A man recites the call for prayer in empty mosque in Gaza. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Mosques around the world are empty and silent as Muslims begin breaking their fast, ending the first day of Ramadan.

Why it matters: Many families and friends typically meet up at mosques to pray and celebrate the holy month, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced people to celebrate in isolation. Those who did go to mosques practiced social distancing.

A Palestinian religious leader records a sermon in the West Bank. Photo: Jaafar Ashitiyeh/AFP/Getty Images
Imam Hassanat Ahmed delivers his Friday broadcast live on social media in the United Kingdom. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images
Imam Franck Hensch gestures during a recording of a sermon during on the first day of Ramadan in Belgium. Photo: Benoit DeoppagneE/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images
Muslims praying while practicing social distancing in Pakistan. Photo: Aamir Qureshi /AFP via Getty Images

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In photos: Thousands evacuated as Southern California fire grows

A plane makes a retardant drop on a ridge on Aug. 2 at the Apple Fire north of Banning in Riverside County, which "doubled in size" on Aug. 1, per KTLA. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A massive wildfire that prompted mandatory evacuations in Southern California over the weekend burned 26,450 acres and was 5% contained by Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The big picture: As California remains an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., some 15 separate fires are raging across the state. About 7,800 people were under evacuation orders from the Apple Fire, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze. CalFire said Monday that a malfunction involving a "diesel-fueled vehicle emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system" started the Apple Fire.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 1, 2020 - World

Mexico reaches third-most coronavirus deaths worldwide

A coronavirus testing site in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mexico on Saturday surpassed the United Kingdom to become the nation with the third-most coronavirus deaths, per Johns Hopkins University.

By the numbers: The U.S. and Brazil lead COVID-19-related death counts, with over 153,600 and 92,400, respectively as of Saturday. But Mexico's 46,688 deaths inched past the U.K.'s 46,278, with Mexican officials reporting 688 new deaths on Friday alone.

  • Mexico is only sixth in total number of coronavirus cases. Countries with higher case counts include U.S., Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa.