North Korea declares an emergency over coronavirus: Live updates – Al Jazeera English

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un placed the city of Kaesong near the border with South Korea under total lockdown over coronavirus concerns, and declared a state of emergency to contain a potential outbreak, North Korea’s state media reported on Sunday.

  • Vietnam was back on high alert for the coronavirus after medical officials in the central city of Da Nang detected the country’s first locally transmitted case in three months.

  • Thousands of protests hit the streets of Jerusalem to denounce Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as alleged corruption in his government.
  • Some 15.9 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while more than 641,000 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 9.18 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Sunday, July 26

02:43 GMT – France expands free COVID-19 testing as infection rates rise

French health authorities are making COVID-19 tests available free of charge without prescription as they closely monitor an uptick in infections after the lifting of lockdown measures, Reuters news agency reported on Sunday.

PCR nasal swab tests, which detect COVID-19 infections caused by the novel coronavirus, will be freely available on demand under government orders published on Saturday.

France has recorded 30,192 deaths attributed to the coronavirus, among a total of 180,528 cases of the disease, according to statistics published on Friday.

The number of new daily infections rose above 1,000 for a second day running – around their daily level when lockdown measures were eased in May, following two months of confinement.

02:30 GMT – Lebanon reports highest daily count of COVID-19 cases

Lebanon has reported the highest daily count of coronavirus cases with 175, bringing the total to more than 3,500, according to AP news agency.

Lebanese officials warn of a spike in infections following the easing of restrictions after the country’s only airport opened on July 1. Government officials have urged people to observe social distancing and wear masks.

The country of about 5 million has 47 confirmed deaths and 3,582 reported cases. The government is considering reintroducing restrictions, including closing gyms and nightclubs, which reopened for business after the country relaxed its lockdown.

02:09 GMT – Costa Rica registers record 931 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths

Costa Rica’s Health Ministry has reported a record 931 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths, both single-day highs for the small Central American nation where 72 percent of all its confirmed cases have been registered since the beginning of this month.

In total, Costa Rican authorities have reported 14,600 cases and 98 deaths in the country of 5 million people, according to Reuters news agency.

Despite the increase in cases, hotels are operational and the government has announced European, British, and Canadian tourists will be allowed to enter the country beginning August 1. 

01:40 GMT – Mainland China reports 46 new coronavirus cases, including 22 in Xinjiang

China - theatre

Beijing partially reopened movie theatres on Friday as the threat from the coronavirus continues to recede in China’s capital [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

China reported 46 cases of the new coronavirus in the mainland for July 25, up from 34 cases a day earlier, Reuters reported on Sunday, quoting the country’s health commission.

Of the new infections, 22 were in the far western region of Xinjiang, according to a statement by the National Health Commission. Thirteen were in the northeastern province of Liaoning, while the remaining 11 were imported cases.

China reported two new asymptomatic cases, down from 74 a day earlier.

As of the end of Saturday, mainland China had 83,830 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 4,634.

01:04 GMT – North Korea’s Kaesong placed under lockdown

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un placed the city of Kaesong near the border with South Korea under total lockdown over coronavirus concerns and declared a state of emergency to contain a potential outbreak, AP news agency reported on Sunday quoting North Korea’s state media.

The “maximum emergency system” was implemented after a person was found with suspected COVID-19 symptoms in the city, the Korean Central News Agency said. It said the person is a runaway who had fled to South Korea years ago before illegally crossing the border into the North early last week.

If that person is officially declared a virus patient, he or she would be the North’s first confirmed coronavirus case. North Korea has steadfastly said it has no single virus case on its territory, a claim questioned by outside experts.

01:00 GMT – Mexico reports 6,751 new coronavirus cases, 729 new deaths

Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 6,751 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 729 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 385,036 cases and 43,374 total deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases, according to Reuters news agency.

00:29 GMT – Brazil registers 1,211 coronavirus deaths, health ministry says

Brazil registered an additional 1,211 deaths attributable to the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours and another 51,147 confirmed cases, Reuters news agency reported quoting the health ministry.

The South American nation has now registered 86,449 deaths and 2,394,513 total confirmed cases as of the end of Saturday.

00:16 GMT – Israelis protest against Netanyahu’s handling of pandemic

Israel protest

Police use water cannons during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged corruption and his government’s handling of the coronavirus disease crisis, near his residence in Jerusalem early on Sunday [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

Thousands of protesters hit the streets of Jerusalem to denounce Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as alleged corruption in his government.

Images from Jerusalem showed some of the protesters clashing with police outside the residence of Netanyahu on Saturday night.

The number of people to test positive for coronavirus in Israel topped 60,000 on Saturday as the government struggled to contain a resurgence in infection rates.

With a population of nine million, Israel has reported a total of 455 fatalities from the pandemic.

Israel was one of the first countries to impose a nationwide lockdown and initially was successful in clamping down on the outbreak, before cases surged anew.

00:01 GMT – US state of Arizona reports over 3,700 new cases

Hurricane Hanna roared ashore on the United States’ Gulf Coast in the state of Texas, bringing winds that lashed the shoreline with rain and storm surge – and even threatening to bring possible tornadoes to a part of the country trying to cope with a spike in coronavirus cases.

The first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season made landfall Saturday afternoon at 22:00 GMT. As of Saturday evening, it had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (145 kph).

Many parts of Texas, including the area where Hanna came ashore, have been dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, but local officials said they were prepared for whatever the storm might bring.

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Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, July 25, here.