The coronavirus pandemic has now infected over 20 million people and has killed more than 739,000. Here are the latest updates for August 11:

People wearing protective facemasks stand in front of the Sacre Coeur basilica, in the Montmartre neighbourhood, in Paris, on August 11, 2020.
People wearing protective facemasks stand in front of the Sacre Coeur basilica, in the Montmartre neighbourhood, in Paris, on August 11, 2020. (AFP)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

France's new infections nearly double in a day

French health authorities have reported1,397 new Covid-19 infections over 24 hours, almost twice Monday's tally.

The Health Ministry website said there were 15 new deaths in hospital due the disease, compared to an increase of 16 over a three-day period between Monday and Saturday, with the total death toll standing at 30,354.

The number of people hospitalised for the disease went down again after creeping up Monday for the first time in two and a half months.

UK records 1,148 new cases

A total of 1,148 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the United Kingdom, compared with a figure of 816 on Monday, government data showed.

The cumulative total of UK cases stood at 311,641.

Ireland reports highest number of new cases since early May

Ireland has reported 174 new cases of Covid-19, by far the highest number of infections since May and up from 98 on Friday and an average of 58 cases per day for the past week.

Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn said 118 of the new cases were linked to the three counties - Kildare, Laois and Offaly - where some restrictions on movement were reintroduced on Friday following a surge in cases there.

"While today’s numbers of confirmed cases are high, they are not unexpected," Glynn said. "Our priority now ... is to avoid these cases and clusters leading to widespread community transmission of the disease."

Spain's total cases rise to 326,612

Spain's health ministry has reported1,418 new coronavirus cases, below last week's peaks.

Cumulative cases, which also include results from antibody tests on people who may have recovered, increased further to reach a total of 326,612.

The disease claimed 64 lives over the past seven days, the statistics showed. In total, more than 28,500 people have died from the disease in Spain, one of Europe's hardest-hit countries by Covid-19.

Since lifting a nationwide lockdown, Spain has struggled to contain a rise in new infections, with heavy concentrations in the populous regions of Madrid and Catalonia.

New infections recorded on Monday and Tuesday were however below last week's peak of 1,895, reported on Friday.

Turkey confirms 1,183 new cases

Turkey has confirmed 1,183 more cases of Covid-19, raising the tally to 243,180.

“There has been a 32 percent decrease in hospitalization for the last three days,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, citing the ministry's data.

However, he added that the number of seriously ill people, which is one of the important indicators of the process, continues to increase.

The country also confirmed 1,185 more recoveries from the novel coronavirus, pushing the total to 226,155, he added.

The death toll rose to 5,873 after 15 more people died over the last 24 hours.

Health care professionals conducted 61,716 tests to diagnose the disease over the past day, taking the tally to over 5.38 million.

 Brazil health regulator says no request yet to make Russian vaccine

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa has that it had not yet received a request to authorize Russia's new Covid-19 vaccine, which the Parana state government said it was in talks to produce locally.

Anvisa said it could not comment on the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine before getting official data from the Russian laboratory responsible for the vaccine. Russia on Tuesday said it was ready to bring the vaccine to market, despite not having finished standard mass testing.

France extends ban on gatherings

France has extended a ban on public gatherings of more than 5,000 people to October 30 as coronavirus infections rise sharply.

Prime Minister Jean Castex told a news conference that the situation in France was going "the wrong way" for two weeks.

On Monday, France reported the first significant daily rise in the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 since the end of its strict lockdown.

WHO calls for dental precautions

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that dental patients and staff need to be protected from any potential infection by aerosol-generating procedures, as dentists return to work in areas where the Covid-19 pandemic is easing.

There is currently no data on the spread of coronavirus from the dentist's chair, it said, calling for more research into common procedures that produce tiny floating particles that may cause infection if inhaled.

These include three-way air/water spray, ultrasonic cleaning equipment that removes deposits from the tooth surface, and polishing, the WHO added.

WHO cautions Russia on vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also cautioned Russia after its progress in developing a Covid-19 vaccine, saying that progress in the fight against the virus should not compromise safety.

Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin's earlier announcement that Russia had registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine at a UN press briefing, a WHO spokesman said the "pandemic is threatening lives and economies.”

“It’s vital that we apply all public health measures that we know are working, and we need to continue to invest in and accelerate the development of safe and effective treatments and vaccines that will help us reduce disease transmission in the future.”

Bosnia calls for urgent action

More than 500 public figures in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo demand an "urgent" response from authorities to tighten measures against the coronavirus, after a worrying spike in new cases.

Alarm bells are ringing as Bosnia, a country of 3.5 million people, faces record daily numbers of deaths.

According to official data, 22 deaths were logged over a 24-hour period on Tuesday, the highest toll yet in a country where nearly 450 lives have been lost.

In an open letter, writers, doctors, journalists and other public figures said they were "frightened by the lack of an even minimal necessary institutional response" to the resurgence of the epidemic.

The letter called for fines and "rigorous enforcement" against those not wearing masks in indoor spaces, plus a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.

It also urged authorities to put an end to the "fatal quarrels between health institutions" about how to manage the crisis.

Bhutan orders first lockdown

Bhutan has ordered its first nationwide lockdown after a returning resident tested positive for coronavirus, after being discharged from quarantine and coming into close contact with people in the capital Thimphu.

The case took the total in the tiny Himalayan kingdom to 113, still the lowest in South Asia, and it has yet to record a fatality.

Bhutan, which is heavily reliant on high-end tourists, banned tourism in March after an American visitor tested positive for the virus, and ordered a three-week mandatory quarantine for everyone returning from abroad.

The lockdown was ordered after a 27-year-old Bhutanese woman, who returned from Kuwait and was discharged from quarantine after testing negative, tested positive at a clinic on Monday.

Sri Lanka postpones cricket tournaments

Sri Lanka's cricket board has postponed by three months the new premier league tournament, as health authorities insist on a two-week quarantine for foreign players.

"We asked for a three-day quarantine period, but the health authorities insisted on 14 days," a cricket official said. "Under those restrictions, it is not feasible to hold the tournament this month."

In a statement issued later on Tuesday, the cricket board said the tournament will be postponed to November, but did not give a schedule for the matches.

Vietnam reports rise in cases

Vietnam has reported 16 more Covid-19 infections, taking the total number of cases TO 863 and 15 deaths.

Most of the new cases are linked to the central city of Danang, where the new outbreak began late in July after Vietnam had been more than three months without domestic transmission.

The health ministry said more than 165,000 people are being quarantined in the country, in government facilities, hospitals and in private residences.

Valencia, Espanyol, Real Mallorca report cases

Valencia, Espanyol and Real Mallorca all report positive cases for coronavirus, as Spanish clubs begin returning for pre-season.

Valencia confirmed two individuals have been infected, while tests at Espanyol andMallorca, who have both been relegated to the second division, revealed one positive case each.

The identities of the individuals have been kept anonymous. They are all isolating at home and the Spanish health authorities have been notified.

According to La Liga protocol for returning teams, training at all three clubs will have to be done individually until a second round of tests is conducted.

WHO says discussing new virus vaccine with Russia

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Russian health authorities are discussing the process for possible WHO pre-qualification for its newly approved virus vaccine, a WHO spokesman said.

"We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO pre-qualification of the vaccine, but again pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a UN briefing in Geneva, referring to clinical trials. 

New Zealand announces return of virus after 102 days

New Zealand announced its first locally transmitted virus infections in 102 days, prompting the country's prime minister to issue a stay-at-home lockdown order for the country's largest city.

Jacinda Ardern said four cases had been detected in a single family in Auckland from an unknown source.

"After 102 days, we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of managed isolation or quarantine facilities... While we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario, we have also planned and prepared for it," she said.

Coronavirus found on frozen seafood in China

Authorities in China have found the novel coronavirus on the packaging of imported frozen seafood that arrived from the port city of Dalian, which recently battled a surge of cases.

The virus was found on the outer packaging of frozen seafood bought by three companies in Yantai, a port city in eastern Shandong province.

The Yantai city government said in a statement the seafood was from an imported shipment that landed at Dalian but did not say where it originated.

In July, customs officers in Dalian, a major port in the northeastern province of Liaoning, found the coronavirus in the packaging of frozen shrimps imported from Ecuador, and China then suspended imports from three Ecuadorean shrimp producers.

The novel coronavirus is believed to have emerged in a market that sold seafood and wildlife in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Indonesia starts human trials of China-made virus vaccine

Indonesia on Tuesday has launched human trials of a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine with some 1,600 volunteers slated to take part in the six-month study.

The vaccine candidate, produced by Sinovac Biotech, is among just a few in the world to enter Phase 3 clinical trials, or large-scale testing on humans – the last step before regulatory approval.

The treatment, known as CoronaVac, is already being tested on 9,000 health workers in Brazil, the second-hardest-hit country in the coronavirus pandemic after the United States.

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, has been struggling to contain its mounting virus cases, with more than 127,000 confirmed infections and over 5,700 deaths.

Russia approves 'first virus vaccine'

Russia's health ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first pandemic vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said.

The move paves the way for mass inoculation even as the final stages of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue.

The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product but has stirred concerns that it may be put ting national prestige before science and safety.

Philippines records 2,987 more virus infections

The Philippines on Tuesday reported 2,987 new virus infections, taking its tally of confirmed cases to 139,538, the highest in Southeast Asia.

A health ministry bulletin also reported 19 more fatalities, bringing the country's death toll to 2,312.

Former Indian president contracts Covid-19

Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee, 84, who served as president between 2012 and 2017, was put on ventilator support after undergoing surgery having contracted the virus.

Local media reported he is under care at the military hospital in New Delhi.

Mukherjee, who also led India's federal defence, foreign affairs, finance ministries over a decades-long political career, said in a Twitter posting on Monday that he had tested positive while visiting the hospital for a separate procedure.

India nears 2.3 million Covid-19 cases

India reported 53,601 new cases of virus as its total infections neared 2.3 million.

The Health Ministry also said 871 deaths were newly reported, raising total fatalities to 45,257.

India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June.

Its total infections are third in the world, behind the US and Brazil. 

The three countries account for half of the world's 20 million cases.

Russia reports 4,945 cases

Russian registered 4,945 new cases of the virus, pushing its national case tally to 897,599, the fourth largest in the world.

The official death toll rose to 15,131 after authorities said in their daily pandemic report that 130 people had died in the previous 24 hours.

UK suffers biggest job losses since 2009

The number of people in work in Britain fell by the most since 2009 in the three months through June as the pandemic crisis took a heavy toll on the labour market, even with the government's huge jobs protection scheme still in place.

Led by a record plunge in self-employed workers, there were 220,000 less people employed in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics said.

Separate tax data for July showed that the number of staff on company payrolls had fallen by 730,000 since March, sounding the alarm about a potentially much bigger rise in joblessness.

Mainland China's community cases fall to 13

The number of new community infections reported in China fell to just 13, while the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong saw a further decline to 69 new cases.

The mainland also saw 31 new cases brought by Chinese travellers from abroad arriving at eight different provinces and cities. 

China requires testing and a two-week quarantine of all new arrivals and has barred most foreigners from entering the country.

All new locally transmitted cases were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, whose main city, Urumqi, has been at the centre of the country’s latest major outbreak.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from the pandemic among 84,712 cases. 

Hong Kong has been bringing numbers of new cases down since its latest outbreak last month, partly by mandating mask-wearing in public settings and stepping-up social distancing restrictions.

Greece logs 126 cases, with a major museum closed

Greece’s culture ministry is closing down the Museum of the Ancient Agora, a major archaeological site in central Athens, for two weeks after a cleaner there was diagnosed with the virus.

A ministry statement Monday said the museum would be comprehensively disinfected, while the actual site of the Ancient Agora, which was the administrative, political and social centre of the ancient city, will remain open.

Greek sites and museums are open to visitors, with the wearing of masks obligatory in museums.

The closure also comes as Greece has announced 126 new confirmed virus cases in the last day, bringing the country’s total to 5,749, and one more death for a total death toll of 213 amid a spike in daily infections.

New Zealand retirement home in lockdown to test for virus

A New Zealand retirement village has gone into lockdown after residents displayed symptoms of respiratory illness, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The Village Palms retirement village in Christchurch advised of the lockdown in a letter to family members today, the newspaper said. No further details were immediately available.

New Zealand, which has managed to largely contain the spread of the pandemic, has gone more than 100 days without community transmission of virus. 

Germany reports 966 cases

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 966 to 217,293, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by four to 9,201, the tally showed.

Brazil registers 22,048 new cases 

Brazil registered 22,048 new cases of coronavirus and 703 deaths, the health ministry has said.

Overall, Brazil now has 3,057,470 confirmed cases, while the death toll has risen to 101,752.

Mexico reports 705 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry has reported 5,558 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 705 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 485,836 cases and 53,003  deaths.

Australia's Victoria state reports 19 fatalities

Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria has reported 19 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 331 new cases.

The state reported 322 infections and 19 deaths, its biggest one-day rise in casualties, a day earlier.

Victoria last week began a six-week total lockdown, closing down shops and businesses to contain a second wave of infections requiring its five million residents to stay home.

Trump weighs blocking US citizens coming home

The administration of US President Donald Trump is considering a measure to block US citizens and permanent residents from returning home if they are suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, a senior US official has confirmed to Reuters.

The official said a draft regulation, which has not been finalised and could change, would give the government authorisation to block individuals who could “reasonably” be believed to have contracted Covid-19 or other diseases.

The draft regulation, which was first reported by The New York Times on Monday, would be issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has played a lead role in the pandemic response, the senior official told Reuters.

A Trump pandemic task force was not expected to act on the proposal this week, although that timeline could change, the official said.

WHO sees hope 

The World Health Organization has insisted there was still hope of conquering the coronavirus pandemic despite the suffering behind the looming landmarks of 750,000 deaths and over 20 million cases.

With both figures expected to be reached within days, the WHO stressed it was never too late to take action to suppress the Covid-19 crisis that has gripped the planet.

"This week we'll reach 20 million registered cases of Covid-19 and 750,000 deaths," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.

"Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering."

"But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope and ... it's never too late to turn the outbreak around."

Tedros gave examples of countries that had successfully clamped down on the spread of Covid-19, citing New Zealand and Rwanda, and praised nations that had suffered major national outbreaks and were now responding quickly to local spikes.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies