The coronavirus pandemic has now infected some 18 million people and has killed more than 693,000. Here are the latest updates for August 3:

People wearing a protective face mask walk along the beach, on August 3, 2020 in Biarritz, amid the crisis linked with the Covid-19 pandemic.
People wearing a protective face mask walk along the beach, on August 3, 2020 in Biarritz, amid the crisis linked with the Covid-19 pandemic. (AFP)

Monday, August 3, 2020

Spain reports 968 new cases, total exceeds 288,000

Spain has reported 968 new coronavirus infections in the past day, showing a slower pace of contagion than last week when the country reported more than 1,000 new cases for three days in a row.

Cumulative cases, which also include results from antibody tests on people who may have recovered, increased to 297,054 from 288,522, the health ministry said.

The number of active clusters grew to 560 from 483 on Thursday, when they were last disclosed. 

France sees a rise in number of people in ICU units

France's number of people in intensive care units for Covid-19 stood at 384, versus 371 on Friday, the second time in a week that figure has increased after declining for 16 weeks.

In a statement, health authorities reported 29 additional deaths from the disease, bringing the total to 30,294.

Turkey sees over 1,000 daily recoveries

Turkey confirmed 1,003 more recoveries from the novel coronavirus, bringing the tally to 217,497, according to the country's health minister.

Citing Health Ministry data, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that 995 more people contracted Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 233,851.

The country's death toll from the disease rose to 5,747, with 19 new fatalities over the past 24 hours.

Koca said the measures against the virus were not sufficiently taken into consideration during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Healthcare professionals conducted 41,301 tests for Covid-19 over the past day, raising the tally to over 4.92 million.

Every seven minutes one person dies in Iran 

One person is dying from coronavirus complications every seven minutes in Iran, according to state television.

This came on Monday along with reports of 215 new deaths from the disease, and warnings of a lack of proper social distancing.

Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari stated that the 215 deaths over the past 24 hours brought the combined death toll to 17,405 in Iran, and raised the number of confirmed cases by 2,598 to 312,035.

Some experts have expressed doubt the accuracy of Iran's official coronavirus tolls. 

A report by the Iranian parliament’s research centre in April suggested that coronavirus tolls might be nearly twice as many as those reported by the health ministry.

The report concluded that Iran's official coronavirus figures were based only on the number of deaths in hospitals, and those who already tested positive for the virus.

The BBC reported that based on anonymous data, the number of deaths in Iran may be up to three times higher than officially reported.

Iranian health authorities deny this, and emphasise there has been no cover-up.

Israel sees over 700 new cases

Israel's coronavirus infections are witnessing a steep rise, as it confirmed another 713 Covid-19 infections.

This brings total cases in the country to 73,231 and 541 deaths since the virus was first detected on February 21.

Anger has been rising in Israel over the government' s response to the virus. 

Moreover, the Palestinian West Bank is also seeing mounting levels of infections in the face of ill-equipped medical facilities and services. 

The spike in infections comes amid protests continuing for weeks, as thousands have taken to the streets, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lilly starts late-stage study of drug

US drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co is beginning a late-stage trial to study whether one of its experimental Covid-19 antibody treatments can prevent the spread of the virus in residents and staff at US nursing homes.

The phase three trial will test LY-CoV555, a treatment developed in partnership with Canadian biotech company AbCellera, and is expected to enrol up to 2,400 participants who live or work at a facility that has had a recently diagnosed case of Covid-19.

"Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on nursing home residents," Eli Lilly's chief scientific officer, Daniel Skovronsky, said in a statement.

"We’re working as fast as we can to create medicines that might stop the spread of the virus to these vulnerable individuals."

Tahiti cruise ship hit with virus in South Pacific

Reminiscent to the Diamond Princess's coronavirus outbreak that saw 14 dead and 712 infected,  at least 340 passengers and crew are confined to a cruise ship in Tahiti after a traveller tested positive for the virus. 

This came in a statement from French Polynesia's commissariat on Sunday, who emphasised that all those aboard the Paul Gaugin would be confined to their cabin and tested. 

The South Pacific nation only reopened its borders to tourists last month, and required all visitors were tested before arriving, and further test themselves four days after entering the territory.

The person travelling with the infected passenger tested negative, and both were removed from the cruise ship.

Vietnam sees new cases in second wave of infections

Vietnam has confirmed 21 more coronavirus cases linked to three hospitals in the central city of Da Nang, according to a statement released by the health ministry. 

Vietnam lifted many restrictions after more than three months with no local infections, but now faces 196 cases in a second wave of infection.

The health ministry says 40 percent of new cases show no symptoms.

“The asymptomatic cases are a danger for transmission in the community,” says acting health minister Nguyen Thanh Long said. 

French PM Castex urges vigilance

Prime Minister Jean Castex has urged France to remain as vigilant as possible against Covid-19, warning that the virus has shown signs of a resurgence, and that the virus was "not on holiday".

"We must not let our guard down," Castex told reporters in Lille, where masks are now compulsory.

"The virus is not on holiday, and neither are we," he said, while emphasising it was vital that France avoid another nationwide shutdown.

France has the world's seventh-highest coronavirus death toll, at over 30,260 fatalities. 

German children back to school under cloud of virus

Thousands of children in northern Germany have become the first to return to school in Europe, after education ministers of Germany's 16 states agreed on schools reopening full-time after the summer break,

The rest of the country was watching anxiously as 150,000 children returned to school in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany's first state to restart full-time classes after summer holidays in spite of infection numbers on the rise again.

With more states to follow, a debate is on the rise as to whether full-time school is realistic as infection numbers rise top 500 a day again. 

Officials warn that children cannot afford to miss more school, however.

In spite of health and safety measures, not all went entirely to plan on Monday morning, as students excited to see their friends again after so long couldn't resist a few hugs in the playground.

Philippine capital returns to lockdown

President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to place the capital and outlying provinces back under a lockdown after medical groups warned the country was waging “a losing battle” against the coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections.

On Monday, metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces were set to revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks beginning the day after. 

The move, which economic officials oppose, will again prohibit non-essential travel outside of homes.

President Rodrigo Duterte relaxed the country’s lockdown on June 1 in an effort to restart the stalled economy.

Businesses in the capital and outlying regions comprise about 67 percent of the national economy and the Duterte administration continues to walk a tightrope between public health and economic revival.

France imposes new rules requiring outdoor masks

France's outdoor mask rules taking effect are on top of a nationwide decree last month requiring people to wear masks in all stores and other indoor public places. Pressure is growing on the government to mandate outdoor mask use on a national level, too.

Starting Monday, 69 towns in the Mayenne region of western France imposed outdoor mask rules, as did parts of the northern city of Lille and coastal city of Biarritz in French Basque country.

France is seeing an uptick in coronavirus infections, with hundreds of new clusters in recent weeks, notably as young people gather at waterside cafes or parties and families get together for summer vacation.

France has reported 7,000 new cases in the last week, after bringing the virus nearly under control with a strict two-month nationwide lockdown, and has confirmed 30,265 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

UK to roll out millions of rapid tests after criticism

Millions of Covid-19 tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out in Britain, the country's health minister said on Monday, after criticism that there has not been enough testing especially in nursing homes.

Capacity will be boosted at hospitals, care homes and laboratories starting from next week, the government said, comprising 5.8 million tests using DNA and 450,000 swab tests. Neither will need to be administered by a health professional.

"The fact these tests can detect flu, as well as Covid-19, will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others," said health minister Matt Hancock.

"We are on track to deliver half a million tests a day by the end of October but new technologies like these two will help us to accelerate that," he said.

Separately, the publicly-funded National Health Service said it would be offering "Covid-friendly" treatments to cancer patients, including drugs that do not have a big impact on the immune system.

Hong Kong reports slight drop in cases

Hong Kong reported 80 new coronavirus cases, dropping below 100 infections for the first time in 12 days, as a team of Chinese officials began preparations for widespread testing in the global financial hub, which has seen a resurgence in cases. 

The initiative, which was announced by the Chinese government, marks the first time mainland health officials have assisted Hong Kong in its battle to control the epidemic.

Since late January, around 3,600 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 37 of whom have died. 

Russia aims to produce 'millions' of virus doses by 2021

Russia said it aims to launch mass production of a coronavirus vaccine next month and turn out "several million" doses per month by next year.

The country is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes and one prepared at the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has reached advanced stages of development.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Saturday said the Gamaleya viral vector vaccine had "completed clinical trials" and that documents were being prepared to register it with the state.

Scientists have said Russia will struggle to adapt the vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience, particularly with advanced technology like viral vector.

Russia's coronavirus caseload is currently fourth in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.

Indonesia reports 1,679 new cases

Indonesia recorded 1,679 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 113,134, official data on the health ministry website showed.

The data also showed there were 66 additional deaths, taking the overall number of fatalities to 5,302. 

Norway's Hurtigruten halts cruises 

Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten is halting all its so-called expedition cruises until further notice following an outbreak of Covid-19 on one of its vessels last week, the company said in a statement.

At least 40 passengers and crew from the MS Roald Amundsen cruise liner have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, public health officials said.

Russia reports more than 5,300 new cases

Russia reported 5,394 new cases of the coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 856,264, the fourth largest in the world.

Officials said 79 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 14,207. 

India reports 52,972 new infections

India has reported 52,972 new coronavirus infections during the past 24 hours, taking the country's total to more than 1.8 million confirmed cases.

With 771 new deaths, the Covid-19 disease has now claimed 38,135 lives in the world's second-most populous country, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Millions to return to lockdown in Philippines

More than 27 million people in the Philippines, about a quarter of the population, will go back into lockdown on Tuesday after overwhelmed health workers warned the country was losing the battle against the coronavirus.

Since the beginning of June, when much of the country emerged from one of the world's longest stay-at-home orders, confirmed infections in the archipelago have increased fivefold, surging past 100,000.

The Philippine Health Ministry confirmed 3,226 novel coronavirus infections and 46 additional deaths in last 24-hours as total cases have reached 106,330 and deaths have increased to 2,104.

With four successive days of reporting record infections, the Philippines is close to passing Indonesia with the most cases so far in Southeast Asia.

The new restrictions announced by President Rodrigo Duterte late Sunday apply to the capital Manila and four surrounding provinces on the main island of Luzon.

People have been ordered to stay home unless they need to buy essential goods or exercise outdoors.

China reports 43 new cases

China reported 43 new cases nationwide, seven of the imported and eight in the northeastern province of Liaoning. No new deaths were reported, leaving China’s total at 4,634 among 84,428 cases. 

Meanwhile, numbers of new Covid-19 cases in China’s far northwestern region of Xinjiang are continuing to fall, with 28 new cases reported. 

All the new cases in Xinjiang were in the regional capital and largest city of Urumqi, which has been at the centre of China’s latest major outbreak since cases were first detected there in mid-July. 

South Korea's downward trend continues

South Korea has confirmed 23 additional cases of the coronavirus, amid a downward trend in the number of locally infected patients. The additional cases announced by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the country’s total to 14,389 with 301 deaths.

The agency says 20 new cases came from overseas while the rest were locally infected. Health authorities have said imported cases are less threatening to the wider community as they enforce two-week quarantines on all people arriving from abroad.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 509 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 509 to 210,402, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,148, the tally showed. 

Gambia government ravaged by virus

Three ministers in Gambia's government have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said, days after the West African nation's president went into self-isolation.

President Adama Barrow said last week he would self-isolate for two weeks after Vice President Isatou Touray tested positive.

Finance Minister Mambureh Njie, Petroleum and Energy Minister Fafa Sanyang and Agriculture Minister Amie Fabureh "have tested positive" for the virus, the presidency said in a tweet.

Health authorities in the former British colony of some two million people have recorded 498 coronavirus cases to date, with nine fatalities since its first case was reported in March.

Melbourne braces for closures, losses to contain Covid-19

Australia's second-biggest city Melbourne entered its first day of tougher restrictions to contain the spread of a resurgent coronavirus as residents braced for further announcements on business closures.

The state of Victoria declared a "state of emergency" on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew for the capital as part of the country's harshest movement restrictions to date.

The move was backed by the federal government with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying it was "regrettably necessary" to stop the spread of the pandemic.

State premier Daniel Andrews was expected to announce fresh measures around businesses that must close later on Monday.

Under the new restrictions, a curfew from 8 pm to 5 am will be in place for six weeks, barring the city's nearly five million people from leaving their houses except for work or to receive or give care.

Mexico records 274 new deaths

Mexico's health ministry reported 4,853 virus cases and 274 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 439,046 cases and 47,746 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Britain to roll out millions of 90-minute tests

Millions of tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out to British hospitals, care homes and laboratories to boost capacity in the coming months, the country's health minister said.

They will comprise 5.8 million tests using DNA and 450,000 swab tests. Neither will need to be administered by a health professional, said Matt Hancock.

"The fact these tests can detect flu as well as Covid-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others," he said.

Brazil registers 25,800 cases

Brazil recorded 25,800 cases of the virus and 541 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 2.73 million virus cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 94,104, according to ministry data.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies