COVID-19 UPDATES : EU excludes US from ‘safe list’ for non-essential travel, 16 US states halt their reopening plans, Australia’s Victoria state announces partial lockdown

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30th June 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 10,454,991 with 509,211 deaths as of 10.30pm today.

The rest of this year’s World Rugby Sevens Series has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the sport’s governing body said Tuesday.

Europe

The European Union has excluded the United States from its initial “safe list” of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel from Wednesday. China is also on the list, but subject to confirmation of reciprocity. The European Union is preparing to reopen its external border to 15 countries outside of the bloc as early as Wednesday. However, one country that won’t be featured on the proposed list is the United States, according to two EU diplomats.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to “unleash the potential of the entire country” as he announced what he described as a “New Deal” for Britain to help its struggling economy recover from coronavirus.  The number of emergency virus loans approved by the U.K. government has topped 1 million, a milestone that highlights the economic damage done by the restrictions to control the pandemic. The government has paid out almost 43 billion pounds ($53 billion) across its three lending programs, according to new figures published Tuesday.

Royal Dutch Shell is writing down the value of its assets by as much as $22 billion as lower oil prices push the Anglo-Dutch company to accelerate a shift away from fossil fuels.

Some of Germany’s furloughed workers are beginning to return to work full time, according to a survey by the Ifo Institute.

Air France (AIRF.PA) aims to present a plan to trade unions to cut just over 6,500 jobs over the next two years, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as the airline grapples with the coronavirus crisis.

Spain’s economy contracted 5.2% in the first quarter of 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19, the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) said in a report Tuesday. Spain will only open its borders with Morocco if there is a reciprocal agreement to let people from Spain enter the North African country, Spanish government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montego said.

Denmark’s May unemployment rate rose to the highest level since the end of 2012 as the coronavirus lockdown wiped out jobs across the Nordic economy.

U.S. and Canada

128,857people have died from COVID-19 in the US, and more than 2.68 million Americans have been infected.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite had their best day in nearly two weeks Monday, while the Dow recorded its best session since June 5.

About 25% of New York City-area residents have probably been infected with the coronavirus by now, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Tuesday.

At least 16 states have halted their reopening plans in response to a surge in new infections, but some health officials say the spread of coronavirus will be difficult to control.

Coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and other top government health officials will testify before a Senate Committee on Tuesday on the latest efforts by the US government to contain the pandemic.

U.S. consumer confidence increased more than expected in June, strengthening views that the economic downturn was likely over, though rising COVID-19 infections threaten to derail the budding recovery.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said there “won’t be social distancing” and masks will be optional at this weekend’s Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore, which President Trump said he’ll attend.

Miami Beach, Florida, Mayor Dan Gelber said the city is implementing a face mask mandate today, in part because there “hasn’t been a unity of purpose in the community.”

COVID-19 cases at an Amazon.com Inc. warehouse in Minnesota last month exceeded by at least four times the infection rate of surrounding communities, according to an internal memo reviewed by Bloomberg.

The mayor of Canada’s largest city is asking the Toronto city council to make masks mandatory in public indoor spaces.

China and Hong Kong

The UN rights chief said COVID-19 was being instrumentalised to silence free speech, citing China and Russia, while voicing alarm at statements in the US that “deny the reality” of the virus.

China suspended meat imports from more plants as the Asian nation continues to sow confusion in global agriculture markets by suggesting a potential link between the spread of coronavirus and food.

Chinese researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu that can infect humans and has the potential to cause a future pandemic, according to a study released on Monday.

The disease, which researchers called the G4 virus, is genetically descended from the H1N1 swine flu that caused a global pandemic in 2009.

The Hong Kong government said it will extend the public gathering limit of 50 people for another two weeks after the measure is set to expire Thursday.

Elsewhere in the world

The Australian state of Victoria announced a partial lockdown after seeing a double-digit rise in the newly confirmed cases for over two weeks. On Wednesday 11:50 pm local, ten postcode areas in Victoria will return to stage 3 “Stay at Home” until July 29th. Australia’s Queensland state will reopen its borders from 10th July but restrict entrance to people from Victoria due to a surge in coronavirus cases there.

Russia has reported 6,693 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking its nationwide tally to 647,849.

Uzbekistan has imposed an overnight curfew in some parts of the country, including the capital Tashkent, as it seeks to curb a fresh rise in COVID-19 infections following the gradual lifting of a two-month lockdown.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a live address on Tuesday that the country’s coronavirus death rate is under control, but that the country is at a “critical juncture.” India reported 18,522 new cases over the previous 24 hours, according to federal health data released on Tuesday, down slightly from Sunday’s record of 19,906.

Pakistan, one of the country’s where the coronavirus continues to spread at a rapid rate amid an almost completely loosened lockdown, registered 2,825 new cases of the virus to take its tally to 209,337.

The United Nations has pushed governments at a virtual conference for nearly $10bn in aid for Syria, where nine years of war has displaced millions in a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by soaring food prices and the coronavirus crisis.

The US peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will not be going to the Afghan capital, Kabul, while in the region due to the pandemic and instead will video conference with Afghan leaders, the US State Department has said.

Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno announced additional controls for the country’s capital Quito due to the coronavirus pandemic, while he again implored the population to follow the government’s health safety guidance, social distancing and hygiene rules.

Japan recorded 111 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the second consecutive day of more than 100 new infections, the country’s health ministry announced Tuesday.

Iran is preparing to test a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine in people, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said. “Most animal tests have been passed and we will work on clinical trials of the vaccine in humans in the very near future,” Namaki said in a statement on the ministry’s website. Iranian scientists have been developing the vaccine for four months, he said.

Nigeria may impose movement restrictions in 18 municipalities that together account for 60% of all coronavirus infections in the country, Punch Newspaper reported, citing Boss Mustapha, head of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force. 

Thailand’s military-backed government extended the country’s state of emergency for a third time, to 31st July.

Singapore reported 246 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Tuesday, taking the national total to 43,907.

Source: Australia’s Victoria state announces partial lockdown 
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