Brazil's Bolsonaro tested again for coronavirus: Live updates

Populist president has downplayed the impact of the virus in the world’s second most-affected country.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been tested again for coronavirus, after showing symptoms of the disease including a fever.
  • A group of more than 200 scientists are urging the World Health Organization to acknowledge that the coronavirus can spread in the air. 
  • Nearly 11.6 million people around the world have now been diagnosed with COVID-19, and nearly 537,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The United States and Brazil have reported the most cases and the highest death tolls.

Here are the latest updates.

Tuesday, July 7

03:15 GMT – Sinovac starts late stage vaccine trials

China’s Sinovac Biotech is starting Phase III trials of its potential coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, after securing fast-track approvals from the country’s regulator.

The study will involve 9,000 people working in specialised COVID-19 medical facilities.

Phase III trials test a vaccine’s efficacy.

It’s the third experimental vaccine to enter late stage trials after products developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). Moderna plans to begin late stage trials later month.

03:00 GMT – Five sumo members confirmed to have COVID-19 antibodies

Japan’s national broadcaster NHK has reported that five members of the Sumo Association have been confirmed to have coronavirus antibodies.

It did not say whether they were wrestlers or had other roles in the association.

28-year-old wrestler Shobushi died from the diseas in May, the first death in sumo. 

02:50 GMT – Bali eyes September return for foreign tourists

The Indonesian resort island of Bali is planning to reopens to tourism with domestic visitors returning by the end of this month and visitors from overseas on September 11.

COVID-19 cases have increased recently, with Bali reporting 1,900 confirmed cases and 23 deaths. Indonesia itself has 65,000 cases and 3,241 deaths.

02:20 GMT – Students in China sit university entrance exam

More than 10 million students from around China have started sitting the highly competitive gaokao or university entrance exam that was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The state-run Global Times says it’s the largest public event since the health crisis.

01:35 GMT – Mexico outbreak could last until April

A top health official in Mexico says the outbreak there could last until next April.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told Radio Formula, a local channel, that cases could persist throughout the winter.

“Flu season begins in October and there are some reasonable assumptions that we could also have a spike in COVID-19 along with the flu throughout the fall-to-winter season,” he said. 

Mexico has recorded 31,119 deaths from the disease, the fifth highest in the world.

00:00 GMT – New Zealand to limit citizens’ return in quarantine squeeze

New Zealand citizens who want to return home may have to wait longer than anticipated after the government moved to limit arrivals from overseas to ease pressure on mandatory quarantine facilities.

Officials said they had reached an agreement with Air New Zealand to put a hold on inbound bookings for the next three weeks and were talking to other airlines. 

“The last thing we need are hastily set up facilities to meet demand, so we must have a manageable number of fit-for-purpose, safe facilities that do the job of stopping COVID-19 at the border,” Housing Minister Megan Woods said in a statement.

There are currently nearly 6,000 people in quarantine at 28 facilities. 

23:30 GMT – Bolsonaro tested after showing COVID-19 symptoms

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has had another coronavirus test, after reporting symptoms associated with the respiratory disease, including a fever.

Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace that he had just been tested for the virus, and that a medical examination had shown his lungs were “clean”. The results are due on Tuesday.

The right-wing populist has repeatedly played down the impact of the virus, even though Brazil now has the second-highest number of cases, and deaths, in the world.

Read all the updates from yesterday here.

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