Coronavirus pandemic: Updates from around the world

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1:02 a.m. ET, July 5, 2020

3,000 people in public housing put under "hard lockdown" in Australian state, with police guards outside 9 tower blocks

From Angus Watson in Sydney, Australia

Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews speaks during a press conference on July 5, in Melbourne, Australia.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews speaks during a press conference on July 5, in Melbourne, Australia. Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

About 3,000 people in nine public housing estates in Melbourne, Australia, were put under what the state premier called a "hard lockdown" on Saturday evening, after a spike of cases in the city.

Residents will not be allowed to leave their homes, after Covid-19 cases were discovered in the densely populated blocks. Police have been stationed outside the tower to enforce the order.

At least 23 people across the 9 towers have reported positive for the virus, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.

Everybody in the towers will be tested except those who have already returned a positive result, said Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews, adding that those who refuse to be tested would be risking an extension to the lockdown. 

The lockdown was imposed on Saturday night, giving residents little notice. Abdirahman Ibrahim, a father-of-five, told CNN affiliate SBS he learned about the lockdown on the evening news, giving him no time to stockpile food for his children.

On Sunday morning local time, Andrews said residents would be provided with free rent and financial support.

He acknowledged that many residents of the public housing units were in "poor health” and that “this is not going to be a pleasant experience."

“There has been an enormous amount of work going on right throughout the night to provide food, essentials and support,” Andrews said, listing medical, psychological, drug, alcohol and family violence support services on offer.

Many residents are “culturally and linguistically diverse,” Andrews said, adding that “all support will be provided in a culturally appropriate way, linguistically appropriate way."

But Emma King, CEO of chief executive officer of Victoria Council of Social Services, said the lockdown would "scare many people, and trigger memories of past trauma."

Some public housing tenants have fled war or family violence. Some are dealing with mental health challenges. Many don’t speak English as their first language. Many others work casual or insecure jobs," said King.

Victoria has experienced a second wave of coronavirus cases in recent weeks, prompting authorities to impose a fresh lockdown in parts of Melbourne. 

Mass testing in the state identified 74 new Coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to Premier Andrews. That figure is down from the 108 cases detected in Victoria on Friday. 

There are 43 active cases in Victoria with 26 people in hospital and 3 in intensive care.

11:52 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Trump baselessly claims 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless"

From Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Bohn

US President Donald Trump speaks during a "Salute to America" event on the South Lawn of the White House, on July 4, in Washington DC.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a "Salute to America" event on the South Lawn of the White House, on July 4, in Washington DC. Patrick Semansky/AP

US President Donald Trump claimed without evidence on Saturday that 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless" during remarks on the White House South Lawn, in which he sought to downplay the recent surge of Covid-19 cases.

“Now we have tested, almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases -- 99% of which are totally harmless -- results that no other country can show because no other country has testing that we have. Not in terms of the numbers, or in terms of the quality,” he saidonce again also falsely claiming that rising cases are caused by increased testing.

There have been more than 2.8 million cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 129,000 people in the United States have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s latest tally.

Some people who become ill have only mild symptoms, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 35% of cases are asymptomatic, but even people with mild or no symptoms can spread the virus to others.

While the World Health Organization has said the global fatality rate is like less than 1%, the WHO also said about 20% of all people who are diagnosed with Cornoavirus aresick enough to need oxygen or hospital care.

 The White House has not returned a message seeking comment. 

11:54 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

As US sets records in coronavirus cases, Trump says "we've made a lot of progress"

From CNN's Kevin Bohn and Daniella Mora

As many states continue to see spikes in the number of coronavirus cases, US President Donald Trump touted the progress the country has made combatting the virus.

“There and then we got hit by the virus that came from China. And we've made a lot of progress our strategy is moving along well. It goes out in one area, it rears back its ugly face in another area. But we've learned a lot. We've learned how to put out the flame,” Trump told a crowd of supporters gathered on the White House’s South Lawn to celebrate July 4.

He said the nation has now made “tens of thousands” of ventilators and have now started distributing them overseas.

On testing, pointed out the country has now almost 40 million people. However, experts have said more tests are needed to get a full picture of the virus.

“Results that no other country can show because no other country has testing that we have. Not in terms of the numbers or in terms of the quality," Trump said.
“We have the most and finest testing anywhere in the world, and we are producing gowns and masks and surgical equipment in our country.”

Trump has recently complained about how many tests are being conducted in the nation because he has claimed that is the reason for the larger amount of cases -- a contention disputed by health experts. He recently said the country should do less testing. While administration officials contended Trump was joking, he later said he doesn’t joke.

11:59 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

WHO discontinues studies of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized Covid-19 patients

From CNN Health’s Gisela Crespo

A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Saturday it would no longer continue studying the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir as treatments for Covid-19.

WHO made the decision based on the Solidarity Trial's interim results, which show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in deaths of hospitalized Covid-19 patients, WHO said in a statement. 

“For each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality,” WHO said, but there were “some associated safety signals" that will be reported in the peer-reviewed publication of the findings.

This decision applies only to the trial in hospitalized patients, and does not affect studies of prevention or treatments in non-hospitalized patients.

WHO paused the hydroxychloroquine study in May due to safety concerns, then later restarted it. The drug has often been touted by President Trump, but several studies have found no benefits to treating Covid-19 patients with the antimalarial drug. 

The US Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization for both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19, saying the drugs are unlikely to be effective in treating the virus based on the latest scientific evidence. 

The National Institutes of Health announced last month it was halting its clinical trial of the drug.