- The European Union plans to bar travellers from the United States, Brazil and Russia due to a continued surge in coronavirus infections in the three countries, diplomats said.
- Sixteen NBA players in the US have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first wave of mandatory tests as the league restart approaches.
- United States Vice President Mike Pence has said that 16 states across the nation are seeing an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus.
- More than 9.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while some 4.9 million have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 493,000 people have died.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, June 27
02:11 GMT – UK to ditch quarantine rules for ‘low-risk’ countries
The United Kingdom said it will lift its two-week coronavirus quarantine rule for visitors arriving from some “low-risk” countries, after pressure from airlines and the tourism sector.
The government said it will publish a list next week of the countries from where people will be allowed to enter Britain without needing to self-isolate for 14 days, as currently required. The announcement will follow discussions with countries including France, Greece and Spain in “the coming days”, with the changes set to take effect in the week beginning July 6.
An expert panel will put nations into three categories: green, amber and red. Passengers arriving from green and amber countries will no longer have to quarantine themselves for 14 days after their arrival.
Thousands of jobs at risk in the UK amid COVID-19 crisis (2:54)
“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world,” a government spokeswoman said. “But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge.”
The rules for red-category countries will not change.
02:06 GMT – Venezuela is a health ‘time bomb’, says Colombian president
Colombian President Ivan Duque called Venezuela a public health “time bomb”, saying the lack of reliable information about the status of its neighbour’s coronavirus outbreaks was a worry as his government tries to control its own infections.
Venezuela has acknowledged just 4,600 coronavirus cases and 39 deaths, while Colombia has reported around 80,600 confirmed cases and more than 2,600 deaths.
“In the case of Venezuela the information is non-existent,” Duque said in an interview with Reuters. “There’s not good hospital capacity or good epidemiological capacity; for a long time they haven’t had serious vaccination programs.”
“I think Venezuela is a time bomb from the public health point of view.”
01:20 GMT – Judge blocks 25 percent capacity rule for New York religious services
A federal judge blocked New York state from enforcing coronavirus restrictions limiting indoor religious gatherings to 25 percent capacity when other types of gatherings are limited to 50 percent.
Judge Gary Sharpe said the plaintiffs’ religious activities “will be burdened and continue to be treated less favourably than comparable secular activities”.
He also lifted restrictions limiting the number of people who can attend outdoor religious gatherings, noting that both state Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had expressed approval for protests against racism and police brutality last month while continuing to support curbs on religious gatherings.
Christopher Ferrara, an attorney for the plaintiffs, called the unequal restrictions “an irrational targeting of houses of worship”.
00:49 GMT – EU to bar travellers from US, Russia, Brazil
The European Union (EU) is set to exclude travellers from the United States, Brazil and Russia when the bloc reopens its borders to outsiders on July 1, diplomats told AFP and Reuters, citing the uncontrolled transmission of the new coronavirus in the three countries.
Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states convened on Friday afternoon to establish criteria for granting quarantine-free access from next Wednesday.
The meeting ended with a tentative list of about 18 countries from which people are free to travel to Europe, but the list did not include the United States, Brazil or Russia, according to Reuters and AFP. National governments were given until 16:00 GMT to approve the list.
Travellers from China would be approved to enter, but only subject to reciprocity from Beijing, the agencies said.
US coronavirus cases may be up to 10 times higher than data shows (2:30)
00:12 GMT – Argentina tightens Buenos Aires lockdown
Alberto Fernandez, the president of Argentina, said the South American country will extend and tighten a lockdown in and around Buenos Aires following a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.
Overall cases in Argentina have risen fivefold since late May, surpassing 50,000 on Thursday when there were 2,606 new confirmed daily cases. The death toll stands at over 1,150.
Fernandez said restrictions on movement in the densely populated capital would be tightened again until July 17. “We need to gain time to guarantee that our health system is ready and can serve everyone … The quarantine is a remedy for the pandemic, the only one we know of.”
He added: “The economy is deteriorating, but the economy will recover. What unfortunately we are not going to recover are those thousand Argentines who have left us.”
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key developments from yesterday, June 26, go here.