Coronavirus pandemic has killed over 4.2 million people and infected over 198.8 million globally. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for August 1:

Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021. Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021. Dado Ruvic/Illustration (Reuters)

Sunday, August 1:

Pfizer and Moderna raise prices for vaccines in EU - FT

Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have raised the prices of their Covid-19 vaccines in their latest European Union supply contracts, the Financial Times reported.

The new price for the Pfizer shot was $23.15 (19.50 euros) against 15.50 euros previously, the newspaper said, citing portions of the contracts seen.

The price of a Moderna vaccine was $25.50 a dose, the contracts show, up from about 19 euros in the first procurement deal but lower than the previously agreed $28.50 because the order had grown, the report said, citing one official close to the matter.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that the EU is on course to hit a target of fully vaccinating at least 70% of the adult population by the end of the summer.

Turkey administers over 73M doses

Turkey has administered more than 73.37 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January, according to figures released on Sunday. 

The country continues its intensive vaccination campaign to curb the spread of coronavirus, as everyone age 18 and over is eligible for vaccine shots. 

According to the Health Ministry, over 41.03 million people have gotten their first dose, while more than 27.41 million are fully vaccinated. 

Turkey is also administering a third Covid-19 vaccine shot, and 4.9 million such doses have been given. 

The ministry also confirmed 20,890 new infections and 96 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, while as many as 5,539 more patients recovered. 

Scuffles in Berlin as Covid sceptics defy protest ban

Thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators have defied a court-ordered protest ban and gathered in the streets of Berlin, resulting in scuffles with police.

Police said some protesters had "harassed and attacked" officers and ignored roadblocks, disrupting traffic in parts of the German capital.

"They tried to break through the police chain and pull out our colleagues. This led to the use of irritants, batons and physical violence," Berlin police tweeted.

Several people were arrested, they added.

The protest was called by the "Querdenker" (Lateral Thinkers) movement, which has emerged as the loudest voice against Germany's coronavirus restrictions.

Judges had banned several of its planned demos this weekend, including one for Sunday that was expected to draw some 22,500 people.

Italy reports 5 deaths, 5,321 new cases

Italy reported five coronavirus-related deaths, down from 16 the day before, the health ministry has said, and the daily tally of new infections fell to 5,321 from 6,513.

Italy has registered 128,068 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.355 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 1,954 on Sunday, up from 1,851 a day earlier.

There were 22 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 25 on Saturday, and the total number of intensive care patients increased to 230 from a previous 214.

Some 167,761 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, up from a previous 264,860, the health ministry said.

Minneapolis Fed president says Delta variant could slow labour market recovery

Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari has said that concerns about the spread of the contagious Delta variant could slow the US labour market recovery.

"It's really creating a bunch of caution," he told CBS' "Face the Nation", noting that between seven and nine million Americans are still out of work likely due to anxiety about the coronavirus.

Kashkari added he had been "optimistic" before that many would be returning to work and while that is still his "base case scenario," he said that "if people are nervous about the Delta variant, that could slow some of that labour market recovery."

Germany plans Covid booster shots from September

Germany plans to start offering Covid-19 booster shots to the elderly and at-risk from September 1, according to a draft document seen by AFP, as concerns grow about the spread of the Delta variant.

The plan also recommends promoting vaccination for those aged 12-17, which would go further than earlier guidance issued by the country's vaccine regulator.

Health Minister Jens Spahn and Germany's 16 regional health ministers are expected to finalise the plans, drawn up by ministry officials, in a meeting on Monday.

Mobile vaccination teams will be sent into care and nursing homes to offer Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna booster shots to residents, regardless of which vaccine they had originally, says the document.

Britain reports 24,470 cases and 65 deaths 

Britain has reported 24,470 new cases of Covid-19, a drop from 26,144 on Saturday, and 65 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, down from 71 on Saturday.

The government also said 46,851,145 people had received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 38,345,841 had received two doses.

UK finance minister presses for travel rules easing - report

Britain's Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has pressed for an easing of travel restrictions to offer respite to the tourism sector amid concerns that the country is not reaping the benefit of its vaccination programme, the Sunday Times reported.

Sunak had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning of the impact that Britain's strict border controls were having ahead a meeting of ministers on Thursday to consider changes, the newspaper said, citing a source familiar with the letter.

The Treasury declined to comment.

US will not lock down despite surge driven by Delta variant, says Fauci 

The United States will not lock down again to curb Covid-19 but "things are going to get worse" as the Delta variant fuels a surge in cases, mostly among the unvaccinated, top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said.

A sufficient percentage of Americans have now been vaccinated to avoid lockdowns, Fauci said on ABC's "This Week".

"Not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to not all ow us to get into the situation we were in last winter," he said.

Thailand extends pandemic measures, expands lockdown areas

Thailand has extended tighter containment measures in the capital and high-risk provinces probably until the end of August in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19 as the country deals with its biggest outbreak to date.

Thailand reported 18,027 infections and 133 deaths on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 615,314 cases and 4,990 fatalities, mostly from an outbreak since April that is being fuelled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta variants.

The restrictions, including travel curbs, mall closures and curfews, will be expanded to 29 provinces classified as "dark red zone" from 13, Apisamai Srirangsan, spokeswoman for the government's Covid-19 task force, told a televised news briefing.

The measures will start on Tuesday for 14 days and will be reviewed on August 18, she said.

"If the situation does not improve and is still worrying, the curbs will be extended to August 31," she added.

Nigeria receives 4M vaccine doses from US

Nigeria received four million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from the United States as the West African nation steps up efforts to battle a third wave of infections.

The doses, which came on two planes, were received by officials from the UN children agency UNICEF on behalf of Nigeria at the airport in the capital Abuja, an AFP video reporter at the scene said.

It was the second batch of vaccines to arrive in Africa's most populous nation after four million doses were delivered in March under the Covax scheme.

Rome region website hacked, affecting vaccine bookings

The website of Lazio, the Italian region that includes Rome, was down after being hit by a cyber attack, meaning that people could no longer use it to book a Covid vaccine.

"A hacker attack is underway... all defence and verification operations are ongoing to avoid prolonging the cut in services," the region said on its Twitter account.

"Operations concerning vaccinations may be slowed down."

The region's website, www.regione.lazio.it, was still down on Sunday morning.

The site for booking vaccinations was also unavailable.

Cambodia to mix vaccines as booster shots 

Cambodia will begin offering a booster shot against Covid-19, switching between the AstraZeneca and Chinese vaccines in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, launching the vaccination campaign for 12-17 years old, said that the third dose will be offered to between 500,000 to one million frontline workers as a priority.

"People who have already been vaccinated with Sinopharm and Sinovac should be given AstraZeneca as the third booster dose," Hun Sen said in a speech which was broadcast on social media. "For Cambodians who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Sinovac should be given as the third dose," he added.

Hun Sen also said the country will purchase more AstraZeneca vaccines through Covax for the booster shots and the recent US funded Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be used to vaccinate indigenous peoples in northeastern Cambodia.

Cambodia has launched a lockdown in eight provinces bordering Thailand this week in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.

Chinese cities test millions as virus cases surge

Chinese cities rolled out mass testing of millions of people and imposed fresh travel restrictions as health authorities battled to contain the country's most widespread coronavirus outbreak in months.

China reported 75 new cases with 53 local transmissions, with a cluster linked to an eastern airport now reported to have spread to over 20 cities and more than a dozen provinces.

The outbreak is geographically the largest to hit China in several months after the country's successes in largely snuffing out the pandemic within its borders last year.

That record has been thrown into jeopardy after the fast-spreading Delta variant broke out at Nanjing airport in eastern Jiangsu province in July.

Authorities have now conducted three rounds of testing on the city's 9.2 million residents and placed hundreds of thousands under lockdown, in an effort to curb an outbreak Beijing has blamed on the highly-contagious Delta variant and the peak tourist season.

Sumatran tigers at Jakarta zoo recovering from virus

Two Sumatran tigers at an Indonesian zoo were recovering after they tested positive in mid-July, the Jakarta government said in a statement, adding that authorities were trying to find out how they were infected.

Tino, a 9-year old tiger, and Hari, a 12-year old, were tested for coronavirus after both showed flu-like symptoms, had trouble breathing and lost their appetite, the statement said.

The tigers had undergone around 10 to 12 days of treatment and were gradually showing signs of recovery, Jakarta 's Head of the Parks and City Forest Office, Suzi Marsitawati, said.

"Their appetites have returned and they are back to being active," Suzi said, although both tigers remain under close observation.

She said authorities are doing tracking and tracing to figure out how the tigers were infected.

6 banished from Olympics for breaking Covid rules

Tokyo Olympics organisers say they have banished six people, including two silver medalists from the country of Georgia, for breaking rules designed to protect against Covid-19 cases.

Toshiro Muto, the games chief executive, says it was a “clear and serious violation” of the so-called playbooks of health and safety rules for two Georgian judokas to go sight-seeing.

Vazha Margvelashvili and Lasha Shavdatuashvili were seen near Tokyo Tower on Tuesday, after their events were finished.

Muto says the Georgian embassy in Tokyo has apologised for the incident.

The other four were accredited contractors from Britain and the United States arrested for allegedly using cocaine before the Olympics opened.

Muto says there have been eight cases of games credentials being temporarily suspended.

In four cases, organisers collected a “signed pledge” from people suspected of breaking rules. Ten strict warnings were issued, Muto says.

Brazil registers 37,582 new cases, 910 deaths

Brazil has registered 37,582 new cases of coronavirus over the last 24 hours, reaching 19.92 million cases.

The country had 910 new Covid-19 deaths in the period and the pandemic death toll reached 556,370.

Germany's cases rise by 2,097

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 2,097 to 3,771,262, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 1 to 91,659, the tally showed.

Australia's New South Wales reports 239 locally acquired cases

Australia's most populous state of New South Wales has recorded 239 Covid-19 infections of the highly transmissible Delta variant, matching the record daily number of cases in the current outbreak seen on Thursday.

There are 222 people in hospital, 54 of them in intensive care and 25 requiring ventilation, state authorities said. The total number of cases in the outbreak, which began in mid-June, has reached 3,427.

Neighbouring Queensland reported nine new locally acquired cases in a new outbreak of the Delta strain, its highest daily number in a year, the state's Deputy Premier Steven Miles said. Parts of the state were put in a three-day snap lockdown on Saturday.

Mexico posts 18,809 new infections, 450 more deaths

Mexico has recorded18,809 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 450 fatalities, according to the health ministry, bringing the total figures to 2,848,252 infections and 240,906 deaths.

El Salvador detects first case of Delta variant

El Salvador has detected its first case of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Health Minister Francisco Alabi said.

Israelis protest as rising cases trigger new rules

Several hundred Israelis have demonstrated in Tel Aviv against new coronavirus restrictions and vaccines as positive cases and hospitalisations rose to levels not seen in months.

The health ministry reported Saturday that 2,435 new Covid cases had been recorded the day before – the highest number since March – driven by the more contagious Delta variant.

There were 326 hospitalisations, the highest since April, although well below the January peak, when more than 2,000 people were being hospitalised daily.

Israel has in recent days rolled out a booster vaccine shot for older citizens, reimposed mask requirements indoors and restored "green pass" restrictions requiring vaccine certificates for entering enclosed spaces such as gyms, restaurants and hotels.

The rise in infections is a step back after Israel's world-leading vaccine campaign drove down new Covid-19 cases from 10,000 a day to fewer than 100.

Florida breaks record with more than 21,000 new cases

Florida has reported 21,683 new cases of Covid-19, the US state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data released Saturday, as its theme park resorts again started asking visitors to wear masks indoors.

The state has become the new national epicentre for the virus, accounting for around a fifth of all new cases in the US.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and along with the state Legislature, has limited local officials’ ability to impose restrictions meant to stop the spread of Covid-19.

DeSantis on Friday barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.

The latest numbers were recorded on Friday and released on Saturday on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website. The figures show how quickly the number of cases is rising in the Sunshine State: only a day earlier, Florida reported 17,093 new daily cases. The previous peak in Florida had been 19,334 cases reported on January 7, before the availability of vaccinations became widespread.

The Florida Hospital Association said Friday that statewide Covid-19 hospitalisations are nearing last year’s peak, and one of the state's largest health care systems, AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division, this week advised it would no longer be conducting non emergency surgeries in order to free up resources for Covid-19 patients.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies