African country with highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections to begin trial of vaccine involving 2,000 people.
German authorities have ordered two new lockdowns for the entire districts of Warendorf and Guetersloh. The move came after a coronavirus outbreak at a slaughterhouse infected more than 1,500 workers.
Saudi Arabia will limit the number of domestic pilgrims attending the Hajj to around 1,000 after barring Muslims abroad from the rite for the first year in modern times.
European Union countries are considering banning entry to Americans as the US has failed in controlling the spread of the coronavirus, according to draft lists of travellers seen by the New York Times.
Worldwide, more than 9 million people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. More than 4.5 million have recovered, while more than 472,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates:
France’s Digital Minister Cédric O said that the coronavirus tracking app that was launched three weeks ago sent 14 notifications in the past three weeks to warn people they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“People probably consider they need it less,” the minister said attributing the unexpectedly low number of notifications to the rapid slowdown of the epidemic in France.
He says the app was downloaded 1.9 million times since it became available on June 2 yet almost one-quarter of users had since removed it from their cell phones. France has a population of 66 million.
Pointing out to the fact that In Germany 10 million people downloaded the app, the minister said that the difference was probably due to “cultural differences and differing attitudes to the coronavirus”.
Starting from July 4, people in England will be allowed to go to the pub, visit a cinema or a museum, get a haircut or attend a religious service – but not a choir.
Under the new measures announced by the government, tattoo places and gyms will remain closed and music concerts will still not be allowed.
The two-metre (six feet) physical distance measure will be reduced to one metre while mask are still mandatory in enclosed spaces. The changes only apply in England.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all following slightly different measures.
Governor Greg Abbott said the US state of Texas registered more than 5,000 new cases in the past 24 hours – the highest daily increase so far.
“There remain a lot of people in the state of Texas who think that the spread of COVID-19 is not a challenge,” Abbott told reporters. “The coronavirus is serious. It’s spreading.”
The warning came as top national disease expert Anthony Fauci said “the next couple weeks are going to be critical” in Texas and other states that are trying to curtail an alarming spike in infections.
European Union countries are considering banning entry to Americans as the US has failed in controlling the spread of the coronavirus, according to draft lists of travellers seen by the New York Times.
The newspaper reported that there are two potential lists of travellers who would be exempted from the ban pending on how their countries handled the outbreak.
As selecting criteria, countries should not exceed the EU’s average number of new infections – in the past 14 days – per 100,000 people, currently standing at 16.
For the US, the same figure now is 107, for Brazil 190 and Russia at 80.
EU officials have warned that failing in agreeing over the final list, which will be presented next week and revised every 14 days – could trigger the reintroduction of border restrictions among the bloc’s members.
Visitors coming from outside the EU cannot enter the 27-member bloc since March, however they are expected to be allowed to do so starting on July 1.
The Spanish government will test a new smartphone app designed to control the spread of the coronavirus by adding hundreds of false cases into the system.
The two-week trial – which will start on Friday in Gomera, on the Canary Islands – is part of a system intended to send an alert when one user has been in contact with another who receives a postive diagnosis.
“The idea is that approximately 3,000 people download it and we will introduce around 300 simulators, beta testers, to mimic a pandemic among 10 percent of the population,” a government spokeswoman said.
To guard against impinging on people’s privacy, contact records will be stored on individual devices rather than a central server, using a standard developed by Apple and Google.
The coronavirus is expected to circulate in England until next year, said Chief Medical officer Chris Whitty, warning the battle with the virus will be long.
“I would be surprised and delighted if we weren’t in this current situation, through the winter, and into next spring … I expect there to be a significant amount of coronavirus circulating at least into that time,” he said.
Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said he believed “it will be when and not if” there will be a COVID-19 vaccine, expressing cautious optimism some will be ready by the end of the year.
Speaking to a House committee, Fauci added that neither he nor any members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force have been asked to slow down testing.
The comments came after President Donald Trump said at a weekend political rally in Oklahoma that he had asked his aides to reduce testing because it was turning up too many positive cases.
A Brazilian federal judge ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to comply with local rules to wear a face mask whenever he is outdoors in the capital, Brasilia.
Bolsonaro “has exposed other people to the contagion of a disease that has caused national commotion”, said Judge Renato Coelho Borelli.
The ruling came after Bolsonaro was seen unmasked at various public gatherings in recent weekends, from joining people protesting against the country’s Congress and Supreme Court to drawing crowds as he visited outdoor food stalls.
Brazil’s federal district requires people to wear face masks in public to help control the spread of the virus. Failure to comply carries a possible daily fine of $390.
Egypt will lift on Saturday a three-month, night-time curfew despite the number of new infections keeps increasing.
Restaurants and cafes will also be allowed to operate at a fourth of their capacity and remain open until 10pm local time (20:00 GMT), while mosques and churches will be open for daily praying but not for end-of-week prayers or services attended by larger crowds.
While announcing the new relaxing measures, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly acknowledged that infections were rising but insisted that citizens will have to learn to live with the pandemic as the government seeks to limit the impact on the economy.
“We still have the ability to absorb the current numbers and we also have an existing reserve of hospitals; the armed forces and the police hospitals,” he said, adding the measures could be revoked if people did not follow the rules.
The number of people in Britain who have died after being confirmed to have COVID-19 has risen to 42,927, from 42,647 the day before, according to health officials.
The increase includes 171 new deaths reported as of 1600 GMT on June 22, plus 109 deaths that occurred in April, May and June which had been reclassified as caused by COVID-19.
Russia will increase by two percentage points taxes for high earners, said President Vladimir Putin.
He said the tax rate will rise from 13 percent to 15 percent on incomes over five million rubles ($73,000) from January 1.
The move – which would be the first hike since a flat tax rate was introduced in 2001 – came as the Russian leader laid out measures to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus.
Oman’s government said a new batch of activities will be allowed to restart from Wednesday, according to the country’s state news agency.
The businesses covered by the decision include real estate offices, travel agencies, maintenance businesses and dry cleaners, the agency quoted the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources as saying.
Physical distancing of at least two metres (six metres) must be maintained by customers.
وزارة البلديات الإقليمية وموارد المياه تعلن عن الحزمة الجديدة (الرابعة) للأنشطة المسموح لها بمزاولة أعمالها، اعتبارًا من يوم غد الأربعاء. pic.twitter.com/ti3w7X19sT
— وكالة الأنباء العمانية (@OmanNewsAgency) June 23, 2020
A second district in Germany has been placed under lockdown over a coronavirus outbreak.
“In order to protect the population, we are now launching a further safety and security package to effectively combat the spread of the virus,” said North Rhine-Westphalia health minister Karl-Josef Laumann, ordering a lockdown for the district of Warendorf.
The news came shortly after similar measures were reinforced around the neighbouring area of Guetersloh after more than 1,500 workers tested positive for COVID-19 at the slaughterhouse.
The move marked the first local lockdown imposed after Germany lifted all security restrictions.
South African pharmaceutical company Apen has said it could provide 10 million dexamethasone tablets within a month.
The commments were made by CEO Stephen Saad who said Aspen “would look to ramp up further should there be a need for additional product”.
In what was described as a major breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus, trial results last week that dexamethasone reduced death rates by about a third compared with a placebo in severely ill hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
The South African government has contacted Aspen to source the cheap and widely available steroid not only for its domestic market but also for the rest of the continent.
“Once they give us a sense [required volumes across the continent], we can work out the supply,” Saad said.
Novak Djokovic, the men’s world number one tennis player, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Croatia’s Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Viktor Troicki have previously tested positive after playing in Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region.
“The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested,” the 33-year-old said in a statement, adding that he was not showing any symptoms. “My result is positive, just as Jelena’s (wife), while the results of our children are negative.
“I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine. I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.”
The tournament witnessed packed stands during the opening leg in Belgrade, players hugging at the net, playing basketball, posing for pictures and attending press conferences together.
The premier of the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has said he was putting the Guetersloh area back into lockdown until June 30 after a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant in the area.
“For the first time in Germany, we will return an entire district to the measures that applied several weeks ago,” said Armin Laschet.
He said the lockdown would affect 360,000 people.
The leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet in Brussels on July 17, their first physical summit since the coronavirus lockdown began, to discuss an economic recovery package.
The two-day meeting was confirmed by a spokesman for European Council president and summit host Charles Michel, as capitals wrangle over the terms of the huge rescue plan.
Oxford University has started human clinical trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, sponsor Lemann Foundation said in a statement has said.
Trials will count on 2,000 health workers volunteers in Sao Paulo and 1,000 people in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa approved human clinical trials for this potential vaccine, developed by Oxford and supported by AstraZeneca Plc, earlier in June.
South Africa rolls out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, the university leading the pilot has said, as the country grapples with the highest number of cases in Africa.
The vaccine, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute, is already being evaluated in the United Kingdom, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial.
South Africa has set out to vaccinate 2,000 people with the vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Fifty of the candidates have HIV.
Dublin Airport Authority, Ireland’s largest airport operator, expects COVID-19 to lead to between 750 and 1,000 job losses, Chief Executive Dalton Philips has said.
The company, which operates Dublin and Cork airports and has operations in 15 other countries, said has been losing 1 million euros ($1.13m) per day since mid March, Philips told RTE radio.
He said he expected traffic at its main airports to be about 40 percent lower in 2021 due to COVID-19 with traffic only returning to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
Restaurants, gyms, swimming pools, libraries and kindergartens have resumed operation in Moscow as the city emerges from a tight coronavirus lockdown in place since late March.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced ending the lockdown in the Russian capital two weeks ago.
Sobyanin lifted stay-at-home orders and allowed beauty parlors to reopen first. Last week, dental clinics, museums and outdoor spaces of cafes and restaurants resumed operation.
Saudi Arabia‘s Hajj minister has said that the number of pilgrims attending Hajj this year would be limited to around 1,000 local citizens and residents, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus .
Pilgrims coming from overseas will be barred this year and the ministry will apply a strict health criteria to choose pilgrims who may attend, including excluding those above 65 years old, Mohammed Benten said at a news conference.
The German economy will shrink by 6.5 percent this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government’s council of economic advisers has said, adding that the slump will be prolonged if the number of new infections jumps again.
“The coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause the largest slump of the German economy since the founding of the Federal Republic. But we expect the recovery to start in the summer,” council head Lars Feld said.
Adjusted for calendar effects, the German economy is seen shrinking by 6.9 percent this year. The council said it expects a slow recovery in the second half of the year, with gross domestic product (GDP) forecast to grow by 4.9 percent next year.
“This means GDP probably won’t get back to its pre-pandemic level until 2022 at the earliest,” the council said in a statement, adding that the government’s stimulus measures were likely to support the recovery.
Pakistan’s government has identified 500 coronavirus hotspots across the country to be targeted in its “smart lockdown” strategy, according to the country’s top health official.
Zafar Mirza, the prime minister’s special adviser on health and head of the federal health ministry, told legislators that these areas would be targeted for limited locality-based lockdowns – which the government has dubbed “smart lockdowns” – to control the spread of the coronavirus.
“Due to the current economic situation, it is impossible to implement complete lockdown in the country. However, the government [is] focusing on smart lockdown policy,” a statement released after the meeting said.
Read more here.
A trial of AstraZeneca’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine in pigs has found that two doses of the Oxford University-developed shot produced a greater antibody response than a single dose, scientists said.
Research released by Britain’s Pirbright Institute found that giving an initial prime dose followed by a booster dose of the shot elicited a greater immune response than a single dose – suggesting a two-dose approach may be more effective in getting protection against the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The Philippine health ministry has reported 1,150 additional cases of the novel coronavirus, the country’s biggest single-day increase in infections.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total cases have reached 31,825 while deaths have increased by nine to 1,186.
Beijing’s mass testing for the new coronavirus will soon enter a “fast track” as the city’s testing capacity expands, a senior municipal health official has said.
Beijing can now administer more than 300,000 nucleic acid tests per day compared with 40,000 in March, Zhang Hua, deputy director at the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, told reporters.
Beijing had taken samples from 2.95 million people between June 12 and June 22, Zhang said.
Indonesia has reported 1,051 new coronavirus infections, taking its total number of cases to 47,896.
Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said there were 35 more deaths reported, with total fatalities now at 2,535.
Indonesia’s toll of deaths related to COVID-19 is the highest in East Asia outside of China.
China should focus on fighting the resurgent coronavirus in Beijing rather than “disturbing” Taiwan with military drills near the Chinese-claimed island, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang has told reporters.
China’s air force has buzzed Taiwan at least eight times in the past two weeks, Taiwan’s military says, sending fighters and bombers into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone where they have been warned off by patrolling Taiwanese jets.
“China is very big, and has never given up the use of force to deal with Taiwan. China has always, with such a serious epidemic, sent their aircraft and ships around Taiwan, really disturbing Taiwan,” Su said, adding that Taiwan only wants to be a “contributor to regional peace”.
Muslims have expressed disappointment at Saudi Arabia’s decision to scale back this year’s hajj pilgrimage, but many accepted it was necessary as the kingdom battles a major coronavirus outbreak.
Riyadh said Monday the hajj would be “very limited” with only pilgrims already in the country allowed to perform the ritual, marking the first time in modern Saudi history that foreign visitors have been barred.
The move had looked inevitable for some time and several countries had already pulled out, but the announcement nevertheless added to disappointment for Muslims who invest huge sums and face long waits to go on hajj.
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has said that it would invest $425m to expand its vaccine development venture with US start-up Translate Bio as they aim to find a COVID-19 vaccine by next year.
The companies have been working together since 2018, hoping to leverage Translate Bio’s work on new messenger RNA (mRNA) drugs that cause cells to create a specific protein for treating a range of diseases.
Russia has reported 7,425 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its nationwide case total to 599,705, the world’s third highest tally.
The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 153 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 8,359.
The number of global coronavirus cases have continued to surge in many large countries that have been lifting lockdowns, including the US, even as new infections stabilised or dropped in parts of Western Europe.
Hospitals in Pakistan are turning away patients, but with the economy there teetering, the government remains determined to reopen the country.
New cases have also been rising steeply in Mexico, Colombia and Indonesia.
Brazil, with more than 1.1 million cases and 51,000 deaths, has been affected more than anywhere but the US, which has reported more than 2.3 million cases and 120,000 deaths, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Some of India’s richest people and health-tech startups have created an alliance to try and transform India’s failing health-care system.
The loose alliance, whose backers include Infosys Ltd. co-founders Nandan Nilekani and Kris Gopalakrishnan as well as prominent startups from Practo to Policybazaar, will be formally unveiled as soon as this week in an attempt to salvage a decrepit system by digitising everything from patient data and records to creating online platforms for hospital care and doctor consultations.
Read more here.
A 72-year-old man has died in Hong Kong from coronavirus taking the death toll from COVID-19 in the city to six, local television Cable TV said.
Hong Kong has avoided the large numbers of infections seen in other big cities around the world, but on Monday it reported its biggest spike in months, with 30 imported new cases taking the total to 1,162.
India’s health ministry has said that the nationwide tally had reached 440,215 cases, including 14,011 deaths. The state of Delhi, which includes the capital of New Delhi, has reported 62,655 cases with the rate of new infections rapidly expanding in recent weeks as a nationwide lockdown has eased.
States remote from the capital including Assam in the northeast that initially reported few cases have plans to reimpose stringent lockdowns in certain districts.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi lifted months-long restrictions on movement and industrial and commercial activity to restart India’s ailing economy, which has shed millions of jobs.
I’m handing the blog to my colleagues in Doha shortly. A quick update of developments over the last few hours: In the US there are concerns the outbreak is “snowballing” with a surge in cases particularly in the south and west. In China, South Korea and Australia, the focus is on containing the re-emergence of the virus after weeks of relative calm. South Korea reported 46 new cases on Tuesday morning, while Australia’s Victoria state has extended a state of emergency amid a number of hotspots in Melbourne.
The French drugmaker Sanofi says it hopes to get regulatory approval for the coronavirus vaccine it is developing with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline by the first half of next year.
There are currently no vaccines against the virus and, while a number of companies and institutions are in the race to develop one, there is no guarantee of success.
Sanofi currently has two vaccine projects. Clinical trials of the GSK-linked project are due to start in September.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says reports Malaysia plans to send some 269 Rohingya people back to sea on the boat they arrived on were “concerning”.
Beatrice Lau, the organisation’s head of mission in Malaysia, says returning the Rohingya was a violation of the customary international law principle of non-refoulement, and could lead to many more deaths.
Malaysia, which has stepped up border patrols because of the coronavirus, detained the Rohingya on June 8 after their boat was discovered off the resort island of Langkawi. Lau noted the Rohingya no longer posed a COVID-19 risk as they had been quarantined and tested. MSF was willing to provide medical assistance, she added.
The South Korean city of Daegu is taking legal action against the Shincheonji church and its founder, claiming it hindered quarantine efforts and contributed towards mass infections of COVID-19 in February.
South Korea’s fourth-biggest city is claiming damages of 100 billion won ($82.3 million), more than two-thirds of its coronavirus spending, Yonhap reported.
Daegu’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported on February 18 in a woman who was a member of Shincheonji. City authorities said the sect failed to cooperate with tracing and quarantine efforts.
After months of closure, Tokyo’s Disney Resort will reopen on July 1.
Visitors will need to book in advance and have their temperature taken before they enter the theme parks – Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Seating will be spaced out, and everyone will have to wear masks.
Australia’s southern state of Victoria is seeing a jump in infections in the community and has extended its state of emergency to July 12.
Victoria has the second-biggest population in the country, and officials say cases have spread because people are not being careful about keeping their distance from others, wearing a mask and taking other steps to control the disease.
The main COVID-19 hotspots are in Melbourne.
Community transmission of #COVID19 is on the rise in Victoria. Yesterday saw an increase of 12 such cases, the largest single-day increase of its kind for more than two months. This graph shows the uptick. Read more: https://t.co/Ewkjf2FAKb pic.twitter.com/0rBs2mPIDv
— The Age (@theage) June 22, 2020
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country added 46 new coronavirus cases, most of which were imported, including a cluster linked to a Russian-flagged ship at port in Busan.
Some 16 members of the 21-man crew have been confirmed to have the virus. The captain, who left the ship before it set sail from Vladivostok, tested positive for COVID-19 in Russia. South Korea has put 160 port workers who came into contact with the crew in Busan into isolation.
Cluster infections in Seoul and outside the capital also continue to grow, Yonhap news agency reported. City authorities have said they may need to tighten movement restrictions again in order to control the spread of the disease.
China’s National Health Commission has confirmed 22 new cases of coronavirus, 13 of them in Beijing.
The capital’s been battling a renewed outbreak of COVID-19, which is centred around the city’s main wholesale food market.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) June 23, 2020
The Red Cross says it will provide some 800,000 masks to migrant workers, village health volunteers and other front-line workers to help protect people at risk from COVID-19 in Thailand.
Migrant workers are particularly at risk because many are undocumented.
Thai Red Cross Society will provide reusable cloth face masks, alcohol gel and information materials, while migrant workers under quarantine will also receive relief kits including food and personal hygiene items.
Nearly 260 million children missed out on school in 2018 and the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, according to UNESCO’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report, which also said the pandemic was an opportunity for change and a rethinking of education systems.
Poorer children, girls, the disabled and immigrants are among those at a disadvantage, a situation that worsened with COVID-19 when some 90 percent of the world’s schoolchildren found their learning affected by closures if their families could not afford internet, computers or mobile phones.
The report found 258 million children and young people were entirely excluded from education, with poverty as the main obstacle to access. In low- and middle-income countries, adolescents from the richest 20 percent of households were three times as likely to complete lower secondary school as those from the poorest homes.
An alarming surge in coronavirus cases in parts of the US following eased lockdowns is raising concern that the outbreak is spiralling out of control because of Americans’ resistance to wearing masks and keeping their distance from others.
Cases surpassed 100,000 in Florida, hospitalisations are rising dramatically in Houston, and a startling one in five of those tested in Arizona have been confirmed to have the virus.
“It is snowballing. We will most certainly see more people die as a result of this spike,” said Dr Marc Boom, CEO and president of Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. You can read more about what’s happening in the US here.
Saudi Arabia will hold only a “very limited” Hajj this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, with only people already living in the country allowed to take part.
“It was decided to hold the pilgrimage this year with very limited numbers … with different nationalities in the kingdom,” the official Saudi Press Agency said on Monday, citing the Hajj ministry.
More than two million Muslims take part in the annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city of Mecca every year. This year’s event is due to take place in late July.
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 22) here.