India has more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with a record daily leap of 18,500 new infections.
Sixteen NBA players in the US have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first wave of mandatory tests as the league restart approaches.
United States Vice President Mike Pence has said that 16 states across the nation are seeing an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus.
More than 9.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while some 4.9 million have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 493,000 people have died.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, June 27
12:10 GMT – Mosque reopen in Egypt after restrictions eased
Mosques reopened on Saturday in mostly Muslim Egypt after a three-month shutdown as the country relaxes restrictions imposed to contain an outbreak ofáthe new coronavirus.
The government has allowed daily prayers again in mosques amid health precautions, but has kept suspended the larger Friday prayers for Muslims and Sunday Massáfor the country’s Christian minority.
11:45 GMT – Flight departs UK to deliver virus aid to Africa
Britain’s Royal Air Force says the first in a series of flights taking coronavirus aid to Africa has departed for Ghana with materials for a field hospital with capacity for nearly 100 people.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that the UK is the first NATO ally to come forward with an aid flight after NATO agreed to support the United Nations’ appeal for airlift assistance.
The pandemic and travel restrictions have severely affected flights to the African continent and the delivery of crucial cargo including medical supplies.
11:20 GMT – EU narrows down border list, US unlikely to make the cut
European Union envoys are close to finalizing a list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter Europe again, possibly from late next week, EU diplomats confirmed, while Americans are almost certain to be excluded in the short term due to the number of US coronavirus cases.
The envoys were expected to have narrowed down later Saturday the exact criteria for countries to make the list, which include the way the spread of the virus is being managed. Another key condition is whether the country has a ban on citizens from European nations.
The number of cases in the United States has surged over the past week, with an all-time high of 45,300 confirmed new daily infections just reached.
Spain lifts coronavirus state of emergency and reopens borders
11:00 GMT – Iran’s Khamenei warns economy will worsen if virus spreads
Iran’s supreme leader warned that the country’s economic problems would worsen if the novel coronavirus spreads unchecked, saying the initial momentum to contain it had since “waned”.
The Islamic republic has struggled to curb the COVID-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases in the Shiite holy city of Qom in February.
It shut down non-essential businesses, closed schools and cancelled public events in March, but the government gradually lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen the country’s sanctions-hit economy.
10:20 GMT – Tokyo sees highest number of daily infections since emergency ended
The Japanese capital, Tokyo registered the highest number of new coronavirus infections since the national emergency was lifted at the end of May.
According to the Japanese television channel NHK, 57 people tested positive for the coronavirus within a day. This means that the number of new infections per day has now been around 50 cases for four days.
09:45 GMT – Indonesia reports biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections with 1,385 cases
Indonesia reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus infections with 1,385 new cases, taking the total to 52,812, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.
Yurianto also said there had been 37 more coronavirus-related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 2,720.
09:20 GMT – Outrage in India after victim’s body moved with excavator
Two local administration officials in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh were suspended on after images of an earth mover being used to transport the body of a coronavis patient to a crematorium sparked outrage across the country.
The body of the 70-year-old man, who died of Covid-19 in the town of Palasa in Andhra Pradesh, was seen on footage aired by local television channels being taken to the crematorium on an earth mover.
As the number of Covid-19 deaths rise in India, there have been several reports of bodies being improperly treated [File: Harish Tyagi/EPA]
08:55 GMT – Hong Kong police refuse permission for march to mark handover
The Hong Kong police department denied permission for an annual march in the former British colony on July 1 to mark the anniversary of the city’s 1997 return to China, the organiser and the police said in separate statements.
In a notice to the organiser, Civil Human Rights Front, the police cited the city’s current rules limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying public assemblies and demonstrations are not exempted.
08:30 GMT – Egypt eases restrictions despite surge in virus infections
Egypt lifted many restrictions put in place against the coronavirus pandemic, reopening cafes, clubs, gyms and theaters after more than three months of closure, despite a continued upward trend in new infections.
Authorities also allowed the reopening of mosques and churches, and lifted the nighttime curfew.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government has been keen to save the Egyptian economy that was hit hard by the virus outbreak.
On Friday, the International Monetary Fund approved another $5.2 billion loan for Egypt, to be added to the $2.8 billion the fund had already.
Egypt’s health ministry has reported 62,755 infections, including 2,620 deaths – the highest death toll in the region [File: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters]
08:05 GMT – UK to ease quarantine restrictions for travellers
Britain will scrap a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries it deems to be lower risk for COVID-19, and official advice against all but essential travel abroad will also be eased for some countries and regions, the government said.
The changes will make it easier for Britons to travel abroad for summer holidays.
07:25 GMT – Zimbabweans find ways to have fun under lockdown
As the coronavirus lockdown continues in Zimbabwe, a lack of entertainment has forced people on both sides of the class divide to turn to new ways of passing the time.
In the poor suburb of Mbare in Harare, street vendors sell music CDs and DVDs, and people gather to watch television.
Schoolchildren, who have been unable to attend classes due to the lockdown, gather to play pool or cards in the street to keep entertained.
06:45 GMT – Czech coronavirus cases rise just as holidays start
The Czech Republic recorded 168 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, authorities said, the highest daily rise in cases since early April just as the country is starting the two-month summer holiday season.
It was also the fourth day of the last 10 showing a daily increase of more than 100. Over the past week, the eastern region of Karvina has been by far the most affected by the rise in cases, according to the Health Ministry website.
06:15 GMT – Australia’s Victoria struggles to contain coronavirus
Australia’s state of Victoria recorded 41 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Saturday, double the daily rate seen a week ago, struggling to gain control over the pandemic while the rest of the country continues easing social distancing restrictions.
Victoria, the country’s second-most-populated state, has now seen 11 straight days of double digit new cases, most linked to known outbreaks in Melbourne’s suburbs, health officials said. Victoria has 204 of Australia’s total of about 270 active cases.
“We are very concerned,” deputy chief health officer of Victoria, Annaliese van Diemen, said at a press conference.
05:50 GMT – India cases surge past 500,000
India’s confirmed coronavirus cases crossed half a million on Saturday with another record 24-hour jump of 18,552 infections.
The Health Ministry also reported 384 new deaths, raising the total to 15,685.
The surge prompted authorities in the northeastern state of Assam to impose a two-week lockdown in the state capital of Gauhati. About 700 new cases were reported there in just four days.
Can India’s Kerala maintain its coronavirus success story? | The Stream
Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from Zaheena Rasheed.
05:15 GMT – Microsoft to permanently close all retail stores
Microsoft said it will close all of its stores and move its retail operations online, keeping just four locations, including in New York, London and Sydney, and transforming them into “experience centres”.
The move means the more than 80 Microsoft stores closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will not reopen as the tech giant enters “a new approach to retail”, according to a statement.
04:52 GMT – China, South Korea report new cases in double digits
China and South Korea reported an uptick in new coronavirus cases, with Beijing recording 21 cases and Seoul logging 51 additional infections.
The figures bring China’s case-load to 83,438. Some 17 of the 21 cases were confirmed in the Chinese capital, where authorities say they have brought an outbreak linked to a wholesale food market under control.
In South Korea, 35 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul area, which has been at the centre of a COVID-19 resurgence since late May. The country’s total caseload now stands at 12,653, including 282 deaths.
People relax in the park at Summer Palace on a public holiday in Beijing, China, on June 26, 2020 [Thomas Peter/ Reuters]
04:01 GMT – Liverpool fans celebrating title urged to return home
Fans gathering at the Liverpool city centre for a second night in a row to celebrate their team’s Premier League title win have been urged to return to their homes due to fears of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Police issued a dispersal order on Friday after huge crowds turned up at the city centre near the Mersey Ferry terminal, saying the order would remain in force until Saturday.
A Section 34 Dispersal Order has been issued around the Liverpool City Centre (seen on map) under the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 following large gatherings in the area this evening. The order will be in place until 28th June. pic.twitter.com/6BVSZzibKI
— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) June 26, 2020
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson also urged fans to return home, saying: “COVID-19 is still a major risk and our city has already lost far too many people to the illness.”
I am really concerned about scenes at Pier Head tonight. I appreciate #LFC fans want to celebrate but please, for your own safety, and that of others, go home and celebrate at home. Covid-19 is still a major risk and our city has already lost far too many people to the illness pic.twitter.com/fqoQZvcSQG
— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) June 26, 2020
03:32 GMT – US coronavirus cases reach biggest single-day increase of pandemic
The US recorded at least 40,870 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the largest single-day increase of the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally.
The new record brought the total number of US residents to who have tested positive to at least 2.475 million, and came as the White House coronavirus task force reconvened after a two-month absence.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said the US was facing a “serious problem” and urged people to mind their responsibility to others: “A risk for you is not just isolated to you.”
03:24 GMT – IMF approves $356.5m in emergency funding to Myanmar
The International Monetary Fund said it will provide Myanmar with $356.5m in emergency funding, as the Southeast Asian country battles an economic slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Myanmar economy is being impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 through a sharp decline in tourism and remittances and supply chain disruptions,” Mitsuhiro Furusawa, IMF deputy managing director, said in a statement.
The fund “will help address Myanmar’s urgent financing needs related to COVID-19 shock, and catalyze support from development partners”.
03:17 GMT – Drones light up Madrid sky in tribute to coronavirus victims
Some 40 drones lit up the Madrid night sky on Friday as part of a special display designed to pay tribute to victims of the coronavirus outbreak as well as to honour emergency services.
The drones created various shapes during the 10-minute routine such as a flying dove, a house and a parent and child walking, as well various flags of the countries badly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, including Spain, Italy, France, China and the US.
Using LEDs and a prepared software, they also spelt out messages including “Hope” and “Heroes”.
Drones display the words “Hope” to pay tribute to victims of COVID-19 and honour health workers in Madrid, Spain [Manu Fernandez/ AP]]
02:11 GMT – UK to ditch quarantine rules for ‘low-risk’ countries
The United Kingdom said it will lift its two-week coronavirus quarantine rule for visitors arriving from some “low-risk” countries, after pressure from airlines and the tourism sector.
The government said it will publish a list next week of the countries from where people will be allowed to enter Britain without needing to self-isolate for 14 days, as currently required. The announcement will follow discussions with countries including France, Greece and Spain in “the coming days”, with the changes set to take effect in the week beginning July 6.
An expert panel will put nations into three categories: green, amber and red. Passengers arriving from green and amber countries will no longer have to quarantine themselves for 14 days after their arrival.
Thousands of jobs at risk in the UK amid COVID-19 crisis (2:54)
“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world,” a government spokeswoman said. “But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge.”
The rules for red-category countries will not change.
02:06 GMT – Venezuela is a health ‘time bomb’, says Colombian president
Colombian President Ivan Duque called Venezuela a public health “time bomb”, saying the lack of reliable information about the status of its neighbour’s coronavirus outbreaks was a worry as his government tries to control its own infections.
Venezuela has acknowledged just 4,600 coronavirus cases and 39 deaths, while Colombia has reported around 80,600 confirmed cases and more than 2,600 deaths.
“In the case of Venezuela the information is non-existent,” Duque said in an interview with Reuters. “There’s not good hospital capacity or good epidemiological capacity; for a long time they haven’t had serious vaccination programs.”
“I think Venezuela is a time bomb from the public health point of view.”
01:20 GMT – Judge blocks 25 percent capacity rule for New York religious services
A federal judge blocked New York state from enforcing coronavirus restrictions limiting indoor religious gatherings to 25 percent capacity when other types of gatherings are limited to 50 percent.
Judge Gary Sharpe said the plaintiffs’ religious activities “will be burdened and continue to be treated less favourably than comparable secular activities”.
He also lifted restrictions limiting the number of people who can attend outdoor religious gatherings, noting that both state Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had expressed approval for protests against racism and police brutality last month while continuing to support curbs on religious gatherings.
Christopher Ferrara, an attorney for the plaintiffs, called the unequal restrictions “an irrational targeting of houses of worship”.
Deacon Robert Lavanco of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church prays with local residents during a procession to bring blessings to worshippers outside their homes while their church sanctuary is closed to them in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, the United States [File: Mike Segar/ Reuters]
00:49 GMT – EU to bar travellers from US, Russia, Brazil
The European Union (EU) is set to exclude travellers from the United States, Brazil and Russia when the bloc reopens its borders to outsiders on July 1, diplomats told AFP and Reuters, citing the uncontrolled transmission of the new coronavirus in the three countries.
Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states convened on Friday afternoon to establish criteria for granting quarantine-free access from next Wednesday.
The meeting ended with a tentative list of about 18 countries from which people are free to travel to Europe, but the list did not include the United States, Brazil or Russia, according to Reuters and AFP. National governments were given until 16:00 GMT to approve the list.
Travellers from China would be approved to enter, but only subject to reciprocity from Beijing, the agencies said.
US coronavirus cases may be up to 10 times higher than data shows (2:30)
00:12 GMT – Argentina tightens Buenos Aires lockdown
Alberto Fernandez, the president of Argentina, said the South American country will extend and tighten a lockdown in and around Buenos Aires following a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.
Overall cases in Argentina have risen five-fold since late May, surpassing 50,000 on Thursday when there were 2,606 new confirmed daily cases. The death toll stands at over 1,150.
Fernandez said restrictions on movement in the densely populated capital would be tightened again until July 17. “We need to gain time to guarantee that our health system is ready and can serve everyone … The quarantine is a remedy for the pandemic, the only one we know of.”
He added: “The economy is deteriorating, but the economy will recover. What unfortunately we are not going to recover are those thousand Argentines who have left us.”
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key developments from yesterday, June 26, go here.