Tokyo discovered another 290 new cases while Australia canceled its next planned sitting of parliament because of risks posed by the nation’s coronavirus outbreak. Russia reported its smallest daily increase since March.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed the Trump administration’s handling of the virus, saying it’s trying to hide the skyrocketing number of cases from public view.
Texas reported record deaths for a third straight day. The Texas Republican Party won a last-minute ruling allowing it to move thousands of delegates into Houston’s convention center this weekend amid a coronavirus surge.
More U.S. national retailers imposed in-store mask requirements. President Donald Trump told Fox News he supports mask wearing but would not impose a national mandate.
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Russian Cases Rise Least Since March (3:40 p.m. HK)
Russia said cases rose 0.8%, the lowest daily increase since recording of data on the outbreak began in March. The 6,234 new confirmed infections in the past day bring the total to 765,437, according to data from the Russian government’s virus response center.
U.K. Home Antibody Test Passes Trials: Telegraph (3 p.m. HK)
A home antibody test developed by Oxford University with backing from the U.K. government passed its first major trial, the Telegraph reported, citing the head of the government’s testing body.
Ministers are drawing up plans to distribute millions of the tests for free after they were shown to be 98.6% accurate in secret human trials held last month, the newspaper said. The fingerprick test can tell within 20 minutes whether a person has ever been exposed to coronavirus.
Scientists Find Six Types of Covid: Telegraph (2:55 p.m. HK)
Six distinct types of coronavirus have been identified by scientists, the Telegraph said. Scientists used artificial intelligence software to identify “clusters” of symptoms and ranked them in order of severity. Headache and loss of smell are common to all six groupings.
Scientists at King’s College London found that patients with the sixth type of Covid-19 are nearly 10 times more likely to end up needing breathing support than patients in the first group. They used data from 1,600 users of its symptom tracker app in the U.K. and U.S. who had confirmed cases. The resulting algorithm was then tested on a further 1,000 users in those countries as well as Sweden.
Almost One-Third of Iranians May Have Had Virus (2:50 p.m. HK)
Some 25 million Iranians are estimated to have contracted the coronavirus so far and up to 35 million more are at the risk of getting the infection, President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Saturday, citing a Health Ministry report.
Iran has recorded nearly 13,800 deaths and 270,000 confirmed cases since it detected its first case five months ago.
German Infection Rate Edges Higher (2:46 p.m. HK)
Germany’s infection rate rose slightly, while the number of new cases stayed significantly below the level at the height of the outbreak.
There were 595 new cases in the 24 hours through Saturday morning, bringing the total to 202,045. There was one additional fatality, increasing the total to 9,088.
Tokyo Finds 290 New Cases (2:24 p.m. HK)
Tokyo saw a third straight day of more than 200 new cases. Infections totaled 290 on Saturday, public broadcaster NHK said, citing sources at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. That’s close to the record 293 cases reported a day earlier.
Officials in Japan have so far resisted reimposing additional restrictions. There’s no need to declare a state of emergency right now and the Tokyo medical system isn’t under pressure, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Friday.
Australia Cancels Next Parliament Sitting (11:46 a.m. HK)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Saturday he had made a request to the speaker that the session due to start Aug. 4 not be held following public health advice, citing threats including increased community transmission in the southern state of Victoria.
Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, was placed into lockdown last week after breaches of hotel quarantine procedures.
Iran Cases Touch 269,440 (11:08 a.m. HK)
The number of confirmed cases in Iran stands at 269,440, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The number of fatalities is 13,791.
Hong Kong May Extend Measures (10:36 a.m. HK)
David Hui, a Chinese University infectious disease expert, told RTHK that the Hong Kong government’s social distancing rules — set to expire on Tuesday — will probably be extended.
The city’s economy is mired in its deepest recession on record after a disastrous year of social unrest and then the virus outbreak.
Texas GOP In-Person Convention Back On (9:45 a.m.HK)
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes granted an emergency request by party officials to reinstate the in-person meeting for the selection of the Texas GOP’s presidential electors.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, canceled the gathering last week after the city’s top medical officer testified that such a large indoor gathering could become a “super-spreader” event.
South Korea Confirms 39 More Cases (9:24 a.m. HK)
South Korea reported 39 more Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,711, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. One additional death was reported.
China Adds 22 New Cases (9:00 a.m. HK)
China added 22 new coronavirus cases on July 17, the National Health Commission said Saturday. Xinjiang had 16 local cases. There were three imported cases in Guangdong, two in Shandong and one in Fujian. Beijing had no new cases.
Biden Criticizes Administration’s Response (8:40 a.m. HK)
Biden said the official count of the toll remains hidden from view in a non-public database at a separate government agency overseen by the President’s political appointees.
“What he is doing is keeping detailed data from the group of scientists who could make best use of it: the men and women at the Centers for Disease Control,” the former vice president said in an emailed statement. “Donald Trump has waved the white flag and retreated in the face of the challenge of Covid-19. Now he is literally trying to hide.”
Trump Rules Out Mask Mandate (6:40 a.m. HK)
President Trump said that while he supports the use of masks as protection against the coronavirus he does not believe that wearing a face covering should be mandatory for the nation.
“I want people to have a certain freedom,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News, an excerpt of which was broadcast by the network ahead of its full airing on Sunday.
Moderna Shorts Cost Almost $1.5 Billion (6:35 a.m. HK)
Those betting against high-flying vaccine developer Moderna Inc. have taken their lumps this year with the biotech’s 370% rally costing short sellers almost $1.5 billion, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm has boomed into a $36 billion behemoth amid excitement for its vaccine to treat the coronavirus.
Court Rules in Favor of Texas Convention (5:45 p.m. NY)
The Texas Republican Party got the green light to move thousands of delegates into the Houston convention center this weekend after the party’s attempt at a virtual convention proved a bust, a lawyer for the party said.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes granted an emergency request by Texas GOP officials Friday to reinstate the in-person political gathering, which was canceled last week by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Turner, a Democrat, cited health risks at a time when the city’s coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are skyrocketing.
Brazil Adds More Than 34,000 Cases (5:35 p.m. NY)
Brazil reported 34,177 new virus cases, a day after the nation passed the milestone of 2 million infections. It has the second highest number after the U.S. Another 1,163 deaths were reported, for a total of 77,851.
The World Health Organization said the outbreak has reached a plateau.
“The rise in Brazil is no longer exponential,” WHO Executive Director Michael Ryan said. “There is a plateau, there is an opportunity here now for Brazil to push the disease down, to suppress the transmission of the virus, to take control.”
Texas Deaths Break Record for Third Day (5:20 p.m. NY)
Texas virus deaths broke records for a third consecutive day, with 174 fatalities that pushed the tally-to-date to 3,735, according to state health department figures.
The clash between local control and state rules setting limits on virus safety mandates in Texas deepened Friday. State Attorney General Ken Paxton issued guidance that private religious schools don’t have to abide by restrictions being issued by cities or counties, such as a Dallas County edict this week barring in-person instruction until after Labor Day, Sept. 7.
“This guidance allows religious private schools to determine for themselves when to reopen free from any government mandate or interference,” Paxton wrote.
U.S. Cases Rise 2.1% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 2.1% as compared with the same time Thursday to 3.61 million, as of 3:01 p.m. New York time, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. Deaths rose by 943 to 138,840.
Florida reported 327,241 cases, up 3.6% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 4.5% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 4,805, an increase of 128, or 2.7%,Arizona reported 3,910 new cases, a 2.9% rise to 138,523 that was above the prior seven-day average of 2.6%. The state reported 91 new virus deaths, bringing the total to 2,583.Montana cases rose 6.1% to 2,366 according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
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