Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country’s COVID-19 death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.”
A global trial designed to test whether the anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can prevent infection with COVID-19 is to restart after being approved by British regulators.
- World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the pandemic is “not even close to being over” and while there had been some progress initially, it was “actually speeding up”.
- More than 10.2 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, more than 5.2 million have recovered, and more than 504,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates.
Tuesday, June 30
12:30 GMT – Spain to open border with Morocco only in case of reciprocity
Spain will only open its borders with Morocco if there is a reciprocal agreement to let people from Spain enter the North African country, Spanish government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montego said.
Morocco is part of a group of 15 countries to be included on a list of safe travel destinations that the European Union will unveil later on Tuesday.
12:10 GMT – UN rights chief slams virus response in China, Russia, US
The UN rights chief said COVID-19 was being instrumentalised to silence free speech, citing China and Russia, while voicing alarm at statements in the US that “deny the reality” of the virus.
Michelle Bachelet pointed to Russia, China, Kosovo, Nicaragua among others where “threats and intimidation against journalists, bloggers and civic activists, particularly at the local level, (were being used) with the apparent aim of discouraging criticism of the authorities’ responses to COVID-19”.
Bachelet also voiced concern about “severe restrictions on freedoms of expression” in Egypt and “excessive and arbitrary enforcement” of pandemic response measures in El Salvador.
“Censorship and criminalisation of speech are likely to suppress crucial information needed to address the pandemic,” she told the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
11:35 GMT – India’s prime minister says virus’s spread still critical
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a live address on Tuesday that the country’s coronavirus death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.”
Modi’s sixth address since the pandemic began came as India reported nearly 560,000 infections and over 16,000 deaths.
“People are becoming careless,” he said, adding, “we need to call out the violators.”
In India, the world’s fourth-worst affected country, cases have shot up since the end of a 10-week lockdown in early June.
10:25 GMT – UN calls for $10bn aid for Syrians beset by war and COVID-19
The United Nations has pushed governments at a virtual conference for nearly $10bn in aid for Syria, where nine years of war has displaced millions in a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by soaring food prices and the coronavirus crisis.
The now annual fund-raising round for Syria brought together 60 governments and non-official agencies via video in an event hosted by the European Union.
“Syrian men, women and children have experienced injury, displacement, destruction, terror … on a massive scale,” said UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.
“The danger of COVID-19 remains acute.”
10:00 GMT – Airbus slows services push amid coronavirus crisis
Airbus has postponed its target of building a $10bn services business amid the coronavirus crisis, but is sticking with a strategy of supporting airline operations, a senior executive said as the company heads for a broader shake-up.
Airbus has said it wants to boost services revenues to $10bn by 2030 compared with over $4bn in 2019, mirroring a push by rival Boeing.
But the coronavirus travel crisis has hit demand for services such as spare parts and maintenance data-crunching.
09:45 GMT – Africa free-trade vision clouded by virus and pace of talks
A historic deal to smash down tariff barriers within Africa is being braked by the coronavirus pandemic and a thicket of negotiating problems.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was formally launched just over a year ago in a blaze of optimism.
The accord aims to phase out all tariffs on commerce on the continent, a goal that backers say could give trade a mega-jolt as only 15 percent of trade by African nations is with continental neighbours.
It was supposed to take operational effect on Wednesday, July 1, but the timeline has slipped, under the complications caused by the COVID-19 outbreak but also the slow pace of negotiations themselves.
09:15 GMT – United States not on EU’s ‘safe’ travel list, diplomats say
The United States is not on a “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel due to be unveiled by European Union governments later on Tuesday, three diplomats have said.
The 27-member bloc is expected to give outline approval to leisure or business travel from Wednesday to 14 countries beyond its borders when they vote on the list by midday Brussels time (10:00 GMT), the diplomats said.
The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, they said.
Russia and Brazil, along with the United States, are among countries that do not make the initial “safe list”.
09:00 GMT – Spain GDP shrinks 5.2 percent in first three months of the year
Spanish official statistics show that the country’s gross domestic product contracted 5.2 percent during the first three months of the year compared to the previous quarter, the biggest drop in at least half a century.
The National Institute of Statistics, or INE, said that the economic freeze imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus impacted the economy like never before since quarterly records began to be kept in 1970.
08:45 GMT – India’s daily coronavirus cases at about 20,000 as some cities extend lockdowns
Several Indian cities have prepared to extend their lockdowns to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, as daily cases in the country remained close to 20,000.
India reported 18,522 new cases over the previous 24 hours, according to federal health data released on Tuesday, down slightly from Sunday’s record of 19,906.
With more than 550,000 total infections, India lags only the United States, Brazil and Russia in total cases.
08:30 GMT – COVID-19 increases child marriage and FGM risk for millions: UN
The coronavirus pandemic is reversing progress on ending child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), jeopardising the futures of millions of girls, a senior UN official has said.
“The pandemic both makes our job harder and more urgent as so many more girls are now at risk,” Natalia Kanem, head of the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA said.
An additional 13 million girls could be forced into child marriage, and two million more could undergo FGM in the next decade, beyond what would have been expected, as COVID-19 disrupts global efforts to end both practices, UNFPA said.
Read more here.
07:55 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus case tally approaches 650,000
Russia has reported 6,693 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking its nationwide tally to 647,849.
The country’s coronavirus response centre said 154 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 9,320.
COVID-19 in Russia: Fake News and Forced Confessions | The Listening Post (25:00)
07:40GMT – Uzbekistan imposes new restrictions as cases rise
Uzbekistan has imposed an overnight curfew in some parts of the country, including the capital Tashkent, as it seeks to curb a fresh rise in COVID-19 infections following the gradual lifting of a two-month lockdown.
The Central Asian nation had been cautiously lifting a nationwide lockdown that had been in place in April and May. However, after a decline in COVID-19 cases between mid-April and mid-May, it has once again seen a steady rise.
07:25 GMT – Parts of Australian city locked down to curb virus spike
Hundreds of thousands of people across Melbourne’s north and west have been ordered to stay at home as Australia’s second-biggest city struggled to contain a spike in coronavirus cases.
The state of Victoria has recorded 233 COVID-19 cases since Thursday – mostly in Melbourne – a major surge in a country that has otherwise successfully curbed the spread of the virus.
State premier Daniel Andrews said Melbourne would be subject to the lockdown from midnight local time Wednesday. The areas covered are home to more than 300,000 people.
07:10 GMT – Shell says will take up to $22bn hit from coronavirus
Royal Dutch Shell has said it will write $22bn off the value of its assets after sharply lowering its oil and gas price outlook in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision also comes as the Anglo-Dutch company reviews its operations after CEO Ben van Beurden laid out plans in April to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Shell, which has a market value of $126.5bn , said in an update ahead of its second-quarter results on July 30 that it will take an aggregate post-tax impairment charge in the range of $15 to $22bn in the quarter.
Coronavirus outbreak’s effect on the oil and gas market | Counting the Cost (25:00)
06:55 GMT – Pakistan records 2,825 new infections
Pakistan, one of the country’s where the coronavirus continues to spread at a rapid rate amid an almost completely loosened lockdown, registered 2,825 new cases of the virus to take its tally to 209,337.
Last week, the country saw a reduction in average daily rises in cases that medical experts say is largely due to a reduction in daily testing. On Monday, testing remained low, with 20,930 tests carried out, far below the country’s peak of 31,681 tests on June 19.
Pakistan COVID-19 infections pass 100,000
06:40 GMT – UK locks down city of Leicester after COVID-19 flare-up
The United Kingdom will introduce legal changes shortly to enforce a lockdown imposed on the English city of Leicester where there has been a flare up of the novel coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
The city of Leicester in central England is the first area of the UK to face a targetted local coronavirus lockdown after the government began easing the nationwide lockdown earlier this month.
“We will be bringing forward a legal change very shortly, in the next couple of days, because some of the measures that we’ve unfortunately had to take in Leicester will require a legal underpinning,” Hancock told Sky.
05:10 GMT – Thailand reports no local cases of coronavirus for 36th day
Thailand has reported no locally-transmitted cases of coronavirus for the 36th day as a state of emergency introduced to cope with the pandemic was due to expire on Tuesday.
The country reported two new cases, both in Thais recently returned from Qatar who are now in state quarantine.
04:40 GMT – UN warns coronavirus can set back tackling child marriage
The UN is warning that the pandemic is reversing progress to tackle child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
The UNFPA, the UN’s reproductive and sexual health agency, says an extra 13 million girls could be married off and two million more endure FGM in the next 10 years because of disruption caused by the coronavirus.
“The pandemic both makes our job harder and more urgent as so many girls are now at risk,” UNFPA head Natasha Kanem said at the launch of a report into the “silent and endemic crisis” of harmful practices against girls and women.
#AJOPINION: FGM kills girls, women. Even if we survive it
03:55 GMT – MPs warn on Thailand ‘state of emergency’ extension
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights has urged Thailand not to extend the state of emergency it imposed to tackle the coronavirus.
Maria Chin Abdullah, Malaysian MP and APHR member, says the country has brought its daily number of coronavirus cases under control and, with almost all restrictions lifted, has “no reason” to justify emergency powers.
“Thailand must lift the emergency decree immediately, continue its fight against the pandemic within the usual power structure, and focus on developing an economy that closes the glaring inequalities that this virus has exposed,” Chin Abdullah said in a statement.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has 10 members, including Thailand.
03:25 GMT – China reports 19 new COVID-19 cases, 7 in Beijing
China’s National Health Commission says the country had 19 new cases of coronavirus up to midnight on June 29, compared with 12 the day before.
Seven of the new cases were in Beijing, where a mass testing campaign is under way in the wake of an outbreak that began in the capital’s main wholesale food market on June 11.
02:45 GMT – Los Angeles officials warn hospitals could be overwhelmed
Los Angeles is becoming the new coronavirus hotspot in the US as the state of California announced a record jump of 7,418 new cases on Monday.
The number in LA, the second-biggest city in the US, exceeded 100,000 despite strict curbs on nightlife and a requirement to wear masks in all public areas.
“The alarming increase in cases … signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said in a statement.
02:30 GMT – South Australia cancels plan to reopen domestic borders
The state of South Australia has cancelled plans to reopen its borders to interstate travellers from neighbouring Victoria after a spike in coronavirus cases there.
Restrictions were supposed to be removed on July 20.
Victoria reported 75 new cases of coronavirus on Monday. It has yet to release numbers for Tuesday.
02:00 GMT – India’s first COVID-19 vaccine approved for human trials
Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine has secured regulatory approval for human trials.
Phase I and II clinical trials for Covaxin, India’s first domestic candidate for a vaccine, will begin in July.
Read more on that story here.
00:55 GMT – Los Angeles to close beaches for July 4 holiday weekend
Los Angeles is to close its beaches for the July 4 holiday weekend after reporting a record one-day rise in cases.
People usually flock to the seaside during the holiday, which marks US Independence Day.
Officials said it was too much of a risk allowing the beaches to remain open.
Due to rising #COVID19 cases all @CountyofLA beaches will be closing again temporarily this weekend, July 3rd through 6th. We had almost 3,000 reported cases just today. We cannot risk having crowds at the beach this holiday weekend.
— Janice Hahn (@SupJaniceHahn) June 29, 2020
00:00 GMT – Arizona closes bars, gyms and cinemas
The governor of the US state of Arizona has told bars, cinemas, gyms, water parks and nightclubs they have to close again.
Doug Ducey says the closures are necessary after coronavirus cases and hospitalisations reached new highs over the weekend, and he expects the numbers to get worse.
“We simply cannot let up,” he told a press briefing. “We’re not going back to normal anytime soon.”
23:30 GMT – Researchers find new swine flu with pandemic potential
Researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu with the potential to cause a pandemic, according to a study published in the US science journal PNAS.
G4, a flu genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 pandemic, has “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans,” the researchers wrote.
They added that the G4 type was already predominant in pigs and that control of the infection in pigs and close monitoring of people working with the animals should be “urgently implemented”.
Read more here.
Source: Al Jazeera
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read the updates from yesterday (June 29) here.