While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 6

Soaring US coronavirus cases, hospitalisations overshadow July 4 celebrations

Rising coronavirus cases in 39 US states cast a shadow over the nation’s Fourth of July celebrations as health experts worried that holiday parties will cause a further spike in infections that could overwhelm hospitals.

After towns and cities across the country cancelled annual fireworks displays to avoid large crowds gathering, many Americans launched bottle rockets and roman candles from streets and suburban backyards to commemorate Independence Day.

In the first four days of July alone, 15 states reported record increases in new cases of Covid-19, which has infected nearly three million Americans and killed about 130,000, according to a Reuters tally.

Florida’s cases have risen by over 10,000 for three out of the last four days, including climbing by 10,059 on Sunday, surpassing the highest daily tally reported by any European country during the height of the coronavirus outbreak there.

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Britain nears $870 million Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline Covid-19 vaccine deal

Britain is close to a 500 million pound (S$870 million) supply deal with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for 60 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine, the Sunday Times reported.

Clinical trials are due to start in September and Sanofi has said it expects to get approval by the first half of next year, sooner than previously anticipated.

More than 100 vaccines are being developed and tested around the world to stop the Covid-19 pandemic and governments are racing to secure supplies of vaccines even before their efficacy is proven.

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China halts imports from two more Brazil meat plants amid Covid-19 concerns

China has suspended imports from two Brazilian pork plants owned by meatpackers JBS SA and BRF SA, according to the Chinese customs authority, as it cracks down on meat shipments amid concerns about the new coronavirus.

China is temporarily halting imports from a BRF plant in Lajeado and a JBS-owned Seara brand plant in Tres Passos, both in Brazil’s southern Rio Grande do Sul state, according to a posting dated Saturday on the General Administration of Customs China website.

The posting, which only identified the plants by registration numbers, gives no reason for the suspension. But Brazil is reeling from the second worst Covid-19 outbreak in the world behind the United States.

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France will not ban Huawei, but encouraging 5G telcos to avoid it

The head of the French cybersecurity agency ANSSI said there would not be a total ban on using equipment from Huawei in the rollout of the French 5G telecoms network, but that it was pushing French telcos to avoid switching to the Chinese company.

The US government has urged its allies to exclude the Chinese telecoms giant from the West’s next-generation communications, saying Beijing could use it for spying.

Huawei has denied the charges.

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Liverpool maintain 100 per cent home record with 2-0 win over Villa

Liverpool made it 17 wins out of 17 at Anfield after goals by Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones handed the champions a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday which pushed Dean Smith’s side deeper into trouble.

Following their 4-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City on Thursday, Jurgen Klopp’s side struggled to break down a determined Villa.

Klopp fielded another strong side but with the ground empty and the title already in the bag, there was a lack of edge to Liverpool’s play.

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