Coronavirus pandemic has killed over 4.5 million people and infected over 217 million globally. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for August 30:

Travellers wear face coverings in the line for the north security checkpoint in the main terminal of Denver International Airport in Denver on August 24, 2021.
Travellers wear face coverings in the line for the north security checkpoint in the main terminal of Denver International Airport in Denver on August 24, 2021. (AP)

Monday, August 30, 2021

EU removes US from safe list for non-essential travel

The European Union has removed five territories including the United States from its list of countries exempted from restrictions on non-essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and the United States of America were removed from the list," a statement from the European Council said.

France requires virus pass for 2 million workers

Nearly two million French workers in restaurants and other service jobs must now show their coronavirus health pass to go to work, as part of government virus-fighting efforts.

The general public is already required to show the pass to enter restaurants, tourist sites and many other public venues.

Effective immediately, all staff members must also show the pass, which requires proof of vaccination, a fresh negative virus test or recovery from the virus.

Puerto Rico to limit alcohol sales, gatherings amid pandemic

Puerto Rico’s governor has announced new restrictions to fight a rise in cases, including closing certain private businesses and banning alcohol sales after midnight.

Social activities such as concerts, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries also will be banned during those hours, and people will be required to wear masks outside if there is a crowd of 50 or more. In addition, elective surgeries that require the use of intensive care units will be prohibited.

The measures will be in effect September 2-23 and affect businesses including restaurants and theatres.

Italy reports over 4,200 new cases

Italy has reported 53 deaths, up from 37 the previous day, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 4,257 from 5,959, the Health Ministry said.

A total of 129,146 deaths have been registered in Italy since its outbreak emerged in February last year. That is the second-highest tally in Europe behind Britain and the eighth-highest globally. Italy has reported 4.53 million cases to date.

Britain reports lowest number of cases in nearly 3 weeks

Britain has reported 26,476 new cases, the lowest number since August 10, government data showed.

The figure meant cases reported between August 24 and August 30 were up by 1.8 percent compared with the previous seven days.

A further 48 people were reported as having died within 28 days of a positive test, the lowest since August 23, taking the seven-day increase to 14.8 percent.

Albania imposes new pandemic restrictions

Albania’s health authorities have reinstalled new tough restrictive measures and warned of a possible obligatory vaccine shot for some categories in their effort to prevent a further spread of the new Delta virus variant.

Health minister Ogerta Manastirliu said that “soon we shall start the application to passing over to a new stage of the vaccination campaign, making obligatory the vaccines for some categories on behalf of the right of the other people not to get infected.”

Indonesia's president says restrictions to be eased

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has said the government would adjust restrictions over the week August 31 to September 6, including for shopping malls and factories, in response to a lower infection rate in more areas, officials said.

More parts of densely populated Java island have been lowered from the most severe Level 4 category, said Jokowi, as the president is known, noting that hospital beds occupancy rates in those areas have dropped over the last week.

Curbs on businesses such as restaurants and non-essential industries will be eased, while the government ramps up the use of a smartphone application for tracing, senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan told a separate media briefing.

Czechs to offer booster vaccine shot to all after eight months

The Czech government will offer a booster vaccine shot from September 20 to any previously vaccinated person, Health Minister Adam Vojtech has said.

The Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million, has been one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic as measured by deaths per population, with over 30,400 victims.

Nearly 1.68 million Czechs have contracted the virus, and many more are estimated to have caught it without being tested.

WHO sounds alarm over rising deaths in Europe

The World Health Organization has warned that another 236,000 people could die in Europe by December 1, sounding the alarm over rising infections and stagnating vaccine rates on the continent.

The warning comes as the world passed the grim milestone of 4.5 million deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to an AFP tally.

Infections rates are ticking up globally again, as the highly transmissible Delta variant takes hold – especially among the unvaccinated – preying on populations where anti-virus measures have been relaxed.

France sending 10M vaccine doses to Africa

France will be providing 10 million doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines for Africa over the next three months, President Emmanuel Macron's office has announced.

The jabs "will be allocated and distributed in the framework of the (African Union's) African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and Covax," the partnership for equitable vaccine rollout, it said.

Teachers, school staff should be given priority, WHO says

Teachers and school staff should be among the groups prioritised for Covid-19 vaccinations so that schools in Europe and Central Asia can stay open, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef has said.

Measures to ensure that schools can stay open throughout the pandemic "include offering teachers and other school staff the Covid-19 vaccine as part of target population groups in national vaccination plans," the UN agencies wrote in a statement.

The recommendation, already made by a group of WHO experts in November 2020 before the vaccination roll-out, should be done "while ensuring vaccination of vulnerable populations," the statement said.

As schools reopen after the summer holidays, the agencies said it was "vital that classroom-based learning continue uninterrupted," despite the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.

India reports 380 fatalities

India reported 42,909 new cases for the past 24 hours, a government statement has said, taking the total to 32.74 million. 

Deaths rose by 380 to 438,210.

Malaysian PM in quarantine

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob is under quarantine following a close contact with a Covid-19 patient, his office said in a statement on Monday. 

His office did not say how long he would be in quarantine or whether he had been tested for the coronavirus.

Japan withdraws 1M more Moderna vaccine shots

Moderna Inc's Covid-19 vaccine contamination woes in Japan have widened with another million doses being suspended, after foreign substances were found in more batches and two people died following shots from affected lots.

The suspension of Moderna supplies, more than 2.6 million does in total, comes as Japan battles its worst wave of Covid-19 yet driven by the contagious Delta variant, with new daily infections exceeding 25,000 this month for the first time amid a slow vaccine rollout.

The latest reports of vaccine contamination came from the Gunma prefecture near Tokyo and the southern prefecture of Okinawa, prompting the suspension of two more lots in addition to the 1.63 million doses already pulled last week.

China administers 11.7M more doses

China administered about 11.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines on August 29, bringing the total number of doses administered to 2.045 billion, data from the National Health Commission showed on Monday.

Fauci backs Covid-19 vaccine mandate for US school children 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, has said that he supports Covid-19 vaccine mandates for children attending schools as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to fuel a surge in cases in the nation.

"I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea," Fauci told CNN’s "State of the Union" program. "We've done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis" vaccinations.

Currently, children under 12 are not eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

But Fauci, in a separate interview on ABC's "This Week" program, said there should be enough data by early October for the US Food and Drug Administration to consider whether the shot is safe for children under that age.

"I think there's a reasonable chance" that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines could get FDA clearance for kids under 12 before the upcoming holiday season, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the White House, said last Tuesday.

As schools re-open for the fall, the rise in coronavirus cases is already causing significant disruptions.

New Zealand reports 53 new cases

New Zealand has reported 53 new cases of Covid-19, all in its biggest city Auckland, taking the total number of active cases in the latest community outbreak to 562.

The total number of community cases in Auckland is now 547and 15 in the capital Wellington.

Australia's most populous state reports record one-day rise in infections

Australia's most populous state has reported a record one-day rise in new Covid-19 cases as the nation struggles to contain the highly infectious Delta variant.

New South Wales said it had detected 1,290 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, surpassing the previous record detected a day earlier when it reported 1,218 cases.

New Zealand reports death of woman after Pfizer vaccine

New Zealand has reported that a woman had died following her Comirnaty Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination.

An independent Covid-19 vaccine safety monitoring board considered that the woman’s death was due to myocarditis, which is known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, the health ministry said in a statement.

The board noted there were other medical issues occurring at the same time that may have influenced the outcome following vaccination, the statement said. 

Brazil registers 298 new deaths 

Brazil has recorded 13,210 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 298 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 20 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to579,308, according to ministry data.

Australia's Victoria state reports 73 new locally acquired cases

Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, has reported 73 new locally acquired coronavirus cases in the 24-hour period to Sunday evening, health officials said. 

That was down from 92 cases reported the previous day, though Premier Dan Andrews has signalled that coronavirus restrictions are likely to be extended given the continued spread of the Delta variant. 

Mexico reports 6,837 new  cases, 259 more deaths 

Mexico's health ministry has reported 6,837 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 as well as 259 more deaths, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 3,335,700 and the death toll to 258,165.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies