Coronavirus live news: Florida reports a record 10,000 new cases in one day

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “UK to relax travel quarantine from 10 July – as it happened” was written by Lucy Campbell Jessica Murray, Aamna Mohdin, Rebecca Ratcliffe,Ben Doherty (earlier) Nadeem Badshah (now), for theguardian.com on Thursday 2nd July 2020 23.17 UTC

12.14am BST

Hi, Helen Sullivan here – we’ve launched a new global coronavirus blog at the link below, where I’ll be taking you through the latest for the next few hours:

12.12am BST

A woman wearing a face mask visits the exhibition “Raffaello 1520-1483” in Rome. The “Raffaello 1520-1483” exhibition, the largest-ever retrospective of the life and work of Renaissance maestro Raphael, reopened to public recently at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. Visitors, who had to wear face masks, were required to reserve precise entry times. Each visitor had his or her temperature taken by a digital thermometer upon entry.
A woman wearing a face mask visits the exhibition “Raffaello 1520-1483” in Rome. The “Raffaello 1520-1483” exhibition, the largest-ever retrospective of the life and work of Renaissance maestro Raphael, reopened to public recently at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. Visitors, who had to wear face masks, were required to reserve precise entry times. Each visitor had his or her temperature taken by a digital thermometer upon entry.
Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

12.01am BST

UK to relax travel quarantine from July 10

The quarantine policy for passengers arriving in England from “lower risk countries” such as Spain, France, Italy and Germany will be lifted, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

A full list of countries from which arrivals will not need to self-isolate for 14 days will be published later on Friday. The new measures come into force from July 10.

All passengers except for those in certain categories will continue to be required to provide contact information on arrival.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will set out a number of destinations which will be exempt from its policy of advising against all non-essential overseas travel.

That change will come into effect on Saturday, allowing people to take holidays overseas with regular travel insurance policies.

The DfT said the devolved administrations “will set out their own approach”, which means passengers arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there”.

11.43pm BST

UK ‘to relax travel quarantine from July 10’

The quarantine policy for passengers arriving in England from “lower risk countries” such as Spain, France, Italy and Germany will be lifted, according to Sky News.

A full list of countries from which arrivals will not need to self-isolate for 14 days will be published later on Friday.

The new measures are expected to come into force from July 10.

11.32pm BST

South Africa extends deployment of soldiers to help enforce lockdown

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has told parliament of his decision to extend the deployment of 20,000 soldiers, a drop from 76,000, until September 30 to help enforce Covid-19 restrictions as the country reported its biggest single-day jump in coronavirus cases.

Ramaphosa first deployed 2,820 members of the South African National Defence Force a few days before enforcing a nationwide lockdown in late March. The number was increased to 76,000 in April as the health threat grew.

The money that will be spent on this extension is 1.5 billion rand (.35 million), Ramaphosa told the speaker of parliament.

At the end of March, Ramaphosa announced one of the toughest lockdowns anywhere in the world, banning anyone but essential workers from leaving home except to buy food or medicine, and prohibiting alcohol sales, when South Africa had 400 cases.

The country started slowly reopening parts of the economy from May and again in June but infection have started to spike again.

On Thursday, South Africa reported its biggest single-day jump in coronavirus cases, adding 8,728 confirmed infections and taking the total count to 168,061, according to health ministry data. Deaths rose by 95 to 2,844.

11.22pm BST

Health personnel spray and disinfect against Covid-19 the areas of the town of Leon 13 northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica. Costa Rican Ministry of Health declared the establishment of the community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the metropolitan area of the country due to the increase in cases in recent days.
Health personnel spray and disinfect against Covid-19 the areas of the town of Leon 13 northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica. Costa Rican Ministry of Health declared the establishment of the community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the metropolitan area of the country due to the increase in cases in recent days.
Photograph: Jeffrey Arguedas/EPA

11.20pm BST

Face coverings for sale in Los Angeles, California. New regulations in some counties for certain businesses have come into effect again as coronavirus cases hit record highs in California.
Face coverings for sale in Los Angeles, California. New regulations in some counties for certain businesses have come into effect again as coronavirus cases hit record highs in California.
Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

11.09pm BST

Global death toll passes 519,000

The number of deaths from coronavirus worldwide currently stands at 519,818, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US has 128,574 fatalities, the highest of any country, followed by 61,884 in Brazil and 43,995 in the UK.

Updated at 11.10pm BST

10.57pm BST

UK prime minister Boris Johnson will urge the public not to overdo it when pubs and restaurants reopen in a warning that the health of the economy “is dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly”.

He will lead a press conference ahead of the easing of the lockdown in England on Saturday.

Johnson is expected to urge people to act safely or run the risk of the Government “putting on the brakes” and bringing back severe restrictions, as has been witnessed in Leicester.

He is expected to paint the easing in England as a means of supporting the livelihoods of bosses and their employees but warn “we are not out of the woods yet”.

“They are our local restaurants, hairdressers, libraries, museums, cinemas, and yes, pubs. They are also hotels, B&Bs, indeed much of our tourism industry,” he will say, according to an extract released to the media.

“All these businesses and their workers have put in a heroic effort to prepare their venues for this reopening, to work out a way to trade in a way that keeps their customers safe.

“But the success of these businesses, the livelihoods of those who rely on them, and ultimately the economic health of the whole country is dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly. We must not let them down.

“The virus is still with us and the spike in Leicester has shown that. If it starts running out of control again the Government will not hesitate in putting on the brakes and re-imposing restrictions.

“Anyone who flouts social distancing and Covid-secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal.”

Asked if Mr Johnson would be visiting a pub or restaurant on Saturday, Johnson’s spokesman said: “He’s talked about his enthusiasm for a haircut and pint previously but I don’t know exactly what he’s doing on Saturday yet.”

10.51pm BST

As Americans head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the number of coronavirus cases is rising in 40 out of 50 states, the Associated Press reports:

An alarming 36 states are seeing an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus.

“What we’ve seen is a very disturbing week,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said in a livestream with the American Medical Association.

The surge has been blamed in part on Americans not covering their faces or following other social distancing rules as states lifted their lockdowns over the past few weeks. Fauci warned that if people don’t start complying, “we’re going to be in some serious difficulty.”

10.41pm BST

Death toll in Brazil passes 61,000

The death toll in Brazil has reached 61,884, up from 60,632 yesterday, according to the country’s health ministry. That is a daily increase of 1,252.

Brazil has 1,496,858 confirmed cases of the virus, up from 1,448,753 yesterday.

10.35pm BST

Hungary will not comply with an EU recommendation to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for more countries outside the bloc, prime minister Viktor Orban said, citing a risk to health.

The 27-member EU finalised on Tuesday the list of countries where coronavirus infections were seen to be low enough to allow their citizens to enter the bloc starting on Wednesday.

“We cannot currently implement the EU’s request to allow in citizens from non-EU countries, with the exception of Serbia,” Orban said in a Facebook video message.

Hungary reopened the border with neighbouring Serbia, which has a large ethnic-Hungarian population, in May.

But lifting travel restrictions to more nations outside the EU “would go against the healthcare interests of the Hungarian people,” Orban said.

The countries that made it onto the EU list are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, as well as China if it reciprocates.

10.25pm BST

A doctors’ organisation in Sierra Leone has called on medics to launch an indefinite strike in coronavirus patient care in protest at the non-payment of promised compensation and lack of resources.

The Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association, which has around 350 members, said the industrial action would be launched within 24 hours.

In a letter addressed to the government, association president Delwin Findlay also protested that authorities had bought around 30 4×4 vehicles for managers from money intended for the fight against the virus rather than drugs and equipment.

The body has proposed that doctors continue to provide care to non-Covid-19 patients during the strike.

Sierra Leone has recorded nearly 1,500 coronavirus cases with 60 deaths.

9.58pm BST

UK death toll creeps towards 44,000

The UK government has announced that 43,995 have now died from coronavirus in hospitals, care homes and the wider community, up from 43,906 yesterday.

And 283,757 people have tested positive for Covid-19.

Updated at 10.00pm BST

9.52pm BST

The leaders of some of the nation’s major business organizations have signed a letter urging the White House and the National Governors Association to establish mandatory mask guidelines.

Meanwhile, Texas governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order requiring all Texans to wear a face mask in public spaces. Here’s the announcement from Abbott’s office:

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”

Updated at 10.01pm BST

9.43pm BST

A sticker on packages of protective gear reads “If you think you can, You can!” before being loaded to a drone for delivery to a public hospital, in Queretaro, Mexico.
A sticker on packages of protective gear reads “If you think you can, You can!” before being loaded to a drone for delivery to a public hospital, in Queretaro, Mexico.
Photograph: STAFF/Reuters

9.41pm BST

A drone pilot of Sintonia Logistica controls a drone loaded with personal protective gear and other essential equipment whilst delivering to a public hospital, in Queretaro, Mexico.
A drone pilot of Sintonia Logistica controls a drone loaded with personal protective gear and other essential equipment whilst delivering to a public hospital, in Queretaro, Mexico.
Photograph: Reuters

9.32pm BST

US vice president Mike Pence said he fully supports the Florida governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak, even as the state earlier reported the biggest one-day increase in cases since the pandemic started.

“We fully support your prudent steps in working to slow the spread and the rising cases that are impacting Florida today,” Pence said at a media briefing in Tampa, Florida, with the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis.

9.23pm BST

Cases in South Carolina have increased by 1,782 to a total of 39,701 on Thursday, the biggest daily increase since the pandemic started, according to a tally by Reuters.

9.13pm BST

Rapper Vanilla Ice has cooled off plans for a concert in Texas after taking considerable heat for an event that sought to gather hundreds of fans in one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots.

He had been scheduled to play a lakeside show just outside Austin on Friday, but has announced it is being postponed.

Barrett Brannam, who owns the venue where Vanilla Ice had been scheduled to play, said the performer, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, had expressed concern about the health of his fans and himself.

Brannam said Saturday’s planned appearance by 1990s R&B group Color Me Badd was also postponed.

Updated at 9.30pm BST

9.03pm BST

An updated summary of today’s main developments

Former Republican presidential candidate tests positive for Covid-19

Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been diagnosed with coronavirus and admitted to hospital, according to a statement on his Twitter feed.

He attended last month’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally for President Donald Trump, supporting his fellow Republican at an event where many attendees crowded close together without wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Florida records over 10,000 new cases in a day

Florida shattered records on Thursday when it reported over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally.

Outbreaks in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona have sent cases rising at rates not seen since April.

Trump says jobs report proves US economy ‘roaring back’

The US president, Donald Trump, celebrated a government report showing the country gained 4.8m jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% last month, when states began allowing businesses to reopen from strict shutdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back,” Trump said, rattling off different sectors that saw job gains according to the monthly report.

Kansas makes face masks mandatory after spike in cases

Kansas has followed several other states in requiring face coverings, most recently Indiana.

Kansas had a 46.1% spike in coronavirus infections last week.

Meanwhile, California governor Gavin Newsom said cases have jumped to 6.9%
over the past week.

Coronavirus cases in Sweden surpass 70,000 after another 947 recorded

Sweden’s number of confirmed Covid-19 crossed the 70,000 mark on Thursday, while deaths rose by 41 to 5,411, health agency statistics showed.

Sweden recorded 947 new cases to put the total at 70,639. Expanded testing has seen daily new cases soar over the past month, eclipsing rates elsewhere in the European Union, but deaths and hospitalisations have tumbled from peaks in April.

Further 14 deaths reported in France

The number of deaths in France from Covid-19 has risen by 14 from the previous day to 29,875, the country’s health department said.

The number of people in hospital fell by 188 to 8,148 and the number of people in intensive care units fell by nine to 573, with both numbers continuing weeks-long downtrends.

Swiss government releases list of 29 restricted countries

The Swiss government has published a list of 29 restricted countries including the US, Russia, Brazil and Sweden, from which visitors entering the country must go into isolation.

From 6 July, travellers to Switzerland who have spent time in the previous 14 days in countries designated as at high risk of infection will have to register with the Swiss authorities immediately on arrival and then go into quarantine for 10 days.

8.50pm BST

Coronavirus vaccine candidates will enter late-stage clinical studies by the end of the month, with others beginning in August, September and October, the US government’s top infectious diseases expert said.

The news comes as Moderna Inc, which is at the forefront of the country’s vaccine development efforts, reiterated earlier in the day that a late-stage trial with 30,000 volunteers would begin this month.

“We may be able to at least know whether we are dealing with a safe and effective vaccine by the early winter, late winter, (or) beginning of 2021,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told JAMA Network.

Earlier, Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, said the Trump administration’s vaccine-acceleration programme could generate a safe and effective vaccine by the end of the year.

Updated at 9.00pm BST

8.35pm BST

California governor Gavin Newsom said that coronavirus cases have jumped to 6.9% over the past week.

8.25pm BST

Kansas has followed several other states in requiring face coverings, most recently Indiana.

Kansas had a 46.1% spike in coronavirus infections last week.

“Wearing a mask is a simple and effective way to keep Kansans healthy and keep Kansas open for business,” governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, said.

Updated at 8.44pm BST

8.13pm BST

The Nigerian state of Kano has ended its coronavirus lockdown, the local ministry of health said, months after an outbreak of what was originally called a “mysterious disease” killed hundreds of citizens.

The easing comes weeks after other parts of Nigeria relaxed restrictions, and marks an effort to resume everyday life in Kano, the commercial and cultural heart of predominantly Muslim northern Nigerian.

In April and early May, roughly 500 people died in the state, a government investigation found, saying the deaths were likely due to coronavirus. Local authorities did not acknowledge the outbreak at the time.

Kano’s health ministry on its official Twitter account did not provide details of the state lockdown ending except to say civil servants would return to work from 6 July.

The end of Kano’s lockdown and other policies to relax restrictions come as coronavirus cases mount in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigeria had confirmed more than 25,000 coronavirus cases and almost 600 deaths as of Wednesday, with little sign of the outbreak slowing.

Officials have expressed their concern that the outbreak in the West African country might become much worse.

Nigeria on Wednesday said it would restart domestic flights from 8 July.

Updated at 8.47pm BST

8.07pm BST

Lucia Palma embraces her 90-year-old mother Leonor through a ‘hug curtain’, in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Lucia Palma embraces her 90-year-old mother Leonor through a ‘hug curtain’, in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Photograph: Sebastião Moreira/EPA

7.55pm BST

A summary of today’s main developments.

Former Republican presidential candidate tests positive for Covid-19

Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been diagnosed with coronavirus and admitted to hospital, according to a statement on his Twitter feed.

He attended last month’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally for President Donald Trump, supporting his fellow Republican at an event where many attendees crowded close together without wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Florida records over 10,000 new cases in a day

Florida shattered records on Thursday when it reported over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally.

Outbreaks in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona have sent cases rising at rates not seen since April.

Trump says jobs report proves US economy ‘roaring back’

The US president, Donald Trump, celebrated a government report showing the country gained 4.8m jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% last month, when states began allowing businesses to reopen from strict shutdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back,” Trump said, rattling off different sectors that saw job gains according to the monthly report.

Coronavirus cases in Sweden surpass 70,000 after another 947 recorded

Sweden’s number of confirmed Covid-19 crossed the 70,000 mark on Thursday, while deaths rose by 41 to 5,411, health agency statistics showed.

Sweden recorded 947 new cases to put the total at 70,639. Expanded testing has seen daily new cases soar over the past month, eclipsing rates elsewhere in the European Union, but deaths and hospitalisations have tumbled from peaks in April.

Further 14 deaths reported in France

The number of deaths in France from Covid-19 has risen by 14 from the previous day to 29,875, the country’s health department said.

The number of people in hospital fell by 188 to 8,148 and the number of people in intensive care units fell by nine to 573, with both numbers continuing weeks-long downtrends.

Swiss government releases list of 29 restricted countries

The Swiss government has published a list of 29 restricted countries including the US, Russia, Brazil and Sweden, from which visitors entering the country must go into isolation.

From 6 July, travellers to Switzerland who have spent time in the previous 14 days in countries designated as at high risk of infection will have to register with the Swiss authorities immediately on arrival and then go into quarantine for 10 days.

Updated at 8.14pm BST

7.51pm BST

An Army veteran in the UK who spent more than a month in hospital fighting Covid-19 has been described as “a miracle patient”.

The family of Darren Eames, 45, said they were told he had a “2% chance” of survival.

He was in an induced coma and on a ventilator after being admitted into hospital on 14 May.

Eames was reunited with his family this week when he returned home.

He told the BBC: “I can’t recall much apart from dreams that were horrible when I woke up.

“I didn’t realise how poorly I was until I met some of the nurses.”

Updated at 8.15pm BST

7.34pm BST

Former Republican presidential candidate tests positive for coronavirus

Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been diagnosed with coronavirus and admitted to hospital, according to a statement on his Twitter feed.

He attended last month’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally for President Donald Trump, supporting his fellow Republican at an event where many attendees crowded close together without wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Cain had posted a maskless photo on Twitter of himself at the rally surrounded by fellow Trump supporters also not wearing masks.

He was informed on Monday that he had tested positive for coronavirus. By Wednesday, he had developed symptoms serious enough to require hospitalization. At 74, he is part of the age group most at risk for severe Covid-19.

Cain recently posted support for not mandating masks at a July 4 event that President Trump plans to attend at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

7.26pm BST

Switzerland has announced that Covid-19 patients beyond those on clinical trials could be given remdesivir, the first drug shown to be relatively effective in treating the virus.

At least two major US studies have shown that the anti-viral drug can reduce the duration of hospital stays for those suffering from coronavirus.

“With immediate effect, remdesivir can be used more widely in Switzerland for the treatment of Covid-19 patients,” the government said in a statement.

Following a swift review this week, Swissmedic, the national agency for therapeutic products, said it would allow the temporary distribution of the drug, which was originally intended as a treatment for Ebola.

“Products containing the active substance remdesivir and marketed under the brand name Veklury may be used in Swiss hospitals, without authorisation, for the treatment of Covid-19 patients,” the statement said.

The product will be made available to patients outside approved clinical trials and the approved compassionate use programme, pending a decision on full authorisation of the drug.

Clinicians will monitor any adverse reactions to the drug to ensure patient safety, the government said.

7.17pm BST

Summary

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, she “couldn’t imagine” delaying an agreement on a recovery plan worth €750bn (3 billion), given the urgency of lifting the European economy.

“We need to reach an agreement over the summer, I absolutely cannot imagine any other option,” said Merkel, whose country has just taken over the rotating EU presidency for six months.

The leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet in Brussels on 17 July, their first physical summit since the coronavirus lockdown began, to discuss the plan.

A group of countries, a so-called “Frugal Four”, are trying to rein in spending, which is earmarked mainly for the poorer countries of southern Europe hardest hit by the pandemic.

The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden insist that loans with tough conditions attached, rather than grants, should be the preferred method of rescue and are not in a rush to make a deal.

Other countries argue that the commission’s plan misallocates the money, giving too much to eastern Europeans who were never on the front lines of the pandemic.

“Every day counts” and “to succeed in this gigantic task, each member state must look beyond its own small interests”, the EU commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, said at a press conference with the German leader by video link.

Updated at 8.36pm BST

7.01pm BST

With a 600% rise in Covid-19 cases in Iraq in June, efforts must be re-doubled to slow the spread of the disease, the International Rescue Committee has warned.

With the number of confirmed cases currently standing at 51,524 – up from 6,868 on 1 June – the Ministry of Health has announced that hospitals are almost at full capacity, and that schools and universities will be converted into isolation units to cope with the ever-increasing number of cases.

In addition to the direct impact the pandemic is having on people’s health, thousands of people have been affected indirectly by the economic impacts of the lockdown.

A recent survey of 1,491 people carried out by the IRC found that:

  • 87% had lost their jobs as a result of the lockdowns
  • 73% were reducing the amount of food they were eating to reduce costs
  • 68% were spending their savings
  • 61% were going into debt
  • 68% of respondents said that psychological trauma, stress and anxiety were the main issues affecting women and girls during the Covid-19 outbreak.

As protests across the country resume again in earnest, the IRC is calling for more to be done to ensure that people are aware of how the disease is spread and how they can properly protect themselves – and others – so that the situation can be brought under control and people no longer have to resort to negative coping mechanisms to survive.

Christine Petrie, country director for the IRC in Iraq, said now was not the time to lose focus on Iraqis after all they have been through following decades of conflict. She said:

The rate at which Covid-19 is spreading through Iraq is extremely alarming. We’re seeing more than a thousand new cases confirmed each day – sometimes more than 2,000 – and it is showing no signs of slowing down.

Although tens of thousands of people are suffering because of the disease itself, there are many more whose lives and livelihoods have been affected indirectly as well. People have lost their jobs and are struggling to find the money to even buy bread. They’re eating less, spending their savings and going into debt.

Humanitarian agencies are working hard to provide emergency cash assistance to those most in need, but it is not a long-term solution. As more and more people return to their daily lives, it is imperative that they are able to protect themselves and others, and the most effective way this can be done is through reinforcing public health messaging.

Raising awareness among communities on the effect that social distancing and regular hand washing can have will go a long way to helping to bring the disease under control. We are re-doubling our efforts in this regard and are urging everyone in Iraq to follow the recommendations to wash their hands, practice social distancing, limit contact with others and self-isolate if they have symptoms.

Updated at 8.42pm BST

6.49pm BST

The number of deaths in France from Covid-19 has risen by 14 from the previous day to 29,875, the country’s health department said on Thursday.

The number of people in hospital fell by 188 to 8,148 and the number of people in intensive care units fell by nine to 573, with both numbers continuing weeks-long downtrends.

6.16pm BST

Following the news that the United States recorded a new all-time daily high of 52,000 coronavirus cases in a single day on Thursday, this Guardian explainer looks at why coronavirus cases are still surging in the country.

Mixed messaging on masks, a patchwork approach to lockdowns and confusion across the US help explain why it now has more than 2.7m cases – more than double that of Brazil, the second most-affected country.

Updated at 6.26pm BST

5.55pm BST

Keen for the big screen but wary of the coronavirus, Thai film fans flocked to a new drive-in cinema on Thursday, which offered a novel cooling system to help combat the discomfort of being confined to cars on a hot and stuffy night.

About 80 vehicles pulled up in a car park to attend Bangkok’s inaugural outdoor screening of the Trolls World Tour, part of a special four-day offering for moviegoers who want to avoid indoor theatres.

To beat the tropical heat, organisers created a network of plastic pipes in the parking lot connected to dozens of smaller, flexible tubes, to channel cool air into cars through gaps in the windows.

Vehicles parked at the first drive-in movie theatre for people to enjoy movies while keeping social distancing in Bangkok.
Vehicles parked at the first drive-in movie theatre for people to enjoy movies while keeping social distancing in Bangkok.
Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Thailand has emerged as one of Asia’s Covid-19 success stories, with no domestic transmission in the past 38 days and only 58 deaths among its 3,179 confirmed cases.

It has eased most restrictions to try to revive an economy badly hit by the pandemic, with bars, karaoke and massage parlours the latest businesses allowed to reopen.

Though Thai cinemas have been open for one month with limited seating and regular disinfection, Apitchaya Doungsuwan said she felt safer in her car and was willing to pay the 1,200 baht (.63) fee per vehicle, which includes popcorn and soft drinks. She told Reuters:

I want to try new things and I worry a bit about the spread of the Covid-19 in the movie theatre. If the experience from tonight is good, sure we will come back.

Updated at 5.57pm BST

5.48pm BST

Doctors treating patients with Covid-19 in Sierra Leone went on strike on Thursday, leaving patients in some of the main treatment centres without care, Reuters reports.

The strike marks an escalation in a row between doctors and government over what doctors say is a misuse of funds for the coronavirus response in the small West African country, and a lack of protection and compensation for healthworkers.

Doctors say that they were promised hazard pay for their work during the outbreak, but that it has not materialised.

A spokesman for the coronavirus response team previously told Reuters the government was carrying out an audit of health workers to verify who was directly involved in the response.

Since the outbreak began, about 20% of Sierra Leone’s total coronavirus expenditure, or nearly 0,000, went to procuring 30 new SUVs and 230 motorbikes for the Emergency Operations Center, Office of National Security, police force, and military, according to procurement reports released by Sierra Leone’s finance ministry on 22 May.

The only medical equipment listed on that procurement report was eight ventilators, which cost the finance ministry approximately ,285.

Meanwhile, the health ministry’s Covid-19 situation reports routinely describe a lack of funds to pay for contact tracers. Doctors complain of a lack of protective equipment such as gloves, masks and coveralls vital to prevent infections spreading from patients to hospital staff.

Of the some 1,500 Covid-19 cases confirmed in Sierra Leone, 160 have been health workers. The country’s ranks of medical staff were already hit hard during an Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016 that killed 250 medical workers, out of a total of only about 4,000.

S.K. Jusum, the head doctor at Fourah Bay College, a school whose dormitories have been transformed into the country’s largest coronavirus treatment centre on a hill overlooking the capital Freetown, said:

No patient showing Covid-like symptoms will be treated by any doctor until we have the support we need.

No new patients were being accepted on Thursday because the five doctors at the 200-bed facility were all on strike, leaving community health workers and nurses to care for the sick. There were no critically ill patients on site, Jusum said.

Jusum and other staff acknowledged that this could lead to a rise in cases in the community.

“It is going to be a hell of a problem if this thing isn’t quickly resolved,” said senior community health officer Kiya Conteh, who was coordinating lunch deliveries for patients.

Our people need treatment. If they’re not treated here, what can we expect them to do?

Updated at 5.55pm BST

5.36pm BST

The Swiss government has published a list of 29 restricted countries including the US, Russia, Brazil and Sweden, from which visitors entering the country must go into isolation.

From 6 July, travellers to Switzerland who have spent time in the previous 14 days in countries designated as at high risk of infection will have to register with the Swiss authorities immediately on arrival and then go into quarantine for 10 days.

5.18pm BST

This is just lovely. A Belgian retirement home has set up a “hug curtain” so residents can receive a comforting embrace from loved ones and still adhere to social distancing.

Staff at the Jardins de Picardie nursing home near the French border installed the large plastic curtain on 14 June and it has proven very popular with the residents, who had not been allowed any visitors for 11 weeks.

The curtain, decorated with flowers and bright colours, is made of a big plastic sheet with two pockets on each side where residents and visitors or staff insert their arms. After each use, nurses carefully disinfect the plastic curtain.

Lili Hendrickx, an 86-year old resident of the home, said the curtain was “the most beautiful invention” she had ever seen. “It’s terribly emotional for me,” she said, adding that she cried the first time she was able to hug her daughter again.

The feeling you get when you are close to someone like that, I felt like the heat was passing through.

5.12pm BST

The Alpine skiing World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo will take place in February 2021 as originally scheduled, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said on Thursday.

In May, the Italian winter sports federation (FISI) had asked to postpone the event by a year due to uncertainties linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative impact on the country.

“It was clear that there was a strong desire to carry out the event in 2021 … FISI expressed to the FIS Council the importance of these World Championships to be staged in 2021 as a positive signal for the entire country,” FIS said in a statement.

FISI said FIS had decided to provide a financial guarantee of up to 10 million Swiss francs ( million) to Italy should there be a new outbreak of coronavirus, the federation said in an online statement.

“It is a form of guarantee that the federation wanted to give to Italy, hoping that there is no need and that the World Championship will go ahead regularly,” FIS president, Gian Franco Kasper, was quoted as saying in the FISI statement.

Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost 34,800 deaths and close to 240,800 cases.

Alessandro Benetton, Cortina 2021 Foundation chairman, said:

We worked hard in the last few years without even stopping during the toughest months of the coronavirus emergency … the team is ready and we are putting the finishing touches to the infrastructure to host the competitions.

Cortina d’Ampezzo, located in the Dolomites, will also host the 2026 Winter Olympics together with the northern Italian city of Milan.

Updated at 5.21pm BST

4.49pm BST

Florida records over 10,000 new cases in a day

Florida shattered records on Thursday when it reported over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally.

Outbreaks in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona have send cases rising at rates not seen since April.

In June, Florida infections rose by 168% or over 95,000 new cases. The percentage of tests coming back positive has skyrocketed to 15% from 4% at the end of May.

Home to 21 million residents, Florida has reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks.

South Florida beaches are to close for 4 July weekend amid fears the state’s reopening plan is not working. It follows reports of another record surge in coronavirus cases.
South Florida beaches are to close for 4 July weekend amid fears the state’s reopening plan is not working. It follows reports of another record surge in coronavirus cases.
Photograph: Larry Marano/REX/Shutterstock

To contain the outbreak, the state has closed bars and some beaches but the governor has resisted requiring masks statewide in public or reimposing a lockdown.

Only one other state has reported more than 10,000 new cases in a single day. New York recorded 12,847 new infections on 10 April, three weeks after the state implemented a strict lockdown that closed most businesses. While the state has relaxed many measures, it requires masks in public and mandates anyone arriving from 16 other US states with high infections to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Updated at 5.52pm BST

4.24pm BST

The Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said on Thursday that Poles should not be afraid to vote in the second round of a presidential election due on 12 July because the coronavirus has become a disease “like any other”.

His nationalist ruling party’s presidential candidate, the incumbent, Andrzej Duda, faces a neck-and-neck re-election bid against centrist Warsaw mayor, Rafał Trzaskowski, following a first round of voting last Sunday.

Poland has weathered the Covid-19 pandemic relatively well, with fewer than 1,500 deaths so far out of a total population of some 38 million, though it continues to report new cases in the hundreds each day.

“This is now a disease that we could say is like any other, we are only waiting for a vaccine,” state news agency PAP quoted Morawiecki as saying.

He added:

And the institutions assessing the first round [of the election] have confirmed that it was organised in a very appropriate way. Let’s not be afraid of participating in the second round.

Current president Andrzej Duda meets with local residents in Stargard while touring before the second stage of presidential election.
Current president Andrzej Duda meets with local residents in Stargard while touring before the second stage of presidential election.
Photograph: Marek Szandurski/East News/REX/Shutterstock

Duda’s re-election is pivotal for the ambition of Morawiecki’s Law and Justice (PiS) government to make further progress on its conservative agenda, which includes justice reforms the European Union says subvert democratic standards.

Earlier this week Morawiecki appealed especially to elderly Poles not to be deterred by the pandemic and to turn out to vote in the second round.

Despite his comments and an easing of its lockdown measures, Poland has yet to see a sustained decline in new Covid-19 cases. On Wednesday, it reported 382 new cases, the highest number since 17 June, and on Thursday 371 more cases.

Poland’s presidential election was originally set for 10 May but had to be delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated at 5.13pm BST

4.16pm BST

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said Europe was facing the toughest situation in its history and warned the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the economy has not yet disappeared.

“We see every day that the virus is not gone,” she said in a joint press conference with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, on Thursday, adding that the pandemic was testing Europe’s ability to stick together.

Angela Merkel addresses a joint press conference with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, joining via video link, at the Chancellery in Berlin.
Angela Merkel addresses a joint press conference with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, joining via video link, at the Chancellery in Berlin.
Photograph: Kay Nietfeld/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 4.46pm BST

3.34pm BST

More than 140 research teams across the globe are racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine against Covid-19, but how close are we?

This handy Guardian explainer breaks down the stages in vaccine development and where things stand with the vaccines currently in clinical trials.

3.31pm BST

The Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, will be soon be discharged from hospital to continue his recovery from coronavirus at home, Reuters is reporting.

One of his doctors said on Thursday that the president has demonstrated clear improvement. Alicia Jimenez, a doctor at the military hospital where Hernández was being treated, said:

Over the last few days he has gradually presented clear improvement in his general condition, with a decrease in respiratory symptoms and a significant decrease in inflammation.

Hernández, 51, was hospitalised with pneumonia after testing positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago. His symptoms were said to be mild and he was reportedly in good condition.

After spending the last two weeks being treated in a military hospital, Hernández will continue his recovery from Covid-19 at home.
After spending the last two weeks being treated in a military hospital, Hernández will continue his recovery from Covid-19 at home.
Photograph: Jorge Cabrera/Reuters

Updated at 5.14pm BST

2.55pm BST

Trump says jobs report proves US economy ‘roaring back’

The US president, Donald Trump, celebrated a government report showing the country gained 4.8m jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% last month, when states began allowing businesses to reopen from strict shutdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back,” Trump said, rattling off different sectors that saw job gains according to the monthly report.

“These are historic numbers,” he said.

The president took the victory lap as the coronavirus resurges in states with large economies such as California, Texas and Florida, prompting local governments to once again shutter bars and other businesses where the deadly respiratory disease is thought to spread easily.

A separate report on Thursday said that 1.43 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the final week of June.

Despite the swelling loads of new cases, Trump said he expected to see good employment numbers in the coming months and that the third quarter gross domestic product report, due days before the November presidential election, would also be strong.

Thursday’s report, Trump said, “suggests that workers are confident about finding a new job”. He added, though, that the White House and Congress continue to negotiate on another round of stimulus, frequently called “phase 4”, to help the economy withstand a pandemic, now in its fourth month.

Updated at 5.43pm BST

2.45pm BST

Oman’s health minister said the sultanate has witnessed a “scary” surge in Covid-19 cases that required boosting hospital capacity, especially for intensive care units.

The country reported another 1,361 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and three deaths in the last 24 hours, to take its total count to 42,555 cases with 188 deaths.

Minister Ahmed bin al-Saeedi told a news briefing:

In the last six weeks there has been a radical change which is very disturbing and scary.

He blamed individuals who did not wear masks or practice social distancing, and said some employees were going into offices when they had been in contact with infected people, instead of self isolating.

He said there had been more than 9,000 new infections and 43 deaths since last Thursday, the biggest weekly spike since Oman first reported cases in late February.

Saeedi said Oman, a country of 4.7 million people, was working to increase capacity at intensive care units and planned to set up a field hospital with 250 to 300 beds in the Muscat region for non-urgent cases.

Hospitals were coping for now but were under pressure, particularly intensive care units, he said.

Oman will also start a 10-week nationwide survey, including citizens and non-citizens, on 12 July to analyse the spread of the coronavirus. Blood samples to detect antibodies will be part of the data collection, the ministry of health said on Twitter.

In March Oman began to introduce lockdowns in certain regions such as Muscat, Dhofar and Duqm and some tourist towns, but since April it has gradually allowed commercial centres to reopen and lifted the lockdown in the Muscat region, which includes the capital.

Saeedi said mosques will not be allowed to reopen or large gatherings to take place at the current rate of infection.

Air and land borders remain closed except for repatriation flights.

2.36pm BST

The father of the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has flown to Greece, despite current advice for British nationals to avoid all but essential international travel.

Greek government officials confirmed on Thursday that author Stanley Johnson had arrived, likely via Bulgaria, in the northern region of Pelion where he has a holiday home, but said there was nothing untoward in his arrival.

Photos on Stanley Johnson’s Instagram account showed him wearing a mask in what appeared to be an airport. Two videos on the same account showed an aircraft coming in to land.

“Arriving in Athens this evening!,” the caption said.

Stanley Johnson was quoted on Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper website as saying he was in Pelion “on essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season”.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said: “We have banned flights, direct flights from UK and Sweden until 15 June. If a citizen from these countries arrives in a different way to Greece, of course they can come.”

Boris Johnson’s spokesman declined to comment on the specific case but when asked whether the prime minister thought the public should follow travel advice, he said: “In relation to Foreign Office advice, that is what it is, it’s advice and it is for individuals to make the judgments themselves.”

Updated at 2.41pm BST

2.11pm BST

The US trade deficit widened in May as the Covid-19 pandemic pushed exports to their lowest level since 2009, strengthening expectations the economy will contract in the second quarter at its steepest pace since the Great Depression.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday the trade deficit increased 9.7% to .6bn.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap would widen to bn in May.

Exports tumbled 4.4% to 4.5bn, the lowest since November 2009. Goods exports plunged 5.8% to .0bn, the lowest since August 2009.

The economy contracted at a 5.0% rate in the first quarter, the sharpest decline since the 2007-2009 recession.

Updated at 2.13pm BST

1.36pm BST

Coronavirus cases in Sweden surpass 70,000 after another 947 recorded

Sweden’s number of confirmed Covid-19 crossed the 70,000 mark on Thursday, while deaths rose by 41 to 5,411, health agency statistics showed.

Sweden recorded 947 new cases to put the total at 70,639. Expanded testing has seen daily new cases soar over the past month, eclipsing rates elsewhere in the European Union, but deaths and hospitalisations have tumbled from peaks in April.

The country adopted a softer approach to fighting the new coronavirus, spurning a hard lockdown, which put its pandemic strategy in the international spotlight.

Sweden’s death toll has been many times higher relative to the size of the population than that of its Nordic neighbours, where authorities took a stricter approach, but lower than in some countries that locked down, such as Britain, Italy and Spain.

A woman wears a face mask at a bus stop beside an information sign asking people to keep social distance in Stockholm.
A woman wears a face mask at a bus stop beside an information sign asking people to keep social distance in Stockholm.
Photograph: Stina Stjernkvist/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1.41pm BST

1.13pm BST

The end of the coronavirus lockdown in Spain failed to bring a surge in employment as government data showed that the 900,000 jobs lost at the pandemic’s peak had not been regained, while the tourism sector has not yet returned to regular activity, Reuters reports.

The number of people in Spain registering as jobless rose by 0.13% in June from a month earlier, or by 5,017 people, leaving 3.86 million people out of work, Labour Ministry data showed on Thursday.

The number of registered jobless people had risen in May by 0.68%. Overall there were 847,197 more jobless people in June than in the same month a year ago.

A net 99,906 jobs were lost in June.

The hospitality industry is the sector that has lost the most jobs yearly, with almost 300,000 jobs shed.

The opening of bars and restaurants in June helped 20,000 people to find employment in the sector, but it was insufficient to compensate for the massive loss of jobs at the peak of the pandemic.

No tourists travelled to Spain in May for second month in a row because of the lockdown, dragging income by more than 60% in the first five months of the year, the National Statistics Office (INE) said on Thursday.

More on this story here.

Tourist arrive on the first day that Girona-Costa Brava airport allowed flights to go ahead since lockdown. The first flight landed from Eindovhen, Netherlands.
Tourist arrive on the first day that Girona-Costa Brava airport allowed flights to go ahead since lockdown. The first flight landed from Eindovhen, Netherlands.
Photograph: Adria Salido Zarco/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

12.51pm BST

Wearing face coverings will become mandatory in shops in Scotland from 10 July, PA Media reports.

At her daily briefing, first minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed the 2-metre rule would be retained in the country with exceptions for some sectors, including hospitality, from the end of next week.

More on this story on the UK coronavirus and politics live blog.

12.35pm BST

African countries have lost almost bn in travel and tourism revenues in three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the African Union commissioner for infrastructure and energy said on Thursday.

Amani Abou-Zeid told a news conference that due to the prolonged lockdown and border closures to curb the spread of the virus, the air industry will be greatly impacted.

“Some airlines in the continent will not make it post-Covid-19,” she said.

It comes as Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said Covid-19 was “the heaviest economic hit on sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970’s” and called for a unified international response to support the continent.

12.24pm BST

Summary

  • UK to lift ban on non-essential travel to up to 90 countries. Overseas holidays and visits to up to 90 countries will be possible for Britons from Monday without the need to quarantine for 14 days on return. The Foreign Office is expected to lift its ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU countries, British territories such as Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Australia and New Zealand.
  • Indonesia reports record daily jump, with 1,624 new coronavirus cases. Indonesia reported 1,624 coronavirus infections on Thursday in its biggest jump in new cases since the epidemic began, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said. Reuters reports the daily increase brings the total number of infections to 59,394.
  • China’s local governments must increase testing capacity to prepare for potential outbreaks. Local institutions should ramp up and reserve coronavirus testing capacity in preparation for increased demand amid potential outbreaks, Reuters reports, citing national health authorities.
  • Kazakhstan will implement a second, softer lockdown. The country will close down again for two weeks from July 5 to help combat a surge in coronavirus cases, the government said on Thursday. Reuters reports authorities will close some non-essential businesses, limit travel between provinces, cut public transit services’ hours of operation and ban public gatherings
  • Russia’s coronavirus case tally passes 660,000. Russia on Thursday reported 6,760 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 661,165, Reuters reports.The authorities said 147 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 9,683.
  • Covid-19 cases have passed 10.6 million across the globe. There are now 10,694,288 cases of coronavirus worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with at least 516,210 deaths.

Updated at 1.20pm BST

12.14pm BST

Greece’s tourist season has begun on a beam of light with health authorities announcing that all 250 tests conducted on passengers landing in Heraklion, the Cretan capital, on the first day of regional airports reopening to international travellers yesterday have come in negative.

Some 6,500 tests, based on information garnered through passenger locator forms that incoming visitors are obliged to fill 48 hours ahead of arrival, were conducted nationwide according to the Greek Daily, Protothema. The results will be released throughout the day.

In what is seen as a test run for the tourist season, Greece’s 18 regional airports received their first international flights on Wednesday with over 40 planes landing at Crete’s Heraklion and Chania airports.

Staff at the island’s university hospital conducted the tests.

Tourists arrive in Heraklion, Crete, from Hamburg, Germany, with the first international flight to arrive in the island on Wednesday.
Tourists arrive in Heraklion, Crete, from Hamburg, Germany, with the first international flight to arrive in the island on Wednesday.
Photograph: Harry Nakos/AP

In contrast to many other European countries, the tourist-dependent nation has managed to keep infection rates and Covid-19 fatalities low after enforcing lockdown measures early on.

It has now resorted to “smart testing” of incoming travellers, applying algorithmic software to the information downloaded on passenger forms to try and detect potential coronavirus carriers. On the basis of barcodes they receive after completing the form, visitors are told whether they have to be examined or not, with 24 hours of self-isolation required at the address stated on the form until the results come through.

Despite the precautionary measures, Athens’ tourism minister Harry Theoharis admits that opening the country is still a “calculated risk.”

Greece has recorded 3,432 confirmed coronavirus cases since February and 192 Covid-linked deaths.

12.09pm BST

Amsterdam’s red light district has reopened with new rules in place for sex workers and clients to curb the spread of infection.

The coronavirus shutdown saw brothels close in mid-March and the Netherlands originally intended to keep them shut until September, but the date was brought forward as coronavirus cases fell.

People in Amsterdam’s red light district as brothels reopened after a long coronavirus shutdown.
People in Amsterdam’s red light district as brothels reopened after a long coronavirus shutdown.
Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

As with Dutch hairdressers and masseurs who have also started to resume business, sex workers are encouraged to verify that their clients don’t have Covid-19 symptoms.

Precautions will include checking whether the client or any members of their household feel unwell or have symptoms, avoiding face-to-face (i.e. no kissing), and disinfecting everything touched by the client after they leave.

Felicia Anna, chairwoman of the Red Light United trade union, said many sex workers had run into financial trouble during the lockdown and were glad to be able to go back to work.

More on this story here:

11.58am BST

Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Thursday the government would consider increasing budget spending by 1.8 trillion roubles (.6bn) to fight the coronavirus and support the economy, Reuters reports.

Some economists have said Russia’s regulations surrounding budget spending have hindered its ability to adequately fund anti-crisis measures.

Russia’s prime minister Mikhail Mishustin holds a government meeting via video link from the House of Government.
Russia’s prime minister Mikhail Mishustin holds a government meeting via video link from the House of Government.
Photograph: Dmitry Astakhov/TASS

11.54am BST

Germany will keep reviewing travel advice for Turkey, foreign minister Heiko Maas told his Turkish counterpart on Thursday, saying any decisions were coordinated with the EU and based on reliable data on infections and the health situation.

Turkey is disappointed that the EU has excluded it, along with the United States and others, from a list of countries recommended for non-essential travel and has called on it to correct its “mistake”.

Speaking to reporters after talks with the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Berlin, Maas said reviews of the situation took place every two weeks.

“Further steps will follow,” said Maas, adding that family visits were excluded from the travel warning. This is crucial for the large Turkish community but Germany is also an important source of tourism for Turkey.

“This is about how we guarantee safe tourism in the corona crisis,” said Maas, welcoming the latest information on the situation given him by Cavusoglu, adding, however, that could not prejudge future decisions.

“After evaluating the situation based on the objective criteria, Turkey should be listed within the safe and secure countries,” said Cavusoglu.

11.44am BST

Tokyo confirms 107 new coronavirus infections

Reuters reports that Tokyo confirmed 107 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, its highest daily tally in two months, but Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said there was no need to reintroduce a state of emergency.

The Japanese capital, home to 14 million people, had initially sought to hold new daily cases at fewer than 20 after the government lifted the state of emergency on 25 May, only to see its tally consistently exceed 50 over the past week.

It’s daily count last rose above 100 on 2 May. On Wednesday, it confirmed 67 new cases.

Tokyo’s governor Yuriko Koike said about 70% of cases on Thursday were among people in their 20s and 30s. She said:

It’s really unpleasant that it is increasing somewhat. I’d like to ask all Tokyo residents and everyone at businesses for their cooperation to prevent that.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters he didn’t think there was a need for a fresh state of emergency:

We’ll continue to pay attention to the infection situation in the area with a sense of urgency, and work to both prevent spreading of infection and support economic activity.

Officials have also said the medical system can handle existing infections and that increased testing partly explains the rise in confirmed cases.

Despite more cases in the capital, Japan, with about 19,000 cases and 976 deaths, has reported a lower overall rate of infection than many countries.

This week, Tokyo said it would move away from numerical targets in favour of more reliance on expert advice to rein in the virus and avert more economic damage.

People wearing face masks at the Shibuya pedestrian crossing in Tokyo. The majority of the fresh cases recorded on Thursday in the city were among people in their 20s and 30s.
People wearing face masks at the Shibuya pedestrian crossing in Tokyo. The majority of the fresh cases recorded on Thursday in the city were among people in their 20s and 30s.
Photograph: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Updated at 3.19pm BST

11.29am BST

A strain of Covid-19 that has infected more than 300 people in Beijing since early June could have originated in south or southeast Asia, according to a study by Harvard University researchers.

The virus found in the Beijing cases is an imported strain of Covid-19, according to the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Harvard study took three of the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences collected in Beijing last month and compared them to 7,643 samples worldwide. The three genomes showed the greatest resemblance to cases in Europe from February to May, and to cases in south and southeast Asia from May to June.

They were also similar to a small number of infections seen in China in March, suggesting the strain could have appeared first in China and then returned to the country three months later, the authors said.

Here is the full story from Reuters.

11.09am BST

Hello everyone. I’m Lucy Campbell, taking over the live blog for the remainder of the day. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a news tip or story to share.

Email: lucy.campbell@theguardian.com
Twitter: @lucy_campbell_

11.01am BST

Formula One F1 - Austrian Grand Prix - Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria - July 2, 2020
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 2, 2020
Photograph: Leonhard Föger/Reuters

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly walks on the track wearing a protective face mask with team members ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, as F1 resumes following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

10.56am BST

UK to lift ban on non-essential travel to up to 90 countries

Overseas holidays and visits to up to 90 countries will be possible for Britons from Monday without the need to quarantine for 14 days on return.

The Foreign Office is expected to lift its ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU countries, British territories such as Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Australia and New Zealand.

Popular holiday destination Turkey is also expected to be included in the list.

The announcement confirmed by government officials, and due on Friday, effectively puts an end to the air-bridge or travel corridor policy that has been pursued by the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, for several weeks.

This would have involved setting up reciprocal arrangements with a core of Mediterranean countries including France, Greece and Spain to not quarantine each other’s citizens.

Since 8 June nearly all passengers have been required to go into self-isolation for 14 days at a declared address when they arrive in the UK. People who fail to comply can be fined £1,000 in England.

All of the countries due to be included in the new travel list are likely to be on the government’s green list of low-risk nations for coronavirus, or from the amber list, which is medium risk.

10.48am BST

Indonesia reports record daily jump, with 1,624 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported 1,624 coronavirus infections on Thursday in its biggest jump in new cases since the epidemic began, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Reuters reports the daily increase brings the total number of infections to 59,394. The country also reported 53 new deaths, taking cumulative COVID-19 fatalities to 2,987.

10.43am BST

China’s local governments and medical institutes should ramp up and reserve coronavirus testing capacity in preparation for increased demand amid potential outbreaks, Reuters reports citing national health authorities.

Local authorities should have emergency response plans to be able to swiftly expand nucleic test capacity, the National Health Commision said on Thursday in a guideline on its website.

Nucleic acid test results should be delivered within six hours for patients at fever clinics and within a day for those who volunteer to be tested, according to the guideline.

10.37am BST

What kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19? Hannah Devlin answers your questions on what type of mask to wear to cut the risk of getting Covid-19.

She reports:

Different types of mask offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are costly, in limited supply, contribute to landfill waste and are uncomfortable to wear for long periods. So even countries that have required the public to wear face masks have generally suggested such masks should be reserved for health workers or those at particularly high risk.

Read more below

9.45am BST

Until recently, the majority of coronavirus cases that Dr Quinn Snyder, an emergency doctor at one of Arizona’s largest emergency departments, saw were older people. But since mid-May, when the state’s stay-at-home order was lifted, and particularly after the Memorial Day holiday, the demographic has shifted.

Snyder says he has seen an “explosion” in cases among 20-44 year-olds.

Some of those, he said, are coming in severely ill – requiring oxygen, intubation and ventilators. “We even had people in that age group die, unfortunately. So it’s very troubling and it’s very difficult to watch young people die from this disease. It’s horrible.”

As cases continue to soar at record levels across the US, which now has over 2.6m cases, there is growing alarm about a surge in younger people getting the virus. On Friday, vice-president Mike Pence said half of new cases in the US in recent weeks were adults under 35.

Speaking ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend, health experts in hotspot states – which include Arizona, Texas and Florida – warned numbers will continue to rise and that if young people do not take better precautions, hospitals will reach capacity and states could be left with no choice but to completely shut down.

9.00am BST

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, has warned that the US risks a greater outbreak of coronavirus after it failed to lock down as effectively as countries in Europe.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

What we have seen over the last several days is a spike in cases that are well beyond the worst spikes that we have seen.

We have got to get that under control, or we risk an even greater outbreak in the United States.

When you look at the fact that we never got things down to base line where so many countries in Europe and the UK and other countries did, they closed down to the tune of about 97% lockdown.

Updated at 9.01am BST

8.58am BST

The British government will abandon its air bridge plans and simply end the coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries so that people can go on holiday, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The newspaper said the UK would shortly lift a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, the British territories including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

A spokesman for the transport ministry declined immediate comment.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s government has been grappling with how to open up international travel after it imposed a 2-week quarantine for arrivals, which has has severely impacted tourism and travel industry.

Updated at 9.00am BST

8.55am BST

Russia’s coronavirus case tally passes 660,000

Russia on Thursday reported 6,760 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 661,165, Reuters reports.

The authorities said 147 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 9,683.

8.53am BST

The number of confirmed deaths from Covid-19 has exceeded 800 in Afghanistan after 33 new deaths reported on Thursday as the United Nations urged warring sides to redouble efforts to protect civilians amid escalating violence.

The Health ministry has detected 186 new Covid-19 infections from 519 tests, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 32,022. There have been 16,041 recoveries. The war-torn country, which has admitted it lacks testing capacity, has tested 73,515 suspected patients since the outbreak began. The death toll stands at 807.

Kabul, the country’s worst affected city, recorded 23 new deaths and 61 cases. The capital has so far recorded 13,131 confirmed cases and 218 deaths.

Testing capacity remains low in Afghanistan and experts warn that the actual number of infections is much higher. Health ministry spokesman, Akmal Samsour, has said: “only patients with severe symptoms go to medical centres, so the actual number may be something between 150,000 and 1.5 million.”

Meanwhile, Ahmad Jawad Osmani, the country’s acting health minister, asked the warring sides on Wednesday to not target medical centres after violence intensified in recent days.

Osmani said:

Unfortunately, we have had 20 terrorist attacks on medical centres in the last six months across the country which left 14 medical workers dead and 20 wounded.

I ask the warring sides to not attack medical centres because we are not a political sector.

According to the health ministry 1,400 health workers have so far been infected to Covid-19 and 15 lost their lives from the virus. Osmani said that after traveling to provinces he found out that Kandahar, Zabul and Helmand were facing serious challenges in their fight against Covid-19.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan urged parties to redouble efforts at protecting civilians from harm and de-escalating the conflict in order to save lives. The UN said it is particularly concerned by a recent spate of violent incidents in which members of Afghanistan’s civil society have been targeted.

According to the report which was published on Thursday, in the first six months of 2020, preliminary figures indicate more than 800 civilians were killed and injured in deliberate attacks against civilians. The UN “attributed responsibility for approximately half of these civilian casualties to the Taliban.”

Updated at 8.53am BST

8.08am BST

Kazakhstan to implement second ‘softer’ lockdown

Kazakhstan will implement a second, softer lockdown for two weeks from July 5 to help combat a surge in coronavirus cases, the government said on Thursday.

Reuters reports authorities will close some non-essential businesses, limit travel between provinces, cut public transit services’ hours of operation and ban public gatherings. The measures may be tightened or extended later, the cabinet said in a statement.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered new curbs after coronavirus cases in the Central Asian country rose more than sevenfold following the lifting of its first, more restrictive lockdown in mid-May.

This time, the country of 19 million people will maintain air and railroad links between its provinces and air links with a limited number of countries.

Updated at 8.08am BST

7.33am BST

Hello, I’m Aamna Mohdin helming the liveblog for the next few hours. If you want to contact me, you can email me (aamna.mohdin@theguardian.com) or Tweet me (@aamnamohdin).

7.30am BST

Summary

  • Covid-19 cases have passed 10.6 million across the globe. There are now 10,694,288 cases of coronavirus worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker, with at least 516,210 deaths.
  • Donald Trump has said he believes the coronavirus will “just disappear”, one day after the US recorded more than 44,000 new cases, a new all-time daily high.
  • India has now recorded more than 600,000 coronavirus infections, and 17,834 deaths. The country has the fourth largest outbreak in the world, and the increase in infections presents a severe challenge for its overburdened health system.
  • Tokyo confirmed more than 100 new coronavirus infection cases on Thursday. The city had initially sought to keep new daily cases below 20, following the lifting of the state of emergency on May 25, but its tally has consistently exceeded 50.
  • The World Health Organisation has warned the Middle East is at a “critical threshold” with more than a million cases recorded across 22 countries.
  • West Bank has gone into lockdown as virus numbers soar. The Palestinian Authority has announced a five-day lockdown across the West Bank after the total confirmed coronavirus infections in the territory more than doubled following the easing of previous restrictions.
  • NZ’s health minister, David Clark, has resigned, after a series of political missteps, and repeated breaches of his own government’s lockdown rules.
  • Brazil death toll has passed 60,000. On Wednesday afternoon a coalition of Brazilian news outlets announced that the country’s total death toll had risen by 538 to 60,194, meaning it had doubled in the last month.

That’s all from me, I’m now handing over to my colleague in London, Aamna Mohdin.

7.16am BST

Globally, 10,694,288 cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed, and 516,210 deaths recorded according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US has the biggest outbreak, with 2,686,480 confirmed cases, followed by Brazil (1,448,753), Russia (653,479), India (604,641) and the UK (314,992).

6.55am BST

Justice Coate, one of Victoria’s most experienced judicial officers, will lead an inquiry into the state’s disastrous hotel quarantine program, Australian Associated Press reports.

The program is now on hold for a fortnight, following allegations of under-trained staff, inadequate personal protective equipment, billing rorts by private security contractors and even claims that some hotel guards slept with guests.

The probe follows the tracing of a big proportion of recent coronavirus cases in Victoria to breaches in hotels hosting returned travellers.

“It is abundantly clear that what has gone on here is completely unacceptable and we need to know exactly what has happened,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Justice Coate will look into allegations that infection control protocols were breached at the quarantine hotels.

6.33am BST

Police in Melbourne have warned that little leniency will be shown to people found flouting lockdown rules in hot spot areas, Australian Associated Press reports.

“You’d have to have been on Mars not to understand that the Chief Health Officer restrictions apply in these 36 suburbs, and that you’re expected to adhere to them,” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said on Thursday.

More than 300,000 people entered a second lockdown in Melbourne’s inner north and west from Thursday after a spike in coronavirus cases. Police will target certain roads and backstreets in the areas, and public places with large volumes of foot traffic.

Booze buses and roadblocks will be set up and officers will pull people over to conduct questioning as to why they are out and about, Mr Patton said.

They will also use automatic number plate recognition technology, which will help determine if a driver and their car are where they should be.

Some Victoria suburbs have been placed under temporary lockdown, following a spike in infection.
Some Victoria suburbs have been placed under temporary lockdown, following a spike in infection.
Photograph: Daniel Pockett/EPA

Updated at 7.19am BST

6.19am BST

In the US authorities are shutting down bars to try to slow coronavirus transmission. Associated Press has published some analysis on the risk factors associated with these venues:

Crowded indoor spaces filled with people yelling, leaning close to hear one another and touching the same sticky surfaces are the opposite of social distancing, said Dr. David Hamer of the Boston University School of Medicine.
“Can you do social distancing at a bar? Can you wear a mask while drinking?” Hamer said. “Bars are the perfect place to break all those rules.”
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, so people forget precautions, said Natalie Dean, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Florida.
Plus, the attractive, healthy person buying you a drink could be a silent carrier, shedding contagious virus with each breath.
Young people have less severe illness, so they may be infected and able to infect others inadvertently, Dean said, noting outbreaks in Japan and South Korea associated with restaurants, bars and karaoke parties.
In recent weeks, college towns across America have seen clusters of cases that have been traced back to bars. As of last week, 90% of cases in the county that is home to Kansas State University involved people ages 18 to 24. Health officials said most of them spent time in a bar and restaurant district known as Aggieville.
Saskia Popescu, an infectious diseases expert in Phoenix, said its difficult to disinfect surfaces at a bar enough to make a difference. Even sitting at a table with friends at a bar involves loud talking and laughing that could spread virus. Its not worth it, she concludes.
You can make a cocktail at home, Popescu said.

6.07am BST

Thailand has confirmed six new cases of Covid-19, all related to returnees who are staying in state quarantine. The country has recorded no local transmission of the virus for more than five weeks.

5.43am BST

Covid cases in India surpass 600,000

India has now recorded more than 600,000 coronavirus infections, and 17,834 deaths.

The country has the fourth largest outbreak in the world, and the increase in infections presents a severe challenge for its overburdened health system.

Despite India’s escalating outbreak, officials have begun to ease coronavirus restrictions, allowing more economic activities to resume. Some densely populated containment zones remain under lockdown.

A woman gives her details to healthcare workers while wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus in Maharashtra, India.
A woman gives her details to healthcare workers while wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus in Maharashtra, India.
Photograph: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

Updated at 6.21am BST

5.17am BST

Tokyo daily cases highest in two months

Tokyo confirmed more than 100 new coronavirus infection cases on Thursday, according to public broadcaster NHK, the Japanese capital’s highest daily tally in two months.

The city of 14 million initially sought to hold new daily cases below 20 since Japan lifted a state of emergency on May 25, but its tally has consistently exceeded 50 recently, Reuters reports.

This week, the metropolitan government said it would move away from numerical targets and rely more on expert advice to rein in the virus and avert further economic slowdown. Tokyo’s daily count last exceeded 100 on May 2.

5.12am BST

More than 15,000 prisoners have been freed from overcrowded jails in the Philippines, in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.

The 15,322 prisoners, mostly older people, were released between 17 March and June 22, following an order allowing people who are awaiting trial, but unable to afford bail, to be sent home. Most are accused of less serious crimes.

There is growing concern about the spread of Covid-19 inside crowded prisons, where social distancing is impossible and hygiene is often poor. Dozens of countries have allowed some inmates to return home, but rights groups have warned that prisoner releases have been too few and too slow.

4.54am BST

US delays return of diplomats to China

The US has postponed flights for dozens of American diplomats who had planned to return to China later this month, Reuters reports, after failing to reach agreement with Beijing over issues including Covid-19 testing and quarantine.

Five months after the coronavirus epidemic forced the evacuation of some 1,300 US diplomats and family members from China, Washington and Beijing remain locked in negotiations over conditions for their return, according to more than a dozen internal State Department emails seen by Reuters and people familiar with the matter.
The impasse comes as the pandemic intensifies in many parts of the world, including the US, with the global tally this week topping 10 million cases and half a million deaths.

It also comes as relations between the world’s two largest economies have sunk to their lowest in decades over issues including China’s handling of the pandemic, bilateral trade and a new security law for Hong Kong.

4.37am BST

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 503 to 195,228, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday. The reported death toll rose by 9 to 8,994.

Updated at 4.37am BST

4.31am BST

My colleague in Dunedin, Eleanor Ainge Roy, reports on the resignation of New Zealand health minister David Clark:

Dr David Clark has held the health portfolio since Labour was elected in 2017 but has largely been viewed as an ineffectual minister who has struggled to make an impact during his term.

During New Zealand’s lockdown, Clark was twice discovered breaching the strict stay-at-home rules; once by going mountain biking, and a second time when he took his family for a beach trip 23km from his Dunedin home.

Clark apologised for both incidents, telling the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, he was an “idiot” and had shown poor judgment.

Ardern responded by demoting Clark in the cabinet rankings but held back from firing him, saying the government needed his expertise during the public health emergency. Ardern said it was a priority to keep stability in government during the crisis.

In the week’s since Clark’s demotion public dislike of the minister has been growing, with many praising the government’s overall coronavirus efforts but making a point to single out Clark for criticism.

4.14am BST

Reuters reports on efforts to protect the Yanomami, the last major isolated people in the Amazon rainforest:

Soldiers handed out masks to barefooted Yanomami indigenous people including body-painted warriors carrying spears and bows and arrows on Wednesday on the second day of a military operation to protect isolated tribes from Covid-19.

Dozens of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest have been infected with the latest disease to come from the outside to threaten their existence.

“It’s all under control. We detected no cases here,” Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo, a retired army general, told reporters at a frontier post called Surucucu on the border with Venezuela.

Azevedo said the death of two Yanomami purportedly shot by illegal gold miners on the vast reservation was an isolated case that is being investigated by the federal police.
A gold rush that has brought an estimated 20,000 gold prospectors to invade the Brazil largest reservation has poisoned rivers and destroyed forest, and the Yanomami say the miners have brought the novel coronavirus.

Indigenous leaders appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to order the federal government to protect isolated tribes by barring outsiders from reservation lands and expelling illegal poachers, loggers and wildcat miners said to bring fatal diseases.

The indigenous umbrella organization APIB asked that invaders be removed, with the deployment of military forces if necessary, from the reservations of the Yanomami, Karipuna, Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, Kayapó, Arariboia and Munduruku peoples.

APIB said 405 indigenous people had died of COVID-19 by June 27, with 9,983 infected among 112 different tribes.

A member of the Brazilian Armed Forces medical team examines a member of the Yanomami ethnic group at a Special Border Platoon, where tests for Covid-19 are being carried out, in the indigenous land of Surucucu, in Alto Alegre, Roraima state, Brazil.
A member of the Brazilian Armed Forces medical team examines a member of the Yanomami ethnic group at a Special Border Platoon, where tests for Covid-19 are being carried out, in the indigenous land of Surucucu, in Alto Alegre, Roraima state, Brazil.
Photograph: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 4.28am BST

4.05am BST

Ellen Falconer, who is staying in quarantine in New Zealand, has written about what it is like to return home in the middle of a pandemic.

On day six of quarantine, I woke up to an email from a stranger after my name was published in a Norwegian tabloid. “You are lucky you’ve been allowed to enter our country which we all have worked hard to keep virus free,” Becks, who apparently can read Norwegian, wrote. “You didn’t come back before lockdown we are paying your accommodation to keep your bugs away from us [sic].”

Everyone I’ve spoken to has been forced to return due to hardship. Many, like me, were made redundant. Some are returning to care for family, one had to sell everything they owned to pay for a flight home, and another had to close their business.

Every day we do laps of the enclosed carpark (275 steps per lap; 37 laps to hit 10,000 steps), somehow all going in the same anti-clockwise direction without ever having discussed it. We had Friday night drinks in the carpark, a much-needed release after a week of being told we’re not welcome in our own country, while security made sure we all stayed two metres apart, and joined in on our jokes.

3.52am BST

1,500 musicians urge UK government to support live music

Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones among some 1,500 musicians who have called for the British government to help the live music business survive the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.

“The future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak,” the musicians wrote in an open letter to British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. “Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.”

The letter called for a clear timeline on when music venues could reopen, as well as support for businesses and jobs.

Dowden responded to the musicians in a tweet saying he is “pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back”.

Music venues, concerts and festivals – including the annual summer Glastonbury festival – were shuttered or cancelled in March when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the country.

The UK has recorded 314,992 cases of the virus, and almost 44,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

3.41am BST

Trump hopes coronavirus will ‘just disappear’ and says he’s ‘all for masks’ – video

3.30am BST

Victoria reports high yet stable numbers for fourth day

Victoria has recorded its fourth day of high yet stable Covid-19 numbers, with 77 new cases overnight, as a large cluster of at least 20 people emerges in Melbourne’s north.

The Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said that despite numbers appearing to plateau he was still concerned.

“I get some comfort from stabilisation in numbers, but it is never an easy place to sit when you’ve got 415 active cases, all of which are infectious,” he said.

“Obviously, we’ve identified them. They’re in isolation. Their close contacts are in quarantine, but it’s an indication of a very large number of people who have acquired it, which means there are other infections still to be found out.”

Of the new cases, 13 are associated with outbreaks, including one linked to a new large cluster in Roxburgh Park.

Links have recently been made between 20 cases across eight households in the northern suburb.

“This is illustrative of the challenges we’ve seen and the reasons for the restrictions being in place,” Sutton said.

3.19am BST

Ben Doherty in Sydney, signing off from this coverage now. My many thanks for your company and correspondence. I hand you westwards, to Rebecca Ratcliffe, our Southeast Asia Correspondent, in Bangkok.

3.08am BST

Tokyo reported 67 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest number since the state of emergency was lifted on May 25 and the sixth consecutive day that new infections have exceeded 50.

27 of the new cases were in night-time entertainment districts, where testing has been stepped up in recent weeks, and 49 of those infected were in their 20s or 30s, 15 were asymptomatic. Many of those cases were found at host clubs, where young men entertain female customers, and maid cafes.

The Tokyo metropolitan government said when the state of emergency was lifted that if the weekly average of new cases topped 50 it would consider asking businesses to shut down again.

But Governor Yuriko Koike, who is standing for re-election on Sunday, has announced a switch to an evaluation system based on seven criteria. These include total active infections, number of patients in serious condition and available hospital capacity.

120 new infections were reported nationwide on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in Japan to around 18,800, of which just over 1,000 are still classified as active.

Tokyo accounts for approximately a third of the total cases in Japan with around 6,300.

3.01am BST

Daily record 50,000 new infections in US

The latest figures from the US have just been reported, and make for further grim reading.

After reporting a new record on Tuesday of 44,000 new cases, that mark has been surpassed again, with Reuters reporting nearly 50,000 new cases for Wednesday.

It should be noted there are a number of differing totals being reported. Johns Hopkins University has been compiling global and national figures since the outbreak of the pandemic, but several agencies are compiling daily tallies.

Agence-France Presse is reporting Wednesday’s increase, based on Johns Hopkins figures, at 52,000. The Washington Post is also reporting that new infections surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday. The US CDC has not yet reported its daily figures.

Reuters reports:

New US Covid-19 cases rose by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.

The record follows a warning by the government’s top infectious diseases expert that the number could soon double to 100,000 cases a day if Americans do not come together to take steps necessary to halt the virus’ resurgent spread, such as wearing masks when unable to practice social distancing.

In the first week of June, the United States added about 22,000 new coronavirus cases each day. But as the month progressed, hotspots began to emerge across the Sun Belt. In the last seven days of June, daily new infections almost doubled to 42,000 nationally.

Brazil is the only other country to report more than 50,000 new cases in one day. The United States reported at least 49,286 cases on Tuesday.

More than half of new U.S. cases each day come from Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, home to 30% of the country’s population. All four states plus 10 others saw new cases more than double in June.

The daily increase in new cases could reach 100,000 unless a nationwide push was made to tamp down the fast-spreading virus, Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a US Senate committee on Tuesday.

“We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” Fauci said.

The rise in cases is not just the result of more testing. Hospitalisations are also skyrocketing.

Nationally, 7% of coronavirus diagnostic tests came back positive last week, up from 5% the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis.

Arizona’s positivity test rate was 24% last week, Florida’s was 16%. Nevada, South Carolina and Texas were all 15%, according to the analysis.

Updated at 3.11am BST

2.22am BST

Gavin Blair reports from Tokyo that the city reported 67 coronavirus cases yesterday, the highest number since a state of emergency was lifted and a continuation of a troubling upward trend.

Many cases have reportedly come from host clubs and other night-time entertainment venues.

More to come…

2.13am BST

The UK Treasury has been accused of taking an irresponsible approach to the coronavirus epidemic after a backlash to a post on its official Twitter account that hailed Saturday’s scheduled reopening of England’s pubs.

“Grab a drink and raise a glass, pubs are reopening their doors from 4 July,” the tweet read, while a graphic carried the message: “Pubs are back”.

Many of those condemning the post, which was soon deleted, accused its celebratory tone of being in poor taste given that the virus has killed at least 43,000 people in the UK.

The tweet came as Leicester was put back under lockdown conditions amid a localised outbreak and fears were expressed about numbers of cases being seen in Greater Manchester.

Updated at 2.13am BST

2.09am BST

US records highest ever daily increase in Covid-19 cases

From Guardian reporters Adam Gabbatt and Kenya Evelyn:

Donald Trump has said he believes the coronavirus will “just disappear”, one day after the US recorded more than 44,000 new cases, a new all-time daily high.

Eight states reported new single-day highs of freshly diagnosed cases on Tuesday, and the dire numbers follow a warning by the public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci that the US is “going in the wrong direction” and infections could more than double, to reach 100,000 cases a day.

In an interview with Fox Business on Tuesday, Trump was asked whether he really believes, as he has stated previously, that the virus will simply disappear.

“I do. I do,” the president said. “Yeah sure. At some point. And I think we’re going to have a vaccine very soon too.”

Updated at 2.14am BST

1.54am BST

The response here is very, very Australian.

Some context: Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, has seen a spike in community transmission cases (albeit from a very low base) so 10 suburbs across the city have been forced back into lockdown. But the measure has had some perverse outcomes, including in Summerhill Road, where one side of the street is locked down, the other is not.

As Guardian reporter Matilda Boseley’s interlocutor here says: “what a stitch-up”.

Also in Australia: the Northern Territory, which had been proudly Covid-19 free since April, and had been lording it over other less-fortunate Australian jurisdictions, has recorded a case.

A returned traveller had spent two weeks in quarantine in Melbourne, but visited family in a Melbourne hotspot area before returning to the NT.

He began showing symptoms and was tested for Covid-19, testing positive.

The traveller had been isolating in Darwin, as per the territory’s strict border rules, upon his return.

1.27am BST

Mexico’s health ministry on Tuesday reported 5,681 new cases of coronavirus infection and 741 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 231,770 cases and 28,510 deaths.

With the additional deaths, Mexico’s coronavirus toll has surpassed Spain’s total number of fatalities from the virus, which on Wednesday was 28,363.

Mexico now has the sixth-largest number of fatal Covid-19 cases.

The US has, by far, the highest number of Covid-19. deaths, with 127,970 fatal cases.

In Mexico City on Wednesday, health workers took to the streets protesting against the recycling of facemasks during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it endangered their health.
In Mexico City on Wednesday, health workers took to the streets protesting against the recycling of facemasks during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it endangered their health.
Photograph: Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1.31am BST

1.24am BST

China reported on Thursday three new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 1, compared with three cases a day earlier, the health authority said.

Two of the new infections were imported cases, the National Health Commission said in a statement, while the capital city of Beijing reported one new case. There were no new deaths.

China also reported two new asymptomatic patients, down from three a day earlier.

As of July 1, mainland China had a total of 83,537 confirmed coronavirus cases, it said.

China’s death toll from the coronavirus remains at 4,634.

1.08am BST

NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern has concluded her press conference on the departure of health minister David Clark, saying he would not be reappointed to the role if she was elected for another term.

Clark’s role as health minister had become “a distraction” from the government’s efforts to fight and contain COVID-19, that beating the pandemic had to be the priority.

“I had a conversation with Dr Clark, we talked frankly about his current position… after giving it some thought he decided to stand-down.”
Ardern said she thought he had made the right decision.

Minister Chris Hipkins already holds the education portfolio and has now also been charged with health – in the midst of a global pandemic.

Hipkins said Clark has done some outstanding work in mental health and he wanted to continue that work.

Hipkins said he had no background in health, but deflected questions that it was a “caretaker” position, saying he was ready for the “challenge”.

1.02am BST

David Clark will be replaced by New Zealand’s education minister Chris Hipkins until the election, prime minister Ardern said in a statement.

“Post-election I intend to reassess who is best placed to take the health portfolio forward.”

New Zealand goes to the polls in September. Ardern said she has not closed the door to Clark coming back into cabinet, but it won’t be in a health role.

New Zealand has recorded 1528 cases of Covid-19, with 22 deaths.

12.54am BST

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern is hosting a press conference, formalising the resignation of her health minister David Clark.

She said in some “very frank conversations” within government, the minister had come to the view that his continuing in the role was a distraction for the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand did get the number of live Covid-19 cases down to zero, but it has since gone back up through imported cases into the country.

“It’s not done,” Ardern said. “Covid-19 will be with us for a long time to come.”

She said while it was Clark’s decision to resign, “it is one I agree with”.

12.45am BST

Despite the WHO’S dire warning of the Middle East’s “critical threshold”, Egypt has restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids of Giza after more than three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reuters reports: the country closed its airports to scheduled international flights and shut famous historical sites in mid-March as the government looked to curb the spread of the virus.

That brought the tourist industry, which the government says accounts for 5% of economic output but which analysts say may account for as much as 15% if jobs and investment indirectly related to the industry are included, to a virtual halt.

Visitors were few at Giza on the first day, witnesses said, adding that they spotted only a handful of people at the normally packed site.
“It’s a pretty place, this is where we see the symbol of Egypt and this is why we come here,” said tourist Ravalonandrasana Maurice.

Meanwhile, 16 flights took off from Cairo International Airport on Wednesday, the aviation minister said. Two arrival terminals were empty in the morning but a screen showed four scheduled flights expected to arrive from Toulouse, Kuwait, Tunis and Amman.

Tourism and antiquities minister Khaled al-Anany said two chartered flights arrived Wednesday morning to airports in South Sinai and the Red Sea carrying tourists from Ukraine.

These provinces along the Red Sea Coast as well as Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean were allowed to reopen as they had the lowest case numbers so far.

The health ministry has registered 68,311 cases of the coronavirus and 2,953 deaths.

Tourists visiting the Sphinx of Giza. Egypt has reopened tourist attractions for the first time since the Covid-19 closure in March.
Tourists visiting the Sphinx of Giza. Egypt has reopened tourist attractions for the first time since the Covid-19 closure in March.
Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

12.41am BST

The Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19, and is at a “critical threshold”, the World Health Organisation has warned.

The global health body confirmed on Sunday there were more than one million confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease across the 22 countries that the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean region covers, stretching from Morocco to Pakistan.

Over 80% of all deaths in the region were reported in five countries: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

“We are at a critical threshold in our region,” the WHO’s Middle East head, Ahmed al-Mandhari, said in an online press conference.

Mandhari said it was a “concerning milestone”.

“The number of cases reported in June alone is higher than the total number of cases reported during the four months following the first reported case in the region on 29 January,” he said.

He attributed the rise in cases to increased testing, but also to the lifting in recent weeks of restrictions put in place to combat the virus’ spread.

12.37am BST

New Zealand health minister resigns

New Zealand’s beleaguered health minister David Clark has resigned, following a series of serious missteps during the coronavirus crisis.

Clark was demoted by Ardern in April after breaking the lockdown rules in his home of Dunedin and going mountain-biking; a prohibited activity.

The minister described himself as an “idiot” for flouting the lockdown rules, but weeks later it was revealed he had broken them a second time by taking his family for a trip to the beach more than 25km from his home.

Ardern was scathing of Clark’s conduct and said minister’s needed to be examples to all New Zealanders during tough times.

The PM demoted him in the cabinet rankings, but let him keep the health portfolio as she said his departure would be too disruptive during the crisis.

Political commentators have described Clark as missing in action on New Zealand’s response to the crisis, noting his departure from Wellington to lockdown with him family in Dunedin, his decision to leave daily briefings to the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, and later blaming Bloomfield for mistakes in border quarantining rather than taking responsibility himself.

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation.

“David Clark contacted me yesterday to confirm his wish to resign as a Minister and I accepted that resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“David has come to the conclusion his presence in the role is creating an unhelpful distraction from the Government’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and wider health reforms.

“It’s essential our health leadership has the confidence of the New Zealand public. As David has said to me the needs of the team must come before him as an individual.”

Chris Hipkins has been appointed as Health Minister until the election, Ardern said, which is to be held in September.

“Our response to COVID is on a stable footing and I have full confidence that Minister Hipkins will oversee the portfolio with the thoroughness and diligence he brings to his other areas of responsibility.”

“Post-election I intend to reassess who is best placed to take the health portfolio forward,”Ardern said.

Updated at 12.40am BST

12.37am BST

Covid-19 cases surpass 10.6 million across the globe

Good morning, day, afternoon or evening, wherever this finds you. Ben Doherty here in Sydney, with you for the next few hours for The Guardian’s rolling coverage of Covid-19 developments.

To begin, a summary of developments today.

  • Covid-19 cases pass 10.6 million across the globe. There are now 10,644,064 confirmed cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker, with at least 514,527 deaths across 188 countries and regions.
  • Brazil death toll passes 60,000. On Wednesday afternoon a coalition of Brazilian news outlets announced that the country’s total death toll had risen by 538 to 60,194, meaning it had doubled in the last month.
  • Global tourism stands to lose up to .3tn from Covid-19. The US standing to lose the most – 8bn, or 3% of GDP – according to a UN study published on Wednesday
  • Over 160,000 coronavirus cases reported every day in past week. The global coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, the World Health Organization said, pointing out that June saw more than half of all cases reported since the start of the pandemic.
  • Oxford Covid-19 vaccine developers encouraged by immune response. A leading scientist behind the University of Oxford’s potential Covid-19 vaccine said the team has seen the right sort of immune response in trials, but declined to give a firm timeframe for when it could be ready.
  • California closed down indoor bars, restaurants, cinemas and other facilities. The measures, which will be in place for three weeks, follow a surge in infections.
  • Brazil restricts entry to foreigners due to Covid-19. The government will restrict the entry of foreigners to the country for 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The World Health Organisation warns the Middle East is at a “critical threshold” with more than a million cases recorded across 22 countries.
  • West Bank goes into lockdown as virus numbers soar. The Palestinian Authority has announced a five-day lockdown across the West Bank after the total confirmed coronavirus infections in the territory more than doubled following the easing of previous restrictions.
  • NZ’s health minister, David Clark, has resigned, after a series of political missteps, and repeated breaches of his own government’s lockdown rules.

Updated at 1.28am BST

12.37am BST

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/jul/01/coronavirus-live-updates-latest-news-us-buys-global-remdesivir-stocks-brazil-deaths-near-60000

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