Indigenous Brazilians protesting over Covid-19 response lift barricades -- but warn they will block road again
From journalists Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo and Fernanda Wenzel in Porto Alegre
Indigenous Brazilian protesters removed their barricades from a key highway in Brazil’s Amazon Wednesday to allow for trucks loaded with grains to pass through.
The Kayapó Mekragnoti people warned they will block the route again on Thursday morning to continue their protest against the government’s lack of Covid-19 relief.
The Indigenous Brazilians defied a court order on Tuesday and blocked a key highway for the second time in 24 hours, after reopening it with federal police earlier in the day.
Why they are protesting: The protesters are demanding health assistance, medical supplies and food to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, and the end of deforestation and illegal activities in their territories, according to the Kabu Institute, an NGO created to manage indigenous villages and inspect the region's forests.
Why they chose the highway: Indigenous leaders argue that proximity to the road brought coronavirus to their villages, the Kabu Institute told CNN Monday.
The first coronavirus cases among the Kayapó Mekragnoti occurred as a result of their contact with urban populations and the presence of illegal miners in their reserves.
At least 21,000 indigenous people in Brazil have been infected with Covid-19 and more than 600 have died, according to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB).
10:46 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
President Trump again points out New Zealand's fresh coronavirus outbreak
"New Zealand had a big outbreak, and other countries that were held up to try and make us look not as good as we should look, because we have done an incredible job," Trump said at a news briefing on Wednesday. "They’re having a lot of outbreaks, but they’ll be able to put them out, and we put them out."
New Zealand is currently grappling with a reemergence of cases, which came shortly after the country went more than 100 days with no local transmissions.
On Monday, Trump called New Zealand's surge in Covid-19 cases "terrible."
"Even New Zealand, did you see what's going on in New Zealand? 'They beat it, they beat it.' It was like front page, they beat it, because they wanted to show me something," he said.
In response, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she didn't see any real comparison between her country's current cluster and the tens of thousands of cases that are reported daily in the US.
"Obviously, every country is experiencing its own fight with Covid-19; it is a tricky virus, but not one where I would compare New Zealand's current status to the United States," she said. "New Zealand's nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States' tens of thousands, and in fact does not compare to most countries in the world. I'm not concerned about people misinterpreting our status."
New cases: New Zealand recorded five new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said on Thursday.
That raises the country's total to 1,304 confirmed infections -- 101 of which remain active. New Zealand has also reported 22 coronavirus-related deaths.
The US has recorded at least 5,527,306 Covid-19 cases, including 173,114 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
10:10 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
Egypt requires negative Covid-19 PCR test from all travelers starting September 1
From CNN's Hande Atay Alam
Egypt will require all travelers arriving in the country to present a negative Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) lab test result starting September 1.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly made the announcement in a news conference on Wednesday, according to the state-run Al-Ahram news agency.
Madbouly said the decision to require the test for all travelers came due to “increasing infections in some countries,” according to Al-Ahram.
“We are keen on ensuring the health of those arriving in the country and Egyptian citizens, therefore we agreed that any traveler arriving in the country should be tested,” he said.
Egypt shut its airspace in March but resumed regular international flights gradually from July 1, Al-Ahram reported.
Foreign tourists are currently allowed entry only into the three coastal Egyptian governorates with the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the country -- South Sinai, Red Sea, and Matrouh, according to the news agency.
9:43 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
University of Illinois receives FDA authorization for fast saliva test
From CNN Health’s Amanda Sealy and Maggie Fox
TheUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said it is using a new, fast saliva test for coronavirus under an Emergency Use Authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The university’s test is similar enough to one developed at the Yale School of Public Health to allow authorization, Dr. Marty Burke, associate dean for research at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, told a briefing Wednesday.
The FDA authorized Yale’s test, called SalivaDirect, last week.
It gives results in about three hours, a University of Illinois spokeswoman said. Students, faculty and staff have been getting tested twice weekly to keep a handle on the spread of the virus, she said, with more than 50,000 tests done since July.
The university tested 10,000 people on Monday alone, a spokesperson said.
“It’s one of the least expensive and potentially most effective now on the market,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at the briefing.
“This has potentially game-changing implications for our statewide testing complex as well as for testing on a national level, particularly for our high risk communities and settings,” he said.
9:25 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
Argentina reports new daily high for Covid-19 deaths
From CNN’s Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota and Jennifer Landwehr in Chicago
Argentina reported its highest daily number of Covid-19-related deaths on Wednesday, with 282 fatalities.
The coronavirus death toll in the South American country now stands at 6,330, according to the Health Ministry.
Argentina also reported 6,693 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 312,659.
Argentina has reported the sixth highest number of cases in Latin America, according to Johns Hopkins University.
8:38 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
College Board cancels August SAT exam for nearly half of students planning to take it
From CNN's Annie Grayer
The College Board announced that 178,600 out of 402,000 students who signed up to take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests on Aug. 29 will not be able to do so.
The College Board cited the closure of local test centers and the need to reduce capacity as a result of social distancing as the reason for a significant number of students being unable to take the test on their previously scheduled date.
As of Tuesday, 54% of test centers initially scheduled to administer tests in August remain open. Of the 54% of test centers that are open, 46% are at capacity.
“We know this is a challenging time for students who want to take the SAT," said Priscilla Rodriguez, the College Board vice president of College Readiness Assessments. "We are working with local communities to help ensure as many students who want to test have the opportunity to do so, safely, during next week’s SAT administration and those that follow each month this year.”
The College Board said it will work with test centers that need to close or reduce their available seats because of new safety measures.
8:20 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
Colombia tops 500,000 Covid-19 cases after record daily increase
From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon and Sharif Paget
Colombia surpassed the 500,000 mark in nationwide coronavirus cases Wednesday after the country registered a record 13,056 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the country's health ministry.
This brings the country's total case count to at least 502,178.
There were also 360 new deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, raising the national death toll to 15,979, the ministry reported.
This comes after Colombia's health ministry approved a plan this morning to partially resume domestic flights from 10 cities.
Colombia joins Brazil, Mexico and Peru to become the fourth country in Latin America to top 500,000 total Covid-19 cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
8:15 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
Detroit teachers union votes to authorize a safety strike over district's reopening plan
From CNN's Pierre Meilhan
The Detroit Federation of Teachers voted overwhelming Wednesday to authorize a safety strike over concerns about the school district’s reopening plan, union president Terrence Martin said.
“The action we took today is not an action we wanted to take but an action who had to take. It is not an action that we take lightly,” Martin said during a virtual news conference.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Public Schools Community District said via Twitter that “teachers have options. No teacher is required to teach face to face,” and that “most students are selecting online learning.”
“We are hopeful we can reach an agreement with the Detroit Public Schools about the reopening,” Martin said, adding that the union is seeking reassurances from the district about the safety measures that would be taken in schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The vote to authorize the safety strike received the support of 91% of the union members as negotiations with the school district continues.
The first day of the district’s school year is scheduled for Sept. 8.