Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
The southwestern Chinese city of Riuli has been locked down, with all 200,000 residents to be tested for COVID-19 after two Myanmar nationals were diagnosed with the virus.
More than 29 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 926,307 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 20 million have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Tuesday, September 15
02:15 GMT – US official accused scientists of ‘sedition’: New York Times
The top communications official at the US department in charge of combating the coronavirus told his followers in a Facebook Live session that government scientists were engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic, according to the New York Times.
Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) claimed, without evidence, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was harbouring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Donald Trump, the newspaper said.
Caputo is a former adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign.
Suggesting scientists are plotting ‘sedition’ is a little like claiming @FortniteGame is about to be taken over by otters
— Bill Hanage (@BillHanage) September 15, 2020
01:15 GMT – Test rate positivity down in California
Only 3.5 percent of COVID-19 tests came back positive in California over the last seven days, the lowest rate since the state began reporting the data in March, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper says its analysis of the data also shows new confirmed cases at the lowest since mid-June and hospitalisations at the lowest since the start of April.
00:15 GMT – Judge in US rules Pennsylvania restrictions ‘unconstitutional’
A federal judge in the United States state of Pennsylvania has ruled that lockdown measures imposed in March to curb the spread of COVID-19 are “unconstitutional”.
The measures, including the closure of businesses and a limit on the size of gatherings, were challenged in court by several Republican lawmakers and small business owners, who argued the restrictions put their enterprises at risk.
Judge William Stickman ruled in their favour, and said that even if the state’s governor acted with “good intention of addressing a public health emergency”, he did not have the right to infringe on citizens’ fundamental freedoms.
“There is no question that this country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort,” the judge wrote. “But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment.”
00:00 GMT – Border city in China’s southwest to start mass testing
The Chinese city of Ruili, which lies on the border with Myanmar, will begin nucleic acid testing of all residents after two people were discovered to have COVID-19 on Sunday.
The two patients are both from Myanmar and entered China illegally, according to state broadcaster CGTN. They have been isolated in hospital along with five others. Some 190 close contacts of the two have also been put in isolation.
A citywide lockdown has been imposed in Ruili and all residents told to stay at home.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 14) here.