China-U.S. feud over coronavirus heats up
China on Sunday temporarily suspended poultry imports from a U.S. slaughterhouse where workers were infected with the coronavirus, a day after President Trump blamed China for recent U.S. economic troubles, saying the country “sent us the plague.”
As China battles an outbreak in Beijing, the United States has seen the number of daily new cases rise in 18 states across the South, West and Midwest. Seven states hit single-day case records on Saturday, and five others hit records earlier in the week. The country has seen more than 2.2 million infections, and more than 119,000 people have died — by far the most in the world on both counts.
Globally, cases are rising rapidly. Reports of daily new cases began surpassing 100,000 a day in May, but spiked past 176,000 over the weekend.
In other developments:
The British government said Sunday it would seek greater powers to act against foreign takeovers of vaccine firms and other health-related businesses to make sure that they do not threaten Britain’s ability to deal with a public health crisis like the pandemic.
Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, has reimposed some restrictions and extended its state of emergency to July 19, as it battles a spike in infections.
New York City has hired 3,000 disease detectives and case monitors for its contact-tracing program, but the effort has gotten off to a troubling start.
A study of the wildlife trade in three provinces in southern Vietnam has produced notable confirmation for one underlying objection to the wildlife trade in Asia: The trading offers an ideal opportunity for coronaviruses in one animal to infect another.
The Times is providing free access to much of our coronavirus coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter — like all of our newsletters — is free. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.
China plans new Hong Kong security agency
A blueprint for China’s proposed security law for Hong Kong, which was made public by state media over the weekend, revealed that Beijing plans to set up an agency in the territory to “collect and analyze” intelligence and to handle certain cases.
The draft also gives Hong Kong’s chief official, who must answer to Beijing, the power to decide which judges will hear those security cases. That shift would further erode the autonomy of the city’s independent judiciary.
Opposition leaders warned that the measure would imperil the rule of law in Hong Kong, a global financial center that has greater freedoms than mainland China.
Context: The proposed law is a pillar of President Xi Jinping’s push to subdue protests in Hong Kong, the sole part of China that has loudly defied his authority. Opposition from the United States, Britain and other Western countries appears unlikely to derail that effort.
Related: As Beijing tightens its grip and Hong Kong’s protesters grow more desperate, there is less room for democracy advocates to work within the system. Case in point: Martin Lee, the 82-year-old founder of the territory’s first pro-democracy party, is under fire by both sides.
Apple looks to Asia for its chips
Silicon Valley is bracing for the breakup of Apple and Intel, signaling Apple’s determination to take more control of how its products are built.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the partner Apple uses to build similar components that it designs for iPhones and iPads, is expected to take Intel’s place, making Mac chips in factories in Asia. Apple could announce its plans as soon as Monday, with computers based on the new chips arriving next year.
Analysis: The move is a blow to Intel at a time when U.S. officials are concerned over the weakening of American leadership in chip manufacturing, which they regard as crucial to the country’s ability to retain an edge over China.
Big tech trend: The biggest tech companies are expanding their abilities and reducing their dependence on partners even as smaller competitors and the global economy struggle in the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook is investing billions of dollars into the fastest-growing app in Indonesia, a telecom giant in India and an undersea fiber-optic cable around Africa. Amazon has built out its own fleet of cargo planes and delivery trucks. Google and Apple continue to buy upstarts.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Why Japanese jobs look safe
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed Japan into an economic downturn, but its unemployment rate remains low, at just 2.6 percent. The world’s third-largest economy has not seen the mass layoffs that the U.S. has.
Our reporters look at the mix of social, demographic and epidemiological factors behind Japan’s low jobless rate.
Here’s what else is happening
U.K. stabbing attack: Three people were killed at a park in southern England on Saturday in what the police are investigating as a “terrorist incident.” A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and remained in custody on Sunday.
Trump firing: The president is facing increased criticism that he is purging his administration of officials whose independence could be a threat to his re-election after he removed a federal prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, who had put the president’s former personal lawyer in prison and was investigating his current one.
Snapshot: Above, a Spanish bullfighter in an empty bullring in Málaga, Spain. Bull breeders and matadors accuse the Spanish government of wanting to use the pandemic to end bullfighting, in line with the wishes of animal rights activists.
What we’re reading: This article in Outside Magazine. “The best part of my day over the past few months has often been a long (socially distanced, responsible) walk,” writes Anna Holland, an editor based in London. “I loved this beautifully written ode to walking.”
Now, a break from the news
At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
5,000 miles for a final goodbye
“It is every foreign correspondent’s nightmare: a family emergency when you are half a world away.”
For our Tokyo bureau chief, Motoko Rich, the call came last month. It was her 76-year-old father, who was dying from congestive heart failure. During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been unable to make it to the bedside of their dying relatives. She was one of the lucky ones. Here’s an excerpt from her story.
I was in Tokyo. He and my mother were in California. Suddenly, I was facing questions unique to the pandemic — whether it would be wise to travel, or whether I could forgive myself if I didn’t. If I did go, I wasn’t sure I could return to Japan because of an entry ban on many foreign nationals, including Americans.
In the end, I resolved to go. I applied for, and was granted, a humanitarian exemption from Japan’s entry ban.
The next day, I stepped into the nearly empty airport in Tokyo, where I felt like an alien arriving on Earth to find an entombed ruin of a dead planet.
My father had been officially sick with congestive heart failure for five years, but in truth he had needed a lot of care for at least a quarter of a century, after he had undergone open-heart surgery at age 50. For years, my mother made well-balanced meals catered to his diabetes and heart condition. His doctors told her they believed he had lived as long as he had in part because she had taken such good care of him.
On the night my father died, I was only a week into my self-isolation and had not received results from my coronavirus test, so my mother and I stayed masked on either side of the king-size bed. She crossed her arms over her chest in a sign of the hug we were afraid to exchange. I considered just taking the risk, but then thought: What if I test positive and I’ve just sobbed and snotted all over her?
Perhaps the guilt of an adult child with an aging parent is universal: We can never do enough. But it is doubly so when we live more than 5,000 miles away, and even more so during a pandemic that makes travel difficult.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on the meaning of Juneteenth, a celebration of the emancipation of enslaved Americans.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Green bit in fried rice (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Tara Parker-Pope, the founding editor of Well, talks to the creator of the 7-Minute Workout about exercise for every age and fitness level, at 1 p.m. Eastern on Monday ( 1:00 a.m. Tuesday in Hong Kong ). R.S.V.P. here, or catch up with the event afterward.