July 29 coronavirus news

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11:41 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Brazilian mayor tests negative for Covid-19 nearly a month after contracting the virus

From CNN's Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre and Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo

The mayor of Brazil's Amazonian city of Manaus, Arthur Virgílio Neto, was discharged from hospital Wednesday nearly one month after contracting Covid-19.  

"Arthur concluded his medical treatment in São Paulo," said a note published by the City Hall. 

The mayor was transferred to a São Paulo hospital for treatment on July 6 with his wife, who had also tested positive for the virus, according to a previous statement from his office.

The mayor has been a vocal critic of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during the pandemic. In a profanity-laced video of a cabinet meeting released by Brazil’s Supreme Court in May, Bolsonaro referred to Virgílio Neto as a “piece of sh**” for digging mass graves in his city during the coronavirus pandemic.

Health crisis: Manaus is the capital of Amazonas, a northern state in Brazil. It was the first state capital to see its hospital system collapse due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

Last week, Amazonas state recorded 5,560 new cases, down from 11,758 new infections a week at the end of May. The state's death toll now stands at 3,232, with seven deaths in the past 24 hours.

11:18 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

North Korea has tested over 1,000 people for Covid-19 and found no confirmed cases, WHO says

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul and Joshua Berlinger

People stand at Taedongmun gate in Pyongyang to watch a firework display on July 27 to mark the 67th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice agreement.
People stand at Taedongmun gate in Pyongyang to watch a firework display on July 27 to mark the 67th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice agreement. Kim Won Jin/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has tested 1,211 people for coronavirus as of July 16, with all results returned negative, the World Health Organization’s representative to North Korea Dr. Edwin Salvador told CNN.

All educational institutions in the country -- including pre-schools -- are now on extended summer break for the next two months, Salvador said.

Currently, 696 North Koreans are under quarantine. They are all laborers and loaders working at the Nampo port on the country's western coast and the Sinuiju-Dandong border between North Korea and China, Salvador said.  

“The increase in the number of people quarantined is due to the increased volume of goods coming into the country through Nampo and Sinuiju-Dangdong routes. Medicines and medical products such as vaccines and Covid-19 related items are given high priority to be transported across the border,” Salvador said. 

According to WHO, 15 laboratories are designated for coronavirus testing in North Korea, including provincial laboratories. The Central Hygiene Anti-Epidemic Institute remains the reference laboratory.

Primers and probes for PCR machines to facilitate 1,000 tests, sent from WHO's Southeast Asia regional office, have arrived in North Korea, Salvador said, adding that WHO had earlier provided 900 pieces of personal protective equipment along with laboratory reagents.

North Korea is also checking people's temperature using infrared thermometers, providing hand-washing facilities and sanitizer in all public places including shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels. Public announcements on Covid-19 information are made over TV, radio, print media as well as loudspeakers, Salvador said.

Suspected case: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency meeting Saturday after it was reported that a defector who fled the country three years ago had returned to the North Korean city of Kaesong, while possibly infected with coronavirus, according to state-run newswire KCNA.

Few experts believe that North Korea, a country of nearly 25 million people which shares a border with China, could have escaped the effects of a pandemic that has infected more than 16 million people worldwide and killed nearly 650,000.

10:37 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Australia's Victoria state sees highest daily surge in Covid-19 cases 

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

Medical transport workers prepare to enter the Epping Aged Care Home on July 29 in Melbourne.
Medical transport workers prepare to enter the Epping Aged Care Home on July 29 in Melbourne. Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The Australian state of Victoria recorded 723 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, setting a new daily high for the state and the whole country, according to numbers delivered by Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday.

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, has so far diagnosed 9,998 cases, accounting for more than 60% of the country's total number of infections.

The state now has 5,385 active cases, with more than 80% of them in metropolitan Melbourne and neighboring Mitchell Shire -- both subject to a stay-at-home order. 

Andrews announced 13 further fatalities recorded Wednesday, another single-day high for the country, bringing the state’s death toll to 105 and Australia’s to 189.

Wednesday's new cases were found through 19,921 tests conducted across the state. 

Stricter measures: On Thursday, Andrews announced that from midnight Sunday, a mandate to wear masks or face coverings in public will extend from metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to the rest of the state. 

A ban on home gatherings has been extended to six further areas of Victoria, Andrews said, noting that household to household transmission was a factor in the rising numbers.

“Today is not a good day, Andrews wrote in a statement. “This is one of the biggest challenges our state has faced. And yet, really, we’re all being asked to make the smallest of sacrifices. By not seeing your mate, you might be saving their life. By not hugging your mum, you might be keeping her alive.”
10:09 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

China reports more than 100 new coronavirus cases for second day in a row

From CNN's Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

China recorded more than 100 new coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day on Wednesday, according to the country's National Health Commission.

Among the 105 new cases -- the highest number the country has seen since it brought the virus largely under control in March -- 102 were locally transmitted.

Some 96 local infections were found in the far western region of Xinjiang, one in Beijing, with the remaining cases confirmed in Liaoning

The NHC also recorded a further 21 asymptomatic infections, which are not included in the total tally of confirmed cases.

Tuesday marked the first time China had recorded over 100 new cases since early April.

9:28 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Face coverings now required in House office buildings

From CNN's Manu Raju

The House Sergeant at Arms and Attending Physician have issued rules, “upon the direction of the Speaker of the House,” requiring face coverings in all House office buildings effective at 8 a.m. ET Thursday.

There are some exceptions, such as when a person is eating or drinking, or when a person is giving a speech or interview provided no one is within six feet.

“Any person not wearing a face cover will be asked to put on a face cover or leave the building,” the memo announcing the policy says.

The rules come just a few hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that face coverings would be required on the House floor.

9:15 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Attorney General William Barr tests negative for Covid-19

From CNN's Evan Perez

Attorney General William Barr removes his mask after a break in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 28 in Washington.
Attorney General William Barr removes his mask after a break in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 28 in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr tested negative for Covid-19 today, according to a Justice Department official.

Barr, who is routinely tested, attended a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday in which Rep. Louie Gohmert was present.

Gohmert has tested positive for Covid-19. The congressman was seen maskless outside the room near Barr briefly at one point. 

 

9:11 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

US Open golf tournament to be held without fans

From CNN's Jill Martin

Jets fly by the course ahead of the trophy presentation at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California.
Jets fly by the course ahead of the trophy presentation at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The United States Golf Association has announced that the 120th US Open Championship, which is scheduled September 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, will take place without spectators. 

“Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the US Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, in the press release. “We will miss the excitement of the fans and what their presence brings to the championship. We look forward to welcoming them again to future US Opens.”

Some context: The USGA announced on April 6 that the US Open, which was scheduled to be held June 18-21 on Winged Foot’s West Course, had been postponed to September.

The organization also said in June that the championship would be conducted without traditional qualifying.

8:41 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Mexico surpasses 45,000 coronavirus deaths

From Karol Suarez in Mexico City

Aerial view of graves at the special area for Covid-19 victims of the Municipal Pantheon of Valle de Chalco, Mexico, on July 28.
Aerial view of graves at the special area for Covid-19 victims of the Municipal Pantheon of Valle de Chalco, Mexico, on July 28. Alredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

Mexico recorded 485 new deaths from Covid-19 Wednesday, bringing the country's death toll to 45,361, according to the country's health ministry.

Mexico has the fourth highest death toll from the virus worldwide, behind the UK, Brazil and US.

The health ministry also reported 5,752 new Covid-19 cases, bringing Mexico's total to 408,449.

8:22 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Italy extends coronavirus state of emergency

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo in Rome  

Italy has extended the state of emergency imposed in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak until Oct. 15, according to a government statement released early Thursday morning local time.

"The Council of Ministers, on the proposal of President Giuseppe Conte, approved the extension," the statement read.  

Italy was one of the first European countries to be hit by the virus and went into a state of emergency on Jan. 31.  

The legal framework gives the government special powers to curb certain freedoms and access to additional resources to stop and contain the spread of Covid-19. 

The latest numbers: The country has so far recorded 246,776 coronavirus cases and 35,129 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.