US states hit pause on coronavirus reopening: Live updates

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

  • World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned the pandemic is “not even close to being over” and that while there had been some progress initially, the pandemic was “actually speeding up”. 
  • States in the US are pausing reopening plans amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations. Among the states stepping back is California, which reported a record surge in COVID-19 on Monday. 
  • More than 10.2 million people around the world have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus and more than 504,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Here are the latest updates.

Tuesday, June 30

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, a 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. 

“ASEAN has witnessed a worrying backslide of fundamental freedoms since the pandemic began, and we must remain vigilant to any moves that appear aimed at strengthening a government’s hold on power and undermining democracies,” Chin Abdullah said in a statement. “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.” 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has ten 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 underway in the wake of an outbreak that began in the capital’s main wholesale food market on June 11.

COVID-19: The Beginning of a Pandemic | Between Us

02:45 GMT – Los Angeles officials warn hospitals could be overwhelmed

Los Angeles is becoming the new coronavirus hotspot in the US.

California announced a record jump of 7,418 new cases on Monday with the number in LA, the second-biggest city in the US, exceeding more than 100,000 despite strict curbs on nightlife and a requirement to wear masks in all public areas.

“The alarming increase in cases, positivity rates and hospitalisations 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.

“Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death.”

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. 

Ducey 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 that has the potential to cause a pandemic, according to a study published in the US science journal PNAS.

The G4 flu is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that was behind the pandemic in 2009.

G4 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”.

The peer-reviewed study was authored by academics at the China Agricultural University, Shandong Agricultural University, Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Nottingham. 

Read more on their findings here

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Source: Al Jazeera 

Read the updates from yesterday (June 29) here.

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