UK to quarantine travellers from Spain: Coronavirus updates

The move follows a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases recorded in Spain in recent days.

UK heathrow arrivals
  • All travellers to the United Kingdom from Spain arriving after midnight (23:00 GMT) on Saturday will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days to ensure they do not spread coronavirus, Scotland’s government said.

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that he has tested negative for the novel coronavirus after weeks quarantined in his residence due to the infection.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 284,196 in the past 24 hours.

  • Some 15.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while more than 638,000 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 8.98 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, July 25

23:28 GMT – US state of Arizona reports over 3,700 new cases

The Arizona Department of Health Services says the state has 3,748 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bumping the total to 160,041, according to AP news agency.

Health officials also reported that Arizona saw an additional 144 coronavirus-related deaths.

More than 3,200 people have died from the virus in the state.

Among the tests given statewide, 12.6 percent of them are showing positive for COVID-19, the state said. A week ago, 12.2 percent of statewide tests showed positive.

20:21 GMT – South African trade minister tests positive for COVID-19 

South Africa’s Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel tested positive for COVID-19, the cabinet said. He is the fourth minister to contract the virus in Africa’s hardest-hit country.

Cabinet spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement that Patel, 58, received his results on Saturday.

“Minister Patel is in good spirits and is in self-quarantine, and will continue to work from home,” Williams said.

“Those that have been in contact with the minister are also in self-isolation and have been encouraged to get tested,” she added.

19:16 GMT – Spain says it is safe, with localised outbreaks

Spain said it was a safe country with localised, isolated and controlled outbreaks of the coronavirus, after the United Kingdom indicated it would force all travellers arriving from Spain to quarantine for two weeks.

A Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said Spain “respects decisions of the United Kingdom” and was in touch with the authorities there.

18:58 GMT – Kuwait to lift lockdown in Farwaniya on Sunday

Kuwait will end the strict lockdown imposed in Farwaniya governorate from 5am (02:00 GMT) on Sunday, the centre for government communication announced on Twitter.

Farwaniya was the last area to be effectively isolated in the country, which has reported 63,309 coronavirus cases and 429 deaths.

18:16 GMT – Scotland confirms all travellers to UK from Spain to face quarantine

All travellers to the United Kingdom from Spain arriving after midnight (23:00 GMT) on Saturday will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days to ensure they do not spread coronavirus, Scotland’s government said.

“Spain will be removed from the list of countries exempt from quarantine requirements due to an increased number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last few days,” Scotland’s government said in a statement.

“The decision, also made by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales as well as the UK Government, has been made to reduce the risk of the transmission of the virus by those travelling from Spain,” it added.

UK heathrow arrivals
Passengers arrive from international flights at Heathrow Airport in London, the United Kingdom [File: Toby Melville/Reuters]

17:50 GMT – UK to quarantine travellers from Spain, says The Sunday Times

Britain’s government is set to announce all travellers from Spain arriving after midnight (23:00 GMT) on Saturday will need to spend two weeks in quarantine in case they are infected with coronavirus, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

If true, the reported announcement would deal a major blow to Spain, which is trying to recoup its tourism season after the sector took a battering from coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions earlier in the year.

“Second wave of Covid-19 there has prompted decision to kick Spain off the safe country list,” the newspaper’s political editor, Tim Shipman, said on Twitter.

16:48 GMT – Xavi tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Qatar league restart

Al Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez, the former Barcelona and Spain midfielder, said he had tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic.

The 40-year-old, who renewed his contract with the Qatari football club on July 5, said he will self-isolate as his team prepare for their first match on Saturday after the Qatar Stars League was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.

2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar OC Stadium Tour And Press Conference
Former Spanish football professional and World Cup 2022 ambassador Xavi Hernandez in Doha, Qatar [File: Alex Grimm/Getty Images]

16:17 GMT – Lack of childcare found ‘destroying’ UK mothers’ careers amid COVID-19

Almost three-quarters of mothers in Britain have been forced to cut work hours because of childcare issues under COVID-19 lockdowns, according to a survey by a maternal rights group that warned more action was needed to protect women’s careers.

More than eight in 10 employed mothers said they needed childcare to be able to work, but fewer than half said they had enough childcare to let them do their job during the pandemic, showed the survey by Pregnant Then Screwed.

“This lack of childcare is destroying women’s careers,” said the campaign group’s founder and chief executive Joeli Brearley.

“They are being made redundant, they are being forced to cut their hours, and they are being treated negatively all because they are picking up the unpaid labour.”

15:10 GMT – Brazil’s Bolsonaro says new COVID-19 test came back negative

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that he has tested negative for the novel coronavirus after weeks quarantined in his residence due to an infection.

In a photo posted to social media, Bolsonaro appeared with a box of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug he credited for his recovery despite a lack of scientific evidence about its effectiveness. In an accompanying text, he said his RT-PCR test for Sars-CoV-2 was negative.

He did not say when he took the test, nor did he provide any further details.

Bolsonaro reported testing positive three times this month, including an initial diagnosis on July 7 for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

14:27 GMT – Iranian president urges coronavirus caution during religious festivities

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged people to observe health protocols and practice social distancing during upcoming Muslim festivities, as a health official said there had been a surge in coronavirus infections in a major holy city.

Muslims around the world mark the Eid al-Adha feast, due to start at the end of the month. Most Iranians are Shia Muslims, who also mark their most significant mourning ceremonies of Ashura in September.

“Let glorious festivities be held in mosques and religious centres by observing health protocols and social distancing,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, ‘Let masks this year be part of the glorious mourning of Muharram,’ referring to Ashura [File: Anadolu]

14:06 GMT – Germany considers compulsory coronavirus testing for holidaymakers

Germany may introduce compulsory coronavirus testing for holidaymakers returning from high-risk destinations after the number of new infections in the country hit a two-month high, the health minister said.

Health Minister Jens Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio the government wanted to do everything possible to stem the spread of the virus while also respecting people’s basic rights.

“We are also checking whether it is legally possible to oblige someone to do a test, because it would be an encroachment on freedom,” Spahn said.

13:34 GMT – Hong Kong reports 133 new coronavirus cases as local transmissions stay high

Hong Kong reported 133 new coronavirus cases, including 126 that were locally transmitted, a record for a daily increase, as authorities warned that the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.

The Asian financial hub reported 123 new cases on Friday, after it extended strict social distancing measures this week.

Since late January, more than 2,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 18 of whom have died.

Hi, this is Arwa Ibrahim, taking over the live blog from my colleague Umut Uras. 

12:25 GMT – Malaysia says APEC leaders may still meet despite coronavirus

Malaysia said a November summit of leaders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) nations might still go ahead in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand, which is hosting next year’s APEC summit, has said already that it will use virtual platforms to conduct the meeting due to travel restrictions and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

But Malaysian Trade Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said the government has not cancelled the meeting of the 21 leaders of the APEC countries that it is due to host in November, even though meetings of other officials will be held virtually.

11:45 GMT – WHO reports highest daily number of cases globally

The number of new coronavirus cases in the world has risen by 284,196 on July 24, the highest tally since the pandemic started in December, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The number increased 36,972 compared to the day before, the WHO data showed.

11:00 GMT – Filipinos crammed into baseball stadium amid coronavirus risks

Thousands of Filipinos were crammed into a baseball stadium in Manila, breaking social-distancing rules despite coronavirus risks, after people wanting to return to their home provinces flooded a government transportation programme.

Officials had reserved the stadium as a place to test people before transporting them back to their home provinces under a programme to help people who had lost their jobs in the capital return to their families elsewhere.

Officials had planned for 7,500 people to arrive at the stadium from Friday, but were caught out when another 2,000 people who were not yet scheduled to travel headed there anyway.

10:40 GMT – Xavi Hernandez tests positive for coronavirus 

Al Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez, the former Barcelona and Spain midfielder, said on Saturday he had tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic.

Xavi, who renewed his contract with the Qatari football club on July 5, said he will self-isolate as his team prepares for its first match on Saturday after the Qatar Stars League (QSL) was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Xavi said in a statement: “A few days ago, following the QSL protocol, I tested positive in the last COVID-19 test. Fortunately, I’m feeling ok, but I will be isolated until I am given the all clear. When the health services allow it, I will be very eager to return to my daily routine and to work.”

10:10 GMT – Russia reports 5,871 new coronavirus cases in past 24 hours

Russia reported 5,871 new coronavirus cases and 146 more deaths from the respiratory disease.

The nationwide tally of infections has risen to 806,720, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said. The death toll now stands at 13,192, and 597,140 people have recovered.

Russia's coronavirus cases rise to 687,862
The death toll now stands at 13,192, and 597,140 people have recovered [Reuters]

09:40 GMT – Indonesia reports 1,868 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported 1,868 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the total to 97,286, data from the country’s COVID-19 task force showed.

The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to COVID-19 rose by 49, to bring the total to 4,714, the data showed. 

09:15 GMT –  Singapore PM Lee flags delay to retirement due to coronavirus

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 68, said he may have to delay his plans to step down as leader by the time he is 70 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I had expressed a hope that I would be able to hand over by the time I celebrate my 70th birthday, but I do not determine the path of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lee, son of Singapore’s modern-day founder Lee Kuan Yew.

“A lot will depend on how events unfold, and all I can say is I will see this through and I will hand over in good shape as soon as possible to the next team.”

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Lee’s People’s Action Party has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965 [Reuters]

08:45 GMT – Ukraine reports highest daily cases in a month

Ukraine reported 1,106 new cases of the coronavirus in 24 hours, the highest daily toll since a record on June 26, when it reached 1,109, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.

The number of new daily infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late May.

Stepanov said 205 people had been admitted to hospitals. “It means their lives are under threat and we have to understand that this disease is very serious,” he told an online briefing. 

08:15 GMT – Boeing 737 jets idled during pandemic must be inspected: FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday issued an emergency airworthiness directive for 2,000 US-registered Boeing 737 NG and Classic aircraft, warning of possible corrosion on parked planes that could lead to a dual-engine failure.

Inspectors found compromised air check valves when bringing aircraft out of storage following four recent reports of single-engine shutdowns on planes that had been parked, prompting the directive for aircraft not operated for seven or more straight days.

Read more here.

737 jet
A Boeing 737 MAX aeroplane lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle [Reuters] 

07:30 GMT – Mainland China reports 34 new coronavirus cases

China reported 34 cases of the new coronavirus in the mainland for July 24, up from 21 cases a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

Of the new infections, 20 were in the far western region of Xinjiang, according to a statement by the NHC. Nine were in the northeastern province of Liaoning, while the remaining five were imported cases. China reported 74 new asymptomatic cases, up from 43 a day earlier.

As of Friday, mainland China had 83,784 confirmed coronavirus cases, health authorities said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 4,634.

06:50 GMT – South Korea reports 113 new coronavirus cases

South Korea reported 113 cases of the new coronavirus, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said, the largest one-day increase since March, bringing the country’s total to 14,092.

Of the new cases, 86 were imported and 27 were domestic infections.

South Korean health authorities on Friday said novel coronavirus infections among people arriving from abroad could drive the number of new cases above 100, the first time since the beginning of April that daily cases hit triple digits.

South Koreans Perform At Gyeongbokgung Palace Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic
Saturday’s tally of 113 infections was the highest since March 31, when 125 cases were reported [Getty Images] 

06:30 GMT – Bulgaria’s coronavirus case tally passes 10,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Bulgaria passed 10,000, as the Balkan country reported 270 infections in the past 24 hours, official data showed.

Eight people had died from the virus overnight, taking the official death toll to 337. Total infections stand at 10,123. Some 5,252 people have recovered, data from the official coronavirus information platform showed.

06:00 GMT – Germany’s confirmed cases rise by 781

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 781 to 204,964, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,118, the tally showed.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tuebingen
Germany’s reported death toll rose by seven to 9,118 on Saturday [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

05:20 GMT – Vietnam reports first local coronavirus infection in three months

Vietnam reported its first local coronavirus infection in more than three months after a man in the central city of Danang tested positive four times for the virus, a government statement said.

Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing programme, Vietnam had kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases, and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.

04:20 GMT – Vietnam bans wildlife imports, markets

Vietnam announced that it was banning wildlife imports and would close wildlife markets in response to renewed concerns about the threat from diseases that can jump from animals to humans.

An order signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc bans all imports of wildlife dead or alive and includes eggs and larvae. It also merits tougher penalties for crimes involving the trade in wildlife.

Steve Galster, the director of Freeland, a group working on ending the wildlife trade, said, “COVID-19 elevated the issue of wildlife trade, so Vietnamese lawmakers got involved with the issue in the past few months and helped push the directive forward.”

03:09 GMT – Beijing partly reopens movie theatres

China’s capital, Beijing, reopened movie theatres in parts of the city deemed at low risk of cross infection.

Under new rules, tickets must be booked in advance, attendance is capped at 30 percent of the capacity and no eating or drinking is allowed during the show.

A temperature check and online travel record are required for entry.

People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus watch the film Dolittle at a movie theatre in Beijing [Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo]

02:33 GMT – S Korea reports biggest one-day jump since March

South Korea reported 113 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours – its first daily jump above 100 in nearly four months.

But the rise was expected as health authorities had forecast a temporary spike driven by imported infections found among cargo ship crews and hundreds of South Korean construction workers flown out of virus-ravaged Iraq.

02:07 GMT – US records 1,000 deaths for fourth day

The US recorded more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 for the fourth straight day on Friday. But a top White House adviser on the pandemic said she saw signs that the worst could be past in hard-hit southern and western states.

At least 1,019 deaths due to COVID-19 were confirmed nationwide on Friday, following 1,140 on Thursday, 1,135 on Wednesday and 1,141 on Tuesday. Total cases across the US rose by at least 70,000 to more than 4.1 million, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.

The numbers have been driven in large part by a surge in infections in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

“We’re already starting to see some plateauing in these critically four states that have really suffered under the last four weeks, so Texas, California, Arizona and Florida, those major metros and throughout their counties,” Dr Deborah Birx told NBC News in an interview.

01:46 GMT – Chile’s Pinera signs pensions withdrawal into law

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed into law a plan to allow citizens to withdraw 10 percent of their pension savings.

The legislation, approved by two-thirds of the parliament, was created to give quick cash to millions of Chileans who lost jobs because of the economic shutdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Opinion polls indicate nearly nine out of every 10 Chilean planned to tap their funds. Most said they would use the money to pay for basic goods and services, but others said they planned to invest the money elsewhere.

01:38 GMT – US court turns down church challenge to Nevada rules

The US Supreme Court declined to lift a 50-person limit on religious services adopted by the state of Nevada in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices denied a request by Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in rural Nevada for an interim order that would have allowed it to host services for about 90 congregants.

The majority did not explain its reasoning.

01:07 GMT – New foreign students cannot enter US if courses are online

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new guidelines that will block new foreign students from entering the country if they plan to take their classes entirely online in the coming school term.

In a memo to college officials, ICE said new students who were not already enrolled as of March 9 will “likely not be able to obtain” visas if they intend to take courses online.

The policy strikes a blow to colleges a week after hundreds united to repel a Trump administration policy that threatened to deport thousands of foreign students.

That rule sought to bar all international students in the US from taking classes entirely online in the new school year, even if their universities were forced to switch to fully online instruction amid an outbreak.

Read more here.

00:17 GMT – US health agency urges schools to reopen

The top health agency in the US issued new guidelines on reopening schools, stressing the need for children to get back into the classroom despite fears about safety as coronavirus cases surge across the country. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the documents, titled The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall, after President Donald Trump called earlier recommendations too tough, impractical and expensive.

Trump sees reopening of schools as important to boost the economy as he seeks re-election in November.

Dr Robert Redfield, CDC director, said the additional documents were “all put out with the intent to help facilitate … the full reopening of schools for face-to-face learning”.

Read more here.

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, July 24, here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies