- WHO says travel bans cannot be kept up indefinitely, and are also only useful when combined with a wide range of other measures to detect and break chains of transmission.
The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got under way on Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the US government along with Moderna Inc – one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race.
Hong Kong has announced further restrictions in a bid to curb a surge in coronavirus cases, including a ban on gatherings of more than two people, a ban on restaurant dining and mandatory face masks outdoors.
- Vietnam has ordered the evacuation of at least 80,000 tourists on Monday from the central city of Da Nang following the re-emergence of the coronavirus. The government said it needs four days to implement the evacuation.
The number of coronavirus infections has hit 16.30 million worldwide, while more than 650,000 people have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 10 million patients have recovered.
Morocco will stop people from entering and leaving some of its biggest cities, including Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier starting on Monday to contain a surge in coronavirus cases. Earlier, the health ministry reported 633 new cases, one of the biggest daily rises so far.
Here are the latest updates:
Monday, July 27
20:35 GMT – US Republican coronavirus package to address health, economic aid, schools
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Senate Republicans will shortly introduce a new coronavirus relief programme to address health, economic assistance and schools.
Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said the package would include direct payments to Americans of $1,200 each, and help for the unemployed.
It would also include ‘strong legal liability protection,’ over $100bn for schools, more money for a small business programme, and a program to incentivise manufacturing of personal protective equipment in the United States.
20:00 GMT – Global virus deaths pass 650,000 as new surges prompt fresh curbs
The global death toll from the pandemic passed 650,000, nearly a third of that number in Europe, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources at 16:00 GMT.
Since emerging in China late last year, the virus has killed 650,011 people and infected 16.3 million – but more than 100,000 deaths have been recorded since July 9, and the global toll has doubled in just over two months.
The United States has the most deaths with 146,968, followed by Brazil with 87,004, Britain with 45,752, Mexico 43,680 and Italy with 35,112.
19:10 GMT – Lebanon reimposes COVID-19 restrictions as infections spike
Lebanon has reimposed severe COVID-19 restrictions for the next two weeks, shutting places of worship, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, sports events and popular markets, after a sharp rise in infections.
Shops, private companies, banks and educational institutions would be permitted to open, but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a near total lockdown in place from Thursday through Monday until August 10. This week’s lockdown coincides with the Eid al-Adha holiday when Muslims normally hold large gatherings.
Officials said they were alarmed by a spike in cases in recent days, with at least 132 new infections and eight deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours. Lebanon has recorded just 51 deaths from the coronavirus since February.
“We have to go back a step back and work with determination as though the pandemic has now begun,” Minister of Health Hamad Hassan was quoted in state media as saying. “We have to work more seriously to avoid a medical humanitarian catastrophe.”
18:45 GMT – IMF approves $4.3bn to help South Africa fight COVID-19
The International Monetary Fund has approved $4.3bn in aid to South Africa to help the country fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“The IMF approved $4.3bn in emergency financial assistance under the Rapid Financing Instrument to support the authorities’ efforts in addressing the challenging health situation and severe economic impact of the COVID-19 shock,” the Washington-based crisis lender said in a statement.
18:15 GMT – France reports 2,551 new COVID-19 cases in three days
France has reported 2,551 new confirmed cases over the past three days, the country’s health department said, which means a daily average of 850 over that period.
That is slightly lower than the 1,000-plus figure published on Thursday and Friday but higher than the 677 daily average seen since the beginning of the month.
17:50 GMT – Nigeria to reopen secondary schools on August 4
Nigeria has announced secondary schools in the country, which are shut due to the coronavirus pandemic, will reopen next month.
“Secondary schools in the country are to reopen as from August 4 for exit classes only,” the Federal Ministry of Education said in a statement.
Students will have two weeks to prepare for the West African Examination due to start on August 17, it added.
An exit examination is a test that students must pass to graduate from school.
The West African country has registered 40,532 virus cases, including 858 deaths and 17,374 recoveries, thus far.
17:00 GMT – Germany to test travellers returning from high-risk COVID-19 countries
Travellers returning to Germany from areas that are currently high risk for the novel coronavirus are to be compulsorily tested in future, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
Spahn told dpa that he would make use of his powers to “impose an obligation to test for those arriving from high-risk areas amid reports of a rising number of cases in traditional German summer holiday destinations. The tests will be free of charge.”
“We have to prevent those returning from abroad from infecting others and releasing a fresh chain of infections,” Spahn added.
Voluntary testing has been available at several German airports since the weekend.
16:35 GMT – Belgium toughens anti-virus rules as outbreak grows: PM
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes has announced new measures to try to curb the coronavirus as the country grapples with a “worrying” upsurge in cases.
From Wednesday, Belgians will be allowed to see a maximum of five people outside of their families, reducing the permitted “social bubble” from 15, and working from home will be “strongly recommended” by the government.
16:05 GMT – Zimbabwe’s parliament suspended as MPs contract virus
Zimbabwe has suspended most parliamentary activities as two lawmakers tested positive for the novel coronavirus, local media reported.
“It is with a heavy heart that parliament announces the suspension of most of its business due to exposure of some Members of Parliament to COVID-19,” The New Zimbabwe local website quoted parliament clerk Kennedy Chokuda as saying.
“As at this morning, only two Members of Parliament had been confirmed positive,” he confirmed.
“Consequently, tomorrow’s sitting for the National Assembly will be done with very limited numbers for the sole purpose of adjourning to a future date.”
15:45 GMT – MLB postpones games in Miami, Philadelphia due to COVID-19
Major League Baseball’s coronavirus-delayed season hit a snag less than a week after it began as it postponed games scheduled for Monday in Miami and Philadelphia due to COVID-19 related concerns.
The Miami Marlins, who opened their season last Friday in Philadelphia, were scheduled to return home on Sunday ahead of their Monday home opener but put off travelling after a number of their players tested positive for the virus.
The Philadelphia Phillies were scheduled to host the New York Yankees later on Monday but that game was postponed as Miami were recently in their stadium.
15:30 GMT – Guatemala begins economic reopening, though coronavirus still on rise
Guatemala began reopening its economy on Monday, easing restrictions imposed four months ago to curb the coronavirus, although cases are still on the rise in much of the country.
The Central American nation closed its borders and implemented a curfew in March, in addition to suspending public transportation and economic activity in sectors not considered to be essential.
In an address announcing the reopening on Sunday night, President Alejandro Giammattei urged Guatemalans to stay vigilant, saying “we need everyone’s commitment”.
15:00 GMT – Kenya’s Kenyatta extends nationwide curfew to curb COVID-19 spread
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said he had extended a nationwide curfew for another 30 days and banned alcohol sales in restaurants to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The nightly curfew had been due to be lifted on August 6 or 7.
Kenya has so far reported 17,603 cases of infection with the novel coronavirus and 280 deaths from the related disease, COVID-19.
“The harsh reality my friends is that we are at war. At war with an invisible enemy who is relentless,” Kenyatta said in a televised address.
14:45 GMT – Google to extend work-from-home policy to mid-2021
Google will allow most employees to work from home through to July 2021 in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the tech giant said on Monday.
In an email to employees, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said, “To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office.”
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said nearly all of the 200,000 Google employees and contractors worldwide would see an extension of the option which had been set to end in January.
The decision could signal similar efforts by other tech firms and large employers to extend the precautionary policy amid growing fears about the risks of returning to workplace normalcy.
14:30 GMT – Keeping borders closed not a ‘sustainable strategy’ against COVID-19: WHO
Keeping borders closed to halt the spread of COVID-19 is unsustainable, the World Health Organization said, urging countries to adopt comprehensive strategies based on local knowledge of where the virus is spreading.
Border closures and travel restrictions remain an important part of many countries’ strategies to combat the novel coronavirus.
But the UN health body warned that such measures cannot be kept up indefinitely, and are also only useful when combined with a wide range of other measures to detect and break chains of transmission.
“Continuing to keep international borders sealed is not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world’s economy, for the world’s poor, or for anybody else,” Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, told journalists in a virtual briefing.
Read more here.
14:00 GMT – Trump’s national security adviser tests positive for coronavirus
United States President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the White House has confirmed.
The White House said that O’Brien has mild symptoms and “has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site,” adding that: “There is no risk of exposure to the President or the Vice President” and that the “work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted”.
The White House staff is regularly tested for the virus. O’Brien is the most senior official to be found positive amid the pandemic. Bloomberg News reported that O’Brien had contracted the virus at a family event, citing unnamed sources.
13:40 GMT – Indonesia coronavirus cases surpass 100,000
Indonesia has announced that its confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 100,000, the highest amount in Southeast Asia.
Cases continue to rise across the world’s fourth-most populous nation as testing remains sharply limited and businesses continue to reopen. The health ministry announced another 1,525 cases on Monday, bringing the country’s confirmed total to 100,303. The actual number is thought to be considerably higher because of the low testing and other factors.
12:45 GMT – Lebanon to enforce two-week nationwide lockdown
Lebanon is set to enforce two complete nationwide lockdowns in an effort to reduce new COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Hamad Hasan said.
The move comes amid an unprecedented rise in new cases of coronavirus, averaging over 100 new cases per day in the past two weeks.
Lebanon will first lock down from July 30 till August. 3, reopen for August 4 and 5, and then shut down again until August 10, Hasan said. He did not provide an explanation for why the country would be reopened for two days.
12:30 GMT – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, daughter, discharged from hospital
Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her eight-year old daughter, Aaradhya, have recovered from COVID-19 and left hospital after a 10-day stay, her husband and actor Abhishek Bachchan said on Twitter.
Abhishek Bachchan and his father, renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan, 77, are still recovering from the disease caused by the new coronavirus and remain in a Mumbai hospital.
“Aishwarya and Aaradhya have thankfully tested negative and have been discharged from the hospital. They will now be at home. My father and I remain in hospital under the care of the medical staff,’ he said in a tweet.
12:20 GMT – Greece to extend mandatory use of masks
Authorities in Greece say they are likely to extend the mandatory use of masks at churches and shopping malls, citing the worsening public adherence to the government’s pandemic safety guidelines.
Greece has maintained a low infection rate since ending lockdown measures and opening up to tourism in recent weeks but has seen an increase in Summer infections in cities – reaching 4,193 total number of confirmed cases and 202 deaths by Sunday.
“We need to send out the message that complacency is the enemy and that’s what we must fight against,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.
August 15 is a major holiday on the Orthodox Christian calendar, the Great Feast for the Dormition of the Mother of God, and is celebrated annually with pilgrimages, church fairs, and other public gatherings around Greece.
11:50 GMT – Vietnam reports 11 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases
Vietnam has reported 11 new locally transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus, all linked to a hospital in the central province of Danang and including four healthcare workers, the country’s health ministry said.
Vietnam has registered a total of 431 cases, with no deaths, the health ministry said in a statement. The country has carried out more than 430,000 tests and nearly 12,000 people are under quarantine.
11:25 GMT – Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate moves into late-stage trial
Moderna Inc announced it has started a US government-backed late-stage trial to assess its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in about 30,000 adults who do not have the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna’s shares were up 11 percent at $81.31 before the bell.
The trial, named COVE, is the first to be implemented under the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed that aims to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19.
The federal government is supporting Moderna’s vaccine project with nearly a billion dollars and has chosen it as one of the first to enter large-scale human trials. The main goal of the study will be prevention of the symptomatic COVID-19 disease, the company said.
10:45 GMT – WHO says COVID-19 by far its worst global health emergency
The new coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 16 million people is easily the worst global health emergency the World Health Organization (WHO) has faced, its director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.
Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world be able to beat it, Tedros added at a virtual news briefing in Geneva.
“Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up,” he said, praising Canada, China, Germany and South Korea for controlling outbreaks.
10:25 GMT – Germany’s Bavaria to offer virus tests at train stations, motorways
Bavaria will set up coronavirus test sites at its two biggest railway stations as well as key points on motorways, the leader of the southern German state has announced, as fears grow that summer travel could spark a new wave of infections.
On top of existing test centres at Bavarian airports, tests will now be offered at the Munich and Nuremberg train stations, as well as on three major motorway routes near the border, state premier Markus Soeder told a press conference.
“We cannot completely prevent corona, so the goal must be to detect it in time to stop it from spreading,” he said.
Soeder also joined a growing chorus of calls for tests to become compulsory for holidaymakers returning to Germany.
“We are preparing everything so that if the federal government gives the go-ahead, we can implement it immediately,” he said.
Germany’s 16 states agreed Friday to offer free coronavirus tests to all returning travellers but stopped short of making the tests mandatory.
09:50 GMT – Spain hopes UK to lift quarantine on Spanish island quickly
Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said she hoped Britain could lift the quarantine imposed on people returning from the Balearic and Canary Islands very quickly, “today rather than tomorrow.”
After British authorities imposed this weekend a quarantine on travellers coming from Spain, the government said it would focus its efforts on convincing them to lift it for the two archipelagos.
“We’ve been talking all weekend,” Maroto said. “What we’d like is for quarantines to be lifted on the islands as early as possible and we hope it will be today rather than tomorrow.”
09:35 GMT – We need to build back trust, Spain says after UK quarantine blow
Spain is working on regaining confidence and convincing other countries that its coronavirus outbreak is under control, a minister has said, after Britain imposed a quarantine, threatening a tourist season already hanging on by a thread.
“We know that we are sailing through waters whose maps and characteristics are unknown to us, what we have to do is to regain that confidence and that element of security that is essential for the tourist activity”, Agriculture Minister Luis Planas told Antena 3 TV station.
Britain on Saturday shocked Madrid, and UK travellers, with an unexpected 14-day quarantine on travellers coming from Spain. The Spanish government is trying to convince London that it should at least exclude the Balearic and Canary islands, whose infection rates are very low, from the measure.
“I think the situation is under control but obviously there is a risk as in the rest of the European Union and other countries in the world,” Planas said, pointing out that Spain was not the only country witnessing a rebound in cases after lifting a lockdown.
09:20 GMT – Pakistan sees lowest number of coronavirus deaths since early May
Pakistan recorded its lowest number of deaths due to the coronavirus in a day since May 3 on Sunday, with 20 patients succumbing to COVID-19, taking the country’s overall death toll to 5,932. There were 1,176 new cases of the virus recorded across the country, taking the total number of cases to 274,289. While testing has remained low, with just 22,056 tests conducted on Sunday, the country’s test-positive rate registered at 5.3 percent.
Senior government officials on Sunday claimed the country has achieved success against the virus due to its “smart lockdown” policy, of not shutting down entire cities, but rather specific neighbourhoods with higher rates of infection. Dr Zafar Mirza, the head of the country’s health ministry, however, warned that the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha this weekend, followed by the Shia Muslim observance of Ashura, could lead to a spike to infections due to the holding of large religious congregations.
Studies on Pakistan’s experience with the coronavirus are still in their preliminary stages, but one sero-prevalance survey conducted by multinational pharmaceutical firm Getz Pharma suggests the number of people who have, or have earlier had, the virus could be as high as 17.5 percent among the country’s urban, office-going population. The Getz study suggests Pakistan’s official number of cases, 274,289, is a small fraction of the true spread of the virus. It found that most carriers of the virus in Pakistan – as many as 90 percent – appear to be symptom-free.
08:55 GMT – Hong Kong records 145 cases of coronavirus, new daily high
Hong Kong authorities have reported 145 new cases of coronavirus, of which 142 were locally transmitted, setting a new daily high just hours after the city announced its toughest measures yet to curb a community outbreak.
07:55 GMT – Spain’s Catalonia to take stricter measures if coronavirus situation does not improve
Spain’s Catalonia may take stricter measures to limit coronavirus contagion if situation does not improve in the next 10 days, regional leader Quim Torra has announced.
Torra warned that in many parts of Catalonia the data was similar to the situation before Spain declared a national lockdown in March. He added his administration’s goal was to avoid taking as strict measures as the ones that were taken back then.
Catalan authorities on July 17 advised some four million people to remain home and leave only for essential trips, banned gatherings of more than ten people and limited the occupancy of bars and restaurants as the number of cases in the region is rising faster than in the rest of the country.
07:40 GMT – Russia new coronavirus cases drop to lowest levels since late April
Russia has reported 5,635 new cases of the novel coronavirus, its lowest daily rise since April 23, pushing its national tally to 818,120, the fourth largest in the world.
In a daily readout, the official coronavirus taskforce said 85 people had died over the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 13,354.
07:20 GMT – Hong Kong extends virus restrictions to gatherings of more than two people
Hong Kong has announced further restrictions to curb a surge in coronavirus cases, including a ban on gatherings of more than two people, a total bar on restaurant dining and mandatory facemasks in all public places, including outdoors.
The measures, which will take effect from Wednesday, are the first time the city has completely banned dining in restaurants. Since late January, more than 2,600 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 20 of whom have died.
06:45 GMT – UK minister says France, Germany under review for travel quarantine
The British government is watching the situation in Germany and France closely and continuously reviewing the situation in popular holiday destinations, a junior health minister has said when asked about widening a quarantine for Spain.
“We have to keep the situation under review and I think that is what the public would expect us to do,” junior health minister Helen Whately told Sky when asked about Germany and France possibly being next to face a quarantine.
“If we see rates going up in a country where at the moment there is no need to quarantine, if we see the rates going up, we would have to take action because we cannot take the risk of coronavirus being spread again across the UK,” she said.
Britain abruptly imposed a two-week coronavirus quarantine on travellers returning from Spain, a decision that filled holidaymakers with dismay.
06:35 GMT – India set to open three high-capacity coronavirus testing centres
India on Monday will launch high-capacity coronavirus testing facilities in three major cities able to test over 10,000 samples a day.
The opening event with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be organized via video link at the Indian Centre of Medical Research (ICMR).
The testing facilities have been “set up strategically” at ICMR facilities in Noida, Mumbai, and Kolkata,” said a government statement.
India has so far recorded 1,435,453 coronavirus cases, including 32,771 deaths.
06:30 GMT – UK tells people to eat less to reduce COVID-19 death risk
British people should eat less to lose weight as being obese increases the risk of dying from the novel coronavirus, junior health minister Helen Whately has said.
Whately said that those with a body mass index of over 40 had double the risk of dying from COVID-19.
06:25 GMT – Diagnostics group Novacyt to launch more COVID-19 testing products
Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt – one of many healthcare companies whose shares have surged during the pandemic – has announced more new products to test for the presence of the coronavirus.
Novacyt said it was developing a respiratory testing panel to diagnose and distinguish between the ‘A’ and ‘B’ types of influenza, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19, with the launch of this product expected in September in time for the 2020/21 flu season in the northern hemisphere.
“The immediate pipeline of new products is expected to drive incremental revenue for the company in the near-term, but Novacyt’s strengthened financial position also means we are able to redefine our R&D pipeline for the next three years, which we expect to drive significant and continued growth opportunities in the longer-term,” said Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis.
06:05 GMT – Ryanair dives into first-quarter loss on virus fallout
Irish no-frills airline Ryanair nosedived into the red in the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic decimated air travel demand and grounded fleets worldwide, the group said.
Dublin-based Ryanair suffered a loss after taxation of 185 million euros ($216 million) in the three months to the end of June, or first quarter of its financial year, compared with net profit of 243 million euros in the same part of 2019, it said in a statement.
Passenger numbers fell by 99 percent to just 0.5 million people compared with 42 million a year earlier, while more than 99 percent of the airline’s fleet remained on the tarmac.
“The past quarter was the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history. COVID-19 grounded the group’s fleet for almost four months, from mid-March to end June, as EU governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns,” the carrier said in a statement.
04:32 GMT – Vietnam evacuates 80,000 tourists from Da Nang
Vietnam has ordered the evacuation on Monday of at least 80,000 tourists from the central city of Da Nang following the re-emergence of the coronavirus.
The government said on Monday it needs four days to implement the evacuation in Da Nang after three residents of the city tested positive of the coronavirus.
The country raised its alert level once again after medical officials detected the country’s first few locally transmitted cases in three months.
According to a government news portal, as of Monday morning, Vietnam recorded 420 total cases of coronavirus, of which 365 have already recovered. The country has reported no deaths from the pandemic.
04:24 GMT – Trump to skip first pitch at Yankee Stadium in August
President Donald Trump will not be throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium next month, according to the AP news agency.
Trump tweeted that he would not be able to make the trip because of his “strong focus” on the coronavirus, vaccines and the economy. Trump said in the tweet: “We will make it later in the season!”
He had announced at a briefing on Thursday on Major League Baseball’s opening day that he would be at Yankee Stadium on August 15 to throw out the first pitch.
Trump has been trying to show voters that he is taking the virus seriously by holding briefings and cancelling Republican convention events set for Jacksonville, Florida. Florida is among several states where the virus is raging.
03:51 GMT – Germany’s confirmed cases rise to 205,609
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 340 to 205,609, Reuters news agency reported on Monday quoting data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
The reported deaths remained unchanged at 9,118, the tally showed.
03:10 GMT – Vietnam postpones Asia’s largest security forum
Vietnam has postponed its hosting of Asia’s largest security forum, which includes North Korea, and an annual meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers by a month to September due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two Southeast Asian diplomats said on Monday Vietnam, which leads the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year, hopes to hold face to face meetings in mid-September instead of doing them online due to travel restrictions if the annual gatherings were to be held as originally scheduled later this week.
The 10-nation bloc hosts the ASEAN Regional Forum, which brings together its top diplomats with counterparts from the United States, China, Japan, Russia, India, the two Koreas and other Asia Pacific countries to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and other security issues.
Most of about 1,300 ASEAN meetings this year have so far been shifted online due to the pandemic, including an annual summit last month.
02:55 GMT – China reports 61 new cases, mostly from Xinjiang
China on Monday reported 61 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, spread between its northeastern and northwestern regions.
The Xinjiang region in the northwest reported 41 new cases, while Liaoning and Jilin provinces in the northeast saw a combined total of 16.
Another four cases were brought by Chinese travellers from abroad.
No death was reported, leaving the toll from COVID-19 in the country at 4,634 among 83,891 cases.
02:45 GMT – South Korea new cases fall below 30
South Korea’s new coronavirus cases have fallen back to below 30 as imported cases dwindled from a record high over the weekend, according to Yonhap news agency.
The country added 25 new cases, including 16 cases from abroad, bringing the total to 14,175, Yonhap quoted the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) as saying.
The tally marked a sharp fall from 58 new cases reported on Sunday and a four-month high of 113 on Saturday.
The country also reported one death, raising the death toll to 299, according to the KCDC. The death rate reached 2.11 percent.
02:10 GMT – Japan to urge more telecommuting as cases surge
Japan’s economy minister says the government will urge businesses to aim for 70 percent telecommuting and enhance other social distancing measures amid a rise in coronavirus cases among workers, some infected during after-work socialising, Reuters reported.
Though Japan has largely avoided the mass infections that have killed tens of thousands overseas, a record surge in cases during the past week in Tokyo and other important urban areas has experts worried the country faces a second wave.
Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura late on Sunday called on business leaders to enhance anti-virus measures such as encouraging the level of telecommuting achieved during Japan’s state of emergency this year.
Tokyo last week reported a daily record of 366 cases, including 239 on Sunday. The southern city of Fukuoka reported a record 90 cases on Sunday, along with rising numbers in Osaka.
01:50 GMT – Austrian resort town shuts down restaurants, clubs
A popular resort town in Austria has ordered restaurants and clubs to close early and urged people to avoid going out as it grapples with a new outbreak of the coronavirus.
The DPA news agency reported that hundreds of people have already been tested in the town of St Wolfgang, east of Salzburg, after the outbreak was first detected on Friday. At least 44 of those have tested positive, the Kurier newspaper reported.
They were thought to have become infected while partying in the town’s bars, two of which have now been temporarily closed to prevent further spread.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz last week announced that the country was reintroducing mandatory face masks again in supermarkets, smaller grocery stores, post offices and banks.
01:30 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports record-high new cases
Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria reported on Monday six deaths from the coronavirus and logged a record daily increase of 532 new cases compared with 459 a day earlier, according to Reuters.
“Five of those six deaths are connected to outbreaks in aged care,” state Premier Daniel Andrews said in a media briefing in Melbourne.
Victoria on Sunday suffered its deadliest day since the pandemic began after reporting 10 deaths, mostly at aged-care facilities.
The state recorded its previous one-day high of 484 cases last week.
01:05 GMT – Serbia reports record number of daily cases
Serbia has reported a record number of daily cases of the coronavirus, according to the AP news agency.
Health authorities said 467 people have tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, the highest since the start of the outbreak. They said eight people have died.
Epidemiologist Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, however, said there is reason to be optimistic because there have been fewer people in need of hospitalisation.
Serbia has confirmed 23,730 cases of the virus while 534 people have died of COVID-19 in the country of some seven million people.
00:36 GMT – Mexico reports 5,480 new cases, 306 deaths
Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 5,480 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 306 deaths, bringing the total in the country to 390,516 cases and 43,680 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases, according to Reuters.
00:20 GMT – Spain seeks exemption from UK quarantine order
Spain says it is negotiating with the United Kingdom to exclude the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands from a 14-day quarantine imposed on travellers returning to the UK from Spain, AP reported.
Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said, hours after the British measure took effect, that “our efforts at the moment are focused on ensuring that the British authorities can exclude the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands from their quarantine measures.”
The emergence of clusters of the coronavirus has worried authorities in northeast Catalonia and Aragon but has not appeared in Spain’s two archipelagos, which are highly popular tourist destinations for British and other European visitors.
Gonzalez Laya says that the islands are “highly controlled territories” and that their current epidemiological situation is not worse than that of the UK.
00:01 GMT – Brazil registers 555 coronavirus deaths
Brazil has registered 555 deaths attributable to the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours and another 24,578 confirmed cases, Reuters reported, quoting the country’s health ministry.
The South American nation has now registered 87,004 deaths and nearly 2.42 million cases.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
You can find all the key developments from yesterday, July 26, here.