Cases spike in US, states back off on reopening: Live updates

Record high cases across the United States Sunbelt have led distant states to put their own reopening plans on hold.

  • Turkey has reported more than 200,000 coronavirus cases, with 1,192 new cases diagnosed in the past day, health ministry data shows.
  • The European Union has reopened its borders to visitors from 15 countries but excluded the United States, where deaths are spiking once again.
  • More than 10.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, nearly 5.4 million have recovered, and at least 512,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates.

Wednesday, July 1

21:45 GMT – Brazil delivery workers for Uber, other apps protest 

Over a thousand food-delivery workers on motorcycles gathered in Sao Paulo to protest their work conditions, set by Uber and other apps, with their services in high demand due to coronavirus lockdowns.

The drivers seek better pay and improved health measures, with Brazil now a coronavirus epicentre and delivery workers facing exposure to the virus.

Drivers paraded down Sao Paulo’s Paulista Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, blocking traffic, and also protested in other Brazilian cities.

Read more here.

21:30 GMT – Cases spike in US Sunbelt, other states back off on reopening

Arizona recorded more coronavirus deaths, infections, hospitalisations and emergency-room visits in a single day than ever before in a crisis Wednesday across the Sunbelt that sent a shudder through other parts of the United States and led distant states to put their own reopening plans on hold.

In Florida, hospitals braced for an influx of patients, with the biggest medical centre in Florida’s hardest-hit county, Miami’s Jackson Health System, scaling back elective surgeries and other procedures to make room for victims of the resurgence underway across the South and West.

US Vice President Mike Pence visited Arizona, where cases have spiked since stay-at-home orders expired in mid-May. Arizona reported record single-day highs of almost 4,900 new COVID-19 cases, 88 new deaths, close to 1,300 ER visits and a running total of nearly 2,900 hospitalisations.

20:42 GMT – UAE says residents, citizens cannot travel abroad for tourism yet

United Arab Emirates authorities have said residents and citizens are not yet allowed to travel abroad for tourism and leisure purposes, and all travel abroad requires a permit.

A spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said travel abroad is only allowed currently for study, medical treatment, diplomatic missions and business – and for residents who want to visit or return to their home countries.

20:12 GMT – Middle East at ‘critical threshold’ of coronavirus crisis: WHO

The Middle East faces a “critical threshold” amid a relaxation of coronavirus measures following a surge in cases in the region, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

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

Read more here.

19:38 GMT – Israel approves temporary mobile phone tracking of COVID-19 carriers

Israel’s parliament has voted to allow the country’s domestic intelligence agency to track the mobile phones of coronavirus carriers for the next three weeks amid a resurgence in new cases.

The new law allows the Shin Bet national security agency to access carriers’ phone location data for 14 days before they were diagnosed. That data is used to identify anyone they came into contact with, which proponents say is crucial to identify new cases.

19:20 GMT – California closes bars, restaurants in most of state

Indoor activities at bars, restaurants, movie theatres and other facilities will be banned in most of California in the United States for at least three weeks as COVID-19 infections surge, Governor Gavin Newsom has said.

19:10 GMT – World Bank chief says pandemic widening inequality gap

World Bank President David Malpass has said that the coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating inequality throughout the world by hitting hardest those without a social safety net in developing countries while central bank asset purchases in advanced countries benefit the richest.

Malpass told a webcast event hosted by the Council of the Americas that the pandemic was a “catastrophe” for the developing world that would bring long-term damage and global economic output would not recover to its pre-pandemic level for years.

18:25 GMT – US cases rise by 43,644 to 2,624,873

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 2,624,873 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 43,644 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 560 to 127,299.

18:15 GMT – US delays American diplomats’ return to China

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

17:58 GMT – Trump says he wants larger direct payments to Americans

United States President Donald Trump has said he supports another round of economic stimulus and wants to provide larger direct payments to Americans, as well as incentives to work, to be part of it.

“We want to create a very great incentive to work. So, we’re working on that and I’m sure we’ll all come together,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

“I want the money getting to people to be larger, so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly, and in a noncomplicated fashion.”

17:48 GMT – Deaths in France rise by 18 to 29,861

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in France has risen by 18 from the previous day to stand at 29,861, the country’s health department has said.

That figure is in line with the daily average of 18 seen the last week. In May, France counted 143 additional deaths every day on average.

17:45 GMT – Turkey’s total cases rise over 200,000: health ministry

Turkey has reported more than 200,000 coronavirus cases with 1,192 new cases diagnosed in the past day, health ministry data shows.

The death toll in the country has reached 5,150, according to the data.

16:32 GMT – Mexican finance minister says he is recovering satisfactorily

Mexican finance minister Arturo Herrera has said in a video posted to Twitter that he is at home recovering “satisfactorily” after he was diagnosed with coronavirus a few days ago.

16:25 GMT – UNSC adopts resolution to halt all conflicts

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution urging a 90-day global ceasefire to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The resolution passed after months of fruitless negotiations since the beginning of the pandemic and calls for “an immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations”.

The first call for a global ceasefire was voiced on March 23 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The draft resolution prepared by France and Tunisia will not include the fight against ISIL, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and individuals and groups linked to those organisations.

16:06 GMT – Turkey asks EU to correct ‘mistake’ of travel list exclusion

Turkey has said it is disappointed by the European Union’s decision to exclude it from a list of countries recommended for non-essential travel and called on the bloc to correct the “mistake” as soon as possible.

“The measures Turkey has taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic as well as her efforts and success in this respect are evident,” ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in the statement.

“We expect the correction of this mistake regarding the travel restrictions for our citizens as soon as possible.”

There have been nearly 200,000 cases of coronavirus in Turkey, with a death toll of more than 5,100 and new daily cases currently running at around 1,300.

15:55 GMT – WHO warns some nations still face ‘long, hard’ battle

Nations who fail to use all mechanisms available to combat the coronavirus will struggle to beat it, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

“Some countries … have taken a fragmented approach. These countries face a long, hard road ahead,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva.

15:32 GMT – Occupied West Bank under lockdown as cases soar: official

The Palestinian Authority has announced a five-day lockdown across the occupied West Bank after a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases.

“Starting from Friday morning, all governorates of the West Bank, the towns and the villages, will be closed for a period of five days,” government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said, adding that pharmacies, bakeries and supermarkets were exempted.

15:27 GMT – UK emergency remdesivir supplies adequate to treat COVID-19: official

The UK has adequate supplies of Gilead’s remdesivir for emergency use to treat hospitalised COVID-19 patients, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said, though he warned of potential difficulties securing future supplies.

Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer and lead for the Department for Health and Social Care, told a parliamentary hearing that new drugs such as remdesivir were likely to be in “relatively short supply in the first instance” compared with existing generic ones being used such as dexamethasone.

15:15 GMT – UK death toll rises by 176 to 43,906

The UK’s death toll from confirmed cases of the coronavirus has risen by 176 to 43,906, government figures show.

15:10 GMT – Oxford University has seen ‘right sort of immune response’ in potential vaccine trial: scientist

A leading scientist behind the University of Oxford’s potential COVID-19 vaccine has said the team has seen the right sort of immune response in trials, which have entered the Phase III clinical stage.

Speaking at a parliamentary hearing, Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the university, said the trial has enrolled 8,000 volunteers for the Phase III of its trial into the vaccine, AZD1222, which was licensed to AstraZeneca.

She said she could not give a timeline for when the vaccine might be ready as it depends on the results of the trial.

14:50 GMT – NYC delays resumption of indoor dining at restaurants

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that he is delaying the planned resumption of indoor dining at restaurants, fearing it would cause a spike in coronavirus infections.

The mayor, a Democrat, said he was concerned that if the city welcomed diners back into the enclosed spaces of its restaurants, it might experience the same surge in illness now being seen in other states.

“Honestly, even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could. But the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time,” de Blasio said.

Outdoor dining at restaurants, which started about two weeks ago, can continue, he said.

14:45 GMT – Zimbabwe reopens wildlife parks, restaurants in relaxation

Zimbabwe has reopened its national parks to the public and allowed restaurants to serve food within their premises.

The government’s decision, announced by the information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, came amid an outcry from the national parks and private safari lodges that the continued lockdown was endangering both businesses and conservation efforts.

Restaurants will be allowed to serve meals to sit-in customers, but only with limited numbers, Mutsvangwa said.

14:15 GMT – More than 40,000 people forcefully evicted in East Africa

More than 40,000 people across East Africa have been forcibly evicted from their homes since March, putting them at risk of contracting the new coronavirus, charities have said, calling for a moratorium on all evictions during the pandemic.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found that communities already displaced by violence, droughts and floods in Somalia were worst hit, while in Kenya and Ethiopia, people living in informal settlements had also seen their homes demolished.

“Evictions expose vulnerable people to greater risk of infection as they are forced into more crowded and unsanitary conditions,” said Evelyn Aero, NRC’s legal assistance regional advisor in East Africa.

14:00 GMT – Swiss to quarantine travellers from high-risk COVID countries

The Swiss government will impose a quarantine requirement for individuals returning to the country from regions at high risk for the coronavirus, ministers have said.

The federal office of public health will maintain and update a list of high-risk countries from which travellers returning to Switzerland will be subject to self-isolation, Health Minister Alain Berset told a news conference, providing Sweden as an example of a country which might currently fall on the list.

The government also said it would impose a mask-wearing requirement for individuals travelling on public transport from Monday.

13:55 GMT

Hello, this is Mersiha Gadzo in Toronto taking over the live updates from my colleague Elizabeth Melimopoulos in Doha.

12:40 GMT – US private hiring rebounds, adding 2.4 million jobs in June: ADP

Industries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic showed signs of life in June, hiring 2.4 million workers, payroll services firm ADP said.

With three million hires in May, that means more than five million of the 20 million people who lost their jobs in March and April are back at work.

A significant portion of the hirings were accounted for by small businesses of fewer than 50 workers, which added 937,000 jobs in the month, the data showed, while 961,000 were in leisure and hospitality – a sector almost entirely shut down by the efforts to contain COVID-19.

12:30 GMT – Germany for now has enough remdesivir for COVID-19 therapy – govt

Germany has for now secured enough supplies of remdesivir, which is set to become the first COVID-19 treatment approved in Europe, and is banking on developer Gilead to meet future needs, the country’s health ministry said.

“The federal government has early on secured remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

Currently, there are still sufficient reserves,” the ministry told Reuters in a written statement.

11:50 GMT – Spain and Portugal reopen their shared border

Spain and Portugal have reopened their shared border which has been closed since March 16 as Lisbon sought to protect itself from new cases that were exploding across Spain.

With its only land border closed for more than three months, Portugal has weathered the epidemic better than its neighbour – 1,576 deaths from 42,141 cases compared with Spain’s 28,355 deaths from almost 250,000 cases.

11:30 GMT – Qatar eases more coronavirus restrictions as ‘peak passes’

Qatar is further easing its coronavirus restrictions, allowing a partial reopening of restaurants, mosques, beaches and parks.

Starting from Wednesday, museums and libraries will also be permitted to operate in a limited capacity and under limited working hours, the country’s Supreme Committee for Crisis Management said in a statement.

11:10 GMT – Infographic: How coronavirus spread across India

The number of new coronavirus cases in India has more than doubled over the past 20 days, with more than two-thirds of total cases reported in June alone.

This sharp increase has taken India from the seventh most-affected country in the world at the end of May to fourth highest today. Only Russia (653,479), Brazil (1.4 million) and the US (2.6 million) have more confirmed cases.

Read more here.

10:45 GMT – EU reopens its borders to outside visitors 

The European Union has reopened its borders to visitors from 15 countries but excluded the United States, where deaths are spiking once again and a top health official warned the country was heading in the “wrong direction”.

The final list of nations safe enough to allow residents to enter the EU did not include Russia, Brazil or the US, where the daily death toll passed 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time since June 10.

Source: Al Jazeera

10:30 GMT – Egypt reopens airports, museums, Giza Pyramids

Egypt has reopened its airports, the Egyptian museum and the famed Giza Pyramids in Cairo for the first time in more than three months since the coronavirus closure.

The national carrier, EgyptAir, said around 2,000 passengers left Cairo’s international airport on 14 international flights on Wednesday.

Two flights carrying over 350 Ukrainian tourists landed in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada and the major resort and beach destination of Sharm el Sheikh in the southern part of Sinai Peninsula.

10:15 GMT – N Korea reopens schools, but stays on guard against COVID-19 threat: WHO

North Korea has reopened schools, but has kept a ban on public gatherings and made it mandatory for people to wear masks in public places as part of its response to the coronavirus threat, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said. 

While North Korea has not confirmed any infections, its Ministry of Public Health has been sharing weekly updates with the WHO on steps it is taking to ward off the pandemic, said Edwin Salvador, the agency’s representative to the reclusive country.

In the latest update provided on June 19, the ministry said all educational institutions are now open, with children required to wear masks and washing stations installed.

10:00 GMT – Slovakia’s daily coronavirus cases jump back to 20

The number of new coronavirus infections in Slovakia have jumped back up to 20, the highest daily figure since a week ago and the second highest since late April.

The country was among the first to implement strict measures against the COVID-19 illness in March, which helped it to keep case numbers low. Most of those measures have now been eased.

09:45 GMT – Airbus to cut 15,000 jobs to survive coronavirus crisis

Airbus is cutting 15,000 jobs within a year, including 900 already earmarked in Germany, saying its future is at stake after the coronavirus outbreak paralysed air travel.

Airbus is moving swiftly to counter damage caused by a 40 percent slump in its 55-billion-euro ($61.8bn) jet business following the pandemic, balancing belt-tightening against aid offered by European governments and future priorities.

09:30 GMT – Erdogan says EU’s treatment of Turkey over coronavirus is political

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the EU treated Turkey in a restrictive way over the coronavirus pandemic in what he said was a political stance.

He did not provide further details but his comments came after the EU excluded Turkey, along with the United States and other countries, from its initial “safe list” of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel from Wednesday.

09:15 GMT – Austria issues travel warnings for Western Balkan countries

Austria has issued travel warnings for Western Balkan countries that are not part of the EU because of an increase in coronavirus infections there, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and his ministry said. 

Schallenberg said the measure applied to six countries. His ministry said on Twitter those are Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. 

09:00 GMT – Australia to lock down 300,000 in Melbourne suburbs 

Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,920 cases, 104 deaths and fewer than 400 active cases, but the recent jump has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries.

Globally, coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday, a major milestone in the spread of a disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months.

08:45 GMT – Beirut airport reopens to overseas flights

Lebanon’s only international airport has reopened following a more than three-month shutdown as part of the country’s lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The airport will operate at 10 percent capacity at first, bringing in around 2,000 travellers a day.

The first flight to arrive was Emirates from Dubai. Others scheduled on Wednesday are from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, London and Paris.

08:30 GMT – Greece reopens islands to flights in bid to save tourism season

Greece has prepared to welcome tourist flights to its island destinations for the first time in months, as it raced to salvage a tourism season shredded by the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 100 flights from other EU nations and a select group of non-EU countries are expected at 14 regional airports including Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Crete, airport operator Fraport said.

Flights from the United Kingdom, one of its most lucrative travel markets, are not due to restart until July 15 at the earliest, in line with EU recommendations. The same applies to the United States, Russia, Turkey and Sweden.

08:15 GMT – Russia reports 6,556 coronavirus cases 

Russia has reported 6,556 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking its nationwide tally to 654,405.

The country’s coronavirus response centre said 216 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 9,536.

08:00 GMT – Burundi changes tack as president declares COVID-19 ‘biggest enemy’

Burundi’s new President Evariste Ndayishimiye has declared the coronavirus the country’s “biggest enemy”, in a major about-turn for a nation which has largely ignored the dangers of the virus.

Former president Pierre Nkurunziza, who died last month, and even Ndayishimiye himself, had until now downplayed the gravity of the pandemic, saying God had spared Burundi from its ravages.

Burundi held a full-blown campaign ahead of a May election, and unlike its neighbours has taken few measures to combat the spread of the virus.

07:45 GMT – Beijing lifts some lockdowns as virus cases drop

Beijing has lifted several lockdowns imposed to control a fresh coronavirus outbreak and reported just three new cases in the city, raising hopes that the cluster had been brought under control.

The Chinese capital had closed off dozens of residential compounds and carried out mass testing last month after hundreds of infections raised fears of a virus resurgence.

But five residential communities that have had no new virus cases during a control period were released from lockdown on Tuesday, state media reported, as the city relaxed curbs.

07:30 GMT – Thailand eases restrictions, reopens schools

Thailand has further eased COVID-19 restrictions, allowing the reopening of schools and entertainment venues such as restaurants and massage parlours that had been shut since mid-March.

It also is allowing in foreign visitors on a controlled basis, limiting entry to those with existing family or work ties, students, technical experts and investors. Scheduled passenger flights to Thailand were suspended in early April.

The number of foreign visitors allowed into the country each day is limited to 200, and they are supposed to travel on repatriation flights bringing Thai citizens home. 

07:15 GMT – Tokyo Disneyland reopens

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea have reopened after being closed for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The two parks have new guidelines, including limiting the number of entrants in three shifts to maintain social distancing. No handshakes, hugging or photos taken with Mickey Mouse and other characters are allowed.

07:00 GMT – El Al Airlines hit hard in first quarter by coronavirus crisis

El Al Israel Airlines has reported a first quarter loss on a steep drop in revenue and said it has had to give up some of its fleet and release most of its workforce on unpaid leave to contend with the coronavirus outbreak.

Israel’s flag carrier is seeking state-backed loans to help it through the crisis, as foreigners are barred from entering the country and incoming Israelis must enter quarantine.

The government argues that the airline’s problems, including a bloated workforce, high salaries and a weak balance sheet, began well before the pandemic.

06:00 GMT – Tokyo confirms 67 new cases

Tokyo has confirmed 67 new cases of coronavirus infection, the highest daily tally in the Japanese capital since the state of emergency was lifted in late May, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Hi, this is Elizabeth Melimopoulos in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

05:00 GMT – Brazil coronavirus deaths reach nearly 60,000

Brazil has reported 1,271 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, bringing its total since the start of the pandemic to 59,656.

The country is the worst-affected in the world after the US, with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases of the virus to date.

04:15 GMT – Google delays reopening of offices in the US

Google has said it will postpone the opening of its offices in the US because of the surge in coronavirus cases there.

Spokeswoman Katherine Williams told Reuters the tech giant’s offices would remain closed until at least September 7, with staff continuing to work from home.

Google had planned to open at 10-percent capacity from July 6, rising to 30 percent in September depending on conditions.

04:00 GMT – Saudi Arabia tripling VAT as part of coronavirus-austerity drive

People in Saudi Arabia have been on a shopping spree in the run-up to a tripling in VAT on Wednesday.

Retailers say sales of electronics, gold, cars and building materials have risen noticeably.

The kingdom announced in May it would triple the VAT rate to 15 percent and halve the cost-of-living allowance given to citizens as part of a package of austerity measures as it feels the squeeze of sliding oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

03:20 GMT – Judge in Brazil dismisses order for Bolsonaro to wear mask

A judge in Brazil has dismissed a court ruling that requires President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask when out in public.

Judge Daniele Maranhao Costa said the ruling was not necessary because masks are already mandatory in Brasilia, the federal capital.

Bolsonaro, who has been dismissive of the virus, even as the toll climbed, has regularly broken physical distancing measures, shaking hands, taking selfies and hugging supporters during rallies.

02:30 GMT – US records biggest one-day rise in cases

The US recorded more than 47,000 cases of coronavirus on Tuesday – the biggest one-day spike since the pandemic began – according to a Reuters count.

Some 1,199 people also died from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the first time the death toll has exceeded 1,000 since June 10.

01:30 GMT – Cases in 14 US states more than double in June

Alarming data from the US shows that coronavirus cases in 14 states more than doubled in June, with Arizona reporting a 294-percent increase.

Arizona also has the highest rate of people testing positive for the virus – at 24 percent during the past week. The WHO considers positive testing rates of above 5 percent a concern.

US case increases in June:

  • Arizona – 294 percent
  • South Carolina – 200 percent
  • Arkansas – 179 percent

01:15 GMT – South Korea begins using remdesivir treatment

South Korea has started using remdesivir, an experimental drug originally developed for Ebola, to treat its seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

Yonhap news agency says the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed an agreement with Gilead Sciences, which holds a patent for the drug. It did not disclose the amount of remdesivir it would buy or the price.

01:00 GMT – North Korea has tested 922 people

The WHO has told NK News that North Korea has tested just 922 people for COVID-19.

This is the first update on the coronavirus situation in North Korea for two months.

“As per the update received on June 19, 922 people have been tested for COVID-19 and all tested negative,” WHO Representative to the DPRK Edwin Salvador told the publication.

He added that 443 people had been quarantined since May 7 and that as many as 255 remain under quarantine. All are reportedly North Korean nationals.

North Korea has now tested just 922 people for COVID-19, an official from the World Health Organization (WHO) told NK News on Tuesday.

This suggests that only 200 people have been tested for #COVID19 since April. (By @jeongminnkim)


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (June 30) here.

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