International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 14.5 million – Trump seeks to block funds for testing and tracing as infections soar in US

20 July 2020 (Last Updated July 20th, 2020 09:32)

20 July

Global: More than 14.5 million people have been tested positive for coronavirus worldwide so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data. The current total stands at 14,508,892. The death toll is 606,195.

US: Donald Trump is seeking to block billions of dollars in funding for coronavirus testing and contact tracing efforts as cases soar across the US, where around 70,000 people are testing positive each day.

Some of the NFL’s biggest names took to social media on Sunday to express their concerns and anger over the lack of Covid-19 safety protocols as teams prepare to open training camps this week.

Brazil: Brazil reported 23,529 new cases and 716 deaths, both declines from the day before. The Latin American nation, with the second-worst outbreak after the U.S., now has almost 2.1 million cases and 79,488 deaths.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,311 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 296 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 344,224 cases and 39,184 deaths, according to Reuters early on Monday.

China: China reported 22 new coronavirus cases, according to the People’s Daily, with 17 of these community transmission cases from Xinjiang. China launched mass health screenings in the western Xinjiang province late last week after a spike in cases raised fears of a fresh outbreak.

A record 100 new cases were confirmed in Hong Kong, the territory’s leader said on Sunday, as she tightened social distancing measures, including mandating the wearing of masks in public indoor spaces, to tackle the sudden rise in the number of infections.

South Africa: South Africa registered 85 new deaths from the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 5,033. A total of 13,449 new infections were also officially diagnosed, taking the number to 364,328, figures released by the health ministry showed.

Melanesia: Papua New Guinea recorded its first Covid-19-related death – the first Pacific island fatality outside US territories and the first in Melanesia – as it seeks to contain an outbreak in the main hospital in its capital, Port Moresby.

Cyprus: Health minister Constantinos Ioannou says there’s concern that coronavirus-infected migrants could be seeping through the ethnically divided island nation’s porous ceasefire line, the Associated Press news agency reported.

South Korea: Imported coronavirus cases continue to rise by double-digit figures, according to the latest figures on Monday. The country identified 26 new cases, raising the total caseload to 13,771, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Of the newly added cases, just four were local infections, and 22 were imported.

Vaccine News

UK: The UK said it has secured early access to 90 million doses of “promising” coronavirus vaccine candidates, according to a statement.

Russia: Scores of members of Russia’s business and political elite have been given early access to an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the effort, as the country races to be among the first to develop an inoculation.

Lockdown updates

China: Global banks, including Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG, are suspending their return-to-office plans in Hong Kong after the city reported a daily record of more than 100 new coronavirus cases.

Italy: Rome and its surroundings could go under lockdown again, a regional health commissioner warned, after 17 new cases were reported, including ten from other countries, according to the Associated Press reported.

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he can avoid imposing another England-wide lockdown this winter, describing it as a “nuclear deterrent” that he hopes never to use.

Luxembourg: Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said he would impose new restrictions after an emergency meeting on rising cases, saying the nation is not respecting measures to curb Covid-19.

Australia: Authorities in Australia are stepping up their battle against coronavirus with the second biggest city of Melbourne announcing the introduction of mandatory face coverings from Wednesday when leaving the house.

France: France will issue €135 fines to people flouting new mask rules. The French government has announced that it will fine people who flout its decree to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

Thailand: A meeting led by Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Monday will discuss the possible extension of emergency rules beyond the end of the month, as well as the next stage of easing, said Somsak Rungsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council.

Economy updates

EU: The four European Union governments that have been holding up negotiations over a massive stimulus package to reboot the bloc’s economy are ready to agree on a key plank of the deal, two officials said.

Sudan: The United Nations has made an urgent appeal for $283m to help Sudan tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences, as millions in the country face hunger.

Japan: Most people in Japan are against government plans to kickstart domestic tourism with a subsidised campaign, according to newspaper surveys published on Monday, as fears grow over the number of new coronavirus cases, particularly in Tokyo, according to Reuters news agency.

Salvador: President Nayib Bukele has announced that he will postpone the second phase of the country’s economic reopening, slated to begin Tuesday, after evaluating inputs from experts and the health ministry, Reuters news agency reported.