August 16 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Tara John, Fernando Alfonso III, Alaa Elassar and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020
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1:27 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Japan reports over 1,000 new coronavirus cases for third consecutive day

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and Sol Han in Hong Kong

Japan recorded 1,238 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, the ministry of health announced today.

This is the third consecutive day the country has reported over 1,000 new daily cases and 385 of them were recorded in the capital, Tokyo.

The ministry also announced three more deaths.

Japan has now recorded 55,426 confirmed cases and 1,101 virus-related deaths.

12:57 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Cluster of Covid-19 cases identified at University of North Carolina fraternity

By Alaa Elassar and Kay Jones, CNN

A pedestrian walks though a tunnel at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in June.
A pedestrian walks though a tunnel at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in June. Gerry Broome/AP

Another coronavirus cluster has been identified at the University of North Carolina.

This time, the cluster, defined as five or more cases in close proximity, was discovered at the Sigma Nu fraternity, the university said in a statement on Saturday.

The news comes just one day after the university identified clusters at a residence hall and a private apartment complex that serves as a housing option for some UNC Chapel Hill students.

"The individuals in this cluster have been identified and are isolating and receiving medical monitoring," the statement said. All residents in the living spaces have been provided with information and next steps, the university added.

The Sigma Nu national headquarters has posted Covid-19 information and resources for members of the fraternity. The national fraternity did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

12:55 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Georgia governor issues new Covid-19 executive order

From CNN’s Melissa Alonso and Dianne Gallagher 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference in Atlanta on August 10.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference in Atlanta on August 10. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp issued a new Covid-19 executive order Saturday, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The order extends the shelter-in-place order for the medically fragile, continues the ban on large gatherings and maintains health and safety protocols for Georgia businesses, Kemp said in his statement.

The order "protects Georgia businesses from government overreach by restricting the application and enforcement of local masking requirements to public property. While I support local control, it must be properly balanced with property rights and personal freedoms," Kemp said in the statement.

The order says local governments "who choose to impose a Local Option Face Covering Requirement" must not fine businesses, fine violators more than $50 or enforce masks at polling places, the order says.

Masks cannot be enforced on private property, the order says. Anyone who violates local mask rules must be warned about the health risks of not doing so before a citation is issued, according to the order. 

12:53 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020

New Zealand reports 13 new cases, as the most populous city goes back under lockdown

From CNN's Sol Han

Cars queue at a Covid-19 test center in Auckland, New Zealand, on August 13.
Cars queue at a Covid-19 test center in Auckland, New Zealand, on August 13. Dean Purcel/AP

New Zealand has recorded 13 new cases of coronavirus in the past day, health officials said Sunday, as the country maintains new restrictions amid a sudden Covid-19 outbreak.

Of the new cases, 12 were in the Auckland community, with none having traveled outside the region recently. All had close links to the existing outbreak; two of the new cases belonged to the same household as a previously confirmed patient.

The remaining case is a child in managed isolation who arrived in early August from Afghanistan.

New Zealand has recorded 1,271 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, said health authorities. It currently has 61 active cases, of which 49 were locally transmitted and 20 were imported from abroad.

Auckland under lockdown: On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland -- the city of around 1.5 million people at the center of the new outbreak -- will remain under a level three lockdown for another 12 days, while the rest of the country stays under level two restrictions, meaning gatherings are limited to no more than 100 people.

The rules extend restrictions that came into effect earlier this week.

Just five days before then, New Zealand was marking an enviable milestone -- 100 days without any community transmission. But this week demonstrated how fast that can change, even in a country that been held up as a world leader for its handling of the virus.

12:01 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Mexico reports more than 6,000 new cases

From CNN's Karol Suarez in Mexico City

Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 6,345 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, bringing the country's total to 517,714 confirmed cases.

The ministry reported 635 new deaths, bringing the country's death toll to 56,543. 

On Thursday, Mexico’s government signed an agreement with biotech firm AstraZeneca to produce a Covid-19 vaccine in Mexico to be exported to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021.

Production for a Covid-19 vaccine could begin in 2021, Sylvia Varela, chief executive of AstraZeneca Mexico, said Thursday at a press conference in Mexico City.

12:01 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020

CDC blindsided by Trump's statement it could deploy teams to schools this fall

From CNN's Nick Valencia

Leaders at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were blindsided this week when President Donald Trump announced that the agency could deploy teams to assist schools with safely reopening in the fall, a senior CDC official told CNN, the latest example of a breakdown in communication between the agency and the White House.

My administration also stands ready to deploy CDC teams to support schools that are opening and schools that need help in safety and in order to safely reopen," President Trump said on Tuesday during a briefing.

The announcement left CDC officials scrambling this week to train staff to be able to deploy if they are called upon, the senior official said. 

The surprise statement by Trump was reminiscent of early on in the pandemic when the CDC Task Force regularly learned about assignments during presidential briefings, finding out in real time along with the public, a senior official said.

The CDC official said the agency is expected to come up with a vaccine plan for schools in at least four states by October, even though there is no realistic expectation that a vaccine would be ready by then. 

12:01 a.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Brazil reports more than 40,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 700 new deaths

From journalist Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Brazil has reported 41,576 new Covid-19 cases and 709 deaths in the past 24 hours, the country’s health ministry reported Saturday. 

The total number of confirmed coronavirus infections now stands at 3.3 million. At least 107,232 have died from coronavirus in the country, according to the ministry’s data.

São Paulo state reported 11,408 new cases and 167 new deaths on Saturday, down from 11,667 and 289 the day before.

São Paulo has been the state hardest hit by the coronavirus in Brazil, with 697,530 total confirmed cases and 26,780 confirmed deaths.