More than 554,000 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Efforts to curb the outbreak have led to the global disruption of daily life and the economy, as schools and workplaces shuttered in hopes of slowing transmission. After months of precautions and lockdowns, governments have begun to reopen their economies.
HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and its effects.
Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)
India reported a record 26,506 new coronavirus cases Friday as authorities re-imposed lockdowns in its most populous state and in an industrial hub, home to automakers, drug factories and brewers.
The new cases pushed India’s tally to nearly 800,000 cases, the world’s third-biggest outbreak, behind only the United States and Brazil in confirmed infections.
There have been more than 21,000 deaths in India since the first case was detected there in January, federal health ministry data showed on Friday.
The capital, New Delhi, along with Maharashtra state, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, and the southern state of Tamil Nadu account for about 60% of its cases.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, anxious to jump-start an economy crippled by the epidemic and put millions of people back to work, in early June eased an initial lockdown of the 1.3 billion population imposed in March.
But rising flare-ups of the virus have been forcing some major industrial towns and states to impose localized restrictions.
India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, will lock down for two days from late Friday as cases there surged past 32,000, the state government said in a statement.
People traveling into the U.K. from around 60 countries and territories will no longer have to self-isolate for two weeks, according to new coronavirus rules that come into force today.
People returning to or visiting England, Wales and Northern Ireland within the “travel corridor,” which doesn’t include the United States, are exempt from quarantine rules. However, Scotland has produced its own smaller list of countries.
Passengers passing through London’s Gatwick Airport early Friday morning admitted they would not be traveling if they were still required to self-isolate for two weeks on their return. “We probably would have gone later,” said Ray Gordge, 64, from Taunton, who was on his way to Paris to see his daughter for the first time in six months, and meet his new grandson, born last week.
The rule change comes as a survey suggested people in four European countries are more likely to oppose inbound UK tourists this summer than they are visitors from the rest of the continent. While between 40% and 54% of Spaniards would disprove of tourists from a group of European nations, the figure rises to 61% for those from the U.K., a YouGov poll indicated.
The U.K. has recorded 44,602 deaths and 319,075 cases.
— Léonie Chao-Fong
Australia will halve the number of citizens allowed to return home from overseas each week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday, as authorities struggle to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the country’s second-most populous state.
Since March, Australia has allowed only citizens and permanent residents to enter the country. Once they arrive, they enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine in hotels, which is paid for by state governments.
Morrison said from Monday, Australia will cap the figures at 4,000 people each week. Those who return will also have to pay for their quarantine stays. Neighboring New Zealand enacted measures earlier this week to limit the number of citizens returning home to reduce the burden on its overflowing quarantine facilities.
The announcement of new travel restrictions comes days after the state of Victoria reimposed lockdowns in Melbourne. On Friday, Melbourne recorded 288 new cases. The lockdown will last for six weeks following a surge in coronavirus cases linked to social distancing breaches in hotels where returned travelers were held in quarantine.
Despite surging numbers of cases in Victoria, the state’s premier Daniel Andrews has relaxed restrictions on most of the 3,000 people locked down in nine public-housing towers. Residents in eight of the towers are now under the same restrictions as metropolitan Melbourne. The other tower remains in a hard lockdown.
A testing blitz found 158 out of nearly 3,000 residents were infected with the virus. About one-third of those were in one tower, where everyone is being forced to self-isolate for nine more days.
Australia has recorded around 9,000 cases of COVID-19 and 106 deaths.
— James Martin
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed an executive order Thursday mandating that masks be worn in certain situations statewide as coronavirus cases increase.
The order requires most people in Kentucky to wear a facial covering inside retail stores, restaurants and grocery stores. The order will be effective for just 30 days, starting Friday at 5 p.m.
“Folks, we are still in a battle, and it is not going away,” the governor said at a news conference. “We have a dangerous and deadly virus out there, and we are now seeing a regular increase in cases in Kentucky.”
Health departments and “others” will be enforcing the rule, Beshear said.
“It’s no longer a question. A mask helps to stop the spread,” he said, and therefore, masks are “no longer voluntary. It’s mandatory. It’s time to get serious.”
The governor also noted that Kentucky had 333 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 18,245.
Four more people infected by the virus have also died, putting the state’s death toll at 612.
― Carla Russo
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced steps that California is taking to prepare for the upcoming peak of wildfire season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom said the state planned to hire more than 850 additional firefighters. It has also updated its protocols for evacuation shelters given the threat of the virus spreading in large, congregant settings. The new protocols include conducting health screenings as people enter shelters, having cleaning and medical staff at all sites, and distributing pre-packaged meals. The state also said it could secure hotel rooms, college dorms, Airbnb rentals and campgrounds to allow people to shelter in “non-congregate” settings.
“Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the State of California hasn’t taken its eye off the threat of wildfire,” the governor said in a statement. “California is better prepared against the threat of wildfire today than at any time in our history.”
California has experienced record-breaking wildfires that have grown even worse in recent years. In 2017, wildfires near Santa Rosa killed 44 people ― the deadliest blaze in state history at the time. The next year, the Camp Fire surpassed it, killing 85 people and ravaging the town of Paradise.
Meanwhile, the state has seen a steady increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with more than 296,000 confirmed cases and more than 6,700 dead as of Wednesday.
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
A surge in coronavirus causes across the county has several states changing or reconsidering their plans to hold in-person bar exams for lawyers.
Kentucky’s Supreme Court announced Thursday that it’s canceling both its July and September in-person exams and replacing them with a single online test in October. The court hopes the change will “protect the health and safety of bar applicants, employees and volunteers,” who would typically gather by the hundreds or thousands in one room for the exam.
The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, which had previously moved its July exam to September, announced Wednesday that it would not hold any in-person exam in 2020 and would instead hold an online exam in October.
Lawmakers in Arizona, where exams are planned to proceed on schedule and in person as usual, are now pushing for similar changes.
“We are alarmed that the July bar exam has been scheduled to proceed, despite the fact that our state is in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic which has rapidly worsened in the recent weeks,” a letter from several of the Arizona lawmakers said. Test-takers there have the option to take an online bar exam in October, but a passing grade on that exam would only allow them to practice law in Arizona. The results from an in-person test would allow them to practice in more than 30 other states.
― Lydia O’Connor
Beauticians, tattooists and tanning salons in the U.K. are slated to reopen starting Monday as the country continues to ease its lockdown restrictions.
The government has also said outdoor swimming pools in England are to begin reopening Saturday, with indoor pools, gyms and other sports facilities to follow on July 25. Guidance has also been published to enable competitive grassroots team sports to resume.
Outdoor arts performances — including theaters, opera, dance and music — will also be able to start again over the weekend with limited audiences. A change in planning rules will also mean theaters, concert halls and live music venues will be protected from demolition or change of use by developers, keeping those that have been made vacant during lockdown from disappearing altogether.
The U.K. has recorded 44,517 deaths from COVID-19, the third highest in the world, and 318,433 infections.
— Ned Simons
A report from the Department of Labor shows that more than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, marking a historically high pace of people seeking such assistance.
An additional 1 million people sought unemployment benefits through a separate new program for self-employed and gig workers, The Associated Press reported.
The soaring unemployment rate comes as coronavirus case counts increase in 38 states. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas account for more than half of new cases.
― Lydia O’Connor
About 80% of people incarcerated at Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio have tested positive for the coronavirus, and it is the second-largest cluster of COVID-19 in the country.
HuffPost spoke with people incarcerated there about what it’s like to live through the pandemic. The outbreak there shows how it’s nearly impossible to keep coronavirus out of prisons and jails — and once it’s in, it affects nearly everyone associated with the prison.
— Liza Hearon
United Airlines told nearly half of its U.S. staff that they could be furloughed in October amid ongoing threats to the air travel industry during the coronavirus pandemic.
The move would mainly impact frontline employees, including 15,000 flight attendants, 2,250 pilots and 11,000 customer service workers, among others.
Demand for flights has rebounded somewhat since the early days of the pandemic effectively obliterated most air travel, but a resurgence in cases has once again put the industry in peril.
“The United Airlines projected furlough numbers are a gut punch, but they are also the most honest assessment we’ve seen on the state of the industry,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, wrote on Twitter. “The #COVID19 crisis dwarfs all others in aviation history and there’s no end in sight.”
The Associated Press reported that if United’s plans were mimicked by every other U.S. airline, up to 240,000 jobs could be lost nationwide.
— Nick Visser
California set a new record for the most coronavirus deaths in a single day on Wednesday after public health officials said 149 people had died from COVID-19.
The previous high occurred on May 19, when 132 people in the state died.
The report comes amid surging rates of infection around the nation and adds to growing concern about the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus. Deaths had largely remained flat over the past few weeks even as states reopened, but experts warned against misreading such data while urging people to socially distance and abide by health regulations.
“Our cases are rising. The rate of infection is increasing. And the number of hospitalizations are up. And today, we’re even seeing a small increase in the number of deaths,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said on Wednesday, per the Los Angeles Times. “Tragically, we do expect that more of our loved ones and our neighbors may die of COVID-19 in the coming weeks with all of the increases we’re seeing in hospitalizations.”
— Nick Visser
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Wednesday requiring people to wear face masks when outdoors in public wherever social distancing isn’t possible.
In a tweet announcing the order, Murphy said he had to take statewide action “in the absence of a national mask strategy.”
Previously, New Jersey required residents and visitors to wear masks only when in a public indoor area. This rule did not apply to people who were eating at restaurants after the state allowed restaurants to open outdoor dining in June.
The new outdoor mask requirement does not change for customers at restaurants with outdoor dining.
“The only exceptions for this requirement will be for individuals eating and drinking at an outdoor dining establishment, those for whom wearing a face covering endangers their health or safety, and children under 2 years old,” Murphy said at a press conference Wednesday.
Murphy also relaxed indoor dining regulations for restaurants that are able to open two walls of their establishment, allowing for more airflow in the restaurant. “We’re making a change that will allow for more restaurants to offer outdoor dining,” Murphy said. “We will be allowing areas with fixed roofs that have two open sides comprising over 50% of the total wall space to be considered outdoors, in light of the airflow.”
The Trump administration has not established a nationwide mask requirement, despite a surge in coronavirus cases across the country over the summer.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump said “masks are good” but that the country didn’t need a federal rule requiring Americans to wear them.
“I don’t know if you need mandatory, because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. You talk about social distancing. But I’m all for masks,” Trump said on the Fox Business Network on July 1.
– Carla Russo
New York City, home to the nation’s largest public school system, will not fully reopen classroom doors for the upcoming fall term due to the continuing threat of COVID-19. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement Wednesday after weeks of debate between teachers, politicians, parent advocates and public health experts.
Students will instead be subject to one to three days of in-person classroom instruction, with the rest completed remotely. The city’s entire student body was forced to move to online-only education in mid-March as the coronavirus crisis raged throughout the region.
Across the country, schools are faced with tough decisions about reopening classrooms. Some elite universities, such as Princeton and Yale, have already announced plans to continue with remote learning in the fall term.
While there are dramatically fewer COVID-19 cases in New York and the surrounding region than there were at the peak of the crisis, caseloads are skyrocketing in other states, and officials have voiced concern about a potential resurgence.
— Sara Boboltz
A charity boss who went viral for his attack on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “cowardly” criticism of care homes has hit out at Downing Street’s “Trumpian” response and refusal to apologize.
Mark Adams, who oversees a workforce of 6,500 staff helping people with dementia and learning difficulties, spoke out after Johnson’s spokesman tried to suggest the prime minister was not apportioning blame when he said, “Too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have.”
The row, which has dominated British politics this week, has seen Johnson blasted for a string of government failures in the pandemic. Adams told HuffPost UK that the government’s move to clarify Johnson’s remarks felt like an attempt to “bluff” his way through the controversy.
He added that Johnson response echoed Donald Trump’s denial of statements he himself had made, which were easily provable. “I think we’ve had numerous examples of kind of Trumpian revisions of history. I mean it’s normally been other ministers standing up at [the] five o’clock [government press conference] patting themselves on the back for a job well done,” he said.
The U.K. death toll stands at 44,391, the third-highest in the world.
— Paul Waugh
Five million Australians face a heavy police clampdown from midnight on Wednesday to contain a flare-up of coronavirus cases, with checkpoints to be set up around Melbourne to ensure people stay at home.
Police said they would conduct random checks of vehicles on major roads surrounding the country’s second-most populous city, creating a “ring of steel” as partial lockdowns are reinstated for six weeks to stem a surge in infections.
Melburnians will be allowed to leave home only for essential business for the next six weeks. Cafes, bars, restaurants and gyms will shut again.
The renewed lockdown follows the closure of the country’s busiest border, between Victoria and Australia’s most populous state New South Wales, on Tuesday night.
Melbourne is the capital of Victoria state, which reported 134 new infections on Wednesday, down from the previous day’s record 191 but well over the low single-digit daily increases elsewhere in the country.
Nationwide, Australia has reported about 9,000 COVID-19 cases and 106 deaths from the virus.
As of Tuesday, 1,369 people incarcerated at California’s San Quentin Prison and 184 staffers had tested positive for the coronavirus, and six inmates have died, per the state’s tracking tool, in an outbreak that has grown devastating in recent weeks.
Advocates have urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to release more prisoners in response. Last week, 20 inmates went on hunger strike to protest its inhumane conditions including dirty, cramped cells.
There have been more than 5,000 coronavirus cases among California’s prison system and 29 inmates have died.
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
For more on the pandemic, go here.
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