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‘Alarming’ rise in cases in US state

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California has marked a record jump in new COVID-19 infections, a Reuters tally shows as Los Angeles reports an “alarming” rise that puts it over 100,000 cases.Los Angeles and neighbouring counties have become a new epicentre in the pandemic as coronavirus cases and hospitalisations surge there despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s strict orders requiring bars…

California has marked a record jump in new COVID-19 infections, a Reuters tally shows as Los Angeles reports an “alarming” rise that puts it over 100,000 cases.

Los Angeles and neighbouring counties have become a new epicentre in the pandemic as coronavirus cases and hospitalisations surge there despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s strict orders requiring bars to close and residents to wear masks in nearly all public spaces.

“The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and hospitalisations signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said in a statement on Monday announcing the sharp rise.

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Statewide positive tests rose by at least 7418 in California on Monday to nearly 223,000, the biggest one-day increase since tracking began.

Los Angeles County, with a population of 10 million, has recorded 100,000 cases of coronavirus.

California is among a number of US states including Florida, Texas and Arizona battling a new wave of infections as the nation emerges from weeks of clampdowns on residents and businesses.

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Monday ordered the closure of bars, nightclubs, gyms, cinemas and water parks for at least 30 days. Mr Ducey also delayed the start of public schools until at least August 17.

“Our expectation is that next week our numbers will be worse,” Mr Ducey said at an afternoon news conference.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Phoenix on Wednesday to discuss efforts to fight the pandemic’s resurgence.

Texas and Florida ordered the closure of all their recently reopened bars on Friday.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday indoor dining would no longer resume on Thursday as planned and would be postponed indefinitely.

In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly imposed a statewide mandate requiring residents to wear masks in public spaces, a move she said was necessary to avoid another shutdown.

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Beaches in Florida’s Broward County and Palm Beach County will not open for the July 3-5 holiday weekend, officials said, a blow to residents hoping to celebrate Independence Day there on Saturday.

Miami-Dade County has also announced beach closures for the holiday weekend.

AMC, the largest US movie theatre chain, on Monday said it was pushing back the reopening of its cinemas to July 30 from July 15.

In June, 22 US states reported record increases in new cases, often multiple times, including Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Utah.

Face covering orders have become a political issue, with some Americans, many of them supporters of US President Donald Trump, calling them unconstitutional, even in the middle of a pandemic.

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The city of Jacksonville, Florida, venue for part of the Republican nominating convention in August, said on Twitter it would require masks in public starting on Monday.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Mr Trump “has no problem with masks and to do whatever your local jurisdiction requests”.

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