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EU reaches deal on coronavirus recovery: Live updates

EU leaders have reached a pre-dawn agreement on a massive post-pandemic economic recovery plan.

The Australian state of Victoria reported 374 new cases of coronavirus and three deaths on Tuesday as it prepares to make mask-wearing mandatory.

Scientists at the University of Oxford say their experimental coronavirus vaccine prompted a protective immune response in an early trial involving hundreds of people.

More than 14.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. More than 7.5 million have recovered while nearly 610,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US has recorded nearly 141,000 deaths, the most in the world.

Here are the latest updates.
Tuesday, July 21
10:00 GMT – Oman to implement night curfew, travel bans for Eid period 
Oman will ban travel between all provinces from July 25 to Aug. 8 to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, state news agency ONA.
The Gulf state will also implement a daily 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew during that same period, which includes the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Shops and public spaces will be closed during the curfew hours.
09:30 GMT – Philippines reports two new coronavirus deaths, 1,951 infections
The Philippines’ health ministry has reported two more novel coronavirus deaths and 1,951 additional infections.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths had increased to 1,837, while confirmed cases had reached 70,764.
President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to arrest anyone not wearing a face mask or breaching social distancing guidelines amid a sharp rise in infections and deaths since a lockdown was eased in June.

Authorities say total deaths increased to 1,837, while confirmed cases had reached 70,764 [File: Reuters] 

09:00 GMT – Serbia’s Vojvodina region reports repidly increasing number of cases 
Vojvodina region in Serbia is becoming the new hotbed of coronavirus in the country, authorities say.
Serbian government warned of a possible collapse if the situation does not improve over the next few days, saying they will likely face Italy’s scenario.
Close to 300 patients are currently being treated at the Clinical Center of Vojvodina in Novi Sad, and the city administration is appealing to the citizens to adhere to the prescribed measures.
08:40 GMT – Pakistan reports over 1,000 new cases 
In Pakistan, at least 1,013 new cases of the virus were registered on Monday, taking the countrywide tally to 266,096, according to government data.
Active cases of the virus, however, continued to fall, with 1,128 fewer active cases on Monday compared to the day before. At least 52,337 active cases of the virus remain in the country, according to official data.
Testing levels have also continued to drop, with Monday seeing 17,783 tests conducted, the lowest in a single day since June 2. The test-positive rate was 5.7 percent. Pakistani authorities say testing is dropping because fewer patients are seeking treatment or a diagnosis at hospitals.

A woman rides on a motor bike as she wears a protective face mask amid the rush of people in Karachi, Pakistan [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

08:15 GMT – Nepal to resume international flights after long halt due to coronavirus
Nepal will allow regular international airline flights from August 17, a minister said, nearly four months after suspending them to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wedged between China and India, Nepal enforced a nationwide lockdown, halting scheduled flights, in March, when reported its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. So far, Nepal has reported 17,844 infections with 40 deaths from the disease. 
Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest, is dependent on tourism including mountain climbing.
07:45 GMT – Russia reports fewer than 6,000 new coronavirus cases
Russia reported 5,842 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its total infection tally to 783,328, the fourth largest in the world. 
The country’s coronavirus response centre said 153 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing Russia’s overall death toll from the virus to 12,580.

Russia’s overall death toll from the new coronavirus stands at 12,580 [File: Reuters]

07:10 GMT – Possible COVID-19 vaccine rolled out this year: Oxford developer
The University of Oxford’s possible COVID-19 vaccine could be rolled out by the end of the year but there is no certainty that will happen, the lead developer of the vaccine said.
The experimental vaccine, which has been licensed to AstraZeneca produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials, data showed on Monday, preserving hopes it could be in use by the end of the year.
“The end of the year target for getting vaccine rollout, it’s a possibility but there’s absolutely no certainty about that because we need three things to happen,” Sarah Gilbert told BBC Radio, saying it needed to be shown to work in late stage trials, there needed to be large quantities manufactured and regulators had to agree quickly to licence it for emergency use. 
06:30 GMT – China: negative COVID-19 tests required for arriving air passengers
Passengers on flights arriving in China must provide negative COVID-19 test results before they board, the aviation authority said.
The nucleic acid tests must be completed five days before embarking, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement on its website. 

China says the nucleic acid tests must be completed five days before embarking [File: Reuters] 

06:00 GMT – Ukraine coronavirus cases exceed 60,000
The total number of coronavirus cases in Ukraine has reached 60,166 and 1,518 people died as of July 21, Ukrainian health minister Maksym Stepanov said.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week Ukrainians were fed up with the coronavirus lockdown and the government should be cautious about extending it.
04:35 GMT – Tokyo Games organisers prepare for one-year countdown
The organisers of the Tokyo Olympic Games are preparing a day of celebrations to mark a year to the start of the Games, which are now due to be held in July 2021 after a year-long delay because of the coronavirus. 
The postponement has raised concerns about cost, as well as the safety of athletes and spectators; a recent poll conducted by Kyodo News found that fewer than one in four favoured holding the Games as scheduled next year.
One-third believed the Olympics should be postponed again and another third wanted the Games cancelled outright.
You can read more on the story here.

A giant Olympic rings monument illuminated at dusk at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo in March. The Games are now scheduled for July 2021 [Franck Robichon/ EPA]

03:50 GMT – EU deal at pre-dawn meeting follows marathon summit
The EU managed to reach a deal to boost the bloc’s post-pandemic economies after Charles Michel, president of the European Council and chair of the summit, offered compromises over a 750 billion-euro ($860 billion) recovery fund.
Some countries, dubbed the “frugals”, had been concerned about the proportion of grants under the fund. Non-repayable grants will total 390 billion euros compared with the 500 billion euros originally proposed. Disbursements will also be linked to governments observing the rule of law.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte, centre left, with European Council President Charles Michel, centre right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, as EU leaders met to thrash out a plan to help economies ravaged by the coronavirus [Stephanie Lecocq/Pool Photo via AP Photo]

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the talks took “four long days and nights of negotiation … but it was worth it,” she said. “This is a sign that Europe is able to act. Before Europe was often accused of being too slow to act. In this case, it is the opposite.” 
You can read more on that story here.

After four days of negotiations we were able to reach a good result for the #EU and #Austria on the #MFF and the #RecoveryInstrument. Thank you to all colleagues, especially to the #frugals! pic.twitter.com/HJsfbQJa01
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) July 21, 2020

03:32 GMT – EU leaders reach deal on COVID-19 support package
Charles Michel has tweeted that the leaders of the 27 countries making up the EU have reached a deal. No details yet, just a very enthusiastic tweet.

— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) July 21, 2020

03:15 GMT – EU leaders resume talks on COVID-19 recovery plan
European Union leaders are resuming discussions on a proposed post-pandemic economic recovery plan.
Leaders seem close to a deal after four days of difficult negotiations.

02:25 GMT – Nursing home cluster boosts coronavirus cases in South Korea 
South Korea has reported 45 new cases of coronavirus.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 20 of the cases were locally acquired, and nine of them came from a nursing home in western Seoul.
Imported cases have been growing by the double digits for 26 days, according to Yonhap news agency. The latest were found mostly in workers returning from Iraq as well as among sailors on Russian-flagged ships docked in Busan. 
01:50 GMT – Brazil to start advance testing of vaccine being developed by China
Brazil is to start mass testing of a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac on medical workers from six states, starting at the Clinical Hospital of Sao Paolo. 
Initial results are expected in 90 days.
Sinovac is working with the Butantan Institute, a public health research centre, on the trials and the institute will have the right to produce 120 million doses if the trial is a success.

01:15 GMT – Australian state of Victoria report 374 new cases, three deaths
The coronavirus outbreak in the Australian state of Victoria continues to grow as state Premier Daniel Andrews announced there had been 374 new cases and three deaths.
He urged people to get tested – noting there are 160 testing sites across the state – and said that while the number of cases was higher than the previous day, measures to address the outbreak were having an impact. 
Masks will be mandatory from midnight (14:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Today’s #COVID19Vic number is bad news. In the vicinity of 375. 3-7-5. Wear a mask. May shift a bit b4 official. Bounced up cos of nursing home numbers I think. Means we are still averaging 300 over 7 days. Means we are still going up.
— Rafael Epstein (@Raf_Epstein) July 20, 2020

00:15 GMT – China offers free testing to all residents of Urumqi
China is providing free COVID-19 tests to residents of Urumqi in the far western region of Xinjiang after a sudden spike in coronavirus cases there, according to state media. 
The testing is designed to “effectively lower the risk of the virus spreading,” the Global Times reported the city’s anti-epidemic group as saying. 
Urumqi has a population of about 3.5 million people, and the outbreak has been linked to group activity, the paper said. The actual origin of the infection remains unknown, it added.

To better prevent the #COVID19 from spreading, #China’s #Xinjiang offers free nucleic acid testing to all residents in #Urumqi and the project is ongoing. pic.twitter.com/DXENZU7fl5
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 21, 2020

23:45 GMT (Monday) – Christopher Nolan’s Tenet delayed again as coronavirus rages
The release of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Tenet is being delayed again.
After twice being delayed, Tenet was slated to come out on August 12, but Warner Bros told AFP news agency that it had to reconsider because “the coronavirus continues to proliferate”.
Many cinemas in the US and other parts of the world remain closed.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from yesterday (July 20) here.
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