Indonesian women attending Eid al-Adha prayers maintain social distancing in the East Java city of Surabaya.
Muslims attend Eid al-Adha prayers with social distancing as a preventive measure against the coronavirus at a mosque in Surabaya in East Java on July 31, 2020. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
US economy shrinks massively in second quarter
In case you missed it, the US economy shrank by an annual rate of 32.9% between April and June, its sharpest contraction since the second world war, government figures revealed on Thursday.
The record-setting quarterly fall in economic growth compared to the same time last year came as another 1.43 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, a second week of rises after a four-month decline.
The annualised figure is the largest drop in quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) – the broadest measure of the economy – since records began in 1945. Economists expect the rate to improve sharply later this year but the outlook has been clouded by the recent rise in infections across the US.
The news came as Germany, Europe’s largest economy, also recorded a dramatic slump in economic growth, contracting by 10.1% between April and June, the biggest decline since 1970. The news triggered a sell-off in US and European markets.
You can read our full coverage below:
at 5.32am BST
Global cases exceed 17.2m
Global coronavirus cases stand at 17,219,767, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker, with 671,00 deaths.
The top five countries with the most infections are:
The five countries with the most deaths are:
United States – 152,040
Brazil – 91,263
United Kingdom –46,084 (it has 303,910 cases)
Mexico – 46,000 (it has 408,449 cases)
Italy – 35,132
China has recorded its highest daily total of new Covid-19 cases since early March, the vast majority of them in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
On Thursday health authorities confirmed 127 new cases, including four imported and 123 local transmissions. There were 112 in Xinjiang and 11 were in the province of Liaoning.
Separately authorities also reported 11 new asymptomatic cases.
China is reporting daily rises in cases, with 105 reported on Wednesday, 101 on Tuesday, and 68 on Monday.
The major outbreak is in Xinjiang, where strict anti-virus measures have been in place in the capital Urumqi for over a week, including the suspension of most public transport and flights, and controls on the entry and exit of people at housing compounds in some districts.
However experts have sounded the alarm over the risk to people detained in China’s secretive re-education camps. Clusters of infections have been recorded in the capital, Urumqi, and the city of Kashgar about 300km away, and there are fears that the community transmission could see the virus enter the camps by infected employees.
The Liaoning outbreak is centred on the capital city, Dalian, but has spread to other cities and provinces in recent days. State media reported more than 17,500 medics had been mobilised to run almost 2,700 testing sites across the city. By midnight Tuesday about 3.53m samples had been collected, CCTV reported.
Worker collects a swab from a man for nucleic acid testing at a makeshift testing site in Dalian, Liaoning province. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters
Vietnam reports 45 new cases in Danang
Vietnam has reported 45 new coronavirus infections in the city of Danang, marking the country’s biggest single-day jump in cases, as the health ministry sent more health experts to the central city in a bid to combat the outbreak.
Reuters reports that the new patients, aged between 27 and 87, are linked to three hospitals and two clinics in Danang, a tourism hot spot where Vietnam last week detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months, the ministry said in a statement.
Vietnam started mass coronavirus testing in the capital Hanoi, banned gatherings in its economic hub and urged tens of thousands of domestic travellers to report to authorities on Thursday, as the country scrambled to contain the new spread of the virus.
The ministry overnight sent a special task force of health experts, along with more than 1,000 health workers, to Danang to help handle the deteriorating situation there.
The newly confirmed cases in Danang have brought up the total number of cases in Vietnam to 509, with no deaths.
A health worker takes a blood sample from a resident at a makeshift rapid testing centre in Hanoi. Photograph: Nhac Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images
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Philippines extends Manila restrictions
The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, says restrictions in the capital Manila will remain until mid-August. He also announced free vaccines to combat a surge in infections that has overwhelmed health care workers and facilities.
“My plea is to endure some more. Many have been infected,” Duterte said in a televised address.
The capital region and provinces south of it have been under general community quarantine, limiting movement of elderly and children, and the capacity of business establishments.
Duterte promised free vaccines, prioritising first the poor and then the middle class, police and military personnel. The Philippines will be given precedence by China in vaccine distribution, he said.
Health workers perform swab tests to government workers in Quezon City, northeast of Manila. Photograph: Mark R Cristino/EPA
Brazil’s Bolsonaro on antibiotics for infection
Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday he was taking antibiotics for an infection that left him feeling weak. Reuters reported that he was chuckling in an online video about “mould” in his lungs, having spent weeks in isolation after catching coronavirus.
“I just did a blood test. I was feeling kind of weak yesterday. They found a bit of infection also. Now I’m on antibiotics,” Bolsonaro said in a livestream video, without elaborating on the infection.
“After 20 days indoors, I have other problems. I have mould in my lungs,” he said, referring to nearly three weeks he spent at the official presidential residence.
President Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle, tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. This photo was taken on Wednesday at an event at the presidential palace in Brasilia. Photograph: Eraldo Peres/AP
He tested positive for the coronavirus on 7 July and then negative last Saturday. His wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, tested positive on Thursday, according to a statement from the presidential palace.
Science and Technology Minister Marcos Pontes also said he had tested positive for the virus, making him the fifth cabinet minister diagnosed publicly.
Bolsonaro said he would go ahead with his visit to southern Rio Grande do Sul state on Friday.
Mexico’s official death toll rises to 46,000
Mexico’s health ministry posted 639 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday bring the country’s toll to 46,000, almost the same as the United Kingdom which has the third-highest death toll worldwide from the pandemic.
Total confirmed infections in Mexico stand at 416,179 cases, up 7,730, according to the ministry’s official count.
A cleaning worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) disinfects a public transport vans in Mexico City. Photograph: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images
Japan does not need to reimpose state of emergency – government
Japan does not need to reimpose a state of emergency chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said on Friday, reiterating the government’s stance amid a surge in new infections across the country.
Suga said the current trend in infections was different from that in March and April.
Japan reported a record high for new cases for the second day in a row on Thursday with at least 1,274 cases, including a record 367 in Tokyo.
Tokyo commuters wearing masks to protect from coronavirus. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters
Just to give you a bit of context on the scale of this Australian outbreak, the country’s previous highest daily total of new cases was 460, on 28 March. The graph below shows the huge uptick in cases in July, almost entirely driven by what is going on in Victoria.
Just while I’m still on Australia, the country’s second most populous state, New South Wales, has recorded 21 new cases in the past 24 hours. I believe that’s the biggest number since April, but will check that as soon as I can. Only two of the 21 new cases in the state, are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
There are significant concerns over these growing cases, including six in today’s figures from the Apollo restaurant in the city’s inner east suburb of Potts Point. There are now 19 cases associated with this cluster.
The Victorian state figure of 627 is the second highest number in the course of this pandemic, behind yesterday when there were 723 new cases.
He’s now talking about the 6-week lockdown, which passed its half-way mark on Wednesday. He says public health experts will spend the next two days looking at the trends until now, and that he will have more to say after that on where the state sits with its outbreak.
“It may well be the case … that we need to take further steps to pull this up,” he says.
He asks for people not so speculate about what the next steps are, but says Victoria could not open up again with infection numbers as they are at the moment.
He says the state’s current reproduction or R rate, is around 1 or just under.
You can find our full coverage of this story on our Australian live blog.
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Andrews says there were more than 130 people who were not at home when they should have been self-isolating. More than 100 cases have been returned to Victoria police. He says it’s not acceptable to have the virus and not be isolating at home.
This has been a recurring theme of the past few days’ press conferences. The police will be dealing with those who have not been self-isolating when directed to do so.
at 2.10am BST