Food, Life and Style

Easy as pie: 17 mouth-watering apple recipes – from tarte tatin to roast pork belly

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Easy as pie: 17 mouth-watering apple recipes – from tarte tatin to roast pork belly” was written by Tim Dowling, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 9th September 2020 10.30 UTC

The British apple season is a long one – spanning the earliest and latest ripening varieties, it runs from August to November – so there is no need to panic or speak of gluts. Stored under optimal conditions, apples also last a really long time, which is why we’re never without them. For the grower, apple season is a thing – for the rest of us, not so much.

But there’s nothing like year-round plenty to induce a failure of imagination, a failure that often starts at the supermarket. I’ll just buy apples, you think. I can always pile them in a bowl until inspiration strikes. Sometimes the fruit flies get there first.

Fortunately there is no shortage of apple recipes to warm up the cooling nights of early autumn. Here are 17 of the best.

Nigel Slater’s baked apples.
Nigel Slater’s baked apples. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

If the words “peel, core and slice a kilo of apples” are enough to put you off any new recipe, you may want to think about purchasing a crank-handle peeling machine. While hardly necessary gadgets, peeler-corers are relatively inexpensive things of beauty, fun to use, and most claim to do pears as well. Even if you don’t want to risk the investment, you should still watch a YouTube video of someone demonstrating some antique models, which is reliably mesmerising.

An old-fashioned baked apple is as good a place to begin as any, since it requires a minimum of effort, skill or planning. Cored eating apples are stuffed with a mix of spices and dried fruit and then baked until soft – between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on size. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall uses a fruit butter that also includes muscovado sugar and cider brandy, while Nigel Slater offers the option of honey, brandy and crumbled ginger cake. A baked apple is, as you can see, a forgiving thing, so feel free to use what you’ve got.

Apple charlotte from Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Apple charlotte from Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Photograph: Kate Young of The Little Library Café

Apple charlotte is only marginally more complicated: browned apples are baked in a loaf tin lined with white bread, like an autumnal version of summer pudding. Apple crumble is another classic, and it’s also a handy way to use up any blackberries you may have picked. You should never pass up the opportunity because there simply aren’t 17 good ways to cook with blackberries. There are, by my count, four, and this is one of them.

Dan Lepard’s alehouse apple pie.
Dan Lepard’s alehouse apple pie. Photograph: Colin Campbell

Dan Lepard’s alehouse apple pie is as rough and ready as it sounds: the pastry even has beer in it. The apples, chopped, browned in butter and layered with spices, are loaded into the middle of a square of rolled pastry, which is then folded haphazardly over them by the corners, so the resulting pie looks as if it was made by a drunk.

For a more considered-looking pudding, Felicity Cloake’s perfect French apple tart has a slick, patisserie-style finish, but don’t worry – all that fussiness is confined to the top layer, with thinly sliced apples (peeling, she insists, is optional) laid out in a neat spiral. Below that are layers of frangipane and apple puree. This is not the same as a tarte tatin, which is baked upside down, with the pastry on top, and then inverted for serving. Here’s an easy recipe for that using shop-bought puff pastry.

Crisp eating apples are recommended for all of the above, by the way. As Lepard points out, sour cooking apples tend to turn to fluff when baked. His recipe for bramley and custard meringue pie actually makes a virtue of this – the fluffy apple mush is swirled into a custard and topped with stiff egg whites.

Toffee apples exert a powerful nostalgic pull, although thinking back they were probably more fun to make than they were to eat. This recipe is certainly simple enough, but it begins with an off-putting step: you have to drop your apples in boiling water first, because they’re coated in a preservative wax and if you don’t get it off the toffee won’t stick. To be fair, you’d probably need to do this even if your fruit came straight from the tree – apples produce their own natural wax, which is washed off during processing, and then replaced.

Liam Charles’s toffee apple buns.
Liam Charles’s toffee apple buns. Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian

The classic combination of apple and toffee can be revisited in more genteel form in this toffee apple cake from James Rich, or in Liam Charles’ toffee apple buns. Granny smith is the preferred variety for both recipes, but don’t let an ageing bowl of cox’s stop you trying either.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s roast pork belly with apple, soy and ginger.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s roast pork belly with apple, soy and ginger. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian

Apart from puddings, apples work beautifully in any number of savoury dishes, and have a well-known affinity with pork – surely the least alarming of all the meat/fruit pairings. This is exploited to good effect in Yotam Ottolenghi’s roast pork belly, along with soy and ginger and again in this chorizo, apple and cider tapas from Rachel Kelly. Gizzi Erskine’s pork and apple stroganoff is a slow braise that can be left to gently bubble away until tender.

Apple is a familiar component of fruit salad, but here are two salads where apple is the only fruit, providing a sharp, sweet contrasting note – a tart variety would be ideal for this sort of thing. The first is a remoulade of apple and radish and the second a Thai-inspired tomato, apple and shallot salad with a lime and fish sauce dressing.

The Cutting Room Bar’s Yoann Carrot’s apple crumble in a glass.
The Cutting Room Bar’s Yoann Carrot’s apple crumble in a glass. Photograph: Dan Mathews/The Guardian

Finally, an apple cocktail – not the ubiquitous and deeply misguided appletini, but a drink from the Cutting Room Bar’s Yoann Carrot called Apple Crumble in a Glass. It’s a heady mix of bourbon, apple juice, amaretto, cannelle syrup and digestive biscuit. Unless you press your own apple juice – and I think you should – the only apple required here is for the fan-shaped garnish, which is probably also the most difficult part of the recipe. Skip that bit if you have to, and remember: do not operate apple-peeling machinery under the influence of alcohol.

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Corona Virus, Health, India, World

Coronavirus live news: India cases pass 4m; anti-lockdown protesters arrested in Victoria

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Coronavirus live news: India cases pass 4m; anti-lockdown protesters arrested in Victoria” was written by SaSarah Marsh(now) and Nicola Slawson,Elias Visontay , Michael McGowan (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 5th September 2020 13.40 UTC

As I continue my coverage, bringing you the latest updates on coronavirus from around the globe, please do get in touch with any comments or news tips.

Twitter: @sloumarsh
Instagram: sarah_marsh_journalist
Email: sarah.marsh@theguardian.com

One person who tested positive for coronavirus in Wales has died, bringing the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,597. Public Health Wales said the total number of cases in the country had increased by 77, bringing the revised total of confirmed cases to 18,283.

Updated

Eight more hospital deaths in England as total reaches 29,604

A further eight people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,604, NHS England said on Saturday.

The patients were aged between 56 and 94 and all had known underlying health conditions.

The dates of the deaths ranged from 31 August to 4 September, with the majority on or after 3 September. Another two deaths have been reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

Updated

Pubs and restaurants in Middlesbrough – in the north-east of England – that put “profits before people” by failing to enforce Covid-19 safety measures risk being closed down, the town’s mayor has said.

Andy Preston said public health officials would visit venues with police on Saturday night after the town was put on the government’s “areas of concern” watchlist after a rise in coronavirus cases.

He said if venues were found to be putting the public’s health at risk by failing to adhere to coronavirus regulations, they could be immediately closed down.

Speaking to BBC News on Saturday, Preston said: “We are seeing a lot of dangerous behaviour and a number of infections coming from pubs and restaurants, and in fact tonight we are out with the police and we are going to be visiting venues. And where we see bad practice, if we think the public’s health is in danger, we may well close those venues down.”

Asked if he would be prepared to close venues down on the spot, Preston said: “Yes, if we see sufficiently bad practice, if the public’s health is in significant danger, we will take everything we legally can to stay out of a lockdown.”

Preston said he was expecting Middlesbrough to be put on the government’s “areas of concern” list.

He said during the government’s eat out to help out scheme in August, two-hour queues could be seen outside some restaurants. Preston said: “[There were] huge numbers of people bunched together, we saw tables way too close together, we saw a number of establishments putting profits before people, and that’s what we are on the lookout for tonight.”

He said while customers were in charge of their own behaviour, it was the venues’ responsibility to police it, adding that if the town was forced into a local lockdown it would damage jobs and people’s mental health.

Updated

China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Sinovac Biotech Ltd said on Saturday that four more countries had agreed to run late-stage clinical tests of their coronavirus vaccine candidates, as China steps up its efforts in the global race.

Serbia and Pakistan are among the new countries agreeing to phase 3 trials, as the two companies seek more data overseas amid dwindling new cases in China.

Serbia will test two vaccines developed by CNBG’s Wuhan and Beijing units, and Pakistan will test the Beijing unit’s candidate, the company told Reuters.

CNBG’s phase 3 trials are expected to involve 50,000 people in about 10 countries, said the CNBG vice president Zhang Yuntao. Trials have already begun in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Peru, Morocco, Argentina and Jordan.

Zhang said foreign countries have expressed interest in ordering a combined 500m doses of its vaccines.

CNBG is expected to be able to produce 300m doses of vaccine a year once it upgrades manufacturing techniques, and is working on a plan to raise its annual capacity to 1bn doses, Zhang said.

Updated

Hello everyone and thank you for following the live feed today, with all the latest updates on coronavirus from around the globe. I am working in our London offices, so please do get in touch with any comments or news tips.

Twitter: @sloumarsh
Instagram: sarah_marsh_journalist
Email: sarah.marsh@theguardian.com

Covid-19 has killed at least 875,703 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Saturday.

At least 26,671,700 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 17,496,300 are considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.

On Friday, 5,693 new deaths and 305,583 new cases were recorded worldwide. Based on the latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 1,089, followed by the US with 998 and Brazil with 888.

The US is the worst-hit country with 187,777 deaths from 6,202,053 cases. At least 2,283,454 people have been declared recovered.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 125,502 deaths from 4,091,801 cases, India with 69,561 deaths from 4,023,179 cases, Mexico with 66,851 deaths from 623,090 cases, and Britain with 41,537 deaths from 342,351 cases.

Updated

This is Nicola Slawson taking over the reins from Sarah while she takes lunch. Do get in touch with any tips or questions you have.

Email: nicola.slawson@theguardian.com
Twitter: @Nicola_Slawson

Updated

In England, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said it would be willing to consider strike action after confirming it opposed government plans for 80% of civil servants to have returned to the office by the end of the month.

In a statement, the union said: “Our members have kept the country running during the pandemic while working from home and we believe it is not safe to return to workplaces while Covid-19 infection rates remain high and given the likelihood of a second wave in the coming weeks.

“We are asking departments to provide, as a matter of urgency, for each building the Covid-secure limit, current staffing in each building and current risk assessment for each building.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “If the government or any employer starts forcing people back to work and we believe that it is not safe to do so we will first consider our legal options, secondly give individual legal advice, and thirdly consider whether a collective response is required.

“As a last resort, if you have no other option and people’s health and safety are at risk, of course we would be prepared to consider industrial action.”

Its national executive committee is due to meet on 9 September and will decide how to respond, the union said.

Updated

Millions of pupils return to school in Iran

Schools in Iran reopened to 15 million students on Saturday after a seven-month closure despite concerns over the increased spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

“This year, we shoulder a heavier burden of responsibility toward our students,” said President Hassan Rouhani, who oversaw the opening of schools in a video conference broadcast live on state television.

He said education and health were equally important to society, but added that parents would not be forced to send their children back to school. Iranian media said seminaries also reopened on Saturday to about 50,000 students.

Several medical professionals have voiced concerns over the reopening of schools and universities in Iran, one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East.

Updated

Pope Francis will next month visit the Italian town of Assisi, his first trip out of Rome since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in February, and will sign a new encyclical, a spokesman for the Assisi Basilica said on Saturday.

The encyclical, which is the highest form of papal writing, is expected to focus on what Francis believes the post-pandemic world should look like, and will be called “Brothers All…”.

Father Enzo Fortunato said in a statement that the pope would travel to Assisi on 3 October, the day before the Feast of St Francis, who was born in the small Umbrian hill town in the centre of Italy.

“The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful,” Fortunato said.

The UK government will deliver 250,000 clear face masks to frontline NHS and social care workers to help them communicate with people with conditions such as hearing loss and dementia.

The transparent masks are made from plastic with an anti-fogging barrier, meaning patients will be able to see the mouth of the wearer as they speak. The Department of Health and Social Care said this would help the millions of people with hearing loss who needed to use lip-reading to communicate.

In May, a group of nine charities said using transparent face masks could prevent “months of misery” for deaf people, calling for clear face coverings to be commissioned.

People with learning disabilities, dementia and autism may also benefit from the clear masks, as many rely on facial expressions to help them communicate.

The government has said the masks will be delivered to NHS trusts and social care providers in the next few weeks. All four countries in the UK will receive an allocation of the masks and deliveries have already begun.

Helen Whately, the minister for care, said: “Everyone using our remarkable health and care system deserves the best care possible and communication is a vital part of that. This pandemic has posed numerous challenges to the sector, so we are always on the hunt for simple solutions to support those giving and receiving care.

“The introduction of clear face masks will help overcome some of the difficulties carers wearing PPE are facing communicating with people who rely on lip-reading. If this proves a success I look forward to increasing the supply to make sure whenever a clear mask is needed, there is one available.”

Updated

In England, coronavirus restrictions are to be eased in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Matt Hancock has said.

Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas, including soft play areas, will be able to lawfully reopen on Tuesday in all three places, apart from Bolton in Greater Manchester.

Socially distanced indoor performances will also be able to resume, and restrictions will be lifted on close contact services such as treatments on the face, such as eyebrow threading or makeup application.

But the rate of infection is still too high in Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire to allow lifting restrictions on gatherings.

The health secretary said: “The rates of infection remain too high in Bolton for these easements to be applied and further work is now under way with local leaders.”

Elsewhere, swimming pools, gyms and sports facilities will be allowed to open from Tuesday in Leicester and the remaining areas of Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford where the restrictions were still in place. This will bring these locations in line with the national lockdown rules brought in on 25 July.

In Leicester, however, there will still be a series of restrictions that will be reviewed next Friday, including on indoor gatherings. Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas will remain closed, socially distanced indoor performances will not be allowed and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain.

Updated

Hello all. I am a news reporter based in London and will be updating the live feed today (morning here), bringing you the latest updates on coronavirus from around the world. Please do get share any news tips and comments with me. You can get in touch via any of the channels below. Thanks in advance.

Twitter: @sloumarsh
Instagram: sarah_marsh_journalist
Email: sarah.marsh@theguardian.com

Updated

Doctors in state-run hospitals in Nigeria will go on strike next week to demand a pay rise, better welfare and adequate facilities, union leaders have said.

The strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (Nard), which represents 40% of doctors, is the latest in a string of stoppages by medics to hit Africa’s most populous nation as it struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“NEC [national executive council] resolved to proceed on an indefinite nationwide strike action from Monday,” said Nard president Aliyu Sokomba in a statement on Friday.

He said the action would take place unless the government provided life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers as well as paying outstanding salaries and allowances.

He said the union wanted pay parity for doctors in federal and state health institutions.

Strikes by medics have been common in Nigeria where the health sector is underfunded.

Updated

Russia reported 5,205 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing its national tally to 1,020,310, the fourth largest in the world. Authorities said 110 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,759.

Hello. I am a news reporter based in London and will be bringing you the latest updates on coronavirus from around the world.

Please do get in touch while I blog, sharing news tips and comments with me. You can get in touch via any of the channels below.

Thanks in advance.

Twitter: @sloumarsh
Instagram: sarah_marsh_journalist
Email: sarah.marsh@theguardian.com

Iran on Saturday opened the new school year after nearly seven months of closure.

In a video conference, President Hassan Rouhani said the education of 15 million students was as important as the health system. He said education would not be closed in Iran even under the worst situation, urging authorities to implement health measures in schools to the level of those in military garrisons.

The reopening of schools came as many expressed concern over a possible increase in infections, including medical professionals. Abbas Aghazadeh, a member of the board of the medical council, said the national Covid-19 task force should defend the lives of millions of students. Prevent physical reopening of all schools across the country.

Iran has so far used distance learning via internet apps and TV programs. Authorities say the system will continue for undergraduate university students.

Iran’s death toll from Covid-19 has so far passed 22,000 out of 382,772 confirmed cases. The country has had the first and worst outbreak in the region.

Updated

In England, seven 10,000 fines were issued to organisers of illegal raves in Leeds last weekend, the city’s council leader has said.
Judith Blake told BBC Breakfast on Saturday that the council “fully expected” Leeds to be put on the government’s Covid-19 watchlist as an “area of concern” due to an increase in cases.
She said: “We have been monitoring our number every single day and we recognise that the numbers have been creeping up, so we fully expected to be on the list to become an area of concern.

“We feel there is a bit of complacency coming in. What we are seeing is the numbers are changing, and actually more young people are testing positive and they are spread around the city.”

She added: “Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in house parties, but we are working with police. “Last weekend we issued, with the police, seven of the 10,000 fines for organisers of illegal raves.”

Covid concerns over university students’ return home at Christmas

In the UK, as schools reopen, Mike Tildesley, associate professor of infection modelling at the University of Warwick, said the vast majority of students had a very low risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.

He told the BBC: “What we’re more worried about really is universities acting as amplifiers, so potentially lots of students mixing together that can cause lots of infection that could spill over into the community.

“But also there’s a concern at the end of term when students start to travel home to their families, potentially interacting with more elderly relatives, more vulnerable people with underlying health conditions, that’s where the real concern is.

“What we don’t want is because of this large mixing in universities, it could cause a knock-on effect and as we approach Christmas, that could cause a significant wave of infection in cities across the UK as students move home.”

Updated

India’s total coronavirus cases surged beyond 4 million with a record rise on Saturday, making it the third country in the world to surpass that mark, following the US and Brazil.

India added 86,432 cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, a global daily record, according to data from the federal health ministry. Infections rose across the country, including in New Delhi and the large states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The jump to more than 4 million cases comes only 13 days after India reached 3 million cases, accelerating sharply from the more than 100 days it took to increase by the previous 1 million.

India has logged the world’s largest daily coronavirus caseload for almost a month, as its government pushes the reopening of businesses to revive a sharply contracting economy. The number of coronavirus deaths in India rose by more than 1,000 to 69,561 on Saturday.

Updated

It’s the multibillion-pound industry that kept on growing, based on a bean that Britons couldn’t seem to get enough of: coffee.

Until, that is, the pandemic struck. As is the case with many businesses hit hard by coronavirus, the ubiquitous coffee chains that have powered city centres and high streets across the UK are in deep trouble.

This week in the UK, Costa announced it is cutting more than 1,500 jobs. Pret a Manger is losing almost 3,000 staff and closing 30 outlets – while independents from the Exploding Bakery in Exeter to Kaffeine in central London have reported a slump in customer numbers.

The problems are laid bare in figures that would undermine any business model: spending on takeaway hot drinks in the UK slumped nearly 90% in April, the peak of the high street lockdown, according to the market research firm Kantar.

Read more here.

Updated

Hello. I am a news reporter based in London and will be bringing you the latest updates on coronavirus from around the world.

Please do get in touch while I blog, sharing news tips and comments with me. You can get in touch via any of the channels below.

Thanks in advance.

Twitter: @sloumarsh
Instagram: sarah_marsh_journalist
Email: sarah.marsh@theguardian.com

Updated

That’s it from me in Sydney for the day. I’m passing you over to my colleague Sarah Marsh in London, who will keep you updated over the next several hours.

For readers in Australia, here’s a recap of today’s main Covid-19 news:

Updated

Tourism hotspots across the UK are extending the domestic season through autumn to recover business lost during the coronavirus lockdown.

This report from my colleague Richard Partington:

Updated

India’s coronavirus cases pass 4m

Good morning to readers in the UK and across Europe.

AP have this report on Covid-19 in India and elsewhere around the world:

India’s coronavirus cases crossed 4m on Saturday, leading the world in new infections and deepening misery in the country’s vast hinterlands where surges have crippled the underfunded healthcare system.

Initially, the virus ravaged India’s sprawling and densely populated cities. It has since stretched to almost every state, spreading through villages and smaller towns.

With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, India’s massive caseload isn’t surprising experts. The country’s delayed response to the virus forced the government to implement a harsh lockdown in late March.

For more than two months, the economy remained shuttered, buying time for health workers to prepare for the worst. But with the cost of the restrictions also rising, authorities saw no choice but to reopen businesses and everyday activities.

Most of India’s cases are in western Maharashtra state and the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.

But new surges are popping up elsewhere. The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,023,179.

Globally, Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the United States has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A health worker wearing a PPE suit tests a woman for Covid-19 in Hyderabad on Friday
A health worker wearing a PPE suit tests a woman for Covid-19 in Hyderabad on Friday. Photograph: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

South Australia records new case

Health authorities in South Australia will look to expand testing across the state after Covid-19 was detected in sewage water.

The announcement that coronavirus was detected at two wastewater treatment facilities has prompted SA Health to expand regional testing from three to six sites.

One of the facilities where Covid-19 was detected collects water from a catchment near a popular interstate trucking route. The sample from the other facility, at Bolivar, subsequently tested negative.

On Saturday, the state also recorded its first case of Covid-19 in 12 days – in a Melbourne woman in her 20s who was travelling with her family through the state on their way to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

The family is now isolating in South Australian hotel quarantine, as the woman, who is asymptomatic, isolates in a separate room.

Updated

Further information about Queensland’s new Covid-19 case has been released.

The only new case announced on Saturday is a woman in her 60s living on Russell Island, about 40km south-east of Brisbane.

Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said health authorities had been planning for “situations like this”, where a case was diagnosed on an island.

Young said:

Contact tracing is under way and we will continue to assess the situation and provide the local community with the relevant advice as more information comes to light.

Metro South Health is currently planning to set up a pop-up Covid-19 testing clinic at the Russell Island Recreation Hall, 2 High Street, Russell Island, near the ferry terminal, and at this stage it will be in operation from 4pm-8pm today and 8am-4pm tomorrow.

About 3,000 people live on Russell Island.

Updated

Australia’s deputy chief health officer, Prof Michael Kidd, is asked about the anti-lockdown protests taking place in Melbourne and elsewhere across the country today.

He says he hasn’t seen reports about how today’s protests went, but that the gatherings would be in breach of Victoria’s current restrictions.

I hope that people are maintaining their physical distancing and that people are wearing appropriate face coverings to protect themselves and protect others.

While there may be a few hundred people protesting, there are millions adhering by the restrictions and doing all they can to bring Covid-19 under control in that state.

For more on the protests in Melbourne, my colleague Michael McGowan has filed this report about the arrests that have taken place.

Updated

Prof Michael Kidd reiterates advice that Father’s Day in Australia (on Sunday) will be different this year.

Many families in Australia are separated due to the stage four restrictions in Melbourne and the stage three restrictions across Victoria.

Many families are separated by the border closures between some of our states and territories. And many families are separated by the international border restrictions …

Tomorrow, if you are lucky enough to still have your father or your grandfathers, or perhaps even your great-grandfathers in your life, please reach out to them and let them know how special they are to you.

If you can’t see them in person, you can still reach out by telephone or video chat and come together virtually on the special day.

Please do not breach any restrictions in your local area to see your father or put his health and well-being at risk, especially if you are living in an area of community transmission or under restrictions.

Updated

Australia’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Michael Kidd, is giving a national Covid-19 update.

There have been 83 new coronavirus cases recorded over the past 24 hours in Australia.

This takes Australia’s tally of infections to 26,207.

Kidd outlines the impact Melbourne’s strict lockdowns have had on the nation’s Covid-19 case numbers.

In the past week we have seen 663 new cases of Covid-19 in Australia. This figure continues to fall and compares to the previous week when we saw 951 new cases. The week before, with 1,600 new cases, 2,354 new cases the week before that, and 3,493 cases a week before that.

This continuing and welcome fall in new numbers of cases is the result of the restrictions in place over the past month in Melbourne and across Victoria.

Updated

Several arrests at anti-lockdown protests in NSW

There have also been anti-lockdown protests happening in New South Wales today.

Earlier in the day, police arrested three people at an unauthorised protest in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

Two men, aged 44 and 54, were arrested for allegedly assaulting police, while a woman was arrested for failing to comply with a move on direction.

Eighteen penalty infringement notices were also issued for people failing to comply with the public health order in place for Covid-19. A 16-year-old boy was issued with a youth caution.

That protest has concluded.

In Byron Bay, in the state’s north, eight people were arrested at an unauthorised anti-lockdown protest earlier on Saturday, with charges including assault of police officers. That protest has also wrapped up.

Currently, police are dispersing protesters at a third unauthorised anti-lockdown protest at Sydney’s Olympic Park. A police spokeswoman told the Guardian this protest was larger than the two earlier gatherings.

She did not know if any arrests had been made.

Updated

Ahead of Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, unveiling the roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday, here is a report looking at what freedoms are expected to be introduced first, based on leaked drafts of the roadmap obtained by Guardian Australia.

Updated

In New South Wales, the state government has identified Bondi Bowling Club as “the worst venue to date” in terms of Covid-19 breaches.

The Sydney venue has been handed a double fine totalling $10,000 after Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors visited the club on 29 August and identified multiple breaches, including serious physical distancing and hygiene issues such as:

  • Multiple group bookings of more than 10 people.
  • Patrons mingling and walking around drinking alcohol.
  • A complete lack of social distancing in queues to the bar.
  • Dirty cups and plates left on tables.
  • Inadequate sign-in processes with staff unable or unwilling to enforce the mandatory Covid safety measures.

Dimitri Argeres, the director of compliance at Liquor & Gaming NSW, said “while we came across Bondi Bowling Club’s breaches during a routine visit, we also use information and feedback from the public along with other sources of intelligence to focus our inspections on venues posing a higher risk”.

We are still on a cliff edge, but you wouldn’t know it if you went to Bondi Bowling Club on 29 August. The venue was operating as though the Covid safety measures were optional.

This presented a pretty grim picture of patrons and staff who are simply ignoring the restrictions everyone else has to live with and putting the entire community at risk.

He urged members of the public to report breaches to the government’s safety feedback portal at www.nsw.gov.au.

The NSW government issued 11 new Covid-related fines over the past week, bringing the total number of venues fined to 105 and the total fine amounts to $469,000.

Updated

Some vision from the Melbourne protests

Updated

This report from AAP on the protests in Victoria:

Unmasked anti-lockdown protesters have been arrested by police during violent scuffles in Melbourne.

Officers were punched by one man at the city’s Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday before being fitted with a mask and handcuffs.

He was one of more than 20 people arrested at the scene, an AAP photographer reported.

Up to 300 people gathered at the shrine where the mood was described as tense.

Anti-lockdown protesters at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne
Anti-lockdown protesters at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Police on horses pushed the mob towards the shrine’s steps, before protesters started to disperse. Some of the group carried placards with anti-government sentiments and at one stage were singing the Australian anthem.

Police are on standby for a number of protest rallies across Victoria after plans were aired to challenge the state’s strict lockdown rules, which include an 8pm to 5am curfew and limited travel and time away from home.

Ahead of Saturday, police confirmed they had arrested four men in connection with the planned Freedom Day rally.

Those arrests followed the well-publicised arrest of a pregnant Ballarat woman over allegations of a separate rally planned there for Saturday.

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, sent a general message to those protesting during his daily press conference.

“It is not smart, it is not safe, it is not lawful, in fact it is absolutely selfish to be out there protesting,” he said.

“The only fight we should be engaged in is against this virus.”

An anti-lockdown protester scuffles with with police outside the Shrine of Remembrance
An anti-lockdown protester scuffles with with police outside the Shrine of Remembrance. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Updated

As scrutiny of Australia’s handling of Covid-19 across aged care homes intensifies, here is a report from my colleagues Ben Butler and Melissa Davey about growing demands for aged care providers to reveal how they use taxpayer dollars.

Guardian Australia analysis of the 10 aged care homes worst affected by coronavirus in Victoria shows that three are controlled by two large companies, which between them received more than $1.45bn in government funding over the past two years and paid out dividends to their shareholders totalling $77m.

Updated

Australia’s opposition Labor party is continuing to get stuck into the government over one of its Liberal MPs, Craig Kelly.

Kelly was heavily criticised over his recent promotion of hydroxychloroquine – both via social media and a speech in parliament – to treat Covid-19.

This week, he compared Victorian police’s arrest of a Ballarat woman for anti-lockdown incitement on social media to Nazi Germany.

Of the arrest, Kelly said “this is what you’d see expect (sic) in Nazi Germany” and “No it’s not Nazi Germany it’s happening in Australia in 2020”, later saying he makes “no apology for using the Nazi Germany analogy”.

Today, Labor’s health spokesman, Chris Bowen, and MP Josh Burns called on the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to take action over Kelly’s comments.

Scott Morrison personally intervened in Craig Kelly’s preselection but has failed to stop the dangerous and offensive behaviour of the Member for Hughes.

In just 48 hours, Craig Kelly has made three offensive and ignorant comments comparing the Victorian authorities to Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Mr Kelly’s comments on Hydroxychloroquine are especially dangerous during a medical pandemic as Hydroxychloroquine has potentially fatal side effects if not administered properly.

His comments on Nazi Germany are an insult to the many Jewish and other Australians who lost family members in the Holocaust, and all of the Australian soldiers who fought Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Yet Scott Morrison remains a bystander on Craig Kelly’s dangerous and offensive behaviour.

Updated

I’m going to hand you over to my colleague Elias Visontay, who will take you through the afternoon.

Police arrest anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne

Things are heating up at the anti-lockdown protest at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. These videos come via Aneeka Simonis at the Herald Sun.

Updated

The China Daily reports there are 10 new Covid-19 cases in the country today.

Here’s our story on the former Cook Islands prime minister Joseph Williams, who has died of coronavirus in Auckland, according to New Zealand’s health ministry.

And that’s all from Victoria. As we told you earlier, there have been 76 new cases and 11 deaths reported today. Six of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours. The other five happened in recent days, according to premier Daniel Andrews.

Sutton is talking about his hopes for a vaccine:

There are over 30 who in those phase-three trials with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people around the world now going through phase three trials where we will see what a vaccine might be able to achieve, and if just one of those vaccines, and there will be probably three or four or more of those vaccines that show effectiveness, that are safe, and can be produced, that is what we are hanging out for, so if we can do that and hang on for those months ahead when a vaccine is available and can be provided across the population, then we are all in a much better position.

Updated

Andrews is asked whether he believes the national cabinet process is “fractured” after the prime minister, Scott Morrison, yesterday ended the so-called consensus model of the body because of Queensland and Western Australia’s refusal to sign up to a border re-opening timetable.

From my point of view, I wouldn’t describe national cabinet in those terms, it has served us well and will continue to serve us well. There are some things that all of us need to put aside the things that sometimes occupy us, and instead of acting on those sort of interests, we act in what is undoubtedly the national interest, that is what has driven national cabinet, and I don’t see that changing.

At the same time, though, I will let the prime minister speak to those matters in more detail, he is the chair of that body … from my point of view, the outcome in relation to having free movement of key agricultural workers and the process to improve those arrangements between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales was a very important outcome.

Updated

Five new Covid-19 cases in NSW

In New South Wales, five new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in NSW to 3,915.

The new cases include:

  • One returned traveller in hotel quarantine
  • Four linked to the CBD cluster, bringing the total linked to this cluster to 61.

Updated

Andrews is asked about the heavy police presence in Melbourne before those anti-lockdown protests today:

There is a very visible, very significant police presence in the city. Some people have forecast that they in a selfish, dangerous and unlawful way protest and police are taking appropriate steps, and as for number they can leave it to Victoria police to provide you with any details.

Updated

Brett Sutton is being asked whether the roadmap out of lockdown, to be released tomorrow, would move to allow businesses to reopen while increasing protections around aged care.

He says it’s “important to understand that the real epidemic in aged care followed the epidemic in the community”.

And the number of new introductions in aged-care facilities happened at the height of community transmission. And so getting on top of community transmission is protecting aged-care settings. It’s both the response within those settings, so making sure that it doesn’t spread amongst residents, it doesn’t spread amongst staff, and it doesn’t go between staff and residents. But it’s also about keeping on top of the numbers in the community, because the aged-care outbreaks follow community transmission, and they’re now a challenge to make sure that it’s not reintroduced to prolong community transmission.

Updated

As this press conference goes on, a heavy police presence at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance are already making arrests before a planned anti-lockdown protest.

Victoria’s chief medical officer, Brett Sutton, says there are in fact 64 new cases, based on some reclassification of previous cases. Only one is from an unknown source. Sutton says mystery cases have accounted for about 10% or 15% of total cases in recent days.

Updated

Andrews is addressing a push from members of the business community to force Victoria out of the stage-four restrictions:

I understand why they want to do that. It’s not just for profits, it’s for their people. Their staff. Their future. I absolutely get that. But when you really think about it, I don’t know that any business – my own experience, my family background, and the people that I speak to almost every day – no one is really advocating to open and be open for just a few weeks. And if you opened at these levels, that is exactly what would happen. It would be five minutes of sunshine and then a third wave that arguably will be even more devastating than the second. We just have to find a way to be as steadfast as this virus, it is stubborn. The tail of the second wave is a stubborn thing.

Updated

Andrews says there are now 4,370 cases with an unknown source, an increase of just one since yesterday. The total number of active cases across the state has fallen to 1,956.

He says cases in regional Victoria “have come right off and we are very pleased with that”.

Essentially, it is good to see these numbers continue to fall. It is good to see that the strategy continues to be successful. Obviously, at 76 new cases, that is still a really significant challenge for us. And to open up with those numbers would, of course, see the total number of coronavirus infections explode. It would see many, many hundreds, indeed thousands, of Victorians infected with this virus. So, as frustrating, as challenging as it is, we need to stay the course on this.

Victoria reports 76 new cases and 11 deaths

Daniel Andrews is speaking now and is running through the latest numbers.

Of the 11 deaths reported today, 10 are linked to aged care outbreaks. Six of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, and five deaths occurred “in recent days”.

Updated

We’re expecting Victorian premier Daniel Andrews any moment now.

Mexico’s health ministry on Friday reported 6,196 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections and 522 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 623,090 cases and 66,851 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Updated

My colleagues Ben Butler and Melissa Davey report today that three of the aged care homes in Melbourne worst hit by Covid-19 outbreaks are controlled by two large companies, which between them received more than $1.45bn in government funding over the past two years and paid out dividends to their shareholders totalling $77m.

Reuters reports that a former prime minister of the Cook Islands, Joseph Williams, has died of Covid-19 in Auckland, New Zealand’s health ministry said on Saturday, taking the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country to 24.

Williams, who was in his 80s, was a well known doctor as well as a politician and author, living in New Zealand. He was briefly prime minister of the Cook Islands in 1999 after having served as the South Pacific nation’s minister of health and education.

“Dr Williams was seen as a leading figure in the Cook Islands medical community and he will be sadly missed,” New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said in a statement.

New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has been under restrictions to fight the spread of the coronavirus since an outbreak last month. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday extended the 2.5 alert level until at least mid-September after the country reported the Covid-19 death of a man in his 50s.

“Today’s sad news again reinforces the importance of our shared vigilance against Covid-19, the very serious consequences the virus can carry with it,” Bloomfield said.

Updated

Queensland records one new Covid-19 case

Queensland has recorded one new Covid-19 case on Saturday, the state’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. It is a known close contact of a previous case. There are now 26 active cases of the virus in Queensland.

Updated

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will give his daily Covid-19 update at 10.30am. I’ll bring it to you then.

In case you missed it earlier, here’s former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s statement on his appointment as an adviser to the UK Board of Trade.

Good morning, this is the Guardian’s Covid-19 live coverage.

Police in the Australian state of Victoria are warning protesters to stay away from anti-lockdown rallies planned in Melbourne on Saturday as the state records 76 new cases of the virus and 11 deaths.

In the lead-up to Saturday, police arrested five people and warned about 80 others against attending the protests as they enforce Victoria’s lockdown rules.

On Friday, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews backed police efforts to shut down any planned protest rallies while the lockdown rules remain in place.

You can’t ignore the reality you’re in and give yourself a leave pass and go and do something that, in all likelihood, will contribute to the spread of this (virus),” Andrews said.

Elsewhere:

  • The World Health Organisation director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the UN body would never endorse a vaccine that has not proven safe and effective amid concerns over the rush to develop a jab for Covid-19. Ghebreyesus, also called for countries around the world to join forces to tackle the coronavirus, saying that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the response to the pandemic.
  • US presidential candidate Joe Biden disclosed publicly for the first time he has been tested at least once for Covid-19 and promised he will be tested regularly during his election campaign against US President Donald Trump. The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters of his testing protocol during a news conference in which he criticised Trump for downplaying the coronavirus.
  • Italy on Friday registered 1,733 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily rise since 2 May, and 11 deaths.
  • Spain’s health ministry has reported 10,476 new cases since yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 498,989. It has also logged 256 deaths over the past week, bringing the toll to 24,918.Madrid continues to be the worst-hit region, accounting for 31,538 of the 101,962 cases detected over the past two weeks.
  • Health authorities in France reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter.The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671.
  • Iraq on Friday recorded its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, prompting authorities to warn hospitals may “lose control” in the coming days. According to the Iraqi health ministry, 5,036 new coronavirus infections were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 252,075, of which 191,368 had recovered, but 7,359 had died.

Updated

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Sport

US Open 2020: Naomi Osaka through, Norrie beaten and more – live!

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “US Open 2020: Naomi Osaka through, Evans and Norrie beaten and more – as it happened” was written by Tumaini Carayol, for theguardian.com on Friday 4th September 2020 22.45 UTC

11.45pm BST

That’s all for me today, but here is Kevin Mitchell’s updated piece on another strange day of tennis. Thanks very much for following. Until tomorrow.

11.43pm BST

11.39pm BST

Denis Shapovalov defeats Taylor Fritz 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2

Fritz may have crumbled after failing to serve out the match, that was a big, big performance by Shapovalov and one of the best wins of his career. He was two points away from defeat numerous times, down a 5-2 deficit in the fourth set and he spent much of this match visibly frustrated, but he buckled down and found a way.

By the end of the fourth set, he was serving incredibly well. Another opportunity awaits against David Goffin.

Updated at 11.40pm BST

11.34pm BST

This is astounding serving from Shapovalov as he moves up 5-2* in the fifth on Taylor Fritz.

His fifth set stats: 7 aces, 67% first serves in, 11/12 first serve points won. 10 winners, 2 unforced errors. One game away.

11.29pm BST

Still no problems for Denis Shapovalov on his serve. He moves up 4-1 in the fifth, with the finish line nearly in sight. He is serving so well now and the question is whether he will also get tight.

11.23pm BST

Meanwhile on Armstrong, Adrian Mannarino takes the first set 7-6 on Alexander Zverev. 4 double faults and 26 unforced errors from Zverev. Not pretty.

11.20pm BST

That was some way to consolidate the break. Shapovalov rolled through a quick hold to love in the blink of an eye and there is now clear daylight between the two. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) 3-0* Fritz.

11.18pm BST

Taylor Fritz is still ruing from his failure to serve out the match and Denis Shapovalov clearly smells blood. The Canadian took advantage of some missed Fritz first serves and errors, burying an excellent forehand crosscourt winner to break. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) *2-0 Fritz.

11.09pm BST

Shapovalov snatches the set and pushes Fritz to a fifth!

Truly impressive work from the Canadian to break back. The tiebreak was dominated by huge serving: Shapovalov served his 8th ace of the set to reach 4-3*, Fritz responded with two huge unreturned serves for 5-4*, then Shapovalov slammed down another ace for 5-5.

At 5-5, Shapovalov missed his first serve, but no matter, he curled a nice unreturned second serve down the T. On set point, Shapovalov defended for his life and then whipped a forehand down the line when the space opened. Fritz couldn’t reach it.

A great effort from the Canadian after Fritz served for the match at *5-3 and stood two points from victory multiple times. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) Fritz.

11.00pm BST

After two consecutive aces by Denis Shapovalov to secure a brisk hold, the fourth set will be decided by a tiebreak. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 6-6 Fritz.

10.55pm BST

Great effort by Denis Shapovalov to drag himself back to 5-5. Down 15-30, the Canadian slammed dan ace down the T and escaped with some good serving.

Fritz’s mind must be racing, but he responded well with a quick hold to love. He will get a tiebreak at the very worst. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 *5-6 Fritz.

10.50pm BST

The USTA responds to a 2 hour 45 minute delay by saying nothing.

10.49pm BST

The most important service game of Taylor Fritz’s career so far did not go as planned. Serving for the first fourth round of his career, Fritz was broken by a patient and disciplined Shapovalov. The Canadian brought up double break point with an excellent forehand down the line winner. After a service winner by Fritz on the first, Shapovalov got into the point and patiently moved the ball around at 3/4 pace, eventually forcing an error from Fritz. Good work. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 *4-5 Fritz.

10.40pm BST

Denis Shapovalov dragged himself to 30-30 with some incredible defensive play, put himself in the position to have one more shot at breaking serve, and then he shanked a routine forehand at 30-30. Both criminal and typical.

At 40-30, Taylor Fritz connected with a serve-forehand 1-2 on game point and moved on. He is now one game from his first slam fourth round. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 *2-5 Fritz.

10.35pm BST

Receiving a message of encouragement from the great Rod Laver may well feel better than the fourth round itself.

10.33pm BST

Taylor Fritz keeps himself ahead as he digs out a long deuce hold for 4-1 in the fourth set. Denis Shapovalov was threatening to break back and dictating most of the rallies throughout the game, but Fritz found an enormous 137mph first serve at deuce and he followed it up with another big serve to hold. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 *1-4 Fritz.

10.28pm BST

10.18pm BST

On Ashe, Denis Shapovalov throws in an error-strewn service game and Taylor Fritz moves up a quick 2-0 lead in the fourth set.

10.17pm BST

2 hours 45 minutes and millions of conspiracy theories later, Adrian Mannarino and Alexander Zverev have arrived on Louis Armstrong Stadium. At this point, the match itself feels far less significant than the circumstances around the delay.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev walks onto the court for his match against Adrian Mannarino of France.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev walks onto the court for his match against Adrian Mannarino of France. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports

Updated at 10.37pm BST

10.11pm BST

Taylor Fritz breaks to take the third set 6-4! Quite a dramatic finish. Shapovalov saved the first set point at 30-40 with a serve-forehand 1-2 punch. At deuce, Shapovalov played an excellent point, moving the ball around with discipline before netting the easy finishing forehand. On the second set point, Shapovalov swept to the net and then let Fritz’s passing shot go. Instead of flying out as expected, it landed in. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 4-6 Fritz.

10.04pm BST

It appears that Denis Shapovalov’s burst of anger worked as he immediately breaks back. After dragging Fritz to deuce, the Canadian played a brilliant, disciplined point by defending his backhand for a long period before punishing Fritz with a bruising inside out forehand. Fritz then sprayed a forehand wide on break point.

Shapovalov is so amped up right now – fistpumps after every successful point, groans to his mother in each time he makes a mistake.

9.58pm BST

“He is not happy” was a slight understatement. Denis Shapovalov is seething. After losing the opening point of Fritz’s service game, Shapo completely destroyed his racquet.

9.56pm BST

Taylor Fritz will serve for a two sets to one lead on Ashe. Great effort from the American, who buried two gorgeous backhand passing shots in three points deep into Shapovalov’s service game, including one at deuce.

Down break point, Shapovalov went for a big second serve and thought he had landed an ace, only for hawk-eye to call it long. He is not happy. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 3-5* Fritz.

9.53pm BST

Angelique Kerber, who has quietly navigated the draw, has a big fourth round next with the in-form Jennifer Brady. In my opinion, the top semi-finalist is likely to come from this match and it will be the first true glimpse into whether Kerber, who is ranked 23rd, is capable of rediscovering the form that took her to #1 with three slam titles, including this tournament in 2016:

Q. You know what it takes to be a Grand Slam champion. You already have that flavor. So what do you think you’re lacking or do you think that now you have everything to go back to where you left and to lift the trophy again, Grand Slam trophy again?

ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it’s still a long way. I mean, of course I know the way. I have been there already. But now we have a new tournament. Every tournament starts from zero, and it’s still a big challenge to go on top there.

It’s important, you know, to play the best tennis, especially in the important moments and in important matches. It’s impossible actually to play two weeks your best tennis.

So you have to, yeah, find a way to give everything every single day. It is completely new tournament. You know, new situation for everyone. So it’s still a long, long way.

Of course I know the way, but this year it’s a little bit different (smiling).

9.48pm BST

On Ashe, this match between Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz has been quite messy. After Fritz took an early break in the third set to lead 3-1, things are now back on serve after three consecutive games for the American. Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 *3-4 Fritz.

9.44pm BST

9.42pm BST

There were false reports that Kirsten Flipkens, a Belgian player who must quarantine in her room until September 11th, was spotted at JFK Airport in New York. Her two word response:

Updated at 9.45pm BST

9.33pm BST

Adrian Mannarino and Alexander Zverev are now scheduled play at 10pm GMT. We will see what on earth has happened over the past few hours.

9.29pm BST

9.26pm BST

Meanwhile, here is Luka Mladenovic, brother of Kristina Mladenovic, who is accompanying her in New York as a coach:

“If only you knew everything that is going on here … THIS IS A NETFLIX SERIES I SWEAR TO YOU !!! You are aware of 10% I think …”

“So I’m telling you clearly .. we don’t care about the US ShitOpen 2020, cancel our matches .. Just let us go home. Make us go home.”

What a dramatic sport.

Updated at 10.00pm BST

9.19pm BST

What a great effort from Denis Shapovalov to snatch the second set just as it seemed to be sprawling out of control.

After Taylor Fritz sprayed three consecutive unforced errors to lost his serve to love, Shapovalov then responded with three consecutive errors to start his game down 0-40.

Shapovalov survived triple break point with some good serving and then he survived a brilliant rally at deuce, defending exceptionally before flipping the point and finishing with a lovely drop volley. He took the set with his first opportunity.

Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 Fritz.

9.16pm BST

The plot thickens.

9.08pm BST

On Ashe, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz remain on serve in the second set. Fritz leads 6-3 *3-4.

In-form 14th seed Anett Kontaveit leads Magda Linette 4-1.

9.05pm BST

Here is Kevin Mitchell on Cameron Norrie’s loss tonight.

9.03pm BST

9.00pm BST

For those who may not quite be up to date, a refresher on the ‘bubble within a bubble’. After being in contact with Benoit Paire, who tested positive for coronavirus, 7 players, including Adrian Mannarino, were allowed to compete this week under strict protocols isolating them from other players. 4 other players are under daily testing.

The defeated players were already learning today that they will have to remain quarantined in their hotel rooms until next Saturday under CDC rules.

8.53pm BST

An update on Sascha Zverev, who should be playing right now but still looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world. We wait to see what has transpired with Adrian Mannarino.

8.48pm BST

On Arthur Ashe Stadium, Taylor Fritz takes the first set 6-3 on Denis Shapovalov.

8.47pm BST

As well as Corentin Moutet competed and despite a shower of great passing shots from the Frenchman in the tiebreak, I think this has to go down as a poor loss for Dan Evans. Evans is now around the top 30, seeded at slams and he has had considerable success against top players recently. He is 6-4 against top 20 players in 2020, which is a tremendous record.

However, most of those wins have come at ATP 500s and 250s. His next step is to start producing his best tennis when it truly matters at the biggest events.

8.36pm BST

The presenters Amazon Prime just suggested that Adrian Mannarino “may” be quarantined in his hotel and unable to play. What a tournament!

Updated at 8.36pm BST

8.31pm BST

Corentin Moutet defeats Dan Evans 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) 7-6(1)

The young Frenchman produces a brilliant fourth set tiebreak to upset Dan Evans, sealed with a netted backhand and a roar of “allez”. A first slam fourth round for the 21 year old. All British singles players are now out.

8.29pm BST

8.28pm BST

Curious scenes unfolding in New York right now. Alexander Zverev is due to be on court against Adrian Mannarino, who is one of the players being isolated yet still competing after being in close contact with Benoit Paire, but the match has not started and Zverev was just pictured chilling with his shirt off on Arthur Ashe stadium. He certainly did not look like he was in a rush to go anywhere. This has been a strange five days and it is only getting stranger.

8.25pm BST

Corentin Moutet recovers from 15-30 down to force a very important fourth-set tiebreak. Evans 6-4 3-6 6-7(5) 6-6 Moutet.

8.22pm BST

From ZTE Blade:

Two of the shortest players on tour squaring off. Perhaps only better by the Rochus’s or Ferrer-Fognini.

Yas.

Agreed. It is absolutely refreshing to see two 5’9 guys and so is the the knowledge that no service hold is certain. It is hard not eo enjoy how crafty Evans and Moutet are and in completely different ways.

8.19pm BST

Dan Evans holds on to guarantee himself a fourth set tiebreak at worst. He lost focus a little from 40-0 up, throwing in two double faults and a horror netted backhand volley, but he pulled himself back together in time. Evans 6-4 3-6 6-7(5) 6-5* Moutet.

8.11pm BST

Over on court 5, Dan Evans edges back ahead of Corentin Moutet 6-4 3-6 6-7(4) 5-4*.

8.10pm BST

An interesting match between two young players is about to begin on Arthur Ashe Stadium: Denis Shapovalov vs Taylor Fritz. Who is ready to snatch this opportunity?

8.02pm BST

Over on Court 5, Dan Evans has lost his break lead in the fourth set. With the scoreline poised at *4-2 30-30, Moutet unleashed on an inside out forehand, forcing an Evans error. On break point, the Frenchman produced a glorious forehand lob to break. Evans 6-4 3-6 6-7(5) 4-3* Moutet.

7.54pm BST

7.53pm BST

More Naomi Osaka:

“I’m very tired right now. I don’t know, I just want to go into an ice bath. I’m not sure if this is classed as an emergency but I feel like I’m going to pass out… While I was playing, honestly, I was cursing myself out so you wouldn’t want to know what I was saying.”

Note: Due to current COVID-19 health protocols, players can only use on-site ice baths in the case of an “emergency”.

7.50pm BST

Naomi Osaka with the highest praise for her young opponent:

“She was very good, like, I’m kinda scared of how she’s gonna be in the future.”

7.48pm BST

Naomi Osaka survives 18 year old Marta Kostyuk 6-3 6-7(4) 6-2

An exceptional performance from Kostyuk, who pushed Osaka hard and has a great future ahead. Osaka once again showed that she is a rare champion who, when in the right mood, can flip a switch and turn any match around.

Naomi Osaka reacts after beating Marta Kostyuk.
Naomi Osaka reacts after beating Marta Kostyuk. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Updated at 8.00pm BST

7.44pm BST

There is nothing like momentum in tennis. Marta Kostyuk was pushing Naomi Osaka all the way early in the third set but all it took was one tight service hold to flip the match on its head. Down 2-4, Kostyuk opened her service game with a three errors and Osaka closed it with a supreme crosscourt running forehand. The 4th seed will have two chances to serve it out. Osaka leads Kostyuk 6-3 6-7 *5-2.

7.41pm BST

Naomi Osaka twists the knife, flitting through a love hold to move up 6-3 6-7 4-2* on Marta Kostyuk. What does the 18 year old have left?

7.40pm BST

Over on court five, Dan Evans has responded nicely to Corentin Moutet after losing that third set, breaking immediately in the fourth. Evans 6-4 3-6 6-7(5) *2-0 Moutet

7.38pm BST

Those five saved break points were ultimately worth two games for Naomi Osaka. Marta Kostyuk responded by throwing in two consecutive double faults to face a 0-40 deficit herself. Kostyuk managed to save two of the break points, but Osaka unleashed an enormous crosscourt forehand on the third to break. Osaka leads Kostyuk 6-3 6-7(5) *3-2.

7.35pm BST

Naomi Osaka saves five break points to hold on for 2-2 in the third set. After immediately falling down 0-40 following Kostyuk’s medical timeout, the 2018 champion worked hard to dig herself out of the hole as Kostyuk lasered returns each time she sniffed a second serve. Osaka saved four of the five break points with an ace, a 113mph unreturned serve and two forehand winners. Clutch. Osaka 6-3 6-7 2-2 Kostyuk.

7.27pm BST

Dan Evans will have to recover from two sets to one down if he wishes to reach the third round. From 4-1 up in the tiebreak, Evans lost 6 of the next 7 points to squander the set. The key moment arrived at 5-5 in the tiebreak, on Evans’s serve. The Brit landed a first serve but he sent his forehand long. Corentin Moutet eventually swept up the tiebreak. Evans trails 6-4 3-6 6-7(5).

7.22pm BST

Marta Kostyuk continues to show what she is all about and it is so impressive. The 18 year-old digs out a hold after a tough, long deuce game. Kostyuk moves extremely well, strikes the ball smoothly off both wings, she has served 7 aces, hit 34 winners, won 18/22 net points and she has shown so much grit. Osaka trails 6-3 6-7(4) *1-2.

7.18pm BST

Corentin Moutet and Dan Evans return with an extremely long rally, which included Evans moving to the net, being lobbed and then the point restarting before Moutet finally dumped a forehand into the net. A tiebreak will decide this third set. Evans 6-4 3-6 6-6 Moutet.

Updated at 7.19pm BST

7.13pm BST

Dan Evans is now on court 5 to resume his second round match against Frenchman Corentin Moutet. Moutet currently leads 4-6 6-3 6-5* Ad-40. Delicately poised.

7.09pm BST

7.09pm BST

18 year-old Marta Kostyuk has pushed Naomi Osaka to a third set, taking the second set tiebreak 7-4. Kostyuk is moving beautifully and playing with enormous confidence.

The key moment came at 4-5 when Kostyuk threw in an awful drop shot and stood helpless at the net. Osaka chased it down and hit her response straight towards Kostyuk, who showed incredible reflexes and redirected her volley into play. Osaka’s racquet went flying towards the end. Osaka 6-3 6-7(4) Kostyuk.

Naomi Osaka throws her racket during her match against Marta Kostyuk.
Naomi Osaka throws her racket during her match against Marta Kostyuk. Photograph: Jason Szenes/EPA

Updated at 7.25pm BST

6.59pm BST

Over on Ashe, Naomi Osaka is into a second set tiebreak with Marta Kostyuk. Osaka leads 6-4 6-6 (*2-1)

6.59pm BST

For Norrie, it was good until it wasn’t. Norrie battled back extremely well from the first set to lead *2-1 in the third. Then he collapsed. There is a suggestion that he had some vision problems behind the end, or else it could have simply been nerves borne out of the enormity of the situation. Either way, he is out and it will be bitterly disappointing. Still, he should eventually reflect on a career best slam performance this week. There is more to come.

6.55pm BST

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina defeats Cameron Norrie 7-6(2) 4-6 6-2 6-1

The 21 year-old Spaniard reaches the first slam fourth round of his career, winning 11 of the final 12 games.

6.53pm BST

For the second time in the fourth set, Cameron Norrie hands over his service game with a double fault on break point. It will take a miracle for a recovery now. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will serve for the match at 7-6(2) 4-6 6-2 *5-1.

6.51pm BST

Staring down the prospect of a third set, Naomi Osaka locks in and breaks back for 6-3 *5-5. Osaka was helped by a double fault from Kostyuk at 0-30, but otherwise three brilliant points from the Japanese when she most needed them. She sealed the break with a searing forehand down-the-line winner.

6.49pm BST

Over on Ashe, 18 year-old Marta Kostyuk will attempt to serve out a set against a slam champion. The biggest moment of her young career so far. Osaka currently leads 6-3 4-5*.

6.47pm BST

A big win for the 18 year-old American. McNally, an all-court player who sweeps to the net as much as possible, is surely loving these fast courts.

6.46pm BST

Cameron Norrie finally breaks the run of 8 consecutive games with a love hold. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina did not look particularly moved by the lost game, barely attempting to return the final serve. Norrie trails 6-7(2) 6-4 2-6 1-3*.

6.43pm BST

Cameron Norrie has now squandered 8 games in a row since leading *2-1 in set three. Norrie double faulted on break point at 0-1* and he keeps on spraying errors on important points. Fokina consolidated the break with an excellent backhand down-the-line. Norrie trails 6-7(2) 6-4 2-6 *0-3.

6.38pm BST

Naomi Osaka is down a break in the second set on Ashe. Osaka has been rolling through her service games and putting pressure on Marta Kostyuk’s serve in the second set, yet suddenly she threw in a few errors. With one further forehand error, Osaka is now down 6-3 3-4* against the 18 year-old.

6.34pm BST

Let’s take a look around the grounds.

  • Naomi Osaka leads Marta Kostyuk 6-3 3-3.
  • Angelique Kerber is up 6-3 on Ann Lu.
  • Caty McNally is in the midst of a tough third set, tied at 4-6 6-3 5-5 with Ekaterina Alexandrova.
  • David Goffin leads Filip Krajinovic 6-1 4-4.
  • Elise Mertens is up 6-3 1-1 on Sara Sorribes Tormo.

6.31pm BST

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina wins his 5th consecutive game to lead Cameron Norrie by two sets to one. Sadly, Norrie lost his way in those final games and he closed it off with a horrid shanked forehand that more-or-less flew into the back fence. If he wants to advance, he will have to do it in 5. Norrie trails 6-7(2) 6-4 2-6.

Updated at 6.31pm BST

6.27pm BST

He did not. Norrie believes he was misheard. Either way, he would have been more than justified to curse in the midst of this poor form and momentum swing.

6.26pm BST

From 15-30 down, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina holds for 5-2 in the third with an ace. Cameron Norrie had a big chance to swing the momentum back in his favour, but he threw in two consecutive nervy errors at 15-30. Norrie now trails 6-7(2) 6-4 *2-5.

6.23pm BST

Cameron Norrie has now lost three games in succession and suddenly finds himself under immense pressure at 2-4* in the third. Norrie quickly fell to a 0-40 deficit after a smattering of errors. He saved the first with an unreturned serve and the second by firing a forehand after some great defence. On the third break point, Fokina unloaded on a backhand down-the-line and forced a backhand error from the brit. Norrie trails 6-7(2) 6-4 2-4*.

6.19pm BST

6.13pm BST

Cameron Norrie meekly hands back the break with a slew of errors, sealed by a forehand into the net. The score is now even: 6-7(2) 6-4 2-2.

Updated at 6.13pm BST

6.11pm BST

It should be noted that Donald Trump has a long history in tennis, including this horrifying video.

6.08pm BST

Cameron Norrie breaks early in the third set to take the lead, 6-7(2) 6-4 *2-1. It was sealed in typical Norrie fashion, with ample running and grit before he eventually drew out a forehand error from Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

6.06pm BST

How prominent is Novak Djokovic in Serbia? He is a discussion point between Serbian and US presidents.

5.56pm BST

Naomi Osaka takes the first set 6-3 against Marta Kostyuk on Ashe. A businesslike, solid set from the tournament favourite who hustled through two breaks without any spectacular play. Kostyuk is trying to take risks and take her game to the 2018 champ, but too many errors and not enough first serves landed so dar.

5.55pm BST

Meanwhile, the drama of the so-called Paire 11, the players who were in contact with Benoit Paire, continues. They will have to remain quarantined in their hotel rooms until next Saturday and they are not happy.

5.53pm BST

Cameron Norrie recovers to take the second set against Alejandro Davidovich, levelling the match at 6-7(2) 6-4. Excellent work from the Brit, who rode his luck as he survived a break point after a backhand error from Fokina. From deuce, he took control with two consecutive serve-forehand 1-2 punches to close out the set.

5.46pm BST

Cameron Norrie will attempt to serve out the second set against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and level the match with the score at 6-7(2) *5-4. At *4-3 30-30, Norrie came up with a gutsy forehand down-the-line to keep Fokina at bay. He then squandered a half-chance at 15-30 on Fokina’s serve, two points from the set. Now he has to get it done on his serve.

5.43pm BST

We have reached the point where there are too many matches to follow. On Court 11, 26th seed Filip Krajinovic faces 7th seed David Goffin.

Despite the ranking differential, Krajinovic is the in-form player having reached the quarters last week in the Western & Southern Open.

This is also a nice little grudge match and an illustration of the petty rivalries at work in tennis – Goffin’s coach, 2002 Australian Open champ Thomas Johansson, dumped Krajinovic in favour of coaching Goffin at the beginning of last year.

Krajinovic has won both matches against Goffin since the breakup and he made his bitterness very clear afterwards.

5.37pm BST

Cameron Norrie had two break points and a big opportunity to move up a double break in set two, but Alejandro Davidovich Fokina keeps himself in touch by saving both to hold. Norrie still retains one break: 6-7(2) *4-3.

5.34pm BST

Naomi Osaka breaks first on Ashe with a searing, angled forehand. Kostyuk has done well in every category but on her second serve. Four double faults in 3 service games will not cut it.

Naomi Osaka returns a shot to Marta Kostyuk.
Naomi Osaka returns a shot to Marta Kostyuk. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

Updated at 5.41pm BST

5.32pm BST

An efficient day at the office for the Australian Open champs.

5.31pm BST

After saving break points in the previous game, Cameron Norrie punches into the lead with an early break in set two. Fokina double faulted at 30-30 then threw in an awful dropshot on break point, which Norrie cleaned up with a nice forehand down the line. 6-7(2) *3-2.

Updated at 5.31pm BST

5.29pm BST

Marta Kostyuk is hanging tight with Naomi Osaka at 2-2 in the first set. Already 6 winners from the 18 year old compared to only 1 from Osaka.

5.27pm BST

Cameron Norrie is living dangerously but he survives a couple of break points to hold for 6-7(2) 2-2* with some great serving.

Staring down a break point at 30-40, he curled an excellent second serve out wide that did not. He saved the second with an unreturned first serve down the T. Eventually, after a Fokina forehand error on game point, the Brit holds.

Norrie has now faced 50 break points and saved 40 this week.

5.19pm BST

Back on Court 5, both Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Cameron Norrie have opened set two with a string of holds. Fokina leads 7-6(2) 2-1*.

5.15pm BST

Over on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Naomi Osaka has arrived for an interesting first round against 18 year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk.

Osaka looked excellent on Wednesday against Camila Giorgi, but she is also carrying a hamstring injury from last week when she withdrew in the Western & Southern Open final.

Osaka’s opponent, Kostyuk, is very interesting. Before there was Coco Gauff, there was Kostyuk who reached the third round of the 2018 Australian Open as a 15 year old. But she struggled with injuries and pressure afterwards, falling out of the top 300.

She has rebuilt her ranking since then and at the ripe old age of 18, she is steadily rising. Let’s see what she has to offer against a champion.

5.08pm BST

Cameron Norrie 6-7(2) Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Fokina plays a brilliant tiebreak to take the first set. Norrie has been looking tight for a while, with a few too many uncharacteristic errors, and Fokina finally made him pay.

After Norrie missed a backhand to fall down a mini-break at 2-3*, the Spaniard played an incredible point to consolidate. He defended everything, chased down a smash and then destroyed a 93mph crosscourt forehand the second he could attack.

And then he never looked back, dictating the play and producing some of his best ball-striking to take the first set.

Updated at 5.09pm BST

5.00pm BST

Cameron Norrie 6-6 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Once again, Fokina dug himself a self-inflicted 0-30 hole before puffing out his chest and coming up with some big groundstrokes to survive. The decent 106mph second serve helped at 30-30, as did two consecutive backhand errors by Norrie from that point. We’re heading to a tie-break.

4.57pm BST

Meanwhile, a tremendous racquet smash from Yulia Putinstseva on court 17. The 23rd seed is down 6-3 1-0 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

4.55pm BST

Cameron Norrie 6-5* Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. After 4 serves and four missed returns and Norrie is back ahead in 57 seconds. The pressure returns to the Spaniard.

4.53pm BST

Cameron Norrie *5-5 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. This time, it’s the Spaniard’s turn to survive a game he seemed to have no chance of winning.

Down 0-30, Fokina just came up with the most absurd reflex volley after attempting a terrible drop shot. Norrie chased the drop shot down and fired his response hard at the Spaniard, who somehow got his strings onto the ball and the ball into the court. The Spaniard used that point as a springboard, overcoming an exhausting point at 30-30 before holding serve.

Updated at 4.54pm BST

4.48pm BST

4.48pm BST

Cameron Norrie 5-4* Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. I’m not sure how Norrie survived that hold. He still looks very tense, opening the game with a couple of errors before eventually finding himself down 30-40.

Norrie saved that break point with a great unreturned serve down the T, then he saved a second break point with a lovely angled volley. From deuce, Fokina mercifully offered up a couple of forehand errors. Norrie keeps his lead.

4.42pm BST

Cameron Norrie *4-4 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. That was not good at all. Norrie once again found himself at 30-30 and putting pressure on the Fokina serve, but then he sprayed two bad forehand errors and handed over the game with little fight. Perhaps some nerves there.

4.40pm BST

Around the grounds, third seeds Rajeev Ram and Britain’s Joe Salisbury are up 6-2 1-1 on Christian and Ryan Harrison. Aliaksandra Sasnovich leads 23rd seed Yulia Putintseva 4-2 and 8th seed Petra Martic is up *3-2 on Vera Gracheva.

4.37pm BST

Cameron Norrie 4-3* Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. In the blink of an eye, Norrie moves ahead with a love hold. Norrie’s lefty serve has been pretty successful so far, with an enormous 78% first serves in so far and a decent 71% points won behind it. More importantly, he has served really well on all the important moments. The Spaniard has to keep up.

4.35pm BST

Cameron Norrie *3-3 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Good serving from the Spaniard there, who eases through a hold to level.

4.32pm BST

Cameron Norrie 3-2* Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Norrie left himself a lot to do there, opening his service game with two errors and eventually falling down 15-40 but the response was so impressive. He scuppered the first break point with an ace, then the second by cleaning up at the net after a nice serve-forehand 1-2. After more great serving from deuce, Norrie moves back into the lead.

4.28pm BST

Cameron Norrie *2-2 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Although a lovely mover and ballstriker, Fokina’s biggest weakness is his serve and he has already rolled in numerous meek deliveries barely above 100mph. His second serves are even dropping under 80mph. Norrie capitalised exactly as he should, immediately breaking back.

A particularly lovely shot from Norrie at 40-30. After being pulled into the net and then lobbed, he pulled off a lovely angled backhand overhead to scupper the game point.

4.21pm BST

Cameron Norrie 1-2* Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Fokina is already showing all of his skills out here. After bringing Norrie to deuce, he played a beautiful point, dragging the Brit around with his backhand, pulling him into the net with a dropshot and then making the passing shot. On break point, he fired a backhand down the line return winner to take the first break. Too good.

4.18pm BST

Cameron Norrie *1-1 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Fokina responds with a quick hold to open up his account. A couple of slick forehand winners are a good representation of the firepower we will see from the Spaniard today.

4.16pm BST

Here is the order of play on the main courts: Vera Gracheva vs Petra Martic and Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs Yulia Putintseva are also currently in action on the outside courts.

4.13pm BST

Cameron Norrie 1-0* Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Norrie opens with a quick hold to 15, sealed with an ace and 5/5 first serves in. A good start.

4.11pm BST

For the second straight match, No 76 Norrie is ranked higher than his opponent but don’t be fooled by Davidovich Fokina’s ranking of 99. Foki is a former junior Wimbledon champion and, at 21, one of the more talented young players around. He is also quite crazy. Aside from being an excellent mover, he is a shotmaker with a gorgeous backhand and a penchant for flair shots. He is clearly extremely at home on these fast courts and if he plays as he has so far this week, some of his shotmaking will be spectacular.

Norrie will do as he always does, remaining consistent, punching with his heavy topspin forehand and testing Davidovich Fokina’s patience in longer rallies. This is an enormous opportunity for both players as they chase their first slam R16s, so we’ll see who handles the moment best.

3.01pm BST

Preamble

Hello! Welcome to our coverage of day 5 of this very unique US Open. We begin today with Cameron Norrie, who is the only British player in the third round so far and only Dan Evans can join him. Norrie has a great chance to go even further this evening.

Norrie arrived at this point in style, recovering from two sets down against 9th seed Diego Schwartzman to secure the biggest win of the 25 year-old’s career. In the second round, he was far too good for the clay preferring Federico Coria and moved through in straight sets. Today he will face young Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and both will be playing for their first slam fourth round.

Elsewhere, Naomi Osaka will be in action from 5pm on Ashe. Dan Evans will follow Norrie on Court 5, with yesterday’s postponed match poised at 4-6 6-3 *6-5 to Frenchman Corentin Moutet. Denis Shapovalov, Angelique Kerber, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipass will also be in action tonight.

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Corona Virus, Health, World

Coronavirus live news: no widespread vaccination until mid-2021, says WHO; cases rise across Europe

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Brazil records 50,000 cases in 24 hours as death toll passes 125,000 – as it happened” was written by Nadeem Badshah (now); Alexandra Topping, Nazia Parveen and Helen Sullivan (earlier), for theguardian.com on Friday 4th September 2020 23.40 UTC

12.40am BST

Summary of events, Friday 4 September.

That’s where I’ll leave this blog for now, but you can continue following our live coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic here.

Here’s a quick summary of global events:

  • The World Health Organisation director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said the UN body would never endorse a vaccine that has not proven safe and effective amid concerns over the rush to develop a jab for Covid-19. Ghebreyesus, also called for countries around the world to join forces to tackle the coronavirus, saying that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the response to the pandemic.
  • US presidential candidate Joe Biden disclosed publicly for the first time he has been tested at least once for Covid-19 and promised he will be tested regularly during his election campaign against US president Donald Trump. The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters of his testing protocol during a news conference in which he criticised Trump for downplaying the coronavirus.
  • Italy on Friday registered 1,733 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily rise since 2 May, and 11 deaths.
  • Spain’s health ministry has reported 10,476 new cases since yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 498,989. It has also logged 256 deaths over the past week, bringing the toll to 24,918.Madrid continues to be the worst-hit region, accounting for 31,538 of the 101,962 cases detected over the past two weeks.
  • Health authorities in France reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter. The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671.
  • Iraq on Friday recorded its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, prompting authorities to warn hospitals may “lose control” in the coming days. According to the Iraqi health ministry, 5,036 new coronavirus infections were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 252,075, of which 191,368 had recovered, but 7,359 had died.
  • In Australia, police in Victoria continued to crackdown on anti-lockdown protests planned in Melbourne on Saturday as the premier, Daniel Andrews, warned people not to attend the rallies. The state, which has been through a vicious second-wave outbreak, reported 76 new cases and 11 deaths on Saturday.

Updated at 12.42am BST

12.29am BST

AFP reports that Iraq on Friday recorded its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, prompting authorities to warn hospitals may “lose control” in the coming days.

According to the Iraqi health ministry, 5,036 new coronavirus infections were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 252,075, of which 191,368 had recovered, but 7,359 had died.

The health ministry attributed the spike to recent “large gatherings” that took place without recommended safety measures, including mask-wearing or social distancing.

That included the marking on August 30 of Ashura, a major Muslim day of mourning that commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein in 680 AD.

On that day, tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims converged on the holy city of Karbala in southern Iraq.

Karbala’s authorities introduced new measures to stem the spread of the virus, including restricting access to areas of worship and widespread spraying of disinfectants.

But the health ministry warned the measures weren’t enough.

“The number of cases is expected to escalate further in the coming days, which we fear will lead our health institutions to lose control as they try to deal with these large numbers,” its statement on Friday said.

“This will lead to an increase in the number of deaths, after we made headway in reducing them over the past few weeks,” it added.

Iraq’s hospitals have already been worn down by decades of conflict and poor investment, with shortages in medicines, hospital beds and even protective equipment for doctors.

Ahead of Ashura, the World Health Organization had warned that Covid-19 cases in Iraq were rising at an “alarming rate” and said Iraq should take action to end the community outbreak “at all costs”.

12.02am BST

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has released a statement on his appointment as an adviser to the UK Board of Trade.

11.40pm BST

A Victorian man has been charged after he allegedly attempted to offer a bribe to police at the closed border between New South Wales and Victoria on Friday.

In a statement, NSW police said officers stopped a vehicle just before 2pm on Friday at the Barmah Bridge checkpoint. They spoke with the driver, a 66-year-old man, and asked for his border permit to enter NSW.

Police will allege in court that the man could not provide a valid permit, and instead offered an envelope with ,000 to an officer.

He was arrested and taken to Deniliquin police station, where he was charged with giving or offering a bribe to a member of NSW Police.

He was granted conditional bail and is due to appear before Moama local court on 4 November.

Updated at 11.46pm BST

11.35pm BST

76 new cases, 11 deaths in Victoria.

Still in Australia, Victoria, which has suffered a major second-wave outbreak of the virus, has recorded 76 new cases and 11 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The state capital, Melbourne, has been under restrictive lockdowns for several weeks, which have seen case numbers steadily fall over recent weeks, but clusters in aged care facilities have meant hundreds of deaths have occurred during the outbreak.

Updated at 11.47pm BST

11.27pm BST

Police in the Australian state of Victoria have warned people not to attend anti-lockdown protests planned across Melbourne on Saturday, as the state prepares for the premier, Daniel Andrews, to release the government’s roadmap out of its current stage-four lockdowns on Sunday.

In the lead-up to Saturday, police arrested five people and warned about 80 others against attending anti-lockdown protests planned in Melbourne as they enforce Victoria’s lockdown rules.

On Friday, Andrews backed police efforts to shut down any planned protest rallies while the lockdown rules remain in place.

You can’t ignore the reality you’re in and give yourself a leave pass and go and do something that, in all likelihood, will contribute to the spread of this (virus),” Andrews said.

It came as Victoria recorded 81 new Covid-19 cases and 59 deaths on Friday. Only nine of the deaths occurred in the previous 24 hours. The figure included 50 people who died in aged care facilities in July and August who have now been added to the state’s tally.

The state toll has now climbed past 600 to 650, pushing the national figure to 737.

New South Wales reported eight new Covid-19 cases, one of which was in hotel quarantine. Two previously announced cases have been linked to cluster of cases in the Sydney CBD, which has grown to 57.

Updated at 11.48pm BST

11.13pm BST

Victoria police raid conspiracy theorist’s home ahead of illegal protests

In Australia, Victorian protesters are being urged to stay at home as police vow to shut down anti-lockdown rallies planned for Saturday.

Early on Saturday, police raided the home of James Bartolo, who runs conspiracy website The Conscious Truth Network, and charged him with incitement.

Bartolo, who posted footage of his arrest online, is the fifth Victorian arrested over plans for the illegal “Freedom Day” rally.

“Woke up this morning, jumped on the dunny, heard some knocks on the door,” Bartolo wrote on social media.

“It was all the cops, they broke down the door, arrested me, they took computers, laptops (and my) phone.

“It is a bit of a pain in the ass. They stole my shit. Whatever. I’m fine.”

Bartolo told supporters to not attend today’s rally because he believed it was “a trap”

“It is the worst possible thing to do. It is a set-up from the get go. It is all just terrible. Don’t go to that one. What is going to happen, Dan Andrews will blame the protest for the lockdown extension. Don’t go to the protest.”

Updated at 11.48pm BST

11.12pm BST

Brazil records 50,000 cases in 24 hours as death toll passes 125,000

Brazil recorded 50,163 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 888 deaths from the disease, the health ministry said on Friday.

Brazil has registered nearly 4.1 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 125,502, according to ministry data.

10.51pm BST

After recording its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases (see 13.54), Iraq has warned hospitals may “lose control” of the virus.

The health ministry attributed the spike to recent large gatherings that took place without recommended safety measures. That included the marking on 30 August of Ashura, a major Muslim day of mourning that commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein in 680AD.

According to the Iraqi health ministry, 5,036 new coronavirus infections were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 252,075, of which 191,368 had recovered, but 7,359 had died.

10.10pm BST

Saturday’s front page of the UK edition of The Guardian.

9.58pm BST

Mozambique will next week lift the state of emergency imposed in April to try limit the spread of coronavirus, President Filipe Nyusi announced in a television address.

Nyusi said the state of emergency would end on Sunday night as infections have not increased much compared to neighbouring countries in the region.

“We are proud of the measures we have taken that have allowed the spread of the disease to be contained,” said President Nyusi.

Diagnosed coronavirus cases in Mozambique stood at 4,265 including 26 deaths, much lower than neighbouring South Africa which has topped 635,000 infections.

The southeastern country will also re-open its borders on Monday allowing international flights.

Beaches will also re-open while religious services of up to 250 people will be permitted.

9.48pm BST

A selection of Saturday’s front pages in the UK, starting with The Times.

9.34pm BST

Smoking appears to increase the genetic contribution to Covid-19 infections, a small study suggested.

The new coronavirus enters the body by hijacking proteins on the surface of healthy cells, in particular a protein called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

In adult lungs, just three cigarettes can increase the activity of genes with the information for building ACE2, according to an international research team led by Alen Faiz of Australia’s University of Technology Sydney.

Faiz told Reuters that ACE2 levels were lower in people who had stopped smoking for more than a month.

“Our preliminary data suggest that second-hand smoke exposure of 1-year-old children … increased ACE2 expression in their airways,” he said.

His team also found higher levels of the ACE2 genes in the nose compared to the lung airways, indicating the nose may be more easily infected.

But while it is known that the coronavirus uses ACE2 to break into cells, there is as yet no proven link between higher expression of the genes and the severity of Covid-19 infection, Faiz said.

9.16pm BST

Liberia’s president George Weah has sacked the country’s top health official over his handling of coronavirus testing in the impoverished West African state.

Mososka Fallah, director general of the Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), was removed from his post for “breaches in the health and administrative protocols that guide the issuance of Covid-19 test results,” Weah’s office said in a statement.

The decision was made on the recommendation of a committee set up especially to investigate the matter.

The exact nature of the allegations against Fallah was not revealed but Weah, a former AC Milan footballer, promised to publish the committee’s report at a later date.

NPHIL is in charge of handling epidemics such as coronavirus, which has killed 82 people and infected 1,306 in Liberia so far, according to the latest official data.

An internal source within the institute, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Fallah had been sacked for refusing to attend meetings of an anti-coronavirus taskforce because he had not been put in charge of it, AFP reported.

He was also suspected of issuing “Covid-19” travel permits without the taskforce’s knowledge, the source said.

9.00pm BST

A summary of today’s developments

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) insists it would never endorse a vaccine that has not proven safe and effective amid concerns over the rush to develop a jab for Covid-19. WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also called for countries around the world to join forces to tackle the coronavirus, saying that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the response to the pandemic.
  • Police forces in the UK are dealing with thousands of potential violations of quarantine rules involving holidaymakers who may not be self-isolating after trips abroad, the Guardian can reveal.
  • Joe Biden has disclosed publicly for the first time he has been tested at least once for Covid-19 and promised he will be tested regularly during his election campaign against US President Donald Trump.The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters of his testing protocol during a news conference in which he criticised Trump for downplaying the coronavirus.
  • Italy on Friday registered 1,733 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily rise since 2 May, and 11 deaths.
  • Spain’s health ministry has reported 10,476 new cases since yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 498,989. It has also logged 256 deaths over the past week, bringing the toll to 24,918.Madrid continues to be the worst-hit region, accounting for 31,538 of the 101,962 cases detected over the past two weeks.
  • Health authorities in France reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter.The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671.
  • US job growth slowed further in August as financial assistance from the government ran out, threatening the economy’s recovery from the COVIDCovid-19 recession.
  • Iraq registered its biggest daily increase in coronavirus infections on Friday with 5,036 cases to take its total to 252,075, the health ministry said. It reported 84 fatalities to take its coronavirus death toll to 7,359.

Updated at 9.01pm BST

8.47pm BST

A worker disinfects an area of the Museum of Tomorrow prior to its reopening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.
A worker disinfects an area of the Museum of Tomorrow prior to its reopening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.
Photograph: Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images

8.31pm BST

Police forces in the UK are dealing with thousands of potential violations of quarantine rules involving holidaymakers who may not be self-isolating after trips abroad, the Guardian can reveal.

The requests for “further action” have been raised by Border Force officials and public health authorities, who have been tasked with ensuring that people returning from abroad are abiding by regulations designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The details emerged as leading scientists warned that the UK is fast approaching a pivotal moment. With another surge in the number of positive cases recorded on Friday, they urged people to keep following the rules or risk the return of widespread lockdown across the UK.

8.15pm BST

Egypt has been urged to release two jailed journalists, including one with Covid-19, after Human Rights Watch said four inmates had died in Egyptian custody within 72 hours.

The Committee to Protect Journalists urged, a New-York based press freedom advocacy group, called on authorities to immediately free Hany Greisha and El-Sayed Shehta, who were both arrested from their homes last month.

The CPJ said Greisha was charged with spreading false news and joining a terror group, charges regularly invoked against dissidents, while it was unclear whether Shehta faces charges.

It said Shehta, who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, is currently handcuffed to a hospital bed in the intensive care unit of a public hospital about an hour outside of Cairo.

“Egyptian authorities should be urgently releasing journalists from its prisons because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator.

“Instead, it is diligently rounding up more to throw in jail – including now one who was sick and in quarantine.”

8.00pm BST

Cuba welcomed the first planeload of tourists to arrive on the island in months.

An Air Canada plane arrived at midday at the Cayo-Coco airport on the northcentral coast. Air Canada Vacations, the airline’s tour business, said it would now fly weekly to Cuba and biweekly beginning next month.

Cuba closed its airports in March due to the pandemic. While some hotels are open under international sanitary regulations at resorts in isolated areas such as Cayo-Coco, there is no indication when Havana and other cities might allow foreign visitors to return.

The nation has managed to control the pandemic in most of the country. But it is currently trying to contain a new outbreak in Havana, along with lesser outbreaks in a few other provinces.

It has reported nearly 4,300 COVID-19 cases to date and 100 deaths.

7.46pm BST

A Palestinian bide and groom, wearing protective face masks, prepare to pose for a picture during their wedding in Gaza City amidst a COVID-19 lockdown.
A Palestinian bide and groom, wearing protective face masks, prepare to pose for a picture during their wedding in Gaza City amidst a COVID-19 lockdown.
Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

7.36pm BST

The World Health Organization (WHO) insists it would never endorse a vaccine that has not proven safe and effective amid concerns over the rush to develop a jab for Covid-19.

Under normal procedures, test administrators must wait for months or years to verify that vaccine candidates are safe and efficacious.

But as the pandemic continues to take a devastating toll, there has been massive pressure to roll out a vaccine quickly, sparking concerns that testing standards could be lowered.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted that was not the case.

“WHO will not endorse a vaccine that is not effective and safe,” he told a virtual briefing.

He also took issue with the so-called anti-vax movement that has been stoking fears about the vaccines in development.

They might be able to “build narratives to fight against vaccines, but the track record of vaccines tells its own story,” he said.

7.23pm BST

Here is more from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden who accused President Donald Trump of failing to “feel” the economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic after data showed US job growth slowing.

He said: “The painful truth is, we just have a president who just doesn’t see it, he doesn’t feel it, he doesn’t understand, he just doesn’t care.

“He thinks if the stock market is up, then everything*s fine,” Biden said during a speech in his home base of Wilmington, Delaware.

The Labor Department reported that non-farm payrolls increased by 1.37 million jobs last month, fewer than in July.

Trump and his fellow Republicans highlighted the fall in the unemployment rate in August to 8.4% as a sign that the economy is improving after the shock from coronavirus lockdowns that have devastated small businesses from restaurants to gyms and hair salons.
Former Vice President Biden, who leads Trump in opinion polls, called on the president to bring congressional leaders together to restart stalled negotiations for another coronavirus economic relief package.

He said: “Bottom line: Mr. President, do your job. Get off your golf course and out of your sand bunker. Call your leaders together and sit in the Oval Office. Make a deal.”

7.11pm BST

Joe Biden has disclosed publicly for the first time he has been tested at least once for Covid-19 and promised he will be tested regularly during his election campaign against US President Donald Trump.

The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters of his testing protocol during a news conference in which he criticised Trump for downplaying the coronavirus.

“They’re going to do it on a regular basis,” Biden said of the testing.

He noted the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him and everyone else who comes into his home is tested already.

Biden said he didn’t know specifically when his next test would be.

“I just, yes, sir, show up and put my head back,” he said.

“I imagine it will be sometime this week, but it will be a regular basis.”

At a rally on Thursday, Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask, to which Biden replied: “It’s hard to respond to something so idiotic.”

6.51pm BST

This is a Reuters exclusive from Aislinn Laing:

Johnson & Johnson will seek 20,000 volunteers for late-stage human trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in hard-hit Latin America, one-third of the planned global total, one of its public health chiefs in the region said.

Josue Bacaltchuk, the vice-president of medical affairs for Latin America for Janssen, J&J’s Belgian unit developing the vaccine prototype, said countries hosting the trials would also probably get preferential access to vaccines once ready.

Bacaltchuk said:

We expect the majority in Brazil because it’s the biggest country and also the one most affected by the pandemic so we expect a lot of people volunteering, but we expect also high numbers in Colombia and in Argentina.

It’s the intention of the company to prioritise the countries that contribute to the development of the vaccine and that will have patients participating in the trials, yes.

J&J’s vaccine is one of more than 100 worldwide being developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected nearly 26.5 million people and led to 869,323 deaths. Latin America has become the centre of the pandemic.

The drugmaker is carrying out tests in the US and Belgium, and has added Chile, Argentina and Peru to a list of Latin American countries where it plans to conduct phase III trials along with Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Its trials globally will include 60,000 volunteers.

The Latin American countries all have high infection numbers, making them attractive testing sites for vaccine developers since it is easier to obtain dependable trial results in areas with high rates of active transmission and infection.

Bacaltchuk said the decision to spread trials so widely was motivated in part by the challenge of securing sufficient volunteer numbers in a region crowded with other pharmaceutical companies conducting trials of their own prototypes. He said:

I think this is a potential risk and that’s why we are going to a number of centres that is higher than the other companies to cover geographies that are not covered by the other studies.

He said the response from volunteers in the region has been “quite positive” which he hoped would continue.

This is impacting everybody and it’s going to continue to impact even after this is over. The consequences will continue so we need to try and stop it as early as possible.

Updated at 6.58pm BST

6.37pm BST

The statistics agency of Russia has said there were 10,079 deaths of people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 in July.

6.02pm BST

The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for countries around the world to join forces to tackle the coronavirus, saying that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the response to the pandemic.

Tedros said 78 high-income countries had now joined the Covax global vaccine allocation plan, bringing the total to 170 countries, adding that joining the plan guaranteed those countries access to the world’s largest portfolio of vaccines.

The WHO and the Gavi vaccine alliance are leading the Covax facility, aimed at helping buy and distribute vaccination shots fairly around the world.

But some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the US, have said they will not join Covax.

At a WHO briefing in Geneva Tedros told reporters:

Vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic.

Tedros thanked Germany, Japan, Norway and the European Commission for joining Covax during the last week.

A WHO spokeswoman said earlier on Friday that the organisation did not expect widespread vaccinations against Covid-19 to be available until mid-2021, citing the need for rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety.

The WHO’s chief scientist told the briefing that no vaccine should be approved for a worldwide rollout until it had undergone sufficient scrutiny.

Soumya Swaminathan said:

No vaccine is going to be mass-deployed until regulators are confident, governments are confident, and the WHO is confident it has met the minimum standard of safety,

She added that the vaccine candidates needed to go through the full phase III trial, which usually involves thousands of participants.

Updated at 6.29pm BST

5.48pm BST

Italy registers highest daily rise since 2 May

Italy on Friday registered 1,733 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily rise since 2 May, and 11 deaths.

Veneto, which during Italy’s lockdown was commended for quickly containing the virus, registered the highest number of new cases – 373 – mostly due to an outbreak at a meat factory in Treviso and people returning from high-risk areas.

There were 171 new cases confirmed in Lazio (106 in Rome), the majority among those returning from Sardinia, where several clusters recently emerged, and 170 in the southern Campania region, of which 40% were linked to those returning from abroad or Sardinia.

More than 113,000 coronavirus tests were carried out within the last 24 hours, up by 21,000 on Thursday.

Hospitalisations have also been increasing in recent weeks, with 1,607 people currently being treated, of whom 121 are in intensive care.

Updated at 6.53pm BST

5.33pm BST

Spain reports over 10,000 new cases

Spain’s health ministry has reported 10,476 new cases since yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 498,989. It has also logged 256 deaths over the past week, bringing the toll to 24,918.

Madrid continues to be the worst-hit region, accounting for 31,538 of the 101,962 cases detected over the past two weeks.

The regional government of Madrid has announced that no more than 10 people will be allowed to meet indoors from Monday and has also capped the number of people permitted to attend religious services and funerals.

The regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, said the “very painful and very difficult” measures had been taken in an attempt to arrest the spike in cases in and around the capital. (See here.)

Speaking earlier on Friday, the health minister, Salvador Illa, said he believed Spain would be in a position at the end of this year to start receiving “safe doses” of vaccine and giving them to certain groups.

Updated at 6.59pm BST

5.31pm BST

France sees almost 9,000 new infections

Health authorities in France reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter.

The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections stood at 30,686 and the cumulative number of cases now totals 309,156.

Updated at 6.59pm BST

5.05pm BST

The technology institute for the Brazilian state of Paraná, which has agreed to produce Russia’s Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine, has said it plans to conduct phase III trials on 10,000 volunteers in Brazil at the start of next year.

Jorge Callado, the head of Tecpar, said approval for the trial will be requested of Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa, this month.

Doses will be imported for the tests and Tecpar plans to start producing the vaccine for Brazil’s market in the second half of 2021. Tecpar could eventually look to export to Latin American neighbours, Callado said.

Paraná is one of several Brazilian states that have struck out on their own to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines, motivated at least in part by a distrust of the federal government’s response.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has consistently minimized the gravity of the pandemic, which has infected more than 4 million people in the country and killed 124,600 in the worst outbreak outside the US.

Callado said Friday’s publication in the Lancet medical journal of results showing the vaccine had produced an antibody response in early-stage trials was an important development. He dismissed suspicion of Russia’s decision to fast-track registration of Sputnik V.

Russia heralded the development of the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine as proof of its scientific prowess.

Paraná’s government signed a memorandum of understanding last month with Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Institute, which is developing the vaccine, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is marketing it.

Callado said the vaccine will be given in two doses 15 days apart early next year and the results will take two to three months to process before it can be registered in Brazil.

He said 200m reais (m) have been earmarked to purchase the vaccines, used first to inoculate the state’s population.

Updated at 5.15pm BST

4.24pm BST

The European Commission has proposed a common traffic light system for EU member states to coordinate border controls and remedy the current, confusing patchwork of coronavirus restrictions on travellers across Europe.

It said it was responding to demands from the European Union’s 27 countries, which will have to approve the proposal, and from citizens facing long border queues or perplexed about where and under what conditions they can take trips.

Under the proposal, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control would produce a weekly map with every region or country coloured green, orange or red.
The commission is advising that no restrictions be set for travellers from green or orange zones, though visitors from the latter might be recommended to take a Covid-19 test.

Restrictions, whether a quarantine or a test, would be appropriate for those coming from red zones, although the measures should be the same for all red zones, whether inside or outside the country. Countries would be free to determine what measures to take.

The colour coding is based on two criteria – no restrictions for people from areas with 50 or fewer Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people in 14 days, or where the percentage of positive tests is below 3%, unless the number of cases exceeds 150.
Red zones denote regions or countries with over 150 cases per 100,000 or over 50 cases if at least 3% of Covid-19 tests are positive.

One EU diplomat said some ambassadors, who discussed the issue on Wednesday, pointed out that various EU countries did not have health services or test and tracing systems equally capable of coping with Covid-19. More vulnerable countries then might wish to set tighter limits for visitors.

EU countries, most of which closed their national borders when the coronavirus pandemic struck, began easing restrictions in June. But the coordinated opening swiftly unravelled.

On Tuesday, Hungary locked its borders, while exempting visitors from three neighbouring states, a move branded by the commission as discriminatory and illegal.

Separately on Friday, the German health minister, Jens Spahn, said EU counterparts wanted to shorten a mandatory quarantine for travellers returning from more risky regions within the bloc to a minimum of 10 days. The rule is now 14 days. Spahn said:

We want to prevent a situation where travel rules in Europe and to Europe are starkly different. This leads to uncertainty and creates problems at borders.

We agreed that when travelling from a risky region, a general quarantine of at least 10 days is advisable. Some member states want to keep the possibility to go beyond 10 days.

Germany defines a risky region as having 50 or more Covid-19 cases per 100,000.

Many EU countries are experiencing rising numbers of coronavirus infections and have widely varying quarantine rules for travellers returning from regions with high case rates.

Updated at 4.27pm BST

3.57pm BST

Covid-19 has forced the closure of a dozen schools in mainland France just days into the new academic year, the government said on Friday, as the number of coronavirus cases surge in parts of the country.

The education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said the overwhelming majority of France’s 12 million pupils had returned from Tuesday without any problems and that glitches were to be expected, Reuters reports.

Pupils aged 11 and over must wear face masks at all times. Attendance is mandatory, though schools can adapt to surges in local infections by limiting numbers for a few days or weeks – again forcing some parents to juggle work and childcare.

Giancarlo Ambrosini’s son’s primary school in Paris’s 16th district sent home two classes for a fortnight. He said:

It’s just the third day, they’ve just started, and there are already (virus) cases.

Though his son was not caught up in the closure, Ambrosini said he and his partner – who spent the spring coronavirus lockdown at his family home in Italy – would need to devise a backup plan were the school to close. “We both work, so it’s not easy.”

Some parents and teachers’ unions had voiced concerns that the virus could spread through classrooms.

Jean-Andre Lasserre, head of School Parents’ Union FCPE in Paris, said of the virus’s spread in the capital:

The dynamic looks terribly like what we experienced before lockdown. How will we ensure that parents who are put into self-isolation because of the children do not lose any income because they cannot go to work?

The education ministry told Reuters that, for now, affected parents would have to take holiday. It said the labour ministry was working on a measure to ensure that one parent could take paid leave without sacrificing annual holiday.

France reported more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, nearing the record of 7,578 set on 31 March.

Updated at 4.07pm BST

3.11pm BST

Surging coronavirus cases in Ankara in Turkey are stretching hospitals to the limit and Turkish authorities need to impose a fresh lockdown to bring the virus under control, according to doctors in the Turkish capital.

The city is now the epicentre of Turkey’s Covid-19 outbreak, the government announced this week, and although authorities say there is no plan for a lockdown as yet officials privately say new measures may be needed soon, Reuters reports.

Geriatrics professor Mustafa Cankurtaran at Ankara’s Hacettepe medical faculty urged the government to open all medical centres, including private health units. He tweeted:

Ankara has become Wuhan. A 10- to 14-day lockdown should be imposed. Health capacity may be exceeded.

Two officials told Reuters the number of cases in Ankara was rising faster than anticipated, and current measures including mask-wearing and social distancing were not having the results they anticipated.

One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said:

The daily positive cases are high enough to cause discomfort now, and everyone has started seeing daily new cases in their close circles. If new measures are not taken, it appears it will be more difficult to prevent new problems.

Health minister Fahrettin Koca, describing a “second peak” in Covid-19 cases in Turkey, said the number of active cases in Ankara this week were twice the number in Istanbul – whose population is three times the size of the capital’s.

Ankara governor Vasip Sahin told reporters on Friday that he hoped the rising trend in the number of cases would not require stricter measures such as curfew. Sahin said:

Curfew is a tough situation, we don’t want to impose that. We believe that it’s possible to reverse this trend in our city without such restrictions.

However, Ankara doctors and other health workers are exhausted, the Turkish Medics Association (TTB) says.
One doctor dealing with Covid-19 told Reuters there were over 1,000 daily cases at their Ankara hospital, not far below the official national daily total which stands at around 1,600. Patients were being treated in corridors, and doctors dying. the doctor said:

Ankara is seriously in big trouble. They really need to impose restrictions on being outdoors.

Asked about the numbers reported by the doctor, Turkey’s health ministry stood by its figures.

Fatalities across the country have jumped to their highest since mid-May, when lockdowns were in place, with 49 deaths reported on Thursday.

At the weekend, the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara accused the government of playing down the scale of the pandemic, citing local information.

Updated at 4.09pm BST

1.59pm BST

US job growth slowed further in August as financial assistance from the government ran out, threatening the economy’s recovery from the Covid-19 recession.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 1.371 million jobs last month after advancing 1.734 million in July, the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report showed on Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 8.4% from 10.2% in July.

Companies from transportation to manufacturing industries have been announcing layoffs or furloughs, putting pressure on the White House and Congress to restart stalled negotiations for another fiscal package. With just two months to go until the presidential election, the jobs situation likely will provide political ammunition for both Democrats and Republicans.

Programmes to help businesses pay wages have either lapsed or are on the verge of ending. A 0 weekly unemployment supplement expired in July. Economists credited government largesse for the sharp rebound in economic activity after it nearly ground to a halt following the shuttering of businesses in mid-March to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Friday’s report is one of just two monthly labor market scorecards left on the calendar before the 3 November presidential election. Employment growth peaked at 4.791 million in June.

Most of the job gains have been workers being recalled from furloughs or temporary layoffs. Though new Covid-19 infections have subsided after a broad resurgence through the summer, many hot spots remain.

United Airlines said on Wednesday it was preparing to furlough 16,370 workers on 1 October. American Airlines has announced its workforce would shrink by 40,000, including 19,000 involuntary cuts. Ford Motor Co said it was targeting 1,400 US salaried jobs for elimination by year end. Mass transit rail operators are also eying furloughs.

A report this week from the Federal Reserve based on information collected from the US central bank’s contacts on or before 24 August showed an increase in employment. The Fed, however, said:

Some districts also reported slowing job growth and increased hiring volatility, particularly in service industries, with rising instances of furloughed workers being laid off permanently as demand remained soft.

Updated at 2.09pm BST

1.55pm BST

The reproduction “R” number of Covid-19 in the UK remains between 0.9 and 1.1, the government said on Friday, indicating that the rate of infection is most likely either broadly stable or slightly growing.

The latest growth rate for the whole of the country is between -1% and 2%, the government said, meaning the number of new infections is somewhere between shrinking by 1% and growing by 2% every day.

Updated at 2.09pm BST

1.54pm BST

Iraq registered its biggest daily increase in coronavirus infections on Friday with 5,036 cases to take its total to 252,075, the health ministry said.
It reported 84 fatalities to take its coronavirus death toll to 7,359.

The daily tally of cases has been rising since the holy month of Ramadan and as many Iraqis flout lockdown measures..

Updated at 2.31pm BST

1.38pm BST

About 27,100 people in the community in England had Covid-19 during the week from 19-25 August, equating to about one in 2,000 individuals, with about 2,000 new cases a day, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics reveals.

The team behind the work – which is based on sampling of households – say that, once again, the data suggest infection rate in England is still levelling off, with no clear sign of a rise or fall, following a rise in the rate in July.

However, researchers behind the Covid-19 symptom study app say their data, based on swab testing of people reporting symptoms, tells a slightly different story, revealing a slight rise in daily cases of Covid-19.

The latest data suggests that from 16-29 August 2020 there were on average 1,423 new cases per day in England, compared with 1,073 reported the previous week for the period 9-22 August. For the UK the figures are 1,974 and 1,292 new cases per day respectively.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, and lead researcher on the Covid-19 symptom study, said the rise in numbers was occurring as economic activity and travel increased.

Earlier this week, experts told the Guardian the testing figures from the government suggested infections in the UK had risen since early July, although levelling off in August, even once an increase in the number of tests carried out was taken into account.

Prof Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, said at the time:

What it clearly demonstrates is we’re in a position where case numbers are going up. So we don’t have much room for manoeuvre.

Responding to the latest figures Prof Oliver Johnson, professor of information theory at the School of Mathematics at the University of Bristol, said:

Today’s ONS infection survey figures are very similar to last week. Indeed the long-term trend is broadly flat since the beginning of July, suggesting an R value very close to 1.

This data may appear to contradict the recent increase in UK cases: this may partly be due to some of those cases being discovered by targeted testing in hotspots.

Further, it is important to note this ONS survey covers only England and Wales: a significant proportion of the recent increase in cases has occurred in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and so would not be visible here.

For more UK coronavirus news, do check out our other live blog:

Updated at 2.13pm BST

1.13pm BST

The strict lockdown in Australia has led to calls for protests this weekend, which police have aggressively tried to shut down. Video footage of police seeking to detain a woman and a man for inciting people to protest have gone viral on social media.

James Bartolo, who calls himself the leader of the Conscious Truth Network, on Friday posted a video of police entering his house with a battering ram after he refused to open the door. He had earlier posted videos saying he was going to join an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday.

Police confirmed a 27-year-old man had been arrested and charged with incitement, possession of prohibited weapons and two counts of resisting police.

On Thursday, police came under fire for arresting and handcuffing a pregnant, pyjama-clad woman at her home for promoting an anti-lockdown protest in the regional town of Ballarat.

Victoria reported a record 59 deaths on Friday, the highest daily total for the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but that included 50 previously unrecorded fatalities in aged care homes in July and August. It also reported 81 new cases, taking the state’s total infections to 19,415.

1.09pm BST

Australia’s prime minister pressed states on Friday to reopen their borders by December and ease restrictions, as businesses and locked down households vented their frustration over deepening revenue and job losses. Reuters reports:

Prime minister Scott Morrison said the country would look to bring more Australians home, raising the cap from 4,000 a week, and suggested an eventual travel bubble with New Zealand would boost tourism and help revive the economy, which has fallen into recession for the first time since 1991.

Seven of Australia’s eight state and territory leaders agreed to map out a path to open borders by December, by coming up with a definition for “hot spots” to manage travel around the country, Morrison said following a national cabinet meeting.

He said he had told New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, that Australia would also look to apply the same hot spot approach to New Zealand. Morrison told reporters:

In the absence of a vaccine, we may have to live this way for year.

Australia’s biggest state, Western Australia, which has not had a local transmission for 129 days and has no social or business restrictions, rejected the plan to reopen its border until the eastern states contain the coronavirus.

Western Australia state premier Mark McGowan said the desert borders that separate his state would stay closed to save lives and protect the nation’s largest mining operations.

Australia’s early international border closures, lockdowns and social distancing restrictions has resulted in it recording far fewer coronavirus infections and deaths than other nations. Nationally there have been about 26,100 infections and 737 deaths.

Australia’s tourism industry welcomed the push to reopen internal borders in time for summer holidays and Christmas. Margy Osmond, the chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum, said:

Our industry remains on its knees in the fight of its life and has each month been losing thousands of jobs and bn in activity from the forced shutdown of domestic travel alone.

Victoria, the second-most populous state, is the epicentre of Australia’s latest wave of cases, mainly in the state capital Melbourne. Daily new infections have dropped to double digits this week thanks to a strict lockdown imposed on 2 August.

Melbourne is nearing the end of the six-week lockdown which includes a night time curfew, an hour a day of outdoor exercise and travel limits to within three miles 5km) of home. Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews is due to outline plans on Sunday for easing restrictions.

Businesses have been calling for the economy to reopen but Andrews does not want to lift restrictions quickly and then be forced to shut down again with another wave of infections.

Andrews told reporters:

There is simply no alternative but to ease out of these restrictions in a safe and steady way.

Updated at 1.31pm BST

12.59pm BST

The Japanese government has said it will cover the cost of coronavirus vaccines for its entire population, as it aims for a comprehensive inoculation against the pandemic.

The government has also announced it will establish funds to compensate people who suffer from any possible side effects caused by vaccines. The plans were outlined in documents distributed at a briefing by the economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, who also heads the coronavirus response

This is Lexy Topping taking over from my colleague Nazia Parveen. If you have a story from where you are, or you think there is something we’ve missed please do get in touch with me. I’m on alexandra.topping@theguardian.com or I’m @lexytopping on Twitter.

Updated at 1.31pm BST

12.14pm BST

Russia’s “Sputnik-V” Covid-19 vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in early-stage trials, according to results published by the Lancet medical journal.

The results of the two trials, conducted in June-July this year and involving 76 participants, showed 100% of participants developing antibodies to the new coronavirus and no serious side-effects, the Lancet said.

Russia licensed the two-shot jab for domestic use in August, the first country to do so and before any data had been published or a large-scale trial begun.

“The two 42-day trials including 38 healthy adults each did not find any serious adverse effects among participants, and confirmed that the vaccine candidates elicit an antibody response,” the Lancet said.

“Large, long-term trials including a placebo comparison, and further monitoring are needed to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for preventing Covid-19 infection.”

A scientist filters out samples during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease at a laboratory in St Petersburg, Russia.
A scientist filters out samples during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease at a laboratory in St Petersburg, Russia.
Photograph: Anton Vaganov/Reuters

The vaccine is named Sputnik-V in homage to the world’s first satellite, launched by the Soviet Union. Some western experts have warned against its use until all internationally approved testing and regulatory steps have been taken.

But with the results published for the first time in an international peer-reviewed journal, and with a 40,000-strong later-stage trial launched last week, a senior Russian official said Moscow had faced down its critics abroad.

“With this (publication) we answer all of the questions of the west that were diligently asked over the past three weeks, frankly with the clear goal of tarnishing the Russian vaccine,” said Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which has backed the vaccine.

“All of the boxes are checked,” he told Reuters. “Now … we will start asking questions of some of the western vaccines.”

Updated at 12.25pm BST

11.32am BST

The regional government of Madrid, the worst-affected part of Spain, has announced that no more than 10 people will be allowed to meet indoors from Monday and has also capped the number of people permitted to attend religious services and funerals.

The regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, said the “very painful and very difficult” measures had been taken in a bid to arrest the spike in cases in and around the capital.

Almost a third of the 100,000 new coronavirus cases detected in the past two weeks in Spain have been in the Madrid region, while it also accounted for 73 of the 191 deaths during the past seven days. In Madrid’s hospitals, 16% of beds are occupied by Covid patients, compared with a national average of 6%.

Both the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, Fernando Simón, have expressed concern this week over the situation in Madrid.

On Wednesday, the president of the neighbouring region of Castilla-La Mancha claimed that “80% of the cases we’ve got came from the radioactive viral bomb that was planted in Madrid”.

However, the central government has ruled out a return to lockdown or isolating Madrid from the rest of the country.
Explaining the measures at a press conference on Friday morning, the regional health minister, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, said that while the pandemic was “stable and under control”, action was needed.

From Monday, the existing ban on groups of more than 10 people meeting outdoors will be extended to cover indoor gatherings, and the number of people allowed at funerals, weddings, theme parks and betting shops will be reduced from 75% of capacity to 60%.

Ruiz Escudero also said the regional government was readying hotels to serve as medical facilities for those with mild infections and their families, and said the number of contact tracers in the region will almost double, rising from 560 to around 1,100. He added that 2m rapid testing kits had been bought.

The new measures will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis.

Updated at 11.35am BST

11.14am BST

Iran’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by 118 to 22,044, a health ministry spokeswoman told state TV on Friday, with the total number of identified cases rising to 382,772.

Sima Sadat Lari said that 2,026 new cases were identified in the last 24 hours in Iran, one of the worst-hit countries in the Middle East.

Updated at 11.19am BST

10.40am BST

Thailand is racing ahead with contact-tracing after detecting its first domestic coronavirus infection in more than three months, health officials have said, with tests conducted on nearly 200 people with possible exposure to the new case.

Thailand reported its first non-imported case in after more than 100 days on Thursday, after a prisoner a day earlier had tested positive for the coronavirus during a mandatory test for new inmates.

“We traced his movement back two weeks before he had symptoms on 29 August,” Sopon Iamsirithaworn, the director of the bureau of general communicable diseases, told a news conference.

3 September 2020
A man arranges a sales sign for a travel company during a domestic travel fair in Bangkok, Thailand. National travel has seen an increase in July as more people take advantage of less crowded tourist destinations in Thailand.
Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

The man, 37, had worked as a nightclub DJ at three different venues in the capital Bangkok during the past two weeks, officials said, before he was jailed for a drugs-related offence.

So far, 194 people considered at risk, including family members, inmates and people at the court where he had appeared have tested negative, Sopon said, adding that authorities were using a government smartphone application to contact those who had checked-in at those venues.

All of the country’s new cases in the last three months have been found in quarantine in individuals who were returning from overseas.

Thailand has reported a relatively low 3,431 cases and 58 Covid-19 deaths overall, with 96 patients being treated in hospital. That compares with more than 232,000 and 187,000 infections in the Philippines and Indonesia respectively.

Thai authorities advised those concerned about exposure to the new case to seek testing and to quarantine at home.
“If you suspect that you’ve come into contact with this DJ, you can come in for free tests,” a senior health official, Ritdej Chareonchai, said.

Updated at 11.21am BST

10.34am BST

Indonesia reported 3,269 new coronavirus infections, bringing the overall tally to 187,537, according to data from the country’s health ministry.

It was the third consecutive day of new infections above 3,000 and followed Thursday’s record-high 3,622 new cases.

Indonesia also reported 82 new deaths on Friday, raising its total fatalities to 7,832, Southeast Asia’s highest number.

10.30am BST

WHO: no widespread vaccination until mid-2021

The World Health Organization has said it does not expect widespread vaccinations against coronavirus until the middle of next year, stressing the importance of rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety.

“We are not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year,” spokeswoman Margaret Harris told journalists at a briefing in Geneva.

“This phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is,” she added referring to vaccine clinical trials.

Updated at 10.51am BST

10.06am BST

“Authoritarian”, “unnecessary”, “completely bonkers” and “Stasi” – Ireland’s latest move to tame Covid-19 is not going down well.

From next week, pubs and restaurants must keep a record of all meals ordered and if requested share the information with police and health officials for up to 28 days afterwards.

The government said the goal was to ensure customers ate, not monitor what they ate, but the hospitality sector and opposition politicians have denounced the rule, which was announced on Thursday.

“Bureaucracy gone mad,” said the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland. “Completely bonkers,” said Alan Kelly, leader of the Labour party. A “Stasi” move that risks turning Ireland into a police state, said Marc MacSharry, a backbencher with the ruling Fianna Fáil party. Anne Rabbitte, a junior minister, joined the backlash by telling the Irish Independent she was “totally gobsmacked” by a rule that was “a step too far”.

Publicans have asked the data protection commissioner to review the rule.

The government defended the measure as a way to protect people and ensure a level playing field for pubs and restaurants. The government is also coming under pressure to allow so-called wet pubs, which do not serve food, to reopen.

Updated at 10.30am BST

9.44am BST

Here’s a little more on Silvio Berlusconi being admitted to hospital.

The former Italian premier, who has history of heart and other medical problems, was admitted to a Milan hospital early Friday as a precaution to monitor his coronavirus infection, a top aide has said.

Senator Lucia Ronzulli told RAI state TV that the media mogul, 83, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week, was doing well. She said he was undergoing precautionary monitoring of his infection.

“He passed the night well,’’ she said.

3 September 2020
Press and cameramen gather outside the villa of Silvio Berlusconi’s Villa San Martino in Arcore, north-east of Milan, on Thursday.
Photograph: Matteo Corner/EPA

State radio later said Berlusconi was admitted to San Raffaele hospital, where his private doctor is based, shortly after midnight.

Sky TG24, reporting from outside the hospital, said Berlusconi had the beginnings of pneumonia and was given an oxygen mask to aid breathing. Italian media have stressed Berlusconi is not in intensive care. Sky also said he arrived by private car, walked into the hospital, where he had a CT scan early Friday shortly after arrival.

On Thursday, Berlusconi, speaking in a strong but somewhat nasal voice from his estate on the outskirts of Milan, told his supporters he no longer had fever or pain.

Italian media have said two of his adult children also were recently diagnosed with coronavirus and are self-isolating.

Unfortunately this isn’t a cold,’’ La Stampa newspaper said Berlusconi told the daily on Thursday. “Now it touches me but not only me, but also my family I realise more than ever how grave [the pandemic is].

“I’m aware of how much sorrow it has sowed in so many families, of how much pain it has caused so many people. I think of all those who aren’t here any more, I think of those who lost their loved ones,’’ the Turin daily quoted Berlusconi as saying.

Berlusconi has a history of serious medical problems. In 1997, he successfully battled prostate cancer, including by surgery. In 2006, he had heart tests at San Raffaele after fainting during a speech. A few weeks later he was fitted with a pacemaker at a U.S. hospital.

He also has had bowel surgery for an obstruction and suffered an inflammatory eye condition in the past.

Berlusconi spent some of his summer vacation at his seaside villa on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast. Many of Italy’s recent cases of coronavirus have been linked to clusters in people who vacationed on Sardinia.

29 August, 2020.
Tourists wear protective masks in front of the entrance to Phi beach on the Costa Smeralda, which was to close early due to coronavirus.
Photograph: Emanuele Perrone/Getty Images

According to Italian media, at the urging of family members, he spent a few weeks at another one of his villas, in France, early in Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, which was particularly devastating in Lombardy, where Berlusconi’s home and business empire is based.

On Thursday, the three-time former premier vowed to keep campaigning in upcoming regional elections in Italy for the center-right party, Forza Italia, that he created more than 25 years ago. The party has steadily lost popularity with voters in recent years as Berlusconi battled legal problems linked to his media business and his famed “bunga bunga” parties.

After being convicted of tax fraud in 2013, Berlusconi had to surrender his senate seat. He is currently a lawmaker in the European parliament.

Updated at 10.34am BST

9.18am BST

The Philippine health ministry reported 3,714 novel coronavirus infections and 49 additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 232,072 while deaths from the disease have reached 3,737.

8.52am BST

Russia reported 5,110 new coronavirus cases, pushing its national tally to 1,015,105, the fourth largest in the world.

Authorities said 121 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,649.

8.18am BST

Silvio Berlusconi hospitalised

Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has been hospitalised in Milan for further checks after testing positive for the coronavirus, his Forza Italia party said on Friday.

The party said his medical condition was not a cause for concern.

The 83-year-old-media tycoon had been in isolation in his house in the town of Arcore, north of Milan.

Forza Italia said he was at the San Raffaele hospital “as a precaution”.

Berlusconi had spoken via video link to a meeting of Forza Italia supporters on Thursday and said his fever had passed. “I no longer have fever, nor pain, I want to reassure everyone that I am quite well,” he said.

Updated at 9.36am BST

8.07am BST

The French education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, has closed 22 schools in France due to coronavirus cases.

“In mainland France there are currenly 12 schools closed out of a total of over 60,000, which is a small figure. Adding 10 schools in La Reunion (island), that makes it 22,” Blanquer told Europe 1 radio.

As more than 12 million pupils returned to school in France on Tuesday, some parents and teachers’ unions have voiced concern at plans for reopening classrooms as the spread of the virus gathers pace.

The health ministry said it had registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, just shy of a 7,578 record set on March 31, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.

Updated at 8.10am BST

7.45am BST

Nurseries and childminders in England who rely on fees from parents may be forced to close or quit the sector, creating a national shortage of childcare places, according to research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The study found that the coronavirus lockdown caused severe financial pressures for providers that received the bulk of their income from fees rather than through the government’s childcare entitlement, leaving about 25% of private sector nurseries vulnerable:

Updated at 8.10am BST

7.39am BST

Hello, I will be updating the blog this morning. As ever, please do send any tips and stories to nazia.parveen@theguardian.com or send me a DM on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NParveenG

7.37am BST

Ryanair raised €400m from shareholders via a share placement aimed at strengthening its balance sheet in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier said on Friday.

The Irish airline issued 35,242,291 shares at a price of €11.35 per share, a discount of approximately 2.6% to its closing price on Thursday, it said in a statement.

A Ryanair plane takes off from Manchester airport in June
A Ryanair plane takes off from Manchester airport in June.
Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Ryanair decided to raise the funds to capitalise on opportunities created by Covid-19 disruption and to “de-risk” its debt repayments over the next 12 months, it said on Thursday.

Updated at 8.13am BST

7.28am BST

US president Donald Trump has criticised the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, after the Democrat was filmed at an indoor hair salon with her face covering around her neck. Trump, a longtime critic of Pelosi, pounced on the opportunity to attack her over the incident.

“I’ll tell you what, she must have treated that beauty salon owner pretty badly. She uses the salon and the salon turned her in?” he said. “So I just put out that if she was set up, then she shouldn’t be leading the House of Representatives. I want the salon owner to lead the House of Representatives”:

Updated at 8.14am BST

7.15am BST

A groundbreaking new comedy sketch show based on women’s sex lives during lockdown, starring Aimee Lou Wood and Miriam Margolyes, is designed to “claim the stage” for women, its co-creator, Joanna Scanlan, says.

Sex Lives, believed to be the first interactive comedy backed by the BBC’s commercial wing, BBC Studios, documents stories submitted anonymously by women and has proved a hit online.

Following the #MeToo movement, Scanlan, who acted in The Thick of It, said she had “been thinking for a long time about trying to get a conversation around women’s sexuality into the open, into the mainstream. It always ends up being to the side, to the edge.”

7.02am BST

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

Before I hand over to my colleagues in London, may I suggest you start your weekend with this piece by my colleague Alyx Gorman, who tried several airplane meals (which are for sale in Australia for around US):

Updated at 7.03am BST

6.57am BST

Ukraine sees record new cases

Ukraine registered a record 2,723 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Friday, up from a previous record of 2,495 cases.

Ukraine has imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners entering the country until 28 September, and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in cases.

A woman visits a street bazaar in central LvivA woman wearing a protective face mask tastes a pear as she visits a street bazaar amid the coronavirus outbreak in central Lviv, Ukraine 3 September 2020.
A woman visits a street bazaar in central Lviv.
Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Updated at 7.26am BST

6.43am BST

Summary

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • Brazil has recorded more than 4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.
  • Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000, AFP reports. From Monday, travel from 30 areas classified as “red” will be limited and non-essential businesses shut down.
  • The Australian state of Victoria has confirmed 81 new coronavirus cases and 9 deaths in the last 24 hours. It also added 50 deaths from people who passed away in aged care facilities in July and August.
  • New Zealand to retain current restrictions until mid-September. New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said on Friday the country’s current restrictions to beat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would be retained until mid-September. The largest city, Auckland, will remain on alert level 2.5, while the rest of the country will be on alert level 2.0, Ardern told a news conference. The settings would be reviewed on 14 September, she said.
  • France counts more than 7,000 new infections for second day. France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.
  • Robert Pattinson tests positive for Covid-19, halting Batman production. The actor Robert Pattinson has tested positive for Covid-19, pausing production in the UK of Warner Bros movie The Batman, US media reports.
  • US public health officials prepare for October vaccine rollout. Federal public health officials in the US have asked their state counterparts to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk individuals as early as late October.
  • Tracing apps may stem Covid-19 spread even when only a few use them – study. Contact tracing apps can sharply reduce the spread of Covid-19 even when only a few people use them, a study published on Thursday by researchers at Google and Oxford University showed. An app used by 15% of the population together with a well-staffed contact-tracing workforce can lead to a 15% drop in infection rates and an 11% drop in Covid-19 deaths, according to statistical modelling.
  • Mexico leads the world in healthcare worker deaths from Covid-19. Mexico leads the world in coronavirus deaths among its healthcare workers, Amnesty International has said in a new report. The report said Mexico has reported 1,320 confirmed deaths among health workers from Covid-19 so far, surpassing the US at 1,077, the UK at 649, and Brazil at 634.
  • Thailand reports first locally transmitted case in 100 days. Thailand has reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in 100 days, after a prison inmate was confirmed to have Covid-19. Dozens of contacts are now being tested, including his family members, people he met in court and other inmates. He had been arrested for drug offences on 26 August.
  • Greece and Portugal stay on England’s list of quarantine-free travel. English tourists in Greece and Portugal have been spared the cost and chaos of rushing back to the UK after the British government defied expectations and maintained quarantine-free travel from both countries for the time being.

Updated at 7.28am BST

6.39am BST

Friday briefing: Eat out to help out budget blowout

At least 100m subsidised meals were eaten by diners in the UK in August under the government’s month-long “eat out to help out” scheme. The subsidy has cost more than the £500m that Rishi Sunak set aside in the July mini-budget. There was a rush during the last week of the scheme with 51m meals claimed in England, 6m in Scotland, and more than 2m in both Wales and Northern Ireland:

6.30am BST

More now on New Zealand, from Reuters:

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday retained the restrictions put in place to beat the spread of the coronavirus until at least mid-September, as the country reported a new death related to the virus.

Auckland, the country’s largest city and the centre of a fresh outbreak, will remain on alert level 2.5, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.

“The best economic response remains a strong health response. If we get it right we will ultimately shake off restrictions faster and lessen the risk of bouncing around,” Ardern told a news conference.

Other parts of the country will be under alert level 2, which requires people to observe social distancing rules and restricts gathering sizes to no more than 100 people. The settings will be reviewed on 14 September.

New Zealand’s health ministry said a man in his 50s had died in an Auckland hospital on Friday due to Covid-19. He was linked to a known Auckland cluster and was in intensive care for the last few days. His death takes the number of COVID-19 related fatalities in the country to 23.

The ministry also reported five new Covid-19 cases on Friday – three cases of community transmission and two imported cases at managed isolation facilities. The country has had 1,413 coronavirus cases so far, of which 112 are active.

6.01am BST

Pupils at special schools in England have been “forgotten about” in the rush to restart full-time education, with 20,000 children with special needs unlikely to return to school because of safety concerns, according to a study.

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) said they were concerned about sending their children back to school in September because their children were medically vulnerable or because their child’s needs mean they cannot adhere to social distancing and safe practice.

Headteachers at more than 200 schools and colleges in England told researchers the government’s guidance had been unclear and showed a lack of understanding of how special schools work, the types of pupils they support, and how much they rely on other key services including healthcare and local charities:

5.57am BST

India cases top 80,000 for second day in a row

India has for the second day in a row reported more than 80,000 cases in 24 hours:

India reported a daily jump of 83,341 coronavirus infections on Friday, taking its tally to 3.94 million, health ministry data showed, as Asia’s worst-hit country closes in on Brazil as the world’s second most affected nation from the virus.

The ministry said 1,096 people died from Covid-19, taking the toll to 68,472.

Updated at 6.47am BST

5.39am BST

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 782 to 246,948, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

5.27am BST

Turkey has extended by two months a layoff ban it introduced to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

The presidential decision, which retains the ban until mid-November, was announced in the Official Gazette on Friday.

The measure was first imposed in April for three months, but President Tayyip Erdogan has the authority to extend it until July 2021.

5.12am BST

A prize-winning Iranian lawyer is over three weeks into a hunger strike to draw attention to the plight of political prisoners in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, as international concern grows over the state of her health, AFP reports.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, co-laureate of the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov prize in 2012, is serving a 12-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison, imposed last year, after she defended women arrested for protesting compulsory headscarf laws.

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in 2008.
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in 2008.
Photograph: Arash Ashourinia/AP

Her husband Reza Khandan said on social media channels that she began the hunger strike on August 11, posting a statement from Sotoudeh saying that the conditions of political prisoners detained on “unbelievable” charges were impossible to tolerate and they were offered no legal hope of release as the pandemic engulfs Iran.

Sotoudeh, 57, said her strike was to secure the release of political prisoners – who have not benefited from the furloughs that saw tens of thousands of other convicts freed during the pandemic – after the judiciary ignored her written pleas.

4.53am BST

Near Madrid airport, an army of cranes works round the clock to build a new pandemic hospital which is expected to open in November, AFP reports.

But a second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak is already under way in Spain, straining the capital’s public health care system. Around 400 builders have been working round the clock since July to build the 45,000-square-metre Isabel Zendal hospital, which will be able to care for over 1,000 patients during a health emergency.

Concrete mixers churn at full speed at the vast building site as welders set off sparks from the pillars which will form the backbone of building.

“Two months ago there was nothing here,” said Alejo Mirando, the director general of health infrastructure in hardest-hit Madrid region.

The regional government of Madrid is spending over 50 million euros ( million) to build the hospital, which will have bay windows which will allow doctors to monitor patients without becoming contaminated and large halls without individual rooms.

The architecture was designed to “avoid transmission” of viruses and it was inspired by the design of a temporary field hospital set up at Madrid’s sprawling Ifema exhibition centre between March and May, said Mirando.

The opening of the new hospital however will come too late to deal with a surge in infections in the Madrid region, which Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called “worrying”.

4.43am BST

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that that the country plans to introduce a “hotspot” approach to tourism from New Zealand, which will allow people from parts of New Zealand that are declared safe (in coronavirus terms) to visit Australia:

I spoke to Prime Minister Ardern this morning, and what I advised her was that Australia will be looking to apply the same hotspot approach to New Zealand. So, that means, when we’re in a position to do so, and when the Acting Chief Medical Officer has come to a set of arrangements with New Zealand, then we would be able to have New Zealanders come to Australia.

That doesn’t mean Australians can go to New Zealand. That’s a matter for Prime Minister Ardern. But if there’s no Coivd in Christchurch, and there’s no Covid in Queensland, then there’s no reason both of them can’t come to Sydney. And that will mean, I think, an important boost for our tourist economy, whether it’s in New South Wales or anywhere else. And so Prime Minister Ardern was very happy to have further discussions on that, but ultimately that’s a decision for our border and people coming in to Australia.

But we would just need to ensure that the arrangements in place of identifying hot spots and things of that nature were well-understood and were practical.”

4.33am BST

The risk of dying from Covid-19 is at least 50% higher for Māori than New Zealanders from European backgrounds, according to a study from The Conversation published today.

Māori and Pacific populations are historically at greater risk of hospitalisation and death from pandemics. During the 2009 influenza pandemic, the rate of infection for Māori was twice that of Pākehā (European New Zealanders). Māori were three times more likely to be hospitalised and almost three times more likely to die.

Their results show that if Covid-19 were allowed to become more widespread in New Zealand, it would have a devastating impact on Māori and Pacific communities:

4.17am BST

4.06am BST

Mexican officials on Thursday downplayed the countrys rate of coronavirus infections and deaths among medical personnel, appearing to dispute reports this week that Mexico had the highest rate in the world, AP reports.

The Health Department said 1,410 doctors, nurses and other hospital employees had died from Covid-19, while a total of 104,590 medical workers had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Infections among among health care personnel represented about 17% of Mexicos total 616,900 coronavirus cases, though such workers account for only about 1% of the population. Deaths in the sector were only about 2% of Mexico’s total deaths, and the government said the fact that health care workers died less frequently than other severe cases showed they weren’t particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

The argument appeared to ignore that health care workers are younger in general than other severe cases almost half of those severely ill from Covid-19 are above retirement age and that they presumably have better medical knowledge and access to care which tend to improve their chances of survival.

3.37am BST

Mexico’s health ministry on Thursday reported 5,937 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 513 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 616,894 cases and 66,329 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

General view of the monument to the Pipila, which is adorned with a giant mask to raise awareness of the importance of their use during the coronavirus pandemic, in Guanajuato, Mexico, 2 September 2020.
General view of the monument to the Pipila, which is adorned with a giant mask to raise awareness of the importance of their use during the coronavirus pandemic, in Guanajuato, Mexico, 2 September 2020.
Photograph: Luis Ramirez/EPA

3.22am BST

South Korean doctors have agreed to end a two-week strike which has hindered efforts to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday, after overnight talks over the government’s medical reform plans, Reuters reports.

Some 16,000 intern and resident doctors have been on strike since 21 August. Trainee doctors are the backbone of healthcare services in emergency rooms and intensive care units, and volunteer at temporary testing stations.

The doctors oppose the reform proposals, which include increasing the number of doctors, building public medical schools, allowing state insurance to cover more oriental medicine, and expanding telemedicine.

The government says the initiatives could help better deal with health crises like the coronavirus, but the doctors argued it would only deepen the concentration of physicians in cities without improving poor medical infrastructure and work conditions in rural provinces.

Chung said the government, the ruling party and the Korean Medical Association that represents the industry have reached a “dramatic compromise” after lengthy negotiations.

3.05am BST

2.27am BST

New Zealand to retain current restrictions until mid-September

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that the country’s current restrictions to beat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would be retained until mid-September.

The largest city, Auckland, will remain on alert level 2.5, while the rest of the country will be on alert level 2.0, Ardern told a news conference.

The settings would be reviewed on 14 September, she said.

2.02am BST

Rishi Sunak has been urged by union leaders to launch a wage subsidy scheme to prevent a “tsunami” of unemployment when furlough comes to an end this autumn.

Demanding the chancellor follows the examples of other leading European countries to avert a looming jobs crisis, the Trades Union Congress said a continental-style system of “short-time working” wage support could be used in Britain to save millions of jobs from redundancy.

Under the system, companies struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic receive a government subsidy for the hours a worker is away from their job. Similar systems are used in Germany, Austria and France and have been extended in recent months because of the growing risks for companies and workers around the world amid the Covid recession:

1.41am BST

Once, Gate Gourmet’s Sydney warehouse produced 30,000 in-flight meals a day, for 21 airlines. They catered around 200 flights a day. They are one of the largest airline catering businesses in the world, supplying over 200 airports. In Australia, they have warehouses in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

In Covid times, things are a little different. With flights in and out of Australia largely grounded, and domestic flight schedules slashed, they are selling direct to the public. And the price is right.

My “clearance meal pack” is for 10 frozen meals, a regular meal pack of seven is . The “snack pack”, which promises 10 “assorted items” – from baggies of pork crackle to cans of cola – is a mere . You cannot pick the meals you’ll receive – though they have options for vegetarians.

Gate Gourmet aren’t the only ones getting on to the direct to consumer bandwagon – until 4 September, Qantas is having a stocktake sale, with cut-price mystery wine cases at .50 a bottle, as well as tiny wine bottles for .99 a pop:

1.31am BST

Asia Pacific shares suffer heavy losses

Shares in Asia Pacific are suffering heavy losses in early Friday morning trade following some hefty falls on Wall Street on Thursday.

The Nikkei was down 1.4% in Tokyo, the Kospi was off 2% in Seoul but the heaviest losses are in Sydney where the ASX200 has plummeted by 2.5%.

The US losses were driven by a correction in the price of technology stocks which have soared to record highs because the coronavirus crisis has been seen as broadly positive for the sector.

We have a full story on that here:

1.12am BST

Victoria adds 59 coronavirus deaths – majority from July and August

The Australian state of Victoria has confirmed 81 new coronavirus cases and 9 deaths in the last 24 hours.

It also added 50 deaths from people who passed away in aged care facilities in July and August.

12.59am BST

A choral cry for help based on a song from the musical Les Misérables is being aimed at the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, by workers who have slipped through the government’s coronavirus income protection net.

A hundred people, including self-employed driving instructors, fitness teachers and health workers, have recorded a version of One Day More in a plea for the government to bail out people whose incomes have evaporated since lockdown but have received little or no emergency help.

12.42am BST

Israel to impose partial lockdown

Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000, AFP reports.

From Monday, travel from 30 areas classified as “red” will be limited and non-essential businesses shut down, said Professor Ronni Gamzu, who is coordinating Israel’s battle against Covid-19.

A face mask is painted on a statue of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in the Israeli coastal city of Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, on 2 September 2020.
A face mask is painted on a statue of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in the Israeli coastal city of Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, on 2 September 2020.
Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities have unveiled a categorisation of districts, escalating from green, where coronavirus is deemed under control, through yellow, orange, and finally red for highest risk areas.

The Jewish state detected over 3,000 new infections on Wednesday alone, the highest number of confirmed infections in a single day. The 30 areas in the red category will be announced by Sunday, according to authorities.

The defence ministry said around 100 soldiers would be deployed to back up police as they enforce measures in red zones. Some 7,000 reservists would also be mobilised across Israel, it added.

12.24am BST

Brazil cases pass 4m

Brazil has recorded more than 4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Brazil has registered 4,041,638 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 124,614, according to ministry data, in the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak outside the United States.

Updated at 12.24am BST

12.09am BST

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest news from around the world for the next few hours.

Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000.

From Monday, travel from 30 areas classified as “red” will be limited and non-essential businesses shut down, said Professor Ronni Gamzu, who is coordinating Israel’s battle against Covid-19.

The Jewish state detected over 3,000 new infections on Wednesday alone, the highest number of confirmed infections in a single day.

Meanwhile Brazil’s infections have passed 4 million, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:

  • France counts more than 7,000 new infections for second day. France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.
  • Robert Pattinson tests positive for Covid-19, halting Batman production. The actor Robert Pattinson has tested positive for Covid-19, pausing production in the UK of Warner Bros movie The Batman, US media reports.
  • US public health officials prepare for October vaccine rollout. Federal public health officials in the US have asked their state counterparts to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk individuals as early as late October.
  • Tracing apps may stem Covid-19 spread even when only a few use them – study. Contact tracing apps can sharply reduce the spread of Covid-19 even when only a few people use them, a study published on Thursday by researchers at Google and Oxford University showed. An app used by 15% of the population together with a well-staffed contact-tracing workforce can lead to a 15% drop in infection rates and an 11% drop in Covid-19 deaths, according to statistical modelling.
  • Mexico leads the world in healthcare worker deaths from Covid-19. Mexico leads the world in coronavirus deaths among its healthcare workers, Amnesty International has said in a new report. The report said Mexico has reported 1,320 confirmed deaths among health workers from Covid-19 so far, surpassing the United States at 1,077, the United Kingdom at 649, and Brazil at 634.
  • Thailand reports first locally transmitted case in 100 days. Thailand has reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in 100 days, after a prison inmate was confirmed to have Covid-19. Dozens of contacts are now being tested, including his family members, people he met in court and other inmates. He had been arrested for drug offences on 26 August.
  • Greece and Portugal stay on England’s list of quarantine-free travel. English tourists in Greece and Portugal have been spared the cost and chaos of rushing back to the UK after the British government defied expectations and maintained quarantine-free travel from both countries for the time being.

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Corona Virus, Health, India, World

Coronavirus global report: ‘response fatigue’ fears as Mexico hits 9,000 daily cases

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Coronavirus global report: ‘response fatigue’ fears as Mexico hits 9,000 daily cases” was written by Oliver Holmes, for The Guardian on Sunday 2nd August 2020 13.31 UTC

Mexico has recorded more than 9,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time, as the country overtook the UK with the world’s third-highest number of deaths from the pandemic after the US and Brazil.

The surging numbers were reported as the World Health Organization warned of “response fatigue” and a resurgence of cases in several countries that have lifted lockdowns.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO, said: “Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths.”

Mexico, which like many countries has lifted tight restrictions imposed earlier this year, reported 9,556 new cases on Saturday. It also announced 784 additional deaths, bringing its total to 47,472.

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An emergency WHO committee reviewing the pandemic noted the “anticipated lengthy duration of this Covid-19 outbreak” required a sustained response, according to a statement from the UN body released on Saturday.

It said “nuanced, pragmatic guidance” was needed to “reduce the risk of response fatigue in the context of socioeconomic pressure”.

Several countries attempting to reimpose coronavirus restrictions have been faced with domestic discontent, including from conspiracy theorists on the far left and far right. In Germany, police said 45 officers were injured in Berlin during the weekend “day of freedom” demonstrations. Many protesters were not wearing masks or social distancing.

There have been almost 17.8m confirmed cases around the world and more than 684,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

South Africa, which gradually loosened a strict lockdown imposed at the end of March, reported it had counted more than half a million cases at the weekend. The country is by far the hardest-hit in Africa and accounts for more than half of diagnosed infections.

So far, the number of fatalities stands at 8,153. However, local researchers have recorded a jump of nearly 60% in natural deaths in recent weeks, suggesting a much higher toll of coronavirus-related fatalities than officially registered.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday that South Africa’s case fatality rate stood at 1.6%, well below the global average. “While South Africa has the fifth-highest number of total Covid-19 cases globally, we have only the 36th highest number of deaths as a proportion of the population,” he said.

Meanwhile, India reported nearly 55,000 new coronavirus cases, down from the previous day’s record 57,118 but raising the country’s total to 1.75m. The month of July accounted for more than 1.1m of those cases.

The country’s interior minister, Amit Shah, said on Sunday he had tested positive for coronavirus and had been admitted to hospital. Shah, a close aide to Narendra Modi, the prime minister, heads a key ministry that has been at the forefront of managing India’s coronavirus outbreak.

The Australian state of Victoria has declared a state of disaster and placed Melbourne, the country’s second-biggest city, under night-time curfew as it grapples with hundreds of “mystery cases” of coronavirus.

Under the six-week so-called stage 4 lockdown, no one will be allowed to venture further than 5km (3.1 miles) from their home, only one person per household per day will be allowed to go shopping, and only one hour of exercise will be permitted.

Seven health officials from China were due to arrive in Hong Kong on Sunday, the first members of a 60-person team that will carry out widespread testing for Covid-19 in the territory as it races to halt a third wave of the illness.

In the Philippines, infections surged past 100,000 on Sunday, after medical groups declared that the country was waging a losing battle against the virus. The country said on Sunday it would reimpose a stricter lockdown in and around its capital for two weeks from midnight on 4 August.

The country has the second-highest number of cases in south-east Asia after Indonesia and has had more infections than China, where the pandemic began late last year.

President Rodrigo Duterte eased a severe virus lockdown in the capital, Manila, a city of more than 12 million people, on 1 June, after the economy shrank slightly in the first quarter, its first contraction in more than two decades.

France and Spain, two countries that imposed stringent lockdowns earlier this year, have both also experienced recent surges in cases, while in the UK, Boris Johnson was reportedly considering new lockdown measures in England.

In Israel, a steep rise in cases and the government’s bungled economic response has sparked increasingly large protests. On Saturday night, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to call for the resignation of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also faces corruption allegations.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Corona Virus, Health, World

‘We give patients their voices back’: the speech therapists on the Covid-19 frontline

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “‘We give patients their voices back’: the speech therapists on the Covid-19 frontline” was written by As told to Sarah Johnson, for theguardian.com on Thursday 30th July 2020 07.30 UTC

I lead a group of NHS speech and language therapists at St Thomas’ hospital in London. I decided to become a speech and language therapist because the job is so varied. But I never thought it would lead me to the centre of a pandemic.

My profession is often misunderstood and the name doesn’t do justice to everything we do. Our role in the response to Covid-19 has been vital; we have been in the thick of it, treating patients with coronavirus in intensive care units (ICUs).

We are there as patients are woken up after being ventilated. The look of terror in their eyes is easy to see. The tube that has been down their throat to keep them breathing has been replaced by another, a tracheostomy, and they can’t say anything. They are frightened. Often they don’t realise what is going on. They may have come in to hospital with coronavirus feeling a bit unwell and then gone downhill very quickly. There are no relatives with them and they’re surrounded by people in full personal protective equipment (PPE) who look like Martians.

Our job is to help patients in critical care who have difficulty swallowing and eating, and who need help weaning from tracheostomy tubes. The bread and butter of what my team does is helping people return to eating and drinking. A huge number of patients who are ventilated lose the ability to swallow safely. When that happens, food and drink go into lungs instead of the stomach; it’s a big cause of pneumonia and death.

We also help people to communicate and establish a voice. Sometimes when they wake up and have a tracheostomy tube in, we’ll give them a whiteboard to write things on, or we’ll use charts with letters and pictures they can point to. When the tube comes out, swelling in their throat or damage to the voice box means they can’t speak. We give people therapy to get their voice back.

We knew Covid-19 was coming, but it still seemed to happen overnight. In March, the first British super-spreader was treated at the hospital and within a couple of weeks, we were treating patient after patient with coronavirus. We had to respond very quickly and upskilled people to get them able to work with the patients we were seeing. Normally we would only see a few tracheostomy patients a week, but it didn’t take long before every patient we saw had one. We have a massive ICU and tripled our number of beds to meet the need. We were very busy.

I’m so proud of my team for their role in the coronavirus crisis. With the right care, a lot of patients have recovered quite quickly and have been eating and drinking within a few days. We’ve also been helping people have discussions with the wider healthcare team and their families. One of my team witnessed a marriage proposal over a video call, while others have been there when a patient has been able to talk to their partner for the first time since being sedated. That’s been possible because of the work my team has done.

But everyone is now facing burnout. Wearing PPE constantly is exhausting, hot and sweaty. At first, the adrenaline was pumping and people rallied round. Everyone felt buoyed by the clapping. Since then, the number of Covid-19 patients has declined but the virus is still around. We treat everyone as if they might have it and we have to be on alert for a second wave. That’s the hard bit. It feels like now should be the time when the B-team comes in and gives everyone time off to regroup but we all have to keep going. We’re in masks all day long. That’s our new reality and it’s really difficult.

We get trains home and see people who are not wearing masks or social distancing. Perhaps the public is fatigued from being on high alert and maybe it’s not realistic to expect people to live under the cloud of restrictions. We in the hospital still have to, however.

We’ve helped patients who could barely swallow their own saliva be able to go home, eat and drink and communicate with family. That is our achievement and we need to carry on. At the same time, it’s frightening because there are still deaths every day. We face going into winter knowing that we normally have an increase in patient referrals with winter bugs and Covid-19 will be added into that mix.

What I have really learned through this is the strength of the team I work in is everything. We have become a work family; our debriefing sessions and a wellbeing hour have been cathartic and we have had excellent support from our colleagues in psychology. As we can’t see where we’re going or know when it will end, maybe it’s about celebrating how far we have come.

If you would like to contribute to our Blood, sweat and tears series about experiences in healthcare during the coronavirus outbreak, get in touch by emailing sarah.johnson@theguardian.com

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World

Man on trial for blasphemy shot dead in court in Pakistan

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Man on trial for blasphemy shot dead in court in Pakistan” was written by Shah Meer Baloch and Emma Graham-Harrison, for The Guardian on Wednesday 29th July 2020 15.01 UTC

A Pakistani man on trial for blasphemy has been shot dead in a courtroom, in the latest violent incident connected with the country’s blasphemy laws.

Tahir Ahmed Naseem had been in prison since his arrest in 2018, allegedly after claiming he was a prophet. He is a member of the Ahmedi sect, which is persecuted in Pakistan where they have officially been declared non-Muslims.

The shooting took place at a high-security complex next to the Peshawar high court.

“I was sitting on my seat in the office around 11.30 when I heard the firing,” said Saeed Zaher, a lawyer, who rushed to the site of the attack, and said the victim appeared to have been shot once in the head. “The killer was caught by the police and the body was lying on a bench within the courtroom.”

Members of the public are allowed to observe trials, but for his attacker to smuggle in a weapon represents a serious security breach. “A person entering with a pistol and murdering someone within a courtroom is very disturbing,” Zaher added.

Footage circulating on social media appeared to show the alleged killer, sitting barefoot on a bench under police guard, claiming he had been ordered in a dream to kill Naseem. He also attacked judges who hear blasphemy cases.

Blasphemy is an enormously sensitive charge in Pakistan, a criminal offence that can carry the death penalty, yet which is sometimes used to settle personal scores, and has become extremely difficult for the justice system to handle.

Mere accusations have prompted mob violence and lynchings; lower-court judges feel unable to acquit defendants for fear of their lives; even a supreme court justice recused himself from a 2016 trial.

While the state has never executed anyone under blasphemy laws, at least 17 people convicted of blasphemy are on death row, and many others are serving life sentences for related offences.

The case of Asia Bibi, a Christian farm labourer who endured a decade-long ordeal over the accusation she had insulted the prophet Mohammed in a dispute with neighbours, drew international attention to the problem of the laws.

Bibi was originally sentenced to death in 2010, though that verdict was later overturned. In 2011, the governor of Punjab province, Salmaan Taseer, and the minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, were murdered after they spoke in defence of Bibi and called for reform of blasphemy laws.

She was eventually given asylum in Canada but still receives death threats.

Since 1990, vigilantes have been accused of murdering 65 people tied to blasphemy, according to research compiled by the Pakistani thinktank the Centre for Research and Security Studies.

There was no comment from the government, a silence that veteran activist Ibn Abdur Rehman said was damning.

“Religious fanaticism is becoming unbearable in Pakistan. People are being killed in the name of religion. There is no check and balance. The government is clearly silent on this matter. This silence makes the government the culprit,” said Rehman, honorary spokesman for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

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Corona Virus, Health, World

Coronavirus live news: US deaths near 150,000 as Hong Kong warns hospitals could collapse

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “France sees highest daily increase in cases for over a month – as it happened” was written by Helen Sullivan (now and earlier); Jessica Murray , Lucy Campbell, and Kevin Rawlinson, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 29th July 2020 23.20 UTC

12.15am BST

We’ve launched a new blog at the link below – head there for the latest:

12.12am BST

The scandal over Dominic Cummings’ trips to and around Durham during lockdown damaged trust and was a key factor in the breakdown of a sense of national unity amid the coronavirus pandemic, research suggests.

Revelations that Cummings and his family travelled to his parents’ farm despite ministers repeatedly imploring the public to stay at home – as exposed by the Guardian and the Daily Mirror in May – also crystallised distrust in politicians over the crisis, according to a report from the thinktank British Future.

The findings emerged in a series of surveys, diaries and interviews carried out over the first months of the pandemic as the public got to grips with profound changes to their habits, relationships and lifestyles:

11.19pm BST

Hi, Helen Sullivan joining you now.

I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours – get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

11.13pm BST

Summary

Here’s a quick recap of the latest developments from the past few hours:

  • US coronavirus deaths passed 150,000. The death toll is higher than in any other country and is nearly a quarter of the world’s total. Of the 20 countries with the biggest outbreaks, the United States ranks sixth in deaths per capita, at 4.5 fatalities per 10,000 people, according to a Reuters tally.
  • Brazil confirmed nearly 70,000 coronavirus cases in new daily record. The country recorded 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 related deaths, as the world’s second-worst outbreak accelerates toward the milestone of 100,000 lives cut short.
  • Guatemala is burying dozens of unidentified Covid-19 dead. Hospitals say they have had to bury dozens of Covid-19 victims who have never been identified, with one hospital creating archives in hopes that once the pandemic passes relatives will come looking for them.
  • Macron’s popularity shot up after an EU recovery deal. In an opinion poll half of respondents said they were confident in the president’s policies for France, only the second time since April 2018 he has reached the 50% mark.
  • France saw its highest daily increase in cases in more than a month. The number of new coronavirus infections in France rose by 1,392 on Wednesday, a figure likely to fuel fears of a second wave despite officials downplaying such a scenario.
  • The Catalan government eased lockdown in city of Lleida. 160,000 people had been ordered to stay home following a spike in infections.
  • Lebanon reported its highest single-day infection tally. The country reporter 182 new coronavirus cases, ahead of fresh lockdown measures that go into effect at midnight.

Updated at 11.14pm BST

10.37pm BST

Argentina has started clinical trials on treating Covid-19 using hyperimmune serum developed with antibodies from horses, authorities from the laboratory involved said.

The serum, produced by biotechnology company Inmunova, is obtained by injecting a SARS-CoV-2 protein, which causes the animal to generate a large amount of neutralizing antibodies.

Plasma is then extracted from the horse, purified and processed.

After positive results in laboratory tests, the clinical trial to study the effectiveness of the serum will be carried out on 242 people diagnosed with the disease in moderate to severe conditions, the laboratory said.

“If we can lower viral replication in the first days, not only are we going to lower the viral load of the disease and the referral of patients… but we think this neutralizing capacity will allow patients to develop their own immune response,” said Fernando Goldbaum, Inmunova’s scientific director.

Goldbaum said trials had started on Monday and the first results were expected between October and November.

Argentina has registered close to 175,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with around 3,200 fatalities.

10.22pm BST

Guatemalan hospitals say they have had to bury dozens of Covid-19 victims who have never been identified, and one hospital is creating archives in hopes that once the pandemic passes, their relatives will come looking for them.

Workers at one of the country’s largest public hospitals have started photographing patients who arrive alone and too ill to give their personal details.

Those who die unidentified are placed in body bags with transparent windows over the faces in case relatives do arrive.

Protocols that call for rapidly burying the dead during a pandemic only make the situation more difficult, officials say.

The government has reported more than 47,000 confirmed infections and more 1,800 deaths nationwide.

The first of 63 unidentified dead at the San Juan de Dios Hospital, one of the capital’s largest, died on 25 April. She was in her 20s and was buried the same day.

Paramedics carry a woman into the emergency area of the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Guatemala City.
Paramedics carry a woman into the emergency area of the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Guatemala City.
Photograph: Esteban Biba/EPA

Byron Fuentes, director of the health ministry’s Public Cemetery Administration, said that so far no one has come forward seeking any of the 41 men and 22 women they have buried, identified only as XX.

One death certificate viewed by The Associated Press showed the person identified only as XX XX, XX XX, with the gender and an estimated age. For cause of death it listed acute respiratory distress syndrome and Covid-19.

For now, the unidentified Covid-19 victims are buried in a designated area deep in the capital’s Verbena Cemetery.

Surrounded by trees and near a settlement of improvised housing, unadorned graves are simply marked with a number.

Freshly dug graves are seen at a section where Covid-19 victims are buried at La Verbena cemetery in Guatemala City.
Freshly dug graves are seen at a section where Covid-19 victims are buried at La Verbena cemetery in Guatemala City.
Photograph: Santiago Billy/AP

For relatives who may one day seek out their loved ones, there is little to go on.

Officials estimate an age, record the gender and the hospital where they arrived. Relatives would have to provide information to match those limited details, said Fuentes, the cemeteries chief. Even then confirmation would be complicated.

“The law establishes that when someone dies from a quarantined illness, they can’t be exhumed,” he said. “The same law gives us an exception, but it is on a judges order, the judge would be the one responsible.”

“Since we stated to bury, we have not received any requests from anyone looking for a relative,” Fuentes said.

10.09pm BST

Brazil confirms nearly 70,000 coronavirus cases in new national daily record

Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak set daily records on Wednesday with both 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 related deaths, as the world’s second-worst outbreak accelerates toward the milestone of 100,000 lives cut short.

Brazil is the country worst hit by Covid-19 outside of the United States in both death toll and case count, with more than 2.5 million confirmed cases and 90,134 deaths since the pandemic began, according to ministry data.

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous and hardest-hit state, has been working through a backlog of previously unregistered cases, reporting more than 26,000 cases on Wednesday alone.

President Jair Bolsonaro has pressed to reopen the Brazilian economy, with lockdowns lifting in many cities despite the toll of the disease continuing to rise.

In some cases, Brazilians have packed into bars and crowded public squares, often in defiance of local rules.

Bolsonaro himself has flouted social distancing guidelines by joining supporters at rallies around Brasilia, the capital, in recent months.

He fell ill with coronavirus this month, and spent weeks in partial isolation before recovering.

The right-wing populist has argued the economic damage from lockdowns is worse than the disease itself, which he has played down as “a little flu” that can be cured by unproven treatments, involving the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.

Updated at 11.16pm BST

10.03pm BST

French president Emmanuel Macron’s popularity shot up by six points in July to reach the 50% threshold in an opinion poll, after clinching a deal with other European leaders on an economic recovery package and reshuffling his government.

In the Harris Interactive poll for LCI TV, half of respondents said they were confident in Macron’s policies for France, only the second time since April 2018 the French president reached the 50% mark.

The poll was taken on 21-23 July, shortly after the 27 EU leaders agreed on a €750bn stimulus that Macron said was “historic” and that should see France receive at least €40bn in grants to help recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Macron also changed his prime minister in early July and reshuffled his government.

The new prime minister, Jean Castex, saw his first popularity rating stand at 56% in the same poll, higher than the 51% of his predecessor, Edouard Philippe.

Updated at 10.20pm BST

9.59pm BST

Texas Representative Louie Gohmert has tested positive for Covid-19, forcing him to abruptly cancel his plan to travel to his home state with president Donald Trump.

The Republican immediately faced criticism from colleagues for shunning masks on Capitol Hill, where face coverings are not mandatory and testing is sparse.

66-year-old Gohmert, one of the House’s most conservative and outspoken members, told a Texas news station that he tested positive at the White House and planned to self-quarantine.

He is at least the 10th member of Congress known to have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Republican Representative of Texas Louie Gohmert wears a face covering during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Republican Representative of Texas Louie Gohmert wears a face covering during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

The congressman’s positive test raised further questions about the lack of mask and testing requirements in the Capitol as members frequently fly back and forth from their hometowns and gather for votes, hearings and news conferences.

Several GOP senators said they were pushing for more regular testing in the Capitol.

Republican Missouri senator Roy Blunt, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said:

I think particularly for members of Congress who are going back and forth, they represent the perfect petri dish for how you spread a disease.

You send 535 people out to 535 different locations, on about 1,000 different airplanes, and bring them back and see what happens. It seems to me theres a better path forward.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi has tried to encourage mask use, and committees have rules requiring the wearing of face coverings in hearing rooms.

But there’s no mandate for lawmakers to wear masks in hallways or while voting on the floor, and no mechanism for enforcement.

Gohmert, who has questioned mask use for months, also went as far as to say that wearing a mask may have been how he contracted the virus.

Medical experts say masks are one of the best ways to prevent transmission of the virus, which is thought to mainly spread through people who are in close contact.

Updated at 10.00pm BST

9.26pm BST

From grim milestones to record unemployment rates and protests against stay-at-home orders, the pandemic has upended life across the US.

Mixed messages from Donald Trump and his administration have caused confusion over when or if Americans will return to life as usual. Squabbles between the president, governors and mayors have inspired headlines as critics assail missed chances to contain the virus.

As the country’s death toll surpasses 150,000, here’s a look back on the defining moments from the US under Covid-19 so far.

9.05pm BST

Summary

If you’re just joining us, here is quick summary of the latest global coronavirus developments from the last few hours:

  • US coronavirus deaths surpass 150,000. The death toll is higher than in any other country and nearly a quarter of the world’s total. Of the 20 countries with the biggest outbreaks, the US ranks sixth in deaths per capita, at 4.5 fatalities per 10,000 people, according to a Reuters tally.
  • France sees highest daily increase in cases in more than a month. The number of new coronavirus infections in France rose by 1,392 on Wednesday, a figure likely to fuel fears of a second wave despite officials downplaying such a scenario.
  • Lebanon reports its highest single-day infection tally. The country reporter 182 new coronavirus cases, ahead of fresh lockdown measures that go into effect at midnight.
  • Madrid has rowed back on controversial plans to introduce “immunity cards” for people who tested positive for Covid-19. They were intended as a way of letting non-infectious people lead more normal lives while keeping vulnerable people under stricter measures, but politicians, rights groups and epidemiologists condemned the project as potentially discriminatory and medically unsound.
  • Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, has ordered bars and pubs to shut and banned large gatherings from midnight. If follows a Covid-19 outbreak in the city of Danang.
  • Florida reported a record increase in new Covid-19 deaths for a second day in a row. The state reported 217 fatalities in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 6,457. Another 9,446 cases were also recorded, bringing its total infections to over 451,000, the second highest in the country behind California.

9.04pm BST

US president Donald Trump has defended his push to use a coronavirus relief package to fund a new FBI headquarters near his Washington hotel despite opposition from fellow Republicans, citing his background as a real estate developer.

The bill is facing tense negotiations in the Senate, as multiple provisions aimed at helping Americans stave off financial losses amid the coronavirus pandemic expire on Friday.

The White House is at odds with both Democrats and Trump’s own Republicans, who control the chamber, over the package.

Trump at first did not directly answer a question about whether he would drop his demand for .8bn to fund a new FBI headquarters in downtown Washington, one block from Trump International Hotel. He later said the provision “should stay.”

He told reporters at the White House:

Republicans should go back to school and learn.

I’m very good at real estate.

8.49pm BST

US coronavirus deaths top 150,000

US deaths from Covid-19 have surpassed 150,000, a number higher than in any other country and nearly a quarter of the world’s total, according the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Of the 20 countries with the biggest outbreaks, the United States ranks sixth in deaths per capita, at 4.5 fatalities per 10,000 people, according to a Reuters tally.

The United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Peru and Chile have a higher per capita rate, the tally shows.

US deaths make up nearly 23% of the global total of just over 662,000.

The increase of 10,000 Covid-19 deaths in 11 days is the fastest in the United States since early June.

Medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
Medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
Photograph: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The pace of infections has accelerated since the US death toll passed 100,000 on 27 May.

The centre of the outbreak has also moved, to the South and West from the area around New York, which still has by far the highest death toll for one state at more than 32,000.

Arkansas, California, Florida, Montana, Oregon and Texas each reported record spikes in fatalities on Tuesday.

The rising numbers have crushed early hopes the country was past the worst of an economic crisis that has decimated businesses and put millions of Americans out of work.

Health experts have been saying for months that the US outbreak could be brought under control if guidelines to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public were followed everywhere.

Such measures have become a hot partisan issue after president Donald Trump, who initially played down the seriousness of the health crisis, refused to wear a mask.

Trump has since come around to supporting masks but has still not imposed a national mandate requiring them.

On Wednesday, Florida reported another record increase, with 217 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department.

Updated at 10.46pm BST

8.36pm BST

Romania has adopted new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, including shortening working hours for bars and restaurants, and mandatory face masks in outdoor crowded spaces, after a surge in cases.

In the past eight days, the number of infections exceeded 1,000 new daily cases in Romania, bringing the total to over 48,000. The country also reported 2,269 deaths so far.

Masks are already mandatory in enclosed public spaces while restaurants and pubs can serve their clients only outdoors, with no more than four people at the same table.

Local authorities will decide exactly where it will be mandatory to wear masks in the open, prime minister Ludovic Orban explained, mentioning places like markets and train platforms.

All children over five years old will also have to wear a mask, according to the government.

“We are in a critical moment and measures to protect the population are very important right now”, president Klaus Iohannis told reporters.

The spike in numbers comes after the Constitutional Court ruled in June that mandatory hospitalisation violates human rights.

That decision has enabled thousands of infected people to discharge themselves from hospital.

Parliament adopted a new text this month that allows hospitals to keep people who test positive for the virus under observation for at least 48 hours, even if they have no symptoms.

“I’m confident that together we will manage to reasonably control this pandemic. I see re-entering the state of emergency as the last option,” said Iohannis.

8.31pm BST

An Israeli artist has mocked prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a re-enactment of The Last Supper installed in central Tel Aviv, a day after people protesting against him in the city were beaten.

Artist Itay Zalait said the piece in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, featuring a Netanyahu likeness perched over a long dining table and seated in front of a cake, represents “the last meal of Israeli democracy”.

Israeli artist Itay Zalait talks to journalists in front of his protest art installation depicting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sitting at a table for the “Last Supper”.
Israeli artist Itay Zalait talks to journalists in front of his protest art installation depicting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sitting at a table for the “Last Supper”.
Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Netanyahu is “the man who dined his heart (out) when the State of Israel beat a million unemployed people hungry for bread,” Zalait told reporters.

Protests have grown against the veteran premier over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the devastating economic crisis it has caused.

The prime minister has been accused of leading a chaotic virus containment strategy as cases have surged and economically painful restrictions have been reimposed.

Netanyahu says he has tried to strike a balance between protecting the economy and stemming transmission, a challenge faced by leaders across the world.

Crowds of thousands have gathered in Tel Aviv and outside the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence in recent weeks, with some demonstrators demanding Netanyahu’s resignation.

Tuesday’s rallies were smaller than previous demonstrations, but the one in Tel Aviv turned violent.

According to police and video taken at the scene, anti-Netanyahu protesters were beaten by unidentified individuals. A police investigation has been opened.

Mounted Israeli forces block the road as people stage a protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and a deterioration in economic conditions.
Mounted Israeli forces block the road as people stage a protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and a deterioration in economic conditions.
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Responding to images of bloody demonstrators, alternate prime minister and defence minister Benny Gantz said: “A red line was crossed last night, when citizens exercising their right to protest were attacked.”

“I insist that the right to demonstrate be protected,” added Gantz, Netanyahu’s election rival who joined the premier in a centre-right coalition government.

“We must not allow the violence to go unanswered.”

8.16pm BST

Lebanon has reported 182 new coronavirus cases, its highest single-day infection tally, ahead of fresh lockdown measures that go into effect at midnight.

The new cases bring the total number of Covid-19 infections in Lebanon to 4,202, including 55 deaths, according to health ministry figures cited by the state-run National News Agency.

New nationwide lockdown measures were announced this week following a rise in cases after previous restrictions were gradually lifted.

To stem a larger outbreak, the government ordered a lockdown from 30 July through 3 August, coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The lockdown will then be suspended for two days, with restaurants and cafes allowed to reopen at 50% capacity. Nightclubs, bars, indoor pools and public parks will remain closed.

Restrictions will then go back into force for another five days, after which authorities will reassess whether stricter measures need to be imposed.

Lebanon had gradually lifted lockdown measures starting in May, and in early July it opened the Beirut airport to commercial flights after a closure of more than three months.

But new cases have increased since restaurants, bars, clubs and resorts reopened.

The pandemic struck as Lebanon was already mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, prompting fears that the country’s fragile health system could collapse.

The Lebanese pound, pegged at 1,500 to the dollar since 1997, now sells for more than 7,500 on the black market, sparking soaring inflation.

This has dealt a heavy blow to a country where more than 45% of the population lives below the poverty line and more than a third of the workforce is unemployed.

7.49pm BST

Cyprus health authorities have reported a three-month high of new Covid-19 infections, 13 cases, including seven from a cluster in the southern port city of Limassol.

The uptick came three days before the Mediterranean holiday island is set to re-open to tourists from Britain, its largest market.

The island’s outbreak had peaked in April with a high of 58 cases, but since the end of that month, daily infections had been in single figures.

Cyprus issued a commercial flight ban on 21 March as part of its lockdown measures, which along with rigorous testing had sent new cases as low as zero a day.

Health workers carry out coronavirus tests on people in the southern coastal city of Limassol in Cyprus.
Health workers carry out coronavirus tests on people in the southern coastal city of Limassol in Cyprus.
Photograph: Petros Karadjias/AP

The Republic of Cyprus, which earns more than 15% of its GDP from tourism and welcomed a record 3.97 million visitors last year, has promoted itself as a safe destination and lifted the flight ban on 9 June.

But many of those diagnosed recently had a travel history, the health ministry said.

Four of the cases reported were contacts of a Cypriot couple who returned to the island on 17 July from the Netherlands and later tested postive for the disease.

Among the Limassol cases were two who had returned from the UK and one from a Greek island.

7.31pm BST

Pakistan’s de facto health minister, Zafar Mirza, stepped down on Wednesday in the middle of the pandemic citing criticism towards government advisers who hold dual nationality.

The resignation has come at a time when Pakistan could see a spike in cases due to two major Muslim gatherings in coming weeks.

Mirza was among several special assistants to the prime minister, or SAPMs, who have faced criticism from opposition parties for being either a dual national or non-elected members of the parliament.

Another of the advisers, Tania Aidrus, resigned citing her dual citizenship. Mirza has not said he held any other nationality other than Pakistan in his asset declaration.

“Due to ongoing negative discussion about the role of SAPMs & criticism on the gov, I choose to resign,” he said in a statement he posted on Twitter. “I am satisfied that I leave at a time when Covid-19 has declined in Pakistan.”

Pakistan has lately seen a downward trend in Covid-19 cases, which critics say is due to low testing, bringing daily infections as low as 1,000 from over 5,000.

The country has registered 276,288 coronavirus infections and 5,892 deaths.

The World Health Organization has recommended Pakistan increase daily testing to above 50,000, but after peaking at 31,000 tests, the South Asian nation is now conducting around 20,000 a day.

Two main events – Eid al-Adha falling at the weekend and Ashura later in August – which see large Muslim gatherings could risk spikes in the virus spread.

The government has warned people against violating public health measures.

7.22pm BST

France sees highest daily increase in cases in more than a month

The number of new coronavirus infections in France rose by 1,392 on Wednesday, the highest daily tally in a month and a figure likely to fuel fears of a second wave despite officials downplaying such a scenario.

The increase took France’s total number of confirmed cases to 185,196.

In a statement, health authorities said that, leaving aside the continuous decline of people in ICU units, all Covid-19 indicators showed “an increase of the viral circulation”.

The reproduction rate, on an upward trend since the beginning of the month, is now “higher than 1.3”, which marks a rise over 24 hours, they said.

The figure for new cases, the highest since the 26 June total of 1,588, is above the past week’s daily average of 980 and almost double the 715 average seen in May, when France started to lift its lockdown.

Earlier in the day, French health minister Olivier Véran urged the country not to drop its guard against the disease, but said it was “not facing a second wave”.

There were also 15 new deaths linked to the disease, taking the total to 30,238, a figure higher than the daily average increase of nine seen over the last week.

France has the seventh-highest death toll in the world.

Updated at 8.22pm BST

7.14pm BST

Catalan officials have eased the lockdown in and around the northeastern city of Lleida where 160,000 people had been ordered to stay home following a spike in infections.

The city and six nearby municipalities, which lie 150km west of Barcelona, had first been subjected to restrictions at the start of the month after cases started to rise, with a strict stay-at-home order taking effect on 13 July.

But on Wednesday the restrictions were eased after the outbreak was brought under control, with residents now able to travel outside of the area for the first time since 4 July.

Catalan president Quim Torra said:

Measures adopted in recent weeks have reduced the reproduction number of Covid-19 in the Lleida area.. which shows that the outbreak is being brought under control.

Bars and restaurants can now reopen their terraces until midnight and shops can open to customers if they reduce capacity by half.

Spain, where the virus has claimed more than 28,400 lives, has been struggling to contain a surge in new infections, nearly half of them in Catalonia, with the regional government issuing a stay-at-home order to nearly four million residents of metropolitan Barcelona on 18 July.

The situation in Spain has sparked a flurry of travel warnings with France advising against travel to Catalonia and its hugely popular coastline, and Germany following suit, naming Catalonia and two other virus-hit regions.

Britain has gone even further, deciding to quarantine anyone arriving from Spain, in a major blow for the tourism industry.

7.06pm BST

Hi everyone, this is Jessica Murray taking over the coronavirus live blog for the next few hours.

Please do get in touch with any suggestions or story tips.

Email: jessica.murray@theguardian.com
Twitter: @journojess_

6.56pm BST

Summary

  • Madrid rowed back on controversial plans to introduce “immunity cards” for people who tested positive for Covid-19. This was intended to be a way of letting non-infectious people lead more normal lives while keeping vulnerable people under stricter measures, but politicians, rights groups and epidemiologists condemned the project as potentially discriminatory and medically unsound.
  • US deaths from Covid-19 are approaching 150,000, the highest level in the world and rising by 10,000 in 11 days, according to a Reuters tally. This is the fastest increase in fatalities since the United States went from 100,000 cases to 110,000 cases in 11 days in early June, according to the tally.
  • Florida reported a record increase in new Covid-19 deaths for a second day in a row. The state reported 217 fatalities in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 6,457. Another 9,446 cases were also recorded, bringing its total infections to over 451,000, the second highest in the country behind California.
  • Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, has ordered bars and pubs to shut and banned large gatherings from midnight. If follows a Covid-19 outbreak in the city of Danang.
  • France extended its Covid-19 furlough scheme for workers in the hard-hit tourism sector. The scheme, known as “partial unemployment”, will be extended for those in the hotel, restaurant, travel, and events sector, “in principle until December”, the government said.

6.47pm BST

Health officials in Scotland have confirmed a cluster of eight new Covid-19 infections has been detected in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, linked to a number of businesses including a pharmacy in Inverclyde.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, disclosed earlier on Wednesday officials were trying to confirm whether the cases were linked. The small outbreak comes after a marked and steady decline in Covid-19 deaths and cases in Scotland, with only a trickle of new cases coming to light.

On Wednesday evening, an NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokeswoman confirmed the eight cases were connected. She said a “thorough investigation is underway.” Contact tracing of the patients had identified the pharmacy and businesses, although all the cases so far involved mild symptoms.

“Close contacts are being advised to self-isolate and other identified contacts are being followed up and given appropriate advice,” she said. “To respect and maintain patient confidentiality no further details will be released at this time.”

5.54pm BST

Bolivia’s police forces in La Paz and El Alto have collected since April more than 3,300 bodies of people who died at home or in public places, about 80% of whom are suspected of having been infected with Covid-19, a police chief said.

With health systems overwhelmed, the police have taken on a frontline role collecting the dead, with the number increasing to around three per hour in the past week as infections spread in the landlocked Andean nation of about 11.5 million people.

“The health service and forensic institutes have collapsed due to a lack of personnel, because the number of corpses that are now being collected is very large,” Walter Sossa, director of the special crime force in El Alto, told Reuters.

A health worker sprays disinfectant near the bodies that officers of the Special Force Against Crime (FELCC) transported to the ‘Hospital de Clinicas’ in La Paz, Bolivia.
A health worker sprays disinfectant near the bodies that officers of the Special Force Against Crime (FELCC) transported to the ‘Hospital de Clinicas’ in La Paz, Bolivia.
Photograph: David Mercado/Reuters

Bolivia’s official tally of coronavirus infections stands at more than 72,000, with a death toll of 2,700, though as in many countries the actual number of fatalities is thought to be much higher.

Often with little protection, 527 police officers have been infected with the virus, Sossa said, meaning officers sometimes are carrying the bodies of colleagues. Some bodies have been collected on streets and a recent case involved confirming the death of an infant from the virus.

“We are human and we can be infected like any other person. We are also in the first line of work, and so we are more exposed than others,” said Sossa, adding that the bodies of three officers were retrieved on Tuesday.

5.12pm BST

Health workers arrive to Tacumbu prison to carry out Covid-19 tests in Asuncion. The Paraguayan justice minister, Cecilia Perez, reported that positive cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at the National Penitentiary in Tacumbu and were 40 inmates were isolated.
Health workers arrive to Tacumbu prison to carry out Covid-19 tests in Asuncion. The Paraguayan justice minister, Cecilia Perez, reported that positive cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at the National Penitentiary in Tacumbu and where 40 inmates were isolated.
Photograph: Norberto Duarte/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5.12pm BST

4.48pm BST

Spain diagnosed another 1,153 coronavirus infections in the past day, the health ministry said on Wednesday, as the country continues to struggle with a rapidly accelerating surge of new cases.

The cumulative total rose to 282,641 cases, the ministry said. The figure was up 2,031 from the previous day, and includes results from antibody tests on people who may already have recovered.

4.41pm BST

Madrid officials row back after outrage over plans for ‘immunity cards’

Reuters is reporting that authorities in the Spanish capital Madrid backtracked on Wednesday over a highly-criticised plan to give an “immunity card” to people testing positive for coronavirus so they can enjoy higher-risk areas like gyms, bars and museums.

Politicians, rights groups and epidemiologists condemned the project, announced by regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso, as potentially discriminatory and medically unsound.

But after a weekly cabinet meeting of the Madrid authority, her deputy, Ignacio Aguado, told a news conference that the controversial cards would not in fact be issued.

“This would be a registry of organised, updated information, only to be consulted by the health services so that they can take epidemiological decisions,” he said of the modified plans.

Ayuso, who unveiled the programme on Tuesday as a way of letting non-infectious people lead more normal lives while keeping vulnerable people under stricter measures, was not immediately available for comment.

Madrid moved to make mask-wearing obligatory at all times in public as Spain grappled with the fallout from a surge in virus cases that has triggered several international travel warnings.
Madrid moved to make mask-wearing obligatory at all times in public as Spain grappled with the fallout from a surge in virus cases that has triggered several international travel warnings.
Photograph: Óscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 6.28pm BST

4.25pm BST

The US attorney general William Barr will be tested for Covid-19, after coming in close contact with Texas Republican congressman Louie Gohmert on Tuesday when Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee, a Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters.

Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec added that Barr already faces routine testing for Covid-19 at the White House.

Updated at 4.27pm BST

4.06pm BST

Berlin’s Tegel airport began large-scale coronavirus testing on Wednesday, as airports across Germany prepared for the advent of free, compulsory testing for many passengers from next week.

Two rooms were set aside for tests, but an airport spokeswoman said a larger space was being prepared, indicating that authorities are preparing for testing to remain a fixture for a long time to come.

“These rooms are of course a bit small, as you can see,” said spokeswoman Sabine Deckwerth. “That is why the large Terminal D in Tegel is being prepared to host a bigger one.”

A newly-arrived passenger uses a mobile phone to register to be tested for coronavirus at Tegel (TXL) airport in Berlin, Germany.
A newly arrived passenger uses a mobile phone to register to be tested for coronavirus at Tegel (TXL) airport in Berlin, Germany.
Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

An increase in the number of infections across Europe has dashed the hopes of airlines and tourist destinations such as Spain for a relatively quick return to mass tourism after months of lockdown.

Airports such as Frankfurt, Germany’s busiest, have been offering tests over the previous weeks, but now preparations are gearing up across the country for the testing of passengers arriving from countries deemed high risk that is due to begin next week.

On Tuesday, Germany’s top public health official scolded the public for their lack of discipline in adhering to social distancing practices and wearing masks that can slow the spread of the highly contagious disease in the absence of a vaccine.

The number of daily new cases almost doubled on Tuesday to 633, with 684 added on Wednesday, giving a total of around 207,000 with just over 9,100 deaths.

Earlier on Wednesday, research minister Anja Karliczek warned the public not to expect a vaccine that could be deployed on a broad scale before the middle of next year.

Updated at 4.30pm BST

4.03pm BST

Florida reported a record increase in new Covid-19 deaths for a second day in a row on Wednesday, with 217 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department.

The state also reported 9,446 new cases, bringing its total infections to over 451,000, the second highest in the country behind California. Florida’s total death toll rose to 6,457, the eighth highest in the nation, according to a Reuters tally.

People are seen dining on Ocean Drive as Miami Dade County is mandating a daily 8pm to 6am curfew, as well as Florida reporting more than 9,243 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday and 191 deaths Florida’s Covid-19 numbers surge.
People dining on Ocean Drive as Miami Dade County mandates a daily 8pm to 6am curfew, as well as Florida reporting more than 9,243 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday and 191 deaths Florida’s Covid-19 numbers surge.
Photograph: Larry Marano/REX/Shutterstock

Updated at 4.09pm BST

3.44pm BST

Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, has ordered bars and pubs to shut and banned large gatherings from midnight because of a Covid-19 outbreak in the city of Danang, the head of the city’s administration said.

In a statement on the city’s website, Nguyen Duc Chung, Hanoi’s chairman, said in a statement on the city’s website.

We have to act now and act fast. All large gatherings will be banned until further notice..

Over 21,000 people returned to Hanoi from Danang will be closely monitored and will undergo rapid testing.

3.15pm BST

The EU is to reimpose travel restrictions on Algeria, diplomats said today, after a resurgence of coronavirus in the north African state, AFP reports.

Governments have restricted inbound travel from outside the EU in order to slow the spread of the epidemic, but on 1 July began reopening their borders to travellers from certain areas.

The bloc is expected to announce tomorrow that Algeria is being removed from a list of non-EU countries deemed to have the virus under relative control, a number of diplomats told AFP.

Though the final decision on who to admit rests with national governments, the move effectively bans travel from Algeria to the EU.

An EU diplomat said that Algeria’s neighbour Morocco would stay on the safe list but would be kept under close watch.

Algeria has seen a rise in coronavirus cases, with 675 infections – a daily record for the country – recorded on Friday.

The EU’s safe list – which is reviewed every two weeks – also includes Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The travel list is not binding on member states, and some – such as Hungary – have imposed tighter measures of their own.

3.07pm BST

This picture is a true sign of the times – France’s new 43-member cabinet posing for its official photograph in socially distanced fashion on the Elysee Palace’s lawn.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, centrE in the second row, and French Prime Minister Jean Castex, on the left of Macron, pose for a family photo with new Cabinet members after the last weekly cabinet meeting before summer holidays in Paris.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron, centrE in the second row, and French Prime Minister Jean Castex, on the left of Macron, pose for a family photo with new Cabinet members after the last weekly cabinet meeting before summer holidays in Paris.
Photograph: Kamil Zihnioglu/AP

2.58pm BST

A government minister in Bosnia has died after contracting Covid-19, state television channel BHRT reported (via AFP).

Salko Bukvarevic, 53, held the cabinet post of minister for veterans’ affairs in Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat entity, one of the country’s two main administrative regions.

He had been hospitalised for health complications from the virus and was placed Monday on assisted ventilation, Sarajevo University clinic told BHRT.

The Balkan country of 3.5 million has reported around 11,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 300 fatalities.

It has faced a rampant resurgence of infections, with nearly 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, among the highest infection rates in Europe, the World Health Organization warned last week.

Fadil Novalic, 61, the prime minister of Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation, also suffered from an infection but has recovered and was released from the hospital last weekend.

2.45pm BST

The European Union’s executive said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy a limited supply of the Covid-19 medicine remdesivir from US drugmaker Gilead to address the short-term needs of European patients, and hoped to be able to order more later.

The anti-viral is the only drug so far authorised in the EU to treat patients with severe symptoms of Covid-19, but nearly all available supplies have already been bought by the United States.

The EU Commission has agreed to pay 63 million euros ( million) to buy enough doses to treat about 30,000 patients, it said in a statement.

The United States signed a deal with Gilead in June for more than 500,000 courses of treatment, which accounts for most of the company’s output through September.

The price paid by the EU appears to be in line with exchange rates at the end of June when Gilead set a ,340 price per patient for wealthier nations, although most patients in the United States are being charged a higher rate.

“This agreement is consistent with the previously announced pricing,” Gilead said in a statement.

The Commission said this batch would address “just immediate needs”, and that it was already working to secure new doses from October.

Most European countries have passed the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic but a rise in infections in recent days has pushed countries to reintroduce restrictions.

While the number of hospitalisations is on the rise in Europe, they remain far below the height of the outbreak in March and April, when many hospitals were overwhelmed.

2.13pm BST

Italy was the first European nation to be engulfed by coronavirus, but as the prospect of another lockdown looms in some of its neighbours, the country has managed to avoid a resurgence of infections. At least so far.

Three experts who spoke to the Guardian put this down to good surveillance and contact-tracing, as well as most of the population diligently following safety rules, with many people wearing face masks outside even though it is not mandatory.

“We have been particularly attentive,” Walter Ricciardi, an adviser to the Italian health ministry on the coronavirus outbreak, said.

We didn’t reopen schools, as they did in France … we’ve been attentive towards contact-tracing and managed to maintain a good chain of command and coordination to limit cluster outbreaks.

Italians take their health very seriously. If you look at the international data for mask wearers, 90% of people in Italy wear one, among the highest in the world, and this helps. We are reacting well because we are behaving well. So for now, we are succeeding, but the most important thing is to continue to pay close attention, especially to imported cases.

Get the full story here:

1.33pm BST

A plane carrying 129 Vietnamese nationals diagnosed with Covid-19 arrived in their homeland from Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday, with the patients immediately transferred to a hospital for treatment, the government said.

The patients, who were accompanied by a team of four doctors and nurses, were in stable condition after the 12-hour journey from Bata, the capital of the Central African country.

On a video aired by national broadcaster VTV, the patients, all in blue protective gear, are seen chanting Thank you Vietnam for bringing us home while the flight crew waves Vietnamese flags as they walk down from the plane to the tarmac at Hanoi’s airport.

A health worker disinfects arriving Vietnamese patients at the national hospital of tropical diseases in Hanoi, Vietnam. The 129 patients who were working in Equatorial Guinea were brought home in a repatriation flight for treatment for the coronavirus.
A health worker disinfects arriving Vietnamese patients at the national hospital of tropical diseases in Hanoi, Vietnam. The 129 patients who were working in Equatorial Guinea were brought home in a repatriation flight for treatment for the coronavirus.
Photograph: Bui Cuong Quyet/AP

The patients, who were serving as construction workers in Equatorial Guinea, were taken to a hospital for treatment, along with 100 other passengers and the flight crew, who will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Prior to the patients’ arrival, the hospital had cleared out its facility of 500 beds to treat the new cases, VTV said.

“We have moved all non-Covid-19 patients being treated at the hospital to other branches to avoid the risk of cross infections,” said the hospital director, Dr Pham Ngoc Thach.

1.11pm BST

France has extended its Covid-19 furlough scheme for workers in the hard-hit tourism sector. The scheme, known as “partial unemployment” was introduced during the strict two month lockdown to help companies hit by a drop or halt in business because of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the government announced the scheme would be extended for those in the hotel, restaurant, travel, and events sector, but gave no further details.

“Partial unemployment will continue under the same rules until September. It will be extended until December and we could see the rules adapted to how the particular sector is doing,” the tourism junior minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced, adding:

What is clear is that professionals working in tourism need long-term support. For some of them it will be a lost year. We will continue to support them.

We will see in September, but in principle it will continue until December.

Lemoyne said the government had put 18 million euros on the table in “support and investments” for the tourism sector. Tourism represents 8% of France’s GDP and employs around two million people.

France recorded 15 new deaths in hospitals from Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 30,223 since the start of the pandemic. There were 725 new cases confirmed in France, a lower increase than the 1,000 new cases per day at the end of last week. The current rate of positive tests is 1.4% and 135 clusters are being investigated.

The French prime minister Jean Castex and junior minister for tourism and francophonie Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, wearing face masks as they leave the last weekly cabinet meeting before summer vacation break, at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
The French prime minister Jean Castex and junior minister for tourism and francophonie Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, wearing face masks as they leave the last weekly cabinet meeting before summer vacation break, at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Photograph: Benoît Tessier/Reuters

1.07pm BST

Health experts, citizens’ rights groups and lawmakers lined up on Wednesday to criticise plans by Madrid authorities to give immunity passports to people who test positive for coronavirus antibodies, Reuters reports.

Dubbed ‘Covid cards’ by the regional government leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who wants to introduce them as a pilot project in September, they would identify holders as coronavirus-free, granting them access to high-risk infection zones including gyms, museums and bars.

“The key is letting people who are not infectious continue to live a normal life and focusing the precautions on the vulnerable,” Ayuso said on Tuesday.

We are asking for the card to be studied so we can identify who cannot infect or be infected right now.

Face masks will be mandatory in all public spaces in Madrid, including sidewalks and cafes, even when social distancing measures can be respected, from 30 July.
Face masks will be mandatory in all public spaces in Madrid, including sidewalks and cafes, even when social distancing measures can be respected, from 30 July.
Photograph: Jorge Sanz/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

However, at a time when countries are struggling to strike a balance between fighting the virus and respecting civil liberties, experts have questioned the scientific validity of such a system and say it could infringe on privacy rights.

“A positive Covid-19 antibody result does not necessarily mean you have ‘functional’ antibodies that will protect you from another infection,” Liverpool University epidemiologist Raquel Medialdea tweeted.

The World Health Organisation has discouraged the use of immunity passports on those grounds, and a large Spanish study into immunity showed 14% of participants with antibodies had lost them when tested again three months later.

The country has been gripped by a surge in new infections with 13,116 diagnosed in the last seven days, prompting some other regions to re-introduce curbs on movement and gatherings, and the UK government to impose a quarantine on returnees from Spain.

Madrid, which bore the brunt of the virus’s early April peak but has since managed to keep a lid on new infections, is the first Spanish region to consider a card system.

Ruben Sanchez, a spokesman for the FACUA consumer-rights group called the idea “ridiculous”, saying it would violate data-protection laws by obliging the bearer to hand over sensitive medical information.

Iñigo Errejon, leader of the left-wing Mas Madrid party, said Ayuso had failed to hire sufficient virus trackers and been slow to introduce mandatory mask use. He also criticised the card scheme, whose name Rocio Monasterio, a lawmaker with the far-right Vox party, said called to mind post-war ration books.

There was some support for Ayuso amid all the criticism. “An attempt at tracking and controlling the virus doesn’t seem bad to me,” Alberto Nunez Feijoo, head of the northern Galicia region, told RNE radio.

12.51pm BST

Vietnam late on Wednesday confirmed four new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 450, with no deaths.

The new cases include one in Hanoi, who had recently returned from Danang, where the Southeast Asian country last week detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months, the ministry of health said.

The other three cases include one from the Central Highlands and two in Ho Chi Minh City.

In a rare rescue flight, Vietnam repatriated 140 construction workers infected with Covid-19 from Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday, a state medical official told Reuters. The workers will be treated at a hospital outside Hanoi, the official said.

Vietnam’s health ministry has not yet added those cases to its coronavirus tally.

Women wearing face masks ride past a shop in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Women wearing face masks ride past a shop in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

12.31pm BST

The Covid-19 pandemic is unfolding in “one big wave” with no evidence that it follows seasonal variations common to influenza and other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, the World Health Organization has warned.

Amid continued debates over what constitutes a second wave, a resurgence or seasonal return of the disease, Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, insisted these discussions are not a helpful way to understand the spread of the disease.

The reality is that the issue of second waves has been a contentious one, much talked about by politicians – including the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnsonand the media, but often very ill-defined.

With no agreed-upon scientific definition, the term “second wave” has been used to mean anything from localised spikes in infection to full-blown national crises, leading some experts to avoid it.

“‘Second wave’ isn’t a term that we would use [in epidemiology] at the current time, as the virus hasn’t gone away, it’s in our population, it has spread to 188 countries so far, and what we are seeing now is essentially localised spikes or a localised return of a large number of cases,” said Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh.

As Melissa Hawkins, a professor of health at American University, wrote in the Conversation, looking at the US situation, talking about second waves in countries where the disease has simply progressed unevenly is inappropriate.

“The US as a whole is not in a second wave because the first wave never really stopped. The virus is simply spreading into new populations or resurging in places that let down their guard too soon,” she wrote, a comment applicable to other countries that have seen resurgences.

More on this story here:

Updated at 12.49pm BST

12.05pm BST

Pilgrims, donning face masks and moving in small groups after days in isolation, began arriving to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca on Wednesday for the start of a historically unique and scaled-down hajj experience reshaped by the pandemic, the Associated Press reports.

Rather than standing and praying shoulder-to-shoulder in a sea of people, pilgrims are social distancing, standing apart and moving in small groups of 20 to limit exposure and the potential transmission of the coronavirus.

In this photo released by the Saudi Media Ministry, a limited numbers of pilgrims move several feet apart, circling the cube-shaped Kaaba in the first rituals of the hajj, as they keep social distancing.
In this photo released by the Saudi media ministry, a limited numbers of pilgrims move several feet apart, circling the cube-shaped Kaaba in the first rituals of the hajj.
Photograph: Ministry of Media/AP

Pilgrims are eating prepackaged meals alone in their hotel rooms and praying at a distance from one another. The Saudi government is covering all the pilgrims’ expenses of travel, accommodation, meals and healthcare.

While the experience is starkly different, it remains an opportunity for pilgrims to wipe clean past sins and deepen their faith.

Ammar Khaled, a 29-year-old Indian pilgrim who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, said although he’s alone on the hajj he’s praying for those he loves.

Words aren’t enough to explain how blessed I feel and how amazing the arrangements have been. They have taken every possible precaution.

Pilgrims circling the cube-shaped Kaaba in the first rituals of the hajj.
Pilgrims circling the cube-shaped Kaaba in the first rituals of the hajj.
Photograph: Ministry of Media/AP

For the first time in Saudi history, the government barred Muslims from abroad from entering to perform the hajj in order to limit exposure of the coronavirus.

Instead, anywhere between 1,000 to 10,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia were selected to take part in the hajj. The government has not released a final figure, except to say that two-thirds are foreign residents from among the 160 different nationalities that would have normally been represented at the hajj. One-third are Saudi security personnel and medical staff.

A pilgrim receiving bottled water at the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
A pilgrim receiving bottled water at the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Those chosen for hajj this year were selected after applying through an online portal, and required to be between the ages of 20 and 50, with no terminal illnesses and showing no symptoms of the virus. Preference was given to those who have not performed the hajj before.

Mask-clad pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage.
Mask-clad pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Pilgrims were tested for the coronavirus, given wristbands that connect to their phones and monitor their movement and were required to quarantine at home and in their hotel rooms in Mecca ahead of Wednesday’s start of the hajj. They will also be required to quarantine for a week after the hajj concludes on Sunday.

Mecca was sealed off for months ahead of the hajj, and the smaller year-round Umrah pilgrimage was suspended.

International media were not permitted to cover this year’s hajj from Mecca. Instead, Saudi government broadcast live footage from the Grand Mosque on Wednesday showing limited numbers of pilgrims, moving several feet apart, circling the cube-shaped Kaaba in the first rituals of the hajj.

The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.
The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

This year, pilgrims will only be able to drink water from this Zamzam well that is packaged in plastic bottles. Pebbles for casting away evil that are usually picked up by pilgrims along hajj routes will be sterilised and bagged ahead of time.

Pilgrims have also been given their own prayer rugs and special attire to wear during the hajj laced with silver nano technology that Saudi authorities say helps kill bacteria and makes clothes water resistant. They were also provided with umbrellas to shield them from the sun, towels, soaps, sanitisers and other essentials, as well as online sessions in different language about what to expect on the hajj and the regulations in place.

Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba in a socially distanced way.
Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba in a socially distanced way.
Photograph: AP

Updated at 12.50pm BST

11.44am BST

Vietnam, virus-free for months, was bracing for another wave of Covid-19 infections on Wednesday after state media reported new cases in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands linked to a recent outbreak in the central city of Danang.

The prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the current wave of infections was different to the second wave Vietnam fought in March and every province and city in the Southeast Asian country was at risk, state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) reported.

Thanks to a centralised quarantine programme and an aggressive contact-tracing system, Vietnam had managed to keep its coronavirus tally to just 446 cases, despite sharing a border with China.

With over 95 million people, Vietnam is the most populous country in the world to have recorded no deaths from the virus, and until now no locally transmitted infections had been reported for months.

That record is now under threat following an outbreak last weekend in Danang, where tens of thousands of domestic tourists were vacationing thanks to discounted travel deals.

A worker sprays disinfectant next to a restaurant where a worker tested positive with Covid-19 after travel from Da Nang, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
A worker sprays disinfectant next to a restaurant where a worker tested positive with Covid-19 after travel from Da Nang, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Photograph: Luong Thai Linh/EPA

The government on Tuesday suspended all flights to and from Danang for 15 days. At least 30 cases of the coronavirus have been detected in or around the city.

About 18,000 tourists who had been in Danang have returned to the southern business hub Ho Chi Minh City, authorities said on Tuesday.

Hanoi authorities had earlier said they were expecting 15,000 to 20,000 to return from Danang.

Phuc said tourist hubs throughout the country had to step up vigilance, and that Danang must go under “strict lockdown”, VTV said.

In Hanoi, a worker at a pizza restaurant who had recently returned from Danang had tested positive for the coronavirus and authorities had closed the business for disinfection, state media reported.

Updated at 11.48am BST

11.13am BST

US deaths from Covid-19 are approaching 150,000, the highest level in the world and rising by 10,000 in 11 days, according to a Reuters tally.

This is the fastest increase in fatalities since the United States went from 100,000 cases to 110,000 cases in 11 days in early June, according to the tally.

Nationally, Covid-19 deaths have risen for three weeks in a row while the number of new cases week-over-week recently fell for the first time since June.

Medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations have surged since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care units to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads.
Medical staff treat a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations have surged since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care units to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads.
Photograph: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

A rise in infections in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas this month has overwhelmed hospitals. The rise has forced states to make a U-turn on reopening economies that were restricted by lockdowns in March and April to slow the spread of the virus.

Texas has recorded the most fatalities, with nearly 4,000 deaths so far this month, followed by Florida with 2,690 and California, the most populous state, with 2,500. The Texas figure includes a backlog of hundreds of deaths after the state changed the way it counted Covid-19 deaths.

While deaths have rapidly risen in July in these three states, New York and New Jersey have still recorded the most total lives lost and deaths per capita, according to a Reuters tally.

Of the 20 countries with the biggest outbreak, the United States ranks sixth for deaths per capita, at 4.5 fatalities per 10,000 people. It is exceeded by the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Peru and Chile.

Updated at 11.14am BST

11.02am BST

Summary

Here’s a round-up of the latest developments:

  • Hong Kong outbreak ‘overwhelming’ medical system says Carrie Lam. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has sounded an alarming warning over the city’s health system. With the new wave of mostly locally transmitted infections, Hong Kong was “on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly”, she said. A statement on Monday from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Beijing’s senior presence in the city, said Hong Kong’s testing capacity could no longer meet demand, and “its medical system and quarantine facilities are being overwhelmed”.
  • That led to reports from the public broadcaster RTHK that planned elections could be postponed for a year. Such a move would represent a significant blow to Hong Kong’s opposition pro-democracy camp, which is aiming to win a historic majority.
  • Muslim pilgrims have begun the annual hajj in the holy city of Mecca in a dramatically downsized version as the hosts, Saudi Arabia, try to prevent any outbreaks of coronavirus during the five-day pilgrimage.
  • Hong Kong’s strictest anti-virus measures yet came into force today, as the city recorded its seventh consecutive day with case numbers in the triple figures, and the government faced backlash over its extensive quarantine exemptions.The exemptions have been blamed at least in part for the current outbreak, the worst that Hong Kong has seen during the pandemic and which health authorities are warning is posing an extraordinary risk.
  • The British government signed a deal for 60m doses of a potential vaccine. If it proves successful, the UK could begin to vaccinate priority groups, such as frontline health and social care workers and those at increased risk from coronavirus, as early as the first half of next year, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy claimed.
  • China reported 101 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for 28 July, the highest in over three and a half months, the health commission said on Wednesday. China has moved quickly to stamp out eruptions by contact tracing and re-shuttering the affected areas. Recently, many of the new infections have come from the far western region of Xinjiang, where 89 have been tallied for 28 July. One was recorded in Beijing, while three were imported cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.
  • Florida reported record one-day deaths as concerns grow for other states. Florida reported another record one-day rise in coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, and cases in Texas passed the 400,000 mark, fueling fear that the United States is still not taking control of the outbreak and adding pressure on Congress to pass another massive economic aid package.
  • Victoria, Australia recorded 295 new cases of coronavirus and nine more deaths. The state has recorded 295 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24-hours, down 89 from yesterday’s figure of 384, which in turn was 150 fewer than were recorded in the record high numbers on Monday.Nine people have died, which is close to the national record ten deaths reported in the state last week.
  • New Zealand has recorded two new cases of Covid-19, both diagnosed in returning travellers to the country who are quarantined in managed isolation facilities. That’s the case for all of New Zealand’s 23 active cases of the coronavirus – there is no known community transmission.
  • New Zealand’s government announced it will start charging some travellers for the cost of their two-week stay in quarantine. But the fees – which have proved controversial here – won’t apply to returning New Zealanders, unless they left the country after the new rules are imposed, or are only visiting for a short stay.
  • New Zealand has recorded two new cases of Covid-19, both diagnosed in returning travellers to the country who are quarantined in managed isolation facilities. That’s the case for all of New Zealand’s 23 active cases of the coronavirus – there is no known community transmission.
  • New Zealand’s national airline, Air New Zealand, has frozen all new ticket bookings to Australia until 28 August. In a statement, the airline said the hold was due to Australian government restrictions on the number of passengers arriving in the country. Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, is not taking new trans-Tasman bookings until the end of October.
  • The WHO says Covid-19 pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal. It warned against complacency in the northern hemisphere summer since the infection does not share influenza’s tendency to follow seasons.
  • Air travel is not expected to recover until 2024. Global air travel is recovering more slowly than expected and it will take until 2024 to return to pre-pandemic levels, the trade association for the airline industry has said.
  • Italy extended its state of emergency until October. This means the prime minister will continue to have the power to impose a lockdown and other safety measures without needing the approval of parliament.
  • Over half people living in Mumbai slums have had Covid-19,according to a city-commissioned study. Blood tests on 6,936 randomly selected people found that 57% of slum-dwellers had virus antibodies.
  • Covid-19 infection rate higher among California Latinos. Latinos make up 39% of the population in the US state, but account for 56% of Covid-19 infections and 46% of deaths, prompting new outreach and data collection efforts as cases surge.
  • Spain insisted it was still a safe destination for tourists despite tackling 361 active outbreaks and more than 4,000 new cases. Several countries have nonetheless imposed quarantines on people returning from Spain, including its biggest tourist market, Britain.
  • An urgent track and trace operation is under way in Berlin after a couple tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Manchester. Fifty people who have had contact with the couple since their return are in quarantine, of whom 13 have so far tested positive.

10.40am BST

Researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine, with more than 140 candidate vaccines now tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within 12 to 18 months. My colleagues Niko Kommenda and Frank Hulley-Jones have put together this tracker:

10.02am BST

The Philippine health ministry has reported 1,874 new infections and 16 additional deaths. The ministry said total deaths have increased to 1,962 while confirmed cases have reached 85,486.

More businesses are to be allowed to reopen, including gyms and sports facilities, internet cafes and pet shops, Reuters reports. Wednesday marked the 15th successive day of 1,000 or more new cases, which has pushed many hospitals nearer their patient capacity.

9.57am BST

Back to Hong Kong, where authorities have reported 118 new cases, including 113 that were locally transmitted, as strict new measures including a restriction of gatherings to two people and a ban on restaurant dining, take effect.

The measures, which are the toughest introduced since the outbreak, are to last for at least one week as Lam warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak. The global financial hub reported 106 new cases on Tuesday. Since late January, about 3,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 24 of whom have died.

9.36am BST

Indonesia has reported 2,381 new infections on Wednesday, taking the total to 104,432, data from the country’s Covid-19 task force showed. The south-east Asian nation also reported 74 new deaths, taking total fatalities to 4,975.

Updated at 10.00am BST

9.35am BST

Here’s a little more detail on those comments by the French health minister Olivier Véran, who has urged the country not to drop its guard.

France reported 14 new deaths on Tuesday, a figure twice as high as the daily average increase of seven seen over the previous week. A total of 30,223 have now died in the country, health authorities have reported. Véran told LCI television:

We are not facing a second wave, the epidemic is continuing… Some people do not respect the rules. We must not let down our guard.

We do not want to resort to another lockdown, we are examining the situation on a case-by-case basis. The war is not over… People must understand that we are going to live with this virus for a fairly long time.

He was asked whether he would advise against going on holiday in the Brittany resort of Quiberon after a Covid-19 cluster was reported there last week and local authorities ordered a night curfew for beaches.

On Quiberon, there is a cluster of about 50 people. We are looking at the situation. It will depending on the spread of the virus. If we need to take other measures, we will take them.

The prefecture later said there were now 72 confirmed cases, mostly people aged between 18 and 25 years.

9.30am BST

Hong Kong elections could be delayed

Hong Kong’s government could postpone a vote for seats in the city’s legislature by a year amid fears of a resurgence in cases, the public broadcaster RTHK has reported. The move would represent a blow for the opposition pro-democracy camp, which is aiming to win a historic majority.

The election is planned for 6 September and comes amid widespread resentment of Beijing’s imposition of a new security law widely criticised by Western countries as eroding citizens’ rights.

The RTHK report cited unidentified sources and did not give any more details. The office of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Reuters news agency.

9.05am BST

Russia has reported 5,475 new cases, pushing its national tally to 828,990; the fourth largest in the world. In the daily readout, officials said 169 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 13,673.

8.41am BST

The Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has extended his country’s lockdown for two more weeks until mid-August and said the restrictions will then be eased gradually, according to a Reuters report.

8.40am BST

Australians had been slowly emerging from lockdowns since the federal government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country, but from 8 July the Melbourne metropolitan area and Mitchell shire immediately to the north returned to a stage three lockdown for six weeks.

Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the laws, based on the information current as of 28 July.

7.48am BST

The closure of borders between European countries must be avoided as much as possible, the French junior European affairs minister Clément Beaune has said. He told France Inter that, while political responses to the pandemic are always prone to change, responses such as European border closures “were to be avoided”.

His colleague, the country’s health minister, Olivier Véran, denied France was in a second wave, though he acknowledged its epidemic is not over. Véran said France wants to avoid another lockdown, but that the efforts to deal with Covd-19 continue.

Updated at 8.39am BST

7.20am BST

UK government signs vaccine deal

The British government has signed a deal with the pharmaceutical firms GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur for 60m doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

If the vaccine proves successful, the UK could begin to vaccinate priority groups, such as frontline health and social care workers and those at increased risk from coronavirus, as early as the first half of next year, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

Human clinical studies of the vaccine will begin in September followed by a phase 3 study in December. Ministers have signed deals for four different types of potential vaccines and a total of 250m doses. The business secretary Alok Sharma said:

Our scientists and researchers are racing to find a safe and effective vaccine at a speed and scale never seen before. While this progress is truly remarkable, the fact remains that there are no guarantees.

In the meantime, it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works so we can protect the public and save lives.

Updated at 7.22am BST

7.15am BST

In the UK, household food waste has increased by nearly a third as lockdown restrictions have been eased and could spiral further, new research warns.

The government’s waste advisory body, Wrap, said self-reported food waste was up by 30%, reversing progress made at the start of the pandemic as consumers threw away less food while confined to their homes.

While concerns about going to the shops and running out of food motivated people to waste less in April, their resolve appears to be weakening as restrictions have lifted.

7.06am BST

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today – thanks for following along. My colleague Kevin Rawlinson will be taking you through the latest pandemic news for the next few hours.

If (can it be?) you have time for some non-coronavirus news, I highly recommend this beautiful feature on life after the bushfires by my colleagues at Guardian Australia:

6.51am BST

Italy was the first European nation to be engulfed by coronavirus, but as the prospect of another lockdown looms in some of its neighbours, the country has managed to avoid a resurgence of infections. At least so far.

Three experts who spoke to the Guardian put this down to good surveillance and contact-tracing, as well as most of the population diligently following safety rules, with many people wearing face masks outside even though it is not mandatory.

On 4 May, when Italy began easing lockdown restrictions, more than 1,200 new cases were reported in a day. Since 1 July, the daily increase has been relatively static, reaching a high of 306 on 23 July, and falling to 181 on Tuesday. Several coronavirus clusters have emerged across the country, but this has mostly been due to infections imported from abroad:

6.36am BST

Summary

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • Hong Kong outbreak ‘overwhelming’ medical system says Carrie Lam. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has sounded an alarming warning over the city’s health system. With the new wave of mostly locally transmitted infections, Hong Kong was “on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly”, she said. A statement on Monday from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Beijing’s senior presence in the city, said Hong Kong’s testing capacity could no longer meet demand, and “its medical system and quarantine facilities are being overwhelmed”.
  • Muslim pilgrims have begun the annual hajj in the holy city of Mecca in a dramatically downsized version as the hosts, Saudi Arabia, try to prevent any outbreaks of coronavirus during the five-day pilgrimage.
  • Hong Kong’s strictest anti-virus measures yet came into force today, as the city recorded its seventh consecutive day with case numbers in the triple figures, and the government faced backlash over its extensive quarantine exemptions.The exemptions have been blamed at least in part for the current outbreak, the worst that Hong Kong has seen during the pandemic and which health authorities are warning is posing an extraordinary risk.
  • China reported 101 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for 28 July, the highest in over three and a half months, the health commission said on Wednesday. China has moved quickly to stamp out eruptions by contact tracing and re-shuttering the affected areas. Recently, many of the new infections have come from the far western region of Xinjiang, where 89 have been tallied for 28 July. One was recorded in Beijing, while three were imported cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.
  • Florida reported record one-day deaths as concerns grow for other states. Florida reported another record one-day rise in coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, and cases in Texas passed the 400,000 mark, fueling fear that the United States is still not taking control of the outbreak and adding pressure on Congress to pass another massive economic aid package.
  • Victoria, Australia recorded 295 new cases of coronavirus and nine more deaths. The state has recorded 295 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24-hours, down 89 from yesterday’s figure of 384, which in turn was 150 fewer than were recorded in the record high numbers on Monday.Nine people have died, which is close to the national record ten deaths reported in the state last week.
  • New Zealand has recorded two new cases of Covid-19, both diagnosed in returning travellers to the country who are quarantined in managed isolation facilities. That’s the case for all of New Zealand’s 23 active cases of the coronavirus – there is no known community transmission.
  • New Zealand’s government announced it will start charging some travellers for the cost of their two-week stay in quarantine. But the fees – which have proved controversial here – won’t apply to returning New Zealanders, unless they left the country after the new rules are imposed, or are only visiting for a short stay.
  • New Zealand has recorded two new cases of Covid-19, both diagnosed in returning travellers to the country who are quarantined in managed isolation facilities. That’s the case for all of New Zealand’s 23 active cases of the coronavirus – there is no known community transmission.
  • New Zealand’s national airline, Air New Zealand, has frozen all new ticket bookings to Australia until 28 August. In a statement, the airline said the hold was due to Australian government restrictions on the number of passengers arriving in the country. Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, is not taking new trans-Tasman bookings until the end of October.
  • The WHO says Covid-19 pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal. It warned against complacency in the northern hemisphere summer since the infection does not share influenza’s tendency to follow seasons.
  • Air travel is not expected to recover until 2024. Global air travel is recovering more slowly than expected and it will take until 2024 to return to pre-pandemic levels, the trade association for the airline industry has said.
  • Italy extended its state of emergency until October. This means the prime minister will continue to have the power to impose a lockdown and other safety measures without needing the approval of parliament.
  • Over half people living in Mumbai slums have had Covid-19,according to a city-commissioned study. Blood tests on 6,936 randomly selected people found that 57% of slum-dwellers had virus antibodies.
  • Covid-19 infection rate higher among California Latinos. Latinos make up 39% of the population in the US state, but account for 56% of Covid-19 infections and 46% of deaths, prompting new outreach and data collection efforts as cases surge.
  • Spain insisted it was still a safe destination for tourists despite tackling 361 active outbreaks and more than 4,000 new cases. Several countries have nonetheless imposed quarantines on people returning from Spain, including its biggest tourist market, Britain.
  • An urgent track and trace operation is under way in Berlin after a couple tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Manchester. Fifty people who have had contact with the couple since their return are in quarantine, of whom 13 have so far tested positive.

6.15am BST

Hong Kong outbreak ‘overwhelming’ medical system says Carrie Lam

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has sounded an alarming warning over the city’s health system.

With the new wave of mostly locally transmitted infections, Hong Kong was “on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly”, she said.

Data from the Hospital Authority showed that as of midday Tuesday the city’s isolation rooms were just above 80% capacity, and individual beds at around 79%.

Last week the South China Morning Post reported 65% of the 1,012 isolation beds and 77% of its 534 isolation wards in the city’s public hospitals were occupied.

As of yesterday there were 1,099 confirmed patients hospitalised in 15 public hospitals and a community isolation facility, the Hospital Authority said.

“Anti-epidemic measures have caused difficulties and inconvenience, but in order to protect our loved ones, our healthcare staff and Hong Kong, I appeal to you to follow strictly the social distancing measures and stay at home as far as possible,” said Lam.

Lam asked for community cooperation as the government began enforcing its strictest ever measures and sought to enhance testing – with the help of Beijing.

A statement on Monday from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Beijing’s senior presence in the city, said Hong Kong’s testing capacity could no longer meet demand, and “its medical system and quarantine facilities are being overwhelmed”.

The Hong Kong government had therefore requested assistance from the Central Government.

It did not detail what the assistance entailed, but did accuse “a small number of people” of going out of their way to “churn out absurd accusations or even slanders and smears that are based on political bias or driven by political manipulation”.

5.57am BST

Global report: downsized hajj pilgrimage begins amid Covid-19 restrictions

Muslim pilgrims have begun the annual hajj in the holy city of Mecca in a dramatically downsized version as the hosts, Saudi Arabia, try to prevent any outbreaks of coronavirus during the five-day pilgrimage.

The hajj, one of the five pillars or most important practices of Islam and an obligation for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings as around 2.5 million people descend on the city from all over the world.

But this year attendance is being limited to 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom as the authorities seek to control Covid-19. The disease has already infected more than 270,000 people in Saudi Arabia, placing it in the top 20 worst-affected countries:

5.10am BST

More on Hong Kong:

On Tuesday the centre for health protection reported the 23rd death of a Hongkonger from Covid-19, an 85-year-old man. There were eight new imported cases and 94 new locally transmitted cases, with almost half having no known source of infection. Outbreaks in aged care homes continued to expand, and a new cluster also emerged at a contracting company, adding to fear that the outbreak was not being brought under control.

It’s a far cry from just weeks ago. While other events – namely the imposition of national security laws by Beijing and massive crackdowns on pro-democracy groups – have dramatically altered life in the city, the threat from Covid-19 was beginning to seem more distant. Bars and restaurants and even Disneyland had reopened. There was talk of a safe travel bubble between Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province.

Among the imported cases were three ship crew members. Crew from air and sea passenger and cargo vessels, as well as an estimated 10,000 cross-border truck drivers, business executives and other handpicked individuals, were among the hundreds of thousands of personnel exempted from mandatory quarantine on arrival in the city. The Washington Post reported today government data showed a quarter of a million people arrived in Hong Kong with a get-out-of-quarantine free card. The government has maintained the exemptions were necessary to ensure the continuation of trade and deliveries. However amid widespread criticism last week they were withdrawn or tightened.

Updated at 5.40am BST

4.55am BST

Strictest measures in Hong Kong so far begin

Hong Kong’s strictest anti-virus measures yet came into force today, as the city recorded its seventh consecutive day with case numbers in the triple figures, and the government faced backlash over its extensive quarantine exemptions.

The exemptions have been blamed at least in part for the current outbreak, the worst that Hong Kong has seen during the pandemic and which health authorities are warning is posing an extraordinary risk.

In the middle of sweltering Summer, residents of the densely populated region have been banned from eating out at restaurants, going to the beach, swimming pools, sporting grounds and bars, and from gathering in groups larger than two.

The measures are causing huge financial problems for already struggling eateries, and have sparked concerns for people, especially families, living in the city’s notoriously small apartments.

The Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trade had previously forecast losses of HKbn in the sector for July, but that was when dining-in was only banned after 6pm. Restaurant sales had dropped 31.2% year on year in the first quarter of 202, South China Morning Post reported.

4.35am BST

China Southern on Tuesday became the latest Chinese airline to offer ultra-cheap, all-you-can-fly deals aimed at reigniting air travel following coronavirus lockdowns, AFP reports.

At least eight Chinese carriers have so far launched similar schemes which they hope will boost the ailing domestic aviation sector in the world’s second-largest economy.

Lucky Air, which unveiled offers for unlimited domestic flights on July 13, announced two days later that it had hit capacity for monthly and seasonal passes for individuals.

The deals, valid for anything between a month and a year, start at 1,588 yuan (7) for unlimited flights over 31 days per person. Lucky Air said it has plans to sell more of such packages in the future. Southern’s all-you-can-fly deal costs 3,699 yuan (8) and can be used until next January.

China’s economy has been recovering gradually since the coronavirus outbreak, and last Friday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said daily flights had returned to about 80 percent of pre-virus levels.

The country’s aviation industry lost 34.25 billion yuan (.89 billion) in the second quarter this year, the CAAC said this month, after Beijing took drastic moves to curb the spread of the coronavirus that first surfaced in the central Wuhan city.

4.15am BST

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 684 to 206,926, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

The reported death toll rose by six to 9,128, the tally showed.

4.06am BST

In Australia, here is the full story on the women who returned to Queensland from Victoria without self-isolating and have now tested positive to coronavirus:

3.39am BST

The full story now on Donald Trump praising as “spectacular” a doctor who wrongly dismissed the use of face masks to combat the coronavirus as well as reportedly claiming that alien DNA is used in medical treatments and some gynecological problems are caused by people dreaming about having sex with demons.

A group of lab coat-wearing doctors posted an online video on Monday to make a string of inaccurate assertions about the coronavirus that contradicted official government guidelines. Among them was a woman who identified herself as Dr Stella Immanuel and said: “You don’t need masks. There is a cure.”

The US president tweeted a version of the video, which rapidly gained tens of thousands of views on Facebook and YouTube before both companies took it down for containing false public health information. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr had his Twitter account restricted by the company for 12 hours after calling the video a “must watch”.

Updated at 3.39am BST

3.17am BST

New Zealand reports two coronavirus cases, both in travellers in quarantine

Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the Guardian:

New Zealand has recorded two new cases of Covid-19, both diagnosed in returning travellers to the country who are quarantined in managed isolation facilities. That’s the case for all of New Zealand’s 23 active cases of the coronavirus – there is no known community transmission.

The latest two cases were arrivals from Afghanistan and the Philippines. Only New Zealanders, their families, and certain essential workers are allowed to enter the country, and they must spend two weeks in quarantine at designated hotels.

New Zealand’s government just announced a quarantine charge this afternoon for some of those returning — those planning to return for less than 90 days, or who leave the country and return after the new fees are imposed.

There have been 1,209 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand and 22 deaths.

3.09am BST

Active cases in the Victorian aged care sector top 800

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there were now 804 cases connected to the aged care sector, both staff and residents, and 502 cases among healthcare workers.

There are 4,849 active cases of Covid-19 now, 9,304 in total since 1 January, and 195 of the active cases are in regional areas.

Andrews said further regional health teams have been stood up to respond to the regional cases and conduct contact tracing.

3.07am BST

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says there have been 29 instances of Australian Defence Force personnel knocking on doors to check on people who have been ordered to self-isolate at home where the people have not been there.

Updated at 3.09am BST

3.03am BST

Victoria records 295 new cases of coronavirus and nine more deaths

The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is speaking now and says the state has recorded 295 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24-hours, down 89 from yesterday’s figure of 384, which in turn was 150 fewer than were recorded in the record high numbers on Monday.

Nine people have died, which is close to the national record ten deaths reported in the state last week.

The people who died were aged in their sixties to their 90s, and seven of the nine are connected to aged care.

There are now 307 Victorians in hospital, 41 in intensive care.

2.52am BST

China reports 101 cases, highest since mid-April

China reported 101 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for 28 July, the highest in over three and a half months, the health commission said on Wednesday.

China has moved quickly to stamp out eruptions by contact tracing and re-shuttering the affected areas.

Recently, many of the new infections have come from the far western region of Xinjiang, where 89 have been tallied for 28 July. One was recorded in Beijing, while three were imported cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.

Worker measures the body temperature of a woman at the entrance to a residential compound in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China on 28 July 2020.
Worker measures the body temperature of a woman at the entrance to a residential compound in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China on 28 July 2020.
Photograph: Reuters

China also reported 27 new asymptomatic patients for 28 July, down from 34 a day earlier.

As of Tuesday, mainland China had 84,060 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The Covid-19 death toll remained at 4,634.

2.43am BST

Under the coronavirus recovery plan announced in late April, the federal government was hoping that Australia would be largely opened up by July.

The outbreak in Melbourne changed that.

Morrison said he can’t now guess when Australia might be in the position to fully open up again, but said he is “encouraged” by what he has seen in NSW tracking and tracing the outbreak there.

Basically, he is encouraged by every state and territory except Victoria.

I think once we get a better read on where these numbers are in Victoria and hopefully we will see better numbers from Victoria today, but we do not know.

2.39am BST

Still in Australia, two “reckless” teens who dodged quarantine after returning to the state of Queensland from Melbourne infected with coronavirus are being investigated by police for allegedly lying on their border declaration form, AAP reports.

The 19-year-old women, who flew back from Melbourne via Sydney on 21 July after travelling together, were active in the community for eight days before isolating.

Queensland shopping centres, restaurants, a school, and a church will shut while authorities scramble to conduct contact tracing.

Scores of the women’s contacts will be forced to isolate, and aged care facilities in the Metro South Health region will re-enter lock down as the state tries to avoid an outbreak.

“We need people to tell the truth. That’s all I can say. This has been done to protect yourself as an individual, your family and the community,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young told reporters on Wednesday.

“I’m very, very disappointed. I think it was reckless.”

“They’ve been out and about for eight days with symptoms.”

The pair, from Acacia Ridge and Logan, are being treated in the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Authorities are urging anyone on the south side of Brisbane with symptoms to be tested immediately.

2.32am BST

The Australian state of Queensland has announced that it is closing its border to Greater Sydney from 1am on Saturday, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Twitter a short time ago:

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian is addressing the media and said she was given no prior notice of the border closure.

2.21am BST

The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded 19 new coronavirus cases overnight, two of which are among people staying in hotel quarantine. This is around average for the last fortnight.

2.15am BST

Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, says there are outbreaks in 77 of the 465 residential aged care facilities in Melbourne. That is 17% of the facilities.

To date, 49 people in aged care in Victoria have died after testing positive to Covid-19.

He says that given how widespread community transmission has been in Melbourne, “that in some respects shows just how well the others have done”.

Murphy said most of the 77 facilities only have “one or two small cases” and have been met with a “swift and prompt” public health response.

Updated at 2.17am BST

2.11am BST

New Zealand to start charging some travellers for hotel quarantine

Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the Guardian:

New Zealand’s government has announced it will start charging some travellers for the cost of their two-week stay in quarantine. But the fees – which have proved controversial here – won’t apply to returning New Zealanders, unless they left the country after the new rules are imposed, or are only visiting for a short stay.

Megan Woods, the minister of housing, is announcing the change at a news conference that’s starting now in Wellington.

Woods intends to introduce laws to parliament next week that would charge only New Zealanders who plan to enter the country temporarily — for less than 90 days — or those who chose to leave and return after the law passes. Temporary visa holders would also have to pay.

Quarantine will cost ,100 NZ per person in a room, 0 for each additional adult and 5 for each additional child sharing the room.

The government has been considering the change for weeks and had initially floated the idea of charging all arrivals to New Zealand – a move supported by the opposition – but have walked that back.

Only New Zealanders, their families, and certain temporary visa holders are permitted to enter New Zealand, and must spend two weeks in quarantine at government-managed hotels.

Updated at 6.33am BST

1.56am BST

Australia facing “sustained community transmission” says Prime Minister

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country is now experiencing the same issues as every other country that has had “sustained community transmission,” as there is now in Victoria:

Where there is sustained community transmission, it is inevitable that this will find its way into aged care facilities. When it rains, everyone gets wet.

And that is what we’re seeing with broad-based community transmission in Victoria. As the [Victorian premier Daniel Andrews] rightly said, if you are ill, do not go to work. That is true if you work in a meat processing plant, it is true if you work in a chemist shop, it is true if you work in a restaurant, it is true if you’re a journalist, a politician, whoever you may be, an aged care worker especially.

1.55am BST

Speaking in Canberra about the aged care situation in Victoria, Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison has called the outbreak in aged care homes in Victoria “very distressing”. Almost 20% of aged care facilities in Victoria are affected by Covid-19 as the crisis deepens.

Morrison said:

The situation that we have been facing, particularly in recent days and weeks in Victoria for aged care has been very distressing. It is very distressing first and foremost to the families of those who have loved ones in aged care facilities.

Many years ago it was quite different, but these days, particularly with the in-home aged care options, more Australians are choosing to remain at home. But those who have moved into aged care facilities are often moved in at a much more advanced stage and all of us who have had to make those decisions in relation to loved ones understood that and so I think that attaches to it a particular sensitivity in the challenges we’re now facing.

1.39am BST

Back to the subject of vaccines, Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has said that other developed countries would not be able to pay less for its vaccine than the United States, Reuters reports.

The US government agreed to pay nearly bn to buy enough of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech SE to inoculate 50 million people at a price of for a two-dose treatment course.

A man walks past a sign outside Pfizer HQ in New York.
A man walks past a sign outside Pfizer HQ in New York.
Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

But Pfizer boss Albert Bourla said on a conference call on Tuesday night: “All the countries that are developed right now will not receive a lower price for the same volume commitment than the US.”

Pfizer executives added said they expect people will need to receive continued vaccinations for a number of years to maintain herd immunity globally, either because immunity may diminish over time or the virus will mutate.

Updated at 1.41am BST

1.39am BST

Pilgrims quarantined in Mecca as Hajj begins

Pilgrims were quarantined Tuesday in the Muslim holy city of Mecca ahead of the dramatically downsized hajj as Saudi authorities strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage, AFP reports.

Up to 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom will participate in the annual ritual starting Wednesday, according to hajj officials, a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million international pilgrims that attended last year.

Those selected to take part in this year’s hajj were subject to temperature checks and placed in quarantine as they began trickling into Mecca at the weekend.

A woman wearing a mask stands on a ring delineating where worshippers be around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, due to the coronavirus pandemic at the almost empty Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, on 28 July 2020, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.
A woman wearing a mask stands on a ring delineating where worshippers be around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, due to the coronavirus pandemic at the almost empty Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, on 28 July 2020, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

State media showed health workers sanitising their luggage, and some pilgrims reported being given electronic wristbands to allow authorities to monitor their whereabouts.

Workers, clutching brooms and disinfectant, were seen cleaning the area around the Kaaba, the structure at the centre of the Grand Mosque draped in gold-embroidered cloth towards which Muslims around the world pray.

Hajj authorities have cordoned the Kaaba this year, saying pilgrims will not be allowed to touch it, to limit the chances of infection.

They also reported setting up multiple health facilities, mobile clinics and ambulances to cater to the pilgrims, who will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing.

1.28am BST

Air New Zealand freezes ticket bookings to Australia until 28 August

Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the Guardian:

New Zealand’s national airline, Air New Zealand, has frozen all new ticket bookings to Australia until 28 August.

In a statement, the airline said the hold was due to Australian government restrictions on the number of passengers arriving in the country. The limits were introduced to alleviate pressure on quarantine facilities, and mean airports like Brisbane can only accept 70 passengers per day, while services bringing Australians back to Sydney are limited to as few as 30 travellers per flight.

International passenger arrivals into Melbourne are not permitted until 8 August.
Cam Wallace, a spokesman for the airline, said that while the Australian government restrictions are in place until 8 August, the airline is placing a longer freeze on future bookings to “help prevent disruptions” to travelers’ journeys should the restrictions be extended.

Air New Zealand’s current trans-Tasman flights are from Auckland to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, with flights to Melbourne only carrying cargo.

Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, is not taking new trans-Tasman bookings until the end of October.

Updated at 1.44am BST

1.25am BST

Moderna Inc is planning to price its coronavirus vaccine at US to per course higher than other vaccine makers have agreed to charge governments, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The price would apply to the United States and other high-income countries, according to the report.

Moderna was not immediately available for comment.

You can see how close we are to a coronavirus vaccine with the Guardian’s tracker below:

1.07am BST

Florida reports record one-day deaths as concerns grow for other states

Florida reported another record one-day rise in coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, and cases in Texas passed the 400,000 mark, fueling fear that the United States is still not taking control of the outbreak and adding pressure on Congress to pass another massive economic aid package.

Public health experts are becoming concerned about the levels of infection in states such as Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky, while the surge in Florida along with Texas, Arizona and California this month has strained many hospitals.

The increase in cases has forced a U-turn on steps to reopen economies after the end of lockdowns put in place in March and April to slow the spread of the virus.

Florida has had 191 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day rise since the start of the epidemic, the state health department said:

Updated at 6.31am BST

12.51am BST

US officials say Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November.

Two Russians who have held senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as responsible for a disinformation effort reaching American and western audiences, US government officials said on Tuesday. They spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The information had previously been classified, but officials said it had been downgraded so they could more freely discuss it. Officials said they were doing so now to sound the alarm about the particular websites and to expose what they say is a clear link between the sites and Russian intelligence:

12.36am BST

Trump storms out of press conference

Trump ended his press conference abruptly on Tuesday after sustained questioning from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins over a video he had shared by a doctor who said masks don’t work and that there is a cure for Covid-19.

In past videos, said Collins, the doctor has claimed that medicines are made from “alien DNA”.

“I thought she was very impressive,” Trump said of the woman in the disinformation video he promoted.

Here’s more background from colleagues Joan E Greve and Martin Pengelly:

The video in question featured Dr Stella Immanuel, a physician from Houston, Texas, speaking on the steps of the US Capitol in Washington, surrounded by members of a rightwing doctors’ group.

Immanuel made baseless claims about coronavirus, including hailing hydroxychloroquine as a “cure”, even though the drug, which has been repeatedly touted by the president, has not been found to be an effective treatment.

The Houston doctor has also dismissed mounting evidence that face masks substantially help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Before Trump walked off, he said he did not know why Twitter and Facebook removed the hydroxychloroquine video he promoted:

.@kaitlancollins: The woman you say is a ‘great doctor’ said masks don’t work & doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens-

TRUMP: “I can tell you this: She was on air, along with many other doctors, & they were big fans of hydroxychloroquine. I thought she was very impressive” pic.twitter.com/nSui8DOLDL

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar)July 28, 2020

12.25am BST

Trump blames US case surge on protestors

At a White House Press briefing late on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump blamed surging infections on the Black Lives Matter and George Floyd Protests, despite epidemiologists not conclusively linking the protests following the police killing of George Floyd to the huge spike in cases, my colleague Maanvi Singh reports.

The surge in cases across the US came as cities reopened businesses and indoor venues, where the coronavirus transmits more effectively. Last week, Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force co-ordinator recently linked the surge in cases to the Memorial Day weekend, which saw businesses opening up and people travelling again.

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, 28 Jul 2020.
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, 28 Jul 2020.
Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

Trump was also asked about the persistent absence of Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, at Donald Trump’s briefings.

In response, the president mused about his health official’s approval rating.

Fauci has “got a very good approval rating and I like that”, Trump told reporters. And Fauci was working with the administration, “so why don’t I have a very high approval rating?” the president wondered out loud.

“But nobody likes me,” Trump said. “It can only be my personality, that’s all.”

This morning, Fauci was asked about the coronavirus disinformation that Trump has promoted on social media during an interview with ABC. “I don’t tweet, I don’t even read them. I don’t really want to go there,” he told Good Morning America. “I just will continue to do my job, no matter what comes out, because I think it’s very important.”

12.13am BST

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s coronavirus liveblog. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest news from around the world for the next few hours.

Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

More than 149,000 people have died of coronavirus in the US, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.3m cases of the virus have been recorded in the country, by far the highest number worldwide.

At a White House Press briefing late on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump blamed surging infections on the Black Lives Matter and George Floyd Protests, despite epidemiologists not conclusively linking the protests following the police killing of George Floyd to the huge spike in cases, my colleague Maanvi Singh reports.

The surge in cases across the US came as cities reopened businesses and indoor venues, where the coronavirus transmits more effectively. Last week, Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force co-ordinator recently linked the surge in cases to the Memorial Day weekend, which saw businesses opening up and people travelling again.

Meanwhile Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has extended the country’s state of emergency until October, meaning he will continue to have the power to impose a lockdown and other safety measures without needing the approval of parliament.

Conte told the Senate that the extension was “inevitable” despite the infection rate falling significantly.

  • The WHO says Covid-19 pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal. It warned against complacency in the northern hemisphere summer since the infection does not share influenza’s tendency to follow seasons.
  • Air travel is not expected to recover until 2024. Global air travel is recovering more slowly than expected and it will take until 2024 to return to pre-pandemic levels, the trade association for the airline industry has said.
  • Italy extended its state of emergency until October. This means the prime minister will continue to have the power to impose a lockdown and other safety measures without needing the approval of parliament.
  • Over half people living in Mumbai slums have had Covid-19, according to a city-commissioned study. Blood tests on 6,936 randomly selected people found that 57% of slum-dwellers had virus antibodies.
  • Covid-19 infection rate higher among California Latinos. Latinos make up 39% of the population in the US state, but account for 56% of Covid-19 infections and 46% of deaths, prompting new outreach and data collection efforts as cases surge.
  • Spain insisted it was still a safe destination for tourists despite tackling 361 active outbreaks and more than 4,000 new cases. Several countries have nonetheless imposed quarantines on people returning from Spain, including its biggest tourist market, Britain.
  • An urgent track and trace operation is under way in Berlin after a couple tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Manchester. Fifty people who have had contact with the couple since their return are in quarantine, of whom 13 have so far tested positive.

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Coronavirus live news: Belgium PM warns country could go into second ‘complete lockdown’

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Global death toll passes 650k as Belgian PM warns of total lockdown – as it happened” was written by Helen Sullivan (now and earlier), Jessica Murray , Damien Gayle, Kevin Rawlinson and Aamna Mohdin, for theguardian.com on Monday 27th July 2020 23.28 UTC

12.11am BST

We’ve launched a new blog at the link below – head there for the latest:

11.41pm BST

Amazon is under investigation in California for failing to protect its warehouse employees from the new coronavirus.

California’s attorney general Xavier Becerra, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and the San Francisco Ddepartment of public health “have all opened investigations into Amazon’s practices” around the pandemic, San Francisco superior court judge Ethan Schulman wrote in a court filing on Monday.

Amazon and the government agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment:

11.21pm BST

Summary

Here are the latest global coronavirus developments from the last few hours:

  • Global virus deaths passed 650,000 as new surges prompt fresh curbs. More than 100,000 deaths have been recorded since 9 July, and the global toll has doubled in just over two months.
  • Donald Trump wore a mask and talked up the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year in battleground state North Carolina. During a visit to a Fujifilm plant in Morrisville, the president wore a mask publicly for a second time and expressed confidence in the country’s economic recovery.
  • Spain’s PM said the UK quarantine decision not justified. Britain’s decision to impose a two-week quarantine on people travelling from Spain is unfair, Pedro Sánchez said. He added that the Spanish government is in touch with British authorities in a bid to get the country to reconsider its position.
  • Google employees will work from home until at least summer 2021. The company will keep its employees home until at least next July, the Wall Street Journal reported, marking the largest tech firm to commit to such a timeline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Lebanon reimposed severe Covid-19 restrictions for the next two weeks. It has shut places of worship, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, sports events and popular markets, after a sharp rise in infections.
  • The International Monetary Fund approved .3bn in aid to South Africa to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s finance minister, Tito Mboweni, in June predicted the economy would shrink 7.2% in 2020, its deepest slump in 90 years.
  • Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli issued scathing criticism of the Italian government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. He said he was humiliated by a recent lockdown, surprise comments as the 61-year-old superstar was a symbol of national unity at the height of the lockdown.

10.47pm BST

The British government has promised to build thousands of miles of new bike lanes to get people moving and healthy after months of coronavirus lockdown.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s pledge comes on the heels of a plan to force restaurants to display calories on menus as part of a broader effort to combat obesity.

Government data show two-thirds of UK adults are above a healthy weight. Some studies suggests that the virus is especially deadly to people who are obese. Johnson said:

To build a healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels.

That’s why now is the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans yet to boost active travel – so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling.

Johnson introduced a bike-sharing programme in London during his spell as the British capital’s mayor from 2008 to 2016.

But the so-called “Boris bikes” stood largely untouched during a months-long lockdown that still sees swathes of central London stand empty during working hours.

The government’s efforts to tease people out of lockdown and into their old spending habits that can give shops and restaurants a boost are complicated by Britain’s inability to safely reopen its schools.

Polls show people are also worried about using public transport. Many trains and buses are running half-empty during morning and evening commutes.

Johnson’s plan envisions more Briton’s biking and walking to work in the long term.

It promises to build “thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities” as part of a £2bn (.6bn) “cycling and walking revolution”.

The government has also promised to start releasing the first batch of £50 “bike repair vouchers” to help people get old cycles fixed.

Britain’s official virus death toll of 45,759 is the highest in Europe.

Updated at 10.57pm BST

10.37pm BST

A trade association representing British airports called on the government to drop the need for holidaymakers to quarantine for two weeks after returning from Spain’s Balearic and Canary Islands, warning of a further hit to the beleaguered sector.

A total of 15% of flights leaving Britain in August last year were destined for the islands, carrying just under 2.4 million people, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) said on Monday.

AOA chief executive Karen Dee said:

The government must look urgently at introducing air bridges on a regional basis which would allow travel to islands such as Lanzarote, Majorca and Tenerife, where infection rates are lower, to continue.

UK airports have already lost around £2bn (.6bn) since the start of the pandemic and this announcement reinforces the fragile nature of the industry.

Last year, Britons made up over a fifth of foreign visitors to Spain, which relies heavily on tourism revenues, and the government there has said it is focussing its efforts on trying to persuade London to exclude the islands from its quarantine plans.

Britain has defended the decision as a response to a rise in infections.

Updated at 10.39pm BST

10.34pm BST

The death of an inmate suspected of having Covid-19 prompted rioting in four of the most populated prisons in Bolivia’s Cochabamba region over access to medical care, a government watchdog has said.

Local media showed images of inmates climbing to the roofs of the prisons, calling for medicine and access to doctors.

“We urge the entry of medical teams to do an evaluation inside the prison facilities to prevent more deaths,” said Cochabamba ombudsman Nelson Cox.

Eight inmates in total have died with symptoms of Covid-19, according to Cox, spiking concerns that the virus will spread throughout the prison population.

“There are no doctors, there are no medicines. They are dying inside,” said Susana, a relative of a prisoner in the San Sebastián prison who declined to give her last name. “It is not possible to let them die. We are human beings.”

Authorities have reported more than 60 deaths due to the coronavirus in Bolivia’s prison system, which is overcrowded at more than 240% capacity.

There have been several other deaths in recent months that were not confirmed as caused by the coronavirus due to a lack of testing.

10.32pm BST

President Donald Trump wore a mask and talked up the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year as he looked to show voters in the battleground state of North Carolina that he is responding to the pandemic.

Trump, whose approval ratings have dropped as many Americans believe he has handled the virus badly, sought for the second week to look in command after setting aside his hands-off approach. He said:

I trust all Americans to do the right thing but we strongly advise everyone to especially, especially focus on maintaining a social distance, maintain a rigorous hygiene, avoid crowded gatherings and indoor bars and wear masks when appropriate.

The Republican president spoke during a visit to a Fujifilm plant in Morrisville, North Carolina, where work on a vaccine is being carried out.

During a tour of the facility, he wore a mask publicly for a second time, the first being on a trip to Walter Reed Medical Center near Washington earlier this month.

Trump visits Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center in Morrrisville, North Carolina
Trump visits Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center in Morrrisville, North Carolina
Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

“I heard very positive things, but by the end of the year, we think we’re in very good shape to be doing that,” Trump said of a potential vaccine.

He expressed confidence in the economic recovery and said: “A lot of governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening.”

Infection rates have climbed since June in the United States, which is world leader in total numbers of deaths and cases.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien became the most senior official in Trump’s inner circle to test positive for the coronavirus, the White House said on Monday.

Trump, who is seeking re-election on 3 November, has his work cut out for him in North Carolina, a state he won narrowly in 2016 and where he had originally hoped to accept his nomination for a second term.

A new NBC News/Marist poll said Democrat Joe Biden led Trump by 7 points in North Carolina.

It said respondents by a 2-to-1 margin favored Democratic governor Roy Cooper’s opposition to a large Republican nominating convention event in Charlotte, North Carolina, in late August.

Cooper’s opposition prompted Trump to try to arrange a big event in Jacksonville, Florida, but that plan fell apart last week and now it is unclear where Trump will give his acceptance speech.

Republican delegates are still to meet in Charlotte in late August to conduct some convention business.

10.25pm BST

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has issued a scathing criticism of the Italian government’s handling of the coronavirus, saying he was humiliated by a recent lockdown.

His surprise comments at a conference in Italy’s senate were remarkable because the 61-year-old superstar was a symbol of national unity at the height of the lockdown on Easter Sunday when he sang in an empty Milan cathedral in a live streamed solo performance called Music for Hope.

“I felt humiliated and offended. I could not leave the house even though I had committed no crime,” Bocelli said at the conference attended by opposition politicians including Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party who has attacked the government of prime minister Giuseppe Conte over the handling of the coronavrius crisis.

Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli rehearsing in an empty Duomo square on Easter Sunday ahead of a livestreamed concert inside the empty Duomo cathedral.
Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli rehearsing in an empty Duomo square on Easter Sunday ahead of a livestreamed concert inside the empty Duomo cathedral.
Photograph: Alex Fraser/Reuters

A national lockdown began in early March and was eased in stages over three months.

Bocelli confessed he disobeyed lockdown rules “because I did not think it was right or healthy to stay home at my age”.

He also said he believed the situation could not have been as serious as authorities were saying because he did not know anyone who had to go into intensive care.

“So what was all this sense of gravity for?” he said.

More than 35,000 Italians have died from the coronavirus.
Regulations regarding social distancing and wearing masks in indoor public places such as stores are still in effect and Bocelli seemed to encourage civil disobedience.

“Let’s refuse to follow this rule. Let’s read books, move around, get to know each other, talk, dialogue …” he said.

10.10pm BST

Quarantine for people arriving from Spain and other countries with high levels of Covid-19 will be cut to 10 days under plans being finalised by UK ministers, The Telegraph has reported.

The UK government will announce this week a new policy of testing arrivals from high-risk countries eight days after they land, it said.

If they test negative they will be allowed to come out of self-isolation two days later, reducing the mandatory quarantine period by four days, the report said.

A government spokesman told the Telegraph the 10-day quarantine period is under discussion but a final decision has not been made.

The government is also considering telling everyone who has come into the UK from Spain since 23 July, including returning holidaymakers, to take a coronavirus test, the report added.

Britain dealt a new blow to Spain on Monday by extending guidance advising against all non-essential travel, which already applied to mainland Spain, to include the Balearic and Canary Islands.

Updated at 10.39pm BST

9.56pm BST

The mayor of Medellín, Colombia’s second city, has sparked outrage by calling on Cuba to send brigades of doctors to help battle his city’s coronavirus outbreak.

Daniel Quintero, the mayor of the South American city, sent a letter earlier this month to Cuba’s communist government requesting personnel to man 600 intensive care units, as the city braced for climbing Covid-19 cases.

Colombia has confirmed 248,976 cases of Covid-19, with 8,525 deaths. Cases and deaths climbed Sunday evening by 8,181 and 256 respectively.

Antioquia, the province of which Medellín is the capital, has seen 24,143 cases.

Cuba has long sent its doctors and technicians abroad, as part of a medical mission founded in the wake of Fidel Castro’s communist revolution in the 60s.

Since March, when the coronavirus pandemic swept through Europe, the Caribbean nation has sent 1,500 medical professionals abroad. One brigade was well received by locals in Lombardy, The Guardian reported in May.

Cuba’s government, led by the Communist Party since 1965, claims to have sent 400,000 health workers to tackle crises around the world.

But the Cuban government, now led by Miguel Díaz-Canel, has received staunch criticism from rights groups over the conditions its overseas doctors face.

Health workers are prohibited from forming relationships with anyone “whose actions are not consistent with the principles and values of the Cuban society,” according to Cuban law.

José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement last week:

Cuban doctors deployed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic provide valuable services to many communities, but at the expense of their most basic freedoms.

Governments interested in receiving support from Cuban doctors should press the Cuban government to overhaul this Orwellian system that dictates with whom doctors can live, fall in love, or talk.

The Trump administration has also sought to undercut Cuba’s medical diplomacy, leading Bolivia and Brazil – both countries with new right wing leaders – to expel Cuban medical personnel.

Quintero, Medellín’s mayor, facing criticism for calling on support from one of conservative Colombia’s ideological and regional rivals, defended his decision to call for help on Sunday evening, after news of the letter was made public.

He tweeted:

We haven’t understood the message of the coronavirus. Beyond borders, races and ideologies, it was reminded as that as people we need each other.

He went on to say that his administration has also requested vaccines from the US and UK, tests from the United Arab Emirates, and personnel from span.

“Life has to come before politics,” Quintero said.

9.52pm BST

Dozens of people practice martial arts in front of the regional government headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, as a protest against the closure of gyms and martial arts centres in the region due to coronavirus
Dozens of people practice martial arts in front of the regional government headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, as a protest against the closure of gyms and martial arts centres in the region due to coronavirus
Photograph: Enric Fontcuberta/EPA

9.47pm BST

Nearly 200 federal healthcare workers have been deployed to California’s Central Valley, where hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases as new infection rates soar, governor Gavin Newsom said.

The arrival over the past several days of Department of Defense personnel will help hospitals in the stricken region, where some hospitals and intensive care units are two-thirds full of Covid-19 patients.

That has left little room for people who are ill from other conditions and is putting immense pressure on doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers trained in providing care to the sickest patients.

To combat the virus’ spread, the state is committing m to the eight counties that make up the San Joaquin Valley, Newsom said.

The state is also dispatching strike teams of health care workers, employee safety specialists and business regulators to the San Joaquin Valley to educate and persuade residents and employers to adopt public health practices such as social distancing and wearing masks.

As many as 18% of those tested are showing to be infected with the coronavirus, more than twice the level as the state as a whole, Newsom said.

The spread is being driven by a number of factors, including community and family gatherings, work in close quarters in agricultural businesses, nursing homes and prisons, he said.

California is one of several US states that has become a hotspot for a second wave of coronavirus cases.

An average of 109 Californians have died daily over the past two weeks, Newsom said, and nearly 8% of those tested for the coronavirus are confirmed to have contracted it, he said.

The state has rolled back efforts to re-open its economy, closing bars, banning indoor restaurant dining and postponing the resumption of in-person school instruction in 37 counties that are home to 93% of Californians.

9.32pm BST

US senate Republicans will shortly introduce a new coronavirus relief programme to address health, economic assistance and schools, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has said.

Speaking on the senate floor, McConnell said the package would include direct payments to Americans of ,200 each, and help for the unemployed.

It would also include “strong legal liability protection,” over 0bn for schools, more money for a small business program, and a programme to incentivise manufacturing of personal protective equipment in the United States.

9.30pm BST

An additional 61,795 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the US, according to the the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday, taking the total to 4,225,687.

It said the number of deaths had risen by 564 to 146,546.

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

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

8.38pm BST

Spain’s PM says UK quarantine decision not justified

Britain’s decision to impose a quarantine on people travelling from Spain is unfair, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez has said.

He added that the Spanish government is in touch with British authorities in a bid to get the country to reconsider its position.

Sanchez said the UK’s “error” was to consider the rate of coronavirus infection in Spain as a whole, when most regions have a lower rate than Britain’s.

8.20pm BST

The International Monetary Fund has approved .3bn in aid to South Africa to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa is the continent’s most-industrialised economy and has the largest number of detected Covid-19 cases, with more than 445,000 and 6,769 deaths as of Monday, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The South African finance minister, Tito Mboweni, in June predicted the economy would shrink 7.2% in 2020, its deepest slump in 90 years, and compared the ballooning public debt to a “hippopotamus … eating our children’s inheritance”.

The money from the IMF is the latest disbursement under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), which allows nations to circumvent the lengthy negotiations usually needed to secure a full economic assistance program – time most countries do not have as they struggle to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement, IMF deputy managing director, Geoffrey Okamoto, said “a deep economic recession is unfolding,” exacerbated by South Africa’s slow rates of growth, high unemployment and widening inequality.

The RFI money will specifically address “the fiscal pressures posed by the pandemic, limit regional spillovers and catalyse additional financing from other international financial institutions,” the IMF said.

Updated at 8.22pm BST

8.17pm BST

Long-haul operators will suffer worst from coronavirus rules that have hit the sector hard, writes the Guardian’s financial editor Nils Pratley.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has raged about “a badly managed overreaction” and, up to a point, one can sympathise: Spain is a big place and regional variations in travel policy ought to be possible.

O’Leary, though, should probably also count his blessings. Ryanair is better-capitalised than most of its peers; it has cut costs more quickly; and a few rivals, such as Flybe and Germanwings, have disappeared. Ryanair, when conditions eventually improve, ought to be well placed to recover.

It is harder, though, to glimpse much light for long-haul operators, such as the British Airways owner, IAG.

Transatlantic travel was always going to be slower to recover than the European version. Now the clock has been reset.

8.02pm BST

Google employees will work from home until at least summer 2021

Google will keep its employees home until at least next July, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, marking the largest tech firm to commit to such a timeline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The chief executive officer of parent company Alphabet Inc, Sundar Pichai, made the decision himself last week after debate among an internal group of top executives that he chairs, according to the report, which cited unnamed insiders.

Google did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Google had earlier said it would begin reopening more offices globally as early as June this year, but most Google employees would probably work from home until the end of this year.

7.49pm BST

School closures in Malawi due to the coronavirus pandemic have led to an alarming increase in child marriages and early pregnancies, child rights activists and government officials have warned.

The Malawian government announced the closure of all schools on 20 March, even before a single coronavirus case had been reported in the landlocked country.

However, over the past four months, infections have surged with a total of 3,664 cases registered so far, including 99 deaths.

Benedicto Kondowe, director of the Civil Society Coalition on Education, told AFP the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the course of young women’s lives.

He pointed out that before the pandemic struck, Malawi already had one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world, but now “Covid-19 has led to a surge in underage unions”.

Kondowe’s organisation has reported 5,000 cases of teenage pregnancies in the southern Phalombe district, while over 500 girls have entered into early marriages since the onset of the pandemic.

“What the figures show is that girls lack the needed protection as they get plunged into the margin of life,” Kondowe said, adding that increases in gender-based violence, exploitation and other forms of abuse against adolescent girls had also been noted.

In an interview with local radio station Capital Radio, the district education officer for the southern town of Nsanje, Gleston Alindiamawo, said over 300 girls in the district were carrying unwanted pregnancies since schools closed.

In the eastern district of Mangochi, meanwhile, at least 7,274 teenage girls have become pregnant from January to June this year.

The figure is 1,039 more compared with those who became pregnant during the same period last year, the district’s youth health services coordinator Peter Malipa said.

That figure included 166 girls aged between 10 to 14 years old.

Habiba Osman, a United Nations Women specialist for the elimination of violence against women and girls, told AFP the long period of idleness as a result of coronavirus restrictions was resulting in pregnancies and child marriages across Malawi.

Osman called on community leaders to monitor and assist young people from engaging in “risky behaviours”.

7.43pm BST

Lebanon has reimposed severe Covid-19 restrictions for the next two weeks, shutting places of worship, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, sports events and popular markets, after a sharp rise in infections.

Shops, private companies, banks and educational institutions will be permitted to open, but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a near total lockdown in place Thursday through Monday until 10 August.

This week’s lockdown coincides with the Eid al-Adha holiday when Muslims normally hold large gatherings.

Officials said they were alarmed by a spike in cases in recent days, with at least 132 new infections and eight deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Lebanon has recorded just 51 deaths from the coronavirus since February.

The minister of health, Hamad Hassan, was quoted in state media as saying:

We have to go back a step and work with determination as though the pandemic has now begun.

We have to work more seriously to avoid a medical humanitarian catastrophe.

Beirut’s airport, land border crossings with Syria and sea ports will be kept open, as well as medical institutions, industrial and agricultural firms and critical government functions.

Those arriving from high risk countries will be held in quarantine for 48 hours until they receive the results of a coronavirus test.

Those arriving from other areas will be expected to quarantine at home.

7.31pm BST

Latin America will emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with higher poverty rates as efforts to control the virus lead to spikes in unemployment and debt, the Inter-American Development Bank president, Luis Alberto Moreno, said.

Latin America, where economic growth has already been slowing in recent years, is expected to see an economic contraction of 8-10% in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus and associated quarantine measures, Moreno said.

The pandemic “will impoverish not only Latin Americans, (but also) the world in general, but clearly Latin America is going to be hit much harder because we are an emerging (market) region.”

The IADB, which is Latin America’s largest regional lender, will this year approve nearly bn dollars in loans.

Around bn of those will go to governments to strengthen healthcare systems, he added.

Though the sharpest contraction in the region has been in Venezuela, Moreno said the IADB cannot provide any funding for the government of Nicolás Maduro because his administration is in default on some 0m in loans.

Venezuela has been in recession for six years and annualised inflation exceeds 3,500%, according to the opposition-run National Assembly, which calculates economic indicators due to delays in the release of official figures. Moreno said:

There is absolutely nothing we can do for Venezuela.

There’s no country in the history of humanity that has seen a contraction as deep as that of Venezuela without having had a war or a natural disaster or both.

Updated at 7.33pm BST

7.27pm BST

Ireland’s schools will reopen at the end of August as the nation navigates its way out of coronavirus lockdown, the prime minister, Micheal Martin, has said.

Ireland’s blueprint for reopening schools for the first time since mid-March includes 370m euros (£338m) in spending to ensure safety.

The package will allow schools to hire 1,000 more post-primary teachers to reduce class sizes and enable social distancing, the government said.

“There is no zero-risk scenario, but we can dramatically limit the risk of the spread of the virus through our schools,” Martin said.

The new money will also cover the costs of protective equipment and cleaning supplies, and make special provisions for those deemed vulnerable to Covid-19.

Psychologists and other forms of emotional support will also be mobilised. Martin said:

Major emergencies always lead to a much higher level of anxiety and other similar issues.

We fully understand that we can’t just declare that the schools are open and carry on as if nothing had happened.

Irish schools were shut on 12 March, two weeks before the nation entered a full lockdown.

Ireland has officially suffered 1,764 deaths from the virus, with a single-day peak of 77 in April.

In recent weeks there have been many days with no new deaths.

However, earlier this month the government delayed its plan to end lockdown early because of a surge of the number of cases and a rise in the infection rate.

Updated at 7.31pm BST

7.24pm BST

One of France’s most iconic cinemas is to shut its doors for the month of August because so few people want to risk seeing movies on the big screen.

Managers at the enormous Grand Rex in the centre of Paris – which remained open throughout World War II – said Hollywood studios were also to blame for holding back the release of so many summer blockbusters.

The exterior of the Grand Rex film theatre in Paris.
The exterior of the Grand Rex film theatre in Paris.
Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

The Federation of French Cinemas said on Monday the double whammy was crippling the industry as they demanded state aid to help them through the crisis.

The Grand Rex’s manager Alexandre Hellmann told AFP:

Between the drop in admissions (because of the coronavirus) and the lack of fresh American films that traditionally are a big summer draw, we have decided to close our doors from 3 August.

We will lose less money by closing than by staying open with this depressing box office.

With 2,700 seats, the seven-screen Grand Rex’s largest theatre is one of the biggest in Europe with a 300 square-metre screen.

Many French cinemas have been all but empty since they were allowed to reopen after an eight-week lockdown last month.

The cinema federation appealed to banks and landlords to give their members leeway, saying it was “absolutely necessary that the government also take urgent action to refinance” the sector.

Updated at 7.29pm BST

7.20pm BST

Global death toll passes 650,000

The global Covid-19 death toll has reached 650,029, with over 16 million cases now confirmed worldwide.

The disease has surged back at hotspots in Asia, Europe and the Americas, prompting renewed restrictions, targeted lockdowns and compulsory mask-wearing orders.

Australia has been rocked by its deadliest surge since the start of the pandemic, Hong Kong is experiencing record daily numbers and Spain’s caseload has tripled in the last fortnight.

The US is still ahead in cases and deaths, with 147,143 fatalities from the virus.

The number of cases is still rising rapidly around the country as it approaches 150,000 deaths.

The WHO said today that experts would meet this week to discuss downgrading Covid-19’s emergency status, six months after it was declared.

Updated at 7.24pm BST

7.09pm BST

Hi everyone, this is Jessica Murray, I’ll be taking over the coronavirus blog for the next few hours.

Please do get in touch with any story tips or suggestions.

Email: jessica.murray@theguardian.com
Twitter: @journojess_

7.00pm BST

Summary

Here are the top lines of our coronavirus world news coverage so far on Monday:

  • The coronavirus pandemic is the worst global health emergency the World Health Organisation has faced, its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said, according to Reuters. Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world beat it, Tedros told a virtual news briefing in Geneva.
  • The trade body representing Spain’s hotel industry has offered to pay for coronavirus tests for foreign visitors, in an effort to lure back visitors put off by a fresh wave of cases. The UK government on Saturday shocked hoteliers and holidaymakers with an unexpected 14-day quarantine on people returning from Spain. On Monday, the UK extended a travel warning to the Balearic and Canary islands.
  • The UK’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis could take 18 months longer than expected with hopes of a V-shaped recovery fading fast, according to a leading economic forecaster. Britain’s economic output is not expected to return to its 2019 level until the end of 2024, the EY Item Club said on Monday in its latest projections on the health of the UK economy.
  • Coronavirus has reached the high reaches of the US government, with Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, having tested positive. The White House confirmed that he had mild symptoms and said he “has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site.” Officials did not respond to questions about the last time the president and O’Brien had contact.
  • Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn has just announced he is planning to introduce obligatory testing for travellers returning from areas considered high risk because of their level of cases. “I will mandate obligatory testing for travellers from risk areas,” he said a few minutes ago. It is unclear when or how the regulation will come into force.
  • Belgium’s prime minister Sophie Wilmès has announced a series of further restrictive measures following a significant spike in coronavirus infections, warning that the country could be put into a second “complete lockdown”. “If we cannot reduce the coronavirus, it will be a collective failure,” Wilmès said at a press conference following a meeting of the country’s national security council.
  • A US biotechnology company has announced it has started a government-backed late-stage trial to assess its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna’s RNA-based vaccine will be given to about 30,000 adults who do not have the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. The US government is supporting Moderna’s vaccine project with nearly a billion dollars.
  • Indonesia confirmed has its 100,00th coronavirus case, as the Red Cross warned the that the pandemic in the vast archipelago risked “spiralling out of control”. The country – home to more than a quarter of a billion people – has been recording 1,000-plus new infections a day after relaxing movement restrictions this month. As of Monday, it had reported a total of 100,303 coronavirus cases and 4,838 deaths.
  • Vietnam is evacuating 80,00o people from the central city of Danang and has reimposed disease-prevention measures, after 11 local coronavirus cases were detected, the first to be recorded in the country for more than three months. The source of the new cases is not clear.
  • Chinese health authorities have announced they plan to test all six million plus residents of a northeastern city where a growing infection cluster has spread to seven other cities. Dalian, in Liaoning province, reported 12 new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, and 14 asymptomatic cases. The first of the 24 cases confirmed so far was reported on Wednesday, in a 58-year-old man.

That’s it from me, Damien Gayle, for today.

6.34pm BST

The World Health Organization has called on Bosnia to step up its contact tracing and testing, with a rising number of coronavirus cases threatening the country’s health service, according to the Associated Press.

“We see a really sharp increase and concern is that this will lead to an overcrowding of hospitals,” said Victor Olsavszky, the head of the WHO office in Bosnia.

On several occasions over the past two weeks, major hospitals around Bosnia have warned that their Covid-19 care units were nearing capacity.

So far, the Balkan country of 3.5 million people has recorded almost 10,500 virus cases, with 294 deaths. Nearly 80% of all virus cases were registered since mid-May, when a strict, nearly two-month-long, coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

Masks on display outside a shop in Sarajevo’s main street on Monday.
Masks on display outside a shop in Sarajevo’s main street on Monday.
Photograph: Eldar Emric/AP

Olsavszky said the pandemic trajectory in Bosnia was similarly worrying in Western Balkan countries, singling out North Macedonia and Serbia as having even bigger surges.

Despite the mounting number of infections, people in Bosnia and around the Balkans appear to be bending or ignoring social distancing rules, increasingly gathering in uncomfortably close quarters and ditching protective face masks.

6.15pm BST

Spanish hotels offer to pay for guests’ coronavirus tests

The trade body representing Spain’s hotel industry has offered to pay for coronavirus tests for foreign, in an effort to lure back visitors put off by a fresh wave of cases, according to Reuters.

The UK government on Saturday shocked hoteliers and holidaymakers with an unexpected 14-day quarantine on people returning from Spain, in a major blow to a tourist season already hanging on by a thread. On Monday, the UK’s foreign office extended a travel warning for mainland Spain to the Balearic and Canary islands, both holiday hotspots.

“Not only is it unjust but it’s also totally illogical and lacking in rigour,” Spain’s main hotel association CEHAT said of the quarantine.

The association proposed a system of reciprocal testing across Europe that would provide greater safety for travellers, workers and people who live in tourist destinations.

“We are prepared to bear this cost,” CEHAT’s president, Jorge Marichal, said in a video posted on social media.

5.59pm BST

The Archbishop of Barcelona is to be investigated for possibly breaking hygiene rules by holding an unauthorised mass, the Associated Press reports.

Juan José Omella held a service Sunday at La Sagrada Familia Basilica in memory of victims of the coronavirus.

The Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, and priests leave after officiating a mass for victims of Covid-19 at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, and priests leave after officiating a mass for victims of Covid-19 at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

Catalonia has implemented tight restrictions on gatherings as it tries to stem a growing outbreak of Covid-19. The region reported 133 new cases on Saturday, the second-highest increase across Spain.

The head of Catalonia’s regional government, Quim Torra, said on Monday that regional health authorities gave no prior permission for the ceremony, as required under the current rules.

5.43pm BST

The Spanish health ministry has reported 855 new Covid cases over the past 24 hours – 474 of them in the hard-hit Aragón region – down from 922 last Friday and 971 the day before that, writes Sam Jones, the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent.

A total of 6,361 cases were recorded over the weekend, bringing Spain’s total number of Covi-19 cases to 278,782.

When the pandemic was at its peak on 31 March, Spain had 9,222 new infections in a single day. According to the ministry, six people have died from the coronavirus in Spain over the past seven days.

5.26pm BST

Trump’s national security adviser tests positive

Coronavirus has reached the high reaches of the US government, with Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, having tested positive — the highest-ranking official known to have contracted the virus so far.

The Associated Press reported O’Brien’s positive diagnosis, citing two anonymous sources. The White House confirmed that O’Brien has mild symptoms and told the agency he “has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site.”

Officials did not respond to questions about the last time the president and O’Brien had contact, but the White House insisted that, “There is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice president” and that the “work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted.”

Donald Trump’s national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, in a file photo wearing a US government-branded face mask.
Donald Trump’s national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, in a file photo wearing a US government-branded face mask.
Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The news was first reported by Bloomberg News, which said O’Brien came down with the virus after a family event. The White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters on Monday morning that O’Brien’s daughter also has the virus, and that that is how they think he got it.

O’Brien is the highest-ranking White House official known to have contracted the virus and the first since May, when a personal valet to the president and the vice president’s press secretary tested positive for coronavirus, which has now infected more than 4 million people across the country.

Numerous US Secret Service agents and Trump campaign staffers have also tested positive, including Kimberly Guilfoyle, the national finance chair, who is the girlfriend of Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

Senior White House staff and anyone who comes into close contact with the president and vice president are tested for the virus daily.

4.59pm BST

Travellers between Spain and the UK have expressed their shock at the UK government’s sudden decision to impose a two-week quarantine on Saturday 25 March.

Spain has said it is in talks over the potential removal of quarantine restrictions for travellers going to the UK from the Canaries and Balearics where the rate of infection is ‘well below’ that of the UK.

4.48pm BST

Kenya has banned the sale of alcohol in restaurants and extended a curfew in a bid to halt a steep rise in coronavirus infections, according to AFP.

In a stern lecture, the president, Uhuru Kenyatta, rebuked Kenyans for “reckless” behaviour that has seen cases triple in the past month to 17,975

So far, 285 have died.

Kenyatta said there was an “aggressive surge” among young people socialising “particularly in environments serving alcohol”, then in turn infecting their elders.

He ordered that a nationwide curfew from 9pm to 4am will remain in place for another 30 days and “there shall be no sale of alcoholic beverages or drinks in eateries and restaurants” over the same period.

Restaurants will also close from 7pm.

“All bars shall remain closed until further notice,” Kenyatta said.

Like many nations in East Africa, Kenya took swift action to combat the coronavirus, closing its borders on March 25 when it had only 25 cases, shutting schools and imposing a curfew while advising people to work from home.

However bars took advantage of the fact that restaurants were allowed to remain open and began selling food.

4.34pm BST

The UK’s caseload has exceeded 300,000, according to official figures. The latest UK government data show 685 new cases have been detected, taking the total to 300,111, while seven more people have died, meaning the country’s overall official death toll is 45,759.

4.27pm BST

Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn has just announced he is planning to introduce obligatory testing for travellers returning from areas considered high risk because of their level of cases.

“I will mandate obligatory testing for travellers from risk areas,” he said a few minutes ago. It is unclear when or how the regulation will come into force.

Obliging travellers to undergo a test will entail an emergency law change that lawmakers have already said will be complicated and could be problematic. Several airports have been running test centres for the past few weeks for travellers who have volunteered to have one, with at least two major airports charging for the service. Berlin Airport has introduced free testing from today for any incoming passenger who wants one.

This morning, Bavaria’s leader Markus Söder announced his state would introduce mobile testing at sea ports, airports, railway stations and road border crossings, and urged the federal government to make testing obligatory at all the country’s entry points.

4.09pm BST

The biotech group Biocad is discussing handling production of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in China, according to the St Petersburg-based company’s director.

The potential vaccine – based on the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) – is expected to enter clinical trials in mid-August, the Biocad chief executive Dmitry Morozov has told Reuters.

The vaccine is one of six vaccine prototypes Russia’s Vector state virology institute is developing, a World Health Organization list showed.

Biocad is gearing up to produce four to five million doses per month of the VSV-based vaccine by the end of this year, if early-stage trials prove it to be safe and effective, Morozov said.

Biocad plans to handle industrial scale production of the vaccine entirely in-house, from manufacturing the virus strain in its bioreactors to dealing with registration and packaging, Morozov said.

“We can do it all at our current facilities,” Morozov said, adding there was no need to expand their production capacity to meet output targets.

We have received requests about deliveries for export based on the potential success of this vaccine … on the level of countries as well as private companies.

He added that Biocad had received requests from Egypt, South Africa and Thailand.
It is in discussions about producing the Vector VSV vaccine in China, where it has a joint venture with Shanghai Pharma launched in September last year. Shanghai Pharma was not immediately available for comment.

3.33pm BST

Belgian PM outlines new restrictions

Belgium’s prime minister Sophie Wilmès has announced a series of further restrictive measures following a significant spike in coronavirus infections, warning that the country could be put into a second “complete lockdown”, writes Daniel Boffey, the Guardian’s Brussels bureau chief.

“If we cannot reduce the coronavirus, it will be a collective failure,” Wilmès said at a press conference following a meeting of the country’s national security council.

Sophie Wilmès, Belgium’s prime minister, arrives at a meeting of the national security council.
Sophie Wilmès, Belgium’s prime minister, arrives at a meeting of the national security council.
Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/EPA

The prime minister said she “very strongly recommended” the return of teleworking for those who are able to do so. She announced that for a period of four weeks from Wednesday each household may only have social contact with a further five people.

People must go shopping alone and they will need to restrict themselves to just 30 minutes in a shop. Group outings will be limited to ten people, except for children of 12 years of age or younger. The city of Antwerp will take extra measures to be announced later on Monday in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease following a 500% week on week rise in infections.

Wilmès said:

We know that if we do not intervene drastically, even the start of the school year could be undermined. We are taking strong, difficult measures to avoid this [complete] lockdown. You can continue to confine, limit freedoms but we want to avoid the situation of March which was very trying on a human level, especially for the weakest among us …

Experts say it is possible to avoid another lockdown. But it must be remembered that the world’s leading scientists are incapable of knowing how the situation will develop. We must not frighten people, but neither should we abuse them by pretending to know everything.

Updated at 4.36pm BST

3.10pm BST

In Greece, mandatory mask-wearing may be extended beyond supermarkets to other enclosed spaces, the government warned today as coronavirus cases continued to rise in the country, writes Helena Smith, the Guardian’s Athens correspondent.

Addressing reporters earlier, the government spokesman, Stelios Petsas, alluded to it only being a matter of time before face-coverings were made obligatory in churches and other places where social distancing was otherwise difficult. Masks are already mandatory on all forms of public transport including ferries. Violators face fines of €150.

“The increase in cases worries us and perhaps it will be necessary for masks to become obligatory in churches and other enclosed spaces,” Petsas said. “The growth in incidents in urban centres, such as Attica and Thessaloniki, is a reminder that the virus continues to be here and to feed on our relaxation [in maintaining restrictions].”

Holidaymakers listen to a tourist guide in front of Athens’ cathedral.
Holidaymakers listen to a tourist guide in front of Athens’ cathedral.
Photograph: Helena Smith/The Guardian

The tourist-dependent country has seen a marked rise in infections since reopening its borders to foreign travellers on 1 July. Health officials say incidents of coronavirus have leapt from 4,017 in the week beginning 20 July to 4,193 today – a big jump in a nation that has otherwise managed to keep contain the pandemic. Two hundred and two people have died from Covid-19 to date in Greece.

A surge in infection rates among Balkan neighbours has prompted Greek authorities to increase monitoring and other preventative measures at land frontiers with Bulgaria and Albania as well as re-enforcing a ban on tourists from Serbia.

Petsas said as of tomorrow through to 4 August passengers flying in from Romania and Bulgaria would be required to have tested negative for the virus 72 hours prior to arrival. Entrants will have to carry a doctor’s certificate proving the negative molecular test for Covid-19 has been conducted within the required timeframe.

Tourists are beginning to arrive en masse in Greece with anecdotal reports on popular islands such as Paros of a steep rise in visitors – and those descending on beaches – even if the influx is but a pale imitation of that seen last year. For the first time ever, more than 15% of hotels nationwide have not opened for the season. In Athens, where bigger hotels opened this month, tourists have also begun to trickle with guided tours finally being spotted in the capital’s historic city centre.

Updated at 3.23pm BST

2.43pm BST

The World Health Organization has said that keeping borders closed to halt the spread of coronavirus is unsustainable, as the supranational health agencies urged governments to adopt strategies based on local knowledge of the virus’s spread.

Rising cases in a range of countries in Europe and elsewhere that had loosened measures after appearing to get their outbreaks under control have spurred discussions of possible fresh border closures.

But the UN health body warned that such measures can not be kept up indefinitely, and are also only useful when combined with a wide range of other measures to detect and break chains of transmission.

“Continuing to keep international borders sealed is not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world’s economy, for the world’s poor, or for anybody else,” Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, told journalists in a virtual briefing.

“It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future,” he said, pointing out that “economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume.”

He acknowledged that when it comes to Covid-19, it is impossible to have a “global one size fits all policy” because outbreaks are developing differently in different countries.

Updated at 3.24pm BST

2.34pm BST

The UK government has confirmed that a pet cat has been diagnosed with Covid-19, the first case of animal infection with coronavirus in the country, writes Jessica Elgot, the Guardian’s chief political correspondent.

The feline is believed to have caught the virus from its owners, all of whom have made a full recovery.

The animal, which is said to have only experienced mild symptoms, is not believed to been involved in transmitting the disease to its owners or other humans and animals.

2.11pm BST

People in Iran have been warned against holding wedding and funeral gatherings, as the latest update from the country’s health ministry reported another 212 deaths from coronavirus.

“Despite repeated calls to not hold weddings and mourning ceremonies, reports from across the country still indicate they are taking place,” said health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari, according to the French news agency AFP.

“The presence of people at these overcrowded events increases the risk of mass infection,” she added, in remarks broadcast on state television.

An man buys hand sanitiser from a woman at a metro station in Tehran.
An man buys hand sanitiser from a woman at a metro station in Tehran.
Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

While there is no nationwide ban on weddings and funerals, the venues in which they are staged have been ordered shut and authorities have repeatedly urged people to keep such gatherings small.

Lari said another 212 people had died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s overall death toll to 15,912. She added that 2,434 new infections during the same period took the total number of confirmed cases since the virus was first detected in Iran in February to 293,606. Of those, 255,144 have recovered.

Virus-related deaths and infections in Iran have risen to record highs since hitting months-long lows in May. That has prompted authorities to make masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and reimpose restrictions in some areas.

1.54pm BST

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the actor, and her eight-year old daughter, Aaradhya, have recovered from Covid-19 and left hospital after a 10-day stay, her husband, Abhishek Bachchan, said on Twitter, according to Reuters.

Abhishek Bachchan, who is also an actor, and his father, the renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan, 77, are still recovering from the disease and remain in a Mumbai hospital.

The Bachchans have been the most high-profile of India’s growing number of Covid-19 cases.

Amitabh Bachchan and his son tested positive on 11 July. Rai and Aaradhya tested positive a day later, but were admitted to hospital only on 17 July, after they developed symptoms, local media reported.

Abhishek Bachchan, his wife actress Aishwarya Rai and their daughter Aaradhya.
Abhishek Bachchan, his wife actress Aishwarya Rai and their daughter Aaradhya.
Photograph: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

India, which has 1.3 billion people, has recorded more than 1.4 million new coronavirus cases, the third highest in the world after the US and Brazil. It has recorded nearly 33,000 deaths so far.

Cases in India have been rising rapidly, and the country on Monday reported a record number of 49,931 new cases.

1.36pm BST

In the US, more than 40 people were infected with the coronavirus after attending a multi-day revival event at a north Alabama Baptist church, the Associated Press reports.

“The whole church has got it, just about,” Al.com quoted pastor Daryl Ross of Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist church in Marshall County as saying.

The pastor says the churchgoers, including himself, tested positive after the congregation held a series of religious services featuring a guest pastor over the course of several days last week.

Ross said the services were shut down by Friday after learning that one of the members who attended had tested positive for the virus. The member presented no symptoms, but got tested when several of his coworkers received positive tests, according to the pastor.

Over the weekend, dozens more fell ill, Ross said, adding: “I’ve got church members sick everywhere.”

“We knew what we were getting into,” he said. “We knew the possibilities.”

1.16pm BST

My colleagues over in the US of A have launched their live blog, with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, its election campaign, protests in Portland and other cities and a lot more besides.

Click the link below to follow their latest updates.

1.12pm BST

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have begun a deep clean of Mecca’s great mosque.

1.03pm BST

Moderna vaccine to be tested in 30,000 healthy people

A US biotechnology company has announced it has started a government-backed late-stage trial to assess its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Reuters reports.

Moderna’s RNA-based vaccine will be given to about 30,000 adults who do not have the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

The trial, named COVE, is the first to be implemented under the US government’s Operation Warp Speed that aims to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of therapeutics and vaccines for Covid-19.

The US government is supporting Moderna’s vaccine project with nearly a billion dollars and has chosen it as one of the first to enter large-scale human trials.

The main goal of the study will be prevention of the symptomatic Covid-19 disease, the company said.

Updated at 1.51pm BST

12.59pm BST

Vietnam has now reported 11 new locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus, all linked to a hospital in the central province of Danang and including four healthcare workers, the country’s health ministry said.

Earlier we reported that the south east Asian country had detected four cases.

Vietnam, whose campaign against the coronavirus has so far been a success story, has registered a total of 431 cases, with no deaths. The country has carried out more than 430,000 tests and nearly 12,000 people are under quarantine.

12.47pm BST

The German state of Bavaria is spear-heading the mass roll-out of coronavirus testing facilities in the hope of reaching as many returning holiday makers as possible, writes Kate Connolly, the Guardian’s Berlin correspondent.

Airports, railway stations and main border crossings used by cars, are to be kitted out with mobile testing units, Markus Söder, the leader of the southern state announced this morning.

Hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers employed on farms across the state will also be offered tests after a big outbreak at a vegetable plantation in eastern Bavaria.

Particular attention will be paid to people returning from 130 areas considered high risk, by the government’s public health advisers. The number has risen from 100 regions last week, reflecting the global growth of the outbreak in recent days.

Söder has also increased fines for employers who contravene coronavirus health and safety regulations from 5000 to 25,000 Euros, in an effort to stem the virus’ spread.

Bavaria’s state premier, Markus Soeder, arrives for a press conference on Monday.
Bavaria’s state premier, Markus Soeder, arrives for a press conference on Monday.
Photograph: Peter Kneffel/AFP/Getty Images

Testing will initially be voluntary, and will be free to the person being tested, Söder said. But he has requested the federal government to investigate the legal hurdles which would need to be overcome in order to introduce an obligatory system.

“We need the federal government to ensure this becomes obligatory,” Söder said. “And this needs to happen as quickly as possible”.

There is growing political consensus across the parties that obligatory testing makes increasing sense amid a spike in cases of the virus both at home and abroad.

Helge Braun, chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, has said he will be looking into the legal requirements in conjunction with Jens Spahn, the health minister.

The leader of the pro-business FDP, Christian Lindner, said that people should be expected to pay for their own tests.

So far the German government is not considering a blanket quarantine requirement for returnees from Spain, as was introduced by the UK government for its citizens at the weekend.

But the northern state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern, itself highly dependent on tourism, has said it is examining the possibility of introducing stricter quarantine rules for those returning from areas considered high risk. Manuela Schwesig, the state leader, said anyone wishing to avoid a two-week quarantine would have to present health authorities with two negative coronavirus test results. Her government is expected to make an announcement tomorrow.

Bavaria is taking a particularly cautious approach because it has so far been one of the hardest hit regions in Germany. Its schools broke up for their six week summer break on Friday, so many of its 13 million citizens will be travelling further afield at a crucial time. Bavaria itself is also a popular tourist destination and heavily dependent on agriculture. Harvest workers are considered vulnerable targets for the illness.

“Corona is creeping back,” Söder said on Monday morning, “and unfortunately with all its might.

“Caution must be our top priority.”

Over the weekend, five hundred people were placed under quarantine in Mamming, eastern Bavaria, after 170 harvest workers on a vegetable plantation were tested positive for coronavirus.

In neighbouring Austria at the Wolfgangsee, a popular lakeside resort frequented by many German tourists, authorities there were tackling an outbreak of 53 cases thought to have been spread by young hotel staff, who were reportedly living in close quarters. Seven hotels, a pizzeria and two bars in St Wolfgang, the main town, are affected and have had to close.

Germany currently has around 6,100 active cases of the virus. But the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has expressed its concern in recent days that the number of cases was growing. However in the last 24 hours no one in Germany died from the disease, the RKI said on Monday morning.

Updated at 1.27pm BST

12.26pm BST

The coronavirus pandemic is the worst global health emergency the World Health Organisation has faced, its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said, according to Reuters.

Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world beat it, Tedros told a virtual news briefing in Geneva. “Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up,” he said, praising Canada, China, Germany and South Korea for controlling outbreaks.

The WHO emergencies programme head, Mike Ryan, said far more important than definitions of second waves, new peaks and localised clusters, was the need for nations around the world to keep up strict health restrictions such as physical distancing.

“What is clear is pressure on the virus pushes the numbers down. Release that pressure and cases creep back up,” he said, acknowledging, however, that it was virtually impossible for nations to keep borders shut for the foreseeable future.

Tedros emphasised the priority remained saving lives.

“We have to suppress transmission but at the same time we have to identify the vulnerable groups and save lives, keeping the death rates if possible to zero, if not to a minimum,” he said, praising Japan and Australia in that respect.

12.16pm BST

Spain is hoping that continuing negotiations with the British government will soon pave the way for Britons to visit the Canary and Balearic islands without having to self-quarantine on their return, writes Sam Jones, the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent.

At the moment, the UK government is advising against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain, but the Canaries and Balearics are exempt from the de facto travel ban. However, anyone visiting any part of Spain – including the islands – is currently required to self-isolate for a fortnight when they return to the UK.

Passengers arrive at Son Sant Joan airport on the Spanish Balearic island of Palma de Mallorca on Sunday.
Passengers arrive at Son Sant Joan airport on the Spanish Balearic island of Palma de Mallorca on Sunday.
Photograph: Joan Mateu/AP

“There have been conversations since the weekend with the British authorities about dropping quarantine for those visiting the islands as soon as possible,” Spain’s tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, said on Monday.

Maroto also said that the government was providing the UK with epidemiological updates about each of Spain’s 17 regions, adding that six of them were currently in a better epidemiological situation than the UK.

“We’ll be talking to all the Spanish regions to see what they propose, and any proposals will be brought to the British authorities,” she added.

The autonomous governments of Andalucía and Valencia have already asked for their regions to be included in the talks on lifting quarantine restrictions.

Maroto said Spain was trying to be as open and transparent as possible when it came to sharing information.

“We want to use that information to bring confidence and transparency when it comes to taking decisions,” she said.

“Our opposite numbers around Europe are doing the same thing and keeping us informed about the outbreaks, which are happening across all European countries and not just in Spain.

“We’re living alongside the virus but that doesn’t mean we can’t travel or enjoy some well-deserved holidays. But we need to be prudent and we need to respect the virus. But that doesn’t mean we can’t control it and enjoy a certain kind of daily life when living alongside it.”

12.04pm BST

Indonesia passes 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus

Indonesia confirmed has its 100,00th coronavirus case, as the Red Cross warned the that the pandemic in the vast archipelago risked “spiralling out of control”, according to AFP.

The country – home to more than a quarter of a billion people – has been recording 1,000-plus new infections a day after relaxing movement restrictions this month. As of Monday, it had reported a total of 100,303 coronavirus cases and 4,838 deaths.

Official figures are thought to understate the true extent of the outbreak.

Passengers wearing protective masks and face shields queue for a bus in Jakarta.
Passengers wearing protective masks and face shields queue for a bus in Jakarta.
Photograph: Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

The country of nearly 270 million is among the worst hit in Asia by the pandemic, with cases in all of its 34 provinces, including the remote Maluku islands and easternmost Papua.

Critics have blamed the government’s so-called “new normal” policy for discouraging Indonesians from remaining vigilant about the spread of the virus. They point to re-opening offices in the capital Jakarta as a major culprit in the surge, while restaurants, shopping malls and tourist attractions are also swinging open their doors around the country.

“We are intensifying our efforts to educate the public about the importance of changing their behaviour for good by physical distancing, wearing masks and practising good hygiene,” the Indonesian Red Cross said Monday, adding that it has enlisted some 7,000 volunteers nationwide.

“This calls for a unified, unprecedented, large-scale effort to reach all parts of society, in every corner of our country,” it added.

Updated at 12.07pm BST

11.49am BST

More than 16.1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have so far been counted around the world, and more than 646,000 have died from, Covid-19, the respiratory disease is causes, according to statistics aggregated by Johns Hopkins university.

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Follow the link below to see a further breakdown of the statistics from around the world.

11.32am BST

The southern German state of Bavaria is to set up coronavirus testing sites at its two biggest railway stations and at key points on motorways, as fears grow that the virus could be spread by travellers on their way to summer getaways.

The tests will be offered at Munich and Nuremberg train stations, as well as on three major motorway routes near the border, the state premier, Markus Soeder, told a press conference, according to the French government-funded news agency AFP. Testing centres are already in place at the state’s airports.

“We cannot completely prevent corona, so the goal must be to detect it in time to stop it from spreading,” he said.

Compared with many other European countries, Germany has been successful in suppressing the virus, reporting just over 200,000 cases and 9,118 deaths to date, according to the Robert Koch Institute for disease control.

Updated at 11.33am BST

11.14am BST

Hi, this is Damien Gayle taking the reins on the live blog, with thanks to Aamna Mohdin for keeping things ticking over for the last few hours.

If you feel like dropping me a line with any comments, tips or suggestions for stories we could be covering, you can reach me via email at damien.gayle@theguardian.com, or via Twitter direct message to @damiengayle.

10.53am BST

The Irish government is facing accusations of discrimination for stopping pandemic unemployment payments to people who holiday abroad.

Opposition parties and civil rights advocates condemned the policy after it emerged that 104 people had their payments halted after authorities detected them leaving Ireland. Another 44 people had other welfare payments stopped after boarding flights.

Under the rules of the social welfare benefits people are supposed to avoid foreign travel in accordance with public health advice to curb the spread of Covid-19.

However, critics say last week’s publication of a “green list” of countries deemed relatively safe for travel has confused people and undermines the stay-home message.

Leo Varadkar, the tánaiste, told RTE on Sunday:

The Department of Social Protection gets information from the airports and if someone is not genuinely seeking work or is not genuinely living in the country any more, their welfare payments can be stopped.

Updated at 11.34am BST

10.51am BST

Belgium expected to tighten restrictions after a sharp increase of cases

Belgium’s government is expected to tighten restrictions designed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 after a sharp increase in the national number of infections and a 500% week-on-week spike in the city of Antwerp.

The country’s national security council (NSC), led by the prime minister, Sophie Wilmès, will meet on Monday to decide whether to to enact local lockdowns and reduce the permitted size of social bubbles in the face of a second wave of the disease.

Marc Van Ranst, a member of Belgium’s coronavirus advisory committee, said the meeting was “the most important … to be held since March”, when the national lockdown was imposed.

He added:

“We are acting earlier than during the first wave, we also want to stop [a new wave] earlier.

Updated at 11.17am BST

10.39am BST

French health minister Olivier Véran has warned youngsters to maintain coronavirus safety measures including keeping their distance, washing hands and wearing masks after a rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 among young people

Véran appealed for “vigilance”. The minister said at the weekend:

When we carry out mass testing we are seeing a lot of young patients … more youngsters than during the previous wave.

This is particularly the case in the Île-de-France (Paris) region where we are seeing young people who are infected without knowing how it happened. Clearly, older people are still being very careful, while young people are paying less attention.

The French government has announced that Covid-19 nasal tests will be fully reimbursed by the country’s health service even without a medical prescription. Until now, anyone wanting to be tested had to first consult their GP.

Véran told Le Parisien France was carrying out nearly 500,000 tests a week and the rate of positive results was 1.5%. “As we are testing more, we are finding more people invected,” he said.

Asked if he had a message for youngsters, Véron added:

I say to them that I completely understand their need to get out and breathe some air, but the virus is not taking a holiday. We haven’t yet won the war.

A total of 30,192 people are believed to have died in hospitals and care homes in France since the pandemic began, according to the latest figures on Friday. Last week, the number of new cases rose to more than 1,000 per 24 hours.The statistics are no longer given over the weekend but will be updated on Monday evening. The last figures from the public health authority suggests 1.2% of tests were found to be positive and 127 clusters are currently under investigation.

In Quiberon, in Brittany, which has seen a rise in coronavirus cases, the local authority closed the beaches from 9pm to 7am after 54 young people were diagnosed with Covid-19.

Officials have warned more bars and beaches will be shut to the public if the number of cases continues to rise.

Updated at 11.21am BST

9.14am BST

Catalonia may take stricter measures to limit coronavirus outbreak if situation does not improve

Spain’s Catalonia may take stricter measures to limit coronavirus outbreak if situation does not improve in the next 10 days, regional leader Quim Torra said on Monday.

PA reports:

Torra warned that in many parts of Catalonia the data was similar to the situation before Spain declared a national lockdown in March. He added his administration’s goal was to avoid taking as strict measures as the ones that were taken back then.

Catalan authorities on July 17 advised some four million people to remain home and leave only for essential trips, banned gatherings of more than ten people and limited the occupancy of bars and restaurants as the number of cases in the region is rising faster than in the rest of the country.

8.40am BST

Hong Kong announcing new measures to tackle growing outbreak

Hong Kong’s chief secretary, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, is announcing new measures for the city as it battles a growing outbreak. We earlier reported that Hong Kong has seen five consecutive days with figures in the triple figures. More than half of Hong Kong’s total case count in the pandemic has been in July, the vast majority of it community transmission.

Cheung has just told media.

The next two to three weeks will be critical. We need to prevent the further spread of the disease in the community,”

There is a high risk of a major outbreak in the community. That’s why the community as a whole and the govt must remain highly vigilant. The pandemic is worrying, there is no sign of any improvement.

The new measures will come into place from Wednesday:

  • Mask wearing is mandatory in all public places.
  • Apart from specified premises, all dine-in services are suspended. Take-away service can continue.
  • Sports venues, swimming pools will be included among businesses forced to close.
  • Group gatherings are restricted to no more than two people.

It’s going to be a grim Summer in Hong Kong.

Prof Sophie Chan, secretary for food and health, tells media the government is continually expanding its testing capability (widely reported to be under pressure despite being in numbers far below other countries – around 10,000/day).

They’ll concentrate on vulnerable groups, aged care homes, and taxi drivers, and they aren’t ruling out bringing in more private labs to reinforce government testing capacity.

Updated at 8.50am BST

8.38am BST

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against Israel’s government in Rabin square in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against Israel’s government in Rabin square in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Photograph: Ariel Schalit/AP

The wave of colorful and combative demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks have been dominated by young Israelis, AP reports.

The unprecedented economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, and a crisis of confidence in leadership, have spurred a younger generation of Israelis wary of their future to take on a more prominent role in the protests. Many of them have little or no history of political involvement.

7.57am BST

Ryanair said it suffered the “most challenging” quarter in its 35-year history after reporting a loss of 185 million euro (168 million). The low-cost airline said a second wave of the disease was now its “biggest fear”.

The company said:

The past quarter was the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history.

Covid-19 grounded the group’s fleet for almost four months (from mid-March to end June) as EU governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns.

During this time, group airlines repatriated customers and operated rescue flights for different EU governments, as well as flying a series of medical emergency/PPE flights across Europe.

7.46am BST

Hi, I’m Aamna Mohdin taking over the liveblog from Helen Sullivan. If you want to contact me, you can email me (aamna.mohdin@theguardian.com) or Tweet me (@aamnamohdin).

7.03am BST

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thanks for following along – my colleague Aamna Mohdin will be bringing you the latest pandemic news from around the world for the next few hours.

7.01am BST

Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people amid new Covid-19 cases in Danang

Vietnam is evacuating 80,00o people from the central city of Danang and reimposed disease-prevention measures, after four local coronavirus cases were detected, the first to be recorded in the country for more than three months.

The source of the new cases is not clear. Vietnamese media reported that the 57-year-old man, a retired grandfather, had not left the city in recent months, but had visited three healthcare facilities and had recently attended a wedding. He visited hospital with a cough and fever on 20 July and is reportedly in critical condition:

Updated at 8.40am BST

6.51am BST

South Korea says defector who fled to North ‘did not have’ Covid-19

South Korea has said that a defector who recently fled to the North does not appear to have contracted Covid-19, a day after Pyongyang imposed a lockdown near the border, claiming the man was its first recorded case of the illness.

North Korean state media reported on Sunday that the 24-year-old man, who was reportedly in quarantine, was displaying symptoms of coronavirus after returning to his homeland across the border separating the two Koreas last week.

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, declared a state of “maximum emergency” and ordered the border town of Kaesong, where the defector was discovered, to go into lockdown, the state-run KCNA news agency said.

But on Monday, health authorities in the South said there was no evidence that the defector had contracted the illness:

6.38am BST

Chinese authorities to test six million in Dalian

Chinese health authorities have announced they plan to test all six million plus residents of a northeastern city where a growing infection cluster has spread to seven other cities.

Dalian, in Liaoning province, reported 12 new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, and 14 asymptomatic cases.

The first of the 24 cases confirmed so far was reported on Wednesday, in a 58-year-old man working at a seafood processing facility. All employees and close contacts are now under quarantine. The national health commission said cases in seven other cities had links to the Dalian outbreak.

Health workers carry out Covid-19 coronavirus tests in a shopping mall in Dalian, in China’s northeast Liaoning province.
Health workers carry out Covid-19 coronavirus tests in a shopping mall in Dalian, in China’s northeast Liaoning province.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Head of the commission, Ma Xiaowei, said Dalian should aim to have every resident tested within four days. The costs will all be covered by the Chinese government.

Ma said there were still uncertainties in the Dalian outbreak, and testing resources needed to be increased in nearby cities, China Daily reported.

As outbreaks pop up across mainland China, authorities are responding quickly with transport shut downs, building lockdowns, and city-wide testing on massive scales.

In May a resurgence of the virus in Wuhan saw city authorities directed to have all 11 million residents tested within 10 days.

6.33am BST

UK front pages, Monday 27 July 2020

Many of this morning’s papers lead with the quarantine measures for travellers returning to the UK from Spain. Metro and the Daily Record are winning in the pun stakes, with “The pain in Spain” and “Spain in the neck” respectively:

The Guardian’s headline is “Tourists may face more ‘handbrake restrictions’” – you can read that story here.

6.26am BST

The UK’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis could take 18 months longer than expected with hopes of a V-shaped recovery fading fast, according to a leading economic forecaster.

Britain’s economic output is not expected to return to its 2019 level until the end of 2024, the EY Item Club said on Monday in its latest projections on the health of the UK economy. It had previously expected GDP to match fourth-quarter 2019 size in early 2023.

EY is predicting that Britain’s economy will shrink by a record 20% in the April to June quarter, rather than 15% as it forecast last month. The economy expected to return to growth in the third quarter, with a quarterly expansion of around 12%:

5.54am BST

Summary

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • Global deaths are nearing 650,000 as cases climb by over 250,000 for four straight days. The number people who have died in the pandemic so far is nearing 650,000 according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with the total currently at 647,928. Cases are showing no sign of slowing, with the last four days seeing more than 250,000 cases reported worldwide each day. Three of the last four days saw more than 280,000 daily cases – a rate that would mean the global total would increase by 2m cases per week. There are over 16.2m cases worldwide.
  • Vietnam will evacuate 80,000 tourists from the city of Danang, the government announced in a statement, following the discovery of four locally transmitted coronavirus cases over the weekend – the first cases in the country for 99 days.The government has also reintroduced social distancing measures in the city.
  • China recorded 61 new coronavirus cases on Monday – the highest daily figure since April, propelled by clusters in three separate regions that have sparked fears of a fresh wave. The bulk of 57 new domestic cases were found in the far northwestern Xinjiang region, according to the National Health Commission, where a sudden outbreak in the regional capital of Urumqi occurred in mid-July.Fourteen domestic cases were also recorded in the northeastern province of Liaoning where a fresh cluster broke out in the city of Dalian last week.
  • India has for the first time recorded over 50,000 cases in one day. The Times of India reported that India’s one-day case total was higher than 50,000 for the first time on Sunday, taking the country’s total to 1.4m cases – the third highest worldwide.50,362 new cases were reported, toppling the previous one-day case record of 49,055.Last week was also India’s deadliest, the paper reports, “when total cases grew by 28% and the death toll jumped by 19%.”
  • Australia saw its highest one-day case increase of the pandemic so far, after the state of Victoria recorded 532 new cases, along with six more deaths of people aged in their 50s to 90s.
  • The Australian state of New South Wales recorded 17 new cases, about average for the last week. Of the new cases eight are international travellers in hotel quarantine. Another four are linked to the four are linked funeral gatherings cluster, three are household contacts of cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park, and two are under investigation.
  • New Zealand reported another day with no new cases of Covid-19 – the third day in a row. All of the country’s 21 active cases of the virus were diagnosed in travellers returning to the country, all of whom are quarantined in government-managed isolation facilities.
  • Coronavirus cases in Papua New Guinea have nearly doubled in a weekend, with the emerging pandemic threatening to overwhelm the country’s already-fragile healthcare system. The pandemic has, so far, been largely suppressed in the archipelagic nation, with low infection rates and only one death – of an already seriously-ill patient – linked to Covid-19.But authorities fear persistent community transmission, particularly in the crowded capital Port Moresby, could soon see the virus running unchecked.
  • The US has recorded 5,000 deaths in five days. The US has suffered more than 1,000 deaths a day from Covid-19 for five days running, as cases surge in southern and western states, the national caseload nears 4.2m and the death toll approaches 150,000.
  • Dr Birx urged five US states to close bars and limit social gatherings. The co-ordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, Dr Deborah Birx, told reporters In Kentucky on Sunday that that federal health officials recommend that five US states – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia – “close their bars, cut back indoor restaurant capacity and limit social gatherings to 10 people,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports, as well as recommending that “100%” of people wear masks when they are in public.
  • Pacific islanders living in the US are being hospitalised with Covid-19 at up to 10 times the rate of some other racial groups. In Washington state, rates of confirmed cases for Native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander people are nine times higher than those of white people, while hospitalisation rates are 10 times that of white people, according to department of health figures.
  • Morocco announced a new lockdown. Morocco will stop people entering and leaving some of its biggest cities from midnight to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, the interior and health ministries said on Sunday. On Sunday, the health ministry said 633 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, one of the biggest daily rises so far, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 20,278, with 313 deaths and 16,438 recoveries.
  • Some 500 workers are in quarantine on a large Bavarian farm to contain a mass coronavirus outbreak, German officials said, as they announced free Covid-19 tests for local residents. A total of 174 seasonal workers have tested positive for the virus since Friday.
  • The number of confirmed infections to Covid-19 has passed 36,000 in Afghanistan as the death toll in Kabul topped 500, amid raising concerns about a second wave of the pandemic over the upcoming Eid celebration. Coronavirus related deaths rose by 12 from the previous day to stand at 1,259 on Sunday.
  • Spain’s Covid-19 death toll could be 60% higher than the official figure. An investigation by Spanish newspaper El País, in which reporters counted regional statistics of suspected, as well as confirmed fatalities, reached a total of 44,868 deaths.
  • Spain is in talks with the UK about exempting the Canary and Balearic islands from strict quarantine rules. From midnight on Sunday, travellers returning from Spain to the UK have been forced to quarantine for 14 days, following a surge of cases in the country. The Spanish foreign minister said conversations between the countries were focussed on excluding the islands, which have seen far fewer Covid-19 infections and deaths, from the measures.
  • Vietnam has reintroduced social distancing measures in the city of Danang. The rules, reimposed by the government, follow the detection of four new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases in the country, after three months of no new infections.
  • North Korea has declared a state of emergency in a border town over a suspected coronavirus case. State news agency KCNA said leader Kim Jong Un also imposed a lockdown in Kaesong after a person who illegally crossed the border from South Korea displayed symptoms of the virus.

5.42am BST

Reuters is reporting that 80,000 tourists are being evacuated from the central city of Danang, the Vietnamese government announced in a statement, following the discovery of four locally transmitted coronavirus cases over the weekend – the first cases in the country for 99 days.

The government has also reintroduced social distancing measures in the city.

Updated at 6.57am BST

5.20am BST

‘People don’t want to fly’: Covid-19 reawakens Europe’s sleeper trains

For all their promise of romance and adventure, Europe’s sleeper trains had appeared to have reached the end of the line.

Cripplingly expensive to run and forsaken by travellers for budget airlines, a decision by the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn to terminate the service connecting Paris to Berlin six years ago ushered in the closure of routes across the continent including almost all of France’s network.

But as Europe continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, there are tentative signs of a new dawn for the couchettes and twin bunks, as the concerns of both governments and travellers’ over the environmental impact of short-haul flights are being complemented by a desire to avoid airport departure lounges and security queues:

5.00am BST

More on China from AFP: a second wave of mass testing was also launched in Xinjiang’s Urumqi on Sunday to detect residents who had previously tested false negative, reported the state-run Global Times, following a mass testing effort earlier this month.

More than 2.3 million people in the city of 3.5 million have been tested so far, according to a local press conference Friday.

The outbreaks come as the Chinese Super League football tournament kicked off its much-delayed season on Saturday.

Residential communities in both Dalian and Urumqi have been placed under lockdown, with authorities declaring a “wartime mode” to combat the virus.

Experts still have not confirmed the origin of the recent Xinjiang cluster, which has infected 178 people to date.

The fresh infections in Jilin were announced just days after President Xi Jinping concluded an inspection tour of the province last week.

The area announced four new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, after screening travellers returning from Dalian.

Another 302 asymptomatic cases in China are under medical observation, health authorities said Monday, and there are currently 331 people ill with COVID-19 across the country, 21 in a severe condition.

4.41am BST

China records highest new daily coronavirus case increase since April

China recorded 61 new coronavirus cases on Monday – the highest daily figure since April, AFP reports, propelled by clusters in three separate regions that have sparked fears of a fresh wave.

The bulk of 57 new domestic cases were found in the far northwestern Xinjiang region, according to the National Health Commission, where a sudden outbreak in the regional capital of Urumqi occurred in mid-July.

Fourteen domestic cases were also recorded in the northeastern province of Liaoning where a fresh cluster broke out in the city of Dalian last week.

Two more local cases were found in the neighbouring province of Jilin near the North Korean border – the first since late May. The last four infections confirmed on Monday were imported from overseas.

It is the highest daily tally of new virus cases since April 14, when 89 cases, mostly imported, were recorded.

Chinese authorities have rolled out mass testing for hundreds of thousands of people in the port city of Dalian.

4.34am BST

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 340 to 205,609, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Monday.

The reported deaths remained unchanged at 9,118.

4.22am BST

Here is the full story on the Australian state of Victoria reporting the highest number of Covid-19 identified in a 24-hour period in Australia to date, with 532 new cases, along with six more deaths of people aged in their 50s to 90s:

3.55am BST

Japan’s economy minister says the government will urge businesses to aim for 70% telecommuting and enhance other social distancing measures amid a rise in coronavirus cases among workers, some infected during after-work socialising, Reuters reports.

Though Japan has largely avoided the mass infections that have killed tens of thousands overseas, a record surge in cases during the past week in Tokyo and other major urban areas has experts worried the country face a second wave.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura late on Sunday called on business leaders to enhance anti-virus measures such as encouraging the level of telecommuting achieved during Japan’s state of emergency this year.

An employee wearing a protective face mask and face guard works on an automobile assembly line in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, Japan, 18 May 2020.
An employee wearing a protective face mask and face guard works on an automobile assembly line in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, Japan, 18 May 2020.
Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Tokyo last week reported a daily record of 366 cases, with 239 on Sunday. The southern city of Fukuoka reported a record 90 cases on Sunday, along with rising numbers in Osaka.

“At one point, commuter numbers were down by 70 to 80%, but now it’s only about 30%,” Nishimura said. “We really don’t want to backtrack on this, so we have to explore new ways of working and keep telecommuting high.”

He also called on companies to avoid large gatherings and to urge staggered shifts.
Nishimura said last week that concern was rising about clusters, specifically those involving host and hostess bars as well as others connected to workplaces and after-work socialising.

Though the number of serious cases remains relatively small, the government is also concerned about a rise in infections among people in their 40s and 50s. The rate of telecommuting has lagged in Japan because of a paper-driven culture and technological shortcomings, experts say.

More than 30,000 people in Japan have been infected and nearly 1,000 have died.

3.42am BST

Hi, Helen Sullivan here. I’ll still be bringing you the latest for the a few hours – your questions, suggestions and news tips are welcome.

Send them to me on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

3.32am BST

Coronavirus cases in Papua New Guinea double in days

Coronavirus cases in Papua New Guinea have nearly doubled in a weekend, with the emerging pandemic threatening to overwhelm the country’s already-fragile healthcare system.

The pandemic has, so far, been largely suppressed in the archipelagic nation, with low infection rates and only one death – of an already seriously-ill patient – linked to Covid-19.

But authorities fear persistent community transmission, particularly in the crowded capital Port Moresby, could soon see the virus running unchecked.

A fortnight ago, the country had recorded just 11 cases of Covid-19. This jumped to 32 by Friday last week, and to 62 by Sunday.

Now, 80% of PNG’s Covid cases have been recorded in the past 10 days:

3.22am BST

New Zealand reports zero new cases for third straight day

Charlotte Graham-McLay reports for the Guardian:

New Zealand has reported another day with no new cases of Covid-19 – the third day in a row. All of the country’s 21 active cases of the virus were diagnosed in travellers returning to the country, all of whom are quarantined in government-managed isolation facilities.

Only New Zealanders, and essential workers given exemptions, are allowed to enter the country. All travellers spend two weeks in quarantine, during which they are tested twice for the coronavirus.

New Zealand has recorded 1,206 confirmed cases of the virus since the pandemic began, with 22 deaths.

There is no known community transmission of the virus, widely attributed to a swift, early lockdown of the country. Health officials said on Monday that it had been 87 days since the last case of Covid-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source.

New Zealand now has no restrictions in place on daily life other than the border measures.

3.07am BST

The Hong Kong government is on the defensive over its extensive quarantine exemptions which have now been identified as driving much of the current outbreak. More than 1,400 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 this month – more than half of Hong Kong’s total infections in the coronavirus pandemic. Medical and testing systems in the city are overwhelmed.

Hong Kong has had strict entry bars on non-residents and mandatory quarantine for others coming into the city. However tens of thousands of individuals considered to be carrying out essential work were exempt – including about 10,000 cross-border truck drivers, as well as crew members of sea and air vessels.

In a statement released on Sunday the government defended the decision, saying the exemptions were “essential to ensure an uninterrupted supply of goods and daily necessities to maintain the economy”.

“Though exempted from mandatory 14-day quarantine, exempted persons are issued with medical surveillance notices by the Department of Health and are asked to comply with precautionary and personal hygiene measures including the wearing of masks.”

A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against coronavirus walks past a closed bar in Hong Kong.
A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against coronavirus walks past a closed bar in Hong Kong.
Photograph: May James/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

It said the exemption arrangements had “worked well in the past few months”, but in recognition of the recent rise in cases among air and sea crew personnel, some measures have been suspended or tightened.

Taking effect on Wednesday, the new measures include requiring all cargo ship crew members to stay on board while the ship is in Hong Kong waters. Incoming flight crews must possess a negative Covid-19 test from within 48 prior to their arrival. Airlines must also arrange point to point private transport for crew traveling between the airport and their accommodation, and ensure that the crew self-isolate.

On Sunday Hong Kong reported another 128 cases, the fifth straight day of results in the triple figures.

On Saturday Hong Kong confirmed a record 133 cases of Covid-19 were under investigation, all but seven of them locally transmitted.

It included one student living in a University of Hong Kong hall of residence. One roommate had returned a preliminary positive test result, and another with symptoms was waiting for a result.

“For the University of Hong Kong residential hall, because they are living on the same floor, they share bathrooms and toilets, there are around 10 to 20 students there, so we plan to put them under quarantine,” head of the centre for health protection, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said.

3.02am BST

We’re leaving that press conference in Victoria now.

Here is a summary of the news from Victoria and New South Wales:

  • The state of Victoria has reported a record 532 cases – the highest one-day total for Australia over the course of the pandemic so far – and an additional six deaths.
  • There are 400 active cases among healthcare workers and 683 active cases connected to aged care facilities, said Premier Daniel Andrews. “The key message today for every single Victorian, regardless of where they work and regardless of where they live, you simply can’t go to work if you have symptoms,” he said.
  • New South Wales recorded 17 new cases of Covid-19 to 8pm last night, about average for the last week. Of those, eight are international travellers in hotel quarantine. Another four are linked to the four are linked funeral gatherings cluster, three are household contacts of cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park, and two are under investigation. There are now 70 cases linked to the cluster at Thai Rock Wetherill Park.
  • More than one in five Victorians have been tested for coronavirus. The state has conducted more than 1.5m tests since January, which is one of the highest rates on the world, said Andrews.
  • Andrews said he will look at closing certain key industries if the workplace transmission of coronavirus is not slowed.But he said his health advisors have not recommend taking that step at this stage.He was asked the question specifically with regards to meat works.

2.53am BST

Back in Australia, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said he will look at closing certain key industries if the workplace transmission of coronavirus is not slowed.

But he said his health advisors have not recommend taking that step at this stage.

He was asked the question specifically with regards to meat works.

If we were to continue to see outbreaks, if we were to continue to see people quite obviously attending work when they shouldn’t be, then every option becomes on the table. And that’s not the position at the moment and I’m very grateful to those employers and they’re not the only high-risk sites. We shouldn’t single them out to the exclusion of others. It’s not just cool stores, meat works, abattoirs, whatever you want to term them, it’s not just big warehouses, distribution, freight, logistic centres, there’s lot of different sites, aged care, healthcare, the list goes on.

But… You know, next steps may well have to include closing a number of these industries if we continue to see people attending work.

He added:

So employers have got, business owners have got, a really big stake in this also. We have to work together to keep anyone who’s got symptoms away from work. Otherwise businesses will have to close and the thing is this: When you have an outbreak, that business will shut, they’ll be the subject of deep-cleaning, they’ll be the subject of literally of hundreds of thousands of hours of public health team work, contact-tracing, testing, all of that.

There’s an economic cost to that, there’s a very significant public health cost also. So that work is not just me standing here asking people to do it. It’s got to be enterprise by enterprise workplace by workplace and I’m really confident that they are stepping up to do that work with us because they need to.

2.45am BST

India records over 50,000 cases in one day

The Times of India reports that India’s one-day case total was higher than 50,000 for the first time on Sunday, taking the country’s total to 1.4m cases – the third highest worldwide.

50,362 new cases were reported, toppling the previous one-day case record of 49,055.

Last week was also India’s deadliest, the paper reports, “when total cases grew by 28% and the death toll jumped by 19%.”

Coronavirus testing in Mumbai, India on 26 Jul 2020.
Coronavirus testing in Mumbai, India on 26 Jul 2020.
Photograph: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

2.40am BST

More than one in five Victorians have been tested for coronavirus

Back in the Australian state of Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews says that since January, more than one in five Victorians has been tested for coronavirus:

We don’t have capacity to do 100,000 tests a day. There are limits, and if you look at our average over the last three to four weeks, it’s certainly higher than 25,000.

[…]

We think we’re doing enough testing to find positive cases, we’re doing enough testing to have a good sense of where the virus is, but it’s a big and complex system. We have done – my notes tell me – we have done more than 1.5 million tests. In fact, we have done a total of 1,518,507 tests. That gives you a sense of how big a challenge that is. That’s since January one. That is one of the highest testing rates in the world up over one-in-five Victorians have been tested. That’s a massive, massive task.

2.35am BST

China records 57 new locally transmitted cases

To step away from Australia for a moment: China has reported 57 new locally transmitted cases today, with 41 of those in the Uighur Autonomous Region, according to the National Health Commission:

From 0-24 o’clock on July 26, 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 61 new confirmed cases, including 4 imported cases (2 in Inner Mongolia, 1 in Fujian, and 1 in Sichuan). There are 57 local cases (41 in Xinjiang, 14 in Liaoning, and 2 in Jilin); no new deaths; no new suspected cases.

2.32am BST

Australian state of New South Wales records 17 new cases

Stepping away from Victoria for a moment – the neighbouring Australian state of New South Wales recorded 17 new cases of Covid-19 to 8pm last night – that’s about average for the last week.

Of those, eight are international travellers in hotel quarantine. Another four are linked to the four are linked funeral gatherings cluster, three are household contacts of cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park, and two are under investigation.

There are now 70 cases linked to the cluster at Thai Rock Wetherill Park. The Crossroads Hotel cluster, which did not record any new cases yesterday, is at 56.

Updated at 3.00am BST

2.19am BST

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton is speaking now. He breaks down the cases linked to aged are facilities, and says, “Where there are outbreaks in aged care, the mortality is extremely high”:

The aged care outbreaks are absolutely a consequence of community transmission, but they represent a tragedy for the families involved for some private aged care facilities, the numbers are disturbing. There are now 84 cases linked to St Basil’s Home for TheAged in Fawkner. 82 in Estia Healthcare, 77 in Epping GardensAged Care in Epping. 62 in men Rocklife aged care in Essendon, 53 in Glenndale aged care in Werribee. 57in Kirk Bray Presbyterian homes in Kilsyth and 50 in Estia aged care inHeidelberg.

It’s hard to read these out without considering the residents in these facilities will be people’s parents, grandparents, great grandparents and they are at significant risk of dying. That’s an inescapable fact in these settings. Where there are outbreaks in aged care, the mortality is extremely high.

2.10am BST

Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews says six more people have died overnight, a lower toll than yesterday’s 10 deaths.

The deaths are, says Andrews: “A female in her 90s, a female in her 80s, a man in his 80s, a female in her 70s, and a male in his 70s, and a male in his 50s. Five of those six deaths are connected to outbreaks in aged care.”

There are 400 active cases among healthcare workers and “683 active cases connected in someway to aged care,” says Andrews.

“The key message today for every single Victorian, regardless of where they work and regardless of where they live, you simply can’t go to work if you have symptoms,” he says.

“This is what is driving these numbers up and the lockdown will not end until people stop going to work with symptoms and instead go and get tested because they have symptoms.”

2.03am BST

Australian state of Victoria sees record case rise

In Australia, the state of Victoria, in which residents of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are around half way through a six-week lockdown, has reported a national record 532 new cases in one day, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced at a press conference. The previous national record was 472 cases, most of them from Victoria, on 22 July.

Yesterday was Australia’s deadliest day over the course of the pandemic so far, with ten deaths – all of them in Victoria.

ADF personnel and Victorian police officers are seen patrolling the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Sunday, 26 July 2020.
ADF personnel and Victorian police officers are seen patrolling the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Sunday, 26 July 2020.
Photograph: Daniel Pockett/AAP

The state is battling outbreaks in aged care facilities and among healthcare workers, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying on Monday that the outbreak in aged care in Melbourne, which by Sunday had grown to 560 cases across 71 residential and non-residential aged care facilities, was a reminder that when community transmission increases, people living in aged care are at risk.

There were 381 active infections in Victorian healthcare workers announced on Sunday – an extra 81 since Friday, the Guardian’s Melissa Davey reports. And that figure doesn’t include the hundreds of healthcare workers now furloughed while awaiting test results after being in close contact with a known case:

1.54am BST

Pacific Islanders in US hospitalised with Covid-19 at up to 10 times the rate of other groups

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson reports for the Guardian:

Pacific islanders living in the US are being hospitalised with Covid-19 at up to 10 times the rate of some other racial groups.

The US is the most infected country on earth, with more than 4 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and nearly 150,000 deaths, and the 1.5 million Pacific islanders living there are massively overrepresented in infection and hospitalisation rates.

In Washington state, rates of confirmed cases for Native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander people are nine times higher than those of white people, while hospitalisation rates are 10 times that of white people, according to department of health figures.

The numbers are most dramatic in that state’s Spokane county. People from the Marshall Islands make up less than 1% of the county’s population but represent around 30% of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Across the country, states with significant islander populations are showing similar trends:

1.44am BST

Global deaths near 650,000 as cases climb by over 250,000 for four straight days

The number people who have died in the pandemic so far is nearing 650,000 according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with the total currently at 647,784.

Cases are showing no sign of slowing, with the last four days seeing more than 250,000 cases reported worldwide each day. Three of the last four days sawmore than 280,000 daily cases – a rate that would mean the global total would increase by 2m cases per week.

There are 16,189,581 known coronavirus cases worldwide.

1.32am BST

Dr Birx urges five US states to close bars and limit social gatherings

The co-ordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, Dr Deborah Birx, told reporters In Kentucky on Sunday that that federal health officials recommend that five US states – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia – “close their bars, cut back indoor restaurant capacity and limit social gatherings to 10 people,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports, as well as recommending that “100%” of people wear masks when they are in public.

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear, the paper reports, “said he is prepared to announce further restrictions Monday to try to control the coronavirus spread in Kentucky. He already has ordered people to wear masks, limit gatherings to 10 people or less and recommended avoiding travel to states with high rates of Covid-19.”

The New York Times reports that four US states – Four states set single-day case records — Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Alaska – reported record case rises on Sunday.

1.08am BST

US records 5,000 deaths in five days

The US has recorded more than 1,000 deaths a day from Covid-19 for five days running, as cases surge in southern and western states, the national caseload nears 4.2m and the death toll approaches 150,000.

In Washington, Senate Republicans and the White House continue talks over what to put in the next stimulus package, as Democrats fret over the imminent expiration of enhanced unemployment payments and evictions of those unable to make rent.

House Democrats passed a tn package, the Heroes Act, in May. On Sunday, key Republican negotiators said their proposals would be unveiled on Monday, with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell expected to outline a package priced at tn. They did not count out a need to pass short-term funding measures first:

12.54am BST

Spain’s Covid-19 death toll could be 60% higher than official figure

In case you missed it: Spain’s coronavirus death toll could be nearly 60% than the official total of 28,342, an investigation by Spanish daily newspaper El País has found.The country’s official death toll includes people who were formally diagnosed with coronavirus, not suspected cases who were never tested.A lack of widespread testing, particularly in the early stages of the outbreak, means the official count could underestimate the virus’ toll, like in many other countries.By counting regional statistics of all suspected and confirmed fatalities from the virus, El Pais reached a total of 44,868 deaths. If accurate, that would make Spain’s outbreak the second deadliest in Europe after the UK.

Spain’s health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The El País figure is roughly in line with figures from the National Epidemiology Centre and National Statistics Centre (INE), which register excess mortality by comparing deaths across the country with historical averages.In June, the INE reported 43,945 more deaths in the first 21 weeks of 2020 than in the same period of 2019, though it could not say how many could be attributed to the pandemic.

12.30am BST

Summary

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

I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours and welcome your questions, suggestions and news tips.

Send them to me on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

The United States has recorded around 1,000 deaths per day for five days in a row, as the national caseload nears 4.2m and the death toll approaches 150,000. Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force co-ordinator, told reporters in Kentucky that federal health officials recommend that five US states – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia – close their bars.

Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:

  • The health minister of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, has died nearly two weeks after being hospitalised with Covid-19. “I have no words to express all my feelings in this moment, except for profound sadness,” Chihuahua governor Javier Corral wrote on Facebook on Sunday morning of the minister, Dr. Jesus Grajeda.
  • Brazil death toll surpasses 87,000. The death toll from coronavirus in Brazil has reached 87,004, up from 86,449 yesterday, according to the country’s health ministry.The number of cases registered is at 2,419,091, compared to 2,394,513 yesterday.
  • Morocco announces new lockdown. Morocco will stop people entering and leaving some of its biggest cities from midnight to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, the interior and health ministries said on Sunday. On Sunday, the health ministry said 633 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, one of the biggest daily rises so far, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 20,278, with 313 deaths and 16,438 recoveries.
  • Some 500 workers are in quarantine on a large Bavarian farm to contain a mass coronavirus outbreak, German officials said, as they announced free Covid-19 tests for local residents. A total of 174 seasonal workers have tested positive for the virus since Friday.
  • The number of confirmed infections to Covid-19 has passed 36,000 in Afghanistan as death toll in Kabul topped 500, amid raising concerns about a second wave of the pandemic over the upcoming Eid celebration. Coronavirus related deaths rose by 12 from the previous day to stand at 1,259 on Sunday.
  • Spain’s Covid-19 death toll could be 60% higher than the official figure. An investigation by Spanish newspaper El País, in which reporters counted regional statistics of suspected, as well as confirmed fatalities, reached a total of 44,868 deaths.
  • Spain are in talks with the UK about exempting the Canary and Balearic islands from strict quarantine rules. From midnight on Sunday, travellers returning from Spain to the UK have been forced to quarantine for 14 days, following a surge of cases in the country. The Spanish foreign minister said conversations between the countries were focussed on excluding the islands, which have seen far fewer Covid-19 infections and deaths, from the measures.
  • Vietnam has reintroduced social distancing measures in the city of Danang. The rules, reimposed by the government, follow the detection of four new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases in the country, after three months of no new infections.
  • North Korea has declared a state of emergency in a border town over a suspected coronavirus case. State news agency KCNA said leader Kim Jong Un also imposed a lockdown in Kaesong after a person who illegally crossed the border from South Korea displayed symptoms of the virus.
  • India’s prime minister has warned citizens to be “extra vigilant” towards the ongoing threat of Covid-19. Narendra Modi’s comments come after the country recorded more than 48,000 cases in 24 hours. India’s total coronavirus caseload now stands at 1.4 million, while more than 30,000 people have died after contracting the disease.

Updated at 12.51am BST

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