Live COVID-19 updates: Allegation on China's hiding of COVID-19 scale "gross misperception": ambassador

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BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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WASHINGTON -- The allegation that China hid the severity of COVID-19 during its early outbreak in the country "is a gross misperception," Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai has said.

"Actually, the fact is, at the very early stage of the pandemic, almost nobody knew anything about this new virus, how serious it was and the routes of transmission," Cui said in an exclusive interview with Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's GPS Show, which was aired on Sunday.

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BRUSSELS -- The European Union (EU) special summit which aims to decide on the next seven-year budget and a massive recovery fund dragged into the third day on Sunday with disputes over core issues still unresolved.

But the heads of state and government of the EU member states, in their first physical meeting since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe, seemed resolved to reach a deal as meetings in small groups continued during a prolonged midnight plenary break.

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ACCRA -- Ghana's strategy for managing the COVID-19 pandemic has yielded positive results, the director-general of the Ghana Health Service said here on Sunday.

The positive outcomes in the disease management were due to the strategy of early detection, quarantine and treatment the government had adopted from the beginning of the pandemic, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said.

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KAMPALA -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has urged his countrymen to continue fighting COVID-19, noting that the virus remains dangerous.

The disease is one of the biggest challenges to the human race, Museveni said in a statement issued on Sunday.

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BEIJING -- Chinese health authority said Monday that it received reports of 22 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Sunday, of which 17 were domestically transmitted.

All domestically-transmitted cases were reported in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.

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LIMA -- Peru's COVID-19 death toll rose to 13,187 after 189 more patients died of the disease in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said on Sunday.

Also in the period, tests detected 4,090 new cases of infection.

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WASHINGTON -- Researchers at Texas A&M University are developing spike proteins that prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from binding to human cells, protecting people from future COVID-19 infections, according to a release of the university.

Researchers are producing spike proteins to identify antibodies that can attach to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain and prevent the virus from binding to key sites, thus obstructing the virus from entering and infecting human cells.

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SAO PAULO -- Brazil's COVID-19 death toll raced towards 80,000 on Sunday, after 716 deaths in the past 24 hours pushed the total number to 79,488.

The number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus reached 2,098,389, after tests detected 23,529 new cases in the same period, the Health Ministry said.

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SANTIAGO -- Chile on Sunday reported 2,082 new COVID-19 cases in a single-day, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive since the outbreak began to 330,930.

Also in the past 24 hours, 58 more patients died of the disease, taking the total death toll to 8,503, the Ministry of Health said.

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MUSCAT -- Oman reported on Sunday 1,157 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 66,661.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Health reported 10 new deaths from the virus, bringing the death toll in the country to 318.

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LONDON -- Marking one year in office, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Sunday effectively ruled out another nationwide lockdown, calling the option is now akin to a "nuclear deterrent".

"It's not just that we're getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally, but we understand far more which groups it affects, how it works, how it's transmitted, so the possibility of different types of segmentation, of enhanced shielding for particular groups, is now there," he told The Sunday Telegraph in an exclusive interview. Enditem

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