Thousands of Filipinos wanting to return to their home provinces have flooded a stadium in Manila as part of a government transportation program.

Hong Kong has seen a record daily increase in cases as authorities warn the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he could have done some things “differently” in responding to the coronavirus outbreak, admitting the British Government did not fully understand the pandemic in its initial stages.

This story will be updated throughout Saturday.

Saturday’s key momentsPhilippines stadium flooded with people wanting to return home

Thousands of Filipinos wanting to return to their home provinces have flooded a stadium in Manila as part of a government transportation program.

The stadium was reserved as a place to test people before transporting them back to their home provinces.

It was set up as part of a scheme to help people who had lost their jobs in the nation’s capital return to their families elsewhere.

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Officials had planned for 7,500 people to arrive at the stadium from Friday, but they were caught out when another 2,000 people who were not yet scheduled to travel headed there anyway.

“Because of the overflowing number of people, we can no longer control [the situation] and the relevance of social distancing had been diminished,” Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo, who is overseeing the Government’s transportation assistance program said.

Police were deployed to urge social distancing, but people, including the elderly, children and pregnant women, were seen in close contact with each other. Some were not wearing masks.

Many of those at the stadium were stuck in the capital when it imposed a lockdown in mid-March.

That was eased at the start of June, allowing businesses to reopen in a limited capacity, but schools remain shut and mass gatherings are banned.

People must wear masks in public and observe social distancing, while children and the elderly are urged to stay at home.

Since restrictions were eased cases have more than quadrupled to 78,412, with more than half of those in the capital and surrounding areas.

Record daily increase reported in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has reported 133 new coronavirus cases, including 126 that were locally transmitted.

It is a record daily increase in cases and authorities warn the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.

The Asian financial hub reported 123 new cases on Friday, after it extended strict-social distancing measures.

Since late January, more than 2,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 18 of whom have died.

Johnson ‘didn’t understand’ coronavirus in deadly first monthsSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. Boris Johnson admits shortcomings in early coronavirus response

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted his Government did not understand COVID-19 during its “first few weeks and months”.

Mr Johnson, who has been criticised for being too slow to react, told the BBC there were “very open questions” about whether the lockdown had started too late.

After almost 300,000 cases, more than 45,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, which has the world’s third-worst death toll.

He said ministers could have done some things “differently” and there were “lessons to be learned”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his government did not fully understand coronavirus in its first few months.(Reuters: Jeremy Selwyn)

“Maybe there were things we could have done differently, and, of course, there will be time to understand what exactly we could have done, or done differently,” said Mr Johnson, who has pledged to hold an inquiry after criticism from the opposition Labour Party.

One member of the Government’s scientific advisory group said the death toll could have been halved if lockdown had come a week earlier.

But Mr Johnson said his Government had stuck to scientific advice “like glue”.

Asked whether lockdown came too late, he said: “When you listen to the scientists, the questions that you’ve just asked are actually very open questions as far as they are concerned.

“[COVID-19] was something that was new, that we didn’t understand in the way that we would have liked in the first few weeks and months.”

Mr Johnson said the biggest thing UK authorities failed to initially grasp was the extent of asymptomatic transmission between people.

New rules on wearing masks in England have come into force, with people going to shops, banks and supermarkets now required to wear face coverings.

Police can issue fines of £100 ($180) if they refuse to wear a mask,

WHO reports 9,753 deaths on Friday, worst since April Peru updated its coronavirus data to reflect 3,000 more deaths for an overall toll of 17,000.(AP: Rodrigo Abd)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Friday, with the total rising by 284,196 in 24 hours.

Deaths rose by 9,753, the biggest one-day increase since a record high of 9,797 on April 30.

The previous WHO record for new cases was 259,848 on July 18.

Deaths have averaged 5,000 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June.

The WHO reported 69,641 new cases in the US, 67,860 in Brazil, 49,310 in India and 13,104 in South Africa.

The largest increases in new deaths were 3,876 in Peru, 1,284 in Brazil, 1,074 in the United States, 790 in Mexico and 740 in India.

Peru recently updated its COVID-19 data and in one day increased its total death toll by 3,000 to a total of more than 17,000 fatalities.

California sets new daily record as US passes 145,000 deaths California reported 9,718 new coronavirus cases on Friday, with a record 159 deaths taking the state’s toll to 8,186.(AP: Marcio Jose Sanchez)

California reported 159 of the nation’s 759 deaths on Friday, the most recorded in a day since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The US has now passed 145,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

According to the state’s Department of Public Health, California’s death toll rose to 8,186.

The new milestone comes after a then-record 157 deaths were reported on Thursday in the nation’s most-populous state.

Los Angeles has been the area worst-hit by coronavirus, with 4,262 fatalities — more than half of California’s total.

The state recorded 9,718 new coronavirus cases on Friday, raising the total number of cases to 435,334.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 4,091,062 cases of coronavirus in the US, with 145,063 deaths.

On Friday, 52,314 new cases were reported across the country.

Vietnam records first local infection in three months Vietnam has won international praise for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.(Reuters: Kham)

Vietnam is back on high alert for the coronavirus after medical officials in the central city of Danang detected what appears to be the first local COVID-19 case in the South-East Asian country for three months.

Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing programme, Vietnam has kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases, and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.

But on Friday, Vietnam’s health ministry said in a statement that a 57-year-old man from Danang, a popular tourist hotspot, had tested positive three times for the virus, prompting the isolation of 50 people he came in contact with.

More than 100 people connected to the patient were tested for the virus but all returned negative results, the statement said.

The health ministry has not officially confirmed the case as COVID-19, which comes at a time when Vietnam was about to resume international commercial flights and as domestic tourism is surging.

It did not say how the man contracted the virus, but said he had not left Danang for nearly a month. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia.

Authorities in Hanoi, meanwhile, reinstated a recommendation to wear masks in public places.

Of the nearly 150 cases reported over the past three months, all were imported and the people quarantined on arrival.

South Korea records largest increase in cases since March A message of gratitude and support for health and frontline workers is displayed on a building in Seoul.(AP: Lee Jin-man)

South Korea reported 113 cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said, the largest one-day increase since March, bringing the country’s total to 14,092.

Of the new cases, 86 were imported and 27 were domestic infections.

South Korean health authorities said COVID-19 infections among people arriving from abroad could drive the number of new cases on Friday above 100, the first time since the beginning of April that daily cases hit triple digits.

Saturday’s 113 infections was the highest since March 31, when 125 people were reported with the virus that causes COVID-19.

A large number of crew members on a Russian ship have tested positive, as have a number of South Korean workers brought home on military flights from Iraq, KCDC deputy director Kwon Jun-wook told a briefing.

Two South Korean military aircraft arrived from Iraq on Friday, carrying 293 workers who were evacuated as cases swelled in that country.

As the coronavirus has spread around the world, a significant number of South Korea’s infections have been found in people arriving from overseas, with nearly 70 per cent of the imported cases South Korean nationals, while more than 15 per cent of the total infections were imported cases.

Beijing cinemas reopen as China reports dozens of new cases Chinese consumers are avid moviegoers.(AP: Ng Han Guan)

Beijing has begun partially reopening movie theatres as the threat of coronavirus continues to recede in the Chinese capital, as cases creep up elsewhere in the country.

China reported 34 cases of the new coronavirus in the mainland for July 24, up from 21 cases a day earlier, the health commission said on Saturday.

Of the new infections, 20 were in the far western region of Xinjiang, according to a statement by the National Health Commission. Nine were in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, while the remaining five were imported cases.

China reported 74 new asymptomatic cases, up from 43 a day earlier.

Beijing has gone more than two weeks without any cases of local transmission, spurring authorities to lift many restrictions on activities.

Cinemas in parts of the city deemed at low risk of cross-infection began admitting moviegoers under social distancing rules. Tickets must be booked in advance, attendance is capped at 30 per cent of capacity and no eating or drinking is allowed during the show.

As with most venues in China, a temperature check and online travel record were required for entry. Cinemas have been closed for around six months but began reopening this week in major cities throughout the country.

Chinese are enthusiastic moviegoers and the country was expected to surpass the US this year as the world’s biggest box office before the pandemic hit.

As of Friday, mainland China had 83,784 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 4,634.

Mel Gibson was hospitalised with coronavirus A statement on behalf of the actor said he has “completely recovered” from the coronavirus.(Reuters: Kevork Djansezian/Pool)

A representative for Mel Gibson said the actor was hospitalised with COVID-19 in Los Angeles after he tested positive in April 2020.

Gibson spent a week in hospital and was treated with the drug remdesivir.

He has since recovered and “tested negative numerous times since then”, his representative said.

A statement on behalf of the actor also said he had “completely recovered” and was doing “great.”

France and Norway reinstituting restrictions for Spain as cases surge Spain reported a cumulative total of 272,421 coronavirus cases on Friday (local time).(AP: Alvaro Barrientos)

France is advising it citizens not to travel to the Spanish region of Catalonia in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

Mr Castex also said the Government will reinforce controls at France’s borders in the hope of better containing the pandemic, with people arriving from some countries being subject to compulsory testing.

“Concerning the situation in Catalonia, which is displaying worsened indicators for infection, we strongly encourage French citizens to avoid going there until the health situation improves,” Mr Castex told reporters.

Norway has also announced it will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Spain from Saturday after a surge in COVID-19 cases there, while it will ease restrictions on people coming from more counties of Sweden, the Government said.

Since lifting a nationwide lockdown a month ago Spain has struggled to contain a rise in new infections.

Spain reported a cumulative total of 272,421 coronavirus cases on Friday, up 2,255 from the day before, health ministry data showed, with the figure including results of antibody tests of people who have recovered.

In the past 24 hours, some 922 new infections were diagnosed, the ministry said, compared with 971 the previous day.

The latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showed COVID-19 infections in Spain had risen to 30.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

South Korea to sponsor medical students as safeguard against future pandemics The South Korean Government said it would waive tuition and offer full scholarships to about 300 students in key health areas.(AP: Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea has announced a new plan to train 4,000 new doctors across the country in a decade as a safeguard against future public health crises.

Authorities flagged the need to train doctors for potential outbreaks of infectious diseases worse than COVID-19, pointing to the risk of more frequent epidemics and limited numbers of beds for the sick.

Officials said they plan to step up admissions to medical schools over the next decade using a combination of new quotas, incentives for students in less lucrative specialities and those who complete a decade of public health work in rural areas.

“We will increase the quota for medical students to add more personnel in specialised fields,” said Kim Tae-nyeon, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea.

The Government said it would waive tuition and offer full scholarships to about 300 students in areas such as epidemiology, gynaecology or surgery, widely seen as unpopular in contrast with more lucrative plastic surgery and dermatology.

The National University Hospital Association welcomed the idea of more doctors, but expressed concern about the skewed distribution of doctors and medical facilities, with most hospitals centred on Seoul, the capital.

Formula One cancels all races in the Americas The opening race scheduled for March in Melbourne was cancelled as COVID-19 first raised serious health concerns.(Pool: Joe Klamar)

Formula One organisers have scrapped all four of this season’s races in the Americas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instead adding three European rounds, including old favourites Imola and the Nurburgring, to the calendar.

While previously scheduled grands prix in Canada, Texas, Mexico and Brazil were cancelled, Formula One said in a statement that Portugal’s Portimao will host a race for the first time.

“Due to the fluid nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, local restrictions and the importance of keeping communities and our colleagues safe, it will not be possible to race in Brazil, USA, Mexico and Canada this season,” it said.

The cancellations take the tally of races axed from the original 2020 calendar to 11. The other casualties of COVID-19 are Australia, France, Monaco, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan.

More German abattoir workers test positive after mass outbreak Approximately 1,500 workers were infected in the initial outbreak at the German slaughterhouse.(DPA: Guido Kirchner)

An additional 31 workers at a German abattoir hit by a coronavirus outbreak have this week tested positive.

Coronavirus outbreaks at several slaughterhouses have forced meatpacking plants to review cooling systems amid global concern over airborne transmission risks.

The Toennies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck had closed in mid-June after about 1,500 workers tested positive for COVID-19. That outbreak in turn led to about 600,000 people in the surrounding Guetersloh region being put back in lockdown, which has since been lifted.

The plant reopened last week after a new health and safety plan was introduced including testing all workers twice a week for coronavirus.

Since then, 7,300 tests have been undertaken with 31 people showing positive, said a statement from the local government authority.

“From the view of the health department this cannot be viewed as a second wave,” the Guetersloh authority said, adding that positive tests mainly related to remainder infections from the first bout.

Germany has had more than 200,000 cases and over 9,000 deaths in total.

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