- As of 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 110,165 coronavirus infections, 97,027 recoveries and 8,881 deaths.
- U.S. President Donald Trump repeated his assertion that the virus will eventually just disappear.
- Russia rejects allegations it sought to steal information about a coronavirus vaccine.
- WHO reported a single-day record of new infections on Saturday with 259,848.
- Global death toll from the virus surges past 600,000.
- Wearing a mask is mandatory in Quebec as of Saturday.
- How close are we to a vaccine for COVID-19?
The coronavirus pandemic has found fresh legs around the world, as confirmed deaths pass 600,000, and countries from the United States to South Africa to India struggle to contain a surge of new infections. Hong Kong issued tougher new rules on wearing face masks, Spain closed overcrowded beaches and Germany reported another outbreak at a slaughterhouse.
Pope Francis said that “the pandemic is showing no sign of stopping” and urged compassion for those whose suffering during the outbreak has been worsened by conflicts.
The World Health Organization said that 259,848 new infections were reported Saturday, its highest one-day tally yet.
While the U.S. leads global infections, South Africa now ranks as the fifth worst-hit country in the pandemic with more than 350,000 cases, or around half of all those confirmed on the continent. Its struggles are a sign of trouble to come for nations with even fewer health-care resources.
WATCH | U.S. states and cities at odds on COVID-19 protocols:
India, which has now confirmed more than one million infections, on Sunday reported a 24-hour record of 38,902 new cases.
In Europe, where infections are far below their peak but local outbreaks are causing concern, leaders of the 27-nation European Union haggled for a third day in Brussels over a proposed 1.85 trillion-euro ($2.1 trillion US) EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is “a lot of goodwill, but there are also a lot of positions” in the talks, which have laid bare divisions about how the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, such as Italy and Spain, should be helped. She said the talks, which were initially scheduled to end on Saturday, could still wrap up without a deal.
As scientists around the world race to find a vaccine to halt the pandemic, Russia’s ambassador to Britain on Sunday rejected allegations by the U.S., Britain and China that his country’s intelligence services have sought to steal information about vaccine efforts.
“I don’t believe in this story at all, there is no sense in it,” Ambassador Andrei Kelin said when asked in a BBC interview about the allegations. “I learned about their [the hackers’] existence from British media. In this world, to attribute any kind of computer hackers to any country, it is impossible.”
WATCH | COVID-19 research targeted by hackers:
Confirmed global virus deaths have risen to nearly 603,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The United States tops the list with more than 140,000, followed by more than 78,000 in Brazil. Europe as a continent has seen about 200,000 deaths.
The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.2 million, with 3.7 million in the U.S. and more than two million in Brazil. Experts believe the pandemic’s true toll around the world is much higher because of testing shortages and data collection issues.
Infections have been soaring in U.S. states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona, with many blaming a haphazard, partisan approach to lifting lockdowns, as well as the resistance of some Americans to wearing masks. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday that the situation was so dire in his California city that authorities were considering a new stay-at-home order.
Even where the situation has been largely brought under control, new outbreaks are prompting the return of restrictions.
Following a recent surge in cases, Hong Kong made the wearing of masks mandatory in all public places and told non-essential civil servants to work from home. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the situation in the Asian financial hub is “really critical” and that she sees “no sign” that it’s under control.
Police in Barcelona have limited access to some of the city’s beloved beaches because sunbathers were ignoring physical distancing regulations amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections. Authorities in Amsterdam urged people not to visit the city’s famous red light district and have closed off some of the historic district’s narrow streets because they are too busy.
Slaughterhouses also have featured in outbreaks in the U.S., Germany and elsewhere. Authorities in northwestern Germany’s Vechta county said 66 workers at a chicken slaughterhouse tested positive, though most appeared to have been infected in their free time. An earlier outbreak at a slaughterhouse in western Germany infected more than 1,400 and prompted a partial lockdown.
Speaking on Sunday from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis renewed his appeal for an immediate worldwide ceasefire that he said “will permit the peace and security indispensable to supplying the necessary humanitarian assistance.”
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
The federal government has said it’s not OK for the Blue Jays to play ball in Toronto during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ottawa informed the team of the decision on Saturday, citing concerns over the public health risks associated with Major League Baseball’s plan for a 60-game season.
Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told CBC News Network that the circumstances did not warrant a border-crossing exemption, particularly in light of the amount of cross-border travel needed and the risks that remained. The plan called for the Blue Jays and visiting teams to cross the Canada-U.S. border regularly.
WATCH | ‘We’re taking decisions on the basis of evidence,’ immigration minister says:
As of 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 110,165 coronavirus infections, including 330 new cases on July 18. Provinces and territories listed 97,027 of those as recovered or resolved, with 4,257 active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,881, lower than Friday because Ontario retracted a reported death.
Ontario added 164 new cases Sunday for a total of 37,604 cases. The province also added 113 new recoveries for a total of 33,407 recoveries.
Quebec announced on Saturday that masks are now mandatory in indoor public spaces across the province. The new measure is kicking in as the province witnesses a slow but steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
“It’s better to wear a mask than to be confined at home,” Premier François Legault said as he made the announcement last Monday. “It’s not fun wearing a mask, but it’s essential.”
The new directive, which applies to people aged 12 and older, coincided with tens of thousands of Quebecers spanning out on vacation with the beginning of the traditional two-week construction holiday.
WATCH | Quebec’s new mandatory mask rule is in effect:
Quebec is the first province to mandate face-covering, despite criticism from some who say the government shouldn’t have a blanket policy when most regions outside Montreal weren’t deeply affected by COVID-19.
As of 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, Quebec added 166 new cases for a total of 57,466 cases and one new death for a total of 5,655 deaths.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador logged no new infections on Saturday.
WATCH | Labour lawyer cautions enforcing mask policies is likely to cause some conflict:
Here’s what’s happening around the world
In the United States, Florida reported more than 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the fifth day in a row the state has announced over 10,000 new infections, even as President Donald Trump pledged that the virus was coming under control.
The virus has claimed more than 140,000 lives in the country since the pandemic started, and Florida, California, Texas and other southern and western states shatter records every day. Despite record levels of new cases nationwide, the Trump administration is pushing for schools to reopen in a few weeks and resisting a federal mandate to wear masks in public.
Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in an interview broadcast on Sunday, including his statement that there were only embers of the virus popping up around the country.
“We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame-like, but it’s, it’s going to be under control.”
Trump on Fox News Sunday repeated his assertion that the virus will eventually disappear. “I’ll be right eventually,” he said. “It’s going to disappear and I’ll be right.”
Experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that cases and deaths could rise this fall and winter. Nearly all 20 forecasting models used by the CDC project rising deaths in the coming weeks.
Throughout the U.S., every metric to measure the outbreak is going in the wrong direction: rising cases, deaths, hospitalizations and positivity rates of test results.
At least 14 states have reported record coronavirus hospitalizations so far in July, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Texas.
WATCH | Manhattan’s High Line park reopens with limited capacity:
Trump said he did not agree with CDC director Robert Redfield that this fall and winter will be one of the most difficult times in American public health, as hospitals deal with the seasonal flu on top of COVID cases. “I don’t know and I don’t think he knows,” Trump said.
He also called Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, “a little bit of an alarmist.”
Fauci has warned that cases could soon top 100,000 a day if Americans do not come together to take steps necessary to halt the spread of the virus. The country is averaging 60,000 new cases a day and reported a record one-day increase of 77,299 on Thursday.
India on Sunday reported a 24-hour record surge of 38,902 new cases, taking the country’s total to 1,077,618. Elsewhere in Asia, China confirmed 13 new cases in the northwestern city of Urumqi while South Korea reported fewer than 40 additional cases for a second straight day.
WATCH | British PM hoping for ‘significant return to normality’ by Christmas:
South Africa now trails the U.S., Brazil and India — all far more populous countries — in the number of infections, surpassing Peru, after health authorities announced 13,285 new cases.
South Africa’s new coronavirus epicentre, Gauteng province, hosts the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria and one-quarter of the country’s population of 57 million, with many poor people living in crowded conditions in the middle of a frosty Southern Hemisphere winter.
European Union leaders searched for compromises on Saturday as a summit to reach a deal on an unprecedented 1.85 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion US) EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund enters its second day with tensions running high. A full day and night of discussions by the 27 leaders on Friday only added to the irritations over how the huge sums should be spent and what strings should be attached. The atmosphere “was grumpier this evening than this afternoon,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Dutch reporters after Friday’s marathon talks. “This is going to take a while, I think.”
China’s capital Beijing will lower the emergency response level of the coronavirus outbreak to Level III from Level II, an official from the municipal government told a press briefing on Sunday. The city issued the second-level response on June 16 after several infections of the novel coronavirus were found to be linked to a major wholesale food market.
Syrians headed to polling stations in government-held parts of the war-torn country on Sunday to elect a new parliament under strict health measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus amid an increase of cases in recent days.
The vote is the third to take place in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011. It has killed more than 400,000, displaced half the country’s population and sent more than five million as refugees — mostly into neighbouring countries. As in previous votes in Syria, the vote will produce a rubber-stamp body loyal to the president.
Syria, which had a pre-war population of 22 million, has reported 496 cases of infections and 25 deaths because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. However, the actual numbers are likely far higher.
Cuba for the first time in 130 days on Sunday said there were no new domestic cases of COVID-19, as most of the country moved into the final phase of resuming normal activities with masks and social distancing.
South Korean authorities are also struggling to suppress an uptick in local infections, with 34 additional cases, 21 of them domestic and 13 from overseas, raising the country’s total to 13,745 with 295 deaths.
In Bangladesh, confirmed cases surpassed 200,000, but experts say the number is much higher as the country lacks adequate labs for testing. Most people in rural areas have stopped wearing masks and are thronging shopping centres ahead of the Islamic festival Eid al-Adha this month
In Australia, after a one-day respite, COVID-19 cases in the state of Victoria rose again, prompting a move to make masks mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and the nearby shire of Mitchell. Health officials on Sunday recorded 363 new cases in the past 24 hours. Two men and a woman in their 90s died, taking the national death toll from COVID-19 to 122.
Russia on Sunday reported 6,109 new cases and 95 more deaths from the coronavirus. The nationwide tally of infections has risen to 771,546 cases, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said. The death toll now stands at 12,342, and 550,344 people have recovered.
Iran’s president on Saturday estimated as many as 25 million Iranians could have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak’s beginning, as he urged the public to take the pandemic seriously, the state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday. Hassan Rouhani cited a new Iranian Health Ministry study in offering the unprecedentedly high numbers. Rouhani also said about 30 million to 35 million Iranians will be infected to the virus in the coming months.