US president says he will not consider a national mandate requiring face masks despite record rise in new infections.
The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 237,743 in 24 hours.
India’s coronavirus caseload topped one million, with the United States and Brazil the only other nations with more infections.
More than 14 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while more than 7.8 million have recovered and more than 600,000 have died, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates.
Saturday, July 18
02:22 GMT – US sets another virus record with 77,638 new cases
The US marked a record number of coronavirus cases on Friday for the third consecutive day, notching 77,638 new infections in 24 hours, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.
The country also recorded 927 deaths in that period, according to a count at 8:30 pm (00:30 GMT Saturday). The figures bring the US’s death toll to 139,128 and its caseload to 3.64 million confirmed cases.
02:02 GMT – US economy ‘will drop 6.6 percent in 2020’
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the US economy would shrink 6.6 percent this year, pounded by the coronavirus and the lockdowns meant to contain it.
The forecast is actually an upgrade from one the IMF made last month when it foresaw the American economy contracting 8 percent in 2020. But the lending organisation warned that the US economy faces downside risks from a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
01:44 GMT – Azerbaijan extends restrictions until August 31
Azerbaijan has extended coronavirus lockdown restrictions, including the closure of its borders, until August 31 after a further rise in the number of infections.
The government said people in big cities, including the capital Baku, would be allowed to leave their homes only with special permission from July 20 until August 5.
Shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants, cafes and museums in those cities remained closed, while beauty salons will be reopened.
01:04 GMT – Trump will not consider a national mask mandate
US President Donald Trump ruled out a national mandate requiring people to wear face masks despite record rises in new coronavirus infections across the United States.
In an interview with Fox News that will air on Sunday, Trump said: “No, I want people to have a certain freedom and I don’t believe in that. No, and I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask, everything; suddenly, it all disappears.”
He added: “Everybody was saying don’t wear a mask and all of a sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask and, as you know, masks cause problems, too. With that being said, I’m a believer in masks, I think masks are good.”
00:33 GMT – EU leaders deadlocked over COVID recovery plan
EU leaders failed to make headway in negotiations over a massive stimulus plan to breathe life into economies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, returning to their hotels in Brussels shortly before midnight to rest and try again in the morning.
Many of the 27 heads declared on arrival for their first face-to-face summit for five months that a deal was crucial to rescue economies in free fall and shore up faith in the European Union.
But officials said a thrifty camp of wealthy northern states led by the Netherlands stood its ground on access to the recovery fund, in the face of opposition from Germany, France, southern nations Italy and Spain, and Eastern European states.
The proposed sums under discussion include the EU’s 2021-27 budget of more than one trillion euros ($1.14 trillion) and the recovery fund worth 750 billion euros ($85.7bn) that will be funnelled mostly to Mediterranean coast countries worst affected by the pandemic.
Diplomats said the 27 remained at odds over the overall size of the package, the split between grants and repayable loans in the recovery fund and rule-of-law strings attached to it.
As the leaders broke up for the day, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted that they were divided by a bundle of issues and said it was “highly probable” that they would fail to reach a deal on Saturday or even on Sunday if the summit drags past its scheduled two days.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also cautious on chances for an agreement, envisaging “very, very difficult negotiations”.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
You can find all the key developments from yesterday, July 17, here.
Source: Read Full Article