Coronavirus Global Updates: The total number of coronavirus cases across the world crossed the 17 million-mark to reach 17,029,155 on Thursday, according to the data by John Hopkins University. However, the case tally includes as many as 9,916,230 recoveries, which is almost 30 lakh more than the active cases as of now. The pandemic has claimed the lives of 667,011 people so far. Since December 2019, when the first cases were identified in China, Covid-19 infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories with several countries including the United States, Brazil, India, Russia continuing to report a record number of daily cases. The US, which is worst-hit by the pandemic, has reported 4,426,935 infections while the second worst-hit country Brazil has 25,52,265 cases.
Here are the top coronavirus news from across the globe:
England records massive spike in excess deaths
An analysis shows England has had the highest level of excess deaths among more than 20 European countries during the coronavirus pandemic. Britain’s Office for National Statistics says there have been 53,000 more deaths in England than the five-year average. The overall national deaths for the year through July 17 stands at 362,229.
By the end of May, the cumulative mortality rate in England was 7.55 per cent higher than the five-year average. Spain was second, with 6.65 per cent more deaths than usual. The U.K. statistics office says Britain was hit by a more widespread outbreak than in many other European nations, where the virus was more localised.
It says every region of the U.K. had higher-than-average deaths at the height of the outbreak in April. Britain’s confirmed death toll from the coronavirus stands at just under 46,000. It’s third highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.
US health officials recommend face shields, masks
Trump administration health officials say there is evidence to support wearing face shields to protect oneself from the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx has both suggested their use, saying they provide the wearer with some protections, unlike face masks, which are primarily recommended to protect others.
“The mask is to protect others,” Birx told Fox and Friends Thursday. “The thing about the face shields, we think that that could protect the individuals and that it would decrease the ability of them to touch their eyes and spread virus.”
Fauci on Wednesday told ABC News, “If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it.”
UK extends coronavirus quarantine period from 7 to 10 days
People who test positive for coronavirus or display some of the obvious symptoms must self-isolate or quarantine for a period of 10 days instead of just a week, the UK’s Chief Medical Officers announced in a guidance update on Thursday. Until now, those displaying symptoms such as a new continuous cough, a temperature or loss of taste or smell were asked to self-isolate for seven days. That period has now been stipulated as 10 days, in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance.
“In symptomatic people, COVID-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after symptoms begin. It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing,” the Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales said in a joint statement.
“Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between seven and nine days after illness onset,” they said.
England CMO Professor Chris Whitty, Northern Ireland CMO Dr Michael McBride, Scotland CMO Dr Gregor Smith and Wales CMO Dr Frank Atherton said that they reviewed the self-isolation time-frame to reduce risk to the general population. “At this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from seven to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result,” the CMOs said.
The move follows concerns of a feared second wave of the deadly coronavirus across Europe, which has recorded a death toll of over 181,000 from Covid-19.
Australia’s Victoria makes wearing mask mandatory as infections go up
Australia’s coronavirus hotspot Victoria will make masks compulsory statewide after it reported a record 723 fresh cases of the disease, taking the total number of infections in the nation to 5,800. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that the state has reported 723 new infected cases overnight and the rule of wearing masks is being made mandatory statewide effective from Sunday.
Residents around the city of Geelong, Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains and the Borough of Queenscliffe will not be allowed to have visitors in their homes from Friday. Australia has so far reported 5,800 cases of coronavirus and 190 deaths.
A man in his 50s was among 14 people who died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours in Victoria. “That’s where the transmission is. It’s not in cafes and restaurants, but it is, in small numbers, in people’s homes. One family to another,” Andrews said. He said that people were still showing up to the workplace when they had symptoms. “Too many people are going to work, even some when they have a positive test result,” he said.
Russian vaccine to be ready by August 12
The Russian candidate vaccine for novel coronavirus is back in the news again. According to report by Bloomberg, Russia was planning to ‘register’ its novel coronavirus vaccine by August 10-12. The vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, was likely to be approved for public use “within three to seven days of registration by regulators”, said the report. This is the same vaccine that was, earlier this month, reported to have successfully completed human trials.
Brazil reopens international flights to tourists
Brazil on Wednesday reopened international air travel to foreign tourists, which had been banned since March, even as the country’s coronavirus outbreak ranks as the world’s second-worst. Tourists from all countries may travel to Brazil as long as they have health insurance for the duration of their trip, the government said in a decree which did not explain the rationale for the decision. Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak set daily records on Wednesday with both 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 related deaths, as the world’s second-worst outbreak accelerates toward the milestone of 100,000 lives cut short.Brazil is the country worst hit by COVID-19 outside of the United States in both death toll and case count, with more than 2.5 million confirmed cases and 90,134 deaths since the pandemic began, according to ministry data.
One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world. The United States recorded 1,461 new deaths on Wednesday, the highest one-day increase since 1,484 on May 27, according to a Reuters tally. US coronavirus deaths are rising at their fastest rate in two months and have increased by 10,000 in the past 11 days.
Pelosi announces mask-wearing need for lawmakers and staff
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that members and staff would be required to wear masks in the House of Representatives during the coronavirus pandemic. Members will be allowed to remove their masks when addressing the chamber, Pelosi said on the House floor. “The chair expects all members and staff to adhere to this requirement as a sign of respect for the health, safety and well-being of others present in the chamber and surrounding areas,” Pelosi said on the House floor.
How and why Hajj 2020 is different
The Hajj pilgrimage – among the five pillars of the Islamic faith – is markedly different this year. After its start on Tuesday, few pilgrims were seen circling the Kaaba while following social distancing, as opposed to lakhs who occupy the place every year. Because of the pandemic, the number of attending devotees has been drastically scaled down, from an estimated 25 lakh in 2019 to around 1,000 locals and resident foreigners this year. This is the first time since it began ruling Mecca about a century ago that Saudi Arabia has had to stop Muslim pilgrims from entering the country for the annual pilgrimage.
Bolsonaro keeps mum at first event since recovery
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday attended his first public event since recovering from COVID-19, though he declined to speak. Brazil’s president is typically last to address at the presidential palace, but Bolsonaro only watched the event recognizing women who work in rural areas around Latin America and left the room once it ended. He wore a mask throughout the event.
Japan braces for spike in cases amid domestic travel campaign
Japan is bracing for a surge in the number of coronavirus infection after fresh cases exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time, a week after the start of a national travel campaign to revive the tourism industry.Tokyo confirmed at least 365 cases of coronavirus infection on Thursday, commercial broadcaster Fuji Television said. That compares with a record 366 cases on July 23.
UN urges SE Asia to build back better from COVID-19 crisis
The United Nations advised Southeast Asian nations to tackle inequality and green their economies to build a more resilient and inclusive future as they strive to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy report released Thursday said other critical missions for the region’s governments should be bridging the digital divide and upholding human rights and good governance practices.
Masks now required for all of Australian state
Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state is making mask wearing compulsory statewide after reporting a new daily high of 723 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Masks have been compulsory in the state capital of Melbourne and a neighboring semi-rural district for the past week. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said Thursday that masks or other face coverings will be compulsory for the whole state beginning late Sunday. In addition, residents around the city of Geelong will not be allowed to have visitors in their homes beginning late Thursday.
South Korea’s Celltrion gets UK approval for trials of COVID-19 antibody drug
South Korea’s Celltrion Inc on Thursday said British regulators had given it regulatory approval for a phase I clinical trial of its experimental COVID-19 treatment drug. The company will enrol participants for a clinical study in the UK after approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Celltrion said in a statement. South Korean regulators on July 17 approved an early stage clinical trial for the drug, making it the country’s first such antibody drug to be tested on humans.
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