WHO says official COVID-19 deaths underestimates true toll: Live

WHO’s top emergencies expert Mike Ryan says reported numbers probably underestimate individuals who either contracted or died due to COVID-19.

Healthcare workers show the body of someone who died of COVID-19 to relatives in Gauhati, India [Anupam Nath/AP]
Healthcare workers show the body of someone who died of COVID-19 to relatives in Gauhati, India [Anupam Nath/AP]
  • World Health Organization official says the official global death toll from COVID-19 probably underestimates the true total, suggesting it could be over a million already.
  • India reports a total of six million cases as it inches closer to the United States as the most-infected nation.
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “deeply concerned” about sharply rising new coronavirus infections in Germany, adding daily cases could increase almost tenfold by Christmas.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, September 28:

20:18 GMT – Premier League returns 10 positive coronavirus cases

Ten Premier League players or staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the past week, the highest number of infections since the English top-flight returned from a three-month layoff in June.

Manchester City also announced last week that German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan had contracted the virus [File: Justin Setterfield/Reuters]

19:58 GMT – Chicago mayor loosens COVID-related restrictions

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has loosened COVID-19-related capacity restrictions for businesses such as bars, restaurants and health clubs.

The new guidelines, which will take effect on Thursday, will increase indoor capacity to 40 percent for certain businesses, reopen bars for indoor service and increase maximum group sizes for fitness classes and after-school programmes, a statement from the mayor’s office said.

19:20 GMT – Slovakia bans most public cultural, sports events over COVID-19

Slovakia’s government is banning most public cultural and sports events due to the alarming spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Igor Matovic has said.

Matovic told a news conference people should wear face masks, avoid family gatherings and keep distancing to avoid further restrictions.

“All the measures will be in effect from October 1 until further notice. Until we break the rising curve to a declining one,” Matovic said.

The exact wording of the rules is yet to be finalised and some exceptions will be made such as sport where all participants have a fresh negative test for the coronavirus – meaning some professional matches might be able to take place.

18:53 GMT – Discontent simmers as Spanish authorities spar over Madrid lockdown

A clash between Madrid’s regional authorities and the Spanish government over how to contain the city’s surging coronavirus caseload is provoking growing discontent among residents in poorer areas who say they have been unfairly targeted.

The region extended a partial lockdown on Friday to 45 districts with high infection rates, the majority of which are in low-income neighbourhoods.

New restrictions prompted accusations of class discrimination from residents and concern from the national government, which wants even wider restrictions [File: Manu Fernandez/AP]

18:24 GMT – US CDC reports 204,328 coronavirus deaths

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 7,095,422 cases of the new coronavirus as of 4pm ET on September 27, an increase of 36,335 cases from its previous count a day earlier, and said the number of deaths had risen by 295 to 204,328.

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.

18:10 GMT – France’s number of new COVID-19 cases down, casualties up

French health authorities reported 4,070 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Saturday’s third-highest ever tally of 14,412 and Sunday’s 11,123.

The seven-day moving average of new infections, which smoothes out reporting irregularities, stood at 12,083 – above the 12,000 threshold for a fourth day in a row – versus a low of 272 on May 27, two weeks after the country ended its two-month-long lockdown.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 81 to 31,808.

The cumulative number of new coronavirus cases in France now totals 542,639 [File: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

17:59 GMT – Dutch PM says no audiences at sport gatherings for three weeks

The Dutch government announced new measures intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus including limiting travel, closing bars and restaurants early and discouraging public gatherings.

The measures came amid a second wave of infections.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said measures would include wider use of cloth masks for the public in Amsterdam and other big cities [File: Tatyana Zenkovich/Reuters]

17:53 GMT – New US COVID-19 cases rise in 27 states

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States has risen for two weeks in a row in 27 out of 50 states, with North Carolina and New Mexico both reporting increases above 50 percent last week, according to a Reuters analysis.

The US recorded 316,000 new cases in the week ended September 27, up 10 percent from the previous seven days and the highest in six weeks, according to the analysis of state and county data.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, told ABC News the country was “not in a good place”.

“There are states that are starting to show (an) uptick in cases and even some increases in hospitalisations in some states. And, I hope not, but we very well might start seeing increases in deaths.”

17:46 GMT – Canada’s Quebec expected to announce new restrictions as coronavirus cases rise

Quebec, the Canadian province hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, reported another sharp increase in daily infections, amid media reports that Premier Francois Legault would announce new restrictions for Montreal and capital Quebec City.

Quebec reported an additional 750 coronavirus cases despite existing restrictions on mask-wearing and social gatherings put in place by Canada’s second-most populous province to contain the spread.

Health Minister Christian Dube told a French-language talk show on Sunday night the two cities were close to being listed as red zones, referring to the province’s traffic light system for designating transmission, with red being the hardest-hit.

17:33 GMT – Panama to pay $1.9m for WHO COVID-19 vaccine

Panama’s health ministry has agreed to spend $1.9m next month in an initial payment for COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVAX vaccine programme, officials said.

Health vice minister Ivette Berrio said Panama’s government hoped to make 1.3 million shots available through COVAX, about a fifth of the Central American nation’s overall vaccine requirement.

17:21 GMT – Official COVID-19 death toll probably underestimates true total says WHO

The official global death toll from COVID-19 probably underestimates the true total – suggesting it could be over a million already, a WHO official said.

Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO said he can assure people the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true death toll of COVID19 [File: Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

17:03 GMT -Pelosi says Trump administration must boost COVID-19 aid offer

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called on the Trump administration to boost their offer for more financial aid amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, saying she planned further talks with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later today.

Pelosi, in an interview on MSNBC, said the two had spoken briefly on Sunday and she still hoped Democrats and the White House could find common ground.

16:45 GMT – Spain reports 31,785 new coronavirus cases since Friday

Spain’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 748,266, rising by 31,785 from Friday’s total, health ministry data showed.

The cumulative death toll is up to 31,411 from 31,232 on Friday.

Daily deaths are now around their highest levels since early May but are well below the late March record of nearly 900.

16:32 GMT – UN says most countries failing to address women’s needs during pandemic

Only one in eight countries worldwide have brought in measures to specifically protect women from the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a database of government responses to COVID-19 launched by two UN agencies.

The crisis offers a chance to reshape societies for a fairer future, but many nations are failing to protect women and girls from pandemic-linked risks such as a surge in domestic abuse, said UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

16:01 GMT – WHO says 120 million rapid COVID-19 tests to be provided to poorer countries

Some 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 will be made available to low- and middle-income countries over a period of six months, the WHO has said.

The tests provide reliable results in just 15 minutes, the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a news conference in Geneva.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the tests will be priced at a maximum of $5 a unit [File: Fabrice Coffrini/Reuters]

15:36 GMT – UK health minister moves to defuse dispute with legislators

British health minister Matt Hancock moved to defuse a row with some legislators over the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying he was looking at ways to better involve Parliament in setting any national measures.

“We’re looking at further ways to ensure the House (of Commons) can be properly involved in the process, in advance if possible. I hope to provide the House with further details soon,” he told parliament.

Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would meet Graham Brady, a senior Conservative, who has led efforts to try to win parliament more power over the government’s restrictions [File: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Reuters]

15:05 GMT – Kenya’s president extends national curfew, shortens hours

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the nationwide curfew put in place to curb the spread of the new coronavirus but said it would end two hours later at 11pm local time.

Kenyatta, who said the COVID-19 infections curve had been flattened, also lifted a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars.

14:45 GMT – UK government brings in new legal restrictions for northeast

British health minister Hancock said on Monday the government was introducing legal restrictions on households mixing in northeast England to try to reduce a growing number of coronavirus cases.

“Unfortunately, the number of cases continues to rise sharply,” Hancock told Parliament.

“We know that a large number of these infections are taking place in indoor settings outside the home. And so, at the request of the local councils, with whom we’ve been working closely, we will introduce legal restrictions on indoor mixing between households in any setting.”

British health minister Matt Hancock said the changes would apply to parts of the northeast where the government had introduced local action two weeks ago [Ilyas Tayfun Salci/Anadolu]

14:30 GMT – UK reports 4,044 new cases of COVID-19, 13 deaths

The UK has reported 4,044 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of cases to 439,013, government data showed.

The daily cases figure was down from 5,693 on Sunday.

The UK also recorded 13 new deaths from the virus, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 42,001.

14:00 GMT – Dutch consider restricting travel to Amsterdam

The Dutch government is considering restricting travel to and from the nation’s biggest cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague – as part of measures to counter a second wave of coronavirus infections, broadcaster NOS reported.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was considering further “regional” measures as the country’s COVID-19 outbreak has risen from low levels in late August to above 2,500 cases a day, more than at the peak of the first wave in April. Rutte has rejected the idea of a second lockdown or making face masks mandatory.

13:45 GMT – Oman to reopen mosques

Oman will reopen mosques for prayers on November 15 with strict measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, state media reported, citing a statement from the Islamic affairs ministry.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the main one in the Sultanate of Oman [Baba Umar/Al Jazeera]

13:25 GMT – France unveils big budget as virus cases worsen

France launched a free-spending budget plan saying a new spike in COVID-19 cases justified its unprecedented loosening of the purse strings.

After 460 billion euros ($537bn) of emergency spending this year to save the economy from the virus fallout, the government built its 2021 budget around a 100-billion-euro ($117bn) “recovery plan”, first announced this month and partly funded by EU money.

The budget came after France’s health services on Saturday reported 14,412 new virus cases over the previous 24 hours – only slightly lower than the record 16,000 registered on both Thursday and Friday.

The spike threatens to overwhelm hospitals, health officials warned, while the government imposed fresh curbs to limit the spread of the virus, including on restaurants, bars and sports facilities.

13:20 GMT – UK government pledges to work with Parliament on COVID-19 plan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government will work with Parliament wherever possible to keep members of Parliament updated on the latest COVID-19 data and any plans to restrict the spread of the virus.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week defended new, stricter coronavirus measures against criticism that they did not get far enough [File: PRU/AFP]

13:00 GMT – India coronavirus cases top six million

India’s coronavirus case tally passed six million after it reported 82,170 new infections in the last 24 hours, as the pandemic rages across the vast South Asian nation.

With 6.1 million infections according to the health ministry, India is on course to pass the US in the coming weeks as the country with the most cases.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Arwa Ibrahim.

For all the key developments from last week, go here

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