• EU leaders 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 and nearly 610,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States has recorded nearly 141,000 deaths, the most in the world.

Here are the latest updates.

Tuesday, July 21

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. 

But 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.

A third believed the Olympics should be postponed again and another third wanting the Games cancelled outright.

You can read more on the story here.

epa08389035 (FILE) - A giant Olympic rings monument is illuminated at dusk at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan, 25 March 2020 (issued 28 April 2020). According to local media reports, during an inte

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, the president the President of the European Council who was chairing the summit, offered a series of compromises over a 750 billion euro ($860 billion) recovery fund.

Some countries, dubbed the ‘frugals’, had been concerned about the proportion of grants available under the fund. Under the agreement, non-repayable grants will total 390 billion euros compared with the 500 billion euros orginally proposed.

EU Summit

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] 

Disbursements will also be linked to governments observing the rule of law.

“This agreement sends a concrete signal that Europe is a force for action,” Michel said at a press conference afterwards.  

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said the agreement would allow Europe to emerge stronger from the crisis.

The talks took “four long days and nights of negotiation, more than 90 hours, 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.

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 as very enthusiastic tweet.

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.

Dutch PM blamed for blocking COVID-19 recovery fund in Europe

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 beem growing in double digits for 26 days, according to Yonhap news agency. The latest cases 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 in 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.

“In Brazil, we could have the first vaccine to be put to widespread use, which is very, very promising,” said Dimas Covas, the head of the institute.

WHO says COVID-19 cases in Brazil no longer rising exponentially

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.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, state Premier Daniel Andrews announced there had been 374 new cases and three deaths in Victoria.

He urged people to go for testing – noting there were 160 testing sites across the state – and said that while the number of cases was higher than the previous day, the measures to address the outbreak were having an impact. 

Masks will be mandatory from midnight (14:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

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 populaiton of about 3.5 million people and the outbreak was linked to group activity, the paper said. The actual origin of the infection remains unknown, it added.

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 United States 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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