France reports over 1,500 new coronavirus cases: Live updates

Number of new cases is highest since May 30, way above daily average of 498 seen over the last seven days.

Paris during a lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • France has reported more than 1,500 new confirmed novel coronavirus cases, an increase unseen since May 30.
  • Sixteen NBA players have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first wave of mandatory tests as the league restart approaches.
  • United States Vice President Mike Pence has said that 16 states are seeing an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus.
  • More than 9.6 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while nearly 4.8 million have recovered, and more than 489,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, June 26

20:30 GMT – Mexican economy suffers record contraction amid pandemic

Mexico’s economy shrank by a record 17 percent during April as the coronavirus lockdown devastated economic activity, official data showed, and recovery is expected to be a long, hard slog with new infections still surging.

With factories closed, manufacturing took a big hit. So did hotels, restaurants and retail as consumers stayed home.

Adjusted for seasonal swings, Latin America’s second-biggest economy contracted 17.3 percent from March, the biggest fall since modern data began being published in early 1993, according to figures put out by national statistics agency INEGI.

20:00 GMT – Costa Rica to accept tourists from countries with virus under control

Costa Rica will will open its international airports on August 1 to tourists from countries that have “controlled transmission” of coronavirus, Health Minister Daniel Salas said.

Starting from this weekend, Costa Rica will also open more public spaces such as cinemas, shopping centres and beaches in most of the country, Salas said. 

19:45 GMT – Key US medical group adds steroids to treatment guidelines

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has updated its treatment guidelines to include generic steroid pills for patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The only other drug the medical group recommends for COVID-19 patients outside of a clinical trial is remdesivir, the intravenous antiviral medication made by Gilead Sciences Inc.

The IDSA late said its change was based on recent data from a United Kingdom study showing that a low-cost and widely used steroid called dexamethasone reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

19:10 GMT – Coronavirus traces found in March 2019 sewage sample in Spain

Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the COVID-19 disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona said.

The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought.

The University of Barcelona team, who had been testing waste water since mid-April this year to identify potential new outbreaks, decided to also run tests on older samples.

18:40 GMT – South Africa to reopen casinos and cinemas 

South Africa will allow casinos and cinemas to reopen and restaurants to resume sit-down meals on Monday in a further easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions despite a sharp rise in infections.

The country began easing restrictions put in place in March last month and at the beginning of June allowed people outside for work, worship, exercise or shopping, and let mines and factories to run at full capacity to try to revive the economy.

It has recorded 118,375 infections of the highly contagious respiratory disease and 2,292 deaths and daily case numbers rose by more than 6,500 on Thursday after fewer than 1,000 in April.

South Africa
South Africa has recorded 118,375 infections of the new coronavirus so far [Reuters]

18:10 GMT – France reports more than 1,500 new coronavirus cases

France reported more than 1,500 new confirmed novel coronavirus cases, a spike unseen since May 30, while the number of additional fatalities linked to the virus rose by the highest amount in three days.

French health authorities said in a statement the total of newly confirmed infections rose by 1,588, way above both the daily average of 498 seen over the last seven days and the 430 daily average since the beginning of June.

The number of people who died from the disease increased by 26 to 29,778, compared to 21 on Thursday and 11 on Wednesday and an average of 19 over the past seven days.

Reopening of cafe terraces in Paris
The number of people who died from COVID-19 in France was 29,778 as of Friday [Reuters]

17:30 GMT – White House scales back practice of taking temperatures of visitors

The White House cut back on temperature checks for visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic but said anyone in close proximity with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence would still be checked for the virus.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the decision was prompted by the city of Washington entering the second phase of its reopening, which allows for more activity.

“In conjunction with Washington, DC entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks,” Deere said.

17:00 GMT – Pence says 16 US states seeing increase in coronavirus cases

United States Vice President Mike Pence said 16 states are seeing an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus, with new cases concentrated in certain areas, while 34 are showing a measure of stabilising.

At the first US coronavirus task force briefing in months, Pence said the US government is focused on rising cases in the South and called on Americans to embrace social distancing to minimise the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

Mike Pence
Pence called on Americans to embrace social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

16:30 GMT – Microsoft to close physical stores, take $450m hit

Microsoft Corp said it would close its retail stores and take a related pretax asset impairment charge of $450m in the current quarter.

The Redmond, Washington-based software giant said it would continue to serve customers online, with team members working remotely from corporate facilities.

15:45 GMT – Sixteen NBA players test positive as league restart nears

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said that 16 players tested positive for coronavirus in the first wave of mandatory tests done in preparation for the restart of the season.

Those 16 players were part of a pool of 302 tested on Tuesday. Tests continue for all 22 teams that will be participating in the restart at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, next month.

The player names were not disclosed. However, some players, such as Malcolm Brogdon of Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings teammates Jabari Parker and Alex Len have publicly acknowledged they have tested positive.

The league and the union say that “any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician”.

Basketball - NBA Preseason Friendly - Indiana Pacers v Sacramento Kings - NSCI Dome, Mumbai, India - October 4, 2019  Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon in action with Sacramento Kings' Dewayne Dedmon  R
Malcolm Brogdon of Indiana Pacers has publicly disclosed the tested positive for coronavirus [Reuters] 

15:15 GMT – Texas governor orders bars to close amid surge in virus cases

Texas Governor Greg Abbott  ordered the closure of all bars that get 51 percent of their gross receipts from alcohol, and the curbing of other business activity due to surging cases of the novel coronavirus in the state.

Abbott also said rafting and tubing outfitters on Texas’s popular rivers must close and that outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must be approved by local governments. 

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.” He did not say when bars might reopen again.

Texas has reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the last three days with record high positive tests of 5,996 on Thursday.

Greg Abbott
Governor Greg Abbott did not say when bars might reopen again [ File: Eric Gay/AP] 

14:45 GMT – Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine

The Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) is in talks to test a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Italian researchers, the dean of the Brazilian university told the Reuters news agency.

“We are already in advanced discussions with Italy’s Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute,” Unifesp President Soraya Smaili said in an interview. “We expect to bring it here, the accord is already moving forward and we’ll be able to do a lot of studies with this vaccine.”

The Italian researchers want to conduct mid-stage trials and final Phase III studies involving thousands of subjects in Brazil, Smaili said.

14:30 GMT – IMF’s Georgieva: Virus crisis could ultimately test IMF resources

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that the global economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus could ultimately test the fund’s one trillion dollars in resources, “but we are not there yet”.

Georgieva told the Reuters news agency that it was now clear that recovery from global business and travel lockdowns would have to get under way amid the widespread presence of the virus, and that IMF member countries were standing by to provide more support to the fund if necessary.

 Kristalina Georgieva
Georgieva says IMF member countries are ready to provide more support to the fund if necessary [Remo Casilli/Reuters]

14:00 GMT – Astrazeneca most advanced in COVID-19 vaccine race: WHO

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate is probably the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said.

Soumya Swaminathan said that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate was also “not far behind” AstraZeneca’s, among more than 200 candidates, 15 of which have entered clinical trials.

The WHO is in talks with multiple Chinese manufacturers, including Sinovac, on potential vaccines, she said.

Swaminathan, speaking to a news briefing, called for considering collaborating on COVID-19 vaccine trials, similar to the WHO’s ongoing Solidarity trial for drugs.

13:40 GMT – American Airlines to stop limiting seat capacity 

American Airlines said on Friday it would stop limiting the number of seats it sells on each flight from July 1.

The US carrier also said tickets for travel through September 30 would not incur change fees prior to travel.

Hello, this is Umut Uras in Doha taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.

12:32 GMT – Ivanisevic, the coach of Djokovic, tests positive for virus

Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, who now coaches Novak Djokovic and attended the top-ranked player’s exhibition series in Serbia and Croatia, said he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Croatian great, who won his only Grand Slam title at the All England Club in 2001, wrote on Instagram that he tested positive after two negative tests in the last 10 days.

Ivanisevic, who said he has no symptoms, attended the Adria Tour exhibition series, a charity event hosted by Djokovic in Belgrade and at the Adriatic resort of Zadar in Croatia.

Four players from those events, including Djokovic and his wife, have said they have the virus. Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki all said they also have it.

11:20 GMT – Beijing eases lockdown as mass testing gathers pace

Beijing has partially lifted a weeks-long lockdown imposed in the Chinese capital to head off a feared second wave of coronavirus infections after three million samples were taken in two weeks, officials said.

Dozens of residential compounds across the city were shut down, with authorities rolling out a mass testing campaign to root out any remaining cases.

China is trying to contain the outbreak linked to the Xinfadi wholesale food market, Beijing’s biggest supplier of produce and meat [Getty Images]

The lockdown was eased on Tuesday for seven apartment blocks after residents tested negative for the virus, officials said at a Friday briefing. The remaining blocks are still in lockdown.

Eleven new virus cases across Beijing were announced on Friday, bringing the total number of infections in the capital since the June 11 outbreak to 280. 

10:50 GMT – India’s cases spike again to near half-million

India neared half a million confirmed coronavirus cases with its biggest 24-hour spike of 17,296 new infections, prompting a delay in resumption of regular train services of more than a month.

The new cases took India’s total to 490,401. The Health Ministry also reported 407 more deaths in the previous 24 hours, taking its total fatalities to 15,301.

The ministry said the recovery rate was continuing to improve at 57.43%. Also, deaths per 100,000 stood at 1.86 against the world average of 6.24 per 100,000, it said.

Coronavirus: Indian hospitals overwhelmed with thousands of cases

Indian Railways was due to resume regular train service on June 30 but said Thursday that it wouldn’t fully resume until August 12.

Trains were halted when the government declared a nationwide lockdown in late March. Special trains linking main cities have been running since mid-May as part of an easing of the lockdown.

09:35 GMT – Record rise in virus cases as Ukraine warns of ‘serious wave’

Ukraine reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases as authorities warned lockdowns may have to be re-imposed if people continued to flout restrictions.

Pandemic hits Ukraine’s surrogate birthing industry

Health authorities recorded 1,109 new coronavirus infections in the previous 24 hours, bringing Ukraine’s total to more than 41,000.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly complained that people are ignoring social distancing and other safety rules after anti-virus restrictions were eased last month.

09:00 – GMT – Indonesia reports 1,240 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported 1,240 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases to 51,427.

There were 63 more deaths recorded, with total fatalities now at 2,683, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Indonesia is the highest in East Asia outside of China.

08:15 GMT – Vietnam PM warns of economic calamity at ASEAN summit

Vietnam warned the virus pandemic had swept away years of economic gains as Southeast Asian leaders met online for a summit also dominated by anxiety over Beijing’s moves in the flashpoint South China Sea.

“It has swept away the successes of recent years… threatening the lives of millions of people,” Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a sobering opening address.

The 36th ASEAN summit
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) addresses The 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit video conference [Reuters]

He emphasised the “serious consequences” of the pandemic for economic development among ASEAN’S members.

ASEAN General Secretary Lim Jock Hoi confirmed the bleak outlook, warning the region’s economy is expected to contract for the first time in 22 years.

08:12 GMT – Russia reports lowest daily rise in cases since late April

Russia on Friday reported 6,800 new coronavirus cases, the first daily rise below 7,000 since late April, taking its nationwide tally to 620,794.

The country’s coronavirus response centre said 176 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 8,781.

07:50 GMT – How the coronavirus crisis exposes India’s social inequalities

Under India’s healthcare system, everyone should be able to receive either free or highly subsidised care at those public hospitals depending on their income.

But the system has been chronically underfunded, meaning government hospitals are overburdened and patients often face days-long waits for even basic treatments.

Read more here

06:53 GMT – Australia gets second wave of toilet paper hoarding

Australia’s supermarket chains reintroduced purchase limits on toilet paper and other household items as a spike in coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria set off a fresh round of panic-buying over fears of a new stay-at-home order.

Panic buying over coronavirus fears

Woolworths Group Ltd and Coles Group Ltd, which together account for two-thirds of Australian grocery sales, said they were once again limiting purchases of toilet paper and paper towels to one or two packs per person after photos circulated on social media showing empty shelves in stores.

With only 7,500 cases in total and 104 deaths, Australia has been easing restrictions on movement, but a string of double-digit increases in cases in the second-most populous state, Victoria, led to a pause in the reopening there – and prompted shoppers to hoard.

06:44 GMT – Pakistan’s coronavirus testing continue to fall

Testing has continued to fall in Pakistan, one of the country’s with the fastest rates of growth of the coronavirus.

On Thursday, Pakistan tested 21,041 patients, of whom 2,775 tested positive, a test-positive rate of 13 percent. Pakistan’s countrywide tally of cases rose to 195,745 cases on Thursday, with 59 deaths taking the death toll to 4,037.

Sindh and Punjab provinces, the country’s two most populous regions, appear to be the main areas where testing has dropped, according to government data.

Testing in Sindh has roughly halved over the course of this week to 6,458 tests, while in Punjab testing remains at a level more than 2,000 tests below its peak. 

05:49 GMT – Millions of Yemeni children ‘may starve amid pandemic’

Millions of children could be pushed to the brink of starvation as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across war-torn Yemen amid a “huge” drop in humanitarian aid funding, the UN children’s agency warned.

The stark prediction comes in a new UNICEF report, “Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and COVID-19.” It said the number of malnourished Yemeni children could reach 2.4 million by the end of the year, a 20 percent increase in the current figure.

“As Yemen’s devastated health system and infrastructure struggle to cope with coronavirus, the already dire situation for children is likely to deteriorate considerably,” UNICEF warned.

“If we do not receive urgent funding, children will be pushed to the brink of starvation and many will die,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF’s representative to Yemen. “The international community will be sending a message that the lives of children … simply do not matter.”

Cemeteries overflow in Aden as COVID-19 deaths spike in Yemen (2:45)

05:40 GMT – Severe COVID-19 can damage the brain, preliminary study finds

A preliminary study of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 has found the disease can damage the brain, causing complications such as stroke, inflammation, psychosis and dementia-like symptoms in some severe cases.

The findings, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal on Thursday, are the first detailed look at a range of neurological complications of COVID-19, the researchers said, and underline a need for larger studies to find the mechanisms behind them and assist the search for treatments.

“This (is) an important snapshot of the brain-related complications of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients. It is critically important that we continue to collect this information to really understand this virus fully,” said Sarah Pett, a University College London professor who co-led the work.

The study looked in detail at 125 cases from across the UK.

05:28 GMT – India’s cases spike again to near half-million

India neared half a million coronavirus cases on Friday, recording its biggest 24-hour spike with 17,296 new infections.

The cases took India’s total to 490,401. The health ministry also reported another 407 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 15,301.

Indian Railways was due to resume regular train services on June 30 but said on Thursday that services would not fully resume until August 12. Special trains linking main cities have been running since mid-May as part of the easing of the lockdown.

Protest demanding better treatment for people infected with COVID-19 in Kolkata
Supporters of opposition Congress party wearing protective gear attend a protest in Kolkata demanding better treatment for people infected with the coronavirus disease [Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]

05:19 GMT – Vietnam warns of economic calamity at ASEAN summit

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc warned the pandemic had swept away years of economic gains as Southeast Asian leaders met online to discuss a regional emergency fund to tackle the crisis.

In a sobering opening address, Phuc emphasised the “serious consequences” of the pandemic for economic development among ASEAN’S members, saying: “It has swept away the successes of recent years … threatening the lives of millions of people.”

A high-priority project for Friday’s summit is the establishment of an ASEAN “COVID-19 response fund,” which could be used to help member states purchase medical supplies and protective suits. Thailand has pledged to contribute $100,000.

The 36th ASEAN summit
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses The 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit video conference [Luong Thai Linh/Pool via Reuters]

04:16 GMT – China posts a further decline in infections

China reported a further decline in newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Friday, with 13 cases.

Eleven were in Beijing, where mass testing has been carried out following an outbreak that appears to have been largely brought under control.

The other two cases were brought by Chinese travellers from overseas, according to the National Health Council.

03:39 GMT – US sets one-day record for COVID-19 cases

The number of US coronavirus infections rose by at least 39,818 cases at the end of Thursday, according to a Reuters news agency tally, marking the biggest daily increase in the country since the start of the pandemic.

Several states across the US have reported record rises in cases this week, including Texas, Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming.

More than 36,000 new cases were recorded nationwide on Wednesday, a few hundred shy of the record 36,426 on April 24.

Texas coronavirus
Tubers prepare to float the Comal River in Texas despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases [Eric Gay/ AP]

02:55 GMT – US sent $1.4bn in relief payments to dead people

Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totalling some $1.4bn went to dead people in the United States, according to a new government watchdog study.

The finding came in a Government Accountability Office report that reviewed payments from a $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The erroneous payments were made because of confusion over whether dead people should receive payments, the report said.

While the government has asked survivors to return the money, it is not clear whether they have to.

01:47 GMT – Mexico passes 25,000 coronavirus deaths

Mexico pushed past 25,000 reported coronavirus deaths and 200,000 confirmed cases on Thursday, as the finance minister said he tested positive and would self-isolate while working from home.

The Health Department reported 6,104 newly confirmed infections, one of the highest 24-hour counts so far. That brought the country’s confirmed cases to 202,951. Deaths increased by 736, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 25,060.

Mexico’s Finance Ministry said it has initiated epidemiological contact tracing after Finance Minister Arturo Herrera tested positive for the coronavirus.

Herrera said he had only “minor symptoms”.

Mexico coronavirus
Sabina Hernandez Bautista, 59, prepares food in a stall inside Mexico City’s Mercado de San Cosme, where some vendors have put in place their own protective measures against coronavirus while others continue to work without masks or barriers [Rebecca Blackwell/ AP]

01:33 GMT – Nike posts quarterly loss after store closures

Nike lost $790m in the fourth quarter, with soaring digital sales failing to make up for the loss of revenue from shuttered stores in most of the world.

The world’s largest sports apparel maker said its revenue fell 38 percent to $6.31bn in the three-month period ending May 31.

Nike said 90 percent of its stores in North America, Europe and Latin America were closed during the period because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sales fell 46 percent in both North America and Europe, but just 3 percent in China as stores reopened there.

01:25 GMT – WHO warns of ‘very significant’ resurgence in Europe

Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, the World Health Organization regional director for Europe, expressed concern over a resurgence of coronavirus infections on the continent, saying that last week that Europe saw an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months.

“Some 30 countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks,” he said in a statement. “In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe.”

The WHO later identified the 11 countries and territories as Armenia, Sweden, Moldova, North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Kosovo.

Queues ramp up at Mexican food banks as COVID hits the poor (2:23)

00:20 GMT – Europe-wide study shows child virus deaths ‘extremely rare’    

Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for COVID-19 end up dying, though a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, according to a new Europe-wide study.

A team of researchers led by experts in the United Kingdom, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of 582 children under age 18 who were infected with the new coronavirus, and found more than 60 percent required hospital treatment and 8 percent needed intensive care.

Only four died.

On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16 percent, showed no symptoms at all.

Marc Tebruegge, from University College London’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said that while the results should not be extrapolated for the general population, they were nevertheless reassuring.

“The case fatality cohort was very low and it is likely to be substantially lower still, given many children with mild disease would not have been brought to medical attention and therefore not included in this study,” he said.

“Overall, the vast majority of children and young people experience only mild disease,” added Tebruegge, lead author of the study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

“Nevertheless, a notable number of children do develop severe disease and require intensive care support,” said Tebruegge, “and this should be accounted for when planning and prioritising healthcare resources as the pandemic progresses.”

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, June 25, here

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies