Top US medical expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, is warning that the country, already “hit badly” by the coronavirus, is facing a dangerous surge in new cases. Arizona, Texas and Nevada all reported a record number of daily cases.
EU countries are considering banning entry to Americans as the US has failed in controlling the spread of the coronavirus, according to the New York Times.
Worldwide, nearly 9.2 million people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. More than 4.6 million have recovered, while more than 474,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, June 24
06:21 GMT – Hong Kong dismisses privacy concerns in China travel scheme
Sophia Chan, Hong Kong’s secretary for food and health, defended a planned travel scheme requiring residents of the city to share their coronavirus test results with authorities in Guangdong province in mainland China, dismissing concerns that residents’ sensitive personal data, such as medical records, could be transferred to mainland security authorities.
Hong Kong will develop a “Health Code” system to enable “the virus test results of participants of the pilot scheme in Hong Kong to be uploaded onto the code” and shared with mainland authorities, she said. Travellers will not be required to install a mobile application, she said.
“The … computer system will only collect basic personal information and nucleic acid test results from applicants for the purpose of applying for the ‘Hong Kong Health Code’. The development process is premised on the protection of personal privacy and the code exchange procedures must also be explicitly initiated and agreed by the applicant,” she added.
05:30 GMT – Maldives to open borders to all tourists on July 15
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, president of the Maldives, says the island nation is opening its borders on July 15 to tourist arrivals from all countries.
The Indian Ocean archipelago’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and arrivals will not be subject to quarantine measures with only symptomatic travellers required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing at the airport, according to the tourism ministry.
Testing will be made available for travellers who require it to return to their countries or continue on their onward journeys, the ministry added.
Guidance for visitors travelling to the Maldives#VisitMaldives #SunnySideofLife pic.twitter.com/cDNvlBggzG
— Ministry of Tourism (@MoTmv) June 23, 2020
05:08 GMT – Indonesia volunteers launch ‘alertness index’
Volunteers in Indonesia introduced an “alertness index” mapping coronavirus cases in every city and regency in the country, with the worst-affected places marked in deep red.
“At the end of the day, the public needs transparent data about their risks. With reliable and open data, they can cautiously decide whether to carry out an activity in the public sphere,” Ronald Bessie, coordinator for the KawalCOVID-9 database, was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.
— KawalCOVID19 (@KawalCOVID19) June 23, 2020
04:59 GMT – Virus deaths surpass 100,000 in Latin America
More than 100,000 people had died from COVID-19 in Latin American by the end of Tuesday, with more than half of confirmed deaths logged in Brazil, according to tallies by Reuters and AFP news agencies.
Here is a breakdown of case-loads and death tolls in the worst affected countries:
Brazil – 52,960 deaths and 1,145,906 cases
Mexico – 23,377 deaths and 191,410 cases
Peru – 8,404 deaths and 260,810 cases
Chile – 4,505 deaths and 250,767 cases
04:23 GMT – In conflict-hit countries, coronavirus testing may not reach women
Big gaps between the number of male and female coronavirus cases in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East suggest that women may be struggling to access testing or care, an aid agency told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, more than 70 percent of reported cases were male, compared with a global average of 51 percent, the same in the Central African Republic, Chad and Somalia, said the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Studies in China, Europe and the US have shown that men are more likely than women to be hospitalised and die of coronavirus, but they have not shown the same gender gap in cases as elsewhere. In most of Europe, the numbers of cases are roughly equal between men and women.
04:13 GMT – Beijing’s outbreak appears to be firmly waning
Health authorities in China reported 12 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with seven in the country’s capital, Beijing, indicating that a spike in the city appears to be on the wane.
Beijing’s outbreak saw a total of 249 people infected since June 11, most cases linked to the city’s biggest wholesale market, and led to new lockdowns and the cancellation of classes.
Since then, three million test samples have been taken from 2.43 million people in the city, a senior municipal health official said on Tuesday. The city can now conduct more than 300,000 nucleic acid tests per day, compared with 40,000 in March, said Zhang Hua, deputy director of the Beijing Health Commission.
A worker in protective suit sprays disinfectant as medical workers conduct nucleic acid tests at a testing site in Beijing [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters]
03:00 GMT – Washington state makes face masks mandatory
Jay Inslee, the governor of the US state of Washington, ordered residents to wear face masks in public after the region saw its positive tests rise by 35 percent last week.
“This is about saving lives. It’s about reopening our businesses. And it’s about showing respect and care for one another,” Inslee said.
The states of Arizona, California, Mississippi and Nevada have reported record numbers of new cases of COVID-19 while Texas set a record on Monday.
02:42 GMT – Mexico logs another record rise in cases
Mexico posted another record one-day increase in coronavirus cases: 6,288 confirmed infections on Tuesday and 793 more deaths, according to the Health Department. That brought Mexico’s total case-load to 191,410 and death toll to 23,377.
Officials acknowledge both are undercounts due to extremely low testing rates. Mexico has performed only about half a million tests, roughly one for every 250 inhabitants.
Mexico has also had an extremely high rate of infections among healthcare professionals. About 39,000 – 20 percent – of the country’s confirmed cases are healthcare workers. There have been 584 deaths among doctors, nurses, technicians and hospital workers.
A man has his temperature checked at Iztapalapa market in Mexico City on June 22, 2020 [Pedro Pardo/ AFP]
02:00 GMT – MSF calls on GAVI to get drugs companies to sell vaccine at cost
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and 40 civil society groups are calling on GAVI to review its pricing for future coronavirus vaccines, ahead of a Gavi board meeting due to start in Geneva later on Wednesday.
At issue is the COVAX Facility, a new mechanism Gavi developed to pay pharmaceutical companies up front for potential COVID-19 vaccines.
Among MSF’s concerns was the lack of transparency on how pricing is set by drug firms as well as the two-tier system of access to future COVID-19 vaccines bought through the COVAX Facility. Countries financed through donor assistance will only receive enough vaccines for the most vulnerable populations while wealthier nations will receive enough for a set percentage of their entire population, MSF said.
The #COVID19 pandemic has exposed the flaws in the current drug development system. As @Gavi prepares for a Board meeting this week, we have some urgent recommendations to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines 💉 are accessible, affordable and available to EVERYONE who needs them. 👇 pic.twitter.com/2bLmPFF175
— MSF International (@MSF) June 23, 2020
01:30 GMT – Australia records first coronavirus death in more than a month
Australia has recorded its first death from coronavirus in more than a month, as new cases continue to spike in the southern state of Victoria.
The man who died was in his 80s, health authorities said.
Victoria recorded 20 new cases overnight, taking the state’s total to 1,900.
23:45 GMT – Trump claims border wall ‘stopped’ virus
US President Donald Trump visited the border with Mexico on Tuesday and claimed it had stopped both undocumented immigration and the coronavirus.
In the blazing heat, Trump briefly stopped to inspect a new section of the wall and scrawled his signature on the concrete and rebar structure.
Trump is looking to regain campaign momentum after a poor turnout for a weekend rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
23:00 GMT (Tuesday) – ‘We’ve been hit badly’: Fauci warns US on coronavirus surge
Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that the next few weeks will be critical in stamping out coronavirus hotspots around the US.
“We’ve been hit badly,” Fauci told a House committee, adding he was “really quite concerned” about rising community spread in some states, including Arizona, where US President Donald Trump was holding a rally on Tuesday and viewing the construction of a border wall.
Fauci, who also stressed that testing would be stepped up, was speaking at the committee along with the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Find out more about what they had to say here.
Dr Anthony Fauci testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the COVID-19 pandemic [Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP Photo]
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
You can read all the updates from yesterday (June 23) here.