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US states hit pause on coronavirus reopening: Live updates

Bars, beaches, cinemas closed again in some US states as spike in cases underlines challenge of containing virus.

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. 
  • 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

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.  

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. 

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. 

Source: Al Jazeera 

 

Read the updates from yesterday (June 29) here.

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World News

More US states step back from reopening as COVID-19 cases surge

The rises in cases have been mostly in Florida, Texas and Arizona – states that may have eased restrictions too early.

More US states and businesses on Monday rolled back plans to reopen their economies, citing surges in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations, as the government’s top infectious disease specialist blamed the spikes on Americans ignoring public health guidelines.

The rises in confirmed cases and hospitalisations have been most pronounced in Sun Belt states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona that defied advice from health experts to wait longer before easing restrictions.

“That’s a recipe for disaster,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN in an interview broadcast on Monday.

“Now, we’re seeing the consequences of community spread, which is even more difficult to contain than spread in a well-known physical location like a prison or nursing home or meatpacking place,” Fauci said in the interview, which was recorded on Friday.

The New York Times reported on Monday that 43 percent of US deaths from COVID-19 were linked to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The paper cited its own tracking database.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday that indoor dining will no longer resume on Thursday in the state as planned and would be postponed indefinitely.

California authorities on Sunday ordered bars in Los Angeles and six other counties to close. Texas and Florida ordered the closure of all their bars on Friday.

Beaches in Florida’s Broward County and Palm Beach County will not open on July 3-5, officials said on Sunday, a blow to residents hoping to celebrate US Independence Day there on Saturday. Miami-Dade County had already announced beach closures for the holiday weekend.

AMC, the largest US movie theatre chain, on Monday said it was pushing back the opening of its theatres to July 30 from July 15.

Pence urges Americans to wear masks

Arizona and Georgia were among the states reporting record new cases this week. Last week, a total of 15 US states reported new records, according to a Reuters tally.

In June, 22 US states reported record increases in new cases, often multiple times, including Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Utah.

Face coverings have become a political issue, with some civil rights activists and supporters of US President Donald Trump arguing that such mandates are unconstitutional.

The city of Jacksonville, Florida, venue for part of the Republican nominating convention in August, said on Twitter that it would require masks for all public locations starting later on Monday.

Sharp turnaround

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that Trump “has no problem with masks and to do whatever your local jurisdiction requests”.

US Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday pressed Americans to adopt face masks during a trip to Texas and wore one himself, a sharp turnaround for the administration. Other Republican politicians in hard-hit states also are now calling for masks.

The US accounts for about a quarter of all reported coronavirus cases and related deaths worldwide, which surpassed 10 million and 500,000, respectively, over the weekend.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday blamed Trump for the new surge in cases, saying the president’s focus on reopening the economy had backfired. Cuomo has himself come under criticism for his handling of the virus in New York, which has recorded more than double the number of deaths than any other US state.

The governor conceded in an interview on NBC News on Sunday that he had taken “political heat” for his decision to put recovering patients in nursing homes but denied that it put more elderly people at risk.

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