EU reopens its borders to 15 countries

  • he European Union has reopened its borders to visitors from 15 countries but excluded the United States, where deaths are spiking once again.
  • Authorities in Australia will lock down more than 300,000 people in suburbs north of Melbourne for a month in a bid to contain the risk of infection after two weeks of double-digit rises in new cases.

  • More than 10.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, at least 5.3 million have recovered, and at least 512,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    Wednesday, July 1

    16:32 GMT – Mexican finance minister says he is recovering satisfactorily

    Mexican finance minister Arturo Herrera has said in a video posted to Twitter that he is at home recovering “satisfactorily” after he was diagnosed with coronavirus a few days ago.

    16:25 GMT – UNSC adopts resolution to halt all conflicts

    The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution urging a 90-day global ceasefire to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

    The resolution passed after months of fruitless negotiations since the beginning of the pandemic and calls for “an immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations”.

    The first call for a global ceasefire was voiced on March 23 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

    The draft resolution prepared by France and Tunisia will not include the fight against ISIL, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and individuals and groups linked to those organisations.

    16:06 GMT – Turkey asks EU to correct ‘mistake’ of travel list exclusion

    Turkey has said it is disappointed by the European Union’s decision to exclude it from a list of countries recommended for non-essential travel and called on the bloc to correct the “mistake” as soon as possible.

    “The measures Turkey has taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic as well as her efforts and success in this respect are evident,” ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in the statement.

    “We expect the correction of this mistake regarding the travel restrictions for our citizens as soon as possible.”

    There have been nearly 200,000 cases of coronavirus in Turkey, with a death toll of more than 5,100 and new daily cases currently running at around 1,300.

  • 15:55 GMT – WHO warns some nations still face ‘long, hard’ battle

    Nations who fail to use all mechanisms available to combat the coronavirus will struggle to beat it, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

    “Some countries … have taken a fragmented approach. These countries face a long, hard road ahead,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva.

    15:32 GMT – Occupied West Bank under lockdown as cases soar: official

    The Palestinian Authority has announced a five-day lockdown across the occupied West Bank after a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases.

    “Starting from Friday morning, all governorates of the West Bank, the towns and the villages, will be closed for a period of five days,” government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said, adding that pharmacies, bakeries and supermarkets were exempted.

    15:27 GMT – UK emergency remdesivir supplies adequate to treat COVID-19: official

    The UK has adequate supplies of Gilead’s remdesivir for emergency use to treat hospitalised COVID-19 patients, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said, though he warned of potential difficulties securing future supplies.

    Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer and lead for the Department for Health and Social Care, told a parliamentary hearing that new drugs such as remdesivir were likely to be in “relatively short supply in the first instance” compared with existing generic ones being used such as dexamethasone.

    15:15 GMT – UK death toll rises by 176 to 43,906

    The UK’s death toll from confirmed cases of the coronavirus has risen by 176 to 43,906, government figures show.

    15:10 GMT – Oxford University has seen ‘right sort of immune response’ in potential vaccine trial: scientist

    A leading scientist behind the University of Oxford’s potential COVID-19 vaccine has said the team has seen the right sort of immune response in trials, which have entered the Phase III clinical stage.

    Speaking at a parliamentary hearing, Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the university, said the trial has enrolled 8,000 volunteers for the Phase III of its trial into the vaccine, AZD1222, which was licensed to AstraZeneca.

    She said she could not give a timeline for when the vaccine might be ready as it depends on the results of the trial.

    14:50 GMT – NYC delays resumption of indoor dining at restaurants

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that he is delaying the planned resumption of indoor dining at restaurants, fearing it would cause a spike in coronavirus infections.

    The mayor, a Democrat, said he was concerned that if the city welcomed diners back into the enclosed spaces of its restaurants, it might experience the same surge in illness now being seen in other states.

    “Honestly, even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could. But the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time,” de Blasio said.

    Outdoor dining at restaurants, which started about two weeks ago, can continue, he said.

    14:45 GMT – Zimbabwe reopens wildlife parks, restaurants in relaxation

    Zimbabwe has reopened its national parks to the public and allowed restaurants to serve food within their premises.

    The government’s decision, announced by the information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, came amid an outcry from the national parks and private safari lodges that the continued lockdown was endangering both businesses and conservation efforts.

    Restaurants will be allowed to serve meals to sit-in customers, but only with limited numbers, Mutsvangwa said.

    14:15 GMT – More than 40,000 people forcefully evicted in East Africa

    More than 40,000 people across East Africa have been forcibly evicted from their homes since March, putting them at risk of contracting the new coronavirus, charities have said, calling for a moratorium on all evictions during the pandemic.

    The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found that communities already displaced by violence, droughts and floods in Somalia were worst hit, while in Kenya and Ethiopia, people living in informal settlements had also seen their homes demolished.

    “Evictions expose vulnerable people to greater risk of infection as they are forced into more crowded and unsanitary conditions,” said Evelyn Aero, NRC’s legal assistance regional advisor in East Africa.

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