Coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 3.8M people and infected over 179M globally. Here are the latest Covid-related developments for June 20:

People wait inside a bus used as a mobile Covid-19 vaccination centre to encourage people to get inoculated in Taguig, Philippines on June 18, 2021
People wait inside a bus used as a mobile Covid-19 vaccination centre to encourage people to get inoculated in Taguig, Philippines on June 18, 2021 (AP)

Sunday, June 20

Philippines seals biggest vaccine order, 40M Pfizer doses

The Philippine government has signed a supply agreement for 40 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, in its biggest coronavirus vaccine deal to date.

Deliveries of the vaccine will begin in late September, Carlito Galvez, head of the government's vaccine procurement, said.

Qatar to require fans at 2022 World Cup to be vaccinated

Qatar will require spectators at the 2022 World Cup to have received vaccines to get into games, the government has announced.

Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani told Qatar newspaper editors that the Gulf nation is trying to secure a million vaccine doses to immunise fans wanting to watch the tournament.

Turkey administers over 7.7M vaccine shots one week

Turkey has administered over 7.77 million doses, including first and second shots, of vaccines in the last seven days, according to official figures released.

In total, the country has given over 41.54 million doses since it launched a mass inoculation drive in mid-January.

The country's overall case tally is over 5.37 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 49,185 with 63 new fatalities. 

UK records over 9,200 new cases

Britain has recorded 9,284 new cases  and six new deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

Although lower than recent days, the number of new cases reflects an upward trend in recent weeks driven by the spread of the more infectious Delta variant first detected in India.

Italy adds over 800 new cases

Italy has reported 17 deaths against 28 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 881 from 1,197.

Italy has registered 127,270 deaths, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.25 million cases to date.

Delta variant behind resurge in Lisbon area

Over half the new cases being reported in the Lisbon region have been of the more infectious Delta variant, preliminary data showed as Portuguese authorities scramble to curb a worrying spike in infections.

Ricardo Jorge, the national health institute, said the Delta variant, first identified in India, represented over 60 percent of cases in the Lisbon area though still less than 15 percent in the northern half of Portugal.

The Alpha variant, which was previously dominant in Britain, is more prevalent across Portu gal's north, representing 80 percent of infections there and only 30 percent in and around Lisbon, according to the institute.

Vietnam receives 500,000 Sinopharm doses from China

Vietnam has received a shipment of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by China, the Health Ministry said, as the country is ramping up inoculations to battle against a more widespread outbreak.
The Southeast Asian nation approved China's Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use in early June.
The vaccines will be used for three groups: Chinese citizens in Vietnam, Vietnamese who have plan to work or study in China and people who live near the borders with China, the health ministry said in a statement.

India posts lowest daily rise in cases in nearly 3 months

India has reported 58,419 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours on Sunday, the lowest daily number in nearly three months, data from the health ministry showed.

The total number of cases of Covid-19 in India has risen to 29.9 million and so far 386,713 people have died. Deaths rose by 1,576 overnight. 

Indonesia reports 13,737 daily infections, 371 deaths 

Indonesia has reported 13,737 new coronavirus infections, the highest in a single day since Jan 30, bringing the total number of cases in the country to nearly two million, data from the Covid-19 task force showed.

On Sunday, the task force also reported 371 new deaths, the highest number of daily fatalities since early April, taking the total to 54,662.

Small Covid-19 outbreaks keep plaguing Australia

Australia's state of Queensland has recorded one locally acquired coronavirus infection, the latest streak of small outbreaks that have been plaguing the country in recent months.

The Queensland case comes as a cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant has grown by two cases to nine in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, prompting health officials to expand mask-wearing rules.

Australia has been highly successful in managing the spread of the coronavirus through swift border closures, social distancing rules and a high community compliance with them, reporting just over 30,300 cases and 910 Covid-19 deaths.

The state of Victoria, which battled a small outbreak of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, earlier this month and which put five million people into a hard lockdown for two weeks, recorded no new cases on Sunday, following one infection in the previous day.

South Korea to loosen social distancing rules on July 1

South Korea will relax social distancing rules and allow private gatherings of up to six people in the greater Seoul area from the current four starting July 1, the government said.

The announcement comes as South Korea has inoculated 29.2 percent of its population as of Saturday, putting it on track to meet a target of 70 percent by September.

Daily new infections have held stubbornly in a range of 400 to 700 for the past few weeks, but have stayed below 600 for more than a week so far.

Under the revised rules, restaurants, night-life venues and cafes will be allowed to open for business until 12 a.m., versus 10 p.m. currently.

Russia reports 17,611 new cases, 450 deaths

Russia has reported 17,611 new Covid-19 cases, including 8,305 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,316,826.

The government coronavirus task force said 450 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 129,361.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to Covid-19 from April 2020 to April 2021

China vaccine doses pass one billion mark

China has now administered more than a billion doses of Covid vaccines, the country's health authority said, more than a third of the number given worldwide.

It comes after the number of doses administered globally surpassed 2.5 billion on Friday, according to an AFP count from official sources.

Philippines signs deal for 40 mln Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses

The Philippine government has signed a supply agreement for 40 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, CNN Philippines said, citing the head of the government's Covid-19 vaccine procurement.

Deliveries of the vaccine, among several brands of coronavirus shots allowed for emergency use in the Southeast Asian country, will begin "after eight weeks starting August", Carlito Galvez was quoted as saying.

US sending Taiwan 2.5M vaccine doses, tripling pledge

The US is sending 2.5 million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, tripling an earlier pledge in a donation with both public health and geopolitical meaning.

The shipment was due to arrive by plane later Sunday, the de facto US embassy said. “The donation reflects our commitment to Taiwan as a trusted friend, and a member of the international family of democracies,” the American Institute in Taiwan wrote on its Facebook page.

Taiwan, which had been relatively unscathed by the virus, has been caught off-guard by a surge in new cases since May and is now scrambling to get Covid-19 vaccines.

It has ordered 5.05 million doses directly from Moderna but so far received only 390,000, including a second shipment that arrived Friday.

The US donation also signals its support for Taiwan in the face of growing pressure from China, which claims the self-governing island off its east coast as its territory. 

The US promised 750,000 vaccine doses for Taiwan earlier this month, sending Sen.

Germany's cases rise by 842 - RK

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 842 to 3,721,981, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. 

The reported death toll rose by 16 to 90,385, the tally showed.

'Forces for good will prevail' - Taiwan welcomes massive US vaccine aid

Taiwan has reacted with an outpouring of thanks to the United States for shipping 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to the major semiconductor-producing island, more than doubling its arsenal as it deals with a rise in domestic infections.

Washington, competing with Beijing to deepen geopolitical clout through "vaccine diplomacy," initially had promised to donate 750,000 doses but increased that number as President Joe Biden's administration advances its pledge to send 80 million US-made shots around the world.

"What a sight! What a gesture!" Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweeted in thanks late on Saturday, linking to pictures of the vaccines being loaded onto a China Airlines Boeing 777 freighter at Memphis airport.

"The Taiwan-US relationship is rock solid, & we'll keep cooperating closely in combating COVID19. Forces for good will prevail!"

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted she was touched by the US move.

"Thank you to the US for this moving gesture of friendship. These vaccines will go a long way toward keeping Taiwan safe & healthy."

The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is its most important international backer, to China's anger.

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for coronavirus

A member of Uganda’s Olympic team has tested positive for the coronavirus and was barred entry into Japan, in the first detected infection among arriving athletes for the Tokyo Games opening in five weeks.

The eight other members of the team left early on Sunday by chartered bus for host town Osaka, central Japan, where Covid-19 cases are still being reported.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, a minister in charge of economic policy, said on NHK TV on Sunday that the government was looking into what had happened with border controls.

The athletes, arriving late on Saturday at Tokyo’s Narita airport, were all fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jabs and had negative PCR tests before boarding, the Asahi newspaper reported, quoting an anonymous Cabinet Secretariat official.

The team member who tested positive was not identified.

China reports 23 new cases versus 30 the day before

China reported 23 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the mainland for June 19, down from 30 infections a day earlier, the country's health authority has said.

All new cases were imported infections from overseas, with 12 reported in the southern province Guangdong, the National Health Commission said.

The number of new asymptomatic infections fell to 20 from 42 a day earlier. China does not classify them as confirmed cases.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China reached 91,587 by the end of June 19, with the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

Brazil surpasses half a million deaths

Brazil surpassed 500,000 deaths on Saturday, the Health Ministry has said, registering 2,301 new deaths in the past 24 hours.

The country recorded an additional 82,288 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, with nearly 17.9 million cases of the disease registered since the pandemic began, according to ministry data.

Cuba encouraged by early trials of homegrown vaccine

Cuba's Soberana 2 vaccine candidate has shown 62% efficacy with just two of its three doses, state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma has said, citing preliminary data from late phase trials.

Cuba, which has a decades-old reputed biotech sector, has five vaccine candidates in clinical trials, of which two - Soberana 2 and Abdala - are in late phase trials. 

Mexico posts 3,964 new cases, 192 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry has reported 3,964 new confirmed cases in the country and 192 more fatalities, bringing the total figures to 2,475,705 infections and 231,151 deaths.

The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published in March suggested the actual death toll is at least 60% above the confirmed figure.

Over-18s queue at vaccination pop-up centres in London

People aged over 18 in England have queued at pop-up vaccinations centres dotted around the country aimed at speeding up the country's vaccine effort.

The London Stadium in Stratford is usually home to Premiership Football Club West Ham, but it saw a different kind of visitor as numerous people ranging in age waited for vaccinations to be administered inside the stadium.

Scanning across the queue, it was evident that many younger members of the community were taking up the opportunity to be able to receive the vaccine, one couple waiting said they "jumped on it as soon as possible."

The pop-up centres are aimed at getting more adults vaccinated quickly amid a 79% rise in one week in cases of the Delta variant.

The increase is largely being driven by younger age groups.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies