The United States surpassed four million cases of coronavirus on Thursday amid a surge in cases, predominantly in southern and western states.
The death toll in Iran surged past 15,000 as 2,621 people tested positive in the last 24 hours.
- Papua New Guinea has put out a call for emergency assistance to the WHO, fearful it might be facing widespread community transmission of the disease.
- More than 15.4 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and at least 8.7 million people have recovered, while more than 631,000 have died – according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the updates:
Friday, July 24
08:59 GMT – Hong Kong reports 123 new cases as local transmissions stay high
Hong Kong reported 123 new cases, including 115 that were locally transmitted, a new daily record, as authorities warn the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.
The global financial hub reported 118 new cases on Thursday, after it extended strict social distancing measures this week.
Since late January, more than 2,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 16 of whom have died.
08:55 GMT – Philippines reports 15 new deaths, 2,103 infections
The Philippines’ health ministry reported 15 more deaths from the coronavirus and 2,103 additional infections.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths had increased to 1,879, while confirmed infections have reached 76,444.
Children wearing face masks for protection against the coronavirus disease play video games on their phones at a market in Quezon City, Metro Manila [Eloisa Lopez/Reuters]
08:38 GMT – China’s daily passenger flights rebound to 80 percent of pre-COVID levels
China’s aviation regulator said the number of daily passenger flights had rebounded to about 80 percent of pre-COVID levels, suggesting further improvement in the aviation industry.
Daily transported air passenger numbers have recovered to nearly 70 percent of the levels seen last year, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said
08:34 GMT – Indonesia reports 1,761 new coronavirus cases, 89 deaths
Indonesia reported 1,761 new infections, bringing the total tally to 95,418, data from the country’s Health Ministry website showed.
The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to COVID-19 rose by 89, to bring the total to 4,665, the data showed.
An employee wearing a protective mask and face shield walks inside a Railink train after the government eased restrictions following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jakarta [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]
07:33 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus case tally passes 800,000
The total number of cases in Russia passed 800,000, as the country reported 5,811 new infections in the past 24 hours.
The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 154 people had died from the virus overnight, taking the official death toll to 13,046.
Total infections stand at 800,849. Russia says 588,774 people have recovered.
07:17 GMT – South Korea says daily cases may top 100, driven by imported infections
South Korean health authorities said coronavirus infections among people arriving from abroad could drive the number of new cases to more than 100, the first time since the beginning of April that daily cases hit triple digits.
The numbers for Friday will not be announced until Saturday, but Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) deputy director Kwon Jun-wook told a briefing a large number of crewmembers on a Russian ship had tested positive, as had a number of South Korean workers brought home on military flights from Iraq.
So far, 32 members of the ship’s crew, along with five people who had been in contact with them, had tested positive, Kwon said.
Meanwhile, two South Korean military aircraft arrived from Iraq on Friday, carrying 293 workers who were evacuated as cases swelled in that country. At least 89 of the workers were showing symptoms, Kwon said.
06:22 GMT – Israeli firm developing breathalyser test, gives results in 30 seconds
An Israeli company is developing a coronavirus breathalyser test that gives results in 30 seconds, billing it as a “front line” tool that can help restore a sense of normality during the pandemic.
NanoScent, the firm making the test kits, said an extensive trial in Israel for the presence of live virus delivered results with 85 percent accuracy, and the product could receive regulatory approval within months.
Chief executive officer Oren Gavriely told AFP news agency the breathalyser would not replace lab tests, but was a mass screening tool that could help people gain “the confidence to go back and act as normal”.
06:12 GMT – China steps up testing after virus cluster in major port city
The port city of Dalian in Liaoning province, home to nearly six million people, will introduce a wave of coronavirus testing to stamp out a small cluster of cases, authorities said, with state media reporting communities will be locked down.
The city has reported three cases in recent days after going nearly four months without any.
The fresh outbreak has been linked to a seafood processing company that deals with imported products.
The Dalian health commission said the city had to “quickly enter wartime mode, go all-out, mobilise all people and resolutely curb the spread of the epidemic”.
It announced strict new measures, including on-the-spot nucleic acid tests for everyone taking the subway line that passes the affected seafood company.
Hello, this is Farah Najjar taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.
04:32 GMT – US: Man arrested for pulling gun when asked to wear mask
A man was arrested in the United States for pointing a gun at a fellow shopper who asked him to wear a mask because of the coronavirus pandemic at a Walmart store in the state of Florida, according to the police.
Vincent Scavetta, 28, was arrested on the charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and improper exhibition of a firearm, the Palm Beach sheriff’s office said.
“Welcome to PBC Jail, son. Let this be a lesson. It could have ended badly,” the office wrote on Twitter.
The man who pulled a gun during a verbal altercation in @Walmart Royal Palm Beach has been arrested for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Improper Exhibition of a Firearm.
Welcome to PBC Jail, son. Let this be a lesson. It could have ended badly. pic.twitter.com/Sx13OZ9i4j
— PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) July 23, 2020
03:47 GMT – Costa Rica gets $300m loan
The Central American Bank for Economic Integration approved a $300m loan to Costa Rica to help stabilise the local economy, which has been hit hard by restrictions aimed at containing the new coronavirus.
Street protests sparked by the economic impact of the virus erupted this week in the Latin American country, where the virus has killed 80 people and infected 13,129.
03:18 GMT – China reports 21 new cases, including 13 in Xinjiang
China reported 21 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 23, down from 22 cases a day earlier.
Of the new infections, the National Health Commission said 13 were in the far western region of Xinjiang and two were in Dalian city in the northeastern province of Liaoning. The remaining six were imported cases.
A medical worker collects a swab from a man in Urumqi, Xinjiang province, on July 19, 2020 [CNS photo via Reuters]
02:53 GMT – Disney postpones Mulan debut, delays Avatar and Star Wars
Walt Disney Co postponed the debut of its movie Mulan indefinitely and delayed the next film instalments from two of its biggest franchises, Avatar and Star Wars, by one year.
Mulan was scheduled to reach theatres in March but its release has been postponed several times as many cinemas remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The film had most recently been set to debut on August 21 and theatre operators had hoped it would help prompt a late-summer rebound for movie-going.
Avatar and Star Wars sequels, which were delayed due to disruption to production, are now set to debut in theatres in December 2022 and December 2023, respectively.
02:27 GMT – Australia’s Victoria posts highest daily death toll
Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria said six people died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the highest daily toll since the pandemic began.
Victoria had reported five deaths a day earlier. The state recorded 300 new infections on Friday compared with 403 cases a day earlier.
02:00 GMT – S Africa closes schools amid ‘coronavirus storm’
Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, said all public schools in the country would be taking a “short break” for four weeks amid the arrival of a “coronavirus storm”.
“This means that schools will be closed from 27 July and will reopen on 24 August,” he said during a briefing in Pretoria. There were some exceptions to the sudden school closures with Grade 12 teachers and learners set to return after a week of closer and Grade 7 after just two weeks, he said.
South Africa now has the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. The total caseload surpassed 400,000 on Thursday.
A member of the South African military talks to a man during a patrol as a nighttime curfew is reimposed in Johannesburg, South Africa [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters]
01:47 GMT – Turkish parliament gives Erdogan authority to extend layoff ban
Turkey’s parliament approved a law allowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to extend a layoff ban imposed to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The layoff ban was first imposed in April for three months. With the new law, Erdogan will be allowed to extend the ban by three months each time until June 30, 2021.
Another section of the law authorises Erdogan to decide for each sector whether to extend the short labour pay benefit, a system that provides additional wages to employees whose hours are cut short.
01:08 GMT – US deaths top 1,000 for third day in a row
The US recorded more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, marking the third straight day the nation passed that grim milestone as the pandemic escalates in southern and western states.
Nationwide 1,014 deaths were recorded, with not all states reporting. There were 1,135 deaths on Wednesday and 1,141 on Tuesday.
Even though deaths are rising for a second week in a row, they remain well below levels seen in April, when 2,000 people a day on average died from the virus.
00:30 GMT – Trump cancels Republican convention in Florida
US President Donald Trump scrapped plans for a four-night Republican National Convention celebration in Jacksonville, Florida, that had been set to draw more than 10,000 people to a pandemic hotspot to mark his renomination.
“The timing for this event is not right,” Trump said at a White House news briefing. “It’s just not right with what’s happened recently, the flare-up in Florida. To have a big convention, it’s not the right time.”
He said he ordered his aides to cancel the event “to protect the American people”.
Republican delegates would still be meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, the original venue for the convention, on the week beginning August 24, Trump said.
Read more here.
00:11 GMT – US watchdog finds flawed virus response at California prison
A federal prison complex in the US state of California struggled to contain the spread of the coronavirus because of staff shortages, limited use of home confinement and ineffective screening, according to a watchdog.
In a new report, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice said that two staff members at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility in Lompoc, California, came to work in late March despite experiencing coronavirus symptoms, though those symptoms were not detected during screening.
Officials in March also failed to test or isolate an inmate who reported that he had begun having symptoms two days earlier. The inmate later tested positive at a hospital. As of mid-July, four inmates had died and more than 1,000 had tested positive.
Lompoc, which has four facilities, houses about 2,700 low-, minimum- and medium-security inmates.
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 23, here.