US coronavirus caseload tops 6 million: Live news

Several US states report record daily infections; New Zealand eases restrictions, makes masks compulsory.

Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on August 03, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Texas has had the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the Un
Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on August 03, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Texas has had the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, following Florida and California. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP [AFP]
  • The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States has surged past the six million mark, with states including Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota reporting daily records. More than 183,000 people have died from the disease in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.

  • The number of cases globally has gone past 25 million, with deaths exceeding 844,000. More than 16.5 million people have recovered.

  • New Zealand has made face masks compulsory as it eases coronavirus restrictions in Auckland that were imposed after a sudden spike in cases.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, August 31

20:35 GMT – UN chief says COVID-19 deepens gender inequality 

The United Nations chief has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened inequality between men and women and reversed “decades of limited and fragile progress on gender equality and women’s rights.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned young women from civil society organizations at a virtual town hall meeting that “without a concerned response, we risk losing a generation or more of gains.”

During the pandemic, he said “women have been on the front lines of the response, as health care workers, teachers, essential staff and as carers in their families and communities.” A majority of health care workers are women, but less than a third are in decision-making roles, he said. 

Guterres said the pandemic has impacted physical and mental health, education, and labor force participation. He also noted reports in some places of increases in teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence.

20:30 GMT – US coronavirus infections exceed 6 million 

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States topped 6 million on Monday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, while global cases have exceeded 25 million.

The grim milestone comes around three weeks after the toll reached 5 million in the US, which leads the world by far in confirmed infections.

The US also has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths, at more than 183,300, as well as one of the worst figures on a per capita basis. Experts expect the figure to rise, with one model from research institute IHME predicting at least 317,300 fatalities by December 1.

The pandemic has shown signs of easing in states including California and Florida, which were some of the main drivers of the weeks-long surge in infections that began in mid-June.

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18:25 GMT – EU offers 400 mln euros to WHO-led COVID-19 vaccine initiative 

The European Commission has said that it would contribute to an initiative led by the World Health Organization to buy COVID-19 vaccines, while the WHO said Germany had joined the pact and that the agency was still negotiating with the bloc.

The Commission, announcing that it would provide 400 million euros ($478 million) in guarantees, did not clarify whether EU states would acquire shots through the WHO scheme.

“Germany has joined the COVAX facility today,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Gheybreyesus told a news conference in Geneva without elaborating the terms.

“And also we’re negotiating with the rest of EU members. One possibility we are checking is for the EU members to join as a bloc. I think the best way to end this pandemic is through solidarity, through cooperation, through oneness,” Tedros added.

17:50 GMT – Italy daily coronavirus cases drop to 996 

Italy has Monday reported a daily increase of 996 in its novel coronavirus infections count, the first time the closely-watched figure fell below 1,000 since August 25. 

The Health Ministry said total infections rose to 269,214, while there were six new fatalities, raising the overall death toll to 35,483. 

During August 26-30, daily infection figures hovered between 1,300 to 1,400, the highest levels since early May, a time when Italy began easing strict lockdown measures.  

Italy was the first Western country to be hit with the pandemic, but, after a severe health emergency in March and April, it brought infection rates under control in the following months. 

17:35 GMT – France reports 3,082 new coronavirus cases 

French health authorities have reported 3,082 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from a caseload of above 5,000 each on the two previous days, but the Monday figure always tends to dip as there are less tests conducted on Sundays.

The seven-day moving average of new infections, which smoothes out reporting irregularities, stood at 5,167, reaching a new record for a fourth day in a row, versus a low of 272 on May 27, two weeks after the country ended its two-months long lockdown.

France’s cumulative total of COVID-19 infections has reached 281,025, up 50% in comparison with the July 31 figure.

The number of people hospitalised with the disease are up for the second day running after going down for almost two weeks.

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16:50 GMT – Emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines needs great care: WHO

The emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines requires a “great deal of seriousness and reflection”, the World Health Organization has said.

Although every country had the right to approve drugs without full trial, “it is not something that you do lightly”, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference.

16:35 GMT – Opening up without control of COVID-19 is a ‘recipe for disaster’: WHO

The World Health Organization called on countries to persevere with restrictions to tackle COVID-19, director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, adding that opening up without control of the virus would be a “recipe for disaster”.

Tedros recognised that many people are getting tired of restrictions and want to return to normality after eight months of the new coronavirus.

“We want to see children returning to school and people returning to work places, but we want to see it done safely,” Tedros told a news conference.

“No country can just pretend the pandemic is over,” he said. “The reality is this virus spreads easily. Opening up without control is a recipe for disaster.” 

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16:10 GMT – Spain reports more than 23,000 new coronavirus cases since Friday 

Spain has registered more than 23,000 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a news conference, suggesting the infection rate had declined slightly from a peak reached the previous week.

Health ministry data showed 2,489 new cases were diagnosed in the past 24 hours, while the cumulative total of cases since the onset of the pandemic hit 462,858.

Five people died in the past day, bringing the total death toll to 29,094, the data showed. The latest statistics could be modified in future as Spain retroactively adjusts its daily data.

15:40 GMT – UK records 1,406 new coronavirus cases 

The United Kingdom has recorded 1,406 daily confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to government data published on Monday, down from 1,715 a day earlier.

Two people died within 28 days of testing positive for the disease, the daily statistics release said, bringing the total death toll under that measure to 41,501. 

Sceptics wary of Hong Kong COVID testing programme China funded (2:23)

15:00 GMT – Mayor of Libya’s Misrata dies of coronavirus 

The mayor of the western city of Misrata has died of the novel coronavirus, Libya’s unity government said, as the conflict-scarred country struggles with mounting cases.    

“It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Moustafa Karwad, mayor of Misrata, Monday morning, after a battle against the coronavirus disease,” the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement on its Facebook page. 

The municipality of Misrata, 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital, said local elections would go ahead as planned this week “in accordance with the wishes of the deceased and the wish of members of the (city) council”, after a mourning period of three days. 

The United Nations support mission in Libya, UNSMIL, tweeted its condolences, calling Karwad “a dedicated person totally omitted to serving citizens and the nation”.

14:25 GMT – Russia to vaccinate high risk groups against COVID-19 towards end of year

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has said that mass vaccination of high risk groups in the country against COVID-19 would begin in November-December this year, Russian news agencies reported.

Russia this month became the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, prompting international experts to question its safety and efficacy.

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12:15 GMT – UAE flies aid to Syria to help battle coronavirus

The UAE has sent medical aid to war-torn Syria to combat the novel coronavirus, in the first such delivery since their leaders broke a nine-year silence, the Syrian Red Crescent said on Monday.

The shipment included medicines, ventilators and disinfectant, the Red Crescent and state news agency SANA said.

It comes after President Bashar al-Assad and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan spoke on the phone in March for the first time since Syria’s war erupted in 2011.

11:25 GMT – At least 100 Indonesian doctors die of COVID-19

At least 100 Indonesian doctors have died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic, the country’s medical association said.

“The number of our colleagues who have fallen during the fight against COVID-19 has reached 100,” Daeng Faqih, chairman of the Indonesian Medical Association, said in a statement.

“The number of other health workers who have succumbed to the disease also continues to increase,” he said, without citing a number.

10:35 GMT – EU offers $476m in guarantees to WHO-led COVID-19 vaccine initiative

The European Commission said it would contribute 400 million euros ($476m) in guarantees to an initiative led by the World Health Organization to buy COVID-19 vaccines.

Countries wishing to be part of the WHO initiative, dubbed COVAX, had to submit expressions of interest by Monday.

10:05 GMT – Scientists see downsides to top COVID-19 vaccines from Russia, China

The COVID-19 vaccines developed in Russia and China are based on a common cold virus that many people have been exposed to, potentially limiting their effectiveness, some experts say.

CanSino Biologics’s vaccine, approved for military use in China, is a modified form of adenovirus type five, or Ad5.

A vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, approved in Russia earlier this month despite limited testing, is based on Ad5 and a second less common adenovirus.

“The Ad5 concerns me just because a lot of people have immunity,” said Anna Durbin, a vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins University. “I’m not sure what their strategy is … maybe it won’t have 70 percent efficacy. It might have 40 percent efficacy, and that’s better than nothing, until something else comes along.”

09:30 GMT – Ghana to reopen international airport after five months

Ghana screening
 A health worker checks the temperature of a traveller as part of the coronavirus screening procedure last January at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana [File: Francis Kokoroko/Reuters]

Ghana will reopen its international airport on Tuesday but with new regulations in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the president announced.

Kotoka International Airport, located outside the capital Accra, was closed in March along with other border points in a bid to contain the virus in the West African country.

Land borders would remain closed, President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a nationwide broadcast.

09:00 GMT – Hong Kong to resume face-to-face school classes by late September

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said the city will resume face-to-face school classes from September 23.

The city’s government had said at the start of August that face-to-face classes would be suspended indefinitely as the Chinese special administrative region battled to control a third wave of the coronavirus.

Schools in the former British colony have been mostly shut since January with many having switched to online learning.

08:40 GMT – Gaza Strip registers 69 new virus infections

Palestinian health authorities reported 69 new infections from the coronavirus in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the health ministry said the territory’s virus count rose to 356 confirmed cases, including four deaths and 17 recoveries. 

The ministry warned of a shortage of necessary medical supplies to curb the virus outbreak due to the 14-year Israeli blockade on the strip.

07:40 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus cases approach one million

Russia has reported 4,993 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its nationwide tally to 995,319 – the fourth largest caseload in the world.

Russia’s coronavirus task force said 83 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 17,176.

07:10 GMT – Pakistan reports lowest daily COVID-19 cases

Pakistan’s daily number of COVID-19 infections continued to drop as authorities reported 213 additional cases, the lowest daily figure since May.

The total number of infections to date reached 295,849, with 603 patients in critical condition, according to the health ministry data.

The data also shows a gradual decline in the number of fatalities, with six more deaths from the disease across the country, raising the death toll to 6,294.

06:50 GMT – Paris to make free COVID-19 tests available in the capital

The Paris local municipality said it would look to make free COVID-19 testing available in all of the capital’s 20 districts (arrondissements), as authorities battle against signs of a re-emergence of the virus in France.

The Paris mayor’s office added in a statement that from Monday onwards, three permanent laboratories would be set up to conduct free COVID-19 tests, as well as two other mobile laboratories that would go around the capital. 

Hello, this is Linah Alsaafin taking over the blog from my colleague Ted Regencia.

05:24 GMT – Malaysia marks Independence Day amid COVID-19 pandemic

Malaysia marked its 63rd Independence Day on Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, including international tourism until the end of 2020.

On the eve of the celebration on Sunday night, thousands of people gathered in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, but celebrations were muted with the government cancelling the usual fireworks display.

Malaysia has seen a significant decline in the number of cases, with 17 new infections reported on Sunday.

On Friday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said, “It will be a long time before our country is free from the dangers of COVID-19.”

05:00 GMT – Thailand reports single imported coronavirus case, no new fatalities

Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration reported on Monday that a British woman has tested positive for COVID-19, raising the country’s total infections to 3,412.

No new deaths were reported on Monday, keeping the death toll at 58.

Thailand -
All of Thailand’s cases in the past three months have been detected in quarantine [File: EPA] 

04:36 GMT – India coronavirus cases surge to 3.62 million

India reported 78,512 new novel coronavirus infections on Monday, just less than 200 compared with the record number of daily cases the country registered the previous day.

India now has a total of 3.62 million cases, just behind the US and Brazil. It has the third-highest fatalities at 64,400, according to Johns Hopkins University.

04:10 GMT – Thousands arrested in China for pandemic-related offences

China’s state prosecutor’s office has reported that nearly 5,800 people have been arrested during the pandemic for committing crimes ranging from killing health workers, selling defective medical equipment and lying about their travel history.

One case involved a shopper beating to death a customer who reminded him to wear a mask in a supermarket, according to AFP news agency.

“From January to July, 5,797 people were arrested and 6,755 were prosecuted,” the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said.

Other cases involved alleged embezzlement of and stabbing of a health inspector. 

03:42 GMT – Germany reports 610 new COVID-19 cases

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, which monitors infectious diseases in the country, has reported 610 new cases, bringing the total to more than 242,000 as of Monday.

The death toll has reached 9,298, up three fatalities from the previous day.

03:25 GMT – US eyes giving COVID-19 vaccine emergency approval

Stephen Hahn, the head of the US Food and Drug Administration, has raised the possibility of giving an emergency approval on coronavirus vaccines being developed in the country, even before trials are concluded.

“If they do that before the end of phase three,” which involves large-scale human testing, “we may find that appropriate. We may find that inappropriate, we will make a determination,” Hahn told the Financial Times.

The US has reported almost six million cases and 183,000 deaths, raising criticism and questions against the Trump administration’s handling of the deadly pandemic.

03:01 GMT – Greece’s coronavirus cases surpass 10,000

Greece’s health authorities reported that the coronavirus cases in the country have exceeded 10,000, half of which were reported just in August.

At least 157 new cases were reported on Sunday, including 41 from overseas.

Greece also reported two more deaths bringing the country’s total to 262.

02:45 GMT – Half a million people sign up for free COVID-19 test in Hong Kong

Despite calls for a boycott, more than 420,000 Hong Kong residents have registered for free universal coronavirus testing, which is set to begin on Tuesday, according to Hong Kong authorities.

According to the Gov.HK website, since the online booking system started, at least 80 community testing centres have been fully booked.

The Hong Kong government has initially set a seven-day testing period, although it has not set a target for testing.

02:10 GMT – China reports 17 new coronavirus cases

Beijing, China
All 17 cases reported on Monday were imported and there were no additional deaths recorded [Ng Han Guan/AP]

China’s National Health Commission reported on Monday at least 17 new coronavirus cases – all imported – as of the end of Sunday.

That brings the total number of imported cases to 2,499, according to Xinhua news agency.

There were no new reported deaths in the mainland keeping the total at 4,634. Most of China’s 85,048 COVID-19 patients have recovered.

01:45 GMT – South Korea reports decline in new cases

The number of daily new coronavirus cases in South Korea has stayed below 300 for the second consecutive day on Monday, Yonhap news agency reported quoting Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The country reported 248 new COVID-19 cases, including 238 local infections, raising the total caseload to 19,947, KCDC said. That’s down from the 299 cases reported on Sunday. 

One more patient died from the novel coronavirus, raising the death toll to 324. Almost 15,000 of the cases have fully recovered.

01:30 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports lowest infections since July 3

Australia’s state of Victoria has recorded 73 new coronavirus cases on Monday – its lowest total since July 3.

The state’s death toll also increased by 41, including 22 cases at an elder care facility that were reported belatedly.

Meanwhile, New South Wales raised its health alerts in some areas after a cluster of infections. It reported seven new cases on Sunday.

Australia has reported more than 24,000 cases, at least 3,100 of them active. It has recorded at least 652 deaths.

01:05 GMT – Mexico’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 64,000

Mexico has confirmed 4,129 new coronavirus infections and 339 additional fatalities, bringing the total number of cases to 595,841 and 64,158 deaths.

The number of cases and deaths, however, continues to be on a downward trend, according to data from the ministry of health, although the government has long acknowledged that the real number of infections could be higher than the numbers being reported.

Mexico - coronavirus
People demanding the resignation of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, commonly referred to by his initials AMLO, in a protest organised by the Frente Nacional anti-AMLO or National Front Against AMLO, at the Plaza de la Republica in Mexico City, on August 30, 2020 [AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo]

00:30 GMT – New Zealand eases restrictions for Auckland residents

New Zealand has eased coronavirus restrictions in the city of Auckland, and made the use of face masks compulsory.

The New Zealand Herald reported many of the city’s residents “swarming to the city’s airport” to take advantage of the travel opportunity.

New Zealand has reported more than 1,700 cases and 22 deaths from coronavirus.

00:15 GMT – Several US states report daily record of COVID-19 cases

The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States is nearing six million, with states including Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota reporting daily records.

More than 183,000 people have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the US states of Montana and Idaho have reported record numbers of COVID-19 hospitalisations, according to reports.

In an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said the trend was worrisome.

00:01 GMT – Brazil reports 566 deaths and 16,000 new cases

Brazil’s health ministry has reported 566 additional coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours and 16,158 new cases, bringing the country’s death toll to 120,828 deaths, with 3,862,311 total infections.

The numbers of deaths and new cases as of the end of Sunday were significantly lower than those on the previous day, which could either be attributed to delays in reporting by the state government, or an overall continuing downward trend.

The country has the second-highest number of deaths and infections. It leads in the number of recoveries at 3.2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.


Read all the key developments from yesterday (August 30) here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies