The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has hit 601,213, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide has hit 14.2 million, of which more than 7.9 million people have recovered. 

US deaths from the novel coronavirus exceeded 140,000 on Saturday as cases continued to rise in 43 out of 50 states over the past two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University and Reuters tallies. The number of cases in the US has also hit 3.7 million, with 1.1 million recoveries.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has denounced the lockdown measures used to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in his country, saying these measures have “suffocated” the nation’s economy. Brazil’s economy is expected to contract 6.4 percent this year.

Here are the latest updates.

Sunday, July 19
07:13 GMT – Germany’s Merkel says possible that there is no agreement at EU summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that it was possible that EU leaders will not reach agreement on their third day of talks on plans to boost the bloc’s economies, which have been ravaged by the coronavirus.

“There is a lot of good will but also many positions. I will make every effort but it is possible that there is no result,” she said in Brussels.

06:45 GMT – Masks to be mandatory in Melbourne amid virus

After a one-day respite, COVID-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria have risen again, prompting a move to make masks mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and the nearby shire of Mitchell.

Health officials on Sunday recorded 363 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Masks or face coverings will be mandatory for people who leave their homes for exercise or to purchase essential goods from Wednesday.

 Australia has over 11,000 total cases and 122 deaths to date [Daniel Pockett/AAP Image/Reuters]

06:15 GMT – Coronavirus infections in Nigeria top 36,000

Coronavirus cases in Nigeria have risen to 36,107 with 653 new infections, according to official statistics.

Six new deaths were recorded in the West African nation, bringing the total to 778, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said.

More than 14,900 people have recovered from the virus in Nigeria.

Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia.


05:25 GMT – Texas coronavirus cases include more than 80 infants

A health official from the US state of Texas said as many as 85 infants have tested positive for the coronavirus. Corpus Christi public health director, Annette Rodriguez, said the infants are younger than one, but offered no other details.

“These babies have not even had their first birthday yet. Please help us to stop the spread of this disease” by staying home except for necessary trips, socially distancing and wearing masks in public, Rodriguez said during a public health update.

According to the Johns Hopkins University tally, cases in the US have hit 3.7 million, while more than 1.1 million patients have recovered. More than 140,000 have died.

05:08 GMT – El Salvador to move to second stage of economic reopening

El Salvador will move to the second phase of reopening its economy, President Nayib Bukele has announced, though cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in the Central American country.

Starting on July 21, the manufacturing, footwear, paper and cardboard industries will reopen, as well as public transport, under a plan outlined by the government last month, according to Reuters news agency.

Bukele and El Salvador’s congress have clashed over how to manage the pandemic. Legislators have so far refused to approve a request from Bukele’s government for new emergency measures to restrict the movement of people.

El Salvador has registered 11,508 total cases of coronavirus and 324 deaths.

04:37 GMT – Albania’s coronavirus cases at 4,008, total deaths 111

In the last month, daily numbers of new cases have ranged from 50 to 120, at least double compared with the March-May period when Albania  was in a total lockdown [File: Gent Onuzi/AP]

Albania has reported 4,008 confirmed coronavirus cases and 111 total deaths since the pandemic began in the country.

In the last month, daily numbers of new cases have ranged from 50 to 120, at least double compared with the March-May period when the country was in total lockdown.

Health ministry officials say people must wear masks, keep socially distant and wash hands. Masks are mandatory in closed areas and individuals may receive a small fine for not wearing them in public or private places.

Health officials are checking businesses, cafes and restaurants, handing out larger fines for noncompliance.

Doctors are warning that relaxed measures may result in higher numbers in the upcoming months.

Albania has opened its tourist areas. Most tourists are from neighbouring Kosovo, which is experiencing an increase in coronavirus numbers.

04:12 GMT – Australia’s Victoria requires masks for Melbourne hit by COVID-19

People in Melbourne must now wear masks when leaving their homes as Victoria, Australia’s second-most-populous state, marked two weeks of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus infections on Sunday.

People not wearing face coverings will be fined 200 Australian dollars ($140), said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.

Victoria, which has forced nearly five million people into a partial six-week lockdown on July 9, reported 363 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, after 217 cases the previous day.

Australia has recorded about 11,800 cases, a fraction of what has been seen in other countries or even some US states, but an outbreak of community transmission in Victoria has been growing, prompting authorities to impose stricter social distancing measures.

03:47 GMT – Germany’s confirmed cases rise to 201,574

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 202 to 201,574, Reuters news agency reported on Sunday quoting data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

The reported death toll rose by 1 to 9,084, the tally showed.

03:28 GMT – Brazil reports 28,532 news cases, 921 deaths

Brazil on Saturday reported 28,532 new COVID-19 cases and 921 deaths over the last 24 hours, Reuters reported quoting Brazil’s health ministry.

The total cases in the country have mounted to 2,074,860 while 78,722 people have died of COVID-19.

Brazil, the world’s second most affected country after the US, has started to resume business in many areas despite mounting cases.

Its economic activity index in May rose for the first time since the coronavirus broke out, growing by 1.31 percent from April, according to the Central Bank of Brazil on July 14. The bank also said the economy will contract less than expected in 2020, adjusting forecast from -6.5 to -6.1 percent.

03:00 GMT – US coronavirus deaths surpass 140,000 as outbreak worsens

Despite repeated warnings about the spread of the coronavirus, people in Miami, Florida thronged beaches on Saturday, many of them without a mask [Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA]

US deaths from the novel coronavirus exceeded 140,000 on Saturday as cases continued to rise in 43 out of 50 states over the past two weeks, according to both Johns Hopkins University and Reuters tallies.

Since late June, the US has seen a resurgence in new cases and now, six weeks later, deaths have also begun rising, according to a weekly Reuters analysis of state and county data.

The US is losing about 5,000 people to the virus every week. By contrast, neighbouring Canada has reported 8,800 deaths since the pandemic started.

02:48 GMT – China reports 13 new coronavirus cases in Xinjiang

China on Sunday said 13 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Xinjiang’s city of Urumqi, taking the total in the country’s most recent local outbreak to at least 30, the AP news agency reported.

Three new cases were brought into the country from overseas, increasing China’s total number of confirmed cases to 83,660, including 4,634 deaths.

Despite the Urumqi outbreak, China has just 251 people remaining in treatment for COVID-19, according to the National Health Commission.

Another 151 people were being monitored in isolation for showing signs of having the virus or for testing positive without showing symptoms. At least 23 of those asymptomatic cases were in Urumqi, although China does not include those in the numbers of confirmed cases.

02:28 GMT – Local transmissions outpace imported cases in South Korea

As of Sunday, South Korea has seen double-digit figures of imported cases for 24 consecutive days [Ahn Young-joon/AP]

South Korea’s new daily virus cases hovered below 40 for the second straight day on Sunday, but the number of local transmissions outpaced that of imported cases for the first time in a week, according to Yonhap news agency.

The country identified 34 new cases, taking the total caseload to 13,745. Of the newly reported cases, 21 were locally transmitted, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The latest tally marks a steady decline from 61 new infections reported on Thursday and 60 on Friday, largely due to high numbers of imported cases.

As of Sunday, South Korea has seen double-digit figures of imported cases for 24 consecutive days.

The country’s death toll stands at 295, with one more virus-caused death.

01:43 GMT – Barcelona limits access to public beaches

Police in Barcelona are limiting access to some of the city’s beaches because sunbathers are ignoring regulations amid a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Catalan health authorities reported more than 1,200 new cases on Saturday from the preceding 24 hours. The new outbreaks have forced regional officials to announce the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people that went into effect on Saturday.

Barcelona and other areas of the surrounding northeast Catalonia region have experienced the largest outbreaks in Spain since the European country ended a strict three-month nationwide lockdown.

The mandatory use of face masks is rapidly spreading across Spain as officials grapple with more than 180 active outbreaks, most in Catalonia and neighbouring Aragon regions.

The coronavirus has resulted in at least 28,000 deaths in Spain.

01:15 GMT – Greece reports 19 new coronavirus cases

Greek authorities announced 19 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, The Associated Press news agency reported.

Total confirmed cases in Greece since the outbreak of the epidemic are 3,983, with 194 deaths.

Despite the relatively low number of cases, authorities are concerned about increasing evidence that social distancing guidelines are not being followed. On Saturday, they extended the requirement to wear masks to supermarket customers – and they are considering expanding the mask requirement further.

Actors and singers perform at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Greece, after the site was reopened for performances on Wednesday, with the ancient Parthenon temple in the background [Petros Giannakouris/AP]

00:55 GMT – South Africa now ranks fifth in coronavirus cases worldwide

South Africa now ranks fifth in the world for confirmed coronavirus cases as the African continent faces the pandemic’s first wave head-on, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

South Africa on Saturday reported 13,285 new confirmed cases for a total of 350,879. That puts the country ahead of Peru, and accounts for roughly half the cases in Africa.

Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, is now Africa’s epicentre for the virus. It has one-quarter of the country’s population and many of the poor are crowded in township areas with inadequate access to clean water and sanitation.

South Africa has seen 4,948 virus deaths, but the South African Medical Research Council in its most recent report shows the country had 10,944 “excess deaths” between May 6 and July 7.

00:18 GMT – Mexico reports 7,615 new cases, 578 more deaths

Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 7,615 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 578 additional deaths, bringing the total in the country to 338,913 cases and 38,888 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases, according to Reuters.

00:01 GMT – EU extends summit after deadlock over COVID-19 recovery plan

Leaders of the European Union have extended until Sunday their summit after failing to agree on a significant stimulus fund to revive their coronavirus-hammered economies after two days of fraught negotiations, Reuters reported.

As the 27 leaders scurried back to their hotels after a late Saturday night, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron stayed behind in the EU’s headquarters in Brussels to haggle with the Dutch-led camp of thrifty countries demanding cuts to the 1.8 trillion euros ($2.06 trillion) package. Read more here.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, July 18, here.

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