Coronavirus Global Updates: The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 28.1 million people across the globe. Over 90,000 people have succumbed to the virus with maximum deaths reported in the United States, Brazil, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Over 18 million people have recovered after testing positive, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called for an additional $35 billion including $15 billion in the next three months, for the World Health Organization’s “ACT Accelerator” program to accelerate and fund vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to fight COVID-19.
Here are the top global updates on Covid-19
England, Wales set to launch virus tracing app
An app to help to contain the spread of the coronavirus will finally be launched in England and Wales on September 24, months later than the British government had hoped.
The Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement that trials in the London district of Newham and on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England, had shown that the app is “highly effective when used alongside traditional contact tracing to identify contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the app’s launch as “a defining moment” and said it will help to contain the virus “at a critical time.” Businesses including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to download and print a poster with the special scanning code. Customers can then scan the app on their smartphones on arrival at various venues.
The app was once touted as a game-changer, but it has been beset by problems partly linked to conflicting smartphone networks. The other U.K. nations, Scotland and Northern Ireland, have launched their own separate apps. (AP)
Malaysia reports 182 new cases, highest jump in over 3 months
Malaysia reported 182 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the sharpest spike in more than three months with no new deaths, the health ministry said. The new infections marked the biggest jump since June 4, when 277 cases and one death were reported. Malaysia currently has 9,810 confirmed coronavirus infections, including 128 deaths. (Reuters)
Philippine health ministry says no conditions set to access US vaccines
The Philippines will have access to potential COVID-19 vaccines being developed by U.S. firms without any strings attached, the health ministry said on Friday, after the presidential spokesman had linked the pardoning of a U.S. Marine to ensuring access. (Reuters)
Singapore, Japan to launch green lane for essential business and office travel
Singapore and Japan on Friday announced to launch a green lane on September 18 for essential business and official travel for residents from both the countries in compliance with health guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint statement, the foreign affairs ministries of both the countries said that the Business Track arrangement will help restore connectivity and support economic recovery for Japan and Singapore. The Business Track will allow the safe resumption of cross-border travel and business exchanges with the necessary public health safeguards in place, the statement said.
These safeguards include pre-departure and post-arrival testing, as well as the need to adhere to a controlled itinerary for the first 14 days in the receiving country, it said. Singapore has similar arrangements with other countries, but this is the first such framework that Japan will implement with another country, local media reports said on Friday. (PTI)
Czech Republic coronavirus cases spike again
The number of people infected with the coronavirus is surging in the Czech Republic, setting a record for the second time this week. The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase in the COVID-19 cases reached 1,382 on Thursday.
In the two previous days, the number of infected in one day surpassed 1,160. In reaction to the spike, the Czech Republic has returned to mandatory wearing of face masks in interior spaces. The Czech Republic has had a total of 32,413 COVID-19 cases and 448 people have died, according to government figures on Friday. (AP)
Latin America surpass 8 million cases
Latin America, the region with the most infections in the world breached 8 million coronavirus cases Thursday even as the rapid case surge is showing a downward trend. Latin America’s daily average fell from 80,512, reported last week, to 67,173 infections recorded this week, according to a Reuters tally. Brazil continues to experience the worst infection in the region with over 4.2 million cases and 128,000 deaths. Brazil has been reporting a slight decline recently along with Peru, Columbia and Mexico, the countries with most infections after Brazil.
The biggest challenge apart from the pandemic lies in minimizing the economic fallout of the virus which has resulted in the worst financial downturns in several countries of the region.
Colombia set to gradually reopen international flights from September 21
After suspending the operations of international flights for 6 months, Columbia is set to gradually allow the resumption of international flights from September 21. Standard Operating Procedures and covid-19 restrictions are being set up. The government informed that only individuals who tested negative will be allowed to travel.
“International flights will restart with a gradual first phase which will be announced shortly,” the minister said in a recorded statement. The resumption of international flights will depend on destination countries, airport capacity, and the interest of the airlines, Minister of Transport Maria Orozco said.
Pakistan’s coronavirus cases cross 3 lakh mark
After adding 548 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, Pakistan’s overall Covid-19 tally breached the 3 lakh mark to reach 300,371. The death toll stood at 6,370. Of the total cases, 5,795 infections still persist while 288,206 patients have recovered from the disease. Over 530 people continue to remain critical.
Sindh reported the maximum number of 131,404 coronavirus cases, followed by Punjab at 97,533, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa at 36,823, Islamabad at 15,832, Balochistan at 13,282, Gilgit-Baltistan at 3,131 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir at 2,366. The health officials have so far conducted 2,879,655 tests to detect the viral infection, the ministry said
Thousands defy covid-19 safety rules in Trump’s Michigan rally
As Donald Trump visited Michigan, thousands of unmasked supporters defied social distancing guidelines to greet him. After downplaying the pandemic in its initial stages and turning a blind eye on it during all his campaigning and convention speeches, Trump continued to act “oblivious” to the rapidly increasing threat of the pandemic.
Trump criticized Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions, saying she “doesn’t have a clue” about reopening the state’s economy, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Owing to cluster infections, South Korea reports uptick in cases
As infections from a church gathering and a political rally triggered a second wave, South korea reported a slight uptick in infections Friday. It reported 176 new cases pushing the total caseload to 21,919 along with 350 fatalities, Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
A fresh wave of infections erupted at a church whose members attended a large protest in downtown Seoul last month and this drove the daily tally to its peak. Meanwhile, smaller clusters continued to emerge from other religious gatherings, offices and medical facilities in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Australian state leaders defend coronavirus curbs even as cases decline
As Australia continues to face backlash against the strict coronavirus restrictions levied, state leaders on Friday defended the measures like regional shutdowns and internal border closures.
While infections have declined in the hotspots of the country’s second wave in recent days, many state and territory leaders continue to retain restrictions , including not allowing inter-state travel.
Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said border security staff were forced to make “difficult and tough decisions”, referring to a decision by state officials to refuse to let a woman from a virus-free region of the country to attend her father’s funeral.
Brazilian state to test Russia’s vaccine, aims buying 50 million doses
The Brazilian state of Bahia has signed an agreement to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 and plans to buy 50 million doses to market in Brazil, officials said on Thursday.
A confidentiality agreement was signed Tuesday to commence the trails and it guaranteed an initial 500 doses as soon as Brazil’s health regulator approves the protocol for testing, Governor Rui Costa said.
Costa said Brazil’s federal government should be doing more to establish international partnerships to help the research on the vaccines that are being developed to fight the pandemic.
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