International Update: Global Covid-19 deaths pass 700,000 as infections exceed 18.5 million – Australian states increase lockdowns

5th August 2020 (Last Updated August 5th, 2020 09:58)

5 August

Global: Global infections of Covid-19 have passed 18.5 million. Meanwhile, the global death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University and Reuters tallies, with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities. Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from Covid-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.

Latin America: Latin America has surpassed Europe to become the region with the highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, according to a Reuters tally. The region has now recorded more than 206,000 deaths, approximately 30% of the global total.

US: California reported 4,526 new cases, its lowest daily tally since June and well below the 14-day average of 8,476 infections, according to state health data. There were 113 added deaths, compared with the two-week daily average of 125. That brings the total to 9,501.

New Zealand: New Zealand must prepare for another local outbreak of the coronavirus, the Director-General of Health warned. It’s inevitable that there will be a case of community transmission of Covid-19, Ashley Bloomfield told Radio New Zealand on Wednesday.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic reported on Wednesday its biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases since the end of June as a recent uptick in infections stays elevated.

Vaccine News

The World Health Organization has urged caution over a coronavirus vaccine that Russia has been developing, the Telegraph reported, citing a document from the organization.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Queensland state will close its border with New South Wales (NSW) to hold back a second wave of Covid-19 infections. A surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city, has forced the state of Victoria to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s movements and order most businesses to stop trading from Wednesday night.

UK: Labour leader Keir Starmer has told Boris Johnson that he has a month to fix Britain’s failing test-and-trace system or risk sending the country into a second lockdown as schools go back in September.

Schools in England should be the last to close and the first to reopen in the event of a second lockdown, the children’s commissioner has said, adding that young people had sometimes been an “afterthought” during the crisis. Anne Longfield said pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops should be shut ahead of schools in the case of emergency restrictions.

Japan: Toshiro Muto, chief executive of Tokyo’s Olympic organizing committee, told the Financial Times that the event will still take place next summer, and that the national government must take a larger role since a comprehensive virus strategy will be crucial.

Economic updates

Global: Gold has soared to a record high price of $2,030.72 per ounce as financial markets move money into ultra-safe assets that they think are less likely to lose value if the world slumps into a prolonged recession thanks to Covid-19.

US: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will visit Taiwan in coming days, making the highest-level visit by a US official in 40 years in a move likely to anger China which claims the island as its own.

US losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100m since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of Covid-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group has said.

Virgin Atlantic has become the latest corporate casualty of the pandemic after declaring itself bankrupt and has filing for protection from creditors in the US. The move means it can restructure its debt and plot a course back into operation.