LIVE: WHO says ‘vaccine nationalism’ cannot beat the coronavirus

‘For the world to recover fast, it has to recover together’: UN health agency urges states to share potential vaccine.

A lab technician wearing a full body protection suit handles a bottle containing growth media for virus production during coronavirus vaccine research at the Valneva SA laboratories in Vienna, Austria
  • Facebook and Twitter have pulled posts by US President Donald Trump for violating their COVID-19 misinformation rules.

  • The Philippines has overtaken neighbouring Indonesia as the country with the highest number of COVID-19 infections in East Asia.
  • India has recorded the biggest single-day coronavirus fatalities of 904 in the past 24 hours.

  • More than 18.8 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, while the global death toll surpassed 708,500 people. More than 11.2 million have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, August 6

23:44 GMT – Dozens of NFL players positive

Fifty-six National Football League players in the US have so far tested positive for COVID-19 since training camps opened to rookies on July 21, according to players’ union data.

Camps opened for all players on July 28, and the season is scheduled to kick off on September 10 with health and safety measures in place designed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

The deadline for players to opt out of the season was set for 20:00 GMT on Thursday, with more than 60 reportedly intending to skip the 2020 campaign over COVID-19 concerns.

20:59 GMT – No second lockdown despite rising cases: Rutte

The Netherlands does not need to undergo a second lockdown, despite a sharp increase in the number of infections.

“The virus is making a dangerous advance and we’re at risk of losing the gains we’ve made together in the past month,” said Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

“We don’t want a second lockdown and we don’t have to have one, but that won’t happen by itself,” he said, asking tourists to avoid busy parts of Amsterdam and the country’s youth to obey social distancing rules.

20:37 GMT – Nigeria to reopen for international air travel in weeks

After months of closure, Nigeria will reopen for international air travel in a matter of weeks, said the aviation minister.

“It will be in weeks rather than in months,” Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika told a regular briefing in the capital Abuja. 

Nigeria began to close its airports in March, a month after Africa’s most populous country confirmed its first coronavirus case. Domestic air travel restarted last month.

20:07 GMT – Ireland says rise in COVID-19 reproduction rate ‘a serious concern’

A rise in the infection rate in Ireland is a “serious concern”, said a leading health official.

The reproduction rate, or the number of people who become infected from each positive case, has increased to 1.8 from 1.3 a week ago, Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, told a news briefing.

“A reproduction number of almost 2 is a serious concern, and although we have not yet seen a significant increase in community transmission, there is a significant risk this could develop over the coming days and weeks,” Nolan said.

19:26 GMT – UK to remove Belgium, Andorra and Bahamas from safe travel list

Passengers arriving into the UK from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra will need to quarantine for 14 days due to concerns over rising infection rates, said transport minister Grant Shapps on Twitter.

In a later post, Shapps added that Brunei and Malaysia were added to the government’s Travel Corridor list due to a decrease in confirmed cases in those countries.

18:59 GMT – NY City set up COVID checkpoints

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced COVID-19 traveller registration checkpoints at key entry points into the city to ensure compliance with New York State quarantine requirements and to further curb the spread of the coronavirus.

18:29 GMT – Denmark drops plan to lift curbs on public gatherings

Denmark will not raise a limit on public gatherings, originally planned for this month, after seeing a spike in infections, said the Danish health ministry.

“It is crucial that we maintain the good position Denmark is in, where we have the epidemic under control,” health minister Magnus Heunicke said.

The Nordic country’s authority on infectious diseases, Statens Serum Institut, would not recommend lifting the limit, the ministry said, as any easing of public gatherings would increase infection risk.

17:55 GMT – France new cases above 1,600 for second day running

People wearing protective masks walk near the Louvre Museum as France reinforces mask-wearing as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
People wearing protective masks walk near the Louvre Museum as France reinforces mask-wearing as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease [Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

France has reported 1,604 new cases in the past 24 hours, the total staying above the 1,600 threshold for the second day running, according to the health ministry.

The ministry also said the number of patients in intensive care units for the disease was on the rise again, at 390 versus 384 the previous day. 

17:28 GMT – ‘Trouble ahead’: US health expert warn of slow rise

White House health experts have warned of a slow rise in the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Washington, and urged local leaders to remain vigilant to avoid a surge.

“This is a predictor of trouble ahead,” top health expert Anthony Fauci told CNN.

16:59 GMT – Ohio governor tests positive, cancels Trump meeting 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has tested positive for coronavirus as part of a safety protocol to greet US President Donald Trump as he arrives in Cleveland to visit a Whirlpool washing machine factory.

16:38 GMT – S Africa’s Ramaphosa sets up body to probe COVID-19 corruption

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has set up a ministerial committee to investigate alleged corruption in state tenders in the fight against COVID-19, according to his office, including with businesses supplying protective gear.

Reports of suspect deals between government officials and businesses providing medical equipment, as well as food aid parcels to the poor, have sparked outrage in South Africa, where more than half a million cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 make it the fifth-largest outbreak in the world.

16:06 GMT – N Ireland pauses pub reopening 

As Northern Ireland reported 43 new cases, its highest daily rise since May, First Minister Arlene Foster halted the programme of reopening pubs and ordered citizens to wear face masks indoors.

“Because of the concern around the level of community transmission and the desire to frankly prioritise the reopening of our schools … we have decided that it is prudent to pause the reopening of our public houses,” Foster told reporters.

15:39 GMT – WHO: Global recovery will come faster if vaccine available to all

Economic recovery around the world could come faster if any COVID-19 vaccine is made available to all as a public good, says WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

He was speaking in an online panel discussion with members of the Aspen Security Forum in the United States moderated by the NBC network.

15:16 GMT – Norway sets 10-day quarantine for some travellers

Norway will reimpose a 10-day quarantine starting from Saturday for all travellers from France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, due to the rising number of cases in those countries.

The Nordic country will also reimpose quarantine for people travelling from Monaco and from certain regions in neighbouring Sweden, while lifting quarantine for other regions.

“We need to slow down now to avoid a full stop down the road,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, adding that the country would put on hold a planned easing of existing restrictions to prevent a full lockdown of society as experienced earlier this year.

14:47 GMT – Pakistan lifts virus restrictions as cases drop

Pakistan will be lifting most of the country’s remaining restrictions after seeing new cases drop for several weeks.

“Pakistan’s situation has improved significantly compared to other countries in the region,” said Asad Umar, who heads Pakistan’s task force to fight the coronavirus.

All restaurants and parks will be allowed to reopen from August 10, as will parks, theatres, cinemas and public transport.

A woman walks past a shuttered market in Rawalpindi on July 29, 2020, after the Punjab province government announced a lockdown closing markets, shopping malls and
Pakistan will be lifting most of the country’s remaining restrictions after seeing new cases drop for several weeks [Farooq Naeem/AFP]

14:28 GMT – Learning ‘pods’: A solution to US education crisis

Starting first grade this year was supposed to be a big deal for Christy Teel’s seven-year-old son, Anderson, and she was going to take a commemorative picture with his backpack on, as he got on the school bus.

But hopes of schools reopening normally in her school district outside of Boston this academic year were dashed a few weeks ago, as cases of coronavirus continued to rise across much of the United States.

Read Jihan Abdalla’s full story here on how parents in the US band together to find a solution to the education crisis triggered by the pandemic. 

14:10 GMT – Trump says vaccine possible before November 3

US President Donald Trump has said it is possible the US would have a vaccine before the November election, a far more optimistic forecast than timing put forth by his own White House health experts.

“Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner,” Trump said after being asked on a radio programme when a vaccine might be ready.

“Sooner than November 3?”

“I think in some cases, yes possible before, but right around that time,” Trump said.

13:52 GMT – Netherlands: cases keep increasing

The number of infections in the Netherlands keeps increasing, prompting Prime Minister Mark Rutte to cut short a vacation to address the public later on Thursday about the surge.

In the past 24 hours, health authorities reported 601 new infections from 427 a day earlier.

People wearing yellow vests hand out masks and information brochures where to wear the mandatory masks in the busiest streets of the city, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
People wearing yellow vests hand out masks and information brochures where to wear the mandatory masks in the busiest streets of the city, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Amsterdam, Netherlands [Eva Plevier/Reuters]

13:20 GMT – 1.2 million seek jobless aid after $600 federal check ends

Nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans have applied for state unemployment benefits in the last week as the pandemic keeps forcing companies to slash jobs just as a critical $600 weekly federal jobless payment has expired.

According to a government’s report, the number of jobless claims declined by 249,000 from the previous week, after rising for two straight weeks, and it was the lowest total since mid-March.

Still, it is the 20th straight week that at least one million people have sought jobless aid.


Hello, this is Virginia Pietromarchi taking over the coronavirus liveblog from my colleague Umut Uras in Doha, Qatar.

12:45 GMT – Lockdown sees Turkish women bear brunt of unpaid work: research

Turkish women did four times as much household and care work as men during lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, research supported by the United Nations Development Programme showed.

A survey conducted in May of more than 2,400 people showed women shouldered most of the unpaid work during lockdown even though men spent substantially more time working in the home.

The gender gap in paid work narrowed under lockdown as a result of changes in work patterns and a fall in men’s paid work hours, the research found, adding, however, gender gaps in unpaid work and total work time widened.

12:15 GMT – Palestinian infected with coronavirus in Israeli prison

A Palestinian detainee has been infected with coronavirus in an Israeli prison in Ramallah, according to Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

The NGO said: “The administration of the Israeli prison of Ofer – western Ramallah – announced that the Naim Abu Turki, 38, has been infected with coronavirus.”

Abu Turki has been detained for four days, and was arrested from his home in Hebron. The number of Palestinians infected with coronavirus in Israeli prisons has risen to four, in addition to two detainees who were diagnosed with COVID-19 after being released.

11:50 GMT – Germany fights virus uptick with mandatory testing for travellers

Germany announces mandatory tests for travellers returning from high-risk regions after new coronavirus cases breached the 1,000-a-day threshold for the first time since May, fuelling fears of a return to an economically disruptive lockdown.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said free compulsory testing would be in force from Saturday after the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health agency, reported 1,045 new cases in a single day.

Part of the increase was due to more tests taking place, he said, but the effect of holidaymakers returning to Germany and of flagging social distancing discipline was also significant.

11:25 GMT – Philippines reports 3,561 new coronavirus cases

The Philippines on Thursday recorded another jump in coronavirus cases to overtake neighbouring Indonesia as the country with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in East Asia.

A recent surge in cases of the virus in and around the capital Manila has pushed authorities to reimpose a lockdown affecting around a quarter of the country’s 107 million people.

The Philippines recorded 3,561 new infections, taking its total confirmed cases to 119,460. The death toll rose by 28 to 2,150, which is less than half of Indonesia’s 5,521 fatalities, but is expected to grow after the recent spike in cases.

outside image - philippines

10:55 GMT – No Turkish hospitals at capacity due to COVID-19: minister

No Turkish hospitals are operating at capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday, after the Reuters news agency quoted doctors as saying some dedicated intensive care units (ICU) were full.

“There are no cities, not even a single hospital, working at capacity due to COVID-19. Claims are unfounded,” Koca said on Twitter.

Doctors in coronavirus hotspots, including Ankara and the southeastern city of Gaziantep, told Reuters that hospitals are logging more cases than are reflected in the official nationwide count, with some ICUs and emergency rooms at capacity.

10:30 GMT – Proportion of COVID-19 contacts reached by English tracing scheme falls

The proportion of the contacts of positive COVID-19 cases reached by England’s test and trace system fell in its latest week, the health ministry has said, adding that the decline was partly due to local health protection teams handling outbreaks.

The Department of Health said 4,642 positive cases were transferred to the system in the week to 29 July, of whom 79.4 percent were reached and asked to provide their contacts.

Some 19,150 people were identified as coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive and of these 72.4 percent were reached and asked to self-isolate, it said, a decrease from 76.2 percent in the previous week.

10:00 GMT – Indonesia’s COVID-19 infections rise by 1,882

Indonesia reported 1,882 new coronavirus infections and 69 additional deaths on Thursday, data from the government’s COVID-19 task force showed.

Those brought the total number of cases to 118,753 and deaths to 5,521.

Indonesia’s case tally was surpassed by the neighbouring Philippines, which with 119,460 coronavirus cases has the most infections in East Asia.

Indonesia commuters
Passengers wearing protective masks and face shields queue for a public bus in Jakarta, Indonesia [Reuters]

09:40 GMT – Human trials of virus vaccine set to begin in Indonesia

Human trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine are due to start in Indonesia next week as part of a collaboration between state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a senior researcher said.

The launch of the vaccine trial comes as Indonesia has struggled to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with a consistently escalating number of cases.

The phase three clinical trial is set to begin on August 11 and will involve 1,620 volunteers aged between 18 and 59, Professor Kusnandi Rusmil, head researcher at Bandung’s Padjadjaran University, told reporters.

09:00 GMT – Canadian jailed in Myanmar for holding services during virus ban

A Myanmar court has sentenced a Canadian preacher who said Christians were immune to the novel coronavirus to jail with hard labour for three months for holding church services in defiance of a ban on gatherings during the outbreak.

David Lah, a Canadian of Burmese origin, and another man, Myanmar national Wai Tun, were detained under a disaster management law over services they held in the city of Yangon in April.

A ban on public gatherings in the commercial capital took effect in mid-March. Judge Moe Swe told reporters both men had been convicted of breaking administrative rules.

08:40 GMT – Hong Kong reports 95 new coronavirus cases 

Hong Kong reported 95 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, of which 91 were locally transmitted, as authorities tried to contain the virus, which has seen a resurgence in the global financial hub over the past month.

Around 3,800 people have been infected in Hong Kong since late January, 44 of whom have died. On Wednesday, 85 new cases were reported.

The government said it was extending the work from home period for civil servants until August 16.

People have lunch at a mall after the government banned dine-in services, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hong Kong
Around 3,800 people have been infected in Hong Kong since late January [Tyrone Siu/Reuters] 

08:20 GMT – UK to slap quarantine on travellers from Belgium: report

The British government will slap a quarantine on arrivals from Belgium after a rise in coronavirus cases, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The Mail said ministers are expected to approve the quarantine at a meeting shortly. The transport ministry declined to comment on the report.

The United Kingdom has already imposed a 14-day quarantine on travellers from Spain and Luxembourg.

08:00 GMT – Russia reports more than 5,200 new coronavirus cases

Russian authorities have reported 5,267 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 871,894, the fourth largest in the world.

The official death toll rose to 14,606, after officials said 116 people had died across the country in the last 24 hours.

Russia's coronavirus cases exceed 806,000
The official death toll has risen to 14,606 across the country in the last 24 hours [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu]

07:30 GMT – Poland faces rising trend of COVID-19 cases: minister

Poland may see a further increase in coronavirus infections, which could reach up to 700 a day during and after this weekend, the health minister said.

On Tuesday, Poland registered its highest daily tally of reported cases at 680.

07:00 GMT – Toyota’s Q1 profit nearly wiped out as coronavirus erodes sales

Toyota Motor Corp posted a 98 percent plunge in its first-quarter operating profit as the coronavirus pandemic halved its global sales.

Japan’s top automaker reported a profit of 13.9 billion yen ($131.73m) for the three months ended June, its worst since the June 2011 quarter. Still, it was better than an average estimate for a loss of 179 billion yen based on a Refinitiv poll of seven analysts.

The bleak results underline the challenges being faced by the global auto industry due to the health crisis that has shuttered factories this year and kept customers out of dealerships, hitting production and sales.

06:25 GMT – Ukraine reports record daily new coronavirus cases

Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,271 new coronavirus cases on August 4, the country’s council of security and defence said.

The number of new infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late-May.

The total number of cases rose to 75,490, including 1,788 deaths and 41,527 recovered as of August 5.

People wearing protective face masks walk out of a metro station in Kyiv
The total number of cases are 75,490, including 1,788 deaths and 41,527 recovered as of August 5 [Reuters] 

06:00 GMT – India reports biggest daily number of deaths

India has recorded the biggest single-day death toll of 904 in the past 24 hours as fresh coronavirus infections surged by another 56,282 cases to reach nearly two million.

The Health Ministry said the total fatalities touched 40,699. India has recorded 20,000 deaths in the past 30 days.

The ministry also said the recovery rate has improved to 67 percent from 63 percent over the last 14 days. Nearly 600,000 patients are still undergoing treatment. The case fatality rate stands at 2.09 percent.

05:45 GMT – Melbourne enters strict new coronavirus lockdown

Australia’s second-biggest city of Melbourne began the first day of a six-week total lockdown with the closure of most shops and businesses raising new fears of food shortages, as authorities battle a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Shops were boarded shut and streets were deserted in the city of about five million people, the capital of Victoria state, which reported 471 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the past 24 hours.

Australia has now recorded about 20,000 COVID-19 cases and 255 fatalities, still far fewer than many other developed nations, but the Victorian outbreak threatens to ruin that record and spill into other states.

Australia has recorded about 20,000 COVID-19 cases and 255 fatalities [AFP] 

Hello, this is Umut Uras in Doha taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.

05:16 GMT – Outbreak shutters huge Papua New Guinea mine

A coronavirus outbreak has forced the closure of a major copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

Ok Tedi Mining said it had decided “to immediately suspend operations for at least 14 days” after seven cases were detected at the facility near the Indonesian border.

The mine, which sits in the remote Papua New Guinea highlands, employs thousands of people and accounts for around seven percent of the country’s GDP, according to company figures.

04:58 GMT – Eight patients die in India hospital fire

Eight coronavirus patients died in a fire that broke out in the intensive care ward of a private hospital in India’s western city of Ahmedabad, officials said.

Police stopped angry relatives from entering the Shrey Hospital in the Gujarat state capital after the tragedy which, according to emergency services, was caused by a medical staff member’s personal protective equipment (PPE) catching fire.

Ahmedabad hospital, Gujarat, India
The fire broke out at the Shrey Hospital in Ahmedabad early on Thursday morning [Reuters]

“A staffer whose PPE caught fire ran out of the ward to douse it but the fire spread rapidly to the whole ward,” said Rajesh Bhatt, additional chief fire officer of the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services.

“Five men and three women, who were undergoing treatment for the novel coronavirus were not in a position to escape… they died due to smoke and heat caused by the fire,” he said.

Read more here.

04:22 GMT – Philippine economy plunges into recession

The Philippines plunged into recession after its biggest quarterly contraction on record, according to data from the country’s Statistics Authority.

Gross domestic product shrank 16.5 percent on-year in the second quarter, data showed, as the Philippine economy reels from one of the world’s longest stay-at-home orders that has wrecked businesses and thrown millions out of work.

It followed a revised 0.7 percent contraction in the first three months of the year and marked the biggest reduction in economic activity since records began in 1981 during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship.

It is the country’s first recession in three decades.

Duterte reimposes coronavirus lockdown as he criticises doctors (2:35)

03:24 GMT – Japan region declares emergency

Hideaki Ohmura, the governor of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, announced a regional “state of emergency”, urging people to stay home at night and businesses to close altogether or close early to curb the coronavirus.

The measures will continue through August 24, a period that coincides with the Obon holidays, when schools and many companies close, he said.

Ohmura said coronavirus cases have been rising in Aichi since mid-July at 100 or more a day. Before that, daily cases had been zero for extended periods.

WHO COVID Debrief on global coronavirus vaccine efforts (4:08)

02:33 GMT – Kim directs aid to North Korean town under lockdown

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un directed his government agencies to act immediately to stabilise the livelihoods of residents in a city locked down over coronavirus concerns, state media reported.

North Korea declared an emergency and locked down Kaesong near the inter-Korean border in late July after finding a suspected virus case there. It has not confirmed yet if the person tested positive.

The Korean Central News Agency said Kim presided over a meeting on Wednesday of the ruling Workers’ Party’s executive policy council where they discussed a special supply of food and funds to Kaesong.

The report did not specify the measures that were to be taken.

01:47 GMT – US adds 1,242 COVID-19 deaths

The US reported 1,262 more COVID-19 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to data by the Johns Hopkins University, figures that take its total death toll to 157,930.

It also added 53,158 new infections and remained the worst-hit country in the world, with a total caseload of 4,818,328.

President Trump nonetheless remained optimistic, saying “This thing’s going away. It will go away, like things go away, and my view is that schools should be open.”

01:06 GMT – Twitter hides Trump post over misinformation

Twitter hid a video posted by Trump campaign’s @TeamTrump account and shared by the US president for breaking the company’s COVID-19 misinformation rules.

The post contained a video clip, from an interview with Fox & Friends in which Trump claimed that children are “almost immune” to COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that while adults make up most of the known COVID-19 cases to date, some children and infants have been sick with the disease and they can also transmit it to others.

A Twitter spokesman told Reuters that the @TeamTrump account owner would be required to remove the tweet before they could tweet again.

Read more here.

00:13 GMT – Facebook removes Trump post

Facebook deleted a post by Trump for the first time, saying it violated its policy against spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

Facebook said the “video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation”.

00:01 GMT – Brazil court rules government must protect tribes

Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that President Jair Bolsonaro’s government must adopt measures to stop the spread of novel coronavirus to the country’s vulnerable Indigenous communities.

A majority of the justices voted to give the government 30 days to draw up a plan to reduce the threat to Indigenous people from COVID-19, which could wipe out some tribes.

Measures should include sanitary barriers to stop outsiders entering protected tribal lands and the isolation of invaders, but the court stopped short of ordering the immediate expulsion of illegal loggers and miners that Indigenous leaders say are spreading the virus.

The action was sought by Brazil’s main Indigenous umbrella organisation APIB, which says Indigenous people have died from COVID-19. Some 22,325 cases have been confirmed among Brazil’s 850,000 Indigenous people, while half of Brazil’s 300 Indigenous tribes have confirmed infections.

The pandemic endangers Indigenous communities with no access to healthcare in remote parts of the Amazon and whose communal living under large dwellings make social distancing impossible.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

For all the key developments from yesterday, August 5, go here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies