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Coronavirus latest: US tops 3 million coronavirus cases

US President Donald Trump's controversial Tulsa rally and anti-racism protests could be behind the country's surge in coronavirus infections. Cases in the US have reached over 3 million. Follow DW for the latest.

  • Australian leaders defended a new six-week lockdown after coronavirus cases spread through Melbourne
  • Renewed protests break out in Serbia
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive  
  • More than 11.7 million COVID-19 cases and over 542,000 deaths worldwide 

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT) 

23:59 We have now closed this live updates article. For the latest developments, see: Coronavirus latest: Trump rally 'likely' contributed to Tulsa surge

23:30 Peru's President Martin Vizcarra says the country's general election will be delayed until April next year.

The country's Congress had held discussions on the possibility of postponing the elections because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Fulfilling my commitment, here is the decree calling a general election for April 11, 2021," Vizcarra said on Wednesday, adding that neither the pandemic nor any other circumstances could hamper the country's "democratic continuity."

Vizcarra will not contest the election.

Peru has the second-largest number of coronavirus infections in Latin America at 312,911. The country has reported 11,133 deaths.

The Peruvian government is attempting to revive the economy despite the health crisis, with Vizcarra saying he hopes to recover a production capacity of 95% by the end of July.

22:50 Thousands of workers at Codelco, the world's largest copper mining company, have been infected with the coronavirus, said unions.

So far there have been 2,843 coronavirus infections among workers at the plant in Chile as of July 5.

"The company does not give the database to the workers, so we have to rebuild it every day in order to see how (infections) are progressing," said Patricio Elgueta, president of the Federation of Copper Workers (FTC), an umbrella group for the company's unions, reported Reuters.

Some unions and social groups have called on Codelco and other miners to halt operations around the desert city and mining hub of Calama, in the Atacama Desert in the north of the country.

The outbreak has sparked calls for more safety measures throughout the company's operations.

21:00 President Donald Trump’s rally and other events in Tulsa have "likely" contributed to the spike in the county’s caseload, a local public health official told reporters on Wednesday. 

"In the past few days we've had almost 500 cases and we knew we had several large events a little over two weeks ago," Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department, said on being asked about Trump’s campaign and the protests over racial injustice. 

"So I guess we just connect the dots."

Trump held his first campaign rally in Tulsa last month amid a surge in coronavirus infections in the nation. 

The event which attracted thousands of supporters, who were not required to wear a mask, came under criticism from public health experts.

Tulsa has reported over 4,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 72 deaths.

18:45 Renewed protests have broken out in Serbia, a day after demonstrators briefly breached the parliament building in Belgrade.

Thousands rallied in the capital once more, with reports of tear gas and scuffles in Belgrade and Serbia's second city, Novi Sad. There, fire was reported at the city hall.

The protests were triggered by a decision to reimpose quarantine measures in the country, although much of the dissatisfaction in fact rests with the government's decision to lift almost all restrictions last month. This enabled the country to hold elections on June 21, which strongman Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic won comfortably. Major sporting events complete with large crowds, including what became an infamous tennis tournament set up by Novak Djokovic, were also allowed to restart. 

Earlier on Thursday, Vucic seemed to indicate in a speech that he would not reimpose a full lockdown after all

16:35 Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sued the Trump administration over a new rule that would bar foreign students from remaining in the United States if their universities move all courses online

The universities filed in federal court in Boston, asking for an emergency temporary restraining order on the new rule. The lawsuit is the first to challenge the order.

On Monday, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that affected students must either leave the country or transfer to a school offering in-person courses.

"We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students, and international students at institutions across the country, can continue their studies without the threat of deportation," Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said in a statement. Harvard had earlier announced it would hold all classes online in the first semester of the coming academic year.

There are more than a million foreign students studying in US colleges and universities, and many depend on revenue from foreign students, who often pay full tuition. 

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has also been pushing public schools — namely elementary schools — across the country to reopen in the fall, and earlier threatened to "cut off funding" to those that do not fully reopen for in-person classes.

The United States has been the country most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and is continuing to see a surge in cases. The country has nearly 3 million confirmed infections and a death toll of over 130,000.

15:30 The biennial Ryder Cup golf competition between the US and Europe has been postponed to 2021.

The tournament was scheduled for September 25-27 at the Whistling Straits golf course in the US state of Wisconsin. But medical experts in the state said they were not able to prove that safely conducting an event with spectators in two months would be possible.

"As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can to safeguard public health is what matters most," PGA of America Chief Executive Seth Waugh said in a statement.

15:20 The United Kingdom announced a £30 billion (roughly €33 billion or $38 billion) relief package to promote youth employment, as well as a scheme to incentivize diners to patronize bars and restaurants, amid the economic downturn spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer (the finance minister) Rishi Sunak announced a job scheme for people aged between 16 and 24, reduced a tax on home sales, and pledged £3 billion towards improving energy efficiency in homes and public buildings. 

"Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs," Sunak told parliament. "It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire, to create jobs in every part of our country and to give young people a better start."

The £2-billion "Kickstart Scheme" for young workers will "create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidized jobs," he added.

The plan follows the announcement of an "Eat out to help out" discount scheme to boost spending at restaurants, cafes and pubs, which have experienced major losses since being forced to shut. For the month of August, the scheme will entitle diners to either a 50% discount or up to 10 pounds per head on their meal, Sunak said. 

The discount can be used an unlimited number of times in August, and will be valid from Monday to Wednesday, in a bid to encourage people to eat out at times when the hospitality sector does not tend to do very much business. 

"This moment is unique. We need to be creative," he said. Sunak also announced a temporary cut in VAT sales tax, from 20% to 5% for eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs. 

14:30 Speaking to the European Parliament in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel touted the importance of maintaining democratic principles, accurate information and cooperation in order to get Europe through the crisis spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"A pandemic must never be an excuse to undermine democratic principles," Merkel said. "The pandemic cannot be fought with lies and disinformation, no more than it can be fought with haste and hate," she said. 

A democracy needs truth and transparency — something that Germany would work to make stronger during its six-month EU presidency, Merkel said.

In her speech, she also referred to growing up in East Germany, in what she called a "system of unfreedom," and said that Europe’s history of surviving several crises was due to the fact that most leaders were aware of the value of "fundamental rights and cohesion."  

Everyone should cooperate now in order to make it through the current crisis, she said. "Nobody can get through this crisis alone, we are all vulnerable."

Read more:  Germany's Angela Merkel calls for EU unity on coronavirus recovery

13:00 Germany has approved a new, €25-billion ($28 billion) federal aid package for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Under the new plan, which aims to prop up small and medium-size companies, businesses can apply for bridging loans of up to €150,000, said Economy Minister Peter Altmaier. 

The aim is to assist businesses that are still contending with enormous slumps in sales during the summer months, despite an easing of virus-related restrictions. The initiative is "the largest single item in the economic stimulus package," said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. 

Companies from all sectors, whose turnover in the months of April and May of this year fell by at least 60% in comparison with the same period in 2019, are eligible to apply for the aid, said Altmaier. 

The bridging loans would reimburse a share of companies' fixed costs, such as rent, loan payments or property taxes. Companies with sales losses of 70% or more will be eligible to have 80% of their fixed costs covered, while those with a decrease between 50 and 70% will be eligible to have half of their fixed costs covered. 

Additionally, travel agencies will be able to claim loss of commission for trips canceled due to coronavirus, when applying for the aid.

11:53 The number of cases in Romania has risen by a daily record of 555 taking the cumulative total to 30,175 cases, the government said.

Romania, which is currently under a state of alert that is due to end on July 15, has registered 1,817 deaths from the novel coronavirus since the first case emerged in the country on February 26.

In March, President Klaus Iohannis imposed a strict lockdown to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The measure has since been eased but today's record total of infections has raised fears over a return to a stricter lockdown.

About one third of the infections in the country have occurred in three cities: the capital Bucharest, the northern town of Suceava and in Transylvania's medieval city of Brasov.

11:21 The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have painted a bleak picture about how the pandemic is impacting millions of HIV patients, disrupting the supply lines of life-saving anti-retroviral drugs. DW spoke with Professor Hendrik Streeck, Director of the Institute of Virology and HIV Research at the University of Bonn, about the issue.

He said: "The UNAIDS and WHO can only estimate, but they are estimating half-a-million additional deaths due to a lack of supplies. The issue with HIV is that you have to take the medication every day. And if you do not have medication for months or even a week, you might develop resistance against the medication. And then it won't work anymore."

There has been a lot of optimism expressed regarding a potential COVID-19 vaccine, particularly from the United States, with some suggestions one may be available before the end of the year. Streek, however, said doubts still remain over that prospect.

"No, I don't think we can be confident that people have a vaccine." he said. "In fact, coming from the HIV world, we know it's very hard to find a vaccine against most of the big infectious disease killers, such as tuberculosis, malaria or dengue, we do not have a vaccine."

But there is still hope due to the differences in structure between HIV and the novel coronavirus.

"The structure of the coronavirus is different compared to HIV. And there are some features of the virus that make us think it might be easier to find a vaccine against this coronavirus. But at the end, this needs to be tested and it's very hard to predict."

Watch video 04:17

How the coronavirus pandemic impacts HIV patients

10:35 Catalonia has decided to make mask-wearing mandatory regardless of people's ability to maintain social distancing. By doing so, it has become Spain's first region to make masks compulsory. Catalan regional leader Quim Torra said the measure would come into force on Thursday.

In other Spanish regions, wearing masks indoors and outdoors is mandatory if people cannot guarantee a 1.5-meter (4.9-foot) distance from one another until a cure or vaccine for COVID-19 is found.

A social worker delivers a bag containing food at a distribution point in Barcelona, Spain

Catalonia is the first region in Spain to make masks compulsory

10:20 Hong Kong reported 24 new coronavirus cases, with 19 of them being local infections. The surge in COVID-19 cases has stoked fears of a second coronavirus wave in the city after it recorded mostly imported cases for months.

Since late January, Hong Kong has registered 1,324 confirmed coronavirus cases, with seven deaths.

COVID-19 infections are also on the rise in Indonesia. On Wednesday, the Southeast Asian country reported 1,853 infections — its biggest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases — taking the total tally to 68,079.

The country also registered 50 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in to 3,359, according to health ministry official Achmad Yurianto. Indonesia's COVID-19 mortality rate remains one of the highest in the world.

09:30 The European Commission approved a German plan to set up a €500-billion ($564 billion) fund to support businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The decision brings the total of German approved funds to €600 billion.

"In these difficult times, we continue to work in close cooperation with member states to find workable solutions to facilitate the access to finance of companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU rules," EU Commissioner for Competition Policy Margrethe Vestager said.

The fund will take the form of guarantees — amounting to 400 billion euros — as well as subsidized debt instruments and recapitalization instruments. According to the EU plans, only companies that were not facing a financial crisis at the end of last year would be eligible for aid.

09:10 German Health Minister Jens Spahn expressed his disappointment at the United States' decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), emphasizing that unity was needed now more than ever.

Spahn wrote on Twitter: "US withdrawal from WHO is a setback for international cooperation. Global infection dynamics show that coordinated action is required. We need more international cooperation to fight pandemics, not less. European states will initiate WHO reforms."

President Donald Trump and his administration notified Congress and the United Nations that the US is formally withdrawing from the WHO on Tuesday. The move had been edging nearer in recent weeks after numerous critical comments from the president about how the organization is funded and structured, and alleging a bias towards China within the WHO.

08:10 Austria issued travel warnings for Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova due to the worsening coronavirus sitaution in those countries and after several COVID-19 clusters were linked to recent arrivals from the region.

Any travelers arriving from the three countries must enter a 14-day quarantine or provide Austrian authorities with a negative test, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a press conference.

Controls at Austria's borders with Hungary and Slovenia will also be increased, Kurz said.

07:50 Russia surpassed 700,000 coronavirus cases on Wednesday after reporting over 6,500 new cases over the past 24 hours. 

The death toll rose by 173, Russia's coronavirus response center said, bringing the country's total COVID-19 fatalities to 10,667.

Questions have arisen over Russia's low official mortality rate, with some accusing Moscow of under-reporting the death toll. The Health Ministry said it will adjust how it reports on COVID-19 fatalities to include all deaths believed to be related to the virus, the Moscow Times reported.

Watch video 02:55

Russian hospital workers criticize working conditions

06:30 Israeli ministers have imposed a "restricted zone" on the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit after a recent surge in cases.

The city is set to enter lockdown on Wednesday afternoon and it will remain in place for the next seven days.

"Accordingly, entry into, and exit from, Betar Ilit will be restricted, as will be movement and businesses within the city
itself," read a jointly released statement from the Prime Minister's Office and the Health Ministry.

The sharp increase involved 150 new infections occurring in the ultra-Orthodox city in the past week, according to the Health Ministry. The city has a population of 55,000.

04:47 Australia's prime minister has said the country is likely to slow down the return of its citizen from abroad amid a fresh coronavirus outbreak that has prompted border closings and a stay-at-home order in its second most populous state.

The state line between Victoria and New South Wales, the country's busiest, was closed overnight and starting at midnight local time the nearly 5 million residents of the Victorian capital of Melbourne will return to a partial lockdown amid a recent spike in coronavirus infections there.

"I can imagine the frustration ... we don't have control over the virus as such, but we do have control over how we respond," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a televised media conference.

Melbourne in Lockdown

The prime minister said that on Friday he would present a proposal for dealing with the pandemic to the national cabinet.

The plan aims to reduce the number of repatriation flights to the country in an attempt to slow the return of Australian citizens and permanent residents from abroad. These are the only two groups that have arrived in Australia since it closed its international border in March.

Neighboring New Zealand introduced such measures on Tuesday, saying its national airline will not take new inbound bookings for three weeks.

The Australian public has become increasingly concerned about security lapses in quarantine measures that resulted in returnees spreading the virus.

Victoria reported 134 new infections from Tuesday to Wednesday, down from the record of 191 new cases the day before, but still well over the low single digit daily increase seen in other states.

03:40 Coronavirus cases in Germany have risen by 397 in the past 24 hours, according to the latest tally from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. The total number of people infected in the country now stands at 197,341.

Germany's reported death toll rose by 12 to 9,036.

03:24 Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels have called for a bilateral ceasefire of at least three months to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic and re-establish peace talks. 

ELN — the country's biggest active guerrilla group — proposed the ceasefire on Tuesday, nearly a week after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution for a global ceasefire to fight the pandemic.

02:45 Britain's National Gallery is set to open its doors to visitors today. Social distancing and advance booking will be mandatory and visitors are being advised to wear a face mask at the London site. 

It is the UK's first major museum to reopen as the country continues to emerge from three months of lockdown.

London National Gallery

The National Gallery in London is to reopen its doors today

02:25 Colombia on Tuesday extended its nationwide coronavirus lockdown by two weeks amid a further increase in COVID-19 infections. 

President Ivan Duque said the economy, however, will continue to be revived, particularly in the scores of municipalities that have zero to few coronavirus cases. Mayors of these municipalities can seek permission to reopen gyms, theatres and museums.

The Andean country has reported a total of 124,494 cases of infections and 4,359 deaths.

01:08 The US set a new record for cases within a 24-hour period after it recorded 60,209 new cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The country, which has been hard-hit by the virus, was just short of 3 million cases in total, at 2,991,351. 

00:27 Thousands of demonstrators clashed with the police in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Tuesday following a protest against a newly imposed weekend coronavirus curfew. 

Some protesters managed to push past a police cordon and break into the parliament building before being pushed back by riot police.  

Police fired several rounds of tear gas at the protesters, who in turn hurled flares, stones, bottles and eggs. Police vehicles were also set ablaze. 

AP reported that several clashes involved some extremist rioters who are linked to far-right groups.  

Violent confrontations also took place in front of the state TV building — the opposition accuses the broadcaster of pro-government bias. 

The protests erupted just hours after Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced the imposition of the curfew due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.  

Vucic said during the televised announcement that all hospitals in the capital are nearly full. He singled out Belgrade as being particularly critical. This is the first time a curfew will be imposed in the country since early May.

Serbian police director Vladimir Rebic told the state television that smaller demonstrations were also held in other Serbian cities. 

Serbia's coronavirus caseload is rising eight weeks after the nation began easing its earlier restrictions — once among the strictest in Europe. The country on Tuesday reported close to 3,000 active cases with 110 patients in critical condition. The total death toll is at 330. 

00:00 Catch up on Tuesday’s coronavirus news hereCoronavirus latest: WHO wishes Bolsonaro 'full and speedy' recovery

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. 

dvv/stb (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)