1.21am BST
01:21

WHO says 1m cases reported per week for last five weeks

The World Health Organization said more than a million cases had been recorded in each of the last five weeks, “with over 280,000 being reported on July 24 alone”.

“While no country is unaffected, this rise is driven by high transmission in large and populous countries in the Americas and South Asia,” it said in a statement on Saturday.

Brazil and India had recently reported their highest daily increases, it added, while the figures remained worryingly high in the United States and South Africa – where Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel tested positive for the virus Saturday.

The US, still the hardest-hit nation, on Friday reported its second straight day of more than 70,000 new cases and over 1,000 deaths as the virus surges in the south and west.

1.15am BST
01:15

Hard to find: what the shortages in household items say about how we live now

Composite of some of the best selling Australian items during coronavirus lockdown. Composite: Alamy

In early April, fearing his hard-won shoulders would shrink into nothing over lockdown, my husband attempted to buy some weights. He spent hours searching, online and in stores, and found no heavy things to lift. Even on Gumtree, where you’d expect an enterprising soul or two to be selling home gym equipment at jacked up prices, there was nothing. In the end, he improvised, filling a gym bag with 40kg of sand.

Weights are not the only thing to have mysteriously vanished from shop shelves over the past few months. There’s been a national shortage of seeds, Nintendo Switch consoles are still hard to come by worldwide, and the scarcity of toilet paper is now so embedded in Covid-19 history, it has become part of museum collections.

This week, when face mask wearing became mandated in Melbourne, retailers struggled to keep up with the demand – not just for masks, but for sewing machines to make them:

Updated
at 1.20am BST

1.09am BST
01:09

Australia’s deputy chief medical officer has thrown his support behind an aged care response centre in Victoria in the face of a growing crisis in the sector from the deadly pandemic, AAP reports.

“This is about ensuring that there is appropriate emergency management structure, so there is excellent coordination of things like workforce distribution,” Dr Nick Coatsworth told ABC’s Weekend Breakfast program

He said it had become a very challenging environment where many aged care staff who had contracted Covid-19 were forced to isolate at home but the facility still needed to be run.

The centre is a joint venture between the federal and Victorian governments and comes as more than 500 coronavirus cases in the state are linked to home care facilities and evenly between staff and residents.

In the past two days, 12 older Victorians have died from the virus, taking the nation’s death total 145. There were an additional 357 coronavirus cases recorded on Saturday.

Here is our story on Victoria’s specialist aged care response centre:

Updated
at 1.16am BST

12.56am BST
00:56

North Korea holds emergency meeting after suspected Covid-19 case reported

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting after a person suspected of having Covid-19 returned from South Korea after illegally crossing the border this month, state media said on Sunday.

Kim declared a state of emergency and imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong, calling it a “critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country,” state news agency KCNA reported.If confirmed, it would be the first case officially acknowledged by North Korean authorities, who have so far said the country has no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

This picture taken on 25 July 2020 and released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 26 July shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending an emergency enlarged meeting of Political Bureau of WPK Central Committee at an undisclosed location. Photograph: KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/Getty Images

According to KCNA, a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the fortified border that divides the two Koreas with symptoms that suggested Covid-19.

“An emergency event happened in Kaesong City where a runaway who went to the south three years ago, a person who is suspected to have been infected with the vicious virus returned on 19 July after illegally crossing the demarcation line,” KCNA said.

Updated
at 1.23am BST

12.32am BST
00:32

Victoria launches Covid-19 ad blitz

Some of Australia’s most successful – and memorable – public health campaigns have been graphic in nature, such as for warning of the harms of tobacco smoking, or the importance of seatbelts.

The Victorian government has decided to take this approach for advertising around Covid-19, and it follows warnings from the premier, Daniel Andrews, over the past fortnight that if people do the right thing and stay at home they are putting themselves, their loved ones and those around them at risk. Andrews has repeatedly been reminding the public that this is not an ‘old person’s disease.

The ads have been rolled out across radio, television and social media and features Covid-19 survivors who describe having the virus as being “like drowning”. “I had coughing fits that went for one to two minutes. I was put in an induced coma, the doctors thought that I was going to die,” a man in his middle age says in one of the videos.

“It is very real.”

Victoria recorded 357 new coronavirus cases and five five more deaths on Saturday. It recorded its highest death toll on Friday, with seven deaths. The state continues to grapple with cases of the virus as other Australian jurisdictions have reported days in a row of no new cases.

Updated
at 12.46am BST

12.26am BST
00:26

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest news from around the world for the next few hours.

As always, it would be great to hear from you. Send news tips, questions, feedback and your Netflix login details to me on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

The known number of coronavirus cases worldwide is nearing 16m, with infections currently at 15,914,581 on the Johns Hopkins University tracker, as the WHO warns that cases have continued to rise by around 1m per week for the last five weeks. On 24 June, cases rose by a record 280,000 in a single day.

Meanwhile in the Australian state of Victoria, my colleague Melissa Davey reports, Covid-19 ads have been rolled out across radio, television and social media and features Covid-19 survivors who describe having the virus as being “like drowning”. “I had coughing fits that went for one to two minutes. I was put in an induced coma, the doctors thought that I was going to die,” a man in his middle age says in one of the videos.

Victoria recorded 357 new coronavirus cases and five five more deaths on Saturday. It recorded its highest death toll on Friday, with seven deaths. The state continues to grapple with cases of the virus as other Australian jurisdictions have reported days in a row of no new cases.

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting on Saturday after a person suspected of having Covid-19 returned from South Korea after illegally crossing the border.
The UK government has advised against all but essential travel to mainland Spain, and confirmed that all people arriving from Spain from Sunday will have to self-isolate for two weeks.
Florida became the US state with second-highest number of infections on Saturday, leaving it second to only California, the state with the highest population.
Brazil registered an additional 1,211 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, as well as a further 51,147 confirmed infections.
The number of people in Israel who have tested positive for coronavirus topped 60,000 on Saturday, as thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday in Jerusalem and other cities demanding prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation.
South Africa’s trade minister Ebrahim Patel on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19, the cabinet said, the fourth minister to contract the virus in Africa’s hardest-hit country.
The governor of Lombardy, Italy’s hardest-hit region in the pandemic, acknowledged that he is being investigated by Milan prosecutors over a lucrative contract to obtain protective medical gowns from his brother-in-law’s company, but denied any wrongdoing.
In Yemen, the coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating what was already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, a charity has warned. An already weak health system has been destroyed by five years of conflict and 80% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance.
Covid-19 hospitalisations in New York are at the lowest level since the pandemic began, as the state reported 10 further coronavirus deaths during the past 24 hours.

Updated
at 12.36am BST



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