By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: July 21, 2020 9:00:14 pm

Students wearing face masks to protect against the new coronavirus leave school after finishing the first day of China’s national college entrance examinations, known as the gaokao, in Beijing, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Coronavirus Global Updates: All foreigners and Chinese nationals should carry the negative COVID-19 test certificate before entering China, an official announcement here said on Tuesday. The certificate should be no older than five days at the time of boarding a flight, said the announcement made by China’s Civil Aviation Administration, General Administration of Customs, and China’s Foreign Ministry.

China has permitted international flights from certain countries but not from India yet after halting them at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, European Union leaders agreed on a landmark stimulus package that will see the bloc issue 750 billion euros ($860 billion) of joint debt to help member states mitigate the economic downturn.

The agreement, signed in the early hours of Tuesday after more than four days of acrimonious negotiations in Brussels, required the unanimous approval of all 27 member states and represents a victory for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who drafted an early outline for the proposal in May. The emergency fund will give out 390 billion euros of grants and 360 billion euros of low-interest loans.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the deal was “truly historic” and that he was convinced the recovery plan and budget could meet the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pictured with a face mask during the last round table discussion following a four-day European summit at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, July 21, 2020. (Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via Reuters)
China makes negative Covid test certificate mandatory for all arriving from abroad

All foreigners and Chinese nationals should carry the negative COVID-19 test certificate before entering China, an official announcement here said on Tuesday. The certificate should be no older than five days at the time of boarding a flight, said the announcement made by China’s Civil Aviation Administration, General Administration of Customs, and China’s Foreign Ministry.

At the current stage, the pandemic is under some kind of control in many countries. People-to-people exchanges and international flights are beginning to increase, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing. In order to reduce the risks, China issued a notice on requiring a negative test certificate for foreign travellers before boarding their planes, he said.

“This will help to ensure safe and orderly restoration of international people to people exchanges and economic activities”, Wang said.

All Chinese and foreign passengers should finish the tests five days before they board the flights and airlines are responsible to verify their test results before they let the passengers through, he said.

Oxford vaccine candidate shows promise

Results published on Monday of early human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca have shown promise. The results come around a week after US biotech firm Moderna had released its own early trial data and at a time when several firms are racing to find an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has killed over 600,000 globally.

The vaccine developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, which belongs to a category called non-replicating viral vector vaccines, tries to build the body’s immunity against this spike protein. The idea is to create antibodies to fight this spiked surface so that the virus does not even have the chance to penetrate the cells. At least 14,703,293 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus across the world, with 6,09,887 deaths and 8,290,431 recoveries.

Rishi Sunak hands UK key workers a COVID-19 crisis pay rise

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Tuesday handed an above inflation pay rise to key workers such as doctors, teachers and police officers in recognition of their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

The UK’s Treasury Department, which the Indian-origin minister heads, said that nearly 900,000 workers will benefit across the country, with teachers and doctors seeing the largest rise at 3.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively recognising their efforts on the frontline during the battle against COVID-19. Police and prison officers will both have a 2.5 per cent rise in pay, scheduled for the 2020-21 financial year.

“These past months have underlined what we always knew – that our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and that we can rely on them when we need them,” said Sunak.

“It’s right therefore that we follow the recommendations of the independent pay bodies with this set of real-terms pay rises,” he said. The UK’s Armed Forces will receive a 2 per cent uplift as 16,340 new recruits join the UK Regular Armed Forces from April 2019 to March 2020, an increase of 30.9 per cent compared with the previous 12 month period.

This pay rise follows the settlement for more than one million National Health Service (NHS) workers who continue to benefit from the three-year Agenda for Change pay deal, under which the starting pay for a newly qualified nurse has increased by over 12 per cent since 2017/18. This means nurses who are still moving up their pay structures will receive an average 4.4 per cent rise this year. There are 12,220 more nurses and health visitors working for the NHS compared to last year, the government said.

Singapore reports 399 new cases, majority from dormitories of foreign workers

Singapore reported 399 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a large majority of them from the dormitories of foreign workers, which have emerged as the main virus hotspots in the country.

With no deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the coronavirus death toll in the island nation remained at 27 with 48,434 confirmed cases.

In its daily update, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said 390 of the new cases were foreign workers from the dormitories and nine cases were from the community — one Singapore citizen and eight foreigners on work passes living outside the dormitories.

In addition, there were three imported cases who had been isolated upon arrival in Singapore. “The high number of cases today is mainly due to a batch of test results from the previous day,” the MOH said.

Currently, there are 183 patients hospitalised while 3,454 are isolated and cared for at community facilities for mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still tested positive for COVID-19. In all, 44,371 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, including 285 patients who were discharged on Monday.

New infections decline in China
Couriers wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus look through food delivery orders outside of a shopping and office complex in Beijing, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. (AP Photo)

Eight cases of coronavirus were reported from China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, the Associated Press reported.

Three cases were brought from outside the country, according to the National Health Commission, bringing the country’s total coronavirus cases to 83,693, with at least 4,634 deaths.

Cases in Xinjiang have been concentrated in the regional capital and largest city of Urumqi, where over 50 people have been reported to be infected. China has largely contained local transmission of the virus and responded swiftly to the Xinjiang outbreak by reducing subway, bus and taxi service in Urumqi, imposing travel restrictions and widespread testing.

Romania passes law to stop Covid-19 patients from leaving hospitals
People, some wearing masks for protection against coronavirus infection, look up as planes fly by the Aviation Heroes’ monument in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, July 20, 2020. (AP Photo)

A legislative void which enabled thousand of Romanians infected with coronavirus to walk out of hospitals or not be treated at all ends on Tuesday as a new law comes into effect, Reuters reported.

On July 2, the country’s Constitutional court ruled that Romania could not enforce mandatory quarantine or hospitalised care based on government decrees, and that such containment measures could only be taken through a parliamentary law. “From tomorrow we have a law, we can hospitalise, we can isolate,” Health Minister Nelu Tataru told a private TV station on Monday.

The minister said Romania could see a spike of over 1,000 new daily cases in the following days and the government could decide to quarantine specific outbreaks in companies or neighborhoods going forward.

Around 972 people who tested positive for Covid-19 were released from hospital at their request against medical advice between July 2 and 20, data released on Monday showed. As many as 3,680 people were not hospitalised at all, and the government is yet to estimate the impact of the legislative void on the growing number of infections, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said.

Romania has recorded 38,139 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 22,747 recoveries and 2,038 deaths.

South Korea reports over 40 new cases

South Korea’s new coroanvrius cases bounced back to over 40 on Tuesday, a day after it reported its smallest daily rise in local transmissions in two months, the Associated Press reported.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said that the 45 new cases included 20 people infected locally and 25 associated with international arrivals.

The country has reported at least 13,816 confirmed cases and 296 deaths so far. South Korea enforces two-week quarantines on all people arriving from abroad.

Two men take a walk at the lake in the 3 de Febrero park as the government begins to ease quarantine restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus, in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 20, 2020. (Reuters)
Russia reports fewer than 6,000 cases

Russia reported 5,842 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, pushing its total infection tally to 7,83,328, the fourth highest number of cases in the world, Reuters reported. The country’s coronavirus response centre said 153 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing Russia’s overall death toll from the virus to 12,580.

Virus stalks Egypt’s prisons amid news blackout

Coronavirus has infected several people inside Egyptian prisons and killed at least 14 detainees, the Associated Press quoted a leading human right watchdog as saying.

Human Rights Watch released a report based on letters smuggled from prison and interviews with inmates and their relatives. It documented cases of detainees who died after experiencing suspected virus symptoms without being tested or receiving adequate medical treatment.

Tens of thousands of people are crammed into what rights groups say are overcrowded and unsanitary prisons.
Despite appeals for the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to release thousands of inmates to curb the pandemic, authorities have accelerated a long-running crackdown on dissent, arresting health workers, journalists and critics who voice concerns over the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Egypt has reported 88,402 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 4,352 deaths.

Two more ministers in Brazil test positive 
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the ceremony to lower the Brazilian National flag down for the night, at the Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, July 20, 2020. (Reuters)

Two more ministers in the Cabinet of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said they have tested positive for coronavirus, the Associated Press reported.

Four Cabinet ministers have tested positive so far, along with president Bolsonaro. The Latin American nation has reported over 2 million Covid-19 cases, with at least 79,488 deaths.

White House coronavirus task force briefings to be revived 
A visitor wearing a face mask visits the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, which reopened today after months of closure due to coronavirus outbreak, in Washington, US, July 20, 2020. (Reuters)

The White House is reviving its public coronavirus task force briefings, the Associated Press reported.

The coronavirus task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, briefed the public daily in March and April, with president Donald Trump participating and dominating many of the sessions. Trump said he will lead a briefing at 5 pm on Tuesday, his first since April 27.

The US Department of Health and Human Services is issuing guidance on preventing discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidelines issued Monday instruct health departments to ensure that racial and ethnic minority populations “are not subjected to excessive wait times, rejected for hospital admissions or denied access to intensive care units compared to similarly situated non-minority individuals.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert says the best way to manage the surging coronavirus and prevent future outbreaks is by sticking to what he calls the “fundamentals”. He told the nation’s governors that those include wearing face masks, shutting bars, limiting indoor dining, avoiding crowds and frequent hand-washing.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued strict guidelines that will require most of the state’s 6.7 million K-12 students to at least start the coming school year with online classes. California is witnessing an increase in the number of coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

A drive-through testing center is shown in operation during the outbreak of the coronavirus in Inglewood, California, US, July 20, 2020. (Reuters)
France imposes fine for not wearing face masks

Face masks are now required in France’s supermarkets, shopping malls, banks, stores and indoor markets to curb signs that the virus is making inroads again, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

The measure took effect on Monday and a fine of 135 euros ($155) can be levied against defaulters. Masks were already required in museums, public transport, cinemas, places of worship and other enclosed places.

France has reported over 30,000 Covid-19-related deaths, nearly half of them in retirement homes for older adults. It brought down infections with a strict two-month lockdown but is now seeing that the virus is making a comeback.

India reports over 37,000 new coronavirus cases
Health care workers in New Delhi on Monday, July 20, (Express file photo by Amit Mehra)

India reported 37,148 cases and 587 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of coronavirus infections to 11,55,191 including 28,084 casualties, 4,02,529 active cases, and 7,24,578 people who have been treated and discharged so far, according to the data by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data, as many as 1,43,81,303 samples have been tested in the country so far, with 3,33,395 samples being tested yesterday. Follow Coronavirus India LIVE Updates

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