U.S. New Cases Slow’ Australia State Tightens Up: Virus Update

U.S. cases rose by 58,908, the least in five days, marking a 1.3% day-on-day increase that’s less than the 1.6% average for the previous seven days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins University. Deaths increased by 946, rising by less than 1,000 for the first time in five days.

Australia’s Victoria state tightened restrictions and declared a state of disaster after its outbreak showed no signs of abating. It will put Metropolitan Melbourne under a curfew limiting movement between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Virus cases slowed in Japan and Germany, while U.S. nationwide deaths exceeded 1,000 for a fifth consecutive day. Israel’s Minister of Jerusalem affairs tested positive for the virus, prompting controls of people he encountered in the Knesset. India’s Home Minister Amit Shah said he tested positive for the virus.

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Bavarian Premier Dampens Hopes For Soccer Fans (6:26 a.m. NY)

Markus Soeder doubted fans could return anytime soon to stadiums for Bundesliga matches. Germany’s professional soccer league has drawn up guidelines to help clubs create concepts to allow spectators back into stadiums, but Soeder said Sunday that he’s “very skeptical” and it would send the wrong signal amid rising infection numbers. The 2020-21 season is due to begin Sept. 18.

“We must expect that coronavirus will return with full force,” Soeder said on Twitter. “Absolute vigilance is required and that’s why it’s not the time for a fresh easing of restrictions or a naive lack of care.”

India’s Home Minister Says He’s Hospitalized With Virus (7:40 a.m. EST)

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah said he tested positive for coronavirus in a post on Twitter. Shah has been admitted to the hospital on the advice of doctors and asked everyone who he has been in contact with to get tested. Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit also tested positive CNBC-TV18 reported.

U.K. Reviewing Covid-Fighting Options Including London Lockdown (8 a.m. EST)

The U.K. is looking at all options for tackling flare-ups of the coronavirus and will use regional data to target its response, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said, following newspaper reports that a London-wide lockdown is being considered if cases spike in the capital.

While Jenrick said he wasn’t aware of a plan to seal off London, which the Sunday Times newspaper reported is being considered as a worst-case option by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s inner circle of advisers, he said restrictions introduced in the northwest of England late Thursday show ministers will act where and when it’s necessary.

China’s Urumqi Waives Fees for All Coronavirus Treatment: Xinhua (7:30 a.m. EST)

City of Urumqi in Xinjiang will waive treatment costs for all confirmed, suspected patients and asymptomatic carriers, Xinhua reports, citing He Xinguo, party secretary of Urumqi’s healthcare security bureau. Earlier, the capital of China’s Xinjiang province will offer free coronavirus tests

Iran Cases Soar, Indonesia Deaths Decline (6:01 a.m. NY)

Iran saw its biggest jump in the daily number of cases in three weeks at 2,685, bringing the total to 309,437. The death toll reached 17,190 with 208 more fatalities overnight, down from 216 a day earlier.

Meanwhile Indonesia reported 43 deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day tally since June 28, official data showed Sunday. Total fatalities reached 5,236, still the highest in East Asia. The nation also confirmed 1,519 new cases Sunday, taking the total to 111,455.

Belgian and Polish Infections Rise (5:29 p.m. HK)

Belgium reported an additional 651 cases of coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its total number of confirmed infections to 69,402. It said four more people have died from the illness in the past 24 hours, bringing total deaths to 9,845.

On a weekly basis, infections have increased by 78% and hospital admissions by 84%, Belgian authorities have said, citing the latest available data.

Poland also registered 548 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, a decline from the one-day record of 658 on Saturday, the country’s Health Ministry announced on Twitter. Deaths rose by 10 to 1,731, it said. The overall number of infections reached 46,894.

Hong Kong reported around the same time that it had registered 115 new cases, all without travel history, and 79 of them are related to past confirmed cases. The city reported 125 infections on Saturday.

Israel Minister’s Infection Prompts Concern Over Parliament Contacts (4:00 p.m. HK)

Rafi Peretz, Israel’s Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, said late Saturday on Twitter that he had tested positive for coronavirus and is feeling well.

Peretz was in Israel’s parliament on both Tuesday and Wednesday and after an epidemiological study was conducted, three other ministers were instructed to quarantine until Aug. 9, a Knesset spokesman said. There was no mention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel has had more than 72,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including more than 520 fatalities.

WHO Sees ‘Lengthy’ Pandemic (4:00 p.m. NY)

An emergency committee of the World Health Organization said it expects the Covid-19 pandemic to be of “lengthy duration” and that it remains “a public health emergency of international concern,” the WHO said in a statement Saturday.

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as telling panel on Friday. “Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks.”

The committee recommended a sustained attack on the virus on all fronts, from testing and tracing to developing treatments to vaccines.

South Africa’s Ramaphosa Urges Caution as Virus Cases Top 500,000 (3:59 p.m. HK)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged citizens to remain careful and adapt to measures necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as confirmed infections in the country breached 500,000.

With 503,290 confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 8,000 fatalities, South Africa is the worst-hit country on the continent. The stabilization of a daily increase in infections in the province of Gauteng, which includes the economic hub of Johannesburg, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape suggests that prevention measures are having an effect, he said.

Russia New Cases Rise by More Than 5,000; Many Asymptomatic (3:56 p.m. HK)

Russia reported 5,427 new confirmed coronavirus infections in the past day, raising the total to 850,870, according to data from the Russian government’s virus response center.

Almost 29% of new cases are asymptomatic. In the past day 70 people died of the disease, bringing total death toll to 14,128, while 3,649 people recovered, pushing total to 650,173.

Singapore Reports 313 New Infections; Most in Foreign Worker Camps (3:45 p.m. HK)

Ministry of Health has confirms on a preliminary basis, an additional 313 cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore, the vast majority of whom are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories.

German New Cases Decline, Infection Rate Edges Higher (2:30 p.m. HK)

Germany recorded 606 new virus cases in the 24 hours through Sunday morning, down from 864 on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The reproduction rate, which guages the average number of people infected by one carrier of the disease, held above the key threshold of 1.0 for a ninth day. It rose to 1.13 on Saturday, from 1.06 the previous day, the latest report from the country’s RKI public health institute showed.

The number of infections in Germany now totals 211,005 as cases have advanced steadily since the country eased its lockdown restrictions.

Tokyo Finds 292 New Coronavirus Cases, NHK Says (2:33 p.m. HK)

Daily new coronavirus cases in Tokyo fell to 292 on Sunday from a record high the previous day, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The drop comes after new cases in Japan’s capital extended a record for three straight days with 472 infections found on Saturday. The recent surge has prompted Tokyo to set tighter rules on bars, restaurants and karaoke shops, which have been asked to shorten business hours from Aug. 3 until the end of the month, the first such restrictions since Tokyo lifted all limits in June.

China to Help Hong Kong Boost Virus Tests (1:23 p.m.)

China is sending mainland technicians and medical experts to Hong Kong to help the city boost testing for coronavirus and build a makeshift “cabin hospital” for Covid-19 patients amid a worsening outbreak in the territory.

More than 60 laboratory technicians from Guangdong province will be sent to Hong Kong at the request of its government, China’s National Health Commission said in a statement on its website on Saturday, adding that authorities are ready to provide more mainland resources and support “at any time.”

Hong Kong reported 125 coronavirus cases for Saturday, taking the city’s total to 3,397, the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health said in a statement. The authority urged the public to practice social distancing and “avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong.”

Australia’s Victoria Tightens Lockdown (1:16 p.m. HK)

Australia’s Victoria state tightened restrictions and declared a state of disaster after its outbreak showed no signs of abating three weeks after capital Melbourne was put under lockdown.

State Premier Daniel Andrews announced 671 new cases in the past 24 hours with seven deaths. More than 380 people were in hospital, with 38 in intensive care.

Andrews said he would declare a state of disaster from 6 p.m. tonight, which would give police added powers. Metropolitan Melbourne would be under a curfew limiting movement between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The new restrictions will be in force for six weeks.

Vietnam to Test 1.1 Million People in City at Center of Outbreak (12:55 p.m. HK)

Vietnam will test all residents of Danang, the city at the center of a coronavirus outbreak with 1.1 million people, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, as the risk of a widening spread increases.

There were two more confirmed cases linked to the Danang outbreak, the Health Ministry said on Sunday, while another two were imported infections. More than 800,000 people had traveled to the coastal city since July 1, and returned to their home provinces and cities, according to the government, while about 41,000 people had visited three hospitals there where most of the infections occurred.

Vietnam has reported 174 new virus patients, mostly from Danang, since July 25 when the first locally-transmitted case was confirmed after more than three months. The Southeast Asian nation now has 590 virus cases, including 214 under treatment and three deaths.

Philippines Pushes Back on Call for Second Manila Lockdown (11:57 a.m. HK)

The Philippine Health Department rejected a call by medical frontline workers to reimpose a two-week lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby areas, pointing to concerns following the nation’s worst economic slump in three decades.

“The economy cannot be at a standstill and employment and livelihood are at the minds of millions of Filipinos right now,” the Department of Health said in a statement.

Groups of medical staff on Saturday appealed to the government to reintroduce the so-called enhanced community quarantine in the capital and nearby provinces for the two-week period to ease a rise in infections and allow health-care workers time to recover from exhaustion. They also called for a comprehensive policy to fight the pandemic and a central body that will oversee its implementation.

New Covid-19 cases in the Philippines rose by a record for a fourth day on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 103,185, the health authority said. Deaths totaled 2,059. The death toll increased by 20.

Singapore, Malaysia to Roll Out ‘Green Lane’ Arrangement (9:23 a.m. HK)

Singapore and Malaysia have finalized key details of a so-called green lane arrangement for business travel and for periodic commuters. The city state will start accepting applications for both categories from August 10 through its SafeTravel website, according to a Singapore government statement.

The reciprocal green lane program will allow short-term essential business and official travel between both countries for as many as 14 days through air and land checkpoints for sponsored travelers. Commuters from Malaysia to Singapore will be only allowed through land crossings and must agree to spend at least 90 days for work after entry.

Brazil Deaths, Cases Slow (6:35 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported 45,392 new cases, down from 52,383 the previous day. Total cases, in the nation hit worst by outbreak after the U.S., are 2.6 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Another 1,088 deaths were reported, down from 1,212 the day before, for a total of 92,475.

Democrat Tests Positive, Blasts Republicans (2:30 p.m. NY)

Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva said he’s infected with the coronavirus, days after a Capitol Hill hearing where a Republican House member in attendance later tested positive for Covid-19.

“While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some Members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously,” said the Arizona Democrat. “Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”

Grijalva said in a statement he isn’t exhibiting symptoms and has been self-isolating at his home in Washington since Wednesday upon learning that Texas Republican Representative Louie Gohmert tested positive.

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