The Latest: Trump swipes at China for virus, trade deal
MIAMI — President Donald Trump suggested work on the second phase of a U.S.-China trade deal has become a low priority, saying the two nation’s relationship has been “severely damaged” by Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, speaking aboard Air Force One on his way to Miami on Friday, repeated his persistent criticism that China could have done more to stop the spread of the virus, which originated in Wuhan province.
Trump did not completely rule out working on phase two of the deal but made clear that it was not a top concern.
“Honestly, I have many other things in mind,” Trump said.
The United States and China signed phase one of a trade agreement in January, boosting stock markets and seemingly ending a trade war. Trump has said he would like to wait until after the election to sign phase two because he thought he’d get a better deal.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Michigan Gov. Whitmer toughens mask requirement.
— Nevada adds bar restrictions in Reno, Las Vegas.
— Greece toughens restrictions at one border.
— The World Health Organization acknowledges possibility COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LONDON -- The emergencies chief of the World Health Organization says the agency believes an unexplained pneumonia outbreak in Kazakhstan is likely due to the coronavirus.
Dr. Michael Ryan says Kazakh authorities have reported more than 10,000 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last week and just under 50,000 cases and 264 deaths as of Tuesday.
“We’re looking at the actual testing and the quality of testing to make sure that there haven’t been false negative tests for some of those other pneumonias that are provisionally tested negative,” Ryan said. He added that many pneumonia cases were likely to be COVID-19 and “just have not been diagnosed correctly.”
Ryan says WHO was working with local authorities to review X-rays and look at the pattern of pneumonia cases to see if they were consistent with COVID-19.
“While we believe that many of these cases will be diagnosed as COVID-19, we keep an open mind,” says Ryan, noting a WHO team was already in Kazakhstan.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak says the state will reimplement restrictions on bars and restaurants in certain counties to prevent further spread of the coronavirus after a “spike” in confirmed cases.
Sisolak’s newest order begins Friday at midnight. It requires bars that do not serve food to close their doors. Restaurants will stop serving parties of six or more. Sisolak didn’t provide a list of counties where the directive would be in effect but says it would include Washoe and Clark County, home to Reno and Las Vegas.
The directive is the second time Nevada has tightened restrictions since the state began reopening, including allowing bars and casinos to reopen in early June. The number of confirmed cases rose throughout the month, prompting the governor to announce a statewide mask mandate on June 24.
ATHENS, Greece — Public health officials in Greece have reported another rise in the rate COVID-19 infections, most of them tourism-related.
The Health Ministry said 60 new confirmed cases had been recorded in the latest 24-hour reporting period, 40 from incoming travelers.
It was the highest daily total since late April and brought the overall number of confirmed infections to 3,732. No new deaths were reported and the pandemic death toll in Greece remained at 193.
The rise in cases prompted Greek authorities Friday to announced tougher border checks for tourists as well as more frequent inspections at businesses where crowds are likely to gather.
ROME — Italy registered its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases in 15 days with 276 infections.
The Italian Health Ministry says the cases were confirmed from a day earlier, raising to 242,639 the total of Italy’s known cases in the pandemic.
Recently, infections have been confirmed in dozens of workers returning from their homeland in Bangladesh to Rome and other Italian cities; among Bulgarian farm workers working in Italy’s south; an Italian businessman who drove back from a trip to the Balkans and another northern Italian businessman who flew back from a work trip to Africa.
On Thursday, Italy announced travelers who had stayed or passed through 13 countries with outbreaks cannot enter Italy, nor can any flights arrive from those nations.
Hospitalized coronavirus patients total just over 900 nationwide, including 65 in intensive care. At the height of the outbreak, more than 30,000 coronavirus patients were in the hospital. There were 12 deaths recorded Friday, bringing the overall confirmed total to 34,938.
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has toughened a requirement to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic, mandating businesses open to the public deny service or entry to customers who refuse to wear one.
The governor also expanded where people must have a face covering beyond indoor public spaces. Starting immediately, they must wear one outdoors if they cannot consistently keep 6 feet from non-household members. A mask is needed while using public transportation, a taxi or a ride-sharing vehicle, with some exceptions.
“No shirts, no shoes, no mask — no service,” Whitmer wrote in an order. Violators will be subject to a misdemeanor fine.
Whitmer points to “stalled” progress in suppressing the virus. Cases have risen in Michigan and she says spotty compliance with her monthslong mask requirement is a “big part of the reason.”
PRISTINA, Kosovo — A top Kosovar politician and a former prime minister says he was infected with the virus and called on the people to stay alert and respect prevention steps.
Isa Mustafa, leader of the governing Democratic League of Kosovo, posted in his Facebook page that he tested positive. He says he had fatigue but no other symptoms. His other family members were not infected. Mustafa says he would remain isolated in the next days.
Kosovo has noted a spike of the daily infections, reaching 207 new confirmed cases and eight deaths on Thursday .
Since the lockdown eased by end of May, Kosovo’s 1.8 million population has had higher daily new cases. On Sunday, the Kosovar government re-imposed the curfew time from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the capital, three cities and four northern communes recording higher new cases.
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s prime minister says restrictions on travel within the European Union are causing tensions between member nations.
Prime Minister António Costa says, “we’re seeing the most extraordinary situations -- countries which put others on a banned list not because of their (coronavirus) situation but out of retaliation because they themselves were put on another country’s banned list.”
Portugal hasn’t banned any EU citizens from visiting. Costa says European authorities need to coordinate EU-wide measures, because each country is pursuing different policies on testing.
ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities say incoming travelers arriving at the country’s land border with Bulgaria will have to carry a negative COVID-19 test results issued within the previous 72 hours.
The measure will take effect on July 14 following an increase in cases involving tourists traveling by land to Greece from mostly Balkan countries.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas says domestic inspections would be stepped up this weekend to enforce distancing rules.
Greece started its tourism season on June 15 and expanded international flights to its regional airports on July 1. The holiday industry is considered vital for Greece, which is expected to suffer a recession this year, losing 9% of its output, according to European Commission estimates.
Only one border crossing point, at Promahomas on the border with Bulgaria, has been opened so far for non-essential travel.
MADRID — The Spanish region of Extremadura is following in the footsteps of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands by making the wearing of masks obligatory.
Spain’s lockdown ended mid-June, but the number of new daily cases has been creeping higher in some areas.
Authorities in Extremadura, southwest of Madrid, announced Friday the region had 66 active cases. Everyone over 6 years old must from Saturday wear masks when outside or when in enclosed public spaces, even when complying with social distancing rules.
The introduction of mandatory mask-wearing in the Balearic island group in the Mediterranean Sea from Monday has angered business associations there. The islands, including Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca, are a popular European vacation destination.
The Confederation of Balearic Business Associations says the regional government is imposing tighter restrictions than potential vacationers have in their home countries and that the step will discourage visitors.
BRUSSELS — Wearing a face mask will become mandatory from Saturday in Belgian shops, cinemas, entertainment venues and other indoor spaces.
The Belgian government said the decision was made following a meeting of politicians and experts in charge of the lockdown exit strategy who decided to follow recommendations issued by the Health Ministry’s scientific advisory body.
The compulsory use of masks already implemented on public transportation will be extended to conference centers, places of worships, museums and libraries.
Masks remain optional for children under the age of 12 in all circumstances.
The government said places that won’t respect the decision could be shut down, while Belgian residents who won’t follow the new guidelines will face penalties.
Belgium has been hard hit by the pandemic, with 9,781 deaths recorded in the small country with 11 million inhabitants. The number of infections has however nosedived over the past two months, with about 85 new cases recorded every day over the past week.
TOKYO — Tokyo has found 243 new cases of the coronavirus, surpassing 200 for a second day in a row and setting a new record.
The numbers reported Friday are fueling concerns about the spread of infections in the Japanese capital, where people are encouraged to pursue social and economic activity while taking safety precautions.
Friday’s record daily increase exceeds the 224 reported the day before, which was the highest since April 17 when Japan was under a state of emergency that ended in late May.
Businesses have largely returned to usual and people are now commuting on packed trains again. The number of daily cases in Tokyo started rising back in late June.
LONDON — The British government has removed Serbia from the list of countries from which people arriving back to England can avoid a 14-day quarantine.
The government said Serbia has been removed because of a recent spike in coronavirus infections that’s seen the country reimpose a number of lockdown restrictions.
Serbia was originally on the list of 76 countries and territories exempted from quarantine. The list includes popular destinations such as France, Greece, Italy and Spain, but not the United States, which is still considered high-risk.
Scotland’s list of countries is slightly different to that for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It still requires people from Spain to quarantine for example.
The travel industry is hoping that the new rules will help them salvage part of the summer holiday booking season that has been battered by the pandemic.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka has found 196 more coronavirus cases at a rehabilitation center for narcotics addicts.
The numbers announced by the government Friday take the total at the center to 252.
The number of infections found in the past two days are highest in months. Though all have been in known clusters, there are fears of a spillover into the borader community.
Sri Lanka has reported 2,350 coronavirus cases so far with 11 deaths.
NEW DELHI — India’s is reporting another record one-day spike in coronavirus cases, prompting some states to reimpose lockdowns in high-risk areas.
The 26,506 cases reported Friday bring India’s total to 793,802 infections. The Health Ministry also reported another 475 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 21,604.
The ministry said the recovery rate was continuing to improve at more than 60%
The eastern state of Bihar reimposed a full lockdown in the state capital Patna and four other districts for a week beginning Friday to curb a surge in cases.
India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, with nearly 230 million people, announced a weekend lockdown beginning Friday night. All private shops and businesses across the state will remain closed except pharmacies and shops selling groceries, milk and produce.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A second man in New Zealand this week is facing charges for escaping from a hotel where he was being held in quarantine, this time allegedly to buy alcohol.
Air Commodore Darryn Webb, head of managed isolation and quarantine, said the man cut through fence ties at the Distinction Hotel in Hamilton on Thursday and was gone for about 30 minutes, visiting a nearby liquor store before returning.
The man made his first court appearance Friday and wasn’t required to enter a plea.
Earlier this week, another man, who’d recently returned from India, escaped from his Auckland hotel and allegedly went shopping at a supermarket. He later tested positive for the virus.
New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of the virus and is trying to contain cases at the border by placing new arrivals into a 14-day quarantine at various hotels.
ISLAMABAD — Even as Pakistan crosses the 5,000 mark for the number of deaths due to COVID-19, it’s daily infection rate continues to drop with 2,751 new cases during the last 24 hours.
The numbers reported Friday are down from a high just a few weeks earlier of nearly 9,000 a day.
Pakistan’s testing rate has also dropped, with 23,255 tests carried out in the last 24 hours from a previous high last month of more than 32,000 daily tests.
Prime Minister Imran Khan warned Pakistanis on Thursday that infection numbers could soar if people ignore precautions like mask wearing and social distancing during the Eid-al Adha holy days beginning at the end of July.