Coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 4.5 million people and infected over 218 million globally. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for August 31:

A woman receives a Johnson&Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine in a vaccination train operated by Berliner S-Bahn in Gruenau, Germany,  August 30, 2021.
A woman receives a Johnson&Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine in a vaccination train operated by Berliner S-Bahn in Gruenau, Germany, August 30, 2021. (AFP)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

EU says 70 percent of adults in Europe fully vaccinated

The European Commission has said that 70 percent of the European Union's adult population had been fully vaccinated, hitting a target it had set at the beginning of the year.

The announcement marks an important milestone in the EU vaccination strategy after a slow start, but it also masks big differences among EU countries, with some nations being well above the 70 percent goal while others in the poorer eastern region of the bloc are far behind.

Egypt ramps up local vaccine production with eye on exports

Egypt has been ramping up production of the Sinovac vaccine as it aims to become a hub for vaccine exports to Africa and protect its own population of more than 100 million from a fourth wave of infections.

The government is preparing new facilities that it says could produce several million vaccine doses daily, and is also in talks with an unspecified European vaccine producer.

Britain records 32,181 new cases

Britain has recorded 32,181 new cases of Covid-19, up from 26,476 the previous day following a long holiday weekend, official government figures showed.

Britain reported 50 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, compared to the 48 recorded on Monday.

Nigeria prioritising four vaccines, not including Sinopharm

Nigeria is prioritising the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the official heading Nigeria's vaccination campaign has said when asked whether the Sinopharm shot would be used in the country.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, head of Nigeria's primary healthcare agency, said the Sinopharm vaccine had been approved by the national medicines regulator "for emergency use", but rolling it out was not a priority.

US adds Canada to its 'reconsider travel' advisory list 

The US State Department has raised its travel advisory alert for Canada to a "level  3 – reconsider travel" status amid the ongoing pandemic, it said in a statement.

The department, along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned against travel to Switzerland, among other countries because of rising cases.

France aims to give third jab to 18M by early 2022

France aims to have administered a third shot of a vaccine to some 18 million people by early 2022, a Health Ministry official said.

Last week, France's top health advisory body recommended a booster shot for those aged 65 and over and for those with existing medical conditions that put them at risk.

"Those eligible for a booster shot have been able to make appointments since Monday this week. We see this as a genuine health requirement to extend protection, as some studies demonstrate," the official said.

Spain sends 6M vaccine doses to Latin America

The Spanish government has already sent six million doses of vaccines to Latin America out of the 7.5 million doses it had promised, its spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez said.

Venice opens film festival with caution

Venice has been combining big star glamour with rapid tests, disinfectant gel and face masks as it gears up for its second film festival in the shadow of the pandemic.

The oldest film festival in the world is taking plenty of precautions as it prepares the Lido for the arrival of stars, journalists, and fans.

Singapore reports most cases in nearly 6 weeks

Singapore has reported 156 new local cases, its highest number in almost six weeks.

Singapore had fully vaccinated 80 percent of its population as of Sunday, one of the highest rates in the world, reaching a threshold for the city-state to further ease its restrictions.

Tuesday's local cases were the highest since July 22.

Thailand's elderly lag behind in vaccination drive, data show

Government data analysed for the first time by Reuters has shown Thailand fully vaccinated 6.7 percent of an estimated 10.9 million people 60 and older, compared with 15 percent of adults aged 18 to 59 and 10.2 percent of the total population – including children, who are not being vaccinated.

Thailand was the only one of 30 countries for which Reuters reviewed data that had a lower percentage of seniors vaccinated than those in younger age groups.

Neighbouring Malaysia had fully vaccinated at least 82 percent of its senior citizens by August 22, according to government data, compared with 45.6 percent of its total population to date. In Indonesia, only 17 percent of the elderly have been fully vaccinated, but that is still higher than the 13 percent for the total population.

Russia reports 795 deaths from Covid-19

Russia reports 795 additional Covid-19 fatalities and 17,813 new cases in 24 hours, according to the official data

Australia in vaccine swap pact with Singapore as cases surge

Australia will receive 500,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine from Singapore this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, after Canberra agreed a swap deal in a bid to curtail surging infections.

The agreement, which will see Australia return the same amount of Pfizer vaccine doses to Singapore in December, will allow Canberra to accelerate its vaccination programme as daily cases near record levels for the country.

New Zealand cases drop for second day amid lockdowns

New Zealand's government reported that new virus cases fell for a second day, down to 49, amid the tight lockdown the country undertook during the latest outbreak this month.

Except for a small number of cases in February, New Zealand was mainly virus-free for months, until an outbreak of the Delta variant imported from Australia prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to order a snap nationwide lockdown on August 17.

South Korean vaccine in late-stage test 

South Korea's SK Bioscience and Britain's GSK said the drugmakers had begun a late-stage trial of their vaccine candidate against AstraZeneca's approved shot, the second study of its kind globally.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will take the place of a dummy shot in the trial, which will enrol about 4,000 candidates worldwide. It will test SK's candidate, GBP510, in combination with GSK's vaccine booster after positive early-stage data and a green light from South Korea earlier this month.

Third wave of coronavirus hits war-weary Yemen

Yemen has seen a surge in the number of infections across government-held areas this month, amid a collapsed health system in the war-torn country.

Yemeni health authorities reported 80 deaths and 643 virus cases since the beginning of August. The provinces of Aden, Taiz, Hadhramaut and Marib recorded the highest number of infections.

The surge in infections has prompted the Health Ministry of the internationally recognised government to announce that Yemen has entered a third wave of the pandemic.

Israel breaks daily case record from January

Israel’s Health Ministry has reported that the country set a new daily record for diagnosed cases as the delta variant surges.

The Israeli government registered 10,947 new cases on Monday, two days before 2.4 million students are scheduled to return to school this week. The country's previous pandemic record of 10, 118 new cases was set on January 18.

Mexico adds more than 5,000 new Covid cases

Mexico reported 5,564 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 as well as 326 more deaths, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 3,341,264 and the death toll to 258,491, according to health ministry data. 

Germany logs 5,750 cases

Germany reports 5,750 Covid-19 virus cases, bringing the total over 3,94M infections as the death toll rises by 60 into 92,200 fatalities, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

Australia's Victoria state reports 76 cases

Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, reported 76 new locally acquired virus cases in the 24-hour period to Monday evening, health officials said.

That was up marginally from 73 cases reported the previous day. Victoria Health said 45 of the new cases were linked to known cases and outbreaks. Some 50,848 coronavirus test results were received and 32,162 vaccines given.

Brazil adds 10,466 more cases

Brazil recorded 10,466 new confirmed cases of the virus in the past 24 hours, along with 266 deaths from the virus, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 20 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 579,574, according to ministry data.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies