Global pandemic has now infected over 16.4 million people and has killed more than 654,000. Here are the latest updates for July 27:

Passengers walk out of Departures, at the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport in London, on July 22, 2020.
Passengers walk out of Departures, at the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport in London, on July 22, 2020. (AP)

Monday, July 27, 2020

WHO says countries must fight virus as EU tourism tumbles

Bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries are going to have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders, the World Health Organization has said.

A surge of infections has prompted countries to reimpose some travel restrictions in recent days, with Britain throwing the reopening of Europe's tourism industry into disarray by ordering a quarantine on travellers returning from Spain.

Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world manage to beat the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization's director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a virtual news briefing in Geneva.

Europe's tourism revival is running into turbulence only weeks after countries reopened their borders, with rising infections in Spain and other nations causing increasing concern among health authorities over people bringing the coronavirus home from their summer vacations.

European countries started opening up to each other's tourists in mid-June, but recent events have shown that the new freedom to travel is subject to setbacks. 

Over the weekend, Britain imposed a 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving from Spain, Norway ordered a 10-day quarantine for people returning from the entire Iberian peninsula, and France urged its citizens not to visit Spain's Catalonia region.

Pakistan records lowest single-day deaths 

Pakistan has reported its lowest single-day fatalities due to coronavirus since May, the Health Ministry said.

Over the past 24 hours, 20 more fatalities were reported taking the nationwide death toll to 5,842. 

Another 1,176 new infections were reported across the country over the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 274,124.

Recoveries have reached 241,026 at a rate of 80 percent. 

Pakistan's cases of Covid-19 have dropped considerably in recent weeks, however, health experts cautioned that this could be the result of fewer tests.

Coronavirus recoveries surpass 210,400 in Turkey

Turkey has confirmed 982 more recoveries from the novel coronavirus, bringing the tally to 210,469, according to the country's Health Minister.

Citing data, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that a total of 919 people had contracted Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 227,019.

He said the number of patients in intensive care units increased in the last three days in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, central Konya, southern Gaziantep, and eastern Diyarbakir provinces.

"In 21 provinces, we did not have any intensive care patients in the last three days," he said, adding the least increasing number of patients in intensive care units was registered in central Sivas, southwestern Isparta, and Mugla, western Balıkesir and northeastern Bayburt provinces.

The country's death toll from the disease rose to 5,630, with 17 new fatalities over the past 24 hours.

Vietnam curbs movement in city of 1.1M

Vietnam will suspend all flights and public transport into and out of a city of 1.1 million people where the country's first coronavirus cases in months were recently detected, authorities said Monday.

Until the weekend it appeared that the Southeast Asian country had managed to stub out the virus — and with lockdowns lifted since late April, domestic tourists had flocked back to the coastal city of Da Nang, a popular tourist destination.

But fresh restrictions on movement, including stopping buses and taxis within the city, were announced following the discovery of Vietnam's first locally transmitted Covid-19 infection in nearly 100 days.

Southern Africa growth to contract more than 6 percent

Southern Africa’s economic output will shrink by as much as 6.6 percent this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Monday.

The bank’s best-case scenario sees output growth at -4.9 percent with a 6.6 percent contraction forecast under its worst-case scenario. That is against its forecast for Africa as a whole of -1.7 percent and -3.4 percent under each scenario.

The southern Africa region, which includes the continent’s most advanced economy, South Africa, second biggest oil-exporter Angola, as well as Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, was set to grow by 2.1 percent in 2020 before the coronavirus struck, based on the AfDB's estimates.

Spain's total coronavirus cases jump by more than 6,000 over weekend

Spain has reported a cumulative total of 278,782 coronavirus cases on Monday, Health Ministry data showed, up from 272,421 on Friday, with the figure including results from antibody tests on people who may have already recovered.

A total of 855 new cases were diagnosed in the past day, while the ministry is monitoring 361 clusters across the country.

Trump's security adviser O'Brien tests positive 

US national security adviser Robert O'Brien has become the highest-ranking official in President Donald Trump's inner circle to test positive for the coronavirus.

Announcing the infection on Monday, the White House said in a statement there was no risk of exposure to Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.

Because of the regular testing regimen, White House officials do not reliably wear masks while working in the West Wing.

Indonesia's cases top 100,000

Indonesia has now surpassed 100,000 coronavirus cases and is the country with the most infections and deaths in Southeast Asia. President Widodo has urged officials handling the outbreak to retain an "aura of crisis".

The Health Ministry has reported 1,525 new cases and 57 deaths. It comes a week after the president overhauled the country's Covid-19 committee to also focus on economic recovery along with handling health matters.

China sees aggressive return of virus

Mainland China is battling the most aggressive return of Covid-19 in months, confirming 57 new locally transmitted cases on Sunday, the highest level since early March, driven by fresh infections in the far western region of Xinjiang.

In the northeast, Liaoning province reported a fifth straight day of new infections and Jilin province reported two new cases, its first since late May.

Vaccine put to final test

The world’s biggest Covid-19 vaccine study got underway with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the US government – one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race.

There’s still no guarantee that the experimental vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will really protect.

Volunteers won’t know if they’re getting the real shot or a dummy version. After two doses, scientists will closely track which group experiences more infections as they go about their daily routines, especially in areas where the virus still is spreading unchecked.

Duterte says schools to remain closed until vaccine found

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has defended his government's policy to fight its coronavirus outbreak and said early intervention had prevented as many as 1.3 million to 3.5 million infections.

Speaking during his annual address to the nation and as the country's cases grew to 82,040 and nearly 2,000 deaths, Duterte said a lengthy lockdown that was one of the world's strictest may have hurt the economy but had kept numbers in check.

The Philippines eased restrictions on June 1, but cases have since quadrupled and critics say the country was too slow in detecting infections due to weak testing, which Duterte acknowledged started slowly.

"To me, even if the numbers were much lower, it would still be and would have been worth the sacrifice we made," he said of the measures.

Duterte also reiterated that he would not allow schools to reopen for face-to-face classes until a vaccine was available and had earlier believed one could be ready as early as September.

He said he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping four days ago to make the Philippines a top priority once Beijing had developed its own vaccine.

South Korea reports new cases from abroad

South Korea reported 25 new cases, bringing its caseload to 14,175 infections and 299 deaths.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday said 16 of the new cases were tied to people arriving from abroad.

The country in past days has reported dozens of cases among crew members of a Russia-flagged cargo ship docked in the southern port of Busan and hundreds of South Korean construction workers airlifted from virus-ravaged Iraq.

Among the nine local transmissions, eight were from the Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the centre of a virus resurgence since late May.

Iran confirms 212 new deaths

Iran's health ministry has confirmed 212 more fatalities from Covid-19, bringing the nationwide death toll to 15,912.

A further 2,434 people have tested positive over the past 24 hours, raising the overall count to 293,606, with 3,819 patients still in critical condition.

More than 255,144 people are said to have recovered so far and have been released from the hospital. 

The country has conducted over 2.35 million tests to date.

Hong Kong bans dining in restaurants

Hong Kong authorities reported 145 new cases of coronavirus, of which 142 were locally transmitted, setting a new daily high.

Hong Kong has made it mandatory to wear masks in public,  along with a week-long ban on dining in restaurants as the coronavirus continues to spread, with 2,633 cases and  20 deaths.

China has also agreed to build a virus field hospital in Hong Kong.

Vietnam evacuates 80,000 tourists

Vietnam has announced that it's evacuating 80,000 tourists from the central city of Danang.

The process will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Danang to 11 Vietnamese cities.

The move comes after three people tested positive in the city over the weekend for the first time in three months.

Japanese government to urge more telecommuting 

Japan's economy minister says the government will urge businesses to aim for 70 percet telecommuting and enhance other social distancing measures amid a rise in coronavirus cases among workers, some infected during after-work socialising.

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 major urban areas has experts worried the country face a second wave.

Australia's Victoria reports record number of daily cases

Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria reported six new deaths and logged a record daily increase of 532 new cases compared with 459 a day earlier.

"Five of those six deaths are connected to outbreaks in aged care," state Premier Daniel Andrews said in a media briefing inMelbourne.

Victoria 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.

Mexico reports over 5,000 new cases

Mexico's Health Ministry reported 5,480 new confirmed cases of and 306 additional fatalities, 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

Brazil hit hard as over 24,000 new daily cases reported

Brazil is being battered by the crisis, but the damage is uneven across the sprawling South American country, where experts say chaotic policy-making has only made a complicated situation worse.

Like the US, the only country that has recorded more infections and deaths in the pandemic, Brazil is a continent-sized giant with myriad regions and sub-regions, held together by a federal system that can breed a confusing cacophony of national, state and local policies even at the best of times.

The national statistics on the virus shows more than 2 .3 million infections and 85,000 deaths, mask a varied panorama across the country of 212 million people.

China expands jobs for graduates as virus hits private sector

China's thousands of state-owned enterprises, local governments, and public institutions are expanding hiring as a record number of students graduate into a job market left reeling by the pandemic.

Around 8.7 million Chinese students are graduating this year, almost half a million more than last year, heading into an uncertain future as private firms rein in recruitment.

Job stability for the young is a longstanding political concern in China. President Xi Jinping, who has previously warned that struggling graduates could "turn into negative energy," is urging more hiring.

Graduates, who generally enter the workforce in June or July, face a "severe" situation, officials have said. Available positions for them in the recent pre-graduation spring recruiting season fell by 22 percent on year, according to BOSS Zhipin Research.

Trump postpones Yankee Stadium first-pitch plan

US President Donald Trump won’t be throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium next month after all.

Trump tweeted that he won’t be able to make the trip because of his “strong focus” on the coronavirus, vaccines and the economy. 

He had announced at a briefing on Major League Baseball’s opening day that he’d 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.

Florida has second-highest number of cases in US

Florida surpassed New York over the weekend as the state with the second-most confirmed coronavirus cases in the US.

More than 9,300 new cases were reported in the Sunshine State along with 78 new deaths.

Florida’s nearly 424,000 cases are surpassed only by California, which has more than 450,000. 

With 39.5 million residents, California has almost double Florida’s population of 21.4 million.

New York, slightly less populous than Florida with 19.4 million residents, has close to 412,000 cases and was once the epicentre of the virus in the US.

Texas, the only state besides California with more people than Florida, has about 390,000 cases.

Brazil registers 555 deaths

Brazil registered an additional 555 deaths over the last 24 hours and another 24,578 confirmed cases, the health ministry said on Sunday.

The South American nation has now registered 87,004 deaths and 2,419,091 total confirmed cases.

Pope leads prayer in St. Peter’s Square

Pope Francis led pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly blessing in a round of applause for elderly people suffering from loneliness during the pandemic.

Francis, on the feast day for Jesus’s maternal grandparents Saints Anne and Joachim, urged the faithful to consider every elderly person his or her own grandparent.

‘’Don’t leave them alone,’’ he implored, urging the faithful to reach out with a phone call, video chat or a visit where possible under distancing rules to impede the virus’ spread.

‘’I would like to invite young people to make a gesture of tenderness toward the elderly, especially those who are alone, at home and in residences, those who for many months have not seen loved ones,’’ the pope said.

‘’Send them a hug,’’ the pope said. ‘’They are your roots.’’

The elderly have been especially vulnerable to the new coronavirus, and outbreaks in nursing homes have proven particularly deadly.

In many places, the elderly are not permitted visits from loved ones, and are restricted to periodic phone calls and video chats, or at most a wave through a window.

Serbia reports record number of daily cases

Serbian health authorities say that 467 people have tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the outbreak.

They said eight people have died.

Epidemiologist Darija Kisic Tepavcevic said, however, that 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 in the country of some 7 million people.

Numbers of new infections spiked after the Balkan country fully relaxed lockdown measures in May that critics say was a maneuver to pave the way for a parliamentary vote in June. Authorities have denied this, but the government crisis team has faced calls to step down over its handling of the outbreak.

Cases in North Macedonia surge past 10,000

Health authorities in North Macedonia reported that confirmed cases surged above 10,000, meaning that almost 0.5 percent of the population of 2.1 million have been infected.

The number of new cases over the past day was 152, raising the total to 10,086. No fatalities were recorded for the first time in two weeks, but the number of deaths, 460, still puts Macedonia 19th globally in deaths per million.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies