The total number of US coronavirus deaths surged past 160,000 with more than 4.8 million confirmed infections across the country.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s coronavirus deaths have passed 50,000, as the government faces criticism of its handling of the crisis and the economic fallout.
At least 19 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while the global death toll surpassed 714,000 people. More than 11.5 million have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Friday, August 7
17:45 GMT – Preston becomes latest UK city to face virus lockdown
Preston, in the northwest of England, became the latest UK town to face a local lockdown due to a reported rise in coronavirus infection rates.
Under the restrictions, which come into force at midnight, people from separate households will be banned from meeting each other at home.
Official figures showed a rolling seven-day rate of new cases of the virus in Preston rose from 20.3 per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 27, to 32.8 in the seven days to August 3.
17:21 GMT – US Open loses 2 more top-10 women: Svitolina, Bertens
Two more top-10 women – Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens — will miss the US Open, joining No. 1-ranked Ash Barty in skipping the Grand Slam tennis tournament during the coronavirus pandemic.
The fifth-ranked Svitolina, a Ukrainian who was a semifinalist at Flushing Meadows a year ago, posted Friday on social media that she doesn’t “feel comfortable to travel to US without putting my team and myself at high risk”.
16:55 GMT – Fast virus tests for passengers at Moscow airport
Russia set up COVID-19 express tests at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, allowing passengers to get tested for COVID-19 within an hour on arrival or departure abroad.
For the cost of 2,750 roubles (37 US dollars), arriving and departing passengers can use the new mobile testing service, using the EMG diagnostic system.
Russia resumed regular international flights on 1st August to the UK, Turkey and Tanzania [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu]
16:35 GMT – Germany to exempt unmarried couples from COVID-19 border controls
Germany will give a welcome break to the coronavirus lovelorn from Monday – easing its border controls to allow unmarried couples to reunite after what has been months of separation for some.
The exemption will apply to the partners of Germans from countries that Germany considers high-risk – currently most of the world outside the EU – and couples will have to provide some proof that they were in a relationship before the pandemic, the interior ministry said.
16:10 GMT – Schools to reopen in New York state – governor
New York’s governor said that he would allow children statewide to return to classrooms for the start of the new school year, citing the state’s success in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo clears the way for schools to offer at least some days of in-person classes, alongside remote learning.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [File: Mike Segar/Reuters]
16:00 GMT – US deaths cross 160,000
The United States coronavirus death toll surpassed 160,000, with more than 4.8 million confirmed cases reported across the country.
The pandemic has killed at least 712,315 people worldwide with the United States recording the most deaths, followed by Brazil with nearly 100,000.
Globally, 40 percent of all cases have been recorded in the two countries.
The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases with over 4.8 million infections [Mike Blake/Reuters]
15:39 GMT – French health ministry notes uptick in virus cases in France, Europe
French health ministry chief Jerome Salomon said there had been a clear uptick in coronavirus infections in France and Europe.
“The virus continues to circulate very actively worldwide. There is an upward trend in France and Europe,” Salomon told a news conference.
France’s new COVID-19 infections rose by more than 1,600 over 24 hours for the second day running on Thursday
15:15 GMT – Seven-year-old boy dies of coronavirus in Georgia
A boy aged seven with COVID-19 has become the youngest known person to die in Georgia since the start of the pandemic.
The African-American boy had no other chronic health conditions, according to data released by the state. The case is from Chatham County, which includes Savannah, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported.
The boy’s death comes amid nationwide debate ahead of the school year about the risks that children face for infection or spread of the coronavirus.
Millions in US face eviction amid COVID-19 crisis
14:52 GMT – Lockdown ‘flash crash’ in emissions won’t curb warming – but green recovery can
If governments choose strong green policies and investments to revive economies after the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, an internationally agreed aim, researchers said.
But if the world sticks to business as usual – even if some lockdown measures stay in place to the end of 2021 – global temperatures would only be roughly 0.01C lower than expected by 2030, found the study published in Nature Climate Change.
Large parts of the world’s economy ground to a halt earlier this year as travel and other restrictions were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, causing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other emissions to drop 10-30 percent globally.
14:18 GMT – Unemployment in Canada continues fall to 10.9 percent in July
The coronavirus-hit Canadian economy created 419,000 jobs in July, a higher-than-predicted increase of 2.4 percent, while unemployment continued to fall to 10.9 percent, the national statistics institute said.
The unemployment rate drop of 1.4 percentage points marked the second month in a row that it has fallen, after reaching an all-time high in May of 13.7 percent.
It stood at 5.6 percent in February, before lockdown restrictions implemented in an attempt to contain COVID-19 hit the economy.
Canada has over 120,000 confirmed cases and more than 9,000 deaths [File: Carlos Osorio/Reuters]
13:50 GMT – Malta reimposes curbs as COVID-19 infections surge
Malta banned mass gatherings and made it mandatory to wear masks in public as new coronavirus cases surged after having been reduced to zero for a week early in July.
Health authorities reported 49 new infections, the second highest daily number since the first case was detected on March 7. Nine patients have died.
13:32 GMT – Workers hired for Democrat party convention test positive
Three workers hired to help set up the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the event’s organizers.
Daily screening began last week for people working at the Wisconsin Center in preparation for the Aug. 17-20 convention, which will be largely virtual because of the coronavirus.
The Journal Sentinel reports the staff at the Wisconsin Center “followed the guidelines set forth by our client regarding daily health screens,” the center district said in a statement.
13:08 GMT – US adds 1.8 mn jobs in July, unemployment rate falls to 10.2 percent: govt
The US economy added 1.8 million jobs in July, far fewer than in May and June, but not as bad as some economists feared, according to government data.
As COVID-19 cases spiked in several states in recent weeks, new restrictions to contain the virus forced some businesses to close their doors again, while many have already closed permanently, raising concerns the labor market would take a turn for the worse.
But the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent from 11.1 percent in June, still slightly worse than the depth of the global financial crisis in October 2009.
People line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Kentucky, US [File: Bryan Woolston/Reuters]
Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Saba Aziz.
12:30 GMT – Norwegians should avoid all travel abroad: Health minister
Norwegians should avoid all travel abroad, also to countries with few COVID-19 cases as authorities try to prevent a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Norway’s health minister has said.
“There is still little contamination in Norway, but we see increased contamination in countries that used to have control over their situations,” Bent Hoie told a news conference.
Norway has so far reported 9,468 coronavirus cases and 256 related deaths. At least 8,857 people have recovered.
12:20 GMT – Iran reports more than 150 new deaths
At least 156 new coronavirus-related deaths in Iran have raised the country’s toll to 18,132, the health ministry said.
A total of 2,450 people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 322,567, according to ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari.
She said more than 279,000 patients have recovered so far, while 4,136 are still hospitalised in critical condition.
12:15 GMT – England’s cricket tour of India postponed
England’s cricket tour of India that was scheduled to start in late September has been postponed until next year, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.
The move comes after the men’s T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played across Australia in October and November, was also postponed because of the ongoing pandemic. No new dates for the rescheduled tour have been announced.
England’s tour of the subcontinent was set to include three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches. It was intended to serve as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup.
Our men’s white-ball Tour to India has been postponed until early 2021 ?
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 7, 2020
12:00 GMT – Virus ban on Bollywood stars and crew over 65 overturned
Bollywood actors and crew older than 65 will be allowed to resume shoots, an industry official said, after an Indian court overturned coronavirus restrictions limiting the presence of older people on film sets.
The world’s most prolific film industry has been struggling to get back on its feet after strict rules banning elaborate scenes and barring senior actors from shoots were unveiled in June.
But Friday’s decision by a court in Mumbai has paved the way for actors older than 65 to return to work, allowing some of India’s most revered stars such as 77-year-old Amitabh Bachchan, who was hospitalised with the coronavirus, to resume filming.
Indian Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, left, son Abhishek, right, with his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan have all tested positive for COVID-19 [File: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP]
11:50 GMT – Spain locks down town of 32,000 for two weeks
Spanish authorities have ordered about 32,000 people into lockdown in the central riverside town of Aranda de Duero in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Known for its vineyards, Aranda de Duero residents will find their movements restricted to the absolute minimum and be barred from entering or leaving the town which lies 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of Madrid.
Other areas have already put local lockdowns in place, including in the Basque Country, and the regions of Catalonia and Aragon.
11:40 GMT – Russia offers to supply Philippines with COVID-19 vaccine
Russia is willing to supply a coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass-produce it, its ambassador to Manila said.
Russia is expecting regulatory approval for its first potential COVID-19 vaccine this month, with doses to be administered to front-line health workers first.
“We are ready to supply vaccines to the Philippines,” Igor Khovaev, Russia’s ambassador to the Philippines, told a virtual news conference.
11:30 GMT – Syrian doctors fear virus spreading faster than clinics can test
Syria’s capital is facing a “terrible” spike in coronavirus infections, with hospitals packed, patients scouring Facebook for advice and medics fearing the virus is spreading faster than clinics can test for it, the AFP news agency reported.
Authorities in government-held areas confirmed 999 cases including 48 deaths, but the health ministry admitted this week it lacks the “capacity … to carry out widespread testing in the provinces”.
“There has been a massive spread among cities,” the ministry admitted, saying there are only 25,000 hospital beds available in government-controlled areas.
In Damascus, doctors reported that public facilities are already packed and unable to admit new patients.
11:00 GMT – Lockdown emissions fall will have ‘no effect’ on climate
The unprecedented fall in greenhouse gas emissions from lockdowns during the pandemic will do “nothing” to slow climate change without a lasting switch from fossil fuels, an international team of researchers has said in a new study.
Global emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas could fall up to eight percent in 2020 after governments moved to confine billions of people to their homes in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
But in the absence of a systemic change in how the world powers and feeds itself, experts warned that the emissions saved during lockdown would be essentially meaningless.
Find out more in our Green Read.
10:30 GMT – South African rugby aims for September restart
Rugby in South Africa is aiming to restart next month after the government gave permission for matches to go ahead again without spectators.
National body SA Rugby said approval for full-contact training sessions and games was given on Thursday but it will take teams around a month to be ready to play competitive matches again.
SA Rugby has not announced where games will be played in a country among the worst affected in the world by the coronavirus pandemic.
South Africa’s national rugby team beat England to win the World Cup last year [File: Matthew Childs/Reuters]
10:15 GMT – Poland registers record number of cases
Poland has reported a record number of new daily coronavirus infections, taking the country’s total number of cases to 50,324.
The health ministry reported 809 new infections within 24 hours, up from 726 on Thursday. At least 1,787 people have died from the disease.
On Thursday, the government imposed stricter rules on a number of Polish counties, including the compulsory wearing of face masks outside the home.
09:45 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus vaccine undergoes final testing phase
A Russian state laboratory’s vaccine for the novel coronavirus is undergoing its final testing phase and is expected to be registered next week, a senior health official said.
“Currently it is in the final testing phase, which is extremely important. We need to understand that the vaccine will be safe,” Deputy Health Minister Oleg Grinev said in comments carried by the Russian news agency Interfax.
Another senior health official said last month the vaccine was expected to be mass-produced in September.
09:40 GMT – GAVI signs vaccine deal for developing world
The vaccines alliance GAVI says it has agreed to a deal with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the world’s biggest vaccine producer, India’s Serum Institute, to speed up the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to developing countries in 2021.
The collaboration will give upfront capital to the Serum Institute so that once any effective COVID-19 vaccine is licensed, the company can mass-produce the shots at scale, as early as the first half of 2021.
In a statement, GAVI CEO Dr Seth Berkley said the deal was aimed at making sure rich countries would not be the only ones with access to coronavirus vaccines.
09:00 GMT – Are vaccine efforts against COVID-19 succeeding?
Global health and scientific communities are racing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus in just 12-18 months – a process that can normally take between five to 10 years.
Read our latest Doctor’s Note by WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan on the latest work being done to help protect against the novel coronavirus.
08:30 GMT – ICC reports surge in video views during pandemic
The International Cricket Council released figures showing it had 1.65 billion video views on its Facebook channel in the first half of 2020, saying it “topped the rankings in terms of video consumption among leading sports bodies” on the social media platform.
Cricket was shuttered globally from late March until last month, when host England beat West Indies 2-1 in a three-test series that was played inside bio-secure venues in Southampton and Manchester.
England’s Ollie Pope catches out West Indies’ Kemar Roach to win the second Test in Manchester, July 2020 [File: Michael Steele/Reuters]
The ICC, citing statistics from the CrowdTangle analytics tool, said daily video consumption on its Facebook page increased from three million minutes viewed to 15 million minutes a day during the lockdown.
08:20 GMT – Latest coronavirus figures
Israel: 80,431 cases (1,674), 578 deaths (2)
Indonesia: 121,226 cases (2,473), 5,593 deaths (72)
Russia: 877,135 cases (5,241), 14,725 deaths (119)
Philippines: 122,754 cases (3,379), 2,168 deaths (24)
07:45 GMT – Hong Kong to offer free COVID-19 testing for residents
Hong Kong will offer free voluntary coronavirus testing for residents, leader Carrie Lam has said, as the global financial hub races to contain a resurgence of the virus over the past month.
The plan, which will enable city-wide testing for the first time, is likely to be implemented in two weeks at the earliest, Chief Executive Lam said.
“The situation in Hong Kong is still critical, with the number of cases remaining high,” Lam told reporters.
Since January, almost 3,900 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 46 of whom have died.
07:40 GMT – Africa surpasses one million coronavirus cases
More than a million people across Africa have now been confirmed to have had the new coronavirus, with health experts warning the peak of the pandemic has yet to hit the continent.
Here is an animated graphic showing how the coronavirus spread across the African nations:
Read more here.
07:30 GMT – Switzerland signs agreement with Moderna for vaccine
Switzerland has signed an agreement with Moderna to secure early access to the COVID-19 vaccine the US biotech company is developing, the government said.
Switzerland will get 4.5 million doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate 2.25 million people if as expected two doses are needed per patient.
The government is also talking to other vaccine companies and has allocated 300 million Swiss francs ($329m) to the project.
06:45 GMT – South Korean doctors strike over medical school plan
Thousands of young doctors in South Korea have begun a strike in protest of government medical policy, causing concerns about the treatment of patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The striking doctors are interns and resident doctors, who oppose the government’s plan to expand admissions to medical schools to resolve the shortage of doctors in South Korea.
The doctors call the plan “a populist policy” that would waste taxpayers’ money and nurture low-quality medical schools. In a statement posted on their website, they accused the government of making little financial support for their practising programmes and said that they work with an extremely low salary.
Interns and resident doctors participate in a rally against the government medical plan in Seoul, South Korea [Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]
06:30 GMT – India’s coronavirus cases cross two million
India’s coronavirus cases have passed two million, hitting another grim milestone in the pandemic that has killed more than 41,000 people in the world’s second-most populous country.
The health ministry said 62,538 cases – the highest one-day jump – were reported in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s total to 2.03 million. Also, 886 new deaths were reported raising the death toll to 41,585.
Read more here.
Hello, this is Saba Aziz in Doha, Qatar. I’m taking over the live blog from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.
04:34 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports 450 new cases
Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria has reported 11 coronavirus-related deaths and 450 new infections in the last 24 hours, compared with eight and 471 cases respectively a day earlier.
Victoria reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday with 15 deaths and a record daily rise of 725 cases.
03:12 GMT – Ohio governor tests negative after earlier positive test
Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio, tested has negative for COVID-19 after testing positive earlier on Thursday ahead of a planned visit with US President Donald Trump.
In a tweet, DeWine said his wife, Fran DeWine, also tested negative, as did staff members.
The governor, who had cancelled his meeting with Trump, said the earlier positive result came from a rapid antigen test, while the second negative result came from a more sensitive PCR test.
UPDATE: In a second COVID-19 test administered today in Columbus, Governor Mike DeWine has tested negative for COVID-19. First Lady Fran DeWine and staff members have also all tested negative. pic.twitter.com/0Ixap90mJg
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) August 7, 2020
02:32 GMT – Democrats, White House see little progress in relief talks
Democratic leaders in the US Congress and top aides to President Donald Trump have failed to make substantial progress on a new coronavirus aid bill, but both sides expressed a willingness to continue the negotiations.
“If we conclude tomorrow that there’s not a compromise position on the major issues, the president has alternatives in executive orders,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters.
“We’re still very far apart” on key issues, he said.
Their differences centred around new aid to state and local governments and continuing the additional $600 a week federally-backed unemployment benefits agreed to earlier in the crisis.
01:29 GMT – University of Washington forecasts 300,000 deaths in US
Nearly 300,000 Americans could be dead from COVID-19 by December 1, according to a forecast by health experts at the University of Washington, although they have said 70,000 lives could be saved if people were scrupulous about wearing masks.
“We’re seeing a rollercoaster in the United States. It appears that people are wearing masks and socially distancing more frequently as infections increase, then after a while as infections drop, people let their guard down,” said Dr Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The US death toll stands at more than 159,000, the most of any country in the world, with 4.8 million known cases.
01:08 GMT – Mexico’s death toll tops 50,000
Mexico’s health ministry has reported 6,590 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 819 deaths, bringing the country’s totals to 462,690 infections and 50,517 deaths.
Mexico now has the third-highest death toll in the world, after Brazil, which is approaching 100,000, and the US, which is approaching 160,000.
00:39 GMT – Brazil to set aside $356m for vaccine
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has issued a decree to provide 1.9 billion reais ($356m) in funds to purchase and eventually produce a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University researchers.
Brazil’s Acting Health Minister General Eduardo Pazuello said the vaccine could be available for Brazilians by December or January.
“January is the best bet. The vaccine is the solution to end the pandemic,” he said, adding that Brazil would initially receive 100 million doses, which would allow for the vaccination of half the country’s population, and then to produce the vaccine locally.
00:22 GMT – US lifts global health coronavirus travel advisory
The US State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have lifted global advisories recommending US citizens avoid all international travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, and instead issued many high-level warnings for individual countries.
“With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice,” the State Department said in a statement lifting its “Do Not Travel” advisory.
The CDC also dropped its global advisory recommending against all nonessential international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but nearly all countries remain on its highest Level 3 advisory to avoid all non-essential travel.
A few countries, including Thailand, New Zealand and Fiji, were put on a low-risk Level 1 advisory.
00:12 GMT – London Marathon to feature only elite runners
The pandemic-delayed London Marathon will be staged on October 4 using a different route than usual and with only elite runners participating.
Rather than starting in Greenwich in east London, there will be a looped 42.2-kilometre (26.2-mile) course featuring 19.8 laps around St James’s Park within a biosecure bubble with spectators excluded. It will finish in the traditional place in front of Buckingham Palace.
“Despite all our efforts, the fantastic support from all of our partners and the progress that has been made on planning for the return of smaller mass participation events that are not on the roads, it has not been possible to go ahead with a mass socially distanced walk or run,” said Hugh Brasher, event director of the London Marathon.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For key developments from yesterday, August 6, go here.