Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, with me, Alison Rourke.
The Tour de France, which is scheduled to start in Nice on Saturday, is in doubt after the Alpes-Maritimes region, site of the opening stages of the race, was placed on red alert owing to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stages one and two both finish in central Nice on Saturday and Sunday and are sure to attract large numbers of roadside fans. They also include several of the major mountain climbs just inland from the city. The French prime minister, Jean Castex, said “numerous precautions” and health protocols had been implemented, adding that: “France must do everything to prevent a new lockdown.”
On Thursday France reported its second-highest level of cases ever and a new post-lockdown high. Over the past 24 hours, 6,111 cases were recorded, the highest level since lockdown ended and the second-highest ever since the 7,578 high set on 30 March at the height of the epidemic.
In other coronavirus developments:
- The WHO says it will set up a committee to review the rules on declaring an international health emergency, following criticism of its Covid-19 pandemic response. The global health body declared a public health emergency of international concern for coronavirus on 30 January – at which time the respiratory disease had infected fewer than 100 people outside China, and claimed no lives beyond its borders.
- Spanish schoolchildren aged six and over must wear masks to school, the government announced on Thursday, unveiling a plan to reopen schools just days before the start of the new academic year. With Spain diagnosing thousands of new cases every day, there had been speculation the new term might be postponed in the worst-affected areas.
- Several US midwestern states reported record one-day increases in the number of new coronavirus cases on Thursday as nationwide deaths from the virus topped 180,000. Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota all recorded on Thursday the biggest one-day increases in new infections since the pandemic started.
- Italy recorded its highest number of daily cases since May. A further 1,411 people tested positive for Covid-19, the country’s highest tally since 6 May.
- The UK on Thursday recorded its highest daily tally of cases since 12 June. Another 1,522 cases were reported and the UK’s cumulative death toll based on the government’s statistics reached 41,477.
- Poland will introduce a ban on flights from 46 countries. The flight ban, including France and Spain, will take place from 2 September, according to a draft regulation.
- Netherlands to close mink farms after coronavirus outbreaks. More than 100 mink farms in the Netherlands will be ordered closed by March after animals at dozens of locations contracted the coronavirus, Dutch news agency ANP has reported.
- United Airlines has announced biggest pilot furloughs in its history. United Airlines is preparing for the biggest pilot furloughs of its history after announcing on Thursday the need to cut 2,850 pilot jobs this year, or about 21% of the total, without further US government aid.
- Pret a Manger cuts almost 2,900 UK jobs as sales plummeted. The cuts fuelled concerns about the economic impact of sustained remote working.
Source: The Guardian