The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:27 a.m. ET, August 1, 2020
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6:54 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

California gym that ignored shutdown order now linked to virus cluster

From CNN's  Madeline Holcombe and Jenn Selva

A San Diego gym that was shut down after operating in defiance of a county health order to close last week is now linked to an outbreak of coronavirus.

It isn't clear how many cases have been linked to "The Gym" in California, but county health officials say an outbreak is considered three or more cases from different households stemming from a specific location.

"The Gym" did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

San Diego County has reported a total of 28,287 Covid-19 cases, while the state of California has the highest number of total cases in the country at 492,934, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The Pacific Beach gym remained open despite an order to close indoor operations to prevent the spread of the virus. The business was sent a letter July 23 and told to close immediately, but it didn't shut until days later on July 27, county health officials say.

According to San Diego Health Officer Wilma Wooten, any business or entity that violates the order faces a misdemeanor and a fine of $1,000.

Read the full story here:

6:39 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

German center for disease prevention lists three Spanish regions as “high-risk areas”  

From CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin  

People walk in Barcelona, Spain, on July 28.
People walk in Barcelona, Spain, on July 28. David Zorrakino/Europa Press/Getty Images

Germany's center for disease prevention has designated three Spanish regions as “high-risk areas,” according to its most recent update to its global list of places believed to be hotbeds of the novel coronavirus.  

“The Autonomous Communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre are currently considered high-risk areas,” the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said in its amendment to the list.

While the German foreign ministry had already issued a travel warning for the three Spanish regions on Tuesday, the designation by the RKI means that travelers returning to Germany from those regions will be mandated to take coronavirus tests on arrival, according to a new directive by Germany’s health ministry which is set to go into effect next week.  

Several other European countries have issued warnings on traveling to Spain.

The UK recently re-imposed a 14-day mandatory quarantine measures for travelers arriving from Spain, a move that could disrupt travel and impact tourism, which is a vital part of the Spanish economy.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Jean Castex last week advised people against traveling to the region of Catalonia.

6:28 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam postpones Legislative Council elections

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the Legislative Council elections slated for September 6 have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak in the city.

In an ongoing press conference, Lam said it is the most difficult decision she has made in the last seven months. She said she has the support of the Central People’s government in making this decision.

Lam said the delay is needed to protect public health and guarantee fairness in the election.

6:17 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

More than 100 coronavirus cases in Hong Kong for 10th day in a row

 From Vanesse Chan

Hong Kong reported 121 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Friday, including 118 local infections, the 10th day of triple-digit infections for the city.

The three imported cases are a domestic helper from the Philippines, a seafarer from India, and a businessman from Mexico, according the department of health.

Three new deaths were reported in Hong Kong, bringing the total to 27. The total number of cases stands at 3,273.

6:54 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

Brazil's Bolsonaro says he has 'mold' in his lungs as his wife tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Amy Woodyatt

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends an event at Planalto Palace in Brasília on July 29.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends an event at Planalto Palace in Brasília on July 29. Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday he felt weak and might have "mold in the lung" having spent weeks in isolation after catching Covid-19.

In his first Facebook live video since recovering from Covid-19, Bolsonaro said: "I've just taken a blood exam. I was a bit weak yesterday. They have also found a bit of an infection. I'm taking antibiotics now. It must have been those 20 days inside the house, we catch other things. I've caught mold, mold in my lungs. It must be that."

The President spent nearly 20 days in semi-isolation, after testing positive for the virus on July 7 and on subsequent occasions. On July 25, he announced via Twitter that he had tested negative.

His wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, has also tested positive for Covid-19, according to a statement from the President's press office.

The first lady, who was last seen in public on Wednesday afternoon when she attended an official event in Brasilia with her husband, "is in good health and will follow all established protocols," the statement said.

Read the full story here.

5:47 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

Europe suffers record 11.9% GDP slump -- the worst on record

From CNN Business' Julia Horowitz in London

Europe's economy shrank by 11.9% in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic plunged the region into a deep recession.

The quarter-on-quarter fall in EU GDP is the worst on record. Compared with the same period a year ago, the fall in output was even bigger — 14.4% — making it worse than the 9.5% slump recorded Thursday by the United States.

Recent surveys of business activity suggest Europe's economy is now in recovery mode. But the specter of another wave of coronavirus cases looms.

Germany's center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute, said this week that a recent spike in cases was "very disturbing." In France, new daily cases have crept back to the same level as when its lockdown lifted in early May. Spain and Italy have also recorded increases.

The United Kingdom recently reimposed quarantine measures for travelers arriving from Spain, a move that will slow the recovery in its vital tourism industry.

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, suffered less than other big EU countries in the second quarter, reporting a 10.1% hit to GDP.

France, Italy and Spain, which were hit harder by the pandemic, recorded falls of 13.8%, 12.4%, and 18.5%, respectively.

According to the latest forecast from the European Commission, the EU economy will shrink 8.3% in 2020. The forecast assumes that restrictions will continue to ease, and that there won't be a major second wave that triggers large-scale quarantine measures.

6:08 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

Spanish economy enters recession after historic Q2 fall

From CNN Business' Chris Liakos

A person walks past shuttered businesses in Madrid on July 24.
A person walks past shuttered businesses in Madrid on July 24. Paul Hanna/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Spanish economy shrank 18.5% in the second quarter -- its worst drop on record -- as the strict nationwide lockdown and restrictions took a toll on the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the second consecutive negative quarter for Spain which has now entered recession. The economy dropped 5.2% in the first quarter.

Falling exports and weak service activities particularly in hospitality dragged the economy down. The economy is down 22.1% year on year.

The UK recently re-imposed a 14 day mandatory quarantine measures for travelers arriving from Spain, a move that could disrupt travel and impact tourism -- a vital part of the Spanish economy -- leading to a slower recovery.

4:41 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

Researchers publish scathing critique of a hydroxychloroquine study touted by the White House

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

Researchers on Wednesday published scathing critiques of a study US President Donald Trump repeatedly touted on Twitter. That study, published earlier this month in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, claimed to show that hydroxychloroquine saved lives. 

Trump tweeted about it enthusiastically. 

"The highly respected Henry Ford Health System just reported, based on a large sampling, that HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE cut the death rate in certain sick patients very significantly. The Dems disparaged it for political reasons (me!). Disgraceful. Act now," the President tweeted on July 6. 

Scathing criticism: But the study had multiple errors, flaws and biases, according to letters to the journal's editors.

"As a result of the flaws in the analysis the conclusions reached in [the study] are invalid," Graham Atkinson, an independent consultant in healthcare policy, wrote in one of the letters

The study was conducted at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. It contradicts many other studies, which have found the drug does not help Covid-19 patients. 

"We've acknowledged the varying conclusions multiple studies have reached, along with the limitations of our retrospective [hydroxychloroquine] study as well as those of other published studies on the topic," according to a statement on Wednesday from Tammy Battaglia, a spokeswoman for Henry Ford.

Read the full story:

4:29 a.m. ET, July 31, 2020

Call for joint military drills to be cancelled as Covid-19 cases linked to US troops in South Korea

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo and Paula Hancocks in Seoul

A member of the U.S. Army stands in front of military helicopters at U.S. Army Camp Humphreys  in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on June 8, 2019.
A member of the U.S. Army stands in front of military helicopters at U.S. Army Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on June 8, 2019. Jean Chung/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A total of 126 coronavirus cases linked to the United States Forces Korea (USFK) have been reported in South Korea, the USFK said on Friday.

In an open letter to the Unification Minister on Friday, Lee Jae-gang, Vice Governor for Peace of Gyeonggi province, called for the annual US-South Korea military drills to be canceled this year, citing concerns over the virus.

Lee said that the joint military exercise could cause the spread of Covid-19.

According to a statement from the Gyeonggi government, 105 confirmed cases in Pyongtaek -- where the US Army's Camp Humphreys base is located -- are USFK soldiers, accounting for more than 70% of all infections in the city.

This year’s joint drills are believed to have been scheduled for August 17, with a reduced scale, according to the Gyeonggi government's statement.