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Coronavirus has exacerbated schooling divides: Live updates

  • German authorities have ordered a new lockdown.The move came after a coronavirus outbreak at a slaughterhouse infected more than 1,500 workers.
  •  Saudi Arabia will limit the number of domestic pilgrims attending the Hajj to around 1,000 after barring Muslims abroad from the rite for the first year in modern times.
  • Worldwide, more than 9 million people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. More than 4.5 million have recovered, while more than 472,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, June 23

11:55 GMT – EU leaders summit July 17-18 on virus recovery package

The leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet in Brussels on July 17, their first physical summit since the coronavirus lockdown began, to discuss an economic recovery package.

The two-day meeting was confirmed by a spokesman for European Council president and summit host Charles Michel, as capitals wrangle over the terms of the huge rescue plan.

11:40 GMT – Trials with Oxford COVID-19 vaccine start in Brazil

Oxford University has started human clinical trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, sponsor Lemann Foundation said in a statement has said.

Trials will count on 2,000 health workers volunteers in Sao Paulo and 1,000 people in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa approved human clinical trials for this potential vaccine, developed by Oxford and supported by AstraZeneca Plc, earlier in June. 

Bolsonaro’s coronavirus response: A threat to Brazil’s economy | Counting the Cost (25:00)

11:15 GMT – South Africa to start Africa’s first coronavirus vaccine pilot

South Africa rolls out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, the university leading the pilot has said, as the country grapples with the highest number of cases in Africa.

The vaccine, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute, is already being evaluated in the United Kingdom, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial.

South Africa has set out to vaccinate 2,000 people with the vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Fifty of the candidates have HIV.

11:00 GMT – Dublin Airport Authority expects up to 1,000 job losses: CEO

Dublin Airport Authority, Ireland’s largest airport operator, expects COVID-19 to lead to between 750 and 1,000 job losses, Chief Executive Dalton Philips has said.

The company, which operates Dublin and Cork airports and has operations in 15 other countries, said has been losing 1 million euros ($1.13m) per day since mid March, Philips told RTE radio.

He said he expected traffic at its main airports to be about 40 percent lower in 2021 due to COVID-19 with traffic only returning to pre-pandemic levels by 2023. 

10:45 GMT – Russian capital emerges from tight lockdown

Restaurants, gyms, swimming pools, libraries and kindergartens have resumed operation in Moscow as the city emerges from a tight coronavirus lockdown in place since late March.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced ending the lockdown in the Russian capital two weeks ago.

Sobyanin lifted stay-at-home orders and allowed beauty parlors to reopen first. Last week, dental clinics, museums and outdoor spaces of cafes and restaurants resumed operation.

10:30 GMT – Saudi minister says number of pilgrims limited to around 1,000

Saudi Arabia‘s Hajj minister has said that the number of pilgrims attending Hajj this year would be limited to around 1,000 local citizens and residents, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus .

Pilgrims coming from overseas will be barred this year and the ministry will apply a strict health criteria to choose pilgrims who may attend, including excluding those above 65 years old, Mohammed Benten said at a news conference. 

Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 161,000 COVID-19 infections with over 1,300 deaths, following a rise in new cases in the past two weeks.

This picture taken on May 24, 2020 during the early hours of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday which starts at the conclusion of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, shows an aerial view of Saudi Arabia's

Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 161,000 COVID-19 infections with over 1,300 deaths [File: AFP]

10:15 GMT – German economy to shrink by 6.5 percent this year due to coronavirus: economic advisers

The German economy will shrink by 6.5 percent this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government’s council of economic advisers said, adding that the slump will be prolonged if the number of new infections jumps again.

“The coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause the largest slump of the German economy since the founding of the Federal Republic. But we expect the recovery to start in the summer,” council head Lars Feld said.

Adjusted for calendar effects, the German economy is seen shrinking by 6.9 percent this year. The council said it expects a slow recovery in the second half of the year, with gross domestic product (GDP) forecast to grow by 4.9 percent next year.

“This means GDP probably won’t get back to its pre-pandemic level until 2022 at the earliest,” the council said in a statement, adding that the government’s stimulus measures were likely to support the recovery.

How will countries pay off their debt after COVID-19? | Counting the Cost (25:00)

10:00 GMT – ‘Smart lockdown’ in Pakistan to target 500 coronavirus hotspots

Pakistan’s government has identified 500 coronavirus hotspots across the country to be targeted in its “smart lockdown” strategy, according to the country’s top health official.

Zafar Mirza, the prime minister’s special adviser on health and head of the federal health ministry, told legislators that these areas would be targeted for limited locality-based lockdowns – which the government has dubbed “smart lockdowns” – to control the spread of the coronavirus.

“Due to the current economic situation, it is impossible to implement complete lockdown in the country. However, the government [is] focusing on smart lockdown policy,” a statement released after the meeting said.

Read more here.

Easing COVID-19 lockdown in Karachi

After weeks of a strict lockdown, Imran Khan’s government eased almost all restrictions in late May [File:Akhtar Soomro/ Reuters]

09:45 GMT – Pig trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine shows promise with two shots

A trial of AstraZeneca’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine in pigs has found that two doses of the Oxford University-developed shot produced a greater antibody response than a single dose, scientists said. 

Research released by Britain’s Pirbright Institute found that giving an initial prime dose followed by a booster dose of the shot elicited a greater immune response than a single dose – suggesting a two-dose approach may be more effective in getting protection against the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine was originally developed by researchers at the University of Oxford, who are now working with AstraZeneca on development and production.

09:30 GMT – Philippines records 1,150 new coronavirus cases

The Philippine health ministry has reported 1,150 additional cases of the novel coronavirus, the country’s biggest single-day increase in infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total cases have reached 31,825 while deaths have increased by nine to 1,186.

09:15 GMT – Beijing says mass testing for COVID-19 to enter ‘fast track’

Beijing’s mass testing for the new coronavirus will soon enter a “fast track” as the city’s testing capacity expands, a senior municipal health official has said.

Beijing can now administer more than 300,000 nucleic acid tests per day compared with 40,000 in March, Zhang Hua, deputy director at the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, told reporters.

Beijing had taken samples from 2.95 million people between June 12 and June 22, Zhang said.

09:00 GMT – Indonesia reports 1,051 new coronavirus infections, 35 new deaths

Indonesia has reported 1,051 new coronavirus infections, taking its total number of cases to 47,896.

Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said there were 35 more deaths reported, with total fatalities now at 2,535.

Indonesia’s toll of deaths related to COVID-19 is the highest in East Asia outside of China.

08:45 GMT – Taiwan raps China for military activity, says it should fight virus instead

China should focus on fighting the resurgent coronavirus in Beijing rather than “disturbing” Taiwan with military drills near the Chinese-claimed island, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang has told reporters.

China’s air force has buzzed Taiwan at least eight times in the past two weeks, Taiwan’s military says, sending fighters and bombers into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone where they have been warned off by patrolling Taiwanese jets.

“China is very big, and has never given up the use of force to deal with Taiwan. China has always, with such a serious epidemic, sent their aircraft and ships around Taiwan, really disturbing Taiwan,” Su said, adding that Taiwan only wants to be a “contributor to regional peace”.

08:15 GMT – Muslims disappointed, but accepting, as Saudi scales back Hajj

Muslims have expressed disappointment at Saudi Arabia’s decision to scale back this year’s hajj pilgrimage, but many accepted it was necessary as the kingdom battles a major coronavirus outbreak.

Riyadh said Monday the hajj would be “very limited” with only pilgrims already in the country allowed to perform the ritual, marking the first time in modern Saudi history that foreign visitors have been barred.

The move had looked inevitable for some time and several countries had already pulled out, but the announcement nevertheless added to disappointment for Muslims who invest huge sums and face long waits to go on hajj.

08:00 GMT – Sanofi expands US vaccine venture in COVID-19 race

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has said that it would invest $425m to expand its vaccine development venture with US start-up Translate Bio as they aim to find a COVID-19 vaccine by next year.

The companies have been working together since 2018, hoping to leverage Translate Bio’s work on new messenger RNA (mRNA) drugs that cause cells to create a specific protein for treating a range of diseases.

07:45 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus case tally approaches 600,000

Russia has reported 7,425 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its nationwide case total to 599,705, the world’s third highest tally.

The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 153 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 8,359.

07:30 GMT – Virus numbers surge globally as many nations ease lockdowns

The number of global coronavirus cases have continued to surge in many large countries that have been lifting lockdowns, including the US, even as new infections stabilised or dropped in parts of Western Europe.

Hospitals in Pakistan are turning away patients, but with the economy there teetering, the government remains determined to reopen the country.

New cases have also been rising steeply in Mexico, Colombia and Indonesia.

Brazil, with more than 1.1 million cases and 51,000 deaths, has been affected more than anywhere but the US, which has reported more than 2.3 million cases and 120,000 deaths, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Hospitals struggle as coronavirus cases explode in Pakistan (2:00)

07:15 GMT – As coronavirus rages in India, billionaires and startups team up

Some of India’s richest people and health-tech startups have created an alliance to try and transform India’s failing health-care system.

The loose alliance, whose backers include Infosys Ltd. co-founders Nandan Nilekani and Kris Gopalakrishnan as well as prominent startups from Practo to Policybazaar, will be formally unveiled as soon as this week in an attempt to salvage a decrepit system by digitising everything from patient data and records to creating online platforms for hospital care and doctor consultations.

Read more here

Coronavirus: Indian hospitals overwhelmed with thousands of cases (2:50)

07:00 GMT – Hong Kong records sixth coronavirus death

A 72-year-old man has died in Hong Kong from coronavirus taking the death toll from COVID-19 in the city to six, local television Cable TV said.

Hong Kong has avoided the large numbers of infections seen in other big cities around the world, but on Monday it reported its biggest spike in months, with 30 imported new cases taking the total to 1,162.

06:50 GMT – India adds nearly 15,000,000 cases as more states worry

India’s health ministry has said that the nationwide tally had reached 440,215 cases, including 14,011 deaths. The state of Delhi, which includes the capital of New Delhi, has reported 62,655 cases with the rate of new infections rapidly expanding in recent weeks as a nationwide lockdown has eased.

States remote from the capital including Assam in the northeast that initially reported few cases have plans to reimpose stringent lockdowns in certain districts.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi lifted months-long restrictions on movement and industrial and commercial activity to restart India’s ailing economy, which has shed millions of jobs.

Hi, this is Elizabeth Melimopoulos in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

05:30 GMT –

I’m handing the blog to my colleagues in Doha shortly. A quick update of developments over the last few hours: In the US there are concerns the outbreak is “snowballing” with a surge in cases particularly in the south and west. In China, South Korea and Australia, the focus is on containing the re-emergence of the virus after weeks of relative calm. South Korea reported 46 new cases on Tuesday morning, while Australia’s Victoria state has extended a state of emergency amid a number of hotspots in Melbourne.

05:15 GMT – Sanofi eyes vaccine approval by first half of 2021

The French drugmaker Sanofi says it hopes to get regulatory approval for the coronavirus vaccine it is developing with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline by the first half of next year.

There are currently no vaccines against the virus and, while a number of companies and institutions are in the race to develop one, there is no guarantee of success.

Sanofi currently has two vaccine projects. Clinical trials of the GSK-linked project are due to start in September. 

04:30 GMT – MSF says Malaysia plan for Rohingya return ‘concerning’

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says reports Malaysia plans to send some 269 Rohingya people back to sea on the boat they arrived on were “concerning”.

Beatrice Lau, the organisation’s head of mission in Malaysia, says returning the Rohingya was a violation of the customary international law principle of non-refoulement, and could lead to many more deaths.

Malaysia, which has stepped up border patrols because of the coronavirus, detained the Rohingya on June 8 after their boat was discovered off the resort island of Langkawi. Lau noted the Rohingya no longer posed a COVID-19 risk as they had been quarantined and tested. MSF was willing to provide medical assistance, she added.

03:15 GMT – Daegu files civil suit against church where outbreak started

The South Korean city of Daegu is taking legal action against the Shincheonji church and its founder, claiming it hindered quarantine efforts and contributed towards mass infections of COVID-19 in February.

South Korea’s fourth-biggest city is claiming damages of 100 billion won ($82.3 million), more than two-thirds of its coronavirus spending, Yonhap reported.

Daegu’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported on February 18 in a woman who was a member of Shincheonji. City authorities said the sect failed to cooperate with tracing and quarantine efforts.

03:00 GMT – Tokyo Disney Resort to reopen on July 1

After months of closure, Tokyo’s Disney Resort will reopen on July 1.

Visitors will need to book in advance and have their temperature taken before they enter the theme parks – Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Seating will be spaced out, and everyone will have to wear masks.

Japan Disney

Tokyo’s popular Disney theme parks will reopen to visitors from July 1. The resort was closed on February 29 because of the coronavirus outbreak [File: Kaya Tomoyuki/EPA]

02:45 GMT – Australian state of Victoria battles COVID-19 resurgence

Australia’s southern state of Victoria is seeing a jump in infections in the community and has extended its state of emergency to July 12.

Victoria has the second-biggest population in the country, and officials say cases have spread because people are not being careful about keeping their distance from others, wearing a mask and taking other steps to control the disease.

The main COVID-19 hotspots are in Melbourne.

02:30 GMT – South Korea adds 46 new cases, focus on ship in Busan

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country added 46 new coronavirus cases, most of which were imported, including a cluster linked to a Russian-flagged ship at port in Busan.

Some 16 members of the 21-man crew have been confirmed to have the virus. The captain, who left the ship before it set sail from Vladivostok, tested positive for COVID-19 in Russia. South Korea has put 160 port workers who came into contact with the crew in Busan into isolation.

Cluster infections in Seoul and outside the capital also continue to grow, Yonhap news agency reported. City authorities have said they may need to tighten movement restrictions again in order to control the spread of the disease.

01:15 GMT – China reports 22 new cases, mostly in Beijing

China’s National Health Commission has confirmed 22 new cases of coronavirus, 13 of them in Beijing.

The capital’s been battling a renewed outbreak of COVID-19, which is centred around the city’s main wholesale food market.

00:30 GMT – Red Cross to provide 800,000 masks to Thailand migrant workers

The Red Cross says it will provide some 800,000 masks to migrant workers, village health volunteers and other front-line workers to help protect people at risk from COVID-19 in Thailand.

Migrant workers are particularly at risk because many are undocumented.

Thai Red Cross Society will provide reusable cloth face masks, alcohol gel and information materials, while migrant workers under quarantine will also receive relief kits including food and personal hygiene items.


A Red Cross worker in Thailand hands out COVID-19 information at an event for migrant workers [Thai Red Cross/Supplied] [-]

00:00 GMT – COVID-19 has exacerbated school exclusion: UNESCO

Nearly 260 million children missed out on school in 2018 and the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, according to UNESCO’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report, which also said the pandemic was an opportunity for change and a rethinking of education systems.

Poorer children, girls, the disabled and immigrants are among those at a disadvantage, a situation that worsened with COVID-19 when some 90 percent of the world’s schoolchildren found their learning affected by closures if their families could not afford internet, computers or mobile phones.

The report found 258 million children and young people were entirely excluded from education, with poverty as the main obstacle to access. In low- and middle-income countries, adolescents from the richest 20 percent of households were three times as likely to complete lower secondary school as those from the poorest homes. 


23:30 GMT – Alarm over cases ‘snowballing’ in parts of US

An alarming surge in coronavirus cases in parts of the US following eased lockdowns is raising concern that the outbreak is spiralling out of control because of Americans’ resistance to wearing masks and keeping their distance from others.

Cases surpassed 100,000 in Florida, hospitalisations are rising dramatically in Houston, and a startling one in five of those tested in Arizona have been confirmed to have the virus.

“It is snowballing. We will most certainly see more people die as a result of this spike,” said Dr Marc Boom, CEO and president of Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. You can read more about what’s happening in the US here.

An Emergency room doctor paints a mural outside of Zuni restaurant to honor medical workers during coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on June 22, 2020 in San Francisco, California. Doctors and medical work

There are concerns the coronavirus outbreak could spiral out of control in parts of the US, following a surge in cases in the wake of lockdown easings [Justin Sullivan/Getty Images via AFP/]

23:00 GMT – Saudi Arabia limits Hajj attendance

Saudi Arabia will hold only a “very limited” Hajj this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, with only people already living in the country allowed to take part.

“It was decided to hold the pilgrimage this year with very limited numbers … with different nationalities in the kingdom,” the official Saudi Press Agency said on Monday, citing the Hajj ministry.

More than two million Muslims take part in the annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city of Mecca every year. This year’s event is due to take place in late July.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (June 22) here.

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