June 15 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0016 GMT (0816 HKT) June 16, 2020
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2:35 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Japan records 62 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo

A woman wearing a face mask takes a photo of full bloomed hydrangea at Hasedera temple in Kamakura, near Tokyo, on Monday, June 15.
A woman wearing a face mask takes a photo of full bloomed hydrangea at Hasedera temple in Kamakura, near Tokyo, on Monday, June 15. Koji Sasahara/AP

Japan’s health ministry recorded 62 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Sunday.

The total number of infections reported in Japan stands at 18,214, with 712 of those from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The official death toll is 938, with 13 of those deaths from the cruise ship.

In Tokyo, 47 new infections were recorded on Sunday in the largest single-day increase in the capital since May 5.

That number includes 18 cases linked to the nightlife entertainment area in Shinjuku district.

2:12 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

South Korea reports 37 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Jake Kwon in Seoul

Korean War veterans of South Korea salute during a ceremony to unveil an installation artwork to commemorate the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Korean War, in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, June 15.
Korean War veterans of South Korea salute during a ceremony to unveil an installation artwork to commemorate the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Korean War, in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, June 15. Ahn Young-Joon/AP

South Korea reported 37 new coronavirus cases on Sunday and no new deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The total number of reported cases in the country stands at 12,121 and there are more than 1,100 patients in active quarantine.

Of the 37 new cases, 24 are locally transmitted. Of those, 22 occurred in the capital Seoul

Despite strengthened infection prevention measures, the average number of daily cases from the Seoul Metropolitan area increased from 20.4 cases during the period May 17 to May 30, to 36.5 average cases during May 31 to June 13.

1:46 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Boris Johnson desperately needs his lockdown gamble to pay off

From CNN's Luke McGee

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Westfield shopping centre in east London on June 14.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Westfield shopping centre in east London on June 14. John Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images

The UK is taking a tentative step in its slow emergence from coronavirus lockdown. As of Monday, lockdown measures will be eased in England, allowing non-essential shops to reopen along with some public spaces like zoos and theme parks.

It's impossible to overstate how important it is for Prime Minister Boris Johnson that this goes well after a painful few weeks.

His pandemic response has been attacked across the political spectrum, as has his handling of recent Black Lives Matter protests across the country, with critics accusing Johnson of using language that enflames racial division, leading ultimately to ugly scenes as far-right extremist groups took part in violent counter-protests at the weekend. So, from the government's perspective, this easing of lockdown must not end in disaster.

The worst-case scenario is that unlocking leads to a second wave of coronavirus infections, resulting in more deaths and the country being locked down again. It will be very hard to sell this to a public which, despite largely obeying measures since March, has the highest death rate in Europe.

"I don't think it's too much to say that his survival as Prime Minister is in danger if we get a second spike," says Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University. "I'm not sure he could restore public confidence in his government if anything like a return to the lockdown had to be executed. The government really has to get this right and pray it's not too early, as some people claim it may be."

These claims that lockdown is being lifted too soon range from the editorial pages of the left-leaning Guardian newspaper, which believes Johnson is "seeing polls, not science" and "gambling with the health of the nation," to scientists advising the government who have called it a "political decision."

Read the full story here.

6:37 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

French President says France will further ease Covid-19 restrictions on Monday

From CNN’s Pierre Buet in Paris

In an address to the nation on Sunday evening, French President Emmanuel Macron applauded the country in the battle against coronavirus.

He announced a further easing of restrictions that were put in place to battle the spread of Covid-19. Macron said, “We can be proud of what has been done and of our country.” He said, "tens of thousands of lives have been saved by our choices, by our actions."

Macron said, starting Monday, mainland France will lift all restrictions previously applied to businesses and transport. “We must get our economy back on track whilst protecting the most vulnerable," Macron said.

Macron said France will follow the EU Commission recommendation of opening up borders on Monday.

WATCH:

1:17 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

More than 50 people test positive in Beijing as neighborhoods go into lockdown

From CNN's Shawn Deng and Steven Jiang in Beijing

A security personnel wearing a protective suit stands guard at a residential area under lockdown near Yuquan East Market in Beijing on June 15.
A security personnel wearing a protective suit stands guard at a residential area under lockdown near Yuquan East Market in Beijing on June 15. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of people in Beijing have tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend as the Chinese government races to contain the spread of the virus in the capital. Local authorities tested more than 76,000 people on Sunday, of whom 59 tested positive, city officials said today.

Beijing had not reported any new cases for almost two months until Thursday.

Since then, the city has reported 79 confirmed cases, almost all of which are linked to a wholesale food market, according to the National Health Commission, which has called the situation in Beijing “severe and uncertain.”

Market shut, mass testing: On Saturday Beijing shut down the Xinfadi wholesale food market, the biggest of its kind in the country, and launched mass testing for anyone who had visited the market since May 30 and their close contacts. 

Declaring “wartime emergencies” in parts of the city, local officials have sealed off the market and at least 11 neighborhoods in the surrounding area, as well as placed a growing number of other neighborhoods where new cases were reported under lockdown.

Officials are tracking those who visited the market: On Monday, Beijing officials said nearly 30,000 people had been to the market during the 14-day period before its closure. 

The city has ordered people who had visited the market recently and their close contacts to stay at home for two weeks for medical observation. Several local officials, including the deputy head of the district where the market is located, have been fired, the government announced Monday.

Traces of the virus found: A market official told state media Friday that traces of the virus were found in multiple environmental samples taken from the market, including chopping boards used to chop imported salmon, prompting supermarkets and restaurants in the city to pull the fish off of their shelves and menus. 

Beijing officials have since said genetic sequencing indicated the virus found in the market is similar to strains normally found in Europe, and vowed to strength inspections of all cargos from overseas.

1:15 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Trump's showmanship is now backfiring on him

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

US President Donald Trump smiles at the end of the commencement ceremony on June 13, in West Point, New York.
US President Donald Trump smiles at the end of the commencement ceremony on June 13, in West Point, New York. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump's ostentatious refusal to wear a mask is undercutting his own government's message that face coverings could significantly slow the spread of the coronavirus and actually accelerate a resumption of normal life.

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Sunday undermined Trump's implied argument that government-mandated changes of social behavior to deal with the virus are an infringement on the basic rights of Americans. "Some feel face coverings infringe on their freedom of choice -- but if more wear them, we'll have MORE freedom to go out," Adams wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Trump has plans for more rallies in Arizona, Texas and Florida -- states where the virus is fast rising again after early economic openings that he demanded. The events will likely focus attention on his denial about the pandemic and inaccurate judgment that the United States has "prevailed" over the crisis.

Read the full story here.

12:34 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Tulsa health director wishes Trump would postpone rally because of spike in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

The director of the Tulsa Health Department said he wishes President Donald Trump would postpone his planned campaign rally set to take place there on Saturday, citing concerns about a recent increase in local cases of Covid-19.

In an interview with the local newspaper, Tulsa World, Bruce Dart said, "I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn't as large a concern as it is today."

The city's health department on Friday said it recorded its highest daily increase of coronavirus cases to date.

"I think it's an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic," Dart told Tulsa World. "I'm concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I'm also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well."

CNN reached out to the Trump campaign about Dart's concerns and was told the campaign has no comment.

Read the full story here.

12:28 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Is it safer to fly or drive during the pandemic?

From CNN's Marnie Hunter

People are undoubtedly moving around more as vacation season heats up and patience for sheltering at home wears thin.

Many travelers are sticking closer to home with short driving trips, but air travel is on the rise.

More than 500,000 people crossed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at US airports on June 11, the first time numbers have climbed above that mark since the coronavirus pandemic brought travel to a near standstill in March.

Anyone contemplating a trip has probably asked: Is it safer to fly or drive during the pandemic?

As with most things coronavirus, there's no perfect answer. It depends on the trip, on your behavior and your risk tolerance.

Read the full story here.

1:14 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Hong Kong Disneyland, closed for five months due to Covid-19, is ready to reopen

From CNN's Lilit Marcus

A security guard checks an empty square usually filled with visitors at Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong on January 26.
A security guard checks an empty square usually filled with visitors at Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong on January 26. Ayaka McGill/AFP/Getty Images

On June 18, Hong Kong Disneyland will become the world's second Disney park to reopen.

One of the smallest Disney theme parks, it closed on January 26 due to the global coronavirus crisis and has remained shut since then, with a few exceptions -- namely its hotels and a few on-site restaurants.

Shanghai Disneyland was the first park to reopen, welcoming guests back on May 11. Its reopening gave clues as to what Disney parks around the world would look like post-coronavirus, with social distancing regulations enforced and both guests and employees (aka cast members) sporting face masks.

And it looks like Hong Kong Disneyland will follow similar procedures.

Guests will be required to book reservations online at least one week in advance in order to maintain crowd control. Upon arrival, they will have to submit to temperature checks, fill out a health declaration form and wear face masks.

Magic Access members, who are the park's annual pass holders, will get priority for booking reservations.

Read the full story here.