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Antonio Banderas reveals positive COVID-19 test results on his 60th birthday

Today, both birthday wishes and well-wishes are in order for actor Antonio Banderas, who revealed on Monday – his 60th birthday – that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

“I want to make it public that today, August 10, I am forced to celebrate my 60th birthday in quarantine, having tested positive for the COVID-19 disease, caused by the coronavirus,” the Oscar nominee wrote in a statement translated from Spanish to English by Variety.

Antonio Banderas, right, and Nicole Kimpel at the Golden Globe Awards in January this year.

Antonio Banderas, right, and Nicole Kimpel at the Golden Globe Awards in January this year.Credit:AP

“I would like to add that I feel relatively good, just a little more tired than usual, and am confident that I will recover as soon as possible following medical instructions that I hope will allow me to overcome the infectious period that I am suffering, and that is affecting so many people around the planet.”

In recent months, Banderas has been using his platform to spread awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic and share photos of himself wearing a face mask while engaging in various outdoor activities.

The Mask of Zorro star is one of several Hollywood figures who have detailed their personal coronavirus journeys amid the public health emergency, including Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba, Daniel Dae Kim, Alyssa Milano, Lena Dunham and Bryan Cranston.

“I will take advantage of this isolation to read, write, rest and continue making plans to begin to give meaning to my 60 years, to which I arrive full of enthusiasm,” Banderas continued. “A big hug to everyone.”

McClatchy

Rush to return to normal life in Pakistan

Pakistanis flocked to gyms, salons and restaurants that opened on Monday for the first time in five months after being shut to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The South Asian country has recorded more than 280,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 6100 deaths, but has seen a slowing of numbers since June, when it recorded nearly 7000 infections and 118 deaths in a single day.

On Sunday, Pakistan recorded 539 new infections and 15 deaths. New daily cases have been under a thousand throughout August.

People eat at a restaurant following an ease in restrictions in Karachi, Pakistan.

People eat at a restaurant following an ease in restrictions in Karachi, Pakistan.Credit:AP

“Thank god, the government has allowed dine-in; we were managing through take-away, but now business will improve,” said Sher Khan, owner of a tea stall in a bustling area of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

The government allowed a partial resumption of commercial activities in May. Despite reopening the remaining businesses, it urged people to take precautions including wearing masks.

In Lahore’s Bazar Mozang, shops were packed and few people wore masks.

At a clothing and cosmetics shop, Nadeem Sheikh said he was reluctant to turn away customers who did not adhere to the rules for fear of the financial loss.

At a packed salon in the southwestern city of Quetta, Muhammad Usman was happy to shed locks of hair that had grown unruly over the months.

Pointing to his long hair and laughing, Usman said people had started to think he was an ascetic hermit and had approached him with charity, asking him to pray for them.

Gyms opened in the city of Peshawar, with customers relieved they no longer had to train at home.

“I gained 20 kilogram because of the closure of gyms,” said Najeeb Ullah Achakzai, 27. “That destroyed all my personality… My marriage was postponed due to my becoming overweight.”

Pakistanis return to gyms in Peshawar, Pakistan on August 10.

Pakistanis return to gyms in Peshawar, Pakistan on August 10.Credit:AP

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COVID-19 cases in US children soared in late July

Keeping with the US for a moment, where a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association has revealed that the number of COVID-19 cases among children rose 40 per cent in the last two weeks of July.

The report comes just weeks before tens of millions of American students are scheduled to begin the new school year.

Health experts are keeping an eye on coronavirus infections among kids and teenagers as officials struggle with the thorny question of whether to reopen schools for in-person classes, adopt a virtual learning model or a hybrid of the two.

Fourth grade teacher Krileshia Boyd speaks to her students at Northeast Lauderdale Elementary School on August 10. Some US schools are reopening this week with students and staff required to wear face masks.

Fourth grade teacher Krileshia Boyd speaks to her students at Northeast Lauderdale Elementary School on August 10. Some US schools are reopening this week with students and staff required to wear face masks.Credit:AP

President Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term in the White House in a November 3 election, has pushed states to allow students to physically return to classrooms, but health officials have expressed caution about doing so in areas where cases have been rising sharply.

The new report found that more than 338,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the US epidemic, with 97,078 new cases reported from July 16 to 30.

The report does not give a reason for the recent spike. Testing for the novel coronavirus overall has risen in the United States and concerns about children as possible spreaders of the virus have been sparked by new studies showing they can catch it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics noted the data showed that severe illness due to COVID-19 appears to be rare among children. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidance to recommend that schools reopen to some degree unless their communities were experiencing an uncontrolled or high rate of transmission of the virus.

Some cities including Chicago and Los Angeles plan to start the school year with online classes, while New York City, once the epicentre of the US pandemic, plans to have at least some in-person learning in all its school districts in the fall.

Reuters

US COVID-19 deaths drop for first time in four weeks

First off here are some key developments from overseas while Australia was asleep:

Yesterday we reported that confirmed coronavirus cases in the US hit 5 million on Sunday – a bleak milestone. But there is a glimmer of hope this morning.

A sample is collected at a Texas Division of Emergency Management free COVID-19 testing site on August 8 in Houston. The newly opened mega site, which has eight drive-thru lanes and four walk-up lanes, has the ability to process 2000 tests per day.

A sample is collected at a Texas Division of Emergency Management free COVID-19 testing site on August 8 in Houston. The newly opened mega site, which has eight drive-thru lanes and four walk-up lanes, has the ability to process 2000 tests per day. Credit:AP

The US death toll from COVID-19 fell 16 per cent to about 7200 people last week, the first decline in deaths after four weeks of increases, according to the Reuters news service.

The country posted more than 376,000 new COVID-19 cases for the week ended August 9, or an average of roughly 53,000 per day. New cases have now fallen for three straight weeks, though the United States still accounts for a quarter of the global total of 20 million cases.

Reuters

Global cases near 20 million

More than 19.9 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 732,000 deaths, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University. As always, the actual numbers are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons including limited testing.

Overnight, more than 100,000 people recovered from the virus, taking that tally to 12.15 million.

The United States, Brazil and India account for more than half of all known infections. The disease has infected at least four times the average number of people struck down with severe influenza illnesses annually, according to the World Health Organisation.

You can explore our data centre (below) for the latest figures across the globe:

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic on this Tuesday. It’s Marissa Calligeros here.

Yesterday, reader Jess told us that the best moment of her weekend in Melbourne’s stage four lockdown was listening to Van Morrison’s Days Like This while “baking the obligatory banana bread”.

I’m not a great baker, but I am a fellow Van Morrison fan.

So, to follow Jess’ lead, here’s a song to start off your morning and remind us that we will get to the bright side of the road:

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