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Coronavirus Global Updates, 20 July: UK signs deal for 90 million vaccine doses; families step in at Kabul Covid ward to care for patients

Global Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates:The United States continues to top the charts with 3,773,260 current cases and over 1,40,000 deaths.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 20, 2020 6:36:16 pm
The first death was reported on 10 January in Wuhan, China. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)

Coronavirus Global Updates: More than seventh months after the first coronavirus case was reported in Wuhan, more than 14.5 million people have tested positive globally and 604,232​ died, according to a Reuters tally.

The United States continues to top the charts with 37,73,260 cases and over 1,40,000 deaths. Many southern belt states have been reporting daily highs almost everyday now, with Florida alone reporting 12,000 new cases Sunday.

According to a DW data analysis, 98 countries reported a rise in coronavirus cases this week than last week. Countries like South Korea continue to see a decline as it reported its lowest daily spike in 2 months.

Here are the top global developments

UK signs deal for 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

The UK government has signed deals for access to around 90 million doses of coronavirus vaccines which are at present under development, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced in London on Monday. The senior Indian-origin Cabinet minister said the government has agreed significant partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and vaccine companies BioNTech/Pfizer and Valneva that are developing vaccines to protect people against the deadly coronavirus.

“The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavour and we are doing everything we can to ensure the British public get access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible,” PTI quoted Sharma as saying. “This new partnership with some of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies will ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk, he said.

Families step in at Kabul COVID-19 ward to care for patients

The ICU at Kabul’s premier hospital for COVID-19 patients is a medical nightmare that shows how the Afghanistan’s  war-ravaged health care system is collapsing, AP reported. Family members, without protective equipment and only a few wearing face masks, help in caring for the patients lying in hospital beds. They have no choice as there are not sufficient number of nurses and other medical staff, they say. The next-of-kin often guard their loved one’s oxygen tank, fearing that it could be stolen because there is a shortage of just everything, including those life-supporting cylinders.

The 100-bed Afghan-Japan Communicable Disease Hospital in the west of the country’s capital is one of only two facilities for coronavirus testing and treatment in the Afghan capital. Newly graduated Afghan doctors are now part of the 370-member staff after many of the hospital’s experienced physicians walked out months ago, fearing getting infected by the virus.

Australia warns coronavirus outbreak will take weeks to tame

Australia’s acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said Monday that the country’s second-biggest city could take weeks to subside despite a lockdown and orders to wear masks. As the country braces for a second wave of infection, Victoria reported 275 new infections even as its capital Melbourne stays in partial lockdown.

Members of the Australian Defence Force gather information and conduct temperature checks at a drive-in Covid-19 testing site in Melbourne on Jun 30. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

“We have learned over time that the time between introducing a measure and seeing its effect is at least two weeks and sometimes longer than that,” Kelly told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

Australia has recorded about 11,800 coronavirus cases with a death toll of 123.

Chile to gradually reopen after cases decline

The Chilean government officials introduced a “step-by-step” plan to gradually relax coronavirus lockdown and restrictions on Sunday. The plan will be implemented in five stages, ranging from “total quarantine” to “advanced opening”, and will be applied depending on epidemiological criteria, the capacity of the healthcare system and the ability to trace cases, officials said.

coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19 news, corona news, covid 19 usa, covid 19 russia, russia coronavirus, usa coronavirus cases, spain coronavirus, coronavirus us, us coronavirus news, covid 19 tracker, italy coronavirus news A worker carries flowers to the funeral of Rodrigo Herrera who died from COVID-19 complications, at a Catholic cemetery in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

“These five weeks of improvement allow us to start a new stage today … This plan, which will be step by step, cautiously, prudently, will be applied gradually and flexibly,” said President Sebastian Pinera in the announcement.

El Salvador to postpone second phase of economic reopening

El Salvador president rules out talks with criminal gangs Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele. (REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo)

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said that he will postpone the second phase of reopening the country’s economy after evaluating inputs from experts and the Salvadoran health ministry.

Taking to Twitter, Bukele said: “After listening to the opinions of experts and above all, the Ministry of Health … I have decided to suspend Phase 2 of the economic reopening.”

The second reopening phase was supposed to commence from Tuesday. El Salvador has registered a total of 11,846 coronavirus cases and 335 deaths.

South Korea reports lowest daily jump of covid cases in two months

With 26 new cases reported on Monday, South Korea witnessed its lowest daily jump in local COVID-19 transmissions in two months, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Out of the new cases, 22 have been reported from international travellers.

coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19 news, corona news, covid 19 usa, covid 19 russia, russia coronavirus, usa coronavirus cases, spain coronavirus, coronavirus us, us coronavirus news, covid 19 tracker South Korean police officers wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus, stand guard in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said the local cases were below 10 for the first time since May 19. He encouraged people to avoid crowded places or even stay at home during the summer holiday period.

Outbreak in northwest China spreads to second city

The old city of Kashgar (Bryan Denton/The New York Times)

The new coronavirus outbreak has spread to a second city in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. One of the 17 new cases reported on Monday was in the ancient city of Kashgar while the rest were in Urumqi. Authorities in Urumqi have tried to prevent the spread by closing off communities and imposing travel restrictions

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities said 5,370 people had been arrested for coronavirus-related crimes between January and June.

Florida reports over 12,000 new cases

Florida has reported over 12,000 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, making it the fifth consecutive day where the daily spike was over 10,000 new infections. The virus has claimed over 140,000 US lives since the pandemic started, and Florida, California, and other Southern and Western states are experiencing record highs almost daily.

EU still struggles to conclude “covid-19 recovery plan” negotiations

The European Union leaders after three days of negotiations over a plan to revive the bloc’s economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic are yet to reach a consensus. Chairman Charles Michel urged them to make one last push on “mission impossible”.

European Council President Charles Michel, right, greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, with an elbow bump during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, July 17, 2020. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

The leaders so far failed to agree on how to carve up a vast recovery fund designed to help haul Europe out of its deepest recession since World War Two.

The summit was initially scheduled to last just two days but was extended due to non-agreement on the €1.85 trillion post-coronavirus recovery plan.

New Zealand’s economy doing better than expected, says FM

New Zealand’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson. REUTERS/Charlotte Greenfield

New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson Monday said the economy is currently doing better than predicted due to the country’s early economic and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The economy is doing better than expected and is more open than anywhere else in the world,” Robertson said in a news conference.

He informed that NZ$14 billion ($9.16 billion) from a COVID Response and Recovery Fund that was announced in the annual budget earlier this year will now be set aside in the event the country experiences a second wave of infections.

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