Updated: July 29, 2020 10:37:05 pm
Coronavirus Global Updates: More than 16.67 million people have been infected with the virus, while nearly 6.6 lakh people have died. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
A World Health Organisation official on Tuesday described the COVID-19 pandemic as “one big wave” and warned against complacency in the northern hemisphere summer since the infection does not share influenza’s tendency to follow seasons. WHO officials have been at pains to avoid describing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases like those in Hong Kong as “waves” as this suggests the virus is behaving in ways beyond human control, when in fact concerted action can slow its spread. “The virus likes all seasons,” the official said.
Infections have witnessed a surge in many countries across the globe. China reported 101 new cases, up from 68 a day earlier, with 98 of the total from local infections, mostly in Xinjiang. South Korea reported 48 more coronavirus cases.
Some important covid-19 news from across the globe
Russia rejects accusations of spreading virus disinformation
Russian officials on Wednesday rejected accusations that Moscow is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic in the US, slamming them as “conspiracy theories” and a “persistent phobia.”
US officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Russian intelligence services were using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November.
The three websites published about 150 articles about the pandemic response, including coverage aimed either at propping up Russia or denigrating the US between late May and early July, one of the officials said.
One of the identified websites, One World, posted a response Wednesday, denouncing as “categorically false” allegations that it worked for the Russian military intelligence service or was involved in propaganda or meddling. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday called the allegations “some kind of a persistent phobia.”
EU health chief blames complacency for new cases
The European Union’s health commissioner says there’s concern over an upswing of new coronavirus infections in several European countries caused primarily by “complacency and laxity” among the public that isn’t strictly adhering to personal hygiene rules.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Stella Kyriakides said of her native Cyprus that there’s also concern over a localised spike in COVID-19 infections whose source authorities haven’t so far been able to trace. She says this shows that a section of the population isn’t following health and safety protocols and that a renewed surge of infections can be avoided if people remain vigilant at all times.
Kyriakides also briefed Cypriot Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on efforts to supply all EU states with the drug remdesivir. She said all countries belonging to the 27-member bloc have submitted requests for the drug and that the procurement process will proceed immediately.
Medical officials have said that treatment with remdesivir has been shown to reduce illness severity and mortality in some patients with COVID-19.
UK funds multimillion-pound studies to probe ethnicity link with Covid
New projects worth around 4.3 million pounds have received the UK government funding to help explain and mitigate the disproportionately adverse COVID-19 impact and higher death rate among the country’s ethnic minorities, including those of Indian origin.
The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and National Institute for Health Research (NHRI) backed projects include over 2 million pounds for academics at the University of Leicester to investigate why people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19.
The study titled UK-REACH – UK Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers – will work with more than 30,000 clinical and non-clinical members of staff to assess their risk from the deadly coronavirus, based on the analysis of two million healthcare records.
Bosnian minister dies after testing positive
The minister for veteran affairs in the government of one of Bosnia’s two highly independent regions has died at the age of 53, a week after testing positive for COVID-19. Salko Bukvarevic died Wednesday in a COVID-19 hospital in Sarajevo, where he was admitted last week with pneumonia and breathing problems.
He had served in the government of Bosniak-Croat federation since 2015. The region’s prime minister, Fadil Novalic, was also hospitalized with COVID-19, but was released Tuesday following two weeks of treatment.
UK signs deal for 60 million vaccine doses
The British government has signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine that could start to be rolled out in the first half of next year. Britain’s GSK and France’s Sanofi have the largest vaccine manufacturing capability in the world.
The vaccine prospect is based on the existing DNA-based technology used to produce Sanofi’s seasonal flu vaccine. The government said that if the vaccine proves successful, then priority groups, such as health and social care workers, could be given the first doses as early as the first half of next year.
Human clinical studies of the vaccine will begin in September followed by a phase 3 study in December. This is the fourth deal the British government has signed for potential coronavirus vaccines, worth a combined 250 million doses.
President Donald Trump said the medical community’s widespread warnings against using the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients were politically motivated to damage him. “I think it could have a very positive impact in the early stages,” Trump said Tuesday during a news conference at the White House. “And I don’t think you lose anything by doing it, other than politically it doesn’t seem to be too popular. You know why? Because I recommend it. When I recommend something, they like to say ‘don’t use it.’” Trump has repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine even though a number of studies have shown that it is not an effective treatment for Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended for sharing misinformation about Covid-19. The president’s eldest son posted a video of people touting the drug hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment.
The Food and Drug Administration last month revoked emergency-use authorization for the anti-malaria drug as a Covid-19 treatment after determining it may have deadly side effects. The World Health Organization also said it would discontinue its own tests of hydroxychloroquine.
Prague reports highest 24-hour jump of 101 cases
The Czech capital has registered the highest day-to-day jump in COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The health authority says 101 people tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.
It says Prague has had over 24 infected per 100,000 people in last seven days. Overall, the entire Czech Republic recorded 275 new cases on Tuesday. In reaction to the recent surge in Prague, authorities reimposed mandatory masks at out-patient clinics and pharmacies.
Face coverings are also required in the city’s subway network while authorities said Wednesday masks might become mandatory again in the entire public transport possibly at the end of summer. The Czech Republic has had 15,827 confirmed cases with 373 deaths.
Moderna Inc.’s vaccine candidate against Covid-19 protected against the virus in a trial that inoculated 16 monkeys, an encouraging step on the path to a defense for humans against the pandemic. Two injections of the vaccine protected against heavy exposure to the virus at two different levels of dosage, Moderna said in findings published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The primates didn’t show any sign of creating enhanced disease, a problem that has occasionally been associated with vaccines.
The company is planning to price its coronavirus vaccine at $50 to $60 per course, at least $11 more than another vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources. Moderna’s proposed price would apply to the United States and other high-income countries, according to the report.
Sydney declared virus hotspot by state
Queensland will close its borders to all visitors from Sydney from Saturday, after declaring Australia’s most-populous city a coronavirus hotspot. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision on Wednesday came after two 19-year-old women tested positive for Covid-19 following their return to Queensland from visits to Melbourne, the center of Australia’s resurgence in the pandemic, and Sydney. The pair had failed to isolate for 14 days as required on their return.
British PM Johnson says `duty’ to protect UK from virus
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it is the government’s “duty” to protect the U.K. from a second coronavirus spike as he defended the decision to recommend against all but essential travel to Spain. He says the government must “take swift and decisive action” where it thinks risks are “starting to bubble up again.” He adds: “Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.” The decision to toughen the travel advice for Spain has prompted widespread dismay among some British. Spain is traditionally the most popular summer holiday destination.
Air travel expected to not recover before 2024
Global air travel is recovering more slowly than expected and it will take until 2024 to return to pre-pandemic levels, the trade association for the airline industry said Tuesday. The International Air Transport Association pushed back its prediction by one year due to the slow containment of the outbreak in the U.S. and developing countries. The industry is seeing a rebound from the depths of the shutdowns in April, but the bad news is that any increase “is barely visible,” IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said during an online briefing for journalists.
A family is revealing the heartbreaking reality of coronavirus, sharing the moment a loving husband, 90, said goodbye to his wife before she succumbed to the virus. https://t.co/OmP9Kuixi3 pic.twitter.com/G1x1e6YtvW
— People (@people) July 28, 2020
Hong Kong warns city on verge of large coronavirus outbreak
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread take effect on Wednesday.The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak.The government has also tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea and aircrew members, effective on Wednesday.”We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly,” Lam said in a statement late on Tuesday.
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