Novel coronavirus has infected more than 183 million people and killed over 3.9 million. Here are the latest Covid-related developments for July 2:

Russia's Emergencies Ministry member wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) sprays disinfectant in Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2021.
Russia's Emergencies Ministry member wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) sprays disinfectant in Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2021. (Reuters)

Friday, July 2:

Russia rejects new lockdown despite record virus deaths

Russia has said that it would not impose a new lockdown despite reporting a record number of coronavirus deaths for the fourth day in a row.

A government tally showed 679 pandemic-related deaths in the previous 24 hours, as Russia battles a surging outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant and worsened by a lagging vaccination drive.

Russia, the fifth worst-hit country in the world in terms of total cases, has refused to impose a full lockdown since the first wave of the pandemic last year.

 It continues to host mass events, including Euro 2020 football fixtures in Saint Petersburg.

The surge in infections prompted President Vladimir Putin this week to once again urge Russians to get vaccinated in an annual televised phone-in session with the nation.

The Kremlin stressed Friday that a new lockdown was off the table.

"Nobody wants any lockdowns, and yes, it is not up for debate," said Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "It is not being discussed."

Turkey registers 4,891 new cases

Turkey has reported 4,891 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 461 symptomatic patients, according to the official figures.

The country's overall case tally is now over 5.43 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 49,829 with 55 new fatalities, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

Turkey has administered over 51.85 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January.

More than 35.58 million people have received their first doses, while over 15.45 million have been fully vaccinated.

Italy reports 28 deaths, 794 new cases

Italy has reported 28 coronavirus-related deaths against 21 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections decreased to 794 from 882.

Italy has registered 127,615 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eight-highest in the world. 

The country has reported 4.26 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 1,469 on Friday, down from 1,532 a day earlier.

There were 3 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 7 on Thursday. The total number of intensive care patients fell to 213 from a previous 229.

Some 199,238 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 188,474, the health ministry said.

UK records 27,125 new cases, 27 new deaths

Britain has reported 27,125 new Covid-19 cases and 27 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official government data showed.

That compared to 27,989 cases and 22 deaths reported a day earlier.

EU executive approves Lithuania's $2.6B Covid recovery plan

The European Union's executive has approved Lithuania's plan to spend 2.2 billion euros ($2.6B) worth of special funds from the bloc aimed at kickstarting economic growth mauled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2.2 aid, which Vilnius won't have to pay back, is part of the EU's unprecedented economic stimulus totalling 800 billion euros to be distributed among the 27 member states. 

Lithuania's plan envisages investing 242 million euros in offshore and onshore wind and solar power plants, as well as developing energy storage facilities, the EU Commission said.

A further 341 million euros would go towards phasing out the most polluting road transport vehicles, while Lithuania would allocate a third of its entire allocation to digital projects.

WHO says it has been advising Olympics committee on Covid

The World Health Organization is advising the International Olympic Committee in the run-up to the Games in Tokyo and has urged caution in order to track the spread of the coronavirus, a senior WHO official has said.

"The IOC and others have outlined their plans in taking their approach for the Olympics, and we have been engaging with them and advising them on the best use of those plans," the WHO's technical lead on Covid-19, Maria van Kerkhove, told a news conference.

She said the WHO was learning from the Euro 2020 soccer tournament, adding: "If the virus is present and precautions are not in place the virus will spread." 

UK's Johnson says he has no plans to reduce Euro 2020 stadium crowds

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that he did not plan to order a reduction in crowds attending the remaining Euro 2000 tournament football matches due to take place in London's Wembley Stadium.

Crowd capacity at Wembley Stadium will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020under a pilot scheme announced last week.

"Of course we'll follow the scientific guidance and the advice if we receive any such suggestion," Johnson said in response to a question at a news conference, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said she was worried about UEFA's decision to let more people into stadiums.

"But at the moment...the position is very clear in the UK, which is that we have certain events which we can put on in a very careful and controlled manner with testing of everybody who goes there."

WHO welcomes report on efficacy of longer gaps between AstraZeneca doses

A report from Oxford University saying that a longer gap between doses of AstraZeneca vaccines still provides protection is "very reassuring" for supply-strapped countries, World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said.

Joachim Hombach, head of the WHO's expert panel, said it was"great news" on spaced dosing for the vaccine, which would add flexibility to dosing schedules.

The Oxford study released this week found that the second dose can be delayed up to 45 weeks and still lead to an enhanced immune response.

China administers total of 1.26B doses of vaccines as of July 1

China has administered about 19.47 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines on July 1, bringing the total number administered to 1.26 billion, according to data released by the National Health Commission.

Pakistan reports highest daily infections since June 10

After a three-week decline in daily cases of the virus, Pakistan reported over 1,270 new cases, the highest daily number since June 10, according to the health ministry.

The South Asian state recorded 1,303 new infections on June 10 and 663 on June 21, the lowest number since October 20, 2020, official data showed.

With new 1,277 cases, the country's overall caseload has reached 959,685.

While 24 more people died during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 22,345 and 905,430 recoveries.

Australia tightens border further to curb virus outbreaks

Australia has announced a dramatic cut in the number of people who will be allowed to enter the country, as it struggles to contain virus clusters that plunged major cities into lockdown.

With almost half of the nation's population under stay-at-home orders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said quotas for overseas arrivals would be cut by around 50 percent to help prevent further outbreaks.

Under the current "zero Covid" strategy, just 6,000 people are allowed to enter Australia on overseas commercial flights each week and arrivals must undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine.

Russia's daily death toll climbs to new pandemic high

Russia has registered a record number of daily virus-related deaths amid a surge in cases across the world's largest country that the authorities blame on the infectious Delta variant.

The government's coronavirus taskforce said 679 people had died in the last 24 hours, the highest figure confirmed in a single day since the pandemic began.

It also reported 23,218 new infections during the past 24 hours, including 6,893 in Moscow.

The Russian capital, the epicentre of the outbreak throughout the pandemic, is racing to repurpose hospitals to treat an influx of patients, Anastasiya Rakova, the city's deputy mayor, said.

Germany's confirmed virus cases rise by 649

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany has increased by 649 to 3,729,682, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. The reported death toll rose by 69 to 91,007 the tally showed.

Indonesia to lift social, health spending amid curbs

Indonesia will increase spending on social assistance and healthcare in response to a spike in virus cases and to soften the blow on the economy with tougher restrictions set to take effect this week, it s finance minister said.

Battling one of the worst virus outbreaks in Asia, the world's fourth most populous country has seen record infection numbers recently, including on Thursday when it recorded 24,836 cases and 504 deaths from the respiratory disease.

In a bid to contain the wave of cases, "emergency" curbs will take effect from Saturday to July 20 and include tighter restrictions on movement and air travel, a ban on restaurant dining and the closure of non-essential offices.

Tokyo governor says Olympics spectator ban an option if situation worsens

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has reiterated that a ban on spectators for the upcoming Olympics would be an option to consider if the coronavirus situation worsened.

Returning to work after her recent hospitalization from exhaustion, she apologised for being absent as the time for the Games approached.

Myanmar orders 2 million to stay home as cases spike

Myanmar authorities have imposed stay-at-home-measures on the country's second city as virus cases in the coup-wracked country surge, with many health workers striking to protest against the junta.

Inhabitants of Mandalay, as well as two townships in the southern Bago region woke up to new restrictions banning more than one person leaving home for non-medical reasons.

There was no timeframe given for the new rules, announced by the health and sports ministry of the State Administration Council – as the junta calls itself.

Britain reports 50,824 new cases of Delta variant in latest week

Britain has reported 50,824 new cases of the highly transmissible Delta virus variant of concern in the latest week, Public Health England (PHE) said.

PHE said the new total cases of Delta had risen to 161,981, a 46% increase from last week.

India's daily Covid deaths rise by 853, toll crosses 400,000

India has reported 853 new Covid-19 deaths during the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, taking its total toll beyond 400,000.

New infections reported over the same period were 46,617.

Sydney braces for rise in Covid-19 cases as Delta outbreak worsens

Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), warned residents to brace an increase in Covid-19 infections over the next few days as it reported the biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases recorded so far this year.

Country-wide, Australia is fighting outbreaks of the highly infections Delta variant simultaneously in three state capital cities, meaning nearly half of all Australians are currently under strict orders to stay at home.

J&J says its single-shot Covid vaccine shows strong activity against Delta

Johnson & Johnson said that its single-shot vaccine generated strong, persistent activity against the Delta variant, and other highly prevalent variants.

Data showed that the durability of the immune response lasted through at least eight months, the company said.

WHO sounds alarm over Euro 2020 as Covid cases soar

The World Health Organization (WHO) called for better monitoring of Euro 2020 football matches as Covid infections climb again in Europe, fuelled by the deadly Delta variant that is racing around the globe.

Hundreds of cases have been detected among spectators attending Euro games across the continent, with carriers of the Delta strain detected in Copenhagen, and infected Scots and Finns returning from London and Saint Petersburg respectively.

In a bid to boost protection, European football's governing body UEFA has cancelled all tickets sold to UK residents for Engl and's quarter-final against Ukraine in Rome this weekend.

Brazil reports 65,163 new virus cases, 2,029 deaths

Brazil registered 65,163 new coronavirus cases and 2,029 new Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said.

Thailand reports third day of record deaths

Thailand reported the third straight day of record coronavirus deaths, with 61 fatalities, as authorities struggle to tackle the country's latest wave of infections.

The Southeast Asian country has now recorded 2,141 deaths from the virus since the pandemic started. The Covid-19 task force also reported 6,087 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections to 270,921.

South Korea reports over 800 cases

South Korea's daily count of coronavirus cases topped 800, the highest since January 7, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing health authorities. 

China reports 18 new infections

China reported 18 new cases of coronavirus on the mainland, compared with 12 a day earlier, the national health authority said.

All of the new infections were imported cases, the National Health Commission said in a statement. There were no new deaths from Covid-19.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 22, up from 19 a day earlier.

Mexico reports 6,081 new cases of Covid-19, 201 more deaths 

Mexico's health ministry reported 6,081 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 201 more fatalities, bringing its total to 2,525,350 infections and 233,248 deaths.

The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently suggested the actual death toll could be 60 percent higher than the official count. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies