US teachers protest over reopening schools: Coronavirus live

Teachers, support staff at more than 35 school districts across the US protest against reopening while COVID-19 surges.

Florida teachers, whose unions are against their members returning to school, hold a car parade protest in front of the Pasco County School district office in Land O'' Lakes, Florida, U.S. July 21, 202
Florida teachers, whose unions are against their members returning to school, hold a car parade protest in front of the Pasco County School district office in Land O'' Lakes, Florida, U.S. July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Octavio Jones [Reuters]
  • Teachers and support staff at more than 35 school districts across the US are protesting against the reopening of schools while COVID-19 is surging in many parts of the country.
  • WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said there might never be a “silver bullet” for the new coronavirus, despite the rush to discover effective vaccines.

  • More than 18 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Monday. Almost 11 million have recovered and more than 690,000 have died.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, August 3

23:18 GMT – Students return to school in parts of Germany

Children have returned to school in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the first in the country to start the new school year following nationwide shutdowns at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in March, according to AP news agency.

Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek has advocated mask requirements inside school buildings. But the school system is largely a matter for the 16 state governments in Germany, and as students returned to class in cities like Rostock and Schwerin on Monday, regional officials had not yet implemented such a rule.

Since schools largely closed down in mid-March, parents, teachers and children have eyed the reopenings warily.

Many children voluntarily wore masks Monday as school began, and several schools implemented their own mask rules and handed them out to children who forgot them.

19:34 GMT – California governor says cases, hospitalisations, trending down

The governor of California has said that rates of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and intensive care unit admissions were all trending down in the state, according to the latest analysis.

Governor Gavin Newsom said in a briefing that the state’s Central Valley agricultural hub was still being hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic.

19:20 GMT – Italy survey suggests coronavirus six times more prevalent than official data

Almost 1.5 million people in Italy or 2.5 percent of the population have developed coronavirus antibodies, a figure six times more than official numbers reported, according to a survey from statistics agency Istat.

The survey by Istat and the health ministry, was based on antibody tests conducted on 64,660 people.

The survey found marked local differences with the northern region of Lombardy, where the epidemic first broke out in February, showing 7.5 percent of the population had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies compared to just 0.3 percent in the southern region of Sicily.

18:55 GMT – South African corruption watchdog probes COVID-19 tenders

South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog has said it was investigating irregularities in coronavirus-related tenders, the latest in a series of scandals that trade unions said showed the government’s failure to tackle graft.

The probes by the Public Protector come soon after investigators launched separate inquiries into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Gauteng province, the country’s economic heartland.

News reports have alleged that politically connected individuals have milked the state for millions during the coronavirus pandemic.

18:40 GMT – UK reports second-highest COVID-19 cases since June

The UK’s health ministry has reported 938 new cases of COVID-19, the second-highest daily total since June, taking the total number of positive test results to 305,623.

The most recent peak in cases came on July 29, when health ministry data show there were 995 positive tests, the highest number since June 16.

17:45 GMT – France sees a rise in number of patients in ICU units

France has said the number of people in intensive care units for COVID-19 stands at 384, compared with 371 on Friday, the second time in a week that figure has increased after declining for 16 weeks.

In a statement, health authorities reported another 29 deaths from the disease, bringing the total to 30,294.

17:35 GMT – US parents struggle as schools reopen amid coronavirus surge

Many school districts around the United States had offered parents a choice of at least some in-person classes or remote instruction.

But an uptick in COVID-19 cases in many states has prompted districts to scrap in-person classes at least for the start of the school year, including in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington.

Read more here.

Paul Adamus, seven, waits at the bus stop for the first day of school on Monday, August 3, 2020, in Dallas, Georgia, the United States [AP Photo/Brynn Anderson]

16:55 GMT – Teachers protest across US over reopening schools

Teachers and support staff at more than 35 school districts across the US are protesting against the reopening of schools while COVID-19 is surging in many parts of the country.

They are demanding in-person classes not be held until scientific data supports it, safety protocols such as lower class sizes and virus testing are established, and schools are staffed with adequate numbers of counsellors and nurses, according to a website set up for the demonstrations.

Teachers are also demanding financial help for parents in need, including rent and mortgage assistance, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and cash assistance.

16:49 GMT – Chief of staff to Brazil’s Bolsonaro tests positive

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Army General Walter Souza Braga Netto, has tested positive for COVID-19, his office has said, becoming the seventh Brazilian minister to have contracted the disease.

Braga Netto is doing well and has no symptoms, the office said in a statement. He will remain in isolation until a new medical evaluation is carried out, and will continue to work remotely.

Last week, Bolsonaro’s wife and one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. Bolsonaro also contracted the disease but his latest test showed he was no longer infected.

16:36 GMT – French city tells shoppers: wear masks outside or pay fine

French Prime Minister Jean Castex urged people not to let down their guard in the fight against COVID-19 as one of France’s biggest cities ordered people to wear masks outdoors in busy pedestrian streets.

“The virus is not on holiday and neither are we,” Castex said on a visit to Lille, where police on Monday gained the power to levy a 135 euro ($158.45) fine on anyone not observing the new rule.

16:00 GMT – Spain reports 968 new cases, total exceeds 288,000

Spain has reported 968 new coronavirus infections in the past day, showing a slower pace of contagion than last week when the country reported more than 1,000 new cases for three days in a row.

15:47 GMT – Some COVID-19 survivors suffer psychiatric disorders, Italian study says

COVID-19 survivors suffer higher rates of psychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety, insomnia and depression, according to a study conducted by San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

The survey showed that more than half of the 402 patients monitored after being treated for the virus experienced at least one of these disorders in proportion to the severity of the inflammation during the disease.

“It was immediately clear that the inflammation caused by the disease could also have repercussions at the psychiatric level,” said professor Francesco Benedetti, group leader of the Research Unit in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology at San Raffaele, in a statement.

Based on clinical interviews and self-assessment questionnaires, physicians found PTSD in 28 percent of cases, depression in 31 percent, anxiety in 42 percent of patients and insomnia in 40 percent, and finally obsessive-compulsive symptoms in 20 percent.

15:42 GMT – Gambian ministers test positive for COVID-19

Three cabinet ministers in Gambia have tested positive for COVID-19, the presidency has said.

President Adama Barrow is in self isolation for the next two weeks, the presidency said last week, after Vice President Isatou Touray tested positive.

Now, finance minister Mambureh Njie, energy minister Fafa Sanyang and agriculture minister Amie Fabureh have also been infected by the virus, the presidency said in a statement late on Sunday.

14:48 GMT – Norway suspends cruise ships with more than 100 people on board from disembarking at ports

Norway will stop all cruise ships with more than 100 people on board from disembarking at Norwegian ports in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 on a Hurtigruten cruise ship, the Norwegian health minister has said.

The new rules will initially apply for 14 days, Bent Hoie said. They will not apply to regular ferry traffic, both domestic and international.

Read more here.

Ship Cruises Revive During The Coronavirus Pandemic
The new rules will initially apply for 14 days, Norway’s Health Minister Bent Hoie said, and will not apply to regular ferry traffic, both domestic and international [Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images]

14:34 GMT – India’s Modi set to visit temple site despite minister having COVID-19

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a foundation-laying ceremony for a Hindu temple on Wednesday, organisers have said, even though his interior minister has contracted COVID-19.

Amit Shah, who is Modi’s top lieutenant as well as India’s interior minister, was admitted to a private hospital near Delhi on Sunday, four days after attending a cabinet meeting which the prime minister presided over.

But preparations are continuing for Modi to visit a temple that is being built in honour of Hindu god-king Ram in the northern town of Ayodhya, said the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, which is driving its construction at the site of a mosque that was razed nearly three decades ago.

14:20 GMT – Spain to roll out COVID-19 app twice as effective as human tracers in pilot

Spain aims to roll out a COVID-19 contact-tracing app across the country in September after saying that a pilot showed it could detect almost twice as many potential infections as human trackers during a simulated outbreak on a tiny island.

In the absence of a vaccine or cure, states are deploying Bluetooth wireless technology to log contacts and alert people when someone they have been near tests positive.

Spain used a new system developed by Google and Apple which holds data on individual devices to ensure privacy, to build an app it tested on La Gomera, an island next to the tourist hotspot of Tenerife in the Canary archipelago, in July.

13:43 GMT – White House, Congress face tough week of aid talks

Congressional Democrats and Trump administration officials face increasing pressure to come up an agreement on coronavirus aid legislation on Monday, after missing a vital deadline to extend relief benefits to tens of millions of jobless Americans.

Top Democrats in Congress and top representatives of President Donald Trump were due to meet in the US Capitol to resume talks aimed at breaking the deadlock, after reporting progress over the weekend.

But the two sides remained far apart, with top Republican lawmakers on the sidelines of the negotiations.

Hi, this is Mersiha Gadzo in Toronto, Canada taking over the live updates from my colleague Linah Alsaafin in Doha, Qatar.

12:33 GMT – India’s Wockhardt strikes deal to supply COVID-19 vaccines to UK

Indian drugmaker Wockhardt Ltd will supply millions of doses of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, including that being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, under a deal with the UK government.

The company has reserved fill-and-finish capacity – the final manufacturing step of putting vaccines into vials or syringes and packaging them – as part of the agreement, it said.

“Fill finish is a critical step in the process to get the vaccine in a form to be given to patients. The agreement with Wockhardt will boost our capability to ensure that,” Kate Bingham, chair of UK Vaccines Task Force, said in a statement.

11:25 GMT – WHO: There may never be a COVID-19 ‘silver bullet’

The World Health Organization has warned that despite hopes for a vaccine, there may never be a “silver bullet” for coronavirus, and the road to normality will be long.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan exhorted all nations to rigorously enforce all health measures, Tedros telling a virtual news briefing that face masks should become a symbol of solidarity around the world.

“A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials, and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment – and there might never be.”

Read more here.

10:55 GMT – Greece makes masks compulsory on ship decks after COVID-19 spike

Greece will make mask-wearing compulsory on the decks of ferries sailing to its islands, extending the requirement beyond interior spaces after a recent spike in infections, a government spokesman said.

Last week, Greece made mask-wearing mandatory in all indoor public spaces and also in outdoor spaces where proper distancing cannot be observed.

The new measure will go into effect from Tuesday until August 18, as the summer holiday season hits its peak.

09:38 GMT – Norway’s Hurtigruten halts cruises after COVID-19 outbreak

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tromso
MS Roald Amundsen, operated by Norway’s Hurtigruten, leaves a port in Tromso, Norway, after its crew members were diagnosed with COVID-19 [Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix/ via Reuters]

Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten is halting all its expedition cruises until further notice following an outbreak of COVID-19 on one of its vessels last week, the company said.

At least 40 passengers and crew from the MS Roald Amundsen cruise liner have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, public health officials said on Sunday.

“Our own failure, as well as the recent rise in infections internationally, have led us to halt all expedition cruises in Norwegian and international waters,” Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.

08:55 GMT – Top Indian ministers in hospital as virus cases breach 50,000 for fifth day

India’s interior minister Amit Shah and the chiefs of two big states – Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh – have been hospitalised with COVID-19 as the country’s daily cases topped 50,000 for a fifth straight day.

The country reported 52,972 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1.8 million – the third-highest in the world after the US and Brazil.

With 771 new deaths, the COVID-19 disease has now killed 38,135 people in India.

08:05 GMT – Data leak reveals Iran cover-up on COVID-19 deaths: BBC

A BBC Persian service investigation has found the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Iran is nearly triple what Iran’s government claims.

The government’s own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with COVID-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

The number of people known to be infected is also almost double the official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827.

07:40 GMT – Melbourne to close retail, scale back other industries until mid-September

Australia’s second-biggest city has announced new restrictions on sectors including retail and construction as it tries to contain the spread of a resurgent coronavirus.

From Wednesday night, Melbourne will close retail, some manufacturing, and administrative businesses as part of a six-week lockdown, which is expected to hit 250,000 jobs, roughly the number already impacted.

Meanwhile, the state of Victoria declared a “state of disaster” on Sunday due to a surge in community transmissions.

07:06 GMT – Poland to check virus regulations followed in shops

Poland reopens the borders with the European Union countries
Poland has made wearing face masks mandatory in public [File: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]

Poland’s health minister said police and health authorities would start checks in shops this week to see if people are following regulations to keep their mouths and noses covered.

“This week we are starting inspections in shops… (to see) whether clients are wearing masks, whether the staff are wearing masks,” Lukasz Szumowski told Polish public radio.

06:20 GMT – Vietnam PM says early August ‘decisive time’ to avert large-scale virus spread

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said early August would be a decisive period for preventing large-scale coronavirus spread, which has re-emerged after more than three months.

“We have to deploy full force to curb all known epicentres, especially those in Danang,” state broadcaster VTV quoted Phuc as saying.

Phuc said this current wave of infection could have a more “critical impact” than the previous one and ordered officials to both contain the spread and maintain supply chains.

Hello, this is Linah Alsaafin in Doha taking over from my colleague in Kuala Lumpur, Ted Regencia.

05:06 GMT – Singapore to make travellers wear electronic tags to enforce quarantine

Singapore will make some incoming travellers wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure compliance with coronavirus quarantines as the city-state gradually reopens its borders.

From August 11, the devices will be given to all travellers coming from a select group of countries who will be allowed to isolate at home rather than at a state-appointed facility, Reuters news agency said.

The travellers are required to activate the device upon reaching their home and must acknowledge all notifications received on the device. Attempts to leave home or tamper with the device will alert the authorities.

04:22 GMT – US registers more than 45,000 new COVID-19 cases, 420 deaths

The United States has registered at least 45,688 new cases as of the end of Sunday, raising the total to 4.68 million from the previous day of 4.64 million, according to the latest Reuters tally on Monday.

Reuters also reported at least 420 new deaths during the same 24-hour period, raising the total to 155,343, compared to 154,923 the previous day.

04:03 GMT – Honduras extends coronavirus curfew for another week

Honduras will extend its coronavirus curfew for another week through to August 9 in an effort to curb the pandemic, Reuters reported, quoting the country’s security ministry.

Honduras first imposed a curfew, in effect between 5pm (23:00 GMT) and 7am (13:00 GMT), in March.

03:48 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 509 to 210,402

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 509 to 210,402, Reuters reported on Monday, quoting the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,148, the tally showed.

03:18 GMT – Sri Lanka polls to go ahead despite spread of coronavirus

Parliamentary elections will go ahead in Sri Lanka on Wednesday despite coronavirus fears. Voters will wear masks, carry their own pens and maintain physical distancing for the poll, which has been postponed twice because of the pandemic. Votes will be counted on Thursday.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes to tighten his hold on the nation’s fractious politics in an election that could elevate his brother and allow the two to change the constitution if they prevail.

Sri Lanka has reported 2,816 infections and 11 COVID-19 deaths as of Sunday. The totals are lower than in neighbouring South Asian countries, held in check by a strict lockdown since March.

Sri Lanka elections
Sri Lanka’s main opposition party leader Sajith Premadasa, centre, waves to supporters during the last day of campaigning in Colombo [Chamila Karunarathne/EPA]

02:31 GMT – Coronavirus outbreak in Xinjiang subsides, 28 new cases reported

An outbreak in China’s far northwestern region of Xinjiang is still subsiding, with 28 new cases reported Monday, according to AP news agency.

The 590 cases so far have been concentrated in the capital, Urumqi, where authorities have conducted mass testing, cut public transport, isolated some communities, and restricted travel.

02:15 GMT – South Korea reports 23 new COVID-19 cases

South Korea has confirmed 23 new cases – 20 from overseas and three local transmissions – amid a downward trend in the number of locally infected patients, AP reported.

The cases announced on Monday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the country’s total to 14,389 cases and 301 deaths.

Health authorities consider imported cases less threatening to the wider community as they enforce two-week quarantines on all arrivals from overseas.

02:00 GMT – Australia’s Melbourne braces for more business closures as tougher restrictions bite

Australia’s second-biggest city, Melbourne, entered its first day of tougher restrictions to contain a resurgent coronavirus, Reuters reported. State premier Daniel Andrews was expected to announce measures around business closures later on Monday.

The state of Victoria declared a “state of disaster” on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew for the capital as part of the country’s harshest movement restrictions to date, a move backed by the federal government.

Supermarkets will remain open along with restaurant takeaway and delivery services, but some other businesses will be asked to shut down. Schools will move to remote learning from Wednesday.

01:15 GMT – Pope appeals to political leaders create jobs

Pope Francis has called on politicians to create jobs so economies can relaunch from the lockdowns imposed to combat the pandemic, according to AP news agency.

The pope, speaking after the traditional Sunday blessing, said “without work, families and society cannot go forward … It requires lots of solidarity and lots of creativity to resolve this problem.”

The pope’s remarks follow a week in which officials released statistics showing a record plunge in both the US and eurozone economies.

00:55 GMT – Italy’s tally of new virus cases down to 239

The number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy nudged lower to 239 in the last 24 hours, while eight deaths were recorded in Lombardy, the epicentre of the country’s epidemic.

That brings the total number of cases in Italy to 248,070 to date and deaths to 35,154, AP news agency reported early on Monday quoting the country’s health ministry.

The number of daily cases in Italy has hovered between 200-300 for weeks, mostly related to people arriving from outside of Italy, either foreign workers or migrants.

00:25 GMT – Britain to roll out millions of 90-minute coronavirus tests

UK - coronavirus
Britain’s healthcare system has come under severe strain during peaks in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 46,000 people, the fourth-highest toll in the world [Andy Rain/EPA]

Millions of COVID-19 tests – which can offer results in 90 minutes and do not need to be administered by a health professional – will be rolled out to British hospitals, care homes and laboratories in the coming months, Reuters news agency quoted health secretary Matt Hancock as saying.

Separately, the publicly-funded National Health Service said it would be offering “COVID-friendly” treatments to cancer patients, including drugs that do not have a big impact on the immune system.

Britain’s healthcare system has come under severe strain during peaks in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 46,000 people, the fourth-highest toll in the world, according to a Reuters tally collated on Sunday.

00:15 GMT – Mexico reports 4,853 new coronavirus cases, 274 more deaths

Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,853 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 274 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 439,046 cases and 47,746 deaths, according to Reuters news agency.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher.

Workers are pictured next to a body bag containing the body of a COVID-19 victim at a crematory in Mexico City on Sunday [Edgard Garrido/Reuters]

00:01 GMT – Brazil registers 25,800 new coronavirus cases, death toll tops 94,000

Brazil has recorded 25,800 additional confirmed cases and 541 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to Reuters news agency quoting the country’s health ministry.

Brazil has registered more than 2.73 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 94,104 as of the end of Sunday, according to the ministry data.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For all the key coronavirus-related developments from yesterday, August 2, click here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies