Push to Reopen U.S. Schools; New York Cases Steady: Virus Update

Christel Deskins

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said “the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall,” despite rising cases around the country. New York reported 677 new cases, in line with daily rises in the last week, and five deaths. South Africa may reintroduce tighter regulations on the […]

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said “the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall,” despite rising cases around the country. New York reported 677 new cases, in line with daily rises in the last week, and five deaths.

South Africa may reintroduce tighter regulations on the movement of people and curb sales of alcohol as coronavirus infections soar, the Sunday Times reported. Hungary is also restricting travel after spikes in neighboring countries. Infections in Germany increased by 377.

Thailand plans to start human trials for a locally developed, potential Covid-19 vaccine as early as September, making it among the first done outside high-income countries, after encouraging results in monkeys and mice.

Global Tracker: Cases top 12.7 million; deaths surpass 565,000Aversion to mask-wearing holds back U.S. economyU.K. set to tighten rules on wearing face masksWall Street forges a new relationship to data in coronavirus ageConflicting visions emerge for South Africa’s post-virus revivalAnonymity helped overcome stigma in Korean nightclub probe

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Trump Official Calls for ‘Simple’ Changes (10:50 a.m. NY)

A few “simple” changes would do as much to curb the Covid-19 transmission rate as another broad shutdown, Admiral Brett Giroir, President Donald Trump’s former coronavirus testing czar, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Among the ideas: avoiding bars and wearing masks in public. The U.S. is “definitely not losing the battle,” he said, as daily cases hit new records.

Giroir, an assistant secretary for health, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Disease, “is not 100% right” in how the U.S. should approach the pandemic, and doesn’t “have the whole national interest in mind” when he speaks. “He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view.”

Gove Questions Masks in U.K. Shops (10:35 a.m. NY)

U.K. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said the government shouldn’t make face masks compulsory in English shops — but added that it was “good manners” to wear one.

On Saturday, the Times reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was set to tell Parliament this week it will be compulsory for Britons to wear face coverings in shops, soon after telling the country that it was only optional do so. Johnson’s administration has come in for steady criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of about 45,000 people in the U.K. — the highest toll in Europe.

Outbreak at U.K. Farm (10:26 a.m. NY)

More than 70 workers at a farm in Herefordshire in western England have contracted coronavirus. Workers at A.S. Green & Co. have been asked to stay on the farm within household groups to prevent further spread. Public Health England advises that it is very unlikely Covid-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging, the company said in a statement on its website. The farm specializes in broccoli and beans.

Portugal Reports Slower Rise (10:22 a.m. NY)

Portugal reported 291 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, down from 342 on Saturday, for a total of 46,512, the government said. The additional cases are mostly in the greater Lisbon region, where authorities have tightened restrictions since the start of July and increased testing after new clusters were identified. The total number of deaths in Portugal rose by 6 to 1,660.

New York Cases Remain Steady (10:15 a.m. NY)

New York reported 677 new Covid-19 cases, a 0.2% rise in line with the seven-day average of daily cases, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet. Five more fatalities were reported, one fewer than the day before, he said.

DeVos Says School Reopening Should Be ‘Rule’ (10:10 a.m. NY)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pushed the administration’s position of opening schools in the fall, despite a heavy rate of Covid-19 infections in many states, in two Sunday-morning interviews.

“There is going to be the exception to the rule. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall,” she said on CNN. DeVos said there was “nothing in the data that suggests kids going back to school is in any way dangerous.”

On “Fox News Sunday” DeVos repeated a threat to withhold federal funds if schools don’t reopen for in-person learning: “if schools aren’t going to open, they shouldn’t get the funds. Give it to the families.”

Hundreds of Credit Suisse Jobs May Go (8 a.m. NY)

Credit Suisse Group AG could cut “hundreds” of jobs as the Swiss lender mulls different savings plans that would allow it to reach its profit targets, according to SonntagsZeitung, which didn’t say where it obtained the information. The coronavirus crisis has given its online operations a boost and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein is mulling thinning out the Zurich-based bank’s domestic branch network.

Israel Deficit May Reach 13% of GDP (7:45 a.m. NY)

Israel’s pandemic support plan could lead the budget deficit to hit 13% of GDP this year and 7% in 2021, Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron said in a statement. The government has the ability to finance the plan, which will help public weather the ongoing crisis, he said.

Iran Case Numbers Moderate (7 a.m. NY)

Iran’s Covid-19 death toll climbed to 12,829 on Sunday with 194 fatalities overnight, up from 188 the day before. The number of infections rose by 2,186 to 257,303, a smaller increase than the average of 1% over the previous seven days. Almost 220,000 people have recovered from Covid-19 and 3,359 patients are in intensive care units.

France to Test at Airports (6:21 a.m. NY)

France will proceed to systematic testing at airports “over the next few days” for passengers arriving from countries where coronavirus is circulating intensely, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said during a BFM TV interview on Sunday. The government is targeting 2,000 tests a day at airports initially.

Asked whether France will impose wearing masks in closed spaces, Attal said “we’re adapting constantly to the situation.”

New Hong Kong Cases Found (6 a.m. NY)

Hong Kong reported 38 new cases on Sunday, feeding fears of a resurgence in the Asian hub after weeks of near-normal activity.

Thirty of the cases were locally transmitted, including 13 of unknown origin, the city’s Department of Health said at a briefing. The other eight cases were imported, meaning people returning from abroad. That brought the total number of cases in Hong Kong to 1,469.

The city’s government tightened social-distancing measures for some businesses from Saturday. Residents were urged to avoid going out or attending group gatherings for the next two weeks.

Indonesia’s Virus Cases Exceed 75,000 (5:59 p.m. HK)

The number of cases in Indonesia exceeded 75,000 as infections in the two largest hotspots continued to accelerate after the government eased physical-distancing curbs more than a month ago.

There were 1,681 new cases in the 24 hours to midday Sunday, bringing the total to 75,699, authorities said, adding that 71 people succumbed to the virus. The increase in cases is in line with the average of 2.2% over the previous seven days. Indonesia has the most cases and fatalities in Southeast Asia with 3,606 deaths.

Hungary Tightens Travel Restrictions (5:38 p.m. HK)

Hungary will conduct health checks at the border and require 14-day quarantine for those arriving from higher-risk countries for the coronavirus while foreigners from the highest risk nations will be barred from entry, cabinet minister Gergely Gulyas said at a televised briefing on Sunday.

No European Union nation is listed in the “red” category currently, denoting the highest risk, Gulyas said. Bulgaria, Romania, Sweden and the U.K. were among countries listed as “yellow” or higher risk. Authorities will review the list weekly.

South Africa Considers New Restrictions: Times (4:18 p.m. HK)

South Africa may reintroduce tighter regulations on the movement of people and curb sales of alcohol as coronavirus infections soar, the Sunday Times reported.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will make an address on the new measures to help contain the virus on Sunday evening, the newspaper said. The reintroduction of curfews is being discussed.

Cases have risen an average of 5% a day for the past week, and the increase hasn’t been below 4% for almost a month. South Africa’s virus infections rose to 264,184 with almost 4,000 deaths, health minister Zweli Mkhize, said in a statement Saturday.

German Infections Rise Steadily (2:25 p.m. HK)

Germany’s coronavirus cases rose to 199,709, while deaths increased by seven to 9,070, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, both climbing at about the same rate as the previous day. The reproduction factor — or R value — grew slightly to 0.93, according to the latest estimate by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s health body. The 95% confidence interval means the number is somewhere between 0.72 and 1.13. The relatively small number of new cases means the value can fluctuate more wildly.

Thailand to Begin Vaccine Trials in Humans (12:13 p.m. HK)

The first stage of Thai clinical trials will enroll about 100 volunteers separated in two groups, one for people aged 18 to 60 and the other for 60- to 80-year-olds, Kiat Ruxrungtham, head researcher at Chulalongkorn University’s Center of Excellence in Vaccine Research and Development, said at a briefing on Sunday in Bangkok. The second stage, likely to begin in December, will involve 500 to 1,000 people. If the trials are successful, Thailand could have its vaccine by the second half of 2021, Kiat said. Globally, 160 vaccines are being studied for Covid-19, of which 21 are at the clinical evaluation stage, according to the World Health Organization.

Toyota to Restart All Factories Globally (12:03 p.m. HK)

Toyota Motor Corp. will reopen its Venezuelan plant on Monday, meaning all factories in South America will be operational, spokesman Kensuke Ko said. The auto giant had already opened all its plants in Japan, North America and Europe, he said. From February, Toyota halted production in many countries, starting with China, as the coronavirus spread rapidly across the world.

Melbourne Students to Return to Remote Learning (11:01 a.m. HK)

Most students in Australia’s second-biggest city will go back to remote learning as officials grapple with coronavirus outbreaks. All prep to year 10 students at government schools will return to learning from home starting July 20 until at least Aug. 19, Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews told a press conference Sunday. Melbourne is in the midst of a six-week lockdown that was imposed to help curb a growing infection count.

Australia’s Victoria State Deals With Additional Cases (9:16 a.m. HK)

The country’s second-most populous state, which is facing a worsening outbreak, found 273 new infections in the past 24 hours. Australia had enjoyed early success in crushing the curve of virus infections by shutting its international border, quarantining arrivals, social distancing measures and a widespread testing and tracing regime. But a mixture of complacency, easing restrictions and missteps in Victoria’s quarantine program, has seen a fresh outbreak that’s led to Melbourne being placed in a six-week lockdown.

Authorities also warned of a cluster of infections linked to a hotel in Sydney’s southwest, and urged anyone who visited the venue from July 3 to 10 to self-isolate. Nine cases have been connected to the hotel, according to New South Wales health officials.

South Korea Reports More Infections (9:13 a.m HK)

South Korea reported 44 more Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,417, according to data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. One additional death was reported, taking the total to 289. Among the new infections, 23 were imported.

Japan Virus Chief Says Country Needs to be on High Alert (8:34 a.m. HK)

Japan’s virus czar Yasutoshi Nishimura, who also serves as the nation’s economy minister, said the number of cases with unclear contagion routes is increasing, straining public health care resources. He didn’t say if the current situation warrants another declaration of emergency. The country has seen a spike in cases over recent days, with Tokyo reporting more than 200 infections daily for the past three days. Tokyo found 206 new cases Sunday, TV Asahi reported, without saying where it got the information.

Mexico Cases Rise (8:23 a.m. HK)

Mexico reported 6,094 new Covid-19 cases and 539 deaths Saturday, bringing the case count to 295,268 and number of deaths to 34,730, the fifth highest in the world, according to data released by the Health Ministry. New cases hit records this week, with officials reporting more than 7,000 for the first time Thursday.

Brazil Reports 39,023 New Cases (6:40 a.m. HK)

Total cases in Brazil, which has the highest number of infections and deaths after the U.S., reached 1,839,850, according to the Health Ministry’s press office. Another 1,071 deaths were reported, for a total of 71,469.

Mormons Ask Faithful to Wear Masks (6:30 a.m. HK)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah sent an email to worshippers asking them to wear masks as cases in the state continue to climb, the Deseret News reported.

“Please join with us now in common purpose for the blessing and benefit of all,” read an email noting that the state hit a record number of daily cases on Friday of 867.

As of Saturday, the state reported a total of 28,223 cases and 207 deaths, according to Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins University.

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Returning students have their temperature checked on the first day back at Sawasdee Wittaya Primary School in Bangkok, July 1, 2020. (Adam Dean/The New York Times) As school districts across the United States consider whether and how to restart in-person classes, their challenge is complicated by a pair of fundamental […]