Coronavirus Global Updates: Worldwide Covid-19 infections exceeded 24 million as cases continued to climb in Europe and Asia, with South Korea, Italy, and France reporting a surge in infections recently. The virus has claimed over 8 lakh lives, while over 15 million people have recovered worldwide. Arizona, Florida in the US reported a decline, while New Jersey said 1,200 gyms can reopen on September 1 at 25% capacity with spaced workout equipment, masking and other safety precaution
Covid-19 news from across the globe
France to make face masks mandatory everywhere in Paris
France is to order the mandatory wearing of face masks across Paris to curb surging coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday, warning that the outbreak could spiral out of control if swift action is not taken. “The virus is spreading all over the country,” Castex told a news conference, flanked by his health and education ministers. “The spread of the epidemic could become exponential if we do not react quickly.”
The reproduction “R” number of infections in France has risen to 1.4, Castex said, meaning that every 10 people with the virus will infect another 14. An R number above 1 can lead to exponential growth. France made it compulsory to wear a face mask in closed public spaces such as shops and banks on July 21, and in early August it became compulsory outdoors in crowded parts of the capital, including the Sacre Coeur basilica of Montmartre.
Libya’s Tripoli government imposes curfew after protests escalate
Libya’s Tripoli-based government has announced a 24-hour curfew to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus as it struggles to contain protests over deteriorating living conditions and corruption. The curfew, which took effect on Wednesday night, was imposed by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) three days after protests in the capital and the nearby town of Zawiya began to escalate. The decision exempts people who need to go out for essential food or medicine at nearby shops, but it angered protest supporters who posted messages online saying it was designed to prevent further demonstrations.
Trolls flood social media in Pakistan amid virus lockdown
It was a music video meant to depict a young bride’s joy: Actress Saba Qamar, in a flowing white wedding gown with a golden hem, was twirled by the singer playing her groom in front of the mosaics of a 17th-century mosque in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore. As soon as the video emerged earlier this month, it went viral but for the wrong reasons. It infuriated religious radicals who inundated social media with claims that Qamar’s dancing sullied the historic Wazir Khan Mosque. Qamar, the actress who danced in the promo video with popular singer Bilal Saeed in the Lahore mosque, apologised online.
WHO team did not visit Wuhan: Report
A World Health Organization team that was meant to investigate the origin of the coronavirus concluded their trip to China without a visit to Wuhan, the Financial Times reported, citing the UN agency. The WHO told the FT that its advance team had remote conversations with senior scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology but declined to comment on whether the team had planned to visit the city. The organization said the initial team had been laying groundwork before a larger international investigation but didn’t provide details on whether the bigger task-force would travel to Wuhan. China’s foreign ministry called concerns over the credibility of the inquiry “totally unjustified,” according to the FT.
Surge in South Korea
South Korea had 441 more coronavirus cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, the biggest gain since early March. The National Assembly in Seoul was shut down and more than a dozen ruling party lawmakers were forced to isolate Thursday following a positive test of a journalist who covered a ruling party leaders’ meeting. Vice Finance Minister Kim Yongbeom said he believed that the nation can handle the resurgence of the coronavirus with current social distancing rules. Still, so-called Level 3 rules would be needed if the situation worsens, he added at a briefing.
World Economic Forum rescheduled
The WEF will move its annual meeting, normally held each January in the Swiss ski town of Davos, to early summer next year, according to a statement on Wednesday. While convening to discuss economic challenges was urgent, “the advice from experts is that we cannot do so safely in January,” the organization said.
No new local cases in China
China reported no new local transmissions for an 11th straight day as it wraps up containment efforts for its most recent major outbreaks. Eight new imported cases were reported, while 324 people remained in treatment. China has reported 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 85,004 cases recorded since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. The far northwestern city of Urumqi that saw more than 300 cases in China’s latest major outbreak has relaxed quarantine restrictions on communities that were closed off to contain the spread.
Moderna vaccine promises to be as effective among old as in young
Moderna Inc. presented new safety data from an early trial that provides the first evidence that its Covid-19 vaccine stimulates the immune systems of older people. The results hold promise of the vaccine being equally effective in protecting the older people against the Covid-19 disease as the younger adults. Older people have been found to be much more susceptible to the disease, and have a far greater fatality rate.
US says testing not needed for some exposed to COVID-19, sparking outcry
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week that people exposed to COVID-19 but not symptomatic may not need to be tested, shocking doctors and politicians and prompting accusations the guidance was politically motivated.
The CDC reversed its guidance to say that people in close contact with a COVID-positive person don’t need to get tested.
This is not science. It’s politics. Politics that are dangerous to public health.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 26, 2020
Anthony Fauci, US top infectious disease doctor, told CNN that he is concerned that the CDC’s new coronavirus testing guidelines will make people believe “that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern, when in fact it is.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state won’t follow recent guidance, calling it “political propaganda.” He accused Republican President Donald Trump of using the agency to “forward his political agenda,” saying it’s “frightening and it is alarming.”
Moscow invites residents to join vaccine trials
Moscow is inviting all its residents to participate in Phase 3 testing of a Covid-19 vaccine that was approved for use earlier this month, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on his blog Wednesday. Russia approved the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, which Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute is developing with the sovereign Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Defense Ministry, before it finished clinical trials. The testing will continue even as medical workers are vaccinated. Many members of the local elite, including one of President Vladimir Putin’s daughters, have already been inoculated.
South Africa may be first in region to produce vaccine
South Africa may sign a deal to help produce a Covid-19 vaccine, potentially boosting access to immunization on a continent with limited manufacturing capacity. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a global organization funding vaccine development, is considering the Cape Town-based Biovac Institute as a fill-finish site, according to Helen Rees, the chair of the organization’s Scientific Advisory Board. The state vaccine company is one of few in the country that has the capacity to package doses into sterile dispensers if clinical trials are successful.