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As it happenedended1595030213

Trump news: President preparing to sign executive order keeping undocumented immigrants off census as Pentagon bans Confederate flag

Officials condemn federal officers using 'authoritarian' force in Oregon as coronavirus infections continue surge across South

Mark Zuckerberg says Dr. Fauci is being 'quite generous in your description of the government’s response here'

Donald Trump is preparing to sign an executive order that would prevent states from counting undocumented immigrants in their census, according to a Politico report confirmed by The Independent. The order could potentially undercounting significant parts of the US and depriving federal spending and congressional seats from those areas. It's likely to be challenged in court.

Unidentified federal border control officers have been deployed to Portland, Oregon in recent days to indiscriminately arrest protesters and forced them into unmarked vehicles, as Department of Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf condemned protesters "violent anarchists" while releasing a list of crimes that mainly amounted to graffiti.

Portland's mayor has demanded the president withdraw the troops, and Washington officials are outraged, liking the show of federal force to an "authoritarian" measure, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said.

The president – who has falsely and repeatedly accused his Democratic rival of endorsing efforts to "defund" police in a campaign bid to pin recent unrest on Democrats – snapped at Fox News host Chris Wallace in an interview to air on Sunday after the president has pressed to prove his claims.

Pentagon officials meanwhile have banned Confederate battle flags completely from US military installations despite the president's defence of the symbol as "free speech" amid growing calls to remove the icons from public spaces.

Coronavirus infections continue to surge across the US, with daily cases Thursday reaching at least 77,255. That figure is nearly triple the daily cases discovered three weeks ago. In a White House document obtained by Centre for Public Integrity, 18 states are in the coronavirus "red zone".

Florida has seen its fourth consecutive day with more than 100 deaths, as daily cases there top 11,000. The World Health Organisation also recorded a record-high number of daily cases, as global infections near 14 million. Nearly 139,000 people in the US have died from Covid-19-related illness, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Trump administration has blocked the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention from appearing at a House committee discussing school reopening plans, as the White House pushes states to reopen within weeks despite a raging public health crisis and no clear guidance for managing outbreaks, as teachers and school staff brace for spikes in infections.

This week, the administration directed hospital systems to send crucial coronavirus reporting data to a central Washington database under the Department of Health and Human Services – not the CDC. Researchers and health officials fear that White House-controlled data will not reflect the growing crisis but become a political cudgel.

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Welcome to the Independent's liveblog covering Donald Trump and the US response to coronavirus.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 08:31

On Thursday US authorities confirmed 77,255 new cases of Covid-19 - the highest daily jump in cases so far and triple what the daily figures were just three weeks ago.

In total, 138,358 people are now known to have died with the disease in the US, with 943 deaths confirmed on Thursday. Overall there are 3,576,157 active cases.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 08:34

A book by Mary Trump - Donald Trump’s niece - sold almost a million copies on its first day and is now at the top of the bestseller list after a New York Supreme Court judge ruled on Monday that Ms Trump was free to release and talk about the president's private life.

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man - focuses on Mr Trump’s childhood, and in particular his relationship with his father.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 08:48

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has attacked Donald Trump over his administration’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“At this point, it is clear that the trajectory in the US is significantly worse than many other countries and that our government and this administration have been considerably less effective in handling this,” Mr Zuckerberg said during a live-streamed chat with Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s leading infectious disease expert.

Mr Zuckerberg also said he thought US testing levels were inadequate and said the resurgence of the virus this month could have been avoided.

“It’s really disappointing that we still don’t have adequate testing, that the credibility of our top scientists like yourself and the CDC are being undermined and until recently parts of the administration were calling into question whether people should even follow basic best practices like wearing a mask,” he said.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 08:57

Russia's death toll from coronavirus passed 12,000 on Friday, as the country reported 186 new deaths in the past 24 hours.

The country's coronavirus crisis response centre registered 6,406 new cases, bringing its nationwide tally of infections to 759,203, the world's fourth highest caseload.

The death toll now stands at 12,123. Russia says 539,373 people have recovered.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 09:14

The Japanese government is facing potentially damaging blowback after excluding Tokyo residents from a multibillion dollar campaign aimed at reviving domestic tourism, even as the capital on Friday reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's $16 billion "Go To" tourism campaign was intended to promote travel across the country, but officials agreed on Thursday to exclude Tokyo because of the resurgence in infections there.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike reported 293 new cases on Friday, a fresh daily record after the city recorded 286 cases a day earlier.

Across Japan 623 new cases have been recorded in the past day, the health ministry announced on Friday - the highest daily jump in new coronavirus cases since April 10.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 09:16

In Arizona, high summer temperatures are causing additional medical issues for those people queueing to be tested for Covid-19.

"There are people who are waiting in-line to get tested and are fainting, literally, while waiting to get a test. And they're coming to the ER, because ironically, they were waiting for a test and fainted," said Dr Murtaza Akhter, an emergency physician with Valleywise Health Medical Centre in Phoenix, according to CNN.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 09:26

Indian company Zydus Cadila plans to complete late-stage trials for its coronavirus vaccine by February or March and could produce up to 100 million doses a year initially if it is successful, the company chairman said on Friday.

Cadila's vaccine candidate, known as ZyCov-D, is one of dozens being developed around the world to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are looking at about seven or a little more than seven months for the vaccine, provided the data is encouraging and the vaccine is proven to be effective during the trials," Chairman Pankaj Patel told Reuters in an interview.

"We are also open to discussing partnerships with pharma companies in various geographies, but it is a bit premature right now, and we will be doing so at the end of Phase 1 and 2 trials," he said.

Early-stage Phase 1 and 2 human trials are likely to be concluded in the next three months, he said.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 09:30

Hong Kong authorities reported 50 locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Friday, stoking further concern about an escalating third wave of infections in the global financial hub.

Including imported cases, the number of new cases in the past 24 hours was 58, taking the tally since late-January to 1,714 patients, 10 of whom have died.

Hong Kong on Thursday posted 63 locally transmitted cases, the highest on record for a single day.

Harry.Cockburn17 July 2020 09:44

Trump considering travel ban for Chinese Communist Party

The Trump administration is considering banning travel to the United States by all members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families, according to reports.

Senior officials discussing the matter had begun circulating a draft of a possible presidential order, but deliberations were at an early stage and the issue had not yet been brought to president Donald Trump, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The discussions, first reported by the New York Times, centre on whether to deny visas to more than 90 million Chinese in what would be one of Washington's toughest actions yet in a widening feud with Beijing that some have likened to a new Cold War.

Such a ban, if implemented, could hit the ruling Communist Party from the highest levels down to its rank-and-file and would be certain to draw retaliation against Americans who travel to China. This could include not only diplomats but also business executives, potentially harming U.S. interests in China.

Asked about the reports on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that such ban, should it materialise, would be "absurd" and would amount to the the United States choosing to stand against 1.4 billion people.

"This is against the trend of the 21st century, and it is very absurd," she said, noting that no US official had clarified whether the reports of the possible ban were correct.

Chris Baynes17 July 2020 11:01

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