June 29 coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Julia Hollingsworth, Amy Woodyatt and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
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4:50 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Minnesota can now test about 20,000 people a day, governor says

From CNN's Raja Razek

Elizabeth Santoro, a medic with the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Medical Group, administers a free Covid-19 test at the Minneapolis Armory on Saturday, May 23.
Elizabeth Santoro, a medic with the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Medical Group, administers a free Covid-19 test at the Minneapolis Armory on Saturday, May 23. Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/AP

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said the state has tested over half a million people for Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. They now have the capacity to test 20,000 Minnesotans on any given day, he announced at a news briefing on Monday.

Walz said that during the last weeks of April, it became apparent that a disconnect between the federal responsibility on testing and the state's responsibility was causing a problem in the United States. 

"At that point in time, we were like many states, striving to keep up and catch up with that testing, so we called for the Minnesota moonshot," Walz said. "My goal was, is to try and get us in the first week in June to be able to test at a capacity of more than 10% of our population to be tested, and to have the daily capacity to test 20,000 people."

He said the state worked with the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic and other health systems to create their own supply that was "independent of those supply chain breaks."

"I am here today to announce that we have reached those goals. Over half a million tests have been given in Minnesota, it will actually be a little over 600,000 today, and we do have the capacity now to test 20,000 Minnesotans every given day," Walz said.

Minnesota has a total of at least 35,861 Covid-19 cases. Approximately 1,435 people have died statewide.

4:48 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

University of Texas at Austin will shorten its fall semester

From CNN's Bianna Golodryga

University of Texas at Austin.
University of Texas at Austin. Shutterstock

University of Texas at Austin announced new details Monday on the fall semester and class structure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Plans include a shortened academic semester, an “instructional continuity plan” in the event professors fall ill, a mix of online and in-person classes and a flat tuition no matter the mode of instruction, its board said.

UT’s semester will begin on Aug. 26, with in-person instruction ending Nov. 25 — the day before Thanksgiving.

The class day will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with courses “more evenly distributed,” and each course will have an “instructional continuity plan,” which will include a teaching partner, who will take over the class in the case of an emergency or if an instructor becomes ill.

Like many Texas schools, UT-Austin will offer classes online, hybrid and in-person options for students, but all is subject to change, according to UT’s Interim President Jay Hartzell.

4:47 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Leicester becomes first city in UK to have a local lockdown imposed

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England.
A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The British city of Leicester will have certain coronavirus restrictions reimposed because its infection rate is three times higher than the next highest local area, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs on Monday evening. 

Nonessential shops will close starting Tuesday, and schools will close on Thursday, Hancock said, adding that vulnerable pupils and children of key workers will continue attending class.

Hancock also asked those residing in Leicester to stay at home as much as they can, and recommended against all but essential travel to or from the city and the surroundings.

Pubs, restaurants and hair salons, which will reopen in the rest of England on July 4, will have to remain closed in Leicester.

The UK health secretary said that the decision to reimpose restrictions was "difficult" but that it was "important.

"We do not take these decisions lightly, but with the interests of the people of Leicester in our hearts," Hancock said.

The health secretary denied that the number of known infections in Leicester was higher because more tests were being performed there, saying that the proportion of positive results showed that there was a higher prevalence of the virus in the city. 

The measures will be reviewed in two weeks, Hancock said, and urged people to follow the rules.

4:41 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Rhode Island governor extends mandatory mask order

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sits during a news conference Monday, June 22, in Providence.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sits during a news conference Monday, June 22, in Providence. David Goldman/AP

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo extended several executive orders until August 3. She announced the decision today because she will not have a news conference on July 4 when these orders are set to expire.

Here's what will remain in effect:

  • Order requiring face coverings.
  • Order on quarantine rules.
  • Order requiring health insurers to cover telemedicine. She also said she will work with the state legislatures to make this permanent.
  • Order that extends time law enforcement has to complete a background check from seven days to 30 days for a gun permit.
  • Extending the disaster declaration.

Some context: Earlier today, Raimondo imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine starting Tuesday for people coming from a state with a 5% or greater positivity rate.

The quarantine rule currently applies to 23 states as of Monday, and Rhode Island will keep a list of states impacted by the rule updated weekly based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University, Raimondo said.

4:48 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

New Hampshire testing program aims to identify symptomless carriers

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

About 3,000 people have signed up for coronavirus testing under a statewide program aimed at identifying people who have no symptoms, the New Hampshire governor’s office said Monday.

The Asymptomatic Spread Assessment Program (ASAP) is open to all residents of the state.

The testing program is “a community challenge meant to help the state identify asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 by challenging residents to go out and get a test even if they don’t think they have Covid-19,” Ben Vihstadt, a spokesperson for Gov. Chris Sununu, told CNN by email.

“The governor wanted to create a community-based challenge as a way to increase community testing. For quite some time, the state has had the resources to offer a test to anyone who wants one, and this was one way to encourage folk to go out and get a test,” Vihstadt said.

Sununu announced the program with a tweet on June 5 and followed up with details about his own testing experience on the social media outlet on June 7. “I have no symptoms, but it only took 10 minutes to book an appointment online and 2 minutes to take the test from my car. Easy. Painless. Done,” he tweeted

Anyone in New Hampshire can get a test by going to the state’s online portal and requesting one under the ASAP program, Vihstadt said.

The program was put in place to “help identify the extent of asymptomatic spread throughout the state, and to identify asymptomatic carriers before they become unknowing spreaders.”

Vihstadt said so far roughly 3,000 appointments for testing have been made through the program. 

Testing programs that look for asymptomatic spreaders of Covid-19, such as ASAP, are important tools when it comes to trying to control the pandemic, said Gigi Gronvall, associate professor and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

4:30 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Two Washington Nationals players opt out of 2020 MLB season due to health concerns

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross have announced they will not play in the 2020 Major League Baseball season due to health concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak, the team confirmed. 

In a statement released by the Nationals on Monday, Mike Rizzo, the team’s General Manager, announced the decision saying, “Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”

Zimmerman clarified his reasoning, saying it was family related and he feels like playing would put those love ones at risk. 

“Everyone knows how much it means to me to be part of a team, and I will miss that camaraderie dearly this year,” Zimmerman said in a separate statement. “Of course I would love to pursue back-to-back titles. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family, and I truly appreciate the organization’s understanding and support.”

Players and staff will report to their respective teams starting Wednesday.

Clubs can begin full workouts starting Friday, with Opening Day games on either July 23 or 24.

Read the statements:

4:26 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

More than 2,500 California inmates have coronavirus

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

More than 2,500 inmates in California prisons are infected with coronavirus today and more of a third of those are at San Quentin alone, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced.

Approximately 42% of San Quentin’s population is considered particularly vulnerable to the virus, and already approximately 1,011 inmates have tested positive. The total inmate population at San Quentin is 3,507, according to data from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

With a total of at least 2,589 active cases, changes are being made to the way inmates are transferred between facilities, the state said.

4:11 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

India sets new guidelines for second phase of reopening as coronavirus cases soar

From CNN’s Vedika Sud and Mitchell McCluskey

A doctor checks a woman's temperature at her residence during a government-imposed lockdown in Chennai, India, on June 29.
A doctor checks a woman's temperature at her residence during a government-imposed lockdown in Chennai, India, on June 29. Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

India will begin to implement looser restrictions in its second phase of reopening, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced on Monday, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address to the nation.

The latest numbers: It comes as India reported its biggest one-day jump in new coronavirus cases for the eighth consecutive day, after a record 19,459 new cases were reported on Monday, according to the country's health ministry.

India has now seen a total of more than 100,000 new infections just in the past six days. The total number of coronavirus infections in India is now at approximately 548,318, with at least 16,475 deaths.

Here's what will happen under the new guidelines:

  • Domestic flights and train operation times to be expanded.
  • Curfew will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Shops will now be allowed to have more than five people inside. 
  • Schools, metro rail, theaters, bars, and gyms will all remain closed and large gatherings will continue to be banned until further notification.

The changes go into effect on July 1, but strict enforcement will continue in all containment zones. Government training institutions will be allowed to function starting July 15.

Persons above 65 years, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

4:09 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Getting the flu vaccine this year is more important than ever, CDC official says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, testifies about the coronavirus during a senate Committee hearing on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 3.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, testifies about the coronavirus during a senate Committee hearing on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 3. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Getting the flu vaccine is more important this year than it ever has been before, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s really important for people to get flu vaccine,” she said, speaking at a JAMA Live event on Monday. “We recommend everybody six months and over get a flu vaccine and this year more than ever.”

People want to avoid getting flu anyway, during normal times, Schuchat said. Averting flu during the Covid-19 pandemic could prevent people from having to get tested for other respiratory illnesses.

“The kind of person that should be tested for Covid probably should be tested for flu, and they can have both at the same time,” she said. Data from China has suggested that people can have both viruses at the same time, Schuchat said.

CDC has developed a test that looks for both flu strains and Covid-19 at the same time. It’s being reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization.

“We’ve also updated guidance about how to get vaccine out in this era,” Schuchat said. “You don’t really want a big, mass crowd of people,” she added. There is also guidance on how to distance while you’re getting a flu vaccine.