Updated: August 24, 2020 8:16:47 pm
Coronavirus Global Updates: The novel coronavirus has infected over 23.31 million people across the globe and 805,075 people have succumbed to the virus, according to a Reuters tally.
The debate around children’s safety and education has become sharper around the world as several countries mull reopening schools. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday urged parents to set aside their fears and send their children back to school next month. US President Donald Trump has adopted a similar tone in advocating the reopening of schools. Earlier this month, UN chief Antonio Guterres said that the pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history affecting over 1 billion students.
Here are the top global developments on Covid-19
New Zealand extends coronavirus curbs in largest city
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended the current coronavirus restrictions in its largest city of Auckland until the end of this week. The decision was prompted after an abrupt resurgence of coronavirus in the city about 2 weeks back when it went under a lockdown, forcing businesses to close and schools to shut.
The lockdown was due to expire this Wednesday. Ardern said everyone using public transport under level two restrictions or above will be required to wear masks or any face covering to contain the spread of the virus.
Trump announces plasma treatment authorized for coronavirus
Ahead of the US Presidential elections, US President Donald Trump on Sunday announced emergency authorisation to treat COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma.
Hailing it as “ a breakthrough,” Trump announced the decision after White House officials complained there were politically motivated delays by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a vaccine and therapeutics for the disease that has upended Trump’s reelection chances.
In a letter describing the emergency authorisation, the chief scientist for the FDA, Denise Hinton, said: “COVID-19 convalescent plasma should not be considered a new standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Additional data will be forthcoming from other analyses and ongoing, well-controlled clinical trials in the coming months.”
The blood plasma, taken from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and rich in antibodies, may provide benefits to those battling the disease. But the evidence so far has not been conclusive about whether it works, when to administer it and what dose is needed.
Boris Johnson urges parents to let kids to return to school
As Britain is all set to reopen schools from next month, Britain’s prime minister asked parents to set aside their fears and send their children back to schools saying its the government;s “moral duty” to reopen them as stressed that authorities now know more about COVID-19 than they did when the country went into lockdown on March 23.
“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends,” Johnson said in a statement released late Sunday. “Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.”
South Korean capital mandates masks as coronavirus cases surge
In a first, South Korea’s capital Seoul on Monday mandated the wearing of face masks in both indoor and outdoor public places as Seoul continues to register the country’s covid-19 surge. Before this in May, Seoul’s government had ordered that face masks be worn on public transport and taxis and the latest restrictions come under the highest level of social distancing.
Second tier social distancing rules which had till now been in place in Seoul have been extended to other areas in the country that includes closing night clubs, buffets, cyber cafes and banning in person church meetings.
The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported 266 new cases as of midnight on Sunday, a drop from the 397 new infections reported a day earlier but a continuation of more than a week of triple-digit daily increases.
Mexico posts lowest weekly coronavirus death toll in 2 months
Mexico on Sunday finished its week with 3,723 coronavirus fatalities, the lowest total since the second week of June. This comes after the Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell, declared the novel coronavirus was in “sustained decline” in Mexico.
Low testing rates have fed concerns that the published data may understate the true extent of the pandemic, and ministry officials also caution that cases could surge again.
The country has 5,60,164 cases and 60,480 deaths currently and the third highest death toll globally from the coronavirus after the United States and Brazil.
Australia’s Victoria reports its lowest coronavirus case surge in 7 weeks
Australia’s second largest city and one of the hotspots of the coronavirus, Victoria on Monday reported its lowest rise in new coronavirus infections in 7 weeks, showing trends of a subsiding infection rate in the state. While Victoria’s capital Melbourne has been seeing a surge in infections in the past month, its overall case tally has been on a decline.
Victoria on Monday reported 116 cases and 15 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of more than 700 cases early this month.
China marks 8 days without any locally transmitted cases
After reporting 16 new coronavirus cases — all imported from travellers from overseas — China marked the eight consecutive day of no locally transmitted cases, the country’s National Health Commission said in a statement.
This compared with 12 new COVID-19 cases reported a day earlier.The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 84,967, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634. With this the country reported, 27 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases — patients who are infected with the coronavirus but not exhibiting any symptoms — compared with 15 such cases were reported a day earlier.
Pakistan shut hotels as employees test positive
Pakistani authorities have closed about two dozen hotels in the country’s northwest tourist destination after 47 employees of a hotel tested positive for the coronavirus. Shogran and Kaghan areas of the Mansehra district have been put under lockdown after they were placed under high risk.
The measures came hours after Pakistan reported only four new COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours the fewest deaths reported in a day since March That announcement raised hopes that Pakistan is on the right path to fully containing the new virus despite having a fragile health system.
(With inputs from Reuters/AP)
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