Coronavirus Global Updates: The United States with over 5.9 million coronavirus cases continues to remain the worst-affected nation globally, with officials in Nevada reporting what may be the first documented case of reinfection in the country.
While at least 24.61 million people have been infected worldwide, over 8.32 lakh people have died till Saturday, a Reuters tally noted. Over 16 lakh people have recovered so far.
After the United States, Brazil and India continue to record the largest number of infections.
A look at the top developments from across the globe:
Sinovac’s vaccine candidate approved for emergency use in China, says report
Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s coronavirus vaccine candidate CoronaVac was approved for emergency use as part of a programme in China to vaccinate high-risk groups such as medical staff, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a unit of state-owned pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), also said it had obtained emergency use approval for a Covid-19 vaccine candidate on social media platform WeChat last Sunday. (Reuters)
Berlin braces for anti-Corona demonstration
Thousands of coronavirus skeptics are set to congregate in Germany’s capital city Berlin today to protest against pandemic restrictions, reported Bangkok Post. But police said they will turn out in big numbers and monitor compliance with pandemic guidelines. Berlin police chief was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post that the police will “clear the area very quickly”.
“We will not be able or willing to watch tens of thousands assemble and create infection risks,” the police chief was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post.
<p “width=420″ lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>#VIDEO Berlin police said they will turn out in force and strictly monitor compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing, with police warning that if the demonstrators do not adhere to virus safety rules, officers will clear the area “very quickly”https://t.co/qf6h7GOoE6 pic.twitter.com/4DWH9D59fL— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 29, 2020
The Berlin regional government had sought to ban the protest, citing rallies earlier this month where rules intended to stop the virus being spread weren’t respected. Protest organisers successfully appealed the decision, though a court ordered them to ensure social distancing – a measure that wasn’t being enforced Saturday. (AP)
For health workers, the pandemic Tour de France is a big ask
Likely too busy racing to notice, the 176 riders starting the Tour de France this weekend will speed close to a sprawling hospital where caregiver Maude Leneveu is still reeling from furious months treating patients stricken and dying from COVID-19.
After her 12-hour days of cleaning their bedpans, changing the sheets, feeding them and trying to calm their fears, she’d then go home to breastfeed her baby daughter. “We’re all exhausted,” the 30-year-old Leneveu says.
With coronavirus infections picking up again across France and her hospital in the Mediterranean city of Nice preparing for a feared second wave of patients by readying respirators and other gear, Leneveu suspects she might soon be called back to the coronavirus front lines. That would ruin her hopes of taking a short holiday after the Tour leaves Nice on Monday and heads deeper into France, after two days of racing around the city. (AP)
Surge in South Korea cases sparks hospital bed shortage concerns
South Korea recorded its 16th consecutive day of triple digit rises in new coronavirus cases on Saturday, extending a second wave of infections that is fanning concerns about a shortage of hospital beds in Seoul. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) posted 308 new cases as of midnight Friday, the majority of them in the capital and surrounding areas, reported Reuters.
Malaysia bans foreign tourist arrivals till year end
Malaysia has extended its pandemic movement restrictions including banning foreign tourists until the end of the year. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address late Friday that global cases have been rising and the country has seen sporadic virus clusters even though the situation was under control.
Malaysia has recorded more than 9,000 cases with 125 deaths. Muhyiddin said the extension of restrictions will not disrupt daily activities as most businesses and schools have resumed.
Only nightclubs and entertainment centers remain shut and international sporting events prohibited. Borders will stay closed and those entering the country will be quarantined.
Nevada man may be 1st virus reinfection in US
Nevada officials are reporting what may be the first documented case of coronavirus reinfection in the United States, following similar reports earlier this week from Hong Kong and Europe.
A 25-year-old Reno man with mild COVID-19 symptoms initially was found to have the virus in April, recovered and tested negative twice, and then tested positive again in June. He was much sicker the second time, with pneumonia that required hospitalization and oxygen treatment.
Genetic tests from each episode showed that viruses were similar in major ways but differed in at least 12 spots that would be highly unlikely from natural evolution of the bug if the man had it continuously rather than being infected a second time, said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.
A parent the man lives with also tested positive in June, so it’s possible he acquired a new infection that way. The findings have not yet been published or reviewed by other scientists, but were posted on a research site. (AP)
‘Ship that carried COVID-19 infected crew members to leave Singapore’
A ship that arrived in Singapore from India earlier this month and carried crew members who later tested positive for COVID-19 is expected to leave the country, according to a media report on Saturday.
The vessel arrived in Singapore from India for repairs and refuelling on August 8, the Channel News Asia reported. Four days later, a seafarer from the ship tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, at least 15 crew members have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, it said.
The infected crew members were reportedly from the Philippines. According to a spokesperson from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), repair works on the ship have been completed and the ship’s agent is making arrangements for relief crew members.
Wuhan to reopen schools from Tuesday
Wuhan, the ground zero for the pandemic and the worst-hit city in China, is set to reopen schools from Tuesday, local authorities have said. The announcement on Friday said that 2,842 educational institutions across the city are set to open their doors to almost 1.4 million students when the autumn semester gets underway.
The schools have decided to reopen with emergency plans to switch back to online teachings in case there is a change in the Covid situation. They have also been ordered to stock up on disease control equipment and to carry out drills and training sessions to help prepare for new outbreaks.
Wuhan has been steadily returning to normal since April when the lockdown was lifted, and it has not reported any new local transmissions of the coronavirus since May 18.
Argentina reports record number of new cases but relaxes lockdown
Argentina on Friday partially relaxed its nationwide lockdown even though it reported its highest number of new daily cases of Covid-19. The relaxations are likely to continue till September 20.
“Today, we can take a new step by authorizing meetings of upto ten people in the open air, maintaining the distance of two meters and the use of a mask. This will be in force throughout the country,” President Alberto Fernandez said.
Australia’s Victoria posts lowest Covid-19 case rise in two months
Australia’s coronavirus hotspot, state of Victoria, Saturday reported its lowest rise in new infections in almost two months, although authorities have sought continuation of social distancing protocols.
It is for the first time that new daily cases in the state, that was hit by a second wave of new infections, have fallen below 100 in eight weeks. State officials on Saturday reported 94 new Covid-19 infections and 18 deaths.
Most US states reject federal agency’s new virus testing guidance
A majority of the US states do not seem to be following Covid-19 testing guidelines by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 33 states were found testing people who have been exposed to the virus without any symptoms, despite the CDC saying it might not be necessary.
Among the states flouting the guidelines are conservative-leaning Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Britain eases Covid lockdown in northern parts
Starting September 2, coronavirus-related restrictions on the mixing of two households will be lifted in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Britain’s health ministry announced on Friday. However, a tight lockdown would remain in place in Leicester for two more weeks as cases remain high in the area.
Brazil’s Sao Paulo to provide vaccine to its people even without federal govt help, says governor
Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria Friday said his state will roll out a vaccination program to its population without any assistance from the federal government. Doria, however, acknowledged that the vaccine would require approval by the health regulator, Anvisa, and the completion of clinical trials.
(With inputs from agencies)