Libya imposes lockdown as coronavirus casses surge: Live updates | News

Libya imposes lockdown as coronavirus casses surge: Live updates | News


  • Libya’s UN-recognised government in Tripoli announced it will impose a full lockdown in areas of the country it controls, after a rise in COVID-19 cases.
  • The coronavirus seems to be accelerating in countries across the world with Australia the latest to announce a record number of daily cases – 723.
  • Nearly 17 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. Some 9.9 million patients have recovered, and more than 666,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, July 30

16:40 GMT – French cities tighten virus rules as cases rise

Several French cities announced new face mask requirements and other measures to contain the coronavirus as the number of new cases continues to increase after a long lull, officials said.

The government, anxious to avoid a new outbreak but wary of clamping down too hard during the summer holidays, has stepped up guidance on social distancing as officials report new contagion “clusters” daily.

16:12 GMT – Libya to impose full lockdown as pandemic cases grow

Libya’s internationally recognised government in Tripoli will impose a full lockdown in areas of the country it controls, it said, after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

Split since 2014 between areas held by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east, Libya managed to avoid an early surge of the pandemic.

However, the disease has been spreading more quickly this month and Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), one of the few bodies that operates across the country despite the conflict, has confirmed 3,222 cases.




‘Not like other years’: Coronavirus dampens Eid al-Adha in Libya

15:45 GMT – Fifth minister tests positive for COVID-19 in coronavirus-plagued Brazil

Brazil’s science and technology minister, Marcos Pontes, said that he had tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the fifth minister in President Jair Bolsonaro’s government to be diagnosed with the virus.

Pontes made his announcement on Facebook, saying he was quarantining and working remotely.

15:24 GMT – WHO warns over virus risk to young people

The World Health Organization warned Thursday that spikes in coronavirus transmission in a number of countries were being driven by young people “letting down their guard”.

“Young people are not invincible,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva, stressing that “Young people can get infected and young people can die… Young people must take the same precautions.”

14:52 GMT – Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has died after contracting COVID-19, according to a statement on his website and Facebook page.

Cain was diagnosed with the disease in late June after attending a Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally for President Donald Trump, an event where many attendees crowded close together without wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re heartbroken, and the world is poorer: Herman Cain has gone to be with the Lord,” the statement on his website said.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks at a town hall event at The Magnolia Room at Laurel Creek in Rock Hill, South Carolina, U.S., December 2, 2011. REUTERS/John Adkisson/File Pho

Former US Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks at a town hall event at The Magnolia Room at Laurel Creek in Rock Hill, South Carolina [File: John Adkisson/Reuters]

14:47 GMT – Florida reports record increase in COVID-19 deaths for third day in a row

Florida reported a record increase in new COVID-19 deaths for a third day in a row, with 252 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department.

The souther US state also reported 9,956 new cases, bringing its total infections to over 461,000, the second highest in the country behind California.

 Death toll in Flordia rose to 6,709, the eighth highest in the nation, according to a Reuters tally.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) leave with a patient at Hialeah Hospital where the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients are treated, in Hialeah, Florida, U.S., July 29, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Bell

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) leave with a patient at Hialeah Hospital where the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients are treated, in Hialeah, Florida [Marco Bello/Reuters]

14:23 GMT – Six Nations to resume in October as World Rugby approves new calendar

The remaining rounds of the Six Nations Championship will be played on October 24 and 31 after World Rugby approved dates for the temporary 2020 COVID-19 calendar.

The World Rugby Council approved an adjustment to allow the release of players for new international windows after the pandemic forced the sport’s suspension in March.

14:00 GMT – Miami-Dade schools to start term online only

Florida’s largest school district says it will not reopen schools for in-person learning for at least six weeks and instead implement fully remote instruction because of the surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalisations.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools said Wednesday the school year will begin virtually August 31, a week after it was originally scheduled to start.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is urging districts to offer both online and in-person options, arguing going to school is crucial for many students, especially disadvantaged children.

Miami Beach

A sign warning about the spread of COVID-19 in Miami Beach, Florida, US [Zachary Fagenson/Reuters]

13:30 GMT – Norway to imposes 10-day quarantine on travellers from Belgium

Norway will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Belgium from Aug. 1 after a rise in COVID-19 cases there, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Norway last week re-imposed restrictions on travel from Spain in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

12:15 GMT – Indonesia reports 1,904 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta extended for the third time its “transitional” restrictions to curb the coronavirus, said Governor Anies Baswedan, meaning schools will remain closed while restaurants and public transportation will operate at limited capacity to August 13.

The country’s health ministry reported 1,904 new infections, bringing the total to 106,336 cases, while deaths rose by 83, bringing the total number to 5,058. Both figures are the highest in East Asia.

Jakarta, a city of 10 million, reported 397 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total in the city to 20,969, the second-largest in the country.

11:40 GMT – MSF says it was forced to close coronavirus centre on Lesbos

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had been forced to shut down a coronavirus isolation centre serving the massively overcrowded camp of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos over a planning dispute. It said more than 300 people at high risk due to their age or chronic medical condition lived in the camp with their families.

So far no cases have been reported among camp residents on the islands.

MSF warned that Lesbos’s public health system “would simply be unable to handle the devastation caused by an outbreak in Moria”.

11:35 GMT – Philippines confirms nearly 4,000 new coronavirus cases, highest single-day increase

The Philippine COVID-19 task force confirmed 3,954 new infections, the country’s largest single-day increase.

The information on the surge in infections, a sharp increase from the record 2,539 cases on July 8, was mentioned in a regular circular issued by the inter-agency task force.

11:25 GMT – Nepal reopens Mount Everest for climbers amid COVID-19

Nepal started issuing climbing permits for Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks, a Ministry of Tourism spokesman said, four and a half months after it halted expeditions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The government also reopened hotels, restaurants and casinos in line with a cabinet decision of July 21, said Kamal Prasad Bhattarai, ministry spokesman.

Last week, the government lifted a four-month nationwide lockdown to lessen the economic fallout from the pandemic, a decision taken amid the rising number of coronavirus infections in the country.

10:30 GMT – China’s Urumqi imposes restrictions

Authorities imposed travel restictions on people coming in and out of Urumqi, the capital of China’s western Xinjiang region, seeking to contain a coronavirus outbreak there, as 96 of 105 cases reported on Wednesday in mainland China were found there. 

Non-residents seeking to leave the city will have to test negative in both nucleic acid and antibody tests before they can leave if they have been in the city for 14 days or more, Vice Mayor Song Yajun said during a daily briefing.

China's Urumqi

A worker in a protective suit measures the body temperature of a woman at the entrance to a residential compound in Urumqi [Reuters]

Urumqi will also mandate 14-day quarantine for people arriving in the city from high-risk areas while others entering the city will need to show proof of a negative test within the past seven days among other requirements that vary depending on where they are coming from, Song said.

10:25 GMT – Number of coronavirus cases in Iran passes 300,000

The number of infections in Iran has reached 301,530, according to official health ministry figures.

Iran corona

The alarming surge in daily fatalities has sent shockwaves across Iran as the healthcare system is already overwhelmed [EPA]

Iran has the Middle East’s highest number of recorded COVID-19 cases, and infections and deaths have risen sharply since restrictions on movement began to be eased in mid-April.

There were 226 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total number to 16,569.

10:20 GMT – Czech coronavirus spike continues as cases top 16,000

Cases of the new coronavirus in the Czech Republic have surpassed 16,000 as a recent spike in infections continues, health ministry data showed.

The country of 10.7 million has faced a rise in cases in several hotspots this month, including an eastern mining region and in the capital, Prague, which reported a daily record of 101 cases on Tuesday.

The ministry recorded 278 cases nationwide on Wednesday, the second-highest daily rise in July. In total, the country has seen 16,093 cases since the outbreak started in March, with 11,429 recoveries so far and 374 deaths.

09:24 GMT – Pakistan’s downward trajectory of active cases continues

Pakistan’s downward trajectory of active cases continued, dropping to 25,253, the lowest since May 12.

There were 1,114 new cases registered on Wednesday, taking the tally since the outbreak began to 277,402. At least 36 patients died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 6,018. 

With the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha to be held over the weekend, authorities in Pakistan are continuing to ask citizens to maintain strict distancing guidelines, to avoid a repeat of an explosion of cases over Eid al-Fitr just over two months ago.

09:16 GMT – Pilgrims pray on peak day of Hajj in shadow of coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has cast a shadow over this year’s pilgrimage, which last year drew 2.5 million Muslims from across the world to Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon nearly 1,400 years ago.

Only a very limited number of pilgrims were allowed to take part in the Hajj amid numerous restrictions to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus. The Saudi government has not released a final figure on the number of pilgrims this year, but has said anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 would be taking part.

mega image - Hajj

Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba as they maintain social distancing [AP]

Pilgrims are travelling in small groups of 20, are following strict guidelines around physical distancing, have undergone tests for COVID-19 and were in quarantine before the Hajj.

08:23 GMT – Daily coronavirus cases in India top 50,000 for first time

India has reported more than 50,000 cases in one day for the first time with 52,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to almost 1.6 million.

Some 775 people died of COVID-related conditions over the same period, raising total deaths to just under 35,000 – low compared to the total number of cases, but showing little sign of slowing.

While major cities like New Delhi and Mumbai have seen their cases ease, infections in rural areas are continuing to rise sharply, alarming experts who fear weak healthcare systems there will be unable to cope.

07:45 GMT – Russia reports more than 5,500 new coronavirus cases

Russia reported 5,509 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 834,499, the world’s fourth-largest caseload.

Officials said 129 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 13,802

07:25 GMT – Hong Kong reverses virus ban on restaurant dining

Hong Kong reversed a day-old ban on restaurants serving dine-in customers following widespread public anger.

All restaurants in the city of 7.5 million were ordered to only serve takeaways as part of ramped-up distancing measures aimed at combatting a fresh wave of virus cases but social media was quickly flooded with photos of primarily blue-collar workers forced to eat on pavements and parks – and even in public toilets to escape a torrential downpour.

On Thursday city authorities published new guidelines saying restaurants could operate dine-in facilities – but only during the day, at half capacity, and with no more than two people to a table.

06:35 GMT – Poland may quarantine returnees from some EU, non-EU states

Poland may reinstate quarantine measures for people returning from some countries, a government spokesman said, after recent data showing a spike in infections. On Saturday the number hit 584, the second-highest daily tally since the beginning of the pandemic.

Citing Spain and France as countries triggering concerns about the coronavirus, the spokesman said the government may announce its decision within days if the epidemic spikes in a particular country.

Poland street

People cross the city bridge between Frankfurt (Oder) and Slubice, after Poland reopened borders with European Union countries [Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]

On Wednesday the ministry reported 512 new cases bringing the total number to 44,416. So far there have been 1,694 documented deaths from COVID-19 in the country of 38 million

06:15 GMT – Afghans prepare for Eid al-Adha despite virus risk

People are crowding into markets, ignoring distancing orders and rarely wearing masks as they prepare for Eid al-Adha in Kabul, Afghanistan. The country has eased its lockdown, allowing small businesses and day labour, while educational institutions and schools remain closed.




Downsized Hajj begins amid coronavirus restrictions

The health ministry has reported more 36,400 cases and 1,250 deaths to date.

Many Afghan Muslims had had plans to travel to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage during Eid, but Saudi Arabia decided to drastically scale down the Hajj season due to the pandemic.

The Afghan Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs said 30,000 Afghan pilgrims who were registered for the trip had to postpone them until next year.

06:10 GMT – Ukraine sees record daily high of 1,197 new coronavirus cases

Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,197 new coronavirus cases on July 30, the country’s council of security and defence said.

The number of new daily infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late-May.

The total number of cases rose to 68,794, including 1,673 deaths and 38,154 recovered as of July 30.

06:01 GMT – Japan braces for spike in coronavirus cases

Japan is bracing for a surge in coronavirus infections after new cases exceeded 1,000 for the first time with 1,264 new cases on Wednesday, according to NHK, surpassing the previous record of 981.

Tokyo confirmed 367 new infections, national broadcaster NHK said, topping the previous record of 366 cases on July 23, but infections are spreading rapidly not only in Tokyo, but also in other regions, including remote islands.

Northern Japan’s Iwate prefecture, which had been the last remaining coronavirus-free prefecture, had its first cases on Wednesday, while the southern island of Okinawa had 44 infections, hitting a record for the third day in a row.

05:00 GMT – Johns Hopkins researchers call for ‘reset’ in US pandemic response

With US cases and deaths continuing to climb, researchers at Johns Hopkins University are calling for a “reset” of the country’s coronavirus response.

“It is only our collective action that will generate the change necessary to regain control of this epidemic, avoid cascading crises in our healthcare system and economy and save great numbers of lives throughout the United States,” they said.

04:30 GMT – Hanoi plans mass testing in wake of Danang outbreak

Authorities in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, say they will test some 21,000 people who recently returned from  the central city of Danang – a popular holiday destination – where an outbreak of coronavirus was confirmed last weekend.

Vietnam recorded nine new cases on Thursday morning, eight in Danang and one in a 76-year-old man who had recently returned to Hanoi after three weeks in Danang

Authorities in Hanoi have also imposed a ban on mass gatherings and the closure of all bars and nightclubs. 

03:30 GMT – Australia reports record number of cases

Australia has reported the highest number of confirmed cases since the coronavirus pandemic began, the state of Victoria the worst-hit with outbreaks centred around care homes and workplaces in Melbourne and its suburbs. State authorities reported 723 new cases on Thursday and 13 deaths.

Victoria state Premier Dan Andrews noted that there had also been a “significant jump” in cases in regional communities, which warranted additional measures. Mandatory mask-wearing extended across the state from Sunday, and in some areas residents will not be allowed to go to other people’s houses or have visitors to their home.

Internal borders have been closed to help curb the spread of the virus beyond Victoria. The state of Queensland in the northeast earlier announced three new cases – two of the people are thought to have been exposed to the virus in Sydney.

03:20 GMT – Coronavirus situation in PNG worsening

An Australian medical emergencies team has been deployed to Papua New Guinea where the outbreak has deteriorated in recent days.

AFP news agency says the country’s pandemic response centre was closed yesterday after a senior adviser was diagnosed with the virus, and the health minister is also being tested.

02:50 GMT – China expert says virus thrives in colder, humid environments

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told local journalists the virus seems to like colder, humid environments.

He pointed to the country’s COVID-19 outbreaks – from the original source in Wuhan – to Beijing and Dalian, which have been traced to seafood markets or seafood companies.

China seafood market

China’s top epidemiologist believes the virus likes the kind of cool, humid environment associated with seafood markets [Stringer/EPA]

02:40 GMT – Talks over latest US coronavirus relief package stalled as clock ticks

It seems talks between US congressional leaders and the White House on a next round of coronavirus spending have stalled as the clock winds down on measures that banned evictions and boosted unemployment benefit payments.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has suggested a short-term extension for those programmes, but Democrats have rejected the idea.

Al Jazeera’s William Roberts has been following the negotiations. You can read his story here

02:10 GMT – Pelosi to US Congress: Mask up!

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says members and staff in the House of Representatives must wear masks while the pandemic continues, to remove them only when addressing the chamber.

The move came after Republican Representative Louie Gohmert, who refused to wear a mask, revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, leading at least three of his colleagues to say they would self-quarantine.

Pelosi warned that she had the authority to ask the House sergeant at arms to remove a member from the floor for violating decorum, and “the chair views the failure to wear a mask as a serious breach of decorum”.

You can read more on Gohmert’s diagnosis here.

People and Power - Trump v California feature

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said masks must be worn in Congress and can only be removed when a member is addressing the House [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

01:50 GMT – Guatemala buries dozens of unidentified COVID-19 fatalities

Guatemalan hospital officials say they have had to bury dozens of COVID-19 victims who have never been identified, according to AP news agency.

The agency says workers at one of the country’s largest public hospitals have begun photographing patients who arrive alone and too ill to give their personal details. Those who die without being identified are placed in body bags with transparent windows over their faces in case relatives come looking for them.

Officials says protocols to rapidly bury the dead during a pandemic only make the situation more difficult. Guatemala has confirmed more than 47,000 infections and 1,800 deaths nationwide. 

01:35 GMT – US records a coronavirus death every minute as total surpasses 150,000

Coronavirus - Florida

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) leave with a patient at Hialeah Hospital in Florida, one of the states with the highest number of cases and fatalities [Marco Bello/Reuters]

One person in the US died about every minute from COVID-19 as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world, according to Reuters.

US deaths are rising at their fastest rate in two months and have increased by 10,000 in the past 11 days.

01:20 GMT – Mainland China reports 105 new cases, 96 in Xinjiang

China has reported 105 new coronavirus cases in the mainland, up from 101 cases a day earlier.

The National Health Commission says 96 of the new cases were confirmed in the far western region of Xinjiang, while five were in the northeastern province of Liaoning, one in Beijing, and three imported cases.

Coronavirus

As of the end of Wednesday, mainland China had 84,165 confirmed coronavirus cases. The death toll remained at 4,634 [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

00:45 GMT – Vietnam outbreak that started in Danang continues to grow

Vietnam’s health ministry has reported an additional nine cases of coronavirus, as an outbreak that started in the popular tourist town of Danang continues to expand.

Reuters says some 81,000 people are now in quarantine as a result of the outbreak, which has spread to six cities and provinces in six days.

Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler filed this report on the unfolding situation in Vietnam.

00:15 GMT – Australia’s Victoria state to report more than 700 cases, 13 deaths

The local media is reporting that the state of Victoria, epicentre of a new wave of coronavirus in Australia, will report more than 700 cases and 13 deaths on Thursday morning.

00:00 GMT – Brazil reports record numbers of coronavirus deaths, cases 

Brazil’s health ministry confirmed a record of 1,595 daily deaths. Taken on a weekly basis (7,677 this week), deaths are at their highest since the pandemic began.

Authorities also reported a record number of cases for a single day (69,074), partly as a result of working through a backlog of previously unregistered cases.

Despite the accelerating pandemic, the government of President Jair Bolsonaro has moved to ease restrictions to boost the economy, and on Wednesday said a ban on foreign travellers to the country would be lifted. 

Brazil commuters

Commuters at a public transport hub in Sao Paolo, one of Brazil’s virus hotspots [Fernando Bizerra/EPA]

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (July 29) here.





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