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People in Spain wearing masks
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HealthGlobal issues

Coronavirus: Over 16 million infected worldwide

July 26, 2020

The number of coronavirus infections has now topped 16 million, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, more countries are cautioning citizens from traveling to Spain. Follow DW for the latest.

https://p.dw.com/p/3fv1p
  • North Korea reports first suspected case of COVID-19
  • France to make coronavirus tests free to fight rising numbers
  • Travelers returning to the UK from Spain must now quarantine for 14 days
  • Over 16 million coronavirus infections have now been reported across the world

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

01:00 We have now closed this live updates article. For the most recent Monday developments, click here: Coronavirus latest: Canada says majority of new patients are young

22:25 Morocco is to prevent people from exiting and leaving some of the country's biggest cities after a rise in coronavirus cases. The locked down cities include Casablanca, Tangier, Marrakech, Fez and Meknes.

The northern African country eased a nationwide lockdown last month, though international flights are still suspended except for ones by Royal Air Maroc and other national airlines, with only Moroccan citizens and foreigners residing in Morocco allowed to fly.

The health ministry reported 633 new cases, one of their biggest daily tallies since the pandemic began. Morocco has recorded 20,278 cases and 313 deaths, as well as 16,438 recoveries. 

18:45 As Spain introduces fresh lockdown restrictions following new coronavirus hotspots in popular summer venues, European countries are warning citizens not to visit the country.

Virus clusters in Spain's northeast regions of Catalonia and Aragon have prompted authorities to impose restrictions in Barcelona, in a rural area around Lleida and in Zaragoza. 

France and Belgium are recommending that travelers cancel plans to spend their summer holidays in Barcelona and its nearby beaches, which have drawn crowds too massive to allow for social distancing.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex urged French citizens not to visit Catalonia but said there's no need yet to shut its border with Spain.

COVID-19 worsens Spain's plastic problem

The UK and France sent a combined 4.2 million tourists to Spain in August last year.

"We have seen a wave of cancellations above all by foreign clients from France, Germany and England who were supposed to come next week, above all to Barcelona," said David Riba, president of the Federatur tourist apartments group.

Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya insisted that Spain was still "a safe country," saying that new outbreaks are not "unusual." She said Madrid is making "great efforts to control these outbreaks."

16:57 A popular Austrian resort town has ordered restaurants and clubs to close early and encouraged people to remain home after a recent outbreak.

Hundreds of people have already been tested in St. Wolfgang, a town near Salzburg in western Austria, according to the German news agency DPA. Austria's Kurier newspaper reported that 44 of those tests came back positive, including 26 interns working in the tourism industry.

The outbreak is believed to have resulted from people partying in the town's bars, two of which have been temporarily closed. All others have been ordered to close no later than 11:00 p.m. local time (21:00 UTC). 

16:50 Florida has overtaken New York as the US state with the second-most confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Florida has reported 12,180 new cases in the past 24 hours, increasing its total case number to 423,855. New York, once the epicenter of the US outbreak, has 411,200 confirmed cases. California, which has recorded nearly 450,000 cases, remains the hardest hit US State.

Florida also reported 124 new virus-related death, bringing the total death toll in the Sunshine State to 5,834. 

The US as a whole has recorded nearly 4.2 million cases since the pandemic began and more than 146,000 deaths.

16:13 Biotech company Moderna Therapeutics said on Sunday it has received an additional $472 million (€404.94 million) from the US government to support the development of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna, one of multiple biotech firms working to develop the vaccine, had already received $483 million from the government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), bringing the total state investment to $955 million.

The Massachusetts-based company was one of four vaccine developers, along with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer, who told US lawmakers last week that they are optimistic about their vaccines being ready by the end of 2020 or early 2021. 

16:02 A league game in Spain's second-tier football division has been canceled after one of the teams confirmed 28 positive COVID-19 tests.

The game between Deportivo La Coruna and Madrid-based side Fuenlabrada was originally scheduled for July 20, but the game was called off after Fuenlabrada announced that six people at the club had tested positive just hours before kickoff.

The league said the club accepted the decision to have the match canceled as it was virtually impossible to reschedule another date for it.

Fuenlabrada was within striking distance of the playoffs that would determine the third team — after Huesca and Cadiz — would play in the top-flight La Liga next season. But the game cancellation meant the club would not have a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

"This is an enormous sacrifice by Fuenlabrada, renouncing the possibility of playing in the playoffs and abandoning what its players had achieved through hard work throughout the season, allows for the rest of the clubs to finish their season," the Spanish second division said in a statement.

15:52 Serbian health authorities reported 467 new cases over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day tally since the pandemic began.

The country of some 7 million people has recorded 23,730 coronavirus cases and has recorded at least 300 new cases for 12 straight days, including more than 400 each of the last four days.

Serbia also reported eight new virus-related deaths, increasing the virus death toll to 534 people.

14:55 Hundreds of people attended an outdoor techno party in the Czech Republic, despite fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Some 900 party-goers gathered on Sunday in a field about 60 kilometers south of Prague. About 2,000 attendees were reported on Saturday. Many attendees are from foreign countries, such as Austria and Germany.

The event, which lasts for three days, had been approved by authorities despite a recent outbreak of 100 coronavirus cases connected to a Prague nightclub event.

Officials said they authorized the party because they did not want a repetition of 2005, when authorities had interfered in a non-approved techno party, resulting in dozens of injuries.

Police have set up controls for party attendees.

13:15 Spain's death toll from coronavirus could be 60% higher than the official number, 28,432, according to a report by national newspaper El Pais.

The officials tally includes only people who were diagnosed formally and not those who were suspected of having COVID-19 but never tested.

The lack of testing at the beginning of the outbreak means that many of those who died in the early stages have been left out of the official figures.

By counting regional statistics of all suspected and confirmed fatalities, El Pais reached a total of 44,868 deaths. The figure would, if accurate, make Spain's outbreak the second deadliest in Europe after Britain's.

11:13 TUI, Europe's biggest holiday company, said on Sunday it had decided to cancel all travel from the UK to mainland Spain up to and including August 9, in updated advice after Britain imposed a quarantine on those returning from the country.

"TUI UK have taken the decision to cancel all holidays to mainland Spain up to and including Sunday 9th August 2020," it said in a statement.

"We know how much our customers look forward to their holiday abroad and some will be able to accommodate the new quarantine restrictions. Therefore all those that wish to travel to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands will be able to travel as planned from Monday 27th July."

The decision came after the British government advised against all but essential travel to mainland Spain and abruptly imposed a two-week quarantine on all travelers arriving from Spain.

Spain's Canary and Balearic Islands are not covered by the advice to avoid travel to the mainland, but holidaymakers returning to Britain from the islands will still be subject to quarantine on return. The move followed a surge in coronavirus cases and represents a dramatic and sudden reversal to the opening of the European continent to tourism after months of lockdown.

10:41 The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) has criticized the German government for offering inadequate support to companies hit by the economic fallout brought about by the coronavirus crisis. "Politicians have frittered away," Stefan Kooths, the head of IfW's forecasting center, told dpa. "The stimulus package has 57 measures. From a stabilization point of view, it's not appropriate because it doesn't start where the firms have the biggest problems."

The crisis hasn't affected all economic sectors equally, the expert pointed out. Instead of letting individual industries bear the costs by themselves, there "should be burden-sharing," he said. Kooths also criticized the government's decisions to temporarily slash the value-added tax and suspending until September the requirement for businesses to declare insolvency.

The insolvency figures currently remain at a very low level. "But with each passing month, stability is diminishing," he said, noting that from October, Germany could see a wave of insolvencies.

In view of public concern over whether the state will be able to bear the financial costs of the announced stimulus measures, Kooths said: "From a purely fiscal point of view, Germany can afford the stimulus measures this year and the next. But some of the money is being blown and not being used with maximum stability effect."

Read more: Coronavirus: How Germany's economy would cope with a second wave

09:49 Hong Kong has announced a tightening of its quarantine rules for sea and flight crews. Starting from Wednesday, it will stop most ships from changing crews in the territory. 

Only vessels with freight destined for Hong Kong will be able to change crews, but even they will not be allowed to mingle in public and must go straight to or from the airport, or stay in a designated quarantine venue.

"We believe by tightening up the relevant requirements, we can properly address the public concern on the health risk," a government spokesperson said.

After seemingly ending local transmissions for weeks, new coronavirus infections have hit triple figures on a daily basis in the densely packed finance hub — sparking fears the new outbreak is spreading out of control. More than 1,000 infections have been confirmed since early July — more than 40% of the total since the virus first hit the city in late January.

Because of its extensive air links and busy port, Hong Kong is a popular transit point for ships to change crews.

09:22 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to roll out a £10 million (€11 million, $12.8 million) anti-obesity campaign, including junk food advert bans, following his own brush with death that he partly blamed on his weight. 

Johnson will announce his "Better Health" campaign on Monday, which is expected to include encouraging doctors to issue "cycling prescriptions" for overweight patients, more segregated cycling lanes and a ban on junk food television ads before 9.00 p.m., according to British media reports.

"COVID-19 has given us all a wake-up call of the immediate and long-term risks of being overweight, and the Prime Minister is clear we must use this moment to get healthier, more active and eat better," said a government spokesman on Sunday. "We will be urging the public to use this moment to take stock of how they live their lives, and to take simple steps to lose weight, live healthier lives, and reduce pressure on the NHS."

A Public Health England (PHE) study published on Saturday found that obesity increased the risk of death from coronavirus by 40%.

09:04 More than 170 farmworkers have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 at a large farm in Mamming, in Germany's southern Bavaria state. All 500 workers have been placed under quarantine and a security team is monitoring the restrictions on their movement, according to local authorities. "In order to prevent further spread and protect the population, we unfortunately have had to take this step," said the head of the district authority, Werner Bumeder.

Mass testing of all the farmworkers at the facility was undertaken after some workers contracted the disease. Bumeder appealed for citizens to remain calm. "As per our information, the infection is limited to a select group of people," he said.

08:50 Mainland China has reported 46 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally in more than a month. Of the new infections, 22 were in the far western region of Xinjiang, according to a statement by the National Health Commission. Thirteen were in the northeastern province of Liaoning, while the remaining 11 were imported cases.

China also reported two new asymptomatic cases, down from 74 a day earlier.

China has so far recorded 83,830 cases and 4,634 deaths since the pandemic began. The Health Commission said that 288 patients remain in treatment, including 18 in critical condition.

08:39 Russia has recorded 5,765 new coronavirus cases and 77 more deaths, a steep decline from the 146 deaths reported a day earlier. The nationwide tally of infections has risen to 812,485, Russia's coronavirus crisis response center said.

The COVID-19 death toll now stands at 13,269 and 600,250 people have recovered. Russia currently has the fourth-highest number of total coronavirus infections in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and India.

07:01 Social distancing measures are being reintroduced to the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang after two new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed, ending a period of 99 days without community transmissions, state media reported on Sunday.

A Vietnamese man tested positive for Covid-19 in the coastal city on Friday, after which 50 people who were in contact with him were isolated. 

The hospital where he was being treated has been locked down and the city has closed its airport to international flights. The man's condition has deteriorated rapidly and he has been placed on a ventilator.

Nguyen Tien Hong, deputy director of Da Nang's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told local media that a number of people who had been in contact with the man were also showing symptoms. One of them tested positive on Sunday.

Vietnam has thus far proved a success story in its response to the pandemic. Only 418 cases have been recorded and, as yet, nobody has died.

05:02 The world has now seen over 16 million coronavirus cases with over 644,000 lives lost to COVID-19, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University. The pandemic, which originated in China late last year, also caused global economic turmoil on the level not recorded since WWII.

The US remains the country most severely hit by the coronavirus, with almost 4,178,000 infected and nearly 146,500 dead.

04:47 Germany's total number of coronavirus infections increased by 305 over the past 24 hours to 205,269, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll was unchanged with 9,118, the tally showed. The number of people recovered after being infected by the virus currently stands at 190,000, according to RKI.

German health authorities have been increasingly watching with concern as the infection rate in the country has been on the rise in recent days. Authorities reported 781 new infections in the 24 hours to midnight Friday, according to RKI. On Thursday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases was 815.

A senior politician on Saturday warned that "the second coronavirus wave is already here." Michael Kretschmer, premier of the eastern German state of Saxony, told the Rheinische Post newspaper: "It is already taking place every day. We have new clusters of infection every day which could become very high numbers."

03:34 City authorities in Rio de Janeiro have canceled the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebrations, as coronavirus cases in Brazil continue to surge.

The festivities, which take place at the Copacabana Beach, are "not viable in this pandemic scenario, without a vaccine," said Rio’s tourism office. Rio is also considering canceling the Carnival parade that takes place in February. The city of Sao Paulo postponed their parade to a later date.

Members of the tourism industry such as hotels complained about the cancellation of New Year’s Eve festivities, so authorities are looking into alternatives for the grand celebration.

The state of Rio de Janeiro has the second-highest number of deaths in the country, after Sao Paulo. Their death rate is 733 per million, much higher than the national average of 406 per million.

02:06 Germans are increasingly using credit cards and contactless payment methods for fear of getting infected with the coronavirus, the head of Germany central bank, Jens Weidmann, told the Funke Mediengruppe.

Weidmann described the change as a "creeping trend" in the EU country known for its love of cash.

"The fear of infection has given a push to the contactless means of payments," Weidmann said, but noted that he did not know of any cases of contagion via the circulating money. The banker also said that the central bank had no plans to follow China's lead by putting bills in "quarantine" to reduce transmission risk.

"We do not think a special quarantine for cash is necessary," Weidmann said.

00:44 France is making coronavirus tests free in a bid to fight rising infection numbers.

"We wouldn't describe this as a second wave, but what's clear is that for several days now we have seen a noticeable increase in the number of confirmed cases, which had been in decline for 13 weeks," Health Minister Olivier Veran said in an interview with the Le Parisien published on Sunday.

A new government order has now made PCR nasal swab tests available on demand without prescription.

France has seen over 217,800 infections and nearly 30,200 COVID-19 deaths, according to the latest data.

00:18 The UK has removed Spain from its list of safe travel destinations, requiring all visitors from that country to isolate for two weeks. Read our full story here.

00:10 Germany wants to give each of its citizens the opportunity to vaccinate themselves against the coronavirus. 

"We are in the process of increasing the production capacity in Germany," the country's Minister of Research Anja Karliczek told newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

"Once a vaccine is found, every German that wishes to will be able to get vaccinated," she said. "We have to achieve this and we will achieve this."

But Karliczek cautioned against overly high expectations for a rapid vaccine development. "A trustworthy vaccine that is suitable for the majority of the population will probably be ready by the middle of next year at the earliest," she said, adding that there can always be setbacks in the development of a vaccine.

00:04 North Korea has for the first time acknowledged a suspected case of COVID-19 within its borders, after a defector suspected of having the virus returned from South Korea earlier this month.

"An emergency event happened in Kaesong City, where a runaway who went to the south three years ago, a person who is suspected to have been infected with the vicious virus, returned on July 19 after illegally crossing the demarcation line," state news agency KCNA said

Until now, Pyongyang had insisted that not a single infection had breached the country's borders, which remain closed.

Read more: Is North Korea hiding a coronavirus outbreak?

Following the news of the possible infection, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting, declared a state of emergency, and imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong.

KCNA did not confirm whether the individual had been tested, but said that an "uncertain result" from a medical checkup had prompted officials to quarantine the person and trace his contacts.

00:00 Catch up on Saturday's coronavirus new here.

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments, and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany's national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

kp/dj (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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