Airline execs say that involuntary layoffs could be avoided if US government extends payroll relief.
- Turkey’s new coronavirus cases have jumped to its highest level since mid-June at 1,502, according to data provided by the government, which responded by banning some celebrations in 14 provinces.
- Champion sprinter Usain Bolt has tested positive for coronavirus days after celebrating his 34th birthday with a big party.
- More than 23.6 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 15.3 million have recovered. More than 813,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates:
Tuesday, August 25
20:30 GMT – Lebanon announces record 24-hour coronavirus death toll
Lebanese authorities have said 12 people died due to the coronavirus pandemic in the past 24 hours in the highest tally since COVID-19 arrived in the country in February.
The ministry of health also announced 532 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 13,687 including 138 deaths.
20:15 GMT – On billboards, farewells to Peru’s COVID-19 victims writ large
Peruvians unable to personally bid farewell to loved ones who have died during the novel coronavirus pandemic have seized on the offer of billboard space to say their final adieus writ large.
Around the capital Lima and in eight other cities, posters, billboards and advertising trucks pay homage to victims of the virus, who in most cases were transferred directly from the hospitals where they died to burial sites without funerals because of the risks posed by the highly contagious disease.
“Jano Madrid, you made this world a better place,” reads one; another says: “We will never forget your lovely smile, Petty,” and a third: “Fortunato Mestanza, the mark you left can never be rubbed out.”
20:00 GMT – Turkish opposition leader Babacan tests positive for COVID-19
Turkey’s former economy czar and the leader of the opposition Deva (Remedy) Party, Ali Babacan, said he has tested positive for coronavirus but was in good health, becoming the most high-profile Turkish politician to contract COVID-19.
“I just learned my COVID-19 test result is positive. Thank God, I am in good condition at the moment. My doctors said I needed to remain in quarantine with my family for some time. I will continue my work from home, God willing,” Babacan said on Twitter.
19:45 GMT – Bolsonaro’s son Flavio tests positive for virus in Brazil
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s eldest son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, said he has tested positive for the new coronavirus but was asymptomatic.
The 39-year-old senator’s office said in a statement he was “feeling fine,” isolating at home and taking the anti-malaria drug chloroquine, which his father has aggressively pushed as a treatment for COVID-19 despite studies finding it is ineffective against the virus.
19:30 GMT – Colombia could participate in more vaccine trials, health minister says
Colombia is in discussions to join other phase three clinical trials for a vaccine, the health minister has said, and will not reverse an end to its national quarantine.
The government said on Monday that Colombia, which has nearly 552,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and is finishing more than five months of lockdown at the end of August, would participate in trials with Johnson & Johnson.
“We are also talking with other companies about the possibility of holding clinical trials,” Health Minister Fernando Ruiz told Reuters in a telephone interview. He could not name the companies because of confidentiality restrictions.
18:55 GMT -Young people fueling recent spike of coronavirus in Americas, UN agency says
Young people are driving the spread of the coronavirus in the Americas, the head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has said, noting that both deaths and caseloads have doubled in the region over the past six weeks.
Briefing reporters on a webcast, Dr Carissa Etienne chastised governments that have rushed economic reopenings despite data that shows a worsening pandemic.
“This is not a good sign. Wishing the virus away will not work,” she said, detailing what she described as a “real disconnect” between the relaxation of containment measures and the continuing spread of the virus.
18:15 GMT – Former Maldives president tests positive for COVID-19
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a former president who ruled the Maldives for 30 years, said he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Health authorities in the Maldives warned this week that the spread of the virus in the densely populated capital, Male, may be reaching an “uncontrollable” level.
The city of 150,000 people has reported more than 100 cases almost every day since the beginning of August.
قل لن يصيبنا إلا ما كتب الله لنا. I have tested positive for Covid-19. May Almighty Allah bless me and all other sick people with a speedy recovery and good health! Aameen!
— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) August 25, 2020
18:10 GMT – EU trade chief insists he broke no COVID-19 rules on Irish trip
European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan has said he adhered to all COVID-19 rules during a trip to Ireland in the past month, while acknowledging he should not have attended a golf dinner that has outraged the Irish public.
The event led an Irish minister to resign and several legislators to be disciplined but left a series of questions for Hogan, who also drew criticism for twice visiting a county under lockdown and for using his mobile phone while driving.
“To the best of my knowledge and ability I believe that I complied with public health regulations in Ireland during my visit,” Hogan said in a statement.
17:55 GMT – French new coronavirus infections below last week’s highs
The French health ministry had said it recorded 3,304 new coronavirus infections, well below daily highs seen last week and taking the cumulative total to 248,158.
The number of new infections was above the 1,995 reported on Monday – which traditionally shows a dip – but remained well below Sunday’s new post-lockdown record of 4,897 and below levels above 3,600 reported in the second half of last week.
17:45 GMT – Namibia to resume international tourism from September 1
Namibia’s government has said the country will reopen to foreign visitors from September 1 to try and salvage thousands of jobs in tourism, badly hit by coronavirus travel bans.
The announcement came despite a recent spike in coronavirus cases, which have almost tripled to over 6,000 this month.
Recorded deaths have risen from 11 to 57 since August 1.
17:30 GMT – Africa could be past the peak of virus pandemic: WHO
Africa’s coronavirus outbreak may have passed its peak, the World Health Organization (WHO) continental chief said, warning against complacency to avoid a second wave.
WHO Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti told a conference of African health ministers that numbers of new cases were declining.
“We are seeing that we have had what seems to have been a peak, and now we have the daily numbers of cases being reported overall in the region going down,” she said during an online meeting.
17:05 GMT – Actor Antonio Banderas ‘cured’ of coronavirus
Spanish actor Antonio Banderas has said that he is “cured” of the coronavirus, which he contracted several weeks ago.
The actor known for his roles in films like, The Mask of Zorro. and, Philadelphia, said on Twitter he had kept to a “disciplined confinement” for 21 days since learning he was infected.
After 21 days of disciplinary confinement I can say now that today I overcame the Covid 19 infection. I am cured. My thoughts go to those who weren’t as fortunate as me, and to those who suffered more than I did. I also wish strength to the ones who are in the middle of the fight
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) August 25, 2020
16:40 GMT – Hungary can reopen schools next week, minister says
Hungary can reopen schools next week for the first time since mid-March based on fresh data on coronavirus infections, state news agency MTI has reported, citing Minister of Human Capacities Miklos Kasler.
Kasler said the government had worked out a protocol for schools to follow about social distancing, using sanitisers, and the use of common areas.
He did not go into detail and did not say if wearing a mask would be mandatory.
16:25 GMT – University of Alabama sees 1,000 virus cases since reopening
The University of Alabama, seen as a test case for returning to in-person learning amid the pandemic, has reported close to a thousand positive coronavirus cases since reopening.
The school has published a COVID-19 dashboard which shows a total of 566 positives since last Wednesday when term started, in addition to 400 people who tested positive when arriving.
16:10 GMT – UK daily stats show 1,184 new confirmed cases of COVID-19
The United Kingdom has recorded 1,184 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest daily statistics, up from 853 on Monday, government figures showed.
Sixteen people died after testing positive for the coronavirus within the previous 28 days, compared with four deaths announced on Monday.
15:55 GMT – Teenagers killed by Angolan police enforcing virus rules: Amnesty
Angolan security forces have killed at least seven young men, including minors, when violently enforcing coronavirus lockdown rules between May and July, Amnesty International said.
Most of the victims were teenagers allegedly shot dead by police and army officers, who either fired at them directly or hit the boys accidentally.
15:40 GMT – American Airlines to cut 19,000 jobs when US aid expires in October
American Airlines has said it will cut 19,000 US jobs in October as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on air travel, unless the government extends aid for airline employee payrolls.
Airlines received $25bn in US government stimulus funds in March meant to cover payrolls and protect jobs through September.
As the money runs out without a travel recovery in sight, airlines and unions have lobbied Washington for another $25bn, but talks have stalled.
15:25 GMT – Thousands of Swedes got false positive COVID-19 result due to test kit fault
About 3,700 people in Sweden were told in error that they had the coronavirus due to a fault in a COVID-19 testing kit from China, the Public Health Agency has said.
The kit from BGI Genomics could not distinguish between very low levels of the virus and a negative result, the agency said.
“The supplier must adjust the performance that is required for this test to be used,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, the head of its microbiology department, said.
15:10 GMT – KFC tells customers to hold off on the “Finger Lickin” for now
Kentucky Fried Chicken is temporarily suspending its long-time advertisement slogan “it’s finger lickin’ good”, calling it inappropriate in the current COVID-19 pandemic situation where personal hygiene has become top priority to stem transmission.
In an era when face masks and hand-washing have become the norm and health officials are recommending people to stop touching their faces, KFC said the slogan “doesn’t feel quite right”.
14:55 GMT – India’s new COVID cases top global tally for 18th day
India has reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases globally for the 18th straight day, remaining well ahead of the United States and Brazil, a Reuters tally based on official reporting showed.
It took India from the end of January, when the country’s first case was reported, until July to reach around 1.6 million cases, a period when the government imposed a strict lockdown. However, infections have rocketed by another 1.5 million since the start of August, taking the total to around 3.1 million, behind only Brazil and the United States.
14:40 GMT – Lebanon service sector says will rebel against lockdown
A representative of Lebanon’s hospitality sector has said that service and tourism businesses would defy a newly reinstated coronavirus lockdown that has compounded the blast-hit country’s economic woes.
“From tomorrow, we will open our doors,” said Tony Ramy, head of the syndicate of owners of restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and pastry shops.
12:55 GMT – UK PM Johnson “really pleased” with work done to reopen schools
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “really pleased” by the work teachers had done to get ready to reopen from next week, a test of his government after it failed to return all children to schools earlier this year.
Johnson, whose Conservative government has come under fire for how it has tackled education during the coronavirus crisis, said it was “crucial” for all children to return to school and that he would look at medical evidence to see whether he should change the government’s advice on wearing face coverings.
“I’m really pleased by the work that teachers, schools, parents, pupils have done to get ready,” he said on a visit to southwest England.
12:40 GMT – Spain: PM Sanchez says army to help fight pandemic
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday that the army would be deployed to help regional governments to fight a rise in coronavirus infections.
Spain’s central government will make 2,000 soldiers available to the regions, which are responsible for healthcare, to assist them in tracking cases, he told a news conference.
12:00 GMT – Ugandan prisons demand mass testing after 153 inmates infected
Ugandan prison authorities warned on Tuesday that mass testing is needed for inmates of the country’s congested jails after 153 prisoners tested positive for the coronavirus.
A prison worker and 153 inmates tested positive for the virus on Saturday in Amuru prison near the South Sudan border, Uganda Prisons Service spokesman Frank Baine told the dpa news agency.
“We are asking government to help us carry out the testing of all inmates and prisons staff all over the country. This is when we will know the magnitude of the problem,” Baine said.
“Cases are soaring up everywhere and we are worried for our staff and inmates,” he added.
11:30 GMT – Finnair to cut 1,000 jobs as coronavirus end ‘not in sight’
Finnish national carrier Finnair announced plans on Tuesday to cut 1,000 jobs, or 15 percent of its workforce, amid dire warnings about the economic impact of the coronavirus.
“A rapid turn for the better in the pandemic situation is unfortunately not in sight,” chief executive Topi Manner said in a statement.
“Our revenue has decreased considerably, and that is why we simply must adjust our costs to our new size,” Manner said.
11:00 GMT – Coronavirus cases in Africa approach 1.2 million
Coronavirus cases in Africa are now close to 1.2 million and the death toll on the continent is nearing 28,000, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said in an update.
The total number of COVID-19 infections stands at 1,195,297, including 27,783 fatalities and 921,783 recoveries.
Southern Africa is the continent’s worst-hit region with 652,400 cases and 14,100 deaths.
09:50 GMT – UN: Global tourism loses $320bn amid coronavirus pandemic
The global tourism industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, with $320bn lost in exports in the first five months of the year and more than 120 million jobs at risk, the United Nations chief has said.
In a policy briefing and video address on Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said international tourist arrivals decreased by more than half because of the global health crisis, which has crippled the world’s economies.
Tourism is the third-largest export sector of the global economy, behind fuels and chemicals, and it employs one in every 10 people worldwide, Guterres said. In 2019, it accounted for 7 percent of global trade.
Read more here.
09:30 GMT – Indonesia confirms 2,447 new infections
Indonesia reported 2,447 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 157,859, data from the country’s COVID-19 task force showed.
An additional 99 deaths were recorded, taking the total to 6,858, the highest COVID-19 death toll in Southeast Asia.
09:15 GMT – Coronavirus: Why are more young people getting infected?
An increasing number of young people are now getting infected with the novel coronavirus, with clusters of cases emerging in different locations as countries have eased restrictions and lifted lockdowns.
Between February and July, there was an increase in the proportion of individuals aged between five and 24 being infected, according to an analysis of six million cases – out of the more than 23 million total infections worldwide – reported to the WHO by member states.
Among the available data of these six million cases, one-third of which were from the United States, the proportion of infected people aged five to 14 years grew from 0.8 percent to 4.6 percent, those aged 15 to 24 years grew from 4.5 to 15 percent.
Read more here.
08:55 GMT – Myanmar urged to restore internet in Rakhine to help contain virus
Humanitarian workers battling coronavirus in Myanmar’s Rakhine state have urged authorities to restore high-speed internet access to help tackle rising infections.
Aid workers from three groups said the government should restore 4G internet access to help inform people about the virus.
“If they do not do it at this time, when information is essential, it will be recorded in history as a crime,” said Zaw Zaw Tun, the secretary of one of the aid groups, the Rakhine Ethnic Congress.
Citing security, Myanmar has curbed internet access in large swathes of the area, where many people live in camps due to fighting between the army and ethnic minority fighters.
08:25 GMT – Qantas to cut 2,500 more jobs
Australian flag carrier Qantas announced plans on Tuesday to cut almost 2,500 more jobs, just days after posting a huge annual loss as it reels from a collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus.
Qantas and its budget offshoot, Jetstar, said they would outsource their ground handling operations at all domestic airports, pending a final review of the roles.
It comes on top of 6,000 redundancies already announced as the company undertakes a $10bn cost-cutting blitz in response to “the most challenging period” in its 99-year history.
08:00 GMT – Russia reports more than 4,600 new infections
Russia reported 4,696 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing its national total to 966,189, the fourth-largest in the world.
Authorities said 120 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 16,568.
07:50 GMT – Oxford COVID-19 vaccine data could go before regulators this year
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca could be put before regulators this year if scientists are able to gather enough data, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group said on Tuesday.
“It is just possible that if the cases accrue rapidly in the clinical trials, that we could have that data before regulators this year, and then there would be a process that they go through in order to make a full assessment of the data,” Andrew Pollard told BBC Radio.
Over the past two weeks, at least 150 students and 43 school staff have tested positive in the greater Seoul area, Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae told a briefing.
06:50 GMT – AstraZeneca starts trial of antibody treatment for COVID-19
AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it started early-stage trials for an antibody-based treatment for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, as the British drugmaker also ploughs on with its vaccine candidate.
The trial will evaluate if AZD7442, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, is safe and tolerable in up to 48 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 55 years in the United Kingdom with the backing of the United States.
06:35 GMT – Mexico widens net for infections in battle against virus
Mexican health authorities will begin this week to use a broader definition to identify possible coronavirus cases, a top official said, after questions about whether testing was too limited.
A new definition of “suspected” infections will come into use on Tuesday and will include loss of smell, loss of taste and diarrhoea as possible COVID-19 symptoms, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.
It will also allow a person with just one symptom, rather than two or more, to be viewed as potentially infected.
“This gives you a larger margin of potential, which will result in faster, timelier attention for a greater number of people,” Lopez-Gatell told a news conference.
06:20 GMT – Hong Kong to ease some coronavirus measures
Hong Kong announced it would ease some coronavirus measures from August 28, as the government cautioned against complacency despite a steady fall in the number of new cases.
Hong Kong had seen a resurgence of locally transmitted cases since the start of July but the daily number has fallen from triple digits in recent weeks to low double digits.
Monday’s daily infection count of nine new cases was the lowest in nearly two months.
06:10 GMT –
Hello, this is Hamza Mohamed in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
05:30 GMT – Pakistan’s active cases fall to four-month low
Latest figures from Pakistan show the country has 8,934 active cases of coronavirus – the lowest since April 24, according to Al Jazeera correspondent Asad Hashim.
Pakistan recorded an additional 450 cases on Monday and 11 deaths.
It carried out 24,231 tests with a positivity rate of 1.87 percent.
04:30 GMT – Rohingya mark three years since crackdown
The Muslim-majority Rohingya will mark three years since a brutal crackdown by the Myanmar army forced them into refugee camps in Bangladesh with a “silent protest” forced by coronavirus curbs.
Fear of an outbreak has prompted authorities in Bangladesh to ban all gatherings and restrict refugees’ movements although only 84 cases have been confirmed.
Mohib Ullah, a Rohingya leader in the camps, says people will mark the day with silence and prayers in their makeshift huts.
“There will be no rallies, no work, no prayers or mosques, no NGO or aid activities, no schools, no madrasas and no food distribution,” he told the AFP news agency.
About 750,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in August 2017 in a military crackdown that led to the country being charged with genocide at the United Nations’s top court.
04:15 GMT – FDA’s Hahn apologises over false blood plasma data
While Dr Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has told the Reuters news agency the FDA makes its decisions based on science and public health concerns, he has taken to social media to apologise for misrepresenting a key statistic related to the efficacy of blood plasma treatment for COVID-19.
The agency issued emergency authorisation for plasma use on Sunday, and Hahn came under pressure after repeating a false claim from the US president that the treatment reduced mortality rates by 35 percent.
In a series of tweets, Hahn said the criticism was “entirely justified”.
I have been criticized for remarks I made Sunday night about the benefits of convalescent plasma. The criticism is entirely justified. What I should have said better is that the data show a relative risk reduction not an absolute risk reduction.
— Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) August 25, 2020
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) August 25, 2020
This thread from @SteveFDA Commiss Hahn shows his effort to explain why @US_FDA reversed its position on plasma treatment for #COVID19 on the eve of the #RNCConvention2020 …and his mea culpa for incorrect statement of benefits. And @EricTopol zinger.https://t.co/EzMWR2da6K
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) August 25, 2020
03:35 GMT – FDA commissioner says agency makes decisions based on science, not politics
Dr Hahn says the agency will not be influenced by political pressure when it comes to approving a vaccine for COVID-19.
“I will not participate in a decision at FDA that’s made upon anything other than data and science,” Hahn Reuters. “That I can assure you.”
Hahn said the FDA’s decision to issue an emergency authorisation for blood plasma treatment for coronavirus at the weekend was not political.
The commissioner said the agency was focused solely on the good of the American public and dismissed President Trump’s claims of a so-called “deep state” within the organisation wanting to slow the development of vaccines.
03:00 GMT – Lockdown drives increase in abuse of elderly people
The police in Malaysia say abuse of elderly parents by adult children increased during lockdown, known locally as the MCO.
Siti Kamsiah Hassan, the principal assistant director of the police’s Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division, told the Malay Mail that the unit recorded 134 such cases during the first three months of the MCO compared with 125 cases in the previous three months.
The unit also logged 205 cases of domestic abuse, compared with 261 previously.
The police figures are based on actual complaints received where investigations have been opened, she said.
Malaysian NGOs say there was a rise in domestic violence during the lockdown with families forced to stay at home over a prolonged period of time.
01:40 GMT – Jamaica confirms Bolt has tested positive for coronavirus
Jamaica’s health ministry has confirmed that Usain Bolt has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder over 100 and 200 metres earlier posted a video of himself on Twitter saying he had taken a test and was in quarantine.
Bolt took the test on Saturday, after celebrating his 34th birthday at a big party where he did not wear a mask. He retired from sprinting in 2017.
You can read more on that story here.
01:30 GMT – Jump in cases from unknown sources in Seoul
South Korea has reported 280 new cases of the new coronavirus – including 264 local infections.
While many of the cases are linked to the Sarang Jeil Church and a mass rally many members later attended, there are also a growing number of unlinked cases, according to Yonhap news agency.
It says about 18.5 percent of the cases identified over the past two weeks have no known infection route, compared with 8.5 percent in the previous two-week period.
Physical distancing measures have already been tightened in Seoul and from Wednesday all teaching in schools in the metropolitan area will go online again.
01:05 GMT – Coronavirus catches world’s fastest man?
Usain Bolt has put himself into quarantine after being tested for COVID-19 on Saturday.
“I am trying to be responsible so I am going to stay in and be safe for my friends,” the sprinter, who has won eight Olympic golds, said in a video he posted to Twitter.
Stay Safe my ppl 🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/ebwJFF5Ka9
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 24, 2020
00:15 GMT – Victoria reports 148 cases, eight deaths
The Australian state of Victoria has confirmed 148 new cases of the new coronavirus and eight deaths in the past 24 hours.
The state’s capital, Melbourne, is slightly more than halfway through a six-week lockdown imposed as a second wave of cases emerged in the state.
#Covid19VicData for August 25, 2020.
There have been 148 new cases of #coronavirus (#COVID19) detected in Victoria in the last 24 hours, and 8 deaths. Our thoughts are with all of those affected.
More information will be available later today. pic.twitter.com/X2DprabMoQ
— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) August 24, 2020
00:00 GMT – Fauci warns against rushing approval for vaccine
Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert in the US, has warned about the risk of rushing through a vaccine without testing it properly first.
Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Reuters giving approval to one potential vaccine would make it “difficult, if not impossible for other vaccines to enrol people in their trial”.
Scientists and health experts are concerned US President Donald Trump might pressure the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the country’s main regulator, to approve a vaccine as a way to boost his chances in November’s presidential election.
On Sunday, Trump signed emergency use authorisation for COVID-19 plasma before the treatment had been properly assessed in clinical trials.
“It’s absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective, both,” Fauci said.
23:30 GMT – UN says virus lockdowns have helped keep ISIL at bay
The UN says the threat from ISIL (ISIS) has been reduced by the coronavirus lockdowns imposed in many countries.
“Measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19, such as lockdowns and restrictions on movement, seem to have reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many countries,” said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for counterterrorism.
Voronkov warned, however, that there was evidence ISIL was regrouping in conflict zones like Syria and Iraq, and had an estimated 3,500 fighters in West Africa.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from yesterday (August 24) here.