June 29 coronavirus news

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12:23 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Greece extends ban on direct flights from UK until July 15

From CNN’s Chris Liakos

Travelers wear protective face masks and gloves as they arrive at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Greece, on June 15.
Travelers wear protective face masks and gloves as they arrive at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Greece, on June 15. Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Greece says it will extend an already existing ban on direct flights from the UK as the country gets ready to further open up travel starting July 1.

The Greek government in a meeting today decided to extend the ban until July 15. The current ban was due to end July 1. Direct flights from Sweden will also not be allowed until July 15.

When it comes to countries outside the European Union, Greece intends to comply with the list compiled by the EU, the Greek government said.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that “the whole opening process is dynamic and data will be constantly evaluated.” He added that the country is properly prepared at all levels to provide maximum security to both visitors and residents. 

12:13 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

St. Petersburg mayor slams Florida governor for lack of statewide action against the virus

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Several beaches across Florida are closed for the Fourth of July weekend due to coronavirus concerns. However, that’s not the case yet for residents of St. Petersburg who have access to beaches within driving distance in their county. 

Mayor Rick Kriseman says he thinks that it’s a policy that the county has to consider.

“I think it's a policy [the county officials] have got to consider as we come up to July 4 weekend. We know it's always a busy time at our beaches that weekend.”

Kriseman also criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for not implementing statewide policies at this time to combat the surge in cases, and instead, leaving it up to the local governments to take action on a number of issues such as beach closures and wearing masks.

“This should be a statewide policy, but we don't have the leadership right now from the administration and the governor's office,” he said. “If we're going to get a handle on this, we need to be acting collectively, not just piece-meal, where individual local governments are putting policies in place.”

In further criticism, Kriseman said that DeSantis has been “very inaccessible” to mayors across Florida, which is an impediment to statewide action against the virus.

“That's one of the frustrations that myself and other mayors around the state have had. The governor has been very inaccessible to all of us, so we haven't had those conversations. I've certainly been very vocal about the fact that I think it works best when it's statewide policy and if we can't have that then countywide policy and if we can't have that then individual cities,” he said. “But it really should come down from the state.”

Kriseman also dismissed DeSantis’ claims that the surge in cases is partially due to a backlog in tests.

“That explanation is really quite frankly silly. What we look at is the percentage of positive tests. So we've had days where maybe we'll have 1,500 tests that are done. Other days where we'll have 3,500 tests that are done, but what really matters is what are those percentages of those tests that are being done that are coming back positive,” he explained. 

St. Petersburg, Florida, was seeing a percentage of 1.5% to 2% positive cases on a two-week rolling basis in late April and early May. In the last two weeks, the rolling average has risen to 10%, he said.

“That is very disconcerting, and the explanation isn't the number of tests. It's that more people are exposed right now.”

12:16 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Cuomo urges Trump to issue executive order requiring everyone to wear masks  

From CNN's Melanie Schuman


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the federal government abandoned its responsibility in fighting the coronavirus. 

“It is time to wake up America. The White House has been in denial on coronavirus from the get-go and the federal response has just been wrong. That’s not a political statement. If you look at the facts, that’s exactly what it says," Cuomo said.

 Cuomo asked President Trump to do two things:

  1. Sign an executive order directing everyone to wear a mask akin to what New York did two months ago.
  2. To wear a mask. “Let the president lead by example and let the president put a mask on it," Cuomo said.

“They should start telling the people of this country the truth,” Cuomo said.

The governor also said reopening fast was not good for the economy and while the economy reopening is important, Cuomo noted, “When that virus spikes, the market goes down, not up.”

“This was not a smart policy to rush reopening. It did not help the economy. It’s the exact opposite.”

Cuomo said the federal government has only set up 41 testing sites across the country compared to 750 sites set up in in New York by others including local governments.


12:04 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Cuomo on coronavirus spread: "We could have to do this all over again"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a large sculpture showing the curve of coronavirus cases in the state, warning that "we don't need to climb another mountain."

A marker at the peak of the mountain represented the 42 days that cases in New York increased before plateauing and the declining.

"If that spread comes to New York, we could have to do this all over again," Cuomo said, stressing the importance of phased reopening and quarantines for travelers into New York.

While coronavirus cases are steady in New York, they are increasing in many states across the country. At least 12 US states are pausing reopening plans because of the spikes in new cases.

"Doing this once in life is enough. We don't need to climb another mountain. one mountain was enough," Cuomo said.

12:12 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic "not even close to being over," WHO says

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

World Health Organization
World Health Organization

The coronavirus pandemic is far from coming to an end any time soon, according to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"This is not even close to being over," Tedros said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday.

"Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up. We're all in this together and we're all in this for the long haul," Tedros said. "We have already lost so much, but we can not lose hope."

Tedros also said that Tuesday marks six months since WHO first received reports of cases of pneumonia in China from an unknown cause — which would later be identified as caused by novel coronavirus infection.

 "The six-month anniversary of the outbreak coincides with reaching 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths," Tedros said.

"This is a moment for all of us to reflect on the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned, and to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to save lives," Tedros said. "Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world -- and our lives -- would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus."

11:58 a.m. ET, June 29, 2020

VMAs will be held in Brooklyn in August, New York governor says

A view of Barclays Center is seen on June 1 in New York.
A view of Barclays Center is seen on June 1 in New York. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

MTV's Video Music Awards will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on August 30, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced.

He did not elaborate on any guidelines for the event.

11:58 a.m. ET, June 29, 2020

New York will decide by Wednesday whether NYC can have indoor dining in phase 3, Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks du
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks du NY1/Pool

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted two complications that have appeared in New York City as it moves toward phase three of reopening next Monday that may cause a delay in allowing indoor dining.

According to Cuomo, these include:

  1. A lack of compliance with social distancing, large congregations and a lack of enforcement from local government officials. Cuomo said the lack of social distancing in the city has been "undeniable."
  2. The spread of Covid-19 across the nation. Cuomo noted that New York City is not immune to having cases brought into the state from other parts of the country.

Cuomo said that he and his team are speaking with business owners and are going through the data to decide whether indoor dining, which is allowed in phase three, will be allowed in the city.

Cuomo said a final decision will be made on Wednesday.

11:45 a.m. ET, June 29, 2020

8 people died from coronavirus in New York yesterday

Eight people died from coronavirus across New York state yesterday — a dramatic decrease from the roughly 800 people who died daily during the height of the pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

At least 853 people remain hospitalized because of the virus — "lowest level" of hospitalizations "since this nightmare began," Cuomo said at an ongoing news conference.

He said numbers continue to improve in the state, and Western New York will soon be ready to enter phase four of reopening.

11:39 a.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Broadway shows suspended for rest of year

From CNN’s Javi Morgado

The St. James Theatre remains closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on May 15 in New York.
The St. James Theatre remains closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on May 15 in New York. Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the rest of the year due to Covid-19, the Broadway league announced in a press release.

The league is offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for all performances through Jan. 3, 2021, it said.

"Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience. The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever," Thomas Schumacher, chair of the board of The Broadway League, said in the release. 

The league said returning productions are projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates in early 2021.

Tickets for next winter and spring performances are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks, they said.

It continues to work with city and state officials as well as leaders in science, technology and medicine “to formulate the best plan to restart the industry.”