ORF radio, putting it at more than 14,000.

We have achieved the capacity to be able to carry out 65,000 tests (a week)... Now we need the businesses, the employees to register, to take part and above all to let themselves be tested regularly.

Austria’s outbreak has been relatively limited compared with those in other Western European countries. It has recorded 20,215 cases and just 711 deaths, though infections have accelerated in the past month.

It was one of the first EU countries to introduce a lockdown, in mid-March, which it started loosening a month later. Hotels were allowed to reopen on 29 May.

Tourism directly contributes about 6% of Austria’s economic output, and Germans are the top foreign visitors.

Austria’s reputation as a tourist destination has taken a hit, however, because of a large outbreak at Ischgl, a ski resort known for its party scene.

Hundreds of people were infected in February and March before the first case was identified there.

“I also believe above all that now, because of the renewed increase in infection numbers, there will be an increase in awareness and that more people will sign up,” Koestinger said.

Italian health minister Roberto Speranza has signed a quarantine order for people who have been in Romania and Bulgaria in the last 14 days, in a move aimed at preventing the importation of Covid-19 cases from outside the country.

“The virus is not defeated and continues to circulate. For this reason we still need to be careful,” Speranza wrote on Facebook.

Italy, one of the European countries worst-affected by Covid-19, had already banned entry to people coming from 16 countries including hard-hit Brazil.

The EU coronavirus recovery package promises deeper integration between European countries. Here’s why Yanis Varoufakis thinks it won’t work.

Ignoring the predictably triumphant reception by the usual EU cheerleaders, hope that this time the EU may have got it right comes from smart critics of the leaders’ track record, such as my friend Shahin Vallée who described the recovery fund as “a leap towards genuine integration”.

It is not the size of the fund that gives commentators like Vallée hope. It is, rather, the fact that for the first time EU leaders seem to have acknowledged the indispensability of a common debt as the glue of any monetary union. True enough, the €750bn will be borrowed jointly by member states in proportion to their capacity so as to be spent in proportion to their need. This has been necessary for years but has been resisted doggedly by the richer countries – until now.

So, why is it that, although I endorse the idea of mutualised debt as a necessary condition for European unity, I believe that the EU’s latest decision is another step in the direction of Europe’s disintegration?

A model looks on during the 2020 Korea Mask Fashion show in Seoul, South Korea.
A model looks on during the 2020 Korea Mask Fashion show in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

Germany will offer returning holidaymakers free coronavirus tests as part of efforts to prevent a new wave of infections, authorities said on Friday, as the country recorded its highest number of daily cases for two months.

Arrivals from countries designated as high-risk will be eligible for immediate tests, while arrivals from other places will be able to get tested within three days.

“The current infection figures show once again that we are still in the middle of the corona pandemic. And increasing travel increases the risk of more infections being brought back into Germany,” health minister Jens Spahn said in a statement.

Germany has so far done a better job than many countries at containing the virus thanks to early and extensive testing. But videos of loutish behaviour by some Germans in Mallorca and Bulgaria has raised concerns that holidaymakers are at increased risk of infections that could then be imported back home.

The number of new confirmed cases increased sharply on Friday to 815, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed, the biggest tally since mid-May.

Germany has designated 130 countries as high-risk, including Turkey, Egypt and the United States.

Arrivals from anywhere on that list who cannot show a negative test result are already required to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Authorities said they will cover the cost of the tests in the first instance and are instructing airport operators to set up testing facilities. In future, costs should be passed on to holidaymakers via ticket prices.

People entering Germany from risk countries by road, train and bus will be subject to random spot tests near the border.

To gain a better idea of who is entering the country, Germany also plans to re-introduce disembarkation cards for all arrivals.

France is advising its citizens not to travel to the Spanish region of Catalonia in order to help contain the spread of coronavirus, French prime minister Jean Castex said on Friday.

Castex also said the government would reinforce controls at France’s borders in the hope of better containing the pandemic, with people arriving from some countries being subject to compulsory testing.

Castex was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to Charles-de-Gaulle international airport, north of Paris.

Updated

Thirty-one more workers at a German abattoir hit by a coronavirus outbreak in mid-June have this week tested positive, authorities said on Friday.

Coronavirus outbreaks at several slaughterhouses in Germany have forced meatpacking plants to review cooling systems amid global concern over airborne transmission risks.

The Toennies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck had closed in mid-June after about 1,500 workers tested positive for the COVID-19 disease.

That outbreak in turn led to about 600,000 people in the surrounding Guetersloh region being put back in lockdown, which has since been lifted.

A truck in front of the headquarters of abattoir company Toennies in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, near Guetersloh, western Germany, amid the coronavirus pandemic. - The company resumed its production on 16 July after a month-long forced closure after hundreds of employees were tested positive on the novel coronavirus.
A truck in front of the headquarters of abattoir company Toennies in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, near Guetersloh, western Germany, amid the coronavirus pandemic. - The company resumed its production on 16 July after a month-long forced closure after hundreds of employees were tested positive on the novel coronavirus. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

The plant reopened last week after a new health and safety plan was introduced including testing all workers twice a week for coronavirus.

Since then, 7,300 tests have been undertaken with 31 people showing positive, said a statement from the local government authority in Guetersloh. But only three were regarded as new infections and have been quarantined.

“From the view of the health department this cannot be viewed as a second wave,” the Guetersloh authority said, adding that positive tests mainly related to remainder infections from the first bout.

Toennies said the positive tests showed its system was working. “Because of the intensive testing we will naturally in the coming days and weeks again have positive results,” it added.

Germany has had more than 200,000 cases and over 9,000 deaths in total.

Fifteen lawmakers and 11 members of staff at the Zambian parliament have tested positive for Covid-19, the health minister said on Friday, days after the assembly suspended sittings because a lawmaker had died of the respiratory disease.

Zambia’s coronavirus cases have surged to 3,856 from 1,632 at the beginning of July, with deaths rising to 136 from 30 over the same period, minister Chitalu Chilufya told reporters.

The heavily indebted southern African country, the second biggest copper producer on the continent, is bracing for an economic contraction of over 4% this year because of the fallout from the pandemic.

The UK’s decision to persist with a quarantine regime for travellers from Portugal, which has hit the tourism-dependent country hard, is not supported by facts, its foreign minister said on Friday.

Portugal initially won praise for its quick response to the pandemic but a steady count of several hundred new cases per day in and around Lisbon in the past two months has worried authorities at home and abroad.

It was this month left off an initial list of more than 50 countries Britain considered safe enough for travel without coronavirus-related restrictions, and shunned again when London updated the list on Friday, adding more countries including Estonia and Slovakia.

A server offers a menu on a quiet street during the coronavirus pandemic in downtown Albufeira, in the Algarve region of Portugal on Monday.
A server offers a menu on a quiet street during the coronavirus pandemic in downtown Albufeira, in the Algarve region of Portugal on Monday. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Portugal regretted a decision “that is neither substantiated nor backed by the facts”, foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva tweeted.

The need for holidaymakers returning to Britain from Portugal to quarantine for 14 days has particularly affected the southern Algarve region, popular among Britons for its sandy beaches and golf courses.

Other European nations including Ireland, Belgium and Finland have also imposed travel restrictions on Portugal.

Spain, meanwhile, has stayed on the UK safe list, despite a sharp increase in new cases.

Updated

Spain: second wave may already be happening

Spanish health officials have warned the country could already be experiencing a “second wave” of coronavirus, as France, Germany and Belgium all reported steep rises in their number of cases.

Countries across Europe have reminded people of the need for vigilance amid rising cases as the summer holiday season continues.

Spain’s health ministry logged 971 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday – the highest daily toll since the state of emergency was lifted at the end of June – and said there were 281 active outbreaks across the country.

The deputy head of the Spanish Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Warnings and Emergencies (CCAES), Maria Jose Sierra, speaks during a press conference to inform about the evolution of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the Mediterranean country, in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday.
The deputy head of the Spanish Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Warnings and Emergencies (CCAES), Maria Jose Sierra, speaks during a press conference to inform about the evolution of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the Mediterranean country, in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday. Photograph: Luca Piergiovanni/EPA

María José Sierra, the deputy head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, said that while the curve had been flattened, “community transmission” was being seen in north-eastern areas.

“It could already be a second wave, but that’s not the most important thing,” Sierra told reporters. “The most important thing is that we keep following what’s going on, see what measures are necessary, and take them early.”

You can read the full report from my colleagues here:

Updated

Norway will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Spain from Saturday after a surge in Covid-19 cases there, while it will ease restrictions on people coming from Sweden, the government said on Friday.

Residents of the European Union, European Economic Area or Schengen countries with fewer than 20 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks are able to enter Norway without being required to go into self-quarantine.

The latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed coronavirus infections in Spain had risen to 30.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

India has given regulatory approval for Cipla Ltd to sell the anti-viral drug favipiravir to treat Covid-19, the drugmaker said on Friday, as coronavirus infections in the world’s third worst-hit nation show no sign of abating.

The drug controller general of India granted Cipla accelerated approval to make and sell favipiravir in an effort to meet the “urgent and unmet” need for coronavirus treatment options in the country, the company said.

Indian drugmakers including Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd are racing to supply generic versions of favipiravir, originally developed by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp as Avigan for treating influenza.

A chemist displays the Fabiflu tablets at his store in Mumbai, India, on 23 June
A chemist displays the Fabiflu tablets at his store in Mumbai, India, on 23 June. Photograph: Divyakant Solanki/EPA

India reported over 49,000 fresh cases of the novel coronavirus with 740 new deaths on Friday, marking the biggest daily surge in cases, as officials in some states complained of shortages of vital drugs for those hospitalized.

Cipla said it would launch favipiravir as “Ciplenza” in the first week of August, priced at 68 Indian rupees (91 cents) per 200 mg tablet.
Separately on Friday, much smaller Indian drugmaker Jenburkt Pharmaceuticals Ltd said it would launch its own version of favipiravir, priced at 39 rupees per tablet.

Updated

Israeli police deployed water cannon and arrested 55 people overnight at a protest in Jerusalem against the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

A few thousand people had gathered in the city for what have become frequent rallies against Benjamin Netanyahu.

The prime minister, facing an ongoing corruption trial that includes a serious charge of bribery, is fighting fresh public discontent after a recent surge in Covid infections.

Israeli Police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem, on Friday.
Israeli Police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem, on Friday. Photograph: Heidi Levine/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Demonstrators have rallied near Netanyahu’s official residence on Balfour Street in recent weeks. On Thursday night, the last day of the working week in Israel, mostly young people in masks and bandanas gathered at a nearby intersection for a predominantly peaceful protest, including a small outdoor orchestra performance.

Several hours later, there was a standoff, with police attempting to disperse the protesters, some of whom stood their ground. Later, authorities drove large white lorries into the area, spraying the crowds back. Protesters complained that the water cannon had pinned them down, even as they were attempting to leave.

Officers arrested 55 people for causing public disorder and disturbances, a police spokesman said. Many were released, but 20 people appeared in court on Friday morning.

You can read the full report from our Jerusalem correspondent, Oliver Holmes, here:

Singapore will finish testing for coronavirus cases among migrant workers living in dormitories by 7 August, about four months after authorities started quarantining tens of thousands of workers in their quarters due to mass outbreaks of the disease.

The vast majority of Singapore’s 49,375 cases are from cramped dormitories that house more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.

As of 20 July, there were 247,000 workers who had recovered or had tested negative for Covid-19, according to the manpower ministry’s website.

Residents queue for food at the Tuas South foreign workers dormitory that has been placed under government restriction as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus in Singapore on 19 April 2020.
Residents queue for food at the Tuas South foreign workers dormitory that has been placed under government restriction as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus in Singapore on 19 April 2020. Photograph: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

“By the first week of August, say around 7 August, we expect to clear all our dormitories,” said Lawrence Wong, a minister who co-chairs Singapore’s virus-fighting taskforce.

The government expects the number of new daily cases to be high for the coming two weeks as it completes testing in dormitories with a high prevalence of the disease, before tapering down thereafter.

While the city-state’s cases are expected to drop after the middle of August, authorities cautioned that the fight was not over, while a potential vaccine was unlikely to be available in Singapore until the end of next year.

The health ministry’s director of medical services, Kenneth Mak, said:

Given the global demand for these vaccines, it may not even be in the beginning of next year.”

“But perhaps towards the end of next year, when we might see vaccines produced in sufficient doses, and available then for procurement and to be delivered into Singapore.”

Every day, Mory DiMaurizio looks out his window at Niagara Falls and sighs in frustration. Not at the sight of the falls – one of the most stunning natural wonders of the world – but rather at the prospect of US tour boats with blue-ponchoed Americans.

“I see it many, many times a day. I look out the window, and there it is again,” said DiMaurizio, the vice-president and general manager of the main Canadian tour company, Hornblower Niagara Cruises.

His company’s boats can carry up to 700 people, but Ontario’s strict social distancing rules have only permitted them to carry six passengers at a time.

In contrast, the US-owned Maid of the Mist boats – which can normally hold around 500 people – are operating at 50% capacity.

American tourist boat glides past a Canadian vessel limited to just six passengers in Niagara Falls American tourist boat Maid Of The Mist, limited to 50 % occupancy under New York state’s rules amid the spread of the coronavirus disease, on Tuesday in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
American tourist boat glides past a Canadian vessel limited to just six passengers in Niagara Falls
American tourist boat Maid Of The Mist, limited to 50 % occupancy under New York state’s rules amid the spread of the coronavirus disease, on Tuesday in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Photograph: Carlos Osorio/Reuters

The stark difference reflect radically different approaches that Canada and the US have taken to tackling the coronavirus pandemic – and their dramatically contrasting outcomes.

‘It’s like night and day’: Trudeau’s and Trump’s Covid-19 responses fuel wildly different outcomesRead more

The US side of the falls lies within New York state, an area with a population of 19.5 million, and which has seen 414,000 Covid-19 cases and 32,000 deaths.

On the Canadian side, Ontario – with a population of nearly 15 million – has seen 38,000 coronavirus cases and 2,755 deaths.

You can read more on the stark Covid-19 divide between Canada and the US – including on travel bans and quarantine rules, as well as healthcare – from reporter Tracey Lindeman here:

Russia plans to resume some international flights from 1 August, deputy prime minister Tatiana Golikova said on Friday, but the list of destinations will initially be limited to Tanzania, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

International flights were grounded on 30 March after the imposition of lockdown measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, which has infected more than 800,000 people in Russia.

Golikova said the falling number of coronavirus infections had allowed Russia to resume flights from airports in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don.

Aeroflot passenger aircraft outside Terminal B at the Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aeroflot passenger aircraft outside Terminal B at the Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow during the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

Flights will resume between London in the United Kingdom, Turkish cities Istanbul and Ankara and the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania from next Saturday. More holiday destinations in Turkey would be added from 10 August, Golikova added.

Golikova said Russia would take care to ensure that the resumption in flights “does not lead to a new appearance of imported (coronavirus) cases on Russian territory”.

Russia continues to report thousands of new coronaviurs infections daily. Its nationwide tally is 800,849, the fourth-highest in the world, with 13,046 deaths.

Several dozen protesters in masks gathered in front of Japan’s National Stadium in Tokyo on Friday, the day the Olympic Games should have begun, to protest against holding them next year given the danger of Covid-19.

The Games were postponed in March due to the coronavirus crisis and the government is determined that they go ahead next year, but opposition is growing in the country over doubts that a big sporting event can be held safely even next year.

Demonstrators wearing face masks hold signs to protest against the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games a year before the start of the summer games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, near National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on Friday.
Demonstrators wearing face masks hold signs to protest against the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games a year before the start of the summer games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, near National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on Friday. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

“I believe it’s a massive mistake,” said Kai Toyama, 44, an artist who travelled from the capital’s suburbs to attend the small rally. It was irresponsible for Japan to go ahead with the Olympics, he added.

“I think more people should be vocal about the fact that we shouldn’t hold the Olympics during the coronavirus,” said Toyama, who wore a long black coat adorned with the Olympic symbol and the words “declaration of no Olympic Games”.

A recent poll by Kyodo News found that fewer than a quarter of respondents were in favour of holding the Games as scheduled next year, a dramatic turnaround from the excitement during Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the Olympics back in 2013.

At the time, support among Tokyo residents for hosting the Games was as high as 70%, a crucial component in Tokyo’s pitch to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A demonstrator wearing a face mask holds a sign to protest against the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games a year before the start of the summer games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, near Japan’s National Stadium on Friday.
A demonstrator wearing a face mask holds a sign to protest against the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games a year before the start of the summer games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, near Japan’s National Stadium on Friday. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Olympic organisers have said all possible efforts will be made to ensure the 11,000 athletes expected to take part will be able to travel safely to Tokyo and compete in world class surroundings.

But experts have said this will be difficult without the development and global distribution of an effective vaccine for the coronavirus.

Updated

The UK foreign office has updated the list of countries and territories exempt from advice against “all but essential” international travel.

The further 19 countries and territories that have been added are: Laos, Cambodia, Fiji, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Guadeloupe, St Barthelemy, St Martin, St Maarten, Aruba, New Caledonia, Curacao, Cook Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory, Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cuna.

Updated

Second coronavirus test results on Bulgaria’s prime minister, Boyko Borissov, and the head of his political team, Denitsa Zheleva – who had initially tested positive for the virus – were negative, the government press office said on Friday.

The two had been in the Bulgarian team that attended the European Union summit earlier this week, a spokeswoman said.

Updated

Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime minister, has said people who are opposed to vaccinations are “nuts” as he promotes an expanded programme of flu jabs that ministers hope will ease pressure on the health system if there is a second wave of coronavirus this winter.

Visiting a doctors’ surgery in London on Friday, the prime minister said to staff: “There’s all these anti-vaxxers now. They are nuts, they are nuts.”

Boris Johnson during a visit to Tollgate Medical Centre in Beckton in east London on Friday.
Boris Johnson during a visit to Tollgate Medical Centre in Beckton in east London on Friday. Photograph: Evening Standard/Jeremy Selwyn/PA

Johnson added that while he was worried about a second wave of Covid-19, he believed the UK would be through the crisis by mid-2021.

“Whether it came from … a bat, a pangolin or however it emerged, it was a very, very nasty thing for the human race,” he said. “And I think by the middle of next year we will be well on the way past it.”

You can read the full report from our political correspondent, Peter Walker, here:

Updated

The European Union has proposed measures for companies to raise funds faster as they recover from the Covid-19 crisis, leaving Britain to decide whether to follow suit.

The proposals, some temporary, would cut the cost of prospectuses for companies issuing more shares and help banks offload poorly performing loans more easily, to free up balance sheets and lend more.

It follows a package of quick fixes for banks that was approved in June in record time. On Friday, Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU’s financial services chief, told reporters:

We would be aiming that those changes would need to be adopted and starting to apply by the end of the year.”

The banking package could generate billions of euros in additional lending, but commission officials say the amendments to securities rules were aimed more at cutting red tape by saving time and human resources that could now be devoted to dealing with the pandemic.

Britain, Europe’s biggest financial centre, has already left the EU, but under transition arrangements will continue observing EU rules until the end of December. Direct access for its financial markets to the EU will depend on its rules being as robust as the EU’s.

“We must see whether the UK is also applying these changes,” Dombrovskis said.

Given the amendments simplify and ease access to finance, “I would imagine it would be a benefit for the UK economy,” he added.

Otherwise, Britain would end up with stricter requirements than the EU. Some of the reforms now being eased had been pushed for by Britain when it was an EU member.

Updated

Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov has gone into quarantine after the head of his political office tested positive for coronavirus late on Thursday, the government press office said in a statement.

Borissov, 61, whose first test for coronavirus came out negative, will stay in self-isolation until the results of a second test taken early on Friday come out, a government spokeswoman said.

Bulgaria has registered a spike in coronavirus infections in the past month. On Friday, the Balkan country had 268 new cases, bringing the total to 9,853 including 329 deaths.

This is Amy Walker, taking over from my colleague Nazia Parveen. I’ll be guiding you through the key global coronavirus developments throughout the day.

Updated

South Africa shuts schools for a month

President Cyril Ramaphosa has shut public schools in South Africa for a month, and pledged to crack down on corruption in aid and procurement spending related to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

The announcement came a day after researchers revealed that excess mortality data suggested that South Africa’s Covid outbreak had contributed to very substantially more deaths over a 10-week period from early May than official figures suggested , and among further steep increases in the number of confirmed cases in the country.

There are now more than 400,000 cases of Covid-19 in South Africa with more than 6,000 deaths.

Relatives chat through a window to a resident of Casa Serena, a home for elderly people, in Johannesburg
Relatives chat through a window to a resident of Casa Serena, a home for elderly people, in Johannesburg. Photograph: Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

“We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed during a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections,” President Ramaphosa said during a TV address to the nation on Thursday evening.

“This has also been the experience in a number of other countries where schools have opened and have also had to close.”

Schools were shut during a strict lockdown imposed in March and April.

Ramaphosa’s address received a mixed reception. Some critics claimed that government policy is overly influenced by the concerns of key constituencies of the ruling African National Congress party, including teachers’ unions. Others highlighted the failure to investigate and convict senior ANC officials and other individuals linked to a series of corruption scandals.

The president said that 36 cases of Covid-related graft were already at an advanced stage of investigation, and that substantial fines had been paid by companies for price fixing during the outbreak.

Updated

France has reported a rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases after more than 1,000 new infections were recorded in 24 hours.

In the week of 6-13 July, the national health authority, Santé Publique France said there was a 27% increase in the number of cases. This compared with 21% and 13% the previous weeks and could not be explained by an increase in testing, which was only 3% in the same week.

Santé Publique said there had been an rise in Covid-19 cases among the over-75s and an increase in cases in care homes. The authorities say there has also been an increase in coronavirus cases among young adults.

The increases were due to people dropping their guard and not systematically employing health safety measures including keeping a 1-metre distance, they said.

“Santé Publique France and the Assurance-Maladie observe a slackening of the application of barrier gestures which results in an increase in the number of contacts at risk per patient with Covid-19, and less adherence to physical distancing in particular.

During the summer and holidays, it may seem artificial to greet each other at a distance, talk from a distance, wash hands regularly and wear masks in enclosed spaces, but this individual and collective effort is crucial to prevent the virus from encroaching on our freedom and the epidemic from rebounding,” read a statement.

On Friday, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, held a meeting of the country’s defence council at the Élysée to discuss the rise in cases and consider new measures including whether to tighten controls French borders with Belgium and Spain and possible quarantine measures for international passengers at airports.

Updated

Hong Kong’s sudden spike in coronavirus cases may have stemmed from its willingness to let seafarers skip quarantine while changing ships in the city, a leading health expert said.

After its previous success tackling the disease and ending local transmission, case numbers in the densely packed finance hub increased this month, sparking fears of a new outbreak spreading out of control.

The city reported 123 new infections Friday, a new daily record, bringing the total tally to 2,372 with 16 deaths. Most of the new cases were locally transmitted.

21 January, 2020
Professor Gabriel Leung, Founding Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, speaks during a news conference. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

Some health experts have blamed an exemption from the usual 14-day quarantine which the government granted to “essential personnel” including cross-boundary truckers, aircrew and sea crew.

But officials have said the arrangement was necessary, while insisting it was a “misunderstanding” that the new wave was attributable to the exemption.

After analysing virus samples from recent confirmed cases, Gabriel Leung, dean of the University of Hong Kong’s medical school, said on Thursday the virus’ resurgence most likely stemmed from such imported cases.

He said the wave was “probably because of the multiple imported (cases), it could be the crew members or sailors exempted from quarantine”.

“When they entered Hong Kong, there were no immediate quarantine measures or testing arrangements. You could imagine, some of the crew members, the hotel they stay in maybe is downtown,” he said.

The Afghan health ministry has urged people to stay indoors and avoid gatherings for the upcoming Eid celebrations as the number of confirmed coronavirus related deaths has reached 1,225.

Ahmad Jawad Osmani, the country’s acting health minister told a press conference on Thursday that hospitals were filled with Covid-19 patients.

Osmai said that Afghanistan is still in the midst of the outbreak. “We are in a better position to fight with coronavirus because the percentage of people infected in Afghanistan is dropping. The number of people visiting hospitals has also decreased, but that does not mean that we will not follow medical instructions,” he added.

The health ministry in the country recorded 14 new deaths from Covid-19 on Friday. In its latest update, it said the number of people who tested positive for the virus had reached 35,988, an increase of 60 on the day before.

Most new deaths were reported in Kabul. The capital is the country’s worst affected area with 489 deaths and around 15,000 confirmed cases. Another death was reported in Helmand province.

The United States has allocated more than $36.7 million to help Afghanistan address the Covid-19 pandemic, and expedited $90 million through the World Bank to support Afghanistan’s national health and education sectors and local government needs, the US embassy in Kabul announced Thursday.

Belgian government pauses easing of lockdown after rise in infections

The Belgian government has paused its planned easing of the country’s lockdown and brought in new restrictive measures after the daily infection rate hit numbers not seen since mid-May.

Of the 370 people newly tested positive on Monday, 32% were in the city of Antwerp but the relatively small size of the country has forced the government to block plans to allow large gatherings.

Belgium’s prime minister, Sophie Wilmés, said: “Since last week, the average infection rate has increased considerably. The reproduction number has also risen above 1 since last week. This indicates that the epidemic is flaring up again.

“Young adults between 20 and 30 are the most frequently affected. Although the number of infections is increasing throughout the country, we also see more local flare-ups”.

From Saturday, wearing a face mask will be mandatory in an increased number of public places including busy shopping streets, markets and in public buildings. People in a restaurant will also need to use a mask when visiting the bathroom and they will be required to leave an email address or telephone number.

With the holiday season in full flow, all returning travellers will have to complete a form within 48 hours before arrival in Belgium.

Wilmes said: “It’s a blow to our morale but we must take action today so that we have no regrets tomorrow. We must act collectively. Everyone is an actor in this crisis,” said Wilmès.

She added: “These rules are not advice but instructions. And as always, take care of yourself, and take care of others. And the best way to do that is by following the measures.”

Updated

At the Machakos Covid-19 field hospital, about an hour’s drive from the Kenyan capital, workers struggle to put a giant metal tent frame in place to serve as a new ward.

Machakos county, which has 92 active cases of the virus, has already met the required minimum of 300 beds per county for Covid-19 patients, set by the national government.

But as national figures surge, Machakos is preparing for more infections. Positive cases in Kenya have nearly doubled in the last two weeks to 15,601, mirroring a continental surge. Africa topped 750,000 cases on Wednesday.

“When you see such numbers coming up that fast, you get worried,” said David Mutunga, an official in the Machakos county’s department of health emergency services.

“Before those numbers go out of hand, we are racing against time to ensure we have adequate capacity.”

A covid-19 patient reacts after being tested inside a field hospital built on a soccer stadium in Machakos.
A covid-19 patient reacts after being tested inside a field hospital built on a soccer stadium in Machakos. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

It is not just officials in Machakos who are concerned by the rise in cases in Kenya and beyond.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who opened movement into and out of Nairobi earlier this month and lifted a ban on international commercial passenger flights from 1 August has summoned top national and local government officials to a meeting on Monday, to discuss what to do about the recent surge.

Updated

There is a chink of hope in Ireland as the latest data on coronavirus has shown “the start of something positive”, the state’s acting chief medical officer has said.

The Irish Times reports that Dr Ronan Glynn said the spread of the virus had stabilised over the past week after transmission had increased over the previous two weeks.

Speaking at the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) briefing on Thursday, he added: “It is absolutely early days. Last week we were uncertain and worried. The week before we were uncertain and pessimistic. This week we can be uncertain but optimistic.”

1 March , 2020.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn during a press conference at Department of Health in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Dr Glynn said the latest data on Covid-19 in the state was “the start of something positive and we need to see it continue in the same way over the coming weeks”.

He told the briefing it was too early to decide whether pubs that do not serve a substantial meal – so-called “wet pubs” – could reopen again on 10 August.

Asked whether he was fearful that reopening pubs first would prevent schools reopening, he said pubs were “one of the highest risk environments” and that a decision would have to be taken on whether to reopen them in two weeks’ time based on where the virus was then.

“We can’t do anything to jeopardise the overarching priorities,” he said.

Dr Glynn said the country was “absolutely on track” for children to go back to school in September based on how the Covid-19 infection rate has stabilised.

Nine further coronavirus-related deaths and seven new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in Ireland on Wednesday, bringing total deaths to 1,763. Dr Glynn pointed out that eight of the deaths were late notifications and had occurred in April, May and June.

Updated

Some good news: Scientists in New Zealand say the country has the lowest Covid-19 death rate in the OECD group of wealthy nations, with four confirmed deaths from the virus per million inhabitants of the nation.

That compares with five deaths per million people in Australia, 666 deaths per million in the UK, and 428 deaths per million in the US. Belgium had the highest death rate, with 845 deaths per million population.

If New Zealand had reported the average death rate among the OECD’s 37 member countries, the Otago University researchers say, 990 people would have died. The country’s actual death toll was 22, with fewer than 1,500 confirmed cases.

New Zealand is the only OECD country that has recorded more than 28 days with no known community transmission of the virus. There are 21 active cases of the virus, all diagnosed in returning travelers, who are in managed isolation facilities.

Updated

India’s death toll from coronavirus overtook France on Friday with 30,601 fatalities and nearly 50,000 new cases overnight, official data showed.

The death toll is the sixth-biggest behind the US, Brazil, Britain, Mexico and Italy. It has the third-highest caseload with almost 1.3 million infections.

22 July 2020
Covid 19 illustrations in Kolkata, India Photograph: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

In the past 24 hours the country recorded 740 new deaths from the virus and 49,310 fresh infections, according to the health ministry.

But many experts say that with testing levels low, the extent of the pandemic across the world’s second-most populous country may be far worse than officially reported.

An antibody study commissioned by the government showed this week that almost a quarter of people in the capital New Delhi have had the virus - almost 40 times the official number.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in late March, but it has been steadily eased to lessen the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.

State governments have brought in fresh restrictions as cases soar in Bangalore and away from the big cities in Bihar, West Bengal, Kashmir and parts of Tamil Nadu.

Southern Kerala state, earlier hailed as a success story and which has already imposed partial restrictions, may decide on Monday to impose a full statewide lockdown, reports said.

Updated

Vietnam, one of Asia’s biggest consumers of wildlife products, has suspended all imports of wild animal species “dead or alive” and vowed to “eliminate” illegal markets across the country.

The directive signed by the leader of the Communist country follows an international scandal over the sale of wildlife, which has been blamed as the origin of the coronavirus pandemic in neighbouring China.

It is a major victory for conservation groups who have in the past accused Vietnamese authorities of turning a blind eye to the rampant trade in endangered species inside and across its borders.

Vietnam, one of Asia’s biggest consumers of wildlife products, has suspended all imports of wild animal species “dead or alive”
In this photo taken in 2019, border patrol officials hold a confiscated tiger skin and bones while the suspect Pham Van Hiep looks on at a border guard station in northern Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

“The prime minister orders the suspension of imports of wildlife - dead or alive – their eggs … parts or derivatives,” said the order released Thursday on the government website.

“All citizens, especially officials … must not participate in illegal poaching, buying, selling, transporting … of illegal wildlife.”

Among the most frequently smuggled animal goods are tiger parts, rhino horn and pangolins used in traditional medicine.

Despite the high prices they command – with ingredients trafficked from as far as Africa – there is no scientific evidence of their health benefits in humans.

Vietnam locked down swiftly to dodge a major health crisis as Covid-19 emerged, but its economy has been hit hard.

Updated

Morning. I will be updating the global blog for the next few hours. As ever, if you have any tips, stories or things you feel we should be covering please email me at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter @NParveenG to send me a DM.

Updated

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thanks for following along – and stay tuned for more pandemic developments from around the world with my colleague Nazia Parveen.

Global report: Red Cross warns of big post-Covid-19 migration as WHO hits back at US

The coronavirus crisis could spark huge waves of fresh migration once borders reopen, the head of the Red Cross has warned. It comes as the WHO’s chief accused the US of making “untrue” and “unacceptable” claims against the global health body.

The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Jagan Chapagain, said he was deeply concerned about the secondary effects of the pandemic, as border closures and Covid-19 restrictions have driven millions into poverty.

“Increasingly we are seeing in many countries the impacts on the livelihoods and the food situation,” he said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

Many people are already faced with the choice of risking exposure to the novel coronavirus or going hungry, Chapagain said, warning that the desperation being generated could have far-reaching consequences.

“What we hear is that many people who are losing livelihoods, once the borders start opening, will feel compelled to move,” he said. “We should not be surprised if there is a massive impact on migration in the coming months and years.”

A fund set up by 1917 director Sam Mendes to help theatre freelancers hit by the impact of Covid-19 has raised £1.6m, but industry figures have said more support is needed to avoid an exodus of workers from the sector.

The Theatre Artists Fund, which was launched at the start of July with a £500,000 donation from Netflix, has had more than 4,000 applications in less than a month and will provide one-off grants of £1,000.

Mendes said the fund had received donations from actors and writers including Michaela Coel, Armando Iannucci and Imelda Staunton, with £85,000 in donations coming – in part – from members of the public. But despite the support, Mendes said the grants would provide assistance to only a small fraction of the freelancers who made up 70% of theatre’s workforce:

South Korea expected to report 100 new cases

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency is reporting that the country is expected to record 100 new coronavirus cases today, citing the Korea Centers for Disease Control.

The total would mark the first time that South Korea has reported more than 100 cases since 1 April, when 101 cases were recorded, according to figures on the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

People carry umbrellas while wearing rubber galoshes as they wade on a flooded street in Taean, South Korea, 23 July 2020.
People carry umbrellas while wearing rubber galoshes as they wade on a flooded street in Taean, South Korea, 23 July 2020. Photograph: YONHAP/EPA

Vietnam bans wildlife trade

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a directive to ban the Southeast Asian country’s wildlife trade with immediate effect in order to reduce the risk of new pandemics, a government statement said. The directive bans imports of live wild animals and wildlife products, eliminates wildlife markets, and enforce prohibitions on illegal hunting and trading of wild animals, including online sales, according to the statement issued late on Thursday, Reuters reports.

Vietnam is an important destination in the Asian region for illegal wildlife products such as pangolin scales and elephant ivory. There have also been seizures of rhino horns, which is believed to have medicinal value.

The Southeast Asian country is reported to have many wildlife markets and also a booming online trade in animals, with existing laws often poorly enforced.

Neighbouring China has also pledged to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Scientists suspect the virus passed to humans from animals and some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in Hubei’s provincial capital Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold

Summary

Here are the key developments from around the world for the last few hours:

  • There nearly 15.5m known cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, and over 632,000 deaths.
  • US cases passed 4 million. The US surpassed 4m coronavirus cases on Thursday, after more than 1,100 new Covid-19-related deaths were reported in a single day on Wednesday for the first time since late May. The United States on Thursday recorded more than 1,100 deaths from Covid-19, marking the third straight day the nation passed that grim milestone as the pandemic escalates in southern and western US states, according to Reuters analysis.
  • US President Donald Trump has cancelled the Jacksonville Republican national convention. Trump said that it is “not the right time” for a big convention in Jacksonville. Jacksonville, Florida residents filed a lawsuit against the city, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign earlier this month to stop the convention in August, concerned that a crowded event would accelerate the spread of disease in a state that is already a coronavirus hotspot.
  • Coronavirus crisis could spark ‘massive’ new migration: Red Cross. The devastating economic toll the coronavirus crisis is taking around the world could spark huge waves of fresh migration once borders reopen, the head of the Red Cross warned in an interview with AFP.
  • Rescheduled Tokyo Olympics must be simple and safe, says Games official. Senior Olympic official John Coates has reiterated that Tokyo must stage a simplified summer Games next year with the health and safety of athletes the most important consideration in the planning, Reuters reports.Australian Coates heads up the International Olympic Committee’s coordination commission for the Tokyo 2020 Games, which have been postponed until 2021 because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Former UK prime minister Tony Blair believes coronavirus will not be eliminated. He urged the UK government to focus on containment measures to see the country through a second wave.In an interview with the PA news agency, Blair described the crisis as “the biggest challenge logistically and practically” a government has ever faced, but criticised ministers for not yet putting in place an “infrastructure of containment”. He said: “The reality is that we’re going to be living with Covid-19 - we’re not really going to be able to eliminate it.
  • Bolsonaro criticised for lack of distancing, despite positive test. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is again coming under fire after being caught on camera chatting with cleaners without a mask - despite testing positive for the coronavirus only yesterday. Meanwhile Brazil’s death toll passed 84,000. The country has registered 2,287,475 cases of the virus, up from 2,227,514 yesterday.
  • South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa says the country’s coronavirus cases have risen to over 400,000. Ramaphosa said the cabinet has decided that all public schools should be closed for the next four weeks from Monday with some exceptions.
  • The Australian state of Victoria has reported 300 new coronavirus cases and six deaths, a record one-day number of fatalities for the state. All of the people who died were connected to aged care. Three were aged in their 90s, three were in their 80s. Twenty-two people have died in the past seven days.Yesterday’s numbers were 484 new cases and five deaths, three of which were connected to aged care clusters.
  • Disney postponed the Mulan release indefinitely. Disney on Thursday postponed the debut of its movie “Mulan” indefinitely, Reuters reports. dealing a new blow to theatre operators that were counting on the live-action epic to help attract audiences during a pandemic. Paramount Pictures also said “Top Gun: Maverick”, the much-awaited sequel to the Tom Cruise-starring “Top Gun”, has been delayed to 2 July 2021 from 23 December 2020.

Disney postpones Mulan release indefinitely

Disney on Thursday postponed the debut of its movie “Mulan” indefinitely, Reuters reports. dealing a new blow to theatre operators that were counting on the live-action epic to help attract audiences during a pandemic.

A poster of the Walt Disney Studios’ “Mulan” movie towers over an empty Hollywood Boulevard during the coronavirus pandemic in California, US, 31 March 2020.
A poster of the Walt Disney Studios’ “Mulan” movie towers over an empty Hollywood Boulevard during the coronavirus pandemic in California, US, 31 March 2020. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

ViacomCBS Inc’s Paramount Pictures also said “Top Gun: Maverick”, the much-awaited sequel to the Tom Cruise-starring “Top Gun”, has been delayed to July 2, 2021 from December 23, 2020.

“Mulan” was scheduled to reach theatres in March but its release has been postponed several times as many cinemas remain closed. The film had most recently been set to debut on Aug. 21 and theatre operators had hoped it would help spark a late-summer rebound for movie-going.

Disney also said it had delayed the next film instalments from two of its biggest franchises, “Avatar” and “Star Wars,” by one year as the novel coronavirus has disrupted production.

The “Avatar” sequel is now set to debut in theatres in December 2022, and the next “Star Wars” movie in December 2023.

Updated

Asian equities sank Friday, dragged by a worse-than-forecast US jobless claims report that fanned fears about the economic recovery, while the mood was also being darkened by China-US tensions, stalled stimulus talks in Washington and a surge in virus cases, AFP reports.

The losses come at the end of another tough week for markets, which have shown signs of stuttering after a months-long rally from their March trough, with Washington and Beijing butting heads again, this time over US claims of Chinese espionage.

And they looked set to finish with more losses following a sharp drop on Wall Street that came in response to news that 1.4 million Americans applied for jobless benefits last week, the first week-on-week rise since the start of the crisis.

The increase came as several states around the country were forced to reimpose containment measures soon after reopening from lockdown, forcing some to close bars, restaurants and other businesses key to the economy.

The reversion to such measures has come as a big blow to investors who had grown optimistic that the US economy was rebounding sharply from the collapse seen earlier in the year.

China has announced a $1bn loan to make its coronavirus vaccine accessible for countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Thursday.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Mexican ministry said China had made the pledge at a virtual meeting of ministers from some Latin American and Caribbean nations, Reuters reports.

“The Chinese foreign minister stressed that the vaccine developed in his country will be a public good of universal access, and that his country will provide a $1bn loan to support the access of the nations of the region,” it said.

It gave no details of when such a vaccine might be available or distributed.

Updated

Hong Kong infections can be traced back to hotel quarantine exemptions, says health expert

Radio Television Hong Kong reports that a top health expert believes Hong Kong’s new wave of infections can be traced back to people who were exempted from hotel quarantine by the government:

A top health expert says new analysis of recent coronavirus samples suggests that the current wave of Covid-19 infections was brought in from outside of Hong Kong, most likely by people exempted from mandatory quarantine.

The comments by Gabriel Leung, dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, go against the government’s position that the exemptions did not trigger the recent surge in infections.

...

“The current third wave seemed to have had multiple, new introductions that are unlinked to the previous local clusters,” he said.

He says that means the current wave of infections was most likely brought in from imported cases by someone who was exempt from having to go into quarantine for two weeks.

Exemptions were put in place for those whose activities are considered essential to the SAR, such as aircrew and seamen, cross-border drivers and certain business people.

The government reported 118 new cases on Friday, as it continues to battle a third wave of infections.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 815 to 204,183, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by 10 to 9,111, the tally showed.

US records over 1,000 daily deaths for third day in a row

The United States on Thursday recorded more than 1,100 deaths from Covid-19, marking the third straight day the nation passed that grim milestone as the pandemic escalates in southern and western US states, according to Reuters analysis.

Fatalities nationwide were recorded at 1,118 on Thursday. Deaths were 1,135 on Wednesday and 1,141 on Tuesday. Even though deaths are rising in the United States for a second week in a row, they remain well below levels seen in April, when 2,000 people a day on average died from the virus.

The United States on Thursday also passed a total of more than 4 million coronavirus infections since the first US case was documented in January, according to a Reuters tally, reflecting a nationwide escalation of the pandemic.

The United States took 98 days to reach one million confirmed cases of Covid-19 but just 16 days to increase from 3 million to 4 million, the tally showed. The total suggests at least one in 82 Americans have been infected at some point in the pandemic.

The average number of new cases is now rising by more than 2,600 per hour nationwide, the highest rate in the world.

The six deaths recorded in the Australian state of Victoria overnight are a record for the state. Here is the full story:

Rescheduled Tokyo Olympics must be simple and safe, says Games official

Senior Olympic official John Coates has reiterated that Tokyo must stage a simplified summer Games next year with the health and safety of athletes the most important consideration in the planning, Reuters reports.

Australian Coates heads up the International Olympic Committee’s coordination commission for the Tokyo 2020 Games, which have been postponed until 2021 because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“The good news is that all 42 Games venues ... have been re-secured. The competition schedule is the same,” the IOC vice president wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Friday, a day after the one-year countdown to the opening ceremony.

“But we must reduce the cost impact of postponement as well as simplify the Games to ensure they can be organised efficiently, safely and sustainably, in this new context.

“With one year to go, there is no clear picture of what shape the simplified Games will take. The situation with Covid-19, both domestically and internationally, is constantly changing.”

Bolivia’s general election will be pushed back until 18 October amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision could fan tensions between the interim conservative government and the socialist party of former President Evo Morales, Reuters reports.

The head of the electoral tribunal said on Thursday that the vote would be postponed from the previously scheduled 6 September date to ensure the safety of voters, with hospitals and cemeteries straining under the impact of the virus.

Two firefighters spray water with disinfectant during a disinfection of the streets near a hospital on 23 July 2020 in La Paz, Bolivia.
Two firefighters spray water with disinfectant during a disinfection of the streets near a hospital on 23 July 2020 in La Paz, Bolivia. Photograph: Gaston Brito/Getty Images

“This election requires the highest possible health security measures to protect the health of Bolivians,” tribunal President Salvador Romero told a news conference in La Paz.

The vote is key to the political future of the Andean nation of 11.5 million people after a fraught election last year sparked widespread protests and led to the resignation of the country’s long-term leftist leader Morales.

Podcast: ‘When Italy cried for Covid-19 help there was silence’

When coronavirus swept through the European Union, member states called on Brussels to help. But as Daniel Boffey discovered, the distress calls too often went unanswered:

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is addressing the media now following a cabinet meeting, and has announced that Australia has ‘reaffirmed’ its suppression strategy.

This has become a major ideological issue over the past few weeks – should Australia have adopted an elimination strategy instead of a suppression strategy on controlling the coronavirus?

Morrison said national cabinet today moved an “affirmation of the suppression strategy”.

The goal of that is obviously, and has always been no community transmission. There will always be cases that come because Australia has not completely shut itself off from the world. To do so would be reckless, but that no community transmission, when the vast majority of states and territories have been at now effectively for some time. And that’s certainly where we want to get back to in Victoria and New South Wales, and that’s where our efforts are focused.

Here is the full story on Dr Fauci’s underwhelming first pitch at the Nationals-Yankees game on Thursday night:

The Nationals and Yankees knelt in unison before the first game of the baseball season as part of an opening day ceremony Thursday night that featured references to the Black Lives Matter movement, the coronavirus pandemic – including an off-the-mark first pitch by top US infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci – and the home team’s 2019 championship.

Fauci was invited by the Nationals to throw out the ceremonial first pitch - a fitting choice during the current medical crisis. Wearing a mask on the mound, Fauci sent his toss well wide of home plate, and the ball bounced past his “catcher”, Washington reliever Sean Doolittle.

Afterward, Fauci and Doolittle tapped gloves, instead of shaking hands.

Fauci’s effort drew light-hearted comparisons to other public figures whose first pitches went awry through the years, including Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory, rapper 50 Cent, Olympic hero Carl Lewis, Miss Texas 2014 and Canadian pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen:

Australia’s National cabinet meets on Friday and is expected to discuss steps to combat the clusters as well as financial measures to shore up its economy.

Reuters reports that Australia’s budget is set to plunge into its biggest deficit since World War Two this year as the coronavirus crisis knocks the country into its first recession in three decades and forces policymakers to roll out hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus.

Meanwhile, a law firm on Friday said it has filed a class action in an Australian court against Carnival Corp’s Ruby Princess cruise ship alleging mishandling of a coronavirus outbreak on board the ship.

The cruise ship has also become part of a homicide investigation in Australia as one of the country’s deadliest virus infection sources.

“It is not our intention to respond to the assertions of class action lawyers,” a Carnival Corp spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Restrictions were reintroduced in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales on Friday as authorities battle to control fresh coronavirus clusters that have emerged in Sydney over the last several days, Reuters reports.

Group bookings at restaurants, cafes and clubs will be limited to 10 people and patrons inside a venue will be capped to 300 in rules that take effect amid a growing cluster stemming from a restaurant in suburban Sydney.

A nurse makes her way towards a Covid-19 testing zone in Sydney, Australia.
A nurse makes her way towards a Covid-19 testing zone in Sydney, Australia. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Wedding and corporate events will be limited to 150 people with strict social distancing rules including a ban on singing, dancing and mingling, while only 100 can attend funerals and places of worship.

Australia has so far escaped the high Covid-19 casualty numbers of other nations, with just over 13,000 infections and 133 deaths from the virus as of Thursday.

But a spike in community-transmitted cases in its two most populous states in recent weeks has alarmed authorities.

Updated

Australian state of Victoria 300 new cases,

The Australian state of Victoria has reported 300 new coronavirus cases and six deaths, a record one-day number of fatalities for the state.

All of the people who died were connected to aged care. Three were aged in their 90s, three were in their 80s. Twenty-two people have died in the past seven days.

Yesterday’s numbers were 484 new cases and five deaths, three of which were connected to aged care clusters.

There have been 2,240 cases of coronavirus recorded in Victoria since last Friday, 17 July.

There are now 206 people in hospital, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said, and 41 are in intensive care.

A flare-up of infections in Melbourne, the state’s largest city, prompted the government to enforce a six-week partial lockdown and make face masks mandatory for its residents or risk a AU$200 ($143) fine.

Updated

Coronavirus crisis could spark ‘massive’ new migration: Red Cross

The devastating economic toll the coronavirus crisis is taking around the world could spark huge waves of fresh migration once borders reopen, the head of the Red Cross warned in an interview with AFP.

Jagan Chapagain, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told AFP he was deeply concerned about the secondary effects of the pandemic.

The pandemic and the lockdowns and border closures imposed to halt the spread of the virus have been destroying livelihoods around the planet and are expected to drive many millions more into poverty.

Many people are already faced with the choice of risking exposure to coronavirus or going hungry, Chapagain said, warning that the desperation being generated could have far-reaching consequences.

“What we hear is that many people who are losing livelihoods, once the borders start opening, will feel compelled to move,” he said.

“We should not be surprised if there is a massive impact on migration in the coming months and years.”

More migration forced on people by desperate circumstances, he said, will result in numerous “tragedies along the way”, including more deaths at sea, human trafficking and exploitation.

Updated

The Australian state of New South Wales, which borders Victoria, the state fighting an outbreak causing three-digit daily case rises, has confirmed just 7 new coronavirus cases overnight, the first the cases have been under double digits just over a week:

Still in the UK, longstanding under-investment in the NHS will hamper its ability to tackle the backlog of tests and required treatments that built up during the Covid-19 pandemic, research shows.

A new 31-country study found patients in the UK will face long waits for care and the rationing of treatment because the health service has so few staff and beds:

Coronavirus will not be eliminated, warns Tony Blair

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair believes coronavirus will not be eliminated and has urged the UK government to focus on containment measures to see the country through a second wave.

In an interview with the PA news agency, Blair described the crisis as “the biggest challenge logistically and practically” a government has ever faced, but criticised ministers for not yet putting in place an “infrastructure of containment”.

He said: “The reality is that we’re going to be living with Covid-19 - we’re not really going to be able to eliminate it.

“And when you look at what has been happening in other countries, as lockdown has been eased, then more and more problems have appeared and many countries, having gone into lockdown then easing it, are finding spikes in the disease.

“You can’t be sure of this but there’s at least a 50/50 chance that you have a resurgence of the disease in the autumn and that’s why it is absolutely essential now to prepare for that.”

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

A new report by his think tank, the Tony Blair Institute, calls for public confidence to be rebuilt “on the knowledge that every possible step has been taken to mitigate risk” - requiring containment measures in the absence of a “game changer” vaccine or treatment.

It recommends the rollout of mass testing, mandated use of face masks in all enclosed public environments, and suggests introducing an individual risk categorisation - with A showing those most at risk, to people with low health risks and a low transmission risk in category D.

The Guardian’s Phillip Inman and Rob Davies report:

In the UK, fears of rising redundancies and concerns about the health risks of high street shopping have hit consumer confidence, according to a closely watched survey that flatlined last month.

The GfK barometer for July showed confidence petering out, despite rising in May and June. It came as a senior Bank of England policymaker warned Britain’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic would be hampered while concerns about catching the virus and fears of redundancy limited spending.

In a message that casts doubt on a V-shaped recovery, Jonathan Haskell said a fear of redundancy was likely to prey on the minds of workers, meaning they will save vital funds and not spend them over the coming months:

Here is the full story on Trump cancelling Republican national convention events in Jacksonville, Florida:

Donald Trump has cancelled the part of the Republican national convention that had been due to take place in Jacksonville, Florida, his biggest public retreat yet from the ferocity of the coronavirus pandemic.

The US president’s insistence on a packed crowd had forced the Republican National Committee to announce in June that it would move most of its agenda – including Trump’s acceptance speech as nominee – to Jacksonville from Charlotte, North Carolina, where health guidelines are stricter.

But since then, virus infections have soared in Florida, including a record 173 deaths on Thursday, forcing Trump to reluctantly pull the plug.

The move is the latest and starkest example of Trump bowing to the scientific reality of the pandemic, which has now infected 4m Americans and killed more than 144,000. A campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month suffered a poor turnout, presumably in part because of fears that the virus would spread in the indoor arena. Another recent plan for an outdoor rally in New Hampshire was cancelled, ostensibly because of the weather.

Bolsonaro criticised for lack of distancing, despite positive test

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is again coming under fire after being caught on camera chatting with cleaners on the grounds of his official residence without a mask - despite testing positive for the coronavirus only yesterday.

The far-right populist, whose dismissive response to the pandemic has been globally condemned, first announced he had been diagnosed with Covid-19 in early July, when Brazil had suffered more than 65,000 deaths and 1.6m confirmed cases.

Since then Brazil’s death toll has risen to nearly 83,000 - the second highest in the world – and the number of cases to 2.2m, a record 67,860 of which were recorded yesterday.

Brazil’s president again tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday and has supposedly been in isolation since 6 July.

Despite that Bolsonaro – who has undermined social distancing efforts and repeatedly downplayed the illness as a “bit of a cold” – was on Thursday spotted by a Reuters photographer roaming the estate around Brasília’s Palácio da Alvorada on a motorbike and talking to cleaners without gear to protect them.

US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has thrown out the first pitch at a Nationals-Yankees game, and it didn’t go amazingly well, but it did lead to some okay Covid-19 jokes:

US cases pass 4 million

The US surpassed 4m coronavirus cases on Thursday, after more than 1,100 new Covid-19-related deaths were reported in a single day on Wednesday for the first time since late May.

As states continue to dial back reopening efforts, nearly every metric for tracking the outbreak has shown a worsening spread.

“I don’t see this disappearing,” Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told tuberculosis researchers during a live stream on Wednesday. “It is so efficient in its ability to transmit from human to human that I think we ultimately will get control of it. I don’t really see us eradicating it.”

More than 915,000 new cases have been confirmed in just the past two weeks, totaling more than the entire month of June. The US has now exceeded 140,000 deaths, with Texas alone reporting a state record 197 new fatalities on Wednesday.

Hospitalizations have also increased and, the Associated Press reports, testing facilities have been overwhelmed by the surge, creating processing delays.

Updated

WHO chief chides Pompeo for 'untrue' claims

The director-general of the World Health Organization has hit back at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, after British media reported that Pompeo made a comment about the health agency chief having been bought by China, the AP reports.

In one of his most stern responses to months of criticism from Washington, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO was focused on saving lives.

“The comments are untrue and unacceptable, and without any foundation for that matter,” Tedros told reporters in Geneva. “If there is one thing that really matters to us and which should matter to the entire international community, it’s saving lives. And WHO will not be distracted by these comments.”

Critics say the Trump administration has been trying to distract attention from its own failings in managing the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, which has the most confirmed cases and virus-related deaths in the world.

In recent months, the administration has repeatedly criticized WHOs handling of the pandemic and its alleged deference to Beijing. President Donald Trump has ordered the United States to withdraw next year from the agency it has bankrolled and supported for decades.

Pompeo was not asked about his reported comments at a news conference in Denmark on Wednesday. Before that appearance, The Times of London, citing unidentified attendees, reported he told a gathering of British lawmakers that the U.S. had intelligence suggesting Tedros had been bought by Chinas government and that his election as WHO chief in 2017 had led to the death of British nationals.

The State Department did not immediately respond to queries from The Associated Press about the British reports and Tedros remarks, which included blaming partisan politics for worsening the pandemic.

Trump cancels the Jacksonville Republican National Convention

US President Donald Trump cancelled the Jacksonville, Florida Republican National Convention on Thursday.

Trump said that it is “not the right time” for a big convention in Jacksonville. Jacksonville, Florida residents filed a lawsuit against the city, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign earlier this month to stop the convention in August, concerned that a crowded event would accelerate the spread of disease in a state that is already a coronavirus hotspot.

The Republican National Committee had recently announced it would restrict attendance at its Jacksonville convention as Florida’s coronavirus cases and deaths spiked, limiting the number of guests that delegates are able to bring and spreading the event across two venues.

Florida reported its largest number of deaths in a single day from the coronavirus today, and more than 10,000 Floridians have tested positive for Covid-19 so far.

The convention was originally meant to be held in Charlotte, but the RNC moved the location after North Carolina’s governor Roy Cooper was reluctant about hosting large, crowded events amid the pandemic without distancing and safety measures.

“When we made these changes, we had hoped to be able to plan a traditional convention celebration to which we are all accustomed,” RNC chair Ronna McDaniel wrote in a letter to committee members at the time. “However, adjustments must be made to comply with state and local health guidelines.”

Updated

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.

I’ll be bringing you the latest from around the world for the next few hours. As always, suggestions, questions and news from your part of the world are welcome.

Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: [email protected]

The director-general of the World Health Organization has hit back at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, after British media reported that Pompeo made a comment about the health agency chief having been bought by China.

In one of his most stern responses to months of criticism from Washington, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO was focused on saving lives.

“The comments are untrue and unacceptable, and without any foundation for that matter,” Tedros told reporters in Geneva. “If there is one thing that really matters to us and which should matter to the entire international community, it’s saving lives. And WHO will not be distracted by these comments.”

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • There are 15.3m known cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, and over 626,000 deaths.
  • US President Donald Trump has cancelled the Jacksonville Republican national convention. Trump said that it is “not the right time” for a big convention in Jacksonville. Jacksonville, Florida residents filed a lawsuit against the city, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign earlier this month to stop the convention in August, concerned that a crowded event would accelerate the spread of disease in a state that is already a coronavirus hotspot.
  • Former UK prime minister Tony Blair believes coronavirus will not be eliminated.He urged the UK government to focus on containment measures to see the country through a second wave.In an interview with the PA news agency, Blair described the crisis as “the biggest challenge logistically and practically” a government has ever faced, but criticised ministers for not yet putting in place an “infrastructure of containment”. He said: “The reality is that we’re going to be living with Covid-19 - we’re not really going to be able to eliminate it.
  • Bolsonaro criticised for lack of distancing, despite positive test. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is again coming under fire after being caught on camera chatting with cleaners without a mask - despite testing positive for the coronavirus only yesterday. Meanwhile Brazil’s death toll passed 84,000. The country has registered 2,287,475 cases of the virus, up from 2,227,514 yesterday.
  • South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa says the country’s coronavirus cases have risen to over 400,000. Ramaphosa said the cabinet has decided that all public schools should be closed for the next four weeks from Monday with some exceptions.
  • Covid-19 cases in the US passed four million on Thursday according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker, the highest in the world. The US has confirmed 4,005,414 cases since the start of the pandemic.
  • Fresh coronavirus restrictions have been introduced in some areas of Spain amid surging infection rates. Murcia, in the south-east of Spain, sealed off 30,000 people in the town of Totana on Thursday, barring anyone from entering or leaving, while Madrid authorities have urged citizens to wear a mask even at home when they are with people they don’t live with.
  • A French hospital is trialling a breathalyser-style coronavirus test. The National Centre of Scientific Research at la Croix-Rousse hospital in Lyon is testing patients with the machine that enables them to breathe into a tube to see if they have the virus in a matter of seconds.
  • Global cases of Covid-19 have passed 15.2m. According to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus map, the total number of recorded global cases stands at 15,291,554, while global deaths total 624,742.
  • South Africa has recorded 60% more excess deaths than expected. The country saw about 17,000 extra deaths from natural causes – or 50% more than would normally be expected between early May and mid-July, scientists have said, suggesting many more people are dying of Covid-19 than shown in official figures.
  • Record 366 new coronavirus infections reported in Japan’s capital. Thursday’s figure took cumulative infections to more than 10,000 in Tokyo, topping a daily high of 293 cases last week, as the city’s government declared its highest alert against the disease.
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