- The Republican governor of Texas ordered that face masks be worn in most public spaces across the state and banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
- The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding an “immediate cessation of hostilities” for at least 90 days in key conflicts including those in Syria, Yemen, Libya, South Sudan and Congo to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
- Italy’s hard-hit northern region of Lombardy accounted for considerably more than half of the nation’s latest confirmed 187 coronavirus cases – raising the total to 240,760 nationwide. The Ministry of Health also reported 21 new deaths, raising to 34,788 the total of known deaths.
- Some 10.8 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, over 5.7 million have recovered, and more than 520,000 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates.
Friday, July 3
04:39 GMT – Kim Jong Un hails North Korea’s ‘shining success’ against COVID-19
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has praised what he described as his country’s “shining success” in holding off the new coronavirus, according to state-run KCNA news agency.
“We have thoroughly prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable anti-epidemic situation despite the worldwide health crisis, which is a shining success achieved,” Kim told a meeting of the politburo of the ruling Workers Party on Thursday.
While Pyongyang has not confirmed any infections, its public health ministry has reported all 922 people checked so far have tested negative. Hundreds of people, mostly cargo handlers at seaports and land borders, are regularly quarantined for monitoring.
North Korea has reopened schools but kept a ban on public gatherings and made it mandatory for people to wear masks in public places as part of its response to the coronavirus threat, a WHO official said on Wednesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a meeting of the Central Committee of WPK in this undated photo released on July 2, 2020 by North Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang [KCNA via Reuters]
03:01 GMT – Portuguese government raises its stake in TAP
Portugal’s government announced it sealed a final deal with private shareholders of ailing flag carrier TAP to take a controlling stake in the airline while avoiding nationalisation.
“TAP is too important for the country for us to accept the risk of letting such a company fall,” Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos told a news conference. “Fortunately, we avoided TAP’s nationalisation.”
According to the government, the state will increase its stake in TAP to 72.5 percent from the current 50 percent. Like other airlines, TAP asked for help in April after a collapse in demand for travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. The European Commission approved the rescue loan earlier this month.
02:14 GMT – Peru surpasses 10,000 coronavirus deaths
Peru’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 10,045 on Thursday, the health ministry said, a day after the Latin American nation began easing a lockdown in a bid to revive the economy.
The number of deaths rose by 185 in the last 24 hours, while the number of people infected rose to 292,004, the ministry said. Peru is Latin-America’s worst-hit country after Brazil.
Among the latest victims is the leader of the Awajun indigenous people, Santiago Manuin, who died on Wednesday aged 63.
“Crear escuelas para que los Awajún seamos profesores, seamos dirigentes, seamos sujetos de nuestro mismo desarrollo”.
Lamentamos el fallecimiento del apu Santiago Manuin. Su sabiduría y entrega a los derechos del pueblo awajún deben persistir más que nunca. pic.twitter.com/xy0hYZBV5t
— Lugar de la Memoria 🇵🇪 (@LUMoficial) July 2, 2020
Manuin was recognised with Spain’s Queen Sofia Prize for his crusade in defense of the Amazon and indigenous rights.
02:01 GMT – UK to end quarantine rules for travellers from ‘low-risk’ countries
The British government said it is scrapping a 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals from a number of countries deemed “lower risk” for the coronavirus, including France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
The change takes effect July 10, just over a month after the United Kingdom began requiring international arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks. The full list of exempted countries will be announced later on Friday, the government said.
On Saturday, the government will also exempt several countries from its advice against overseas travel, meaning UK tourists can once again head abroad on vacation.
Wales keeps strict lockdown measures as England reopens (2:50)
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes are “good news for British people and great news for British businesses.” But he stressed that the government could reimpose quarantine restrictions “in countries we are reconnecting with”.
The changes announced apply only to England, as the devolved governments of other parts of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – would “set out their own approach to exemptions”, the government said.
01:43 GMT – US coronavirus cases hit new global record
The United States reported more than 55,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the largest single-day increase any country has ever reported, according to a Reuters tally.
The daily US tally stood at 55,274 late Thursday, topping the previous single-day record of 54,771 set by Brazil on June 19.
Just two weeks ago, the US was reporting about 22,000 new cases a day. It has now reported more than 40,000 cases for seven straight days and broken records for new cases three days in a row, according to the tally.
US buys nearly all stocks of coronavirus drug remdesivir (3:28)
01:20 GMT – US issues guidelines but no new rules for air travel
Federal agencies in the United States said airlines should consider limiting capacity on planes to promote social distancing, but stopped short of requiring them to do so.
In a new report, the Transportation, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services departments also recommended – but did not move to require – that travellers wear face coverings in airports and on planes. All leading US airlines now require passengers to wear masks, but regulators have refused a request by the airlines to make it a federal rule.
The agencies said airlines and airports should take steps to increase social distancing, clean surfaces touched by passengers, give specialised training to airline crews, and provide more information to help with contact tracing if passengers test positive for the virus.
INSIDE STORY | How can the aviation industry weather the coronavirus storm? (24:26)
00:34 GMT – In stark reversal, Texas issues statewide mask order
Greg Abbott, the governor of the US state of Texas, ordered that face coverings must be worn in public across most of the state.
The order requires “all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions”.
He also banned gatherings of more than 10 people, and mandated social distancing of six feet.
The Republican governor, who had pushed Texas’s aggressive reopening of the state economy in May, had previously said the government could not order individuals to wear masks. His prior virus-related orders had undercut efforts by local governments to enforce mask requirements.
Millions of US jobs lost amid pandemic may never return (2:21)
00:11 GMT – Coronavirus outbreak hits Africa health workers
The World Health Organization (WHO) said more than 6,000 health workers have been infected with the coronavirus in 38 countries across its Africa region since the pandemic began.
Hundreds of health workers already have been infected in the latest hot spot of South Africa’s Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria. Across South Africa, more than 2,000 health workers across have been infected. In Nigeria, nearly 1,000 have been sickened.
The WHO’s 47-country Africa region has the most severe health workforce shortage in the world, and concerns about adequate personal protective gear against the coronavirus are widespread.
Already a handful of countries have seen more than 10 percent of their health workers infected as of Tuesday: Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Niger, Mozambique and Burundi.
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 2, here.