India confirmed the steepest spike of 57,118 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking its coronavirus caseload close to 1.7 million.
Vietnam recorded its second coronavirus death as the country battles a new outbreak of the virus, which emerged in the city of Danang.
Spain reported a second day of 1,000-plus coronavirus infections, the highest since the nation lifted its lockdown in June.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, August 1
08:50 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports 397 coronavirus cases, three deaths
Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, on Saturday reported 397 cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours and three related deaths, compared with 627 cases and eight deaths a day earlier.
The deaths take the state’s COVID-19 fatalities to 116 and Australia’s tally to 201.
08:10 GMT – Russia plans mass vaccination against coronavirus from October
Russia is preparing to start a mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus in October, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday, RIA news agency reported.
The minister, who did not give details about the vaccine to be used, said doctors and teachers would be the first to be vaccinated.
A source told Reuters this week that Russia’s first potential COVID-19 vaccine, developed by a state research facility, would secure local regulatory approval in August and be administered to health workers soon after that.
Russia has reported more than 838,400 cases and at least 14,000 deaths [AFP]
07:45 GMT – US records biggest single-day deaths since May
US deaths from the novel coronavirus rose by at least 1,453 on Friday, the biggest one-day increase since May 27, to reach a total of 153,882, according to a Reuters tally.
For July, US cases rose by 1.87 million, or 69 percent, and deaths rose by 25,770, or 20 percent [Marco Bello/Reuters]
The rise in deaths was the biggest one-day increase since fatalities rose by 1,484 on May 27.
US cases rose by at least 66,986 to a total of 4.58 million with some local governments yet to report.
06:50 GMT – India records highest daily jump in coronavirus cases
India recorded the steepest spike of 57,118 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking its coronavirus caseload close to 1.7 million, with July alone accounting for nearly 1.1 million infections.
The Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 764 additional deaths for a total of 36,511.
Only US and Brazil have reported more cases than India [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Friday that India achieved more than 1 million recoveries with active cases only one-third of the total. India is now conducting more than 640,000 tests in 24 hours, taking cumulative tests across the country to nearly 1.9 million, he said.
06:15 GMT –
Hello, this is Hamza Mohamed in Doha taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.
04:58 GMT – Japan’s Okinawa declares state of emergency
Japan’s Okinawa region has declared a state of emergency and asked people to stay home for two weeks amid an “explosive spread” of coronavirus cases.
Governor Denny Tamaki said hospitals were being overwhelmed by the surge and told residents to avoid non-essential outings through the emergency, which is set to end on August 15.
Okinawa reported 71 new coronavirus cases Friday, bringing its total to 395. US forces based on the island account for 248 of those cases.
04:21 GMT – S Korea arrests Christian leader over church cluster
Authorities in South Korea have arrested the founder of a secretive Christian sect at the centre of the country’s largest outbreak on charges of obstructing the government anti-virus efforts.
Lee Man-hee is the powerful head of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus which is linked to more than 5,200 coronavirus infections, or 36 percent of South Korea’s total cases.
Prosecutors allege the 89-year-old conspired with other sect leaders to withhold information from authorities, including meeting places and the number of participants at the sect’s gatherings as authorities tried to trace infection routes in February.
Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they’re cooperating with health authorities. Its spokesperson, Kim Young-eun, said the church will do its best so that “the truth is clearly proved in court”.
People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on a news conference held by Lee Man-hee, founder of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, in Seoul, South Korea, March 2, 2020 [File: Heo Ran/Reuters]
03:47 GMT – Google says 20 US states, territories ‘exploring’ contact tracing apps
Alphabet Inc’s Google says 20 US states and territories, representing about 45 percent of the country’s population, are “exploring” contact tracing apps using a tool it developed with Apple Inc.
In addition, the company said public health authorities in 16 countries and regions outside the US had launched apps using the Apple-Google tool, up from 12 previously. They include Austria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Northern Ireland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Uruguay.
The technology enables app users to track encounters with other people through Bluetooth signals and anonymously notify contacts if they later become infected with the virus.
Google said the first of the US apps would be released in the “coming weeks”, but declined to name the states. It added that its system with Apple now enables apps launched by different countries to talk to each other, allowing contact-logging to continue even when users cross borders.
03:26 GMT – Sharp drop in new cases in China
China has reported a sharp drop in newly confirmed infections in the mainland, logging 45 additional cases in a possible sign that its latest outbreak in Xinjiang may have run its course.
Thirty-one of the cases were in far western Xinjiang, eight were in northeastern Liaoning and the remaining six were imported cases. The figures are down from 127 cases reported nationally on Friday.
03:15 GMT – Vietnam logs 12 new cases, ramps up testing
Vietnam’s health ministry has reported 12 new local coronavirus cases linked to the recent outbreak in the tourist hotspot of Danang, taking total infections to 116 since the virus resurfaced last week.
The new patients, with ages ranging from two to 78, are linked to Danang hospital, the ministry said in a statement.
Vietnam has registered a total of 558 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. After months of successful curbs, it reported its first two deaths on Friday.
In Hanoi, where two people have tested positive after returning from Danang, more than 100 clinics have been set up with test kits to detect the virus. Hanoi has tested a third of the 54,000 people returning from Danang.
Residents wait to be tested at a makeshift rapid testing centre as Vietnam records a rise in cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hanoi on July 31, 2020 [Manan Vatsyayana/ AFP]
“I want to be tested so I can stop worrying if I have the virus or not. It is for me and for the community,” said Pham Thuy Hoa, a banking official who recently went to Danang for a family vacation.
“Since coming back, my family and I have quarantined ourselves at home. I did not go to work or see others. We must be responsible for the entire community.”
In Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s southern hub, five people who returned from Danang have tested positive for the virus. The city is testing some 20,000 other returnees.
As the number of cases continues to increase, Danang has tightened security and set up more checkpoints to prevent people from leaving or entering the city, which has been in lockdown since Tuesday.
02:48 GMT – California, Florida report record rise in deaths
California and Florida, two of the most populous US states, have reported record increases in COVID-19 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Florida reported 257 deaths and California, 208 on Friday.
For Florida, this is the fourth day in a row with a record rise in deaths and for California the second this week. Mississippi, Montana and Nevada also had a one-day record increase in deaths on Friday.
Overall in the US, deaths have increased by more than 25,000 in July to 153,000 total lives lost since the pandemic started.
01:41 GMT – Puerto Rico extends restrictions
Wanda Vazquez, the governor of Puerto Rico, has extended measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus for two more weeks.
That means bars, gyms, marinas and movie theatres across the US territory will stay shuttered until at least August 15. Beaches remain closed on Sundays, and are open the rest of the week only to people doing exercise, including surfers, swimmers and runners.
Face masks continue to be mandatory, and those who refuse to wear one will be arrested, Vazquez said.
A curfew from 10pm to 5am will remain in place, and no parties or gatherings will be allowed in short-term rental facilities.
01:22 GMT – Fitch revises US outlook to negative
Fitch Ratings has revised the outlook on the US’s AAA rating to negative from stable, citing eroding credit strength, including a growing deficit to fiscal stimulus to combat the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The credit rating agency also said the future direction of US fiscal policy depends in part on the November election for president and the resulting makeup of Congress, cautioning there is a risk policy gridlock could continue.
00:56 GMT – Mexico overtakes UK to post third-highest death toll
The number of coronavirus deaths in Mexico rose to 46,688 on Friday, with the Latin American country overtaking the United Kingdom for the world’s third-highest COVID-19 death toll.
The health ministry registered 8,458 new cases, a record for a single day, as well as 688 additional deaths, bringing the total to 424,637 cases and 46,688 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
00:36 GMT – Free tests for migrants stuck at Costa Rica-Nicaragua border
Costa Rican doctors have started giving free coronavirus tests to about 200 Nicaraguan migrants who have been stranded at the two countries’ border for more than a week because the Nicaraguan government has demanded negative test results.
Clinica Biblica Hospital in the capital of San Jose sent a mobile lab to the Penas Blancas border crossing.
“I thank God that finally we are going to be able to return to our country,” said one migrant, who declined to give their name.
Nicaragua has prevented the entry of hundreds of its citizens from Costa Rica citing COVID-19 concerns [File: Wendy Quintero/ AFP]
00:18 GMT – Argentina halts plans to ease lockdown
Argentina President Alberto Fernandez has announced a halt on the easing of lockdown measures due to an increase in new cases and fears the health system could become overwhelmed.
“We will keep things as they are until August 16,” said Fernandez.
“In the last few days the virus has been spreading more, and we’ve seen a larger increase in infections. All this generates hospital admissions and unfortunately, deaths.”
In Argentina, more than 185,000 infections and nearly 3,500 deaths have been registered so far, figures well below those of other countries in the region.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key developments from yesterday, July 31, go here.