Novel coronavirus has infected more than 184 million people and killed more than 3.9 million. Here are the latest Covid-related developments for July 3:

Afghan doctors check a Covid-19 patient's files at the Afghan-Japan Communicable Disease Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 30, 2021.
Afghan doctors check a Covid-19 patient's files at the Afghan-Japan Communicable Disease Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 30, 2021. (AP)

Saturday, July 3:

Afghanistan finds deadly fungal infection patients

A deadly fungal infection known as "black fungus' that first surfaced in Indian Covid-19 patients has been detected in Afghanistan, which is in the middle of a brutal third wave of the coronavirus, Health Minister Wahid Majroh said.

Afghanistan has recorded one death from the fungus, which has been detected in two other patients, he said.

In Afghanistan, where people rarely wear masks and there is no social distancing, the numbers of new cases have been steadily rising, with 1,272 new cases in the past 24 hours and 92 deaths. The testing rate in Afghanistan is barely 4,000 a day.

Britain records 24,885 new infections

Britain has recorded 24,885 new coronavirus infections, down from 27,125 a day earlier, and 18 deaths, also lower than the 27 reported on Friday, official data showed.

Daily positive cases have been rising in Britain for a month but a rapid vaccination programme appears to have weakened the link between infections and deaths.

1M vaccine doses expected in Malaysia from US

One million donated doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc's and BioNTech will arrive in Malaysia on Monday, White House officials said, with plans for more shipments to Southeast Asia soon.

The doses are from an initial batch of 80 million US-made vaccines the Biden administration pledged last month to share globally amid concern about the disparity in vaccination rates between advanced and developing countries.

Italy reports 22 more deaths

Italy has reported 22 coronavirus-related deaths against 28 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 932 from 794.

Italy has registered 127,637 deaths linked to the virus since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world.

Italy breaks up fake EU vaccine pass schemes

Italian police said they had broken up a number of online schemes offering to sell fake European Union digital Covid-19 status certificates or purported coronavirus vaccines.

The investigation, coordinated by the cybercrime prosecutor’s office in Milan, showed that thousands of people were ready to pay for false certificates, a police statement said.

The EU on Thursday launched a digital Covid-19 certificate designed to help citizens travel across the 27-nation bloc and open up summer tourism.

The certificate features a "QR" code, which indicates if a traveller has been fully vaccinated or has recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection or tested negative.

The police said they had seized control of 10 channels on the encrypted messaging service Telegram linked to anonymous accounts on marketplaces in the so-called dark web, through which it was possible to contact the sellers, who required payment in cryptocurrency.

Bangladesh receives 4.5M vaccine doses

Bangladesh has received 4.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from the US and China, according to officials.

Of these, 2.5 million were doses of the Moderna jab provided by the US through the Covax facility, while 2 million were Sinopharm vaccines purchased by the South Asian country.

According to Health Ministry official Maid ul Islam Prodhan, the first consignment of 1.25 million Moderna vaccines reached Dhaka airport on Friday at midnight, followed by another special flight with the rest of the shipment early on Saturday morning.

Two special Bangladeshi flights brought 2 million Sinopharm jabs from China early on Saturday.

India's Bharat Biotech says its vaccine is 93.4 percent effective against severe symptomatic Covid-19

Phase-III trials of a vaccine by India's Bharat Biotech has shown it was 93.4 percent effective against severe symptomatic Covid-19, the firm said. 

The data demonstrated 65.2 percent protection against the Delta variant, first identified in India.

Bharat Biotech estimates it will make 23 million doses a month.

India, with a tally of 30.45 million infections, is the second most affected nation after the United States, with 33 million. 

The south Asian nation's death toll has now crossed 400,000.

Russia reports record daily deaths for fifth day

Russia has reported 697 coronavirus-related deaths, the most confirmed in a single day since the pandemic began and the fifth day in a row it has set that record.

The government coronavirus task force also confirmed 24,439 new coronavirus cases nationwide, the most it has reported since early January. 

Moscow accounted for 7,446 of those cases. Officials blame the case surge on the infectious Delta variant.

READ MORE: Russia rejects new lockdown despite record Covid deaths – latest updates

Indonesia expects cases to rise despite stricter curbs

Luhut Pandjaitan, a senior minister overseeing the government's Covid-19 response has said the country expects to see a rise in infections for up to two weeks before curbs are introduced.

Indonesia reported a record of nearly 28,000 new Covid-19 infections and 493 new fatalities, taking its death toll to 60,027.

Saturday's curbs on Java and Bali islands  are to run until July 20, but could be extended, if needed, to bring daily infections below 10,000.

READ MORE: Indonesia imposes tougher curbs as Delta variant drives infection wave

Iran fears 'fifth wave' linked to Delta variant

President Hassan Rouhani has expressed fears that Iran will be hit by a new wave of the virus, due to an outbreak of the Delta variant.

He warned the public to be careful as "the Delta variant has spread" in southern provinces.

The Health mMinistry has classified as "red" - the highest category on Iran's coronavirus risk scale - the capital Tehran and nine other cities in Tehran province.

The southern and southeastern provinces of Fars, Hormozgan, Kerman and Sistan-Baluchistan are also now classified as "red".

President Hassan Rouhani today expressed fears that Iran will be hit by a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic
President Hassan Rouhani today expressed fears that Iran will be hit by a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic (Atta Kenare / AFP)

China, US to send Covid vaccine doses to El Salvador

China will send 1.5 million Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines to El Salvador, the Chinese Embassy there announced, hours after the White House said the US would send 1.5 million Moderna vaccines to the Central American nation.

El Salvador's president, Nayib Bukele, responded to China's plan by retweeting the embassy's announcement and placing the Chinese flag next to that of his country. So far, he has not commented on the White House announcement.

Argentina opens door to US vaccine donations with legal tweak

Argentina will tweak legislation to help the country receive US donations of Covid-19 vaccinations, senior officials said, a move that could also help unlock deals that have proved tricky with drugmakers like Pfizer Inc.

A government decree will soften legal clauses around negligence, remove a reference to "fraudulent manoeuvres" and create a fund to compensate people harmed by a vaccine.

Argentina, with a population of 45.4 million, has almost 2.4 million cases of Covid-19, with more than 56,000 deaths.
Argentina, with a population of 45.4 million, has almost 2.4 million cases of Covid-19, with more than 56,000 deaths. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

The prior language had hampered negotiations with vaccine firms, and the changes could help Argentina step up its vaccine programming as it faces cases and deaths among the highest in the world.

Saudi Arabia bans entry from UAE, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Afghanistan

Saudi Arabia will restrict travel to and entry from Ethiopia, UAE, Vietnam and Afghanistan over coronavirus concerns, the state news agency (WAS) reported.

The ban goes into effect on July 4 and will apply to anyone who has been in those four countries within the last 14 days, it said. 

Saudi citizens returning before Sunday will be exempted.

US to ship 4 million vaccine doses to Indonesia 'as soon as possible'

The United States will ship 4 million doses of Moderna Inc's Covid-19 vaccine to Indonesia as it battles a coronavirus outbreak, the US national security adviser told the Indonesian foreign minister.

READ MORE: Indonesia imposes tougher curbs as Delta variant drives infection wave

In a call with Retno Marsudi, Jake Sullivan said the doses would be shipped via the COVAX global vaccine sharing program "as soon as possible," a White House statement said.

Mexico reports 5,879 new virus cases, 177 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry reported 5,879 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 177 more fatalities, bringing its total to 2,531,229 infections and 233,425 deaths.

The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently suggested the actual death toll could be 60 percent higher than the official count. 

Ocugen says Indian partner's vaccine 93.4% effective against severe Covid-19

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Ocugen Inc's Indian partner, Bharat Biotech, has been found to be 93.4 percent effective against severe cases of Covid-19 in a late-stage trial, the US drug developer said.

Brazilian cities deny media reports that they used expired Covid-19 shots

Municipalities across Brazil denied a newspaper report that said health ministry data showed cities administered at least 26,000 expired AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shots.

The southern city of Maringá, cited in the Folha de S.Paulo story as being the municipality to have used the most expired shots (over 3,500), denied the allegation, saying the doses only appeared to have expired on public databases due to a delay in the registration of new data in the Health Ministry system.

Brazil records 65,165 new virus cases, 1,857 deaths

Brazil registered 65,165 new cases of coronavirus and 1,857 new Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the health ministry reported.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies