July 30 coronavirus news

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12:04 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Brazil's first lady tests positive for Covid-19

From journalist Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the first lady Michelle Bolsonaro attend the launch of the Rural Women's Rights program at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on July 29.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the first lady Michelle Bolsonaro attend the launch of the Rural Women's Rights program at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on July 29. Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s first lady Michelle Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, President Jair Bolsonaro's press office announced in a statement.

The first lady “is in good health and will follow all established protocols,” the statement says.

“The first lady is being accompanied by the medical team of the Presidency of the Republic,” the statement adds.

Michelle Bolsonaro was last seen in public on Wednesday afternoon when she attended an official event in Brasilia with her husband.

President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 on July 7. He tested negative more than two weeks later on Saturday.

 

11:50 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

EU revises list of safe travel countries, US remains on list of restricted nations 

From CNN's James Frater in London

The European Union has revised the list of safe travel countries to 11 non-member states after dropping Algeria from the list, according to a European Council Statement released Thursday. 

The EU will gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay, according to the statement.

The United States remains on the list of restricted nations, and China is still pending approval based on reciprocity.

"The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively," the statement said. "Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis."

The statement added that in order to be considered safe for travel, non-EU nations must have coronavirus case numbers per 100,000 inhabitants that are close to or below the EU average over the last 14 days, as well as a stable or decreasing trend of new cases over that period in comparison to the previous 14 days.

The EU is also taking into account other nations' "overall response to COVID-19," including whether they have implemented reliable coronavirus testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting.

In nations where travel restrictions continue to apply, there are exemptions for EU citizens, long-term EU residents, families of EU residents and citizens, and "travelers with an essential function or need."

The European Council said it will continue to regularly review the list of safe travel countries, adding, "Travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed according to changes in some of the conditions and, as a consequence, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation. If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied."

However, it remains up to EU member states to decide exactly how they implement any changes in border policy.

11:30 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

WHO warns of easing restrictions as Africa approaches 1 million coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem

A health care worker takes a nasal swab to test for Covid-19 in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 23.
A health care worker takes a nasal swab to test for Covid-19 in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 23. Nardus Engelbrecht/AP

With Africa approaching one million reported coronavirus infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday warned against the easing of restrictions across the continent as case numbers doubled over the past month.

“We are concerned that now that the countries have had to release their measures, we will see an increase in cases as we have seen in [other] countries” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti said in a virtual news conference.

More than 20 countries across Africa have recorded a higher number of new cases than in the previous weeks, Moeti said, adding that only five countries account for 75% of the total cases, with South Africa accounting for most.

“In the past 25 days the cases have doubled [in Africa] with South Africa continuing to account for the majority of cases”, however, “fewer new cases have been reported in the past seven days” she added.

Moeti said that underreporting of cases exists in Africa, but not enough to have a “huge underestimation."

“We don’t think here are thousands of people dying undetected on the continent,” Moeti said, however  — commenting on an increase in the number of natural deaths in South Africa compared to last year  — she said that WHO recognizes “that there is underreporting of cases, and possibly underreporting of deaths as well."

“There is a question being raised on whether or not the discrepancy is linked with Covid-19 related deaths. This is something we’re looking into,” Moeti added.

Some countries are doing well including Uganda, Seychelles and Mauritius however there was an increase in new cases reported in Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, she said.

Moeti also said that some people in Africa with other diseases have been negatively affected by Covid-19.

"Other diseases and conditions are disadvantaged now, as people are afraid of getting treated and going to health units for medical assistance, due to the risks of Covid-19,” she said.

With almost 890,000 reported cases and 18,000 deaths, Africa is expected to cross the one million mark in the coming week, WHO said.

 

11:10 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

All Virginia Beach schools will start online in September

From CNN's Yon Pomrenze

Virginia Beach’s school board approved a plan for all schools in the district to start remotely in September, according to a press release Wednesday.

The vote followed "more than seven hours of public comments and lengthy discussion that included members of the medical panel participating in a Q&A session with Board Members," according to the release.

The plan also includes guidelines for when students can begin returning to school for in-person classes, using health metrics to determine when it is safe to do so.

"Our priority throughout this planning process, without question or reservation, is and will continue to be the health and safety of our students, staff and their families," Superintendent Dr. Aaron C. Spence said.

More on the measure: The plan will also allow families to choose to continue with remote learning even when the district decides it is safe enough for in-person classes.

Parents will be asked to choose one of two options. Option one will provide in-person learning when available, and option two is virtual learning for students at least through the first semester of the school year.

"We are striving for this virtual setting to mimic, as closely as possible, a face-to-face school setting," said Spence. "And, my team is not done with planning. We have many other topics to tackle in a short amount of time as we get closer to the September back-to-school date. We are thrilled we can now move forward with that work."

Virginia Beach City Public Schools have nearly 67,000 students and 14,000 employees.

10:46 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Herman Cain has died after being hospitalized with Covid-19

From CNN'S Betsy Klein

Herman Cain speaks at a conference in Washington, DC, on June 20, 2014.
Herman Cain speaks at a conference in Washington, DC, on June 20, 2014. Drew Angerer/EPA/Shutterstock

Herman Cain, the former presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has died from coronavirus, according to an obituary sent from his verified Twitter account and Newsmax, where he was launching a television show.

Cain tested positive for Covid-19 on June 29 and was hospitalized on July 1 after developing symptoms serious enough to be hospitalized, according to the statement posted on Twitter. 

Cain was a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, and his last public appearance was as one of the surrogates at President Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told CNN at the time that Cain did not meet with Trump at the Tulsa rally.

It is unknown where Cain contracted the virus. Cain was pictured at the indoor rally not wearing a mask.

As a cancer survivor, Cain, age 74, was considered at an increased risk for coronavirus, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

10:54 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Florida sets new Covid-19 death record for third straight day  

From CNN's Tina Burnside

For the third day in a row, the state of Florida is reporting a record number of coronavirus related deaths.

On Thursday, the state reported 253 additional deaths, breaking the previous record of 216 deaths on Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

The statewide resident death toll is now 6,586.

The state is also reported at least 9,956 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total to 451,423.

10:33 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

"No evidence" hydroxychloroquine works for treating Covid-19, Birx says

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

There is “no evidence” that hydroxychloroquine works for treating Covid-19, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Thursday.

During an interview on "Fox & Friends," Birx was asked about the viral video that made several false claims about coronavirus, including that hydroxychloroquine, used in combination with zinc and Zithromax, is the cure for the virus.

Birx said science and medicine have "always been full of accounts like this. And that's why you do randomized clinical trials to actually be able to compare patient-to-patient."

"We know in the randomized control of the trials to date – and there's been several of them – that there's no evidence that [hydroxycloroquine] improves the patients' outcomes, whether they have mild, moderate disease, or whether they're seriously ill in the hospital. ... There also may be a specific subgroup that does benefit, but we can't see those in these randomized control trials," Birx explained.
10:20 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

It's possible for US to lower Covid-19 case counts so children can return to school, Birx says

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 8.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 8. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Thursday that it is possible for the country to get coronavirus case counts low enough for children to go back to school.

Speaking during an interview on "Fox & Friends," Birx said there are school districts where the coronavirus test positivity rate in the community is under 5%. "What we want is the whole country to be able to go back to school, and all of those case counts down to what we call the ‘green states.’"

"We know that is possible because states have been able to do that and maintain that. And so, that's the evidence base that we should be talking about. We have evidence now of what works and how to maintain very low case counts. The rest of America needs to follow those guidelines and bring the rest of us into that green category," she said.

Birx also said the way Americans can help get children back to school is by doing "what the President has asked," which includes wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings where you can't socially distance.

10:04 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Norway will impose 10-day quarantine on travelers from Belgium after virus spike

From CNN’s Isabel Tejera in Madrid

Norway will reimpose a 10-day quarantine requirement for travelers arriving from Belgium after a rise in Covid-19 cases there, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The new rule goes into effect on Saturday. 

Norway last week reintroduced restrictions on travel from Spain in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.