- Florida health officials have reported more than 9,500 new COVID-19 cases, surpassing the previous day’s total by more than 600 confirmed cases. The figures come as officials move to reclose beaches and discourage bar gatherings.
- Egypt lifted many restrictions put in place against the coronavirus pandemic, reopening cafes, clubs, gyms and theatres after more than three months of closure, despite a continued upward trend in new infections.
- India has more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with a record daily leap of 18,500 new infections.
- Sixteen NBA players in the US have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first wave of mandatory tests as the league restart approaches.
- More than 9.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while some 4.9 million have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 493,000 people have died.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, June 27
23: 35 GMT – Hundreds of US chicken plant workers test positive of coronavirus
US chicken plant Tyson Foods has announced that 371 employees at its chicken processing plant in the far southwestern corner of Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19.
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The company said it tested 1,142 employees in the state of Missouri from June 17 to June 19, and 291 tested positive for COVID-19, AP news agency reported.
Of those 291, Tyson said 249, or 85 percent, were asymptomatic. Tyson said an additional 80 employees tested positive for COVID-19 in separate tests that were performed by their health care providers or the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services.
20:30 GMT – EU delays decision on border reopening
The EU cannot agree on a list of “safe countries” from where travellers could visit Europe in July, with some member states requiring more time to decide, diplomats have said.
After days of talks, EU envoys on Friday agreed to propose a list of 14 countries to their national governments, with the United States, where the coronavirus is still spreading, to remain excluded.
Croatia, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, requested that countries offer feedback by Saturday at 1600 GMT, with hopes the matter could then be put to a vote among the 27 member states.
“There are still ongoing consultations, which will continue until Monday,” an EU source told AFP.
“There is no visibility on where this will go, but the presidency still hopes to put this matter to a vote on Monday,” the source added.
19:10 GMT – Brazil signs deal to produce experimental virus vaccine
The Brazilian government announced it has reached an agreement with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce a promising coronavirus vaccine that is undergoing tests.
Brazilian Health Ministry authorities said in a press conference that the country will pay $127 million and receive material to produce 30.4 million doses in two batches in December and January, which would allow it to quickly start inoculation efforts if the vaccine is certified to be safe and effective.
They said the total deal is for 100 million vaccines for a country of about 210 million residents. It will be produced by local vaccine maker Fiocruz.
Brazil, where coronavirus infections are still on the rise, counts more than 1 million confirmed cases and more than 55,900 fatalities.
19:00 GMT – VP Pence calls off campaign bus tour of Florida
The United States Vice President Mike Pence is calling off a planned bus tour in Florida to benefit his and President Donald Trump’s re-election as the state experiences a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases.
Pence is still traveling to the state, the White House confirmed, saying he will meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis and his health care teams.
Pence said Friday during a briefing by the White House’s coronavirus task force that he would visit Florida, Texas and Arizona this week to receive a “ground report” on spiking cases of COVD-19 across the sunbelt.
Pence was to appear in Lake Wales at an event organised by pro-Trump group America First Policies billed as the “Great American Comeback tour.” The group announced that “Out of an abundance of caution at this time, we are postponing the Great American Comeback tour stop in Florida. We look forward to rescheduling soon.”
18:10 GMT – Italy coronavirus death toll rises by eight
Italy has registered the lowest day-to-day tally of COVID-19 deaths since March 1, a week before the country went into nationwide lockdown.
According to Health Ministry data, there were eight deaths of infected patients since Friday, raising the nation’s known toll in the pandemic to 34,716.
There were 175 new cases, bringing the overall count of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country where Europe’s outbreak first exploded to 240,136.
Authorities have said since many people with mild symptoms do not get tested, the actual number is certainly higher. For the first time since the very early days of the outbreak, fewer than 100 infected patients were occupying intensive care unit beds nationwide. In early April, more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients occupied ICU beds, as the nation’s health system in northern Italy struggled to care for several thousand new cases each day.
17:50 GMT – Florida, Arizona hit daily highs for COVID-19 cases
Florida and Arizona recorded daily highs for cases of COVID-19, highlighting the worsening spread of the virus in several southern and western states, some of which are taking steps to roll back their reopening plans.
Florida on Saturday morning reported 9,585 new infections in the last 24 hours, a record for a second day, while Arizona recorded 3,591 new cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, matching its prior record on June 23.
The United States recorded more than 45,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the largest single-day increase of the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally. More than 2.5 million Americans now have tested positive.
The surge in cases has been most pronounced in southern and western states like Florida and Texas, which are now taking steps to reinstate restrictions on businesses, threatening a hoped-for economic recovery and jobs.
17:45 GMT – US judge orders ICE to free children in family detention
A federal judge has ordered the release of children held with their parents in US immigration jails and denounced the Trump administration’s prolonged detention of families during the coronavirus pandemic.
The order by US District Judge Dolly Gee applies to children held for more than 20 days at three family detention centres in Texas and Pennsylvania operated by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Some have been detained since last year.
Citing the recent spread of the virus in two of the three facilities, Gee set a deadline of July 17 for children to either be released with their parents or sent to family sponsors.
Read more here.
16:45 GMT – Peru to lift some coronavirus lockdown measures but keep borders closed
Peru will lift coronavirus lockdown measures in most areas of the country, including the capital Lima, at the start of July, while keeping its borders closed, after the daily rate of cases slowed in recent days, the government has announced.
A night curfew will still be in force, according to a government decree, as officials aim to keep the pandemic under control while it grapples with a battered economy and a near-collapse of its health system.
Children under the age of 14 and people older than 65 will still be required to quarantine, the government said.
Peru was one of the first countries in Latin America to impose a quarantine in mid-March to stem infections, and has extended it several times until the end of June. Since May, the government has allowed a gradual reopening of the economy.
16:15 GMT – UK death toll from confirmed COVID-19 cases up 100 to 43,514
Britain’s death toll from confirmed cases of the new coronavirus has risen to 43,514, an increase of 100 from a day earlier, government figures showed.
15:00 GMT – German leader urges caution as economy reopens
German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, as regional outbreaks gave rise to fears of a second wave.
Merkel said in her weekly video podcast that getting Europe’s economy back on track is her primary goal as Germany takes over the rotating European Union presidency next week, but stressed that everyone shared a “joint responsibility” in following social distancing, mask and hygiene rules as lockdown rules are relaxed.
German authorities renewed a lockdown in a western region of about 500,000 people in the past week after about 1,300 slaughterhouse workers tested positive for COVID-19, in an attempt to prevent the outbreak from spreading across the area.
Germany has recorded nearly 195,000 coronavirus infections and only around 9,000 deaths, with more than 177,000 recoveries, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
14:25 GMT – Serbia’s defence minister tests positive for COVID-19
The Serbian government has annnounced that Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The defence ministry said in a statement that Vulin has no symptoms of the virus and is feeling fine. Vulin, known for his highly pro-Russian stance, was part of Serbia’s delegation led by President Aleksandar Vucic that attended a Victory Day parade this week in Moscow.
Vucic met face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it was not clear whether Vulin did so as well. Maja Gojkovic, the speaker of Serbia’s parliament, also tested positive, according to the state Tanjug news agency.
Serbia has seen a spike in coronavirus cases since lifting strict lockdown measures in May, allowing large gatherings without obligatory social distancing or masks. Vucic has announced he will reintroduce the tough measures if the spike continues. Serbia has so far registered more than 13,500 cases and 265 deaths from COVID-19.
14:15 GMT – Pakistan announces fuel price hike
Pakistan has announced a record increase in fuel prices days before the end of a fiscal year in which the country’s economy contracted for the first time in 68 years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The hike, which ranges from 27 percent to 66 percent depending on the petroleum product, was announced Friday night. It drew nationwide condemnation from people on social media Saturday.
The move comes two weeks after Islamabad said its GDP in the outgoing fiscal year ending on June 30 will shrink by 0.4 percent, instead of an initially projected 2.4% growth.
Pakistan’s economy has witnessed a steady decline since 2018, when Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government came into power.
Its economy has been affected by the coronavirus since March, when Khan put the country under lockdown. Restrictions were eased in May, causing a spike in coronavirus infections and deaths.
Pakistan has confirmed 198,883 virus cases, including 4,035 deaths.
12:45 GMT – Nine more test positive in Kyrgyzstan’s presidency
Nine more employees of Kyrgyzstan’s presidency tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of infected employees to 17.
According to an official statement, all employees of the president were tested after coming in contact with a delegation accompanying President Sooronbay Jeenbekov to Russia.
Jeenbekov, who tested negative for coronavirus, was in quarantine and continues to work remotely.
12:30 GMT – Liverpool condemns fan behavior in title celebrations
English champion Liverpool has condemned the behaviour of crowds of fans who gathered in the city to celebrate the club’s Premier League title win after a 30-year wait.
Merseyside Police issued a dispersal order for Liverpool city centre on Friday night. This allowed police to disperse crowds who had gathered on the Pier Head, after part of the Liver Building caught fire amid the wild celebrations despite coronavirus restrictions.
A joint statement on behalf of the club, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police said: “Several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head on Friday June 26 and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety. Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.”
12:10 GMT – Mosques reopen in Egypt after restrictions eased
Mosques reopened on Saturday in mostly Muslim Egypt after a three-month shutdown as the country relaxed restrictions imposed to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
The government has allowed daily prayers again in mosques amid health precautions, but has kept suspended the larger Friday prayers for Muslims and Sunday Mass for the country’s Christian minority.
11:45 GMT – Flight departs UK to deliver virus aid to Africa
Britain’s Royal Air Force says the first in a series of flights taking coronavirus aid to Africa has departed for Ghana with materials for a field hospital with capacity for nearly 100 people.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that the UK was the first NATO ally to come forward with an aid flight after NATO agreed to support the United Nations’ appeal for airlift assistance.
The pandemic and travel restrictions have severely affected flights to the African continent and the delivery of crucial cargo including medical supplies.
11:20 GMT – EU narrows down border list, US unlikely to make the cut
European Union envoys are close to finalising a list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter Europe again, possibly from late next week, EU diplomats confirmed, while Americans are almost certain to be excluded in the short term due to the number of US coronavirus cases.
The envoys were expected to have narrowed down later Saturday the exact criteria for countries to make the list, which include the way in which the spread of the virus is being managed. Another key condition is whether the country has a ban on citizens from European nations.
The number of cases in the United States has surged over the past week, with an all-time high of 45,300 confirmed new daily infections just reached.
11:00 GMT – Iran’s Khamenei warns economy will worsen if virus spreads
Iran’s supreme leader warned that the country’s economic problems would worsen if the novel coronavirus spreads unchecked, saying the initial momentum to contain it had since “waned”.
The Islamic republic has struggled to curb the COVID-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases in the Shia holy city of Qom in February.
It shut down non-essential businesses, closed schools and cancelled public events in March, but the government gradually lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen the country’s sanctions-hit economy.
10:20 GMT – Tokyo sees highest number of daily infections since emergency ended
The Japanese capital, Tokyo, registered the highest number of new coronavirus infections since the national emergency was lifted at the end of May.
According to the Japanese television channel NHK, 57 people tested positive for the coronavirus within a day. This means that the number of daily new infections has now been around 50 cases for four days.
09:45 GMT – Indonesia reports biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections with 1,385 cases
Indonesia reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus infections with 1,385 new cases, taking the total to 52,812, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.
Yurianto also said there had been 37 more coronavirus-related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 2,720.
09:20 GMT – Outrage in India after victim’s body moved with excavator
Two local administration officials in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh were suspended after images of an earth mover being used to transport the body of a coronavis patient to a crematorium sparked outrage across the country.
The body of the 70-year-old man, who died of COVID-19 in the town of Palasa in Andhra Pradesh, was seen on footage aired by local television channels being taken to the crematorium on the earth mover.
08:55 GMT – Hong Kong police refuse permission for march to mark handover
The Hong Kong police department denied permission for an annual march in the former British colony on July 1 to mark the anniversary of the city’s 1997 return to China, the organiser and the police said in separate statements.
In a notice to the organiser, Civil Human Rights Front, the police cited the city’s current rules limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying public assemblies and demonstrations are not exempted.
08:30 GMT – Egypt eases restrictions despite surge in virus infections
Egypt lifted many restrictions put in place against the coronavirus pandemic, reopening cafes, clubs, gyms and theatres after more than three months of closure, despite a continued upward trend in new infections.
Authorities also allowed the reopening of mosques and churches, and lifted the nighttime curfew.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government has been keen to save the Egyptian economy that was hit hard by the virus outbreak.
On Friday, the International Monetary Fund approved another $5.2bn loan for Egypt, to be added to the $2.8bn the fund had already provided.
08:05 GMT – UK to ease quarantine restrictions for travellers
Britain will scrap a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries it deems to be lower risk for COVID-19, and official advice against all but essential travel abroad will also be eased for some countries and regions, the government said.
The changes will make it easier for Britons to travel abroad for summer holidays.
07:25 GMT – Zimbabweans find ways to have fun under lockdown
As the coronavirus lockdown continues in Zimbabwe, a lack of entertainment has forced people on both sides of the class divide to turn to new ways of passing time.
In the poor suburb of Mbare in Harare, street vendors sell music CDs and DVDs, and people gather to watch television.
Schoolchildren, who have been unable to attend classes due to the lockdown, gather to play pool or cards in the street to keep entertained.
06:45 GMT – Czech coronavirus cases rise just as holidays start
The Czech Republic recorded 168 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, authorities said, the highest daily rise in cases since early April just as the country is starting its two-month summer holiday season.
It was also the fourth day of the last 10 to show a daily increase of more than 100 cases. Over the past week, the eastern region of Karvina has been by far the most affected by the rise in cases, according to the health ministry website.
06:15 GMT – Australia’s Victoria struggles to contain coronavirus
Australia’s state of Victoria recorded 41 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Saturday, double the daily rate seen a week ago, as it struggled to gain control over the pandemic while the rest of the country continues to ease social distancing restrictions.
Victoria, the country’s second-most populated state, has now seen 11 straight days of double digit new cases, most linked to known outbreaks in Melbourne’s suburbs, health officials said. Victoria has 204 of Australia’s total of about 270 active cases.
“We are very concerned,” deputy chief health officer of Victoria, Annaliese van Diemen, said at a press conference.
05:50 GMT – India cases surge past 500,000
India’s confirmed coronavirus cases crossed half a million on Saturday with another record 24-hour jump of 18,552 infections.
The health ministry also reported 384 new deaths, raising the total to 15,685.
The surge prompted authorities in the northeastern state of Assam to impose a two-week lockdown in the state capital of Gauhati. About 700 new cases were reported there in just four days.
Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from Zaheena Rasheed.
05:15 GMT – Microsoft to permanently close all retail stores
Microsoft said it will close all of its stores and move its retail operations online, keeping just four locations, including in New York, London and Sydney, and transforming them into “experience centres”.
The move means the more than 80 Microsoft stores closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will not reopen as the tech giant enters “a new approach to retail”, according to a statement.
04:52 GMT – China, South Korea report new cases in double digits
China and South Korea reported an uptick in new coronavirus cases, with Beijing recording 21 cases and Seoul logging 51 additional infections.
The figures bring China’s case-load to 83,438. Some 17 of the 21 cases were confirmed in the Chinese capital, where authorities say they have brought an outbreak linked to a wholesale food market under control.
In South Korea, 35 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul area, which has been at the centre of a COVID-19 resurgence since late May. The country’s total caseload now stands at 12,653, including 282 deaths.
04:01 GMT – Liverpool fans celebrating title urged to return home
Fans gathering at the Liverpool city centre for a second night in a row to celebrate their team’s Premier League title win have been urged to return to their homes due to fears of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Police issued a dispersal order on Friday after huge crowds turned up at the city centre near the Mersey Ferry terminal, saying the order would remain in force until Saturday.
A Section 34 Dispersal Order has been issued around the Liverpool City Centre (seen on map) under the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 following large gatherings in the area this evening. The order will be in place until 28th June. pic.twitter.com/6BVSZzibKI
— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) June 26, 2020
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson also urged fans to return home, saying: “COVID-19 is still a major risk and our city has already lost far too many people to the illness.”
I am really concerned about scenes at Pier Head tonight. I appreciate #LFC fans want to celebrate but please, for your own safety, and that of others, go home and celebrate at home. Covid-19 is still a major risk and our city has already lost far too many people to the illness pic.twitter.com/fqoQZvcSQG
— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) June 26, 2020
03:32 GMT – US coronavirus cases reach biggest single-day increase of pandemic
The US recorded at least 40,870 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the largest single-day increase of the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally.
The new record brought the total number of US residents to who have tested positive to at least 2.475 million, and came as the White House coronavirus task force reconvened after a two-month absence.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said the US was facing a “serious problem” and urged people to mind their responsibility to others: “A risk for you is not just isolated to you.”
03:24 GMT – IMF approves $356.5m in emergency funding to Myanmar
The International Monetary Fund said it will provide Myanmar with $356.5m in emergency funding, as the Southeast Asian country battles an economic slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Myanmar economy is being impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 through a sharp decline in tourism and remittances and supply chain disruptions,” Mitsuhiro Furusawa, IMF deputy managing director, said in a statement.
The fund “will help address Myanmar’s urgent financing needs related to COVID-19 shock, and catalyze support from development partners”.
03:17 GMT – Drones light up Madrid sky in tribute to coronavirus victims
Some 40 drones lit up the Madrid night sky on Friday as part of a special display designed to pay tribute to victims of the coronavirus outbreak as well as to honour emergency services.
The drones created various shapes during the 10-minute routine such as a flying dove, a house and a parent and child walking, as well various flags of the countries badly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, including Spain, Italy, France, China and the US.
Using LEDs and a prepared software, they also spelt out messages including “Hope” and “Heroes”.
02:11 GMT – UK to ditch quarantine rules for ‘low-risk’ countries
The United Kingdom said it will lift its two-week coronavirus quarantine rule for visitors arriving from some “low-risk” countries, after pressure from airlines and the tourism sector.
The government said it will publish a list next week of the countries from where people will be allowed to enter Britain without needing to self-isolate for 14 days, as currently required. The announcement will follow discussions with countries including France, Greece and Spain in “the coming days”, with the changes set to take effect in the week beginning July 6.
An expert panel will put nations into three categories: green, amber and red. Passengers arriving from green and amber countries will no longer have to quarantine themselves for 14 days after their arrival.
“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world,” a government spokeswoman said. “But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge.”
The rules for red-category countries will not change.
02:06 GMT – Venezuela is a health ‘time bomb’, says Colombian president
Colombian President Ivan Duque called Venezuela a public health “time bomb”, saying the lack of reliable information about the status of its neighbour’s coronavirus outbreaks was a worry as his government tries to control its own infections.
Venezuela has acknowledged just 4,600 coronavirus cases and 39 deaths, while Colombia has reported around 80,600 confirmed cases and more than 2,600 deaths.
“In the case of Venezuela the information is non-existent,” Duque said in an interview with Reuters. “There’s not good hospital capacity or good epidemiological capacity; for a long time they haven’t had serious vaccination programs.”
“I think Venezuela is a time bomb from the public health point of view.”
01:20 GMT – Judge blocks 25 percent capacity rule for New York religious services
A federal judge blocked New York state from enforcing coronavirus restrictions limiting indoor religious gatherings to 25 percent capacity when other types of gatherings are limited to 50 percent.
Judge Gary Sharpe said the plaintiffs’ religious activities “will be burdened and continue to be treated less favourably than comparable secular activities”.
He also lifted restrictions limiting the number of people who can attend outdoor religious gatherings, noting that both state Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had expressed approval for protests against racism and police brutality last month while continuing to support curbs on religious gatherings.
Christopher Ferrara, an attorney for the plaintiffs, called the unequal restrictions “an irrational targeting of houses of worship”.
00:49 GMT – EU to bar travellers from US, Russia, Brazil
The European Union (EU) is set to exclude travellers from the United States, Brazil and Russia when the bloc reopens its borders to outsiders on July 1, diplomats told AFP and Reuters, citing the uncontrolled transmission of the new coronavirus in the three countries.
Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states convened on Friday afternoon to establish criteria for granting quarantine-free access from next Wednesday.
The meeting ended with a tentative list of about 18 countries from which people are free to travel to Europe, but the list did not include the United States, Brazil or Russia, according to Reuters and AFP. National governments were given until 16:00 GMT to approve the list.
Travellers from China would be approved to enter, but only subject to reciprocity from Beijing, the agencies said.
00:12 GMT – Argentina tightens Buenos Aires lockdown
Alberto Fernandez, the president of Argentina, said the South American country will extend and tighten a lockdown in and around Buenos Aires following a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.
Overall cases in Argentina have risen five-fold since late May, surpassing 50,000 on Thursday when there were 2,606 new confirmed daily cases. The death toll stands at over 1,150.
Fernandez said restrictions on movement in the densely populated capital would be tightened again until July 17. “We need to gain time to guarantee that our health system is ready and can serve everyone … The quarantine is a remedy for the pandemic, the only one we know of.”
He added: “The economy is deteriorating, but the economy will recover. What unfortunately we are not going to recover are those thousand Argentines who have left us.”
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key developments from yesterday, June 26, go here.