Coronavirus live news: Trump says Fauci ‘alarmist’; Hong Kong makes masks mandatory indoors | World news
A coronavirus outbreak in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang has spread to a second city, one day after authorities announced “wartime” anti-pandemic measures in a district in the city of Urumqi.
On Monday, the national health commission reported 22 new cases, five of which were imported. One case was reported in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, in north-western Xinjiang, while the rest were in the nearby city of Urumqi.
At least 47 people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Xinjiang were in the city of Urumqi. However, the Urumqi city government has not provided a public update since 15 July.
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China is going back to the movies. Following months of closure, limited numbers of movie goers were allowed back into cinemas on Monday in cities such as Shanghai, Hanzhou and Guilin where the risk of virus infection is considered low, Associated Press reports.
Customers wore masks, left open seats between them and observed other safety precautions. Workers were disinfecting and polishing at theaters in Beijing, which on Sunday downgraded its emergency response level after seeing no new cases of local infection in 14 days.
Conferences, exhibitions, sports events, performances and cinemas are expected to reopen gradually after passing risk appraisals and with necessary prevention measures, Chen Bei, the city government deputy secretary-general, told reporters.
Chinese are enthusiastic movie goers and the country was expected to surpass the U.S. this year as the worlds biggest box office before the pandemic hit.
The cinema re-openings come as China is relaxing many restrictions while maintaining mask wearing, temperature checks and social distancing.
Russian infections rise to 777,486, world’s fourth highest
Russia has reported 5,940 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its total infection tally to 777,486, the fourth largest in the world.
In a daily readout reported by Reuters, officials said 85 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 12,427.
Kate Bingham, the chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, has said there may need to be multiple vaccines produced to fight the coronavirus in different groups of people.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, she said:
What we are doing is identifying the most promising vaccines across the different categories, or different types of vaccine, so that we can be sure that we do have a vaccine in case one of those actually proves to be both safe and effective.
It’s unlikely to be a single vaccine for everybody. We may well need different vaccines for different groups of people.
In India, a video showing pigs roaming freely in a hospital that treats coronavirus patients in Karnataka, south India, has provoked shock. Equally alarming was that people at Kalaburagi hospital appeared to be used to the sight. No one stopped dead in their tracks on seeing the grunting pigs and piglets. The pigs , who seemed very much at home, were later tranquillised and removed.
While stray dogs in government hospitals are not unusual, pigs mark a new low. The incident has highlighted why even Indians who are not affluent avoid government hospitals and are prepared to pay for a private hospital – the low hygiene standards.
It also explains why some 11,000 out of 15,000 beds set aside for Covid-19 patients in the capital New Delhi are lying vacant while private hospitals are telling coronavirus patients to wait for days because they are full. If it’s not stray dogs and pigs, it’s the state of the toilets in state hospitals that frightens people.
The video emerged at a time when Karnataka is experiencing a surge in cases after initially managing to control the spread of the virus. The state now has the second fastest doubling rate in the country and close to 60,000 cases in total. While the national average of doubling is 20 days, in Karnataka it is 10 days. The rise in cases has prompted fresh lockdowns in several areas, including the capital and IT hub, Bangalore.
In evidence that India’s medical infrastructure is too decrepit to cope with the pandemic, monsoon rain last week flooded Osmania hospital. A video showed medical stuff using sandbags and mattresses to block the flow of water. Yesterday, coronavirus patients in a hospital ward in Bareilly in north India were startled when rain water gushed like a waterfall through the ceiling from a damaged pipe.
A former federal health secretary, K. Sujatha Rao, tweeted: “No wonder we are busy constructing temples. So much easier than managing govt hospitals. So shameful”.
India has crossed the one million mark and virtually every day sees a new ‘highest-ever’ single day spike. Sunday saw a new record with 40,425 fresh coronavirus cases in 24 hours.
The Tokyo Olympics would surely have been a highlight of 2020. But enthusiasm appears to be waning in Japan for the games that have been delayed until 23 July next year.
In Cyprus there are mounting concerns over the number of asylum seekers testing positive for coronavirus at checkpoints dividing the war-torn island.
The Greek Cypriot health minister, Constantinos Ioannou, says authorities in the island’s internationally recognised south have registered a growing number of infections among migrants crossing over from the breakaway Turkish-run north.
Crossing points between the two sectors reopened in late June after three months of closure due to coronavirus restrictions. Health officials point to at least eight Syrian migrants testing positive for the highly contagious virus in the last week.
“The virus is still here. We have not got rid of it as many think,” said Ioannou, emphasising that Covid-19 tests were being conducted at crossing points along the 120-mile UN-patrolled ceasefire line separating the ethnically split state.
The route from north to south is a well-trodden path for migrants and refugees seeking asylum in the Greek-administered EU member south. Most are believed to cross over to the Mediterranean island from Turkey – where infection rates until recently had passed a 1,000 a day.
Migrants seeking to evade detection attempt to traverse the porous dividing line by circumventing checkpoints and taking other more out of the way routes. But once they appear before Greek Cypriot authorities they are tested for the virus before being placed in reception centres.
Cyprus has so far managed to keep the virus in check, recording fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases and 19 deaths. The north has registered 121 cases and four deaths with the territory’s own health minister announcing three new cases on Sunday.
This is not explicitly coronavirus news but it is significant nonetheless.
Saudi Arabia’s 84-year-old ruler, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, has been admitted to hospital in the capital, Riyadh, suffering from inflammation of the gall bladder, state news agency SPA said on Monday.
The king, who has ruled the world’s largest oil exporter and close US ally since 2015, is undergoing medical checks without giving details, Reuters reports.
The de facto ruler and next in line to the throne is the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, widely referred to as MBS, who has launched reforms to transform the kingdom’s economy and end its “addiction” to oil.
The 34-year-old prince’s reforms have been accompanied by a purge of top royals and businessmen on charges of corruption, and a costly war in Yemen, which have unnerved some western allies and investors.
His prestige also suffered a blow after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the hands of Saudi security personnel seen as close to him.
In the UK, the government has signed new deals which will provide more than 90 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, according to multiple reports.
BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and Sky News reported the government has secured an agreement for 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed – and currently at phase two trials – by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer.
There has also been an in-principle deal done for 60 million doses of a vaccine that is being developed by France’s Valneva, PA Media reports.
The figure of 90 million is in addition to the 100 million doses of vaccine that are being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca, as well as another at Imperial College London which started human trials in June.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the new agreements would “ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk”.
Global cases pass 14.5m
More than 14.5 million people have tested positive for coronavirus worldwide so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data.
The total stands at 14,507,491. The death toll is 606,173.
Good morning (or afternoon, evening). It’s Josh Halliday here in Manchester, England, to steer you through the next few hours of pandemic news.
That is it for me Helen Sullivan – thanks for following along. I’ll be off tomorrow, as I plan to spend much of the day waving excitedly from the street at my husband, who will be in quarantine in a hotel room somewhere in Sydney, hopefully with a balcony. The pandemic has kept us apart for five months, but his plane lands tonight!
Here is today’s global report – my colleague Josh Halliday will be taking you through the next few hours of global coronavirus news:
A singer from the Japanese band AKB48 has tested positive for coronavirus, CGTN reports:
AKB48 announced on its official website on Monday that its 23-year-old Team B member, Takita Kayoko, has tested positive for coronavirus. At present, her symptoms are mild and likely to be hospitalised on July 20. She is the first COVID-19 confirmed case of AKB48.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
Nearly 14.5 million people have been tested positive for coronavirus worldwide so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data.The current total stands at 14,457,916. The death toll is 605,205.
China reported 22 new coronavirus cases, according to the People’s Daily, with 17 of these community transmission cases from Xinjiang. China launched mass health screenings in the western Xinjiang province late last week after a spike in cases raised fears of a fresh outbreak. “The whole city has entered a ‘wartime state’, and will suspend all kinds of group activities,” state media quoted an official giving a briefing.
A record 100 new cases were confirmed in Hong Kong, the territory’s leader said on Sunday, as she tightened social distancing measures, including mandating the wearing of masks in public indoor spaces, to tackle the sudden rise in number of infections.
Donald Trump is seeking to block billions of dollars in funding for coronavirus testing and contact tracing efforts as cases soar across the US, where around 70,000 people are testing positive each day.
South Africa’s death toll from coronavirus passed the 5,000 mark, according to official figures released on Sunday. South Africa registered 85 new deaths from the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 5,033. A total of 13,449 new infections were also officially diagnosed, taking the number to 364,328, figures released by the health ministry showed.
The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, said on Sunday that he would postpone the second phase of the country’s economic reopening, slated to begin Tuesday, after evaluating inputs from experts and the Salvadoran health ministry.
Papua New Guinea recorded its first Covid-19-related death – the first Pacific island fatality outside US territories and the first in Melanesia – as it seeks to contain an outbreak in the main hospital in its capital, Port Moresby.
The United Nations has made an urgent appeal for $283m to help Sudan tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences, as millions in the country face hunger. An official said the pandemic had worsened an economic crisis, hitting purchasing power, while movement restrictions had restricted people’s access to food, healthcare and basic services.
France will issue €135 fines to people flouting new mask rules. The French government has announced that it will issue a €135-euro (£122) fine to people who flout its decree to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. onday in a bid to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections.
NFL stars attack NFL for having ‘no clear plan’ over Covid-19. Some of the NFL’s biggest names took to social media on Sunday to express their concerns and anger over the lack of Covid-19 safety protocols as teams prepare to open training camps this week.
The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, has insisted he can avoid imposing another England-wide lockdown this winter, describing it as a “nuclear deterrent” that he hopes never to use.
Authorities in Australia are stepping up their battle against coronavirus with the second biggest city of Melbourne announcing the introduction of mandatory face coverings from Wednesday when leaving the house.
Beijing, meanwhile, has gone 14 days without a case of local transmission, and city authorities on Sunday said they were downgrading the emergency response level from two to three. The move is largely symbolic, with measures including mandatory social distancing, temperature checks and 14-day quarantines for passengers arriving from abroad remaining in place, AP reports.
China also Monday reported 5,370 people had been arrested for pandemic-related crimes between January and June. More than 40% were charged with fraud, the state prosecutor’s office announced on its official microblog. Another 15% were charged with obstruction of law enforcement, with others accused of producing and selling fake and shoddy goods, creating public disturbances and transporting and selling endangered species.
China has strengthened protection for wild animals following the emergence of the virus, which may have originated in bats before jumping to humans via an intermediary species such as the anteater-like pangolin.
More now on China’s latest coronavirus outbreak spreading to a second city in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, from AP.
One of the 17 new cases reported on Monday was in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, the regional government said on its official microblog. The remainder were in the regional capital of Urumqi, where all other cases have been reported since the outbreak that has now infected at least 47 people emerged earlier this month.
Authorities in Urumqi have tried to prevent the spread by closing off communities and imposing travel restrictions.
Xinjiang is a vast, thinly populated region of mountains and deserts and had seen little impact from the pandemic that emerged from the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and was largely contained within China in March. Another five new cases reported Monday by the National Health Commission were imported.
HSBC, Standard Chartered and other banks in Hong Kong closed branches or curtailed their working hours on Monday after a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases in the Asian financial hub, Reuters reports.
Hong Kong banks shut scores of branches in late January when the first wave of the coronavirus cases hit the city. These later reopened as case numbers dropped.
Bank of China (Hong Kong) said in a statement on Monday it would suspend services at nine branches due to the spread of the virus. It had already suspended services at three branches, one of which reopened on Monday.
HSBC said in a separate statement it would temporarily close two business centres for commercial banking and three mobile branches operating from trucks, and shorten operating hours at all branches.
HSBC subsidiary Hang Seng Bank closed one branch for 14 days for deep cleaning after a member of staff preliminarily tested positive for Covid-19, it said on Sunday.
Standard Chartered and Bank of East Asia said they would shorten branch opening hours.
On Sunday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced tighter coronavirus restrictions with non-essential civil servants told to work from home.
Amusement parks, gyms and 10 other types of venues will remain closed for another seven days, while a requirement for restaurants to only provide takeaway after 6pm was extended. Face masks will be mandatory in indoor public areas.
Global cases near 14.5m
Nearly 14.5 million people have been tested positive for coronavirus worldwide so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data.
The current total stands at 14,457,916. The death toll is 605,205.