(June 23): The number of new cases around the globe reached a record, fueled by a surge in Latin America, the World Health Organization said. Total infections surpassed 9 million.

Hong Kong recorded 30 new imported cases Monday, the biggest single-day increase since April 3. Delta Air Lines resumed flights to China even as Beijing grapples with a fresh wave of infections.

In the U.S., Florida’s new infections rose to another high. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the contagion is accelerating at “an unacceptable rate,” while the state’s hospitalizations rose the most in two and a half weeks.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 9 million; deaths top 470,000
  • Beijing reports 13 new virus infections
    • City’s outbreak shows virus’s insidious ability to hide
  • Thousands of new cases in Mexico
  • Virus surge threatens developing nations exiting lockdown
  • Pence warns of young people testing positive as hotspots worsen
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Beijing Sees Slight Rebound in New Cases (8:41 a.m. HK)

The Chinese capital reported 13 additional local coronavirus infections June 22, up from nine the day before, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission. The number of cases in the city’s fresh outbreak has now reached 249.

Australia to Support Growers Hit By Covid, Fires (8:27 a.m. HK)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia will offer A$86 million (S$82.5 million) in grants to support parts of the forestry industry, wine grape producers and apple growers who are battling the impact of the virus after being hit by massive wildfires.

Mexico Reports More Than 750 More Deaths (8:15 a.m. HK)

Mexico reported 4,577 new confirmed Covid-19 infections, bringing the country’s total to 185,122, according to its Health Ministry. Its death toll from the pandemic now stands at 22,584.

It came the day after Mexico reported 1,044 coronavirus deaths, the second-highest daily rise in fatalities from the virus.

Trump Says Tests Make U.S. ‘Look Bad,’ Are Right to Do (6:40 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said coronavirus testing makes the U.S. “look bad” but that they’re the right thing to do, and that he was mostly joking on Saturday when he said at a rally that he had asked his administration to slow down the diagnostics.

The remark, he said in an interview with Monday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, was “semi-tongue in cheek.”

“I say it all the time. It’s unfair,” he said, repeating a false assertion that the U.S. “would have far fewer cases” if it conducted less testing.

“I tell my people it’s a double-edged sword,” he said. He said he would not try to order testing slowed down but added, “we do so much more than other countries, it makes us, in a way, look bad -- but actually, we’re doing the right thing.”

California Prepared to Scale Back Reopening if Needed (6 a.m. HK)

California Governor Gavin Newsom said a jump in cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks is “sobering” and indicate the state is still in the first wave of the virus. He urged residents to take actions to mitigate the spread and reduce the likelihood of a return of stay-at-home orders.

“We don’t intend to do that, we don’t want to do that, but I want to make this clear: We are prepared to do that if we must,” Newsom said at a press briefing. “We have the capacity, individual and collective capacity, not to have to go in that direction by just being a little bit more thoughtful about how we go about our day-to-day lives.”

Texas Hospitalizations Jump (4:57 p.m. NY)

Texas hospitals admitted 302 new Covid-19 patients in the past 24 hours, the biggest one-day influx since June 4, health department figures showed. The total number of virus hospitalizations stood at 3,711.

The positive-test rate also ticked higher, reaching 9.51%, the highest since April 20 and more than double the rates seen in late May, according to state data. New cases rose by 2.9% to 114,881, lagging the seven-day average growth of 3.5%.

South Africa Cases Breach 100,000 (4:25 p.m. NY)

South Africa’s coronavirus cases topped 100,000 on Monday as the country confirmed 4,288 new infections, bringing the total to 101,590. The government in the continent’s most industrialized economy is preparing to ease lockdown restrictions and open up more businesses including hairdressers and sit-in restaurants.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.1% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by 24,774 from the same time Sunday to 2.29 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.1% increase was in line with the average daily increase of 1.2% over the past seven days. Deaths rose 0.2% to 120,121.

  • Cases in North Carolina rose 4.3% to 53,614, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
  • New York had 552 new cases, a 0.1% increase, bringing the total to 388,488, with deaths climbing by 10 to 24,739, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office
  • Florida reported 101,217 cases, up 3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 3.7% in the previous seven days. Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 82, or 0.6%, to 13,119.
  • California cases rose 2.4% to 178,054 while deaths increased 0.4% to 5,515, according to the state’s website.
Abbott Calls Texas Surge ‘Unacceptable’ (3:22 p.m. NY)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the contagion is accelerating at “an unacceptable rate and it must be corralled” during a media briefing on Monday. Still, he said, “Closing down Texas again will always be the last option.”

Abbott, who was one of the first U.S. governors to reopen his state’s economy after the initial wave of Covid-19 lockdowns, cited alarming upticks in positive-testing rates, case counts and hospitalizations.

“The positivity rate has gone from about 4.5% in late May to almost 9% today,” Abbott said. State regulators have begun shutting taverns that weren’t enforcing social distancing, the governor said as an example of steps the state is taking to arrest the surge.

Miami-Area Mayors Mandate Masks (2:52 p.m. NY)

The mayors of Miami and neighbouring cities in Miami-Dade County announced Monday they were mandating the wearing of masks in public upon the advice of state health officials.

“We’ve seen an increasingly troubling trend of cases that continue to escalate,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said at the news conference in Miami.

The reopening of movie theatres, nightclubs and other large venues in the city of Miami also is being delayed because of the spike in coronavirus cases, Suarez said.

“This is a real spike,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said at the news conference. “Nobody can argue with the fact that more people are being hospitalized.

San Francisco Speeds Up Some Reopenings (2:52 p.m. NY)

San Francisco will allow hair salons, museums, zoos, tattoo parlours and outdoor bars to open June 29 -- up from an original plan of mid-July. Mayor London Breed said in a statement Monday that the city’s virus indicators “are in a good place” that allow for continued reopenings.

While California has seen its new cases reach records in the past week, San Francisco’s infections have been relatively stable. The county reported only one new case Monday. By contrast, the far larger Los Angeles County had 1,779.

More Toronto Businesses to Reopen (2:40 p.m. NY)

Canada’s largest city will reopen restaurant patios, shopping malls and swimming pools on Wednesday after officials determined that the coronavirus is under control.

Toronto, the country’s financial centre, has also been one of its Covid hotspots. As of June 20, Toronto had reported 13,856 cases and 1,039 fatalities since the start of the outbreak. More than 11,800 people have recovered.

California Case Climb; LAX to Scan for Fevers (2 p.m. NY)

California’s confirmed cases rose 2.4% -- up from the seven-day average of 2.2% -- for a total of 178,054, according to state data. The 4,230 new cases today was the third-biggest daily increase.

The most populous state, which on Sunday reported a record number of new infections, also has seen increased hospitalizations and intensive-care stays. Its rate of positive tests over the last 14 days was 4.8%; Governor Gavin Newsom had said a week ago that the rate had been stabilizing around 4.5%.

In Los Angeles, the hardest-hit part of California, Mayor Eric Garcetti said that Los Angeles International Airport will begin using thermal cameras in two locations to spot travellers who may be infected with the virus. The cameras will be located in both arrival and departure areas of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

People showing a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees will be approached by an airport staff member and offered a second screening with a hand-held, touchless thermometer. Those with an elevated temperature will be advised not to travel, Garcetti said. He stressed, however, that the pilot project is voluntary.

U.S. Preps for Flu Hitting as Covid Remains (1:40 p.m. NY)

U.S. health agencies are preparing for a flu season that will be complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, which they don’t expect to be mitigated by a vaccine anytime soon.

Covid activity is expected to “continue for some time” and “could place a tremendous burden” on an already stretched health-care system if coupled with the influenza season that comes each fall, top officials including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will tell House lawmakers on Tuesday, according to prepared testimony.

Fauci Says He’s No Obstacle to NFL Season (12:54 p.m. NY)

Fauci said he’s been mistakenly painted as an obstacle to the National Football League’s upcoming season and only gave its officials advice after they requested it.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he was consulted by the NFL as it searches for a way to preserve the safety of players and the public during the pandemic.

“I haven’t set any strict conditions or other directions for the football league,” Fauci said in an interview. “They have come to me and asked me from a medical standpoint a bunch of questions about risks. They are a very competent group of people, and they will make up their own minds.”

Covid-19 Accelerates in Latin America, WHO Says (12:45 p.m. NY)

The number of new cases reached a record 183,000 in the most recent World Health Organization daily report as the disease spreads in several big countries simultaneously, WHO officials said at a press briefing in Geneva.

Latin America is particularly afflicted. The number of reported cases has increased 25% in Brazil over the past week, while Chile is up 41% and Argentina 38%, according to Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program.