Coronavirus Global Updates: The number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus topped 20 million on Tuesday. Health experts around the world believe the actual number of infections is much higher due to inefficient testing and contact tracing in several countries. Five million cases were added in less than a month after the global tally touched 15 million on July 22. Since then India, United States and Brazil have together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all the new infections.
Till now, 734,243 have succumbed to the disease and over 11 million people have seen recoveries. Mexico, which has the third-highest death toll after the United States and Brazil surpassed the 53,000 mark on Monday. The country has been reported over 5,000 new fatalities in the last one week.
Read the top global developments
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar say it’s more important to have a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus than to be the first to produce a vaccine.
Azar, on a visit to Taiwan, was asked by ABC on Tuesday what he thought of Russia’s announcement that it had become the first country to register a vaccine against the virus.
He says, “The point is not to be first with a vaccine. The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world.”
Authorities in China have found the novel coronavirus on the packaging of imported frozen seafood that arrived from the port city of Dalian, which recently battled a surge of cases, a local government said on Tuesday.
The virus was found on the outer packaging of frozen seafood bought by three companies in Yantai, a port city in eastern Shandong province.
The Yantai city government said in a statement the seafood was from an imported shipment that landed at Dalian but did not say where it originated.
Singapore’s economy sees worst ever quarterly contraction of 13.2%
Singapore’s economy contracted by 13.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the April-June quarter, its worst quarterly economic performance on record amidst the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released on Tuesday.
“The numbers reflect the impact of COVID-19, as well as deeper forces reshaping the global economy and our position in the global value chains,? Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said.
The data showed that Singapore’s economy had contracted by 13.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the April to June quarter, worse than the 12.6 per cent decline seen in the Government’s advance estimate and a sharp deterioration from the 0.3 per cent contraction in the previous quarter.
“To put things in context, this is our worst quarterly performance on record. The forecast for 2020 essentially means the growth generated over the past two to three years will be negated,” Chan told a press conference.
Taiwan says virus aid sent quietly to avoid Beijing protests
Taiwan’s foreign minister says his government sent protective gear and other COVID-19 assistance to foreign countries surreptitiously so the recipients wouldn’t face China’s wrath. China has sought to diplomatically isolate the island it claims as its own territory and Joseph Wu described Taiwan’s efforts to help while facing that pressure as “increasingly difficult”. Wu was meeting with US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar — the highest level American to visit Taiwan in four decades. China’s efforts include excluding Taiwan from global health forums but Azar said the US supports Taiwanese participation.
Local transmission breaks out in New Zealand; level 3 lockdown in Auckland
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday that authorities have found four cases of the coronavirus in one Auckland household from an unknown source, the first cases of local transmission in the country in 102 days.
Ardern said Auckland, the nation’s largest city, will be moved to Level 3 from midday Wednesday, meaning that people will be asked to stay at home and bars and many other businesses will be closed.
She said the rest of the country will be raised to Level 2.
Actor Antonio Banderas tests positive for coronavirus
Hollywood star Antonio Banderas on Monday revealed that he is suffering from coronavirus. The Oscar-nominated actor shared a note in Spanish on Twitter, which said that he is forced to celebrate his 60th birthday in quarantine due to COVID-19.
Further stating that he is fine, Banderas wrote that he is experiencing nothing more than a sense of tiredness and exhaustion.
“I would like to add that I am relatively okay, just a little more tired than usual and confident that I will recover as soon as possible following the medical indications, which I hope will allow me to overcome the infection that is affecting people around the planet,” wrote Antonio Banderas.
Mexico’s Covid death toll passes 53,000 mark
Mexico’s coronavirus death toll passed the 53,000 mark on Monday as the health ministry reported 705 additional fatalities and 5,558 new cases of infection. Mexico, which has the third-highest death toll worldwide from the virus after the United States and Brazil, has now reported 485,836 cases and 53,003 deaths, with fatalities rising nearly 5,000 over the past week.
Yesterday, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said she would go into temporary quarantine after the capital’s interior minister tested positive for the virus.
Sinovac launches late-stage trial for potential COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia
China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd on Tuesday launched a late-stage human trial involving over 1,600 patients in Indonesia for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that it is developing with Indonesian state-owned peer Bio Farma.
The candidate, known as CoronaVac, is among few potential vaccines that have entered late-stage trials for a large-scale study.
CoronaVac is already undergoing a late-stage trial in Brazil slated for as many as 9,000 people. Its Indonesia trial comes as the country grapples with spiking infection numbers, with over 127,000 cases recorded as of Tuesday.
Coronavirus infections stabilise in Australia’s Victoria
After it witnessed a massive second wave of infections, Australia’s second most populous state reported only a small rise in new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday showing stabilizing trends in its caseload.
Victoria currently accounts for nearly all of Australia’s new cases. It detected 331 COVID-19 infections and 19 deaths in the past 24 hours, up from 322 infections and the same number of fatalities a day earlier, health officials said.
Daily infections in Victoria peaked at 725 on Aug. 5 and have been trending lower in recent days, following the imposition of a hard lockdown in Melbourne on July 19.
Papua New Guinea to lift lockdown despite surge in COVID-19 cases
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape announced plans to lift lockdown measures in the nation this week. Marape said a two-week lockdown in the capital of Port Moresby would be lifted from Wednesday, despite the country’s reported cases of COVID-19 doubling over the past week.
“Whilst the spread is there, we have to adapt to living with COVID-19 this year, instead of taking on drastic measures,” Marape told a news conference on Monday. The World Health Organisation says the real number of cases are much higher in the country due to lack of testing.
Virus surge makes US weak link in global economic recovery
The United States’ fumbling response to the pandemic is casting doubt on its economic prospects and making it one of the chief risks to a global rebound. Confirmed infections are rising in most states, and many businesses have had to scale back or even cancel plans to reopen.
And while it does not dominate global commerce like it did 20 years ago, America is still by far the biggest economy – accounting for 22 per cent of total economic output, versus 14 per cent for No. 2 China, according to the World Bank. That makes its handling of the pandemic and its economy crucial for companies like Officina del Poggio, a producer of luxury handbags in Bologna, Italy, that sells 60 per cent its vintage motorcycle-inspired satchels to U.S. customers.
Company owner Allison Hoeltzel Savini said retail sales dried up during the spring. She had already suffered a blow when Barneys, her main client, went bankrupt and didn’t pay for the spring-summer collection that had shipped.
Hoeltzel Savini said she has had to hold off on new hires, and hasn’t been able to do her usual sales trip to the United States.
She got some orders by trying to find consumers directly through newsletters and social media, but remains cautious about the future, as she sees the US market for her goods continuing to slow down. “I am really concerned for the next season, if wholesale clients will be placing orders,” she said.