Mexico’s death toll from coronavirus has passed 30,000, overtaking France as the fifth-highest in the world.
The World Health Organization has reported the highest daily increase in global coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, with more than 212,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, pubs in England have reopened after being closed for three months, prompting fears of excessive partying.
This story will be updated throughout Sunday.
Sunday’s key moments
- WHO reports record daily high in global infection rates
- Kansas newspaper’s post equates mask mandate with Holocaust
- England’s pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen
- India records largest increase in cases
- Mexico steps up border checks over July 4 holiday
- Catalonia reintroduces lockdown for 200,000 people
- Iran imposes new curbs as coronavirus toll rises
Mexico surpasses France in coronavirus death toll
Mexico has reported 523 more coronavirus deaths, pushing its tally to 30,366, overtaking France to become the fifth-highest in the world.
The health ministry also reported 6,914 new infections and a total of 252,165 confirmed cases.
But Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatell said the actual number of infected was probably significantly higher.
“Neither Mexico nor any other country in the world aims to make an exhaustive count.”
WHO reports record daily high in global infection rates
The World Health Organization’s member states reported more than 212,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.
The WHO said the highest number of new infections was reported from the Americas, including the United States and Brazil, with almost 130,000 confirmed cases.
Brazil recorded 37,923 new cases in the past 24 hours, while South Africa announced another record daily increase of 9,064 cases.
The Philippines recorded a record 7,027 new infections this week, pushing the overall tally in the country to 41,830.
India suffered its highest single-day spike with 22,771 people testing positive. For a fifth straight day, the number of Italy’s new cases also increased.
In the US, Florida and Texas — two states that have emerged as the latest hot spots of the coronavirus outbreak — both reported record single-day increases on Saturday, with a combined increase of nearly 20,000 cases.
For a second straight day, Texas also registered an all-time high in the number of people hospitalised with the highly contagious respiratory illness — 7,890 patients after 238 new admissions over the past 24 hours.
During the first four days of July alone, 14 states have posted daily record increases in positive cases. COVID-19 has killed nearly 130,000 people in the US since the outbreak began.
Kansas newspaper’s post equates mask mandate with Holocaust
A weekly Kansas newspaper has shared a cartoon likening the Governor’s order requiring people to wear masks in public to the murder of millions of Jewish people during the Holocaust.
The cartoon on the Anderson County Review’s Facebook page depicts Democratic Governor Laura Kelly wearing a mask with a Jewish Star of David on it, next to a drawing of people being loaded onto train cars.
The caption reads: “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask … and step onto the cattle car.”
The newspaper is published by county Republican Party chairman Dane Hicks.
It posted the cartoon on Friday, the day that Ms Kelly’s mask order aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus took effect. It drew several hundred comments, many of them strongly critical.
Ms Kelly, who is Catholic, issued a statement saying: “Mr Hicks’s decision to publish anti-Semitic imagery is deeply offensive and he should remove it immediately.”
Some Republicans have criticised Ms Kelly’s order as infringing on personal liberties, though Kansas law allows counties to opt out and Anderson County has done so.
The Governor issued the order because of a resurgence in reported coronavirus cases that brought the state’s total to nearly 16,000 as of Friday, when Kansas finished its worst two-week spike since the pandemic began.
England’s pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen
English citizens have taken their biggest steps yet towards resuming normal life.
For the first time in more than three months, people can now have drink in a pub, have a meal in a restaurant or get a haircut.
Pubs were allowed to start serving from 6: 00am on Saturday (local time), sparking worries of over-indulgence on what the media dubbed a “Super Saturday”.
Police chiefs were worried the reopening of pubs could fuel drunken and irresponsible behaviour, and hospitals were warned to prepare for a New Year’s Eve-style weekend.
But some restrictions remain in place. The number of customers at pubs is limited, no-one can stand at the bar and there will be no live music.
Britain has been the European country worst hit by the coronavirus, with more than 300,000 infections and an official death toll of 44,198.
The rule changes apply only to England as the devolved nations in the United Kingdom — Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — have been setting their own timetables for easing lockdown restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would set out how businesses which remained in lockdown, such as indoor gyms, swimming pools and nail salons, would be allowed to reopen.
In Scotland and Wales, pubs are not due to reopen until mid-July.
Eswatini Cabinet in isolation as Minister tests positive
In the tiny African kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, one Minister has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the 20-member Cabinet into isolation.
Public Works and Transport Minister Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe was found to be infected with COVID-19 during a routine test on Tuesday.
“Following this development, all Cabinet members will isolate with immediate effect and work from home,” Government spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini said in a statement.
Eswatini has recorded 954 infections and 13 deaths among a population of 1.3 million, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
India records largest increase in cases
India has suffered its highest daily rise in infections so far, recording more than 22,000 new cases and 442 deaths.
The western state of Maharashtra, home to the densely packed financial capital Mumbai, has the country’s highest total, recording 6,364 fresh cases of the virus on Saturday and 198 deaths.
India has the fourth-most confirmed cases in the world, exceeding 640,000, according to health ministry data, behind the United States, Brazil and Russia.
Officials in Mumbai have warned residents to stay away from the coast, as heavy rains are predicted for the next 48 hours.
The monsoons typically cause waterlogging in many parts of the city and could scuttle coronavirus containment efforts by causing a further rise in infection numbers, experts say.
In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the second worst hit state in India, the number of cases crossed 100,000.
In March, India imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, but that has been eased over recent weeks to restart economic activity.
Epidemiologists warn India’s peak may still be weeks or months away, suggesting the country’s already severely overburdened healthcare system will come under further stress.
Mexico steps up border checks over July 4 holiday
Mexico is installing health checkpoints along its northern border, with both Mexican and US officials fearing a surge of crossings during the United States’ July 4 holiday weekend could help spread coronavirus.
Mexican consulates across the US last week issued warnings about the increased checks, and urged people to refrain from crossing the border for recreation or tourism.
The two nations’ governments imposed a ban on non-essential border travel in March in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.
However cross-border traffic has remained busy.
Mexico’s northern border region is home to a large population of US citizens, green card holders and dual nationals who are typically free to cross back and forth.
Catalonia reintroduces lockdown for 200,000 people
More than 200,000 people in the Spanish region of Catalonia are under a new lockdown after the discovery of several outbreaks of coronavirus.
Unlike Spain’s original strict lockdown in March, residents will not be confined to their homes.
Travelling for work will be permitted, but from Tuesday workers entering or leaving the area will have to present a certificate from their employer.
Spain has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths, making it one of the worst-affected countries in Europe.
After imposing a strict lockdown on March 14, the Government has been gradually easing restrictions in a multi-phase plan since early May.
Iran imposes new curbs as coronavirus toll rises
Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied state services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week, according to President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran’s total number of coronavirus cases hit 237,878 on Saturday and a further 148 deaths brought the country’s toll to 11,408, Health Ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said.
Wearing masks in covered public places becomes mandatory from Sunday.
A government website has published photos of Mr Rouhani, who is rarely seen wearing a mask, with a face covering.
Those infected have a “religious duty” to notify others, Mr Rouhani said, adding: “Keeping your infection a secret violates the rights of other people.”
Iran’s armed forces have also reduced their basic combat training to a month because of the increased spread.