9.14am BST

Catalonia may take stricter measures to limit coronavirus outbreak if situation does not improve

Spain’s Catalonia may take stricter measures to limit coronavirus outbreak if situation does not improve in the next 10 days, regional leader Quim Torra said on Monday.

PA reports:

Torra warned that in many parts of Catalonia the data was similar to the situation before Spain declared a national lockdown in March. He added his administration’s goal was to avoid taking as strict measures as the ones that were taken back then.

Catalan authorities on July 17 advised some four million people to remain home and leave only for essential trips, banned gatherings of more than ten people and limited the occupancy of bars and restaurants as the number of cases in the region is rising faster than in the rest of the country.

8.40am BST

Hong Kong announcing new measures to tackle growing outbreak

Hong Kong’s chief secretary, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, is announcing new measures for the city as it battles a growing outbreak. We earlier reported that Hong Kong has seen five consecutive days with figures in the triple figures. More than half of Hong Kong’s total case count in the pandemic has been in July, the vast majority of it community transmission.

Cheung has just told media.

The next two to three weeks will be critical. We need to prevent the further spread of the disease in the community,”

There is a high risk of a major outbreak in the community. That’s why the community as a whole and the govt must remain highly vigilant. The pandemic is worrying, there is no sign of any improvement.

The new measures will come into place from Wednesday:

Mask wearing is mandatory in all public places.
Apart from specified premises, all dine-in services are suspended. Take-away service can continue.
Sports venues, swimming pools will be included among businesses forced to close.
Group gatherings are restricted to no more than two people.

It’s going to be a grim Summer in Hong Kong.

Trinh Nguyen

It is hot ☀️ & humid. People live in small apartments. Beaches are closed. Everything closed after 6pm. Unemployment high. Shops shuttered & vacancy rising.

Hong Kong ?? summer of 2020.

July 25, 2020

Prof Sophie Chan, secretary for food and health, tells media the government is continually expanding its testing capability (widely reported to be under pressure despite being in numbers far below other countries – around 10,000/day).

They’ll concentrate on vulnerable groups, aged care homes, and taxi drivers, and they aren’t ruling out bringing in more private labs to reinforce government testing capacity.

at 8.50am BST

8.38am BST

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against Israel’s government in Rabin square in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photograph: Ariel Schalit/AP

The wave of colorful and combative demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks have been dominated by young Israelis, AP reports.

The unprecedented economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, and a crisis of confidence in leadership, have spurred a younger generation of Israelis wary of their future to take on a more prominent role in the protests. Many of them have little or no history of political involvement.

7.57am BST

Ryanair said it suffered the “most challenging” quarter in its 35-year history after reporting a loss of 185 million euro (168 million). The low-cost airline said a second wave of the disease was now its “biggest fear”.

The company said:

The past quarter was the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history.

Covid-19 grounded the group’s fleet for almost four months (from mid-March to end June) as EU governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns.

During this time, group airlines repatriated customers and operated rescue flights for different EU governments, as well as flying a series of medical emergency/PPE flights across Europe.

7.46am BST

Hi, I’m Aamna Mohdin taking over the liveblog from Helen Sullivan. If you want to contact me, you can email me (aamna.mohdin@theguardian.com) or Tweet me (@aamnamohdin).

7.03am BST

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thanks for following along – my colleague Aamna Mohdin will be bringing you the latest pandemic news from around the world for the next few hours.

7.01am BST

Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people amid new Covid-19 cases in Danang

Vietnam is evacuating 80,00o people from the central city of Danang and reimposed disease-prevention measures, after four local coronavirus cases were detected, the first to be recorded in the country for more than three months.

The source of the new cases is not clear. Vietnamese media reported that the 57-year-old man, a retired grandfather, had not left the city in recent months, but had visited three healthcare facilities and had recently attended a wedding. He visited hospital with a cough and fever on 20 July and is reportedly in critical condition:

at 8.40am BST

6.51am BST

South Korea says defector who fled to North ‘did not have’ Covid-19

South Korea has said that a defector who recently fled to the North does not appear to have contracted Covid-19, a day after Pyongyang imposed a lockdown near the border, claiming the man was its first recorded case of the illness.

North Korean state media reported on Sunday that the 24-year-old man, who was reportedly in quarantine, was displaying symptoms of coronavirus after returning to his homeland across the border separating the two Koreas last week.

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, declared a state of “maximum emergency” and ordered the border town of Kaesong, where the defector was discovered, to go into lockdown, the state-run KCNA news agency said.

But on Monday, health authorities in the South said there was no evidence that the defector had contracted the illness:

6.38am BST

Chinese authorities to test six million in Dalian

Chinese health authorities have announced they plan to test all six million plus residents of a northeastern city where a growing infection cluster has spread to seven other cities.

Dalian, in Liaoning province, reported 12 new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, and 14 asymptomatic cases.

The first of the 24 cases confirmed so far was reported on Wednesday, in a 58-year-old man working at a seafood processing facility. All employees and close contacts are now under quarantine. The national health commission said cases in seven other cities had links to the Dalian outbreak.

Health workers carry out Covid-19 coronavirus tests in a shopping mall in Dalian, in China’s northeast Liaoning province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Head of the commission, Ma Xiaowei, said Dalian should aim to have every resident tested within four days. The costs will all be covered by the Chinese government.

Ma said there were still uncertainties in the Dalian outbreak, and testing resources needed to be increased in nearby cities, China Daily reported.

As outbreaks pop up across mainland China, authorities are responding quickly with transport shut downs, building lockdowns, and city-wide testing on massive scales.

In May a resurgence of the virus in Wuhan saw city authorities directed to have all 11 million residents tested within 10 days.

6.33am BST

UK front pages, Monday 27 July 2020

Many of this morning’s papers lead with the quarantine measures for travellers returning to the UK from Spain. Metro and the Daily Record are winning in the pun stakes, with “The pain in Spain” and “Spain in the neck” respectively:

Neil Henderson

METRO: The pain in Spain #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/hF2huqLlWr

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

DAILY RECORD: Spain in the neck #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/IN3DGlTvl9

July 26, 2020

The Guardian’s headline is “Tourists may face more ‘handbrake restrictions’” – you can read that story here.

Neil Henderson

GUARDIAN: Tourists may face more ‘handbrake restrictions’ #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/mwSTIGNpbi

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

TIMES: Holidays in turmoil as quarantine is imposed #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/6eMgXkjJhE

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

EXPRESS: Millions facing holiday chaos #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/pD5sCUCJ5s

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

FT UK: Europe’s banks braces for more loan losses from Covid 19 crisis #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/HZJytgY4oy

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

INDEPENDENT DIGITAL: Summer of uncertainty #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/aHkavxGVoh

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

I: Government stands firm on changes to travel rules #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/tgx1nb9aON

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

THE SCOTSMAN: ⁦@NicolaSturgeon⁩ under fire over Spain quarantine decision #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/kcbAzkayGf

July 26, 2020

Neil Henderson

MIRROR: Holiday hell for millions of Brits #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/XIjdPSojt8

July 26, 2020

6.26am BST

The UK’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis could take 18 months longer than expected with hopes of a V-shaped recovery fading fast, according to a leading economic forecaster.

Britain’s economic output is not expected to return to its 2019 level until the end of 2024, the EY Item Club said on Monday in its latest projections on the health of the UK economy. It had previously expected GDP to match fourth-quarter 2019 size in early 2023.

EY is predicting that Britain’s economy will shrink by a record 20% in the April to June quarter, rather than 15% as it forecast last month. The economy expected to return to growth in the third quarter, with a quarterly expansion of around 12%:

5.54am BST


Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

Global deaths are nearing 650,000 as cases climb by over 250,000 for four straight days. The number people who have died in the pandemic so far is nearing 650,000 according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with the total currently at 647,928. Cases are showing no sign of slowing, with the last four days seeing more than 250,000 cases reported worldwide each day. Three of the last four days saw more than 280,000 daily cases – a rate that would mean the global total would increase by 2m cases per week. There are over 16.2m cases worldwide.
Vietnam will evacuate 80,000 tourists from the city of Danang, the government announced in a statement, following the discovery of four locally transmitted coronavirus cases over the weekend – the first cases in the country for 99 days.The government has also reintroduced social distancing measures in the city.
China recorded 61 new coronavirus cases on Monday – the highest daily figure since April, propelled by clusters in three separate regions that have sparked fears of a fresh wave. The bulk of 57 new domestic cases were found in the far northwestern Xinjiang region, according to the National Health Commission, where a sudden outbreak in the regional capital of Urumqi occurred in mid-July.Fourteen domestic cases were also recorded in the northeastern province of Liaoning where a fresh cluster broke out in the city of Dalian last week.
India has for the first time recorded over 50,000 cases in one day. The Times of India reported that India’s one-day case total was higher than 50,000 for the first time on Sunday, taking the country’s total to 1.4m cases – the third highest worldwide.50,362 new cases were reported, toppling the previous one-day case record of 49,055.Last week was also India’s deadliest, the paper reports, “when total cases grew by 28% and the death toll jumped by 19%.”
Australia saw its highest one-day case increase of the pandemic so far, after the state of Victoria recorded 532 new cases, along with six more deaths of people aged in their 50s to 90s.
The Australian state of New South Wales recorded 17 new cases, about average for the last week. Of the new cases eight are international travellers in hotel quarantine. Another four are linked to the four are linked funeral gatherings cluster, three are household contacts of cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park, and two are under investigation.
New Zealand reported another day with no new cases of Covid-19 – the third day in a row. All of the country’s 21 active cases of the virus were diagnosed in travellers returning to the country, all of whom are quarantined in government-managed isolation facilities.
Coronavirus cases in Papua New Guinea have nearly doubled in a weekend, with the emerging pandemic threatening to overwhelm the country’s already-fragile healthcare system. The pandemic has, so far, been largely suppressed in the archipelagic nation, with low infection rates and only one death – of an already seriously-ill patient – linked to Covid-19.But authorities fear persistent community transmission, particularly in the crowded capital Port Moresby, could soon see the virus running unchecked.
The US has recorded 5,000 deaths in five days. The US has suffered more than 1,000 deaths a day from Covid-19 for five days running, as cases surge in southern and western states, the national caseload nears 4.2m and the death toll approaches 150,000.
Dr Birx urged five US states to close bars and limit social gatherings. The co-ordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, Dr Deborah Birx, told reporters In Kentucky on Sunday that that federal health officials recommend that five US states – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia – “close their bars, cut back indoor restaurant capacity and limit social gatherings to 10 people,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports, as well as recommending that “100%” of people wear masks when they are in public.
Pacific islanders living in the US are being hospitalised with Covid-19 at up to 10 times the rate of some other racial groups. In Washington state, rates of confirmed cases for Native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander people are nine times higher than those of white people, while hospitalisation rates are 10 times that of white people, according to department of health figures.
Morocco announced a new lockdown. Morocco will stop people entering and leaving some of its biggest cities from midnight to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, the interior and health ministries said on Sunday. On Sunday, the health ministry said 633 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, one of the biggest daily rises so far, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 20,278, with 313 deaths and 16,438 recoveries.
Some 500 workers are in quarantine on a large Bavarian farm to contain a mass coronavirus outbreak, German officials said, as they announced free Covid-19 tests for local residents. A total of 174 seasonal workers have tested positive for the virus since Friday.
The number of confirmed infections to Covid-19 has passed 36,000 in Afghanistan as the death toll in Kabul topped 500, amid raising concerns about a second wave of the pandemic over the upcoming Eid celebration. Coronavirus related deaths rose by 12 from the previous day to stand at 1,259 on Sunday.
Spain’s Covid-19 death toll could be 60% higher than the official figure. An investigation by Spanish newspaper El País, in which reporters counted regional statistics of suspected, as well as confirmed fatalities, reached a total of 44,868 deaths.
Spain is in talks with the UK about exempting the Canary and Balearic islands from strict quarantine rules. From midnight on Sunday, travellers returning from Spain to the UK have been forced to quarantine for 14 days, following a surge of cases in the country. The Spanish foreign minister said conversations between the countries were focussed on excluding the islands, which have seen far fewer Covid-19 infections and deaths, from the measures.
Vietnam has reintroduced social distancing measures in the city of Danang. The rules, reimposed by the government, follow the detection of four new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases in the country, after three months of no new infections.
North Korea has declared a state of emergency in a border town over a suspected coronavirus case. State news agency KCNA said leader Kim Jong Un also imposed a lockdown in Kaesong after a person who illegally crossed the border from South Korea displayed symptoms of the virus.

5.42am BST

Reuters is reporting that 80,000 tourists are being evacuated from the central city of Danang, the Vietnamese government announced in a statement, following the discovery of four locally transmitted coronavirus cases over the weekend – the first cases in the country for 99 days.

The government has also reintroduced social distancing measures in the city.

at 6.57am BST

5.20am BST

‘People don’t want to fly’: Covid-19 reawakens Europe’s sleeper trains

For all their promise of romance and adventure, Europe’s sleeper trains had appeared to have reached the end of the line.

Cripplingly expensive to run and forsaken by travellers for budget airlines, a decision by the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn to terminate the service connecting Paris to Berlin six years ago ushered in the closure of routes across the continent including almost all of France’s network.

But as Europe continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, there are tentative signs of a new dawn for the couchettes and twin bunks, as the concerns of both governments and travellers’ over the environmental impact of short-haul flights are being complemented by a desire to avoid airport departure lounges and security queues:

5.00am BST

More on China from AFP: a second wave of mass testing was also launched in Xinjiang’s Urumqi on Sunday to detect residents who had previously tested false negative, reported the state-run Global Times, following a mass testing effort earlier this month.

More than 2.3 million people in the city of 3.5 million have been tested so far, according to a local press conference Friday.

The outbreaks come as the Chinese Super League football tournament kicked off its much-delayed season on Saturday.

Residential communities in both Dalian and Urumqi have been placed under lockdown, with authorities declaring a “wartime mode” to combat the virus.

Experts still have not confirmed the origin of the recent Xinjiang cluster, which has infected 178 people to date.

The fresh infections in Jilin were announced just days after President Xi Jinping concluded an inspection tour of the province last week.

The area announced four new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, after screening travellers returning from Dalian.

Another 302 asymptomatic cases in China are under medical observation, health authorities said Monday, and there are currently 331 people ill with COVID-19 across the country, 21 in a severe condition.

4.41am BST

China records highest new daily coronavirus case increase since April

China recorded 61 new coronavirus cases on Monday – the highest daily figure since April, AFP reports, propelled by clusters in three separate regions that have sparked fears of a fresh wave.

The bulk of 57 new domestic cases were found in the far northwestern Xinjiang region, according to the National Health Commission, where a sudden outbreak in the regional capital of Urumqi occurred in mid-July.

Fourteen domestic cases were also recorded in the northeastern province of Liaoning where a fresh cluster broke out in the city of Dalian last week.

Two more local cases were found in the neighbouring province of Jilin near the North Korean border – the first since late May. The last four infections confirmed on Monday were imported from overseas.

It is the highest daily tally of new virus cases since April 14, when 89 cases, mostly imported, were recorded.

Chinese authorities have rolled out mass testing for hundreds of thousands of people in the port city of Dalian.

4.34am BST

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 340 to 205,609, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Monday.

The reported deaths remained unchanged at 9,118.

4.22am BST

Here is the full story on the Australian state of Victoria reporting the highest number of Covid-19 identified in a 24-hour period in Australia to date, with 532 new cases, along with six more deaths of people aged in their 50s to 90s:

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