International update: Global Covid-19 deaths near 800,000 as infections approach 22.7 million – new cases surge as lockdowns lifted

21st August 2020 (Last Updated August 21st, 2020 10:44)

21 August

Global: The global death toll from Covid-19 has edged closer towards 800,000. There have been 793,864 fatalities from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, and almost 22.7 million cases.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.8% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 5.55 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase – the fourth straight day that cases rose by 0.8% — was lower than the average daily gain of 0.9% over the past week. Deaths now number 174,283.

Latin America: The number of Covid-19 deaths in Latin America surged past 250,000 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally. The grim milestone was passed as Brazil reported 1,204 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours. Over the past week, the region has reported more than 3,000 deaths a day, while daily caseloads continue to rise in Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

India: India hurtled toward the three million mark for coronavirus cases, reporting 68,898 new infections in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the country now stands at 2.9 million. Deaths in the same period jumped by 983, with the total now at 54,849.

South Korea: South Korea faces “very serious situation” as it seeks to trace thousands who attended a conservative rally at the weekend. It has seen a spike in cases centred around a church whose members were among thousands who attended the anti-government rally. South Korea added 324 cases in 24 hours compared with 288 a day earlier, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. There were two additional deaths.

Australia: The state of Victoria has recorded 179 new cases of Covid-19. It was the lowest one-day increase in five weeks and a sign that the outbreak that brought a lockdown on Melbourne was being brought under control.

Germany: Germany recorded 1,586 new infections in the 24 hours through Friday, the same number as Thursday and above 1,000 for a fourth straight day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Japan: Japan’s current wave of coronavirus infections has more or less reached its nationwide peak, said Shigeru Omi, head of the government’s virus advisory panel. Japan saw a second wave of infections that started a few weeks ago after opening the economy following a period under a state of emergency. The country reported 1,185 new infections on Thursday, according to NHK, down from a peak of more than 1,600 seen on 7 August.

Argentina: Argentina reported a record daily rise of 8,225 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 320,884. There were 111 new deaths, taking the total to 6,517.

UK: Virus cases in England increased by more than a quarter in the week through 12 August, underscoring the risks facing Boris Johnson’s government as it tries to boost economic activity without triggering a new peak in the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Global: Authorities in Peru and Morocco approved Phase 3 clinical trials for a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the company said late on Thursday.

US: A senior US health regulator has vowed to resign if the Trump administration tries to rush approval of a vaccine. Peter Marks of the Food and Drug Administration said there was growing concern that the White House will try to approve a treatment before the November election even if it is not safe.

Mexico: Mexico will receive at least 2,000 doses of Russia’s potential Covid-19 vaccine, dubbed ‘Sputnik V’, to test among its population, according to the Mexican foreign minister.

Lockdown updates

Myanmar: Health authorities ordered residents of Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, to stay at home after detecting three more locally transmitted cases, according to the Myanmar Times newspaper. A total of nine cases have been reported in Rakhine since August 16, when authorities detected Myanmar’s first locally transmitted case in nearly a month.

Morocco: King Mohammed VI warned that Morocco could return to a complete coronavirus lockdown amid a jump in infections that has strained health services and triggered protests by medical staff. New cases nationally have surged to more than 1,000 a day since Morocco lifted a strict three-month-long lockdown in late June and hit a record high of 1,766 on August 15. As of Thursday, Morocco had recorded a total 47,638 cases, including 775 deaths and 32,806 recoveries.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported nine new locally transmitted coronavirus cases, and put off a decision about easing restrictions in its biggest city of Auckland to next week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would announce on Monday whether the government would ease alert level 3 restrictions enforced in Auckland, and level 2 measures in the rest of the country.

Japan: Japan plans to ease its Covid-19 entry restrictions on foreign nationals with resident visas starting next month, public broadcaster NHK reported. Re-entry will be permitted for visa holders, including permanent residents and exchange students, on condition that they undergo coronavirus testing and quarantine for 14 days, the same policy that applies to Japanese citizens re-entering the country, according to NHK.

France: Schools in France will open as planned on 1st September, despite calls from teachers for more time to prepare because of the coronavirus, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said in a television interview.