California shuts down again after surge in coronavirus cases


California is shutting down again as it reports a record increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

The US state reported more than 11,800 new virus cases on Monday, according to a tally by news agency Reuters, bringing the total to almost 400,000.

If California was a country, its total number would put it fifth in the world, and its daily increases are higher than those reported by any European country at the peak of the pandemic.

Owner Ben Sales (R) takes orders at Ghost Pizza on July 10, 2020 in Los Angeles, California
Some businesses in California are having to close again

The biggest outbreak is in Los Angeles County, with nearly 160,000 cases as of Monday and a record number of coronavirus patients in hospital for the second consecutive day.

In response, California’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom has said bars will close, while indoor operations will stop at restaurants, cinemas, zoos and museums.

Gyms, churches and hair salons will also have to close in the 30 counties that are hardest-hit by the virus.

Some 8,000 inmates are being released early from state prisons, following outbreaks in several facilities.

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And four months after the San Francisco Bay area became the first place in the US to use stay-at-home orders, one of its counties is on the governor’s list of areas with rising infection rates.

Elsewhere, Florida has reported more than 10,000 new cases for the last six days and just 18% of the state’s intensive care beds are available.

Texas has reported more than 10,000 new cases for five out of the last seven days.

However, Arizona reported progress, with the number of people in hospital at its lowest level in more than two weeks.

The number of people on ventilators and in intensive care also fell.

It comes as US President Donald Trump continues to push for schools to reopen so that businesses can get back to normal.

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Congress is trying to agree on another deal to help Americans financially, as the first federal relief package is due to come to an end.

For 17 weeks, the number of new unemployment claims has topped one million and, as people lose their jobs, many also lose their health insurance.

Democrats passed a $3trn package in the House, while the Republican plan is worth about $1trn but there is conflict over the issue of testing and tracing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC that any attempt by the White House to block testing money “goes beyond ignorance”.

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