The coronavirus pandemic has now infected over 19 million people and has killed more than 711,000. Here are the latest updates for August 6:

Shaquanna Parnell, right, with the Mayor's Office of Public Engagement, hands an information leaflet to a passenger arriving at Amtrak's Penn Station in New York. August 6, 2020.
Shaquanna Parnell, right, with the Mayor's Office of Public Engagement, hands an information leaflet to a passenger arriving at Amtrak's Penn Station in New York. August 6, 2020. (Mark Lennihan / AP)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Trump says vaccine possible by November

US President Trump has said that it’s possible the US could have a coronavirus vaccine before the November 3 election.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US government infectious diseases official, said it’s possible there might be at least one vaccine that works and is safe by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Trump said he’s ready to invoke executive powers to bypass Congress and maintain emergency assistance for Americans suffering from coronavirus-induced economic pain.

US lifts travel restrictions

Meanwhile, the US lifts its warning to citizens to avoid all foreign travel due to the pandemic, pointing to recent improvements.

The State Department said it would instead resume considering each country on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey see more than 1,000 recoveries

Turkey confirms 1,040 more recoveries from the novel coronavirus, raising the tally to 220,546, according to the country's health minister.

Citing Health Ministry data, Fahrettin Koca said that a total of 1,153 people contracted Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 237,265.

The country's death toll from the disease rose to 5,798, with 14 new fatalities over the past 24 hours.

Pakistan lifts restrictions

Pakistan announces it will lift most of its remaining coronavirus restrictions after seeing new cases drop for several weeks.

All restaurants and parks will be allowed to re-open from August 10, as will parks, theatres, cinemas and public transport, according to Asad Umar, who heads Pakistan's task force to fight the coronavirus.

The number has steadily dwindled, and on Thursday, only 21 new fatalities were reported.

Pakistan has confirmed more than 280,000 cases including more than 6,000 deaths, though observers say that with only limited testing, the real number is likely much higher.

Austria limits travel to Spain

Austria's foreign ministry warns against travel to Spain, except for the Balearic and Canary Islands, as concerns grow over people returning from vacation bringing Covid-19 back with them.

Austria's measures are the latest blow to Spain's tourism-dependent economy after Britain, Germany and Switzerland recently warned their citizens against summer holidays on Spanish beaches, or at least in certain regions of the country.

Vietnam converts stadium into field hospital

Vietnam is nearly finished converting a sports stadium into a 1,000-bed field hospital in its new coronavirus epicentre of Danang, according to the health ministry. 

The country’s outbreak has spread to at least 11 locations.

Aggressive contact-tracing, targeted testing and strict quarantining had helped Vietnam halt an earlier contagion, but it is now racing to control infections in the central city and beyond after a new outbreak ended a run of more than three months without domestic transmission.

Netherlands says no need for second lockdown

The Netherlands' Prime Minister tightens restrictions on restaurants after growing cases of Covid-19, but says the country does not need to undergo a second lockdown. 

Rutte says the only way to do this is with public cooperation. He told tourists to avoid busy parts of Amsterdam and warned the country's youth to obey social distancing rules.

The Netherlands' National Institute for Health reported 601 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, up from 426 a day earlier.

Northern Ireland scraps plan to open pubs

Northern Ireland halts plans to reopen all pubs, and ordered citizens to wear face masks indoors after reporting its highest daily number of coronavirus cases since May.

The British region reported 43 new cases on Thursday compared to a total of 18 in the previous five days, although it has not reported a death related to Covid-19 since July 14.

While bars operating as restaurants are allowed to open, those serving only alcohol will likely have to wait until September at least, according to First Minister Arlene Foster.

France sees over 1,600 cases second day in a row

France reports 1,604 new Covid-19 infections over 24 hours, the total staying above the 1,600 threshold for the second day running, according to health ministry data.

In a statement, the ministry also said the number of patients in intensive care units for the disease is on the rise again, at 390 versus 384 on Wednesday.

Global Covid-19 infections top 19 million

Coronavirus has now infected over 19 million people and killed over 711,627, according to a tally by Worldometer.

The tally shows that over 12 million have recovered.

The top five countries with the highest number of infections are US, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa.

UK says 50M masks unusable over safety concerns

The British government says it won’t be using 50 million face masks it bought during a scramble to secure protective equipment for medics at the height of the coronavirus outbreak because of safety concerns.

The masks were part of a 252 million pound ($332 million) contract the government signed with investment firm Ayanda Capital in April. 

Papers filed in a court case reveal that the masks will not be distributed because they have ear loops rather than head loops and may not fit tightly enough.

The government says another 150 million masks supplied by Ayanda are unaffected but are still being tested.

The papers are part of a lawsuit against the Conservative government by campaigning groups the Good Law Project and EveryDoctor.

Central Japan region put under virus emergency

A governor in central Japan has announced a state of emergency because of rising virus cases and asked businesses and people to curb activities, especially during an upcoming holiday.

Aichi prefecture has been seeing more than 100 new infections a day since mid-July after an extended period with zero new cases. The prefecture includes Nagoya and the headquarters of Toyota Motor Corp, Japan’s top automaker.

Governor Hideaki Ohmura said businesses are being asked to close altogether or close early, and people are requested to stay home at night to prevent infec tions from spreading.

The requests continue through August 24, a period that includes Japan's Obon holidays.

“The situation we are in is very serious,” Ohmura said.

Japan has not had a lockdown.

Japan has more than 43,400 cases and about 1,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Germany to impose virus tests on risk zone arrivals

Germany will introduce mandatory coronavirus tests for travellers returning from designated risk zones from Saturday, the country's health minister said.

Having announced the measure last week, minister Jens Spahn said it would take effect from this weekend, as fears grow over rising case numbers blamed on summer holidays and local outbreaks.

From Saturday, "travellers entering Germany will have to bring a test result with them or be tested on arrival", he added, confirming once again that the tests would be paid for by the government.

Germany's list of "risk zones" currently includes most non-EU countries, as well as certain provinces in Belgium and Spain. 

The country's 16 states agreed last month on free tests for all returning travellers, but had stopped short of making the tests mandatory. 

Spahn said however that that imposing tests was "the safe option".

Indonesia's infections rise by 1,882, deaths by 69

Indonesia reported 1,882 new infections and 69 additional deaths on Thursday, data from government's special task force showed.

Those brought the total number of cases to 118,753 and deaths to 5,521.

Indonesia's case tally was surpassed on Thursday by neighbouring Philippines, which, with 119,460 cases, has the most infections in East Asia. 

Philippines reports 3,561 new cases, 28 more deaths

The Philippines' health ministry reported 3,561 new infections and 28 additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths had increased to 2,150, while confirmed cases had reached 119,460, topping Indonesia for the most infections in East Asia.

Strict lockdown in and around the capital brought the economy to its knees in the first half. 

The government placed the capital under lockdown until mid-August to stem surging infections.

Slovakia daily case hits highest since April

Slovakia, which has one of Europe's lowest death tolls, reported its biggest daily rise in new cases in more than three months, saying it had recorded 63 deaths in a single day.

The central European country of 5.5 million people has fared better than most in containing the spread of the virus, although daily cases have risen since June as Slovakia opened up from lockdowns, mirroring a European trend of rising infections.

Latest data released on Thursday showed the total number of cases identified so far in Slovakia had reached 2,480, of which 1,824 people have already recovered.

The health ministry said the situation remained under control and hospitalisations were steady.

Last week, the country reported its first Covid-19 death since mid-May, bringing the total to 29.

Poland reports record new infections

Poland reported 726 new cases, according to the health ministry's Twitter account, the fifth time a new record has been set since last week.

Poland has reported a total of 49,515 cases and 1,774 deaths, according to the ministry.

Hong Kong reports 95 new cases

Hong Kong reported 95 new cases, of which 91 were locally transmitted, as authorities tried to contain the virus, which has seen a resurgence in the global financial hub over the past month.

Around 3,800 people have been infected in Hong Kong since late January, 44 of whom have died. On Wednesday, 85 new cases were reported.

The government on Thursday said it was extending the work from home period for civil servants until August 16.

Russia reports more than 5,200 new cases

Russian authorities reported 5,267 new cases, pushing its national tally to 871,894, the fourth largest in the world.

The official death toll rose to 14,606 after officials said 116 people had died across the country in the last 24 hours. 

Human trials of vaccine set to begin in Indonesia

Human trials on a potential vaccine are due to start in Indonesia next week as part of a collaboration between state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a senior researcher said.

The launch of the vaccine trial comes as Indonesia has struggled to contain the spread of the virus, with a consistently escalating number of cases.

The phase 3 clinical trial is set to begin on August 11 and will involve 1,620 volunteers aged between 18 and 59, Professor Kusnandi Rusmil, head researcher at Bandung’s Padjadjaran University, told reporters.

Half of the participants will receive the vaccine over a six-month period, while the rest will receive a placebo, he said, noting 800 volunteers had been signed up so far.

"We want to have our vaccines so we can use it for our people," Rusmil told reporters.

Erick Thohir, Indonesia’s minister for state-owned enterprises, sought to reassure the public this week, saying that Bio Farma would be ready by year-end to produce 250 million doses a year should the Sinovac vaccine prove successful.

The Sinovac trial is one of several collaborations to produce a vaccine underway in the world's fourth-most populous nation. 

Virus cases on Norwegian cruise ship reach 53

The number of people on a Norwegian cruise ship who have tested positive has reached 53.

Following the outbreak on the MS Roald Amundsen, the ship’s owner halted all cruises on Monday and Norway closed its ports to cruise ships for two weeks.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said that during its two journeys last month, a total of 37 crew members and 16 passengers have tested positive. The passengers all registered as living in Norway.

The cruise liner often acts like a local ferry, traveling from port to port along Norway’s west coast.

Some passengers disembarked along the route and authorities fear they may have spread the virus to local communities.

In the Arctic harbor of Bodoe, the crew and passengers on the cruise ship Seadream 1 all tested negative for the virus. The tests were made “in an abundance of caution”, according to Norway-based company that owns the ship, SeaDream Yacht Club.

The ship was put in quarantine after a person from Denmark tested positive on Tuesday upon returning home. The vessel arrived in Bodoe early Wednesday.

Nepal reimposes restrictions as cases climb

Nepal has reimposed some restrictions, shutting down hotels and restaurants and restricting travel because of the increasing number of cases.

The home ministry statement says all gatherings are prohibited and movement of people and vehicles only allowed during the night.

In the districts with high numbers of cases, vehicles will be allowed on the streets on alternating days by even-odd license plates.

Nepal’s lockdown imposed in March lasted for 120 days. The country has had 21,390 cases and 60 deaths, including 81 infections and two fatalities on Wednesday.

Vietnam reports 9th death, says peak in 10 days

A health official says Vietnam's Covid-19 outbreak could peak in the coming 10 days as the country reported another death and scores of new infections.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son, who is in hot spot Da Nang to oversee the fight against the virus, says new infections have been found every day and “therefore, we have to continue keeping guard up.”

To cope with an increase in virus patients, Da Nang completed a 700-bed makeshift hospital on Wednesday. The hospital, converted from a sports auditorium, has a maximum capacity of 3,000 beds.

A 67-year-old woman became Vietnam's ninth fatality.

She had suffered from other health complications.

Since the outbreak returned to Vietnam two weeks ago after more than three months, 270 local infections have been confirmed, most of them traced to a cluster of hospitals in Da Nang. Among the new cases are six in a high-tech industrial park in the city.

The virus has since spread to 11 provinces and municipalities, including the largest cities of Ho Chi Minh with eight cases and Hanoi with three.

Among measures to curb the outbreak, the government is encouraging the use of a smart phone app that alerts clients if they had come into contact with a person who tested positive.

India reports biggest number of deaths with 904

India has recorded the biggest single-day fatalities of 904 in the past 24 hours as fresh infections surged by another 56,282 cases to reach nearly 2 million.

The health ministry says the total fatalities touched 40,699. India has recorded 20,000 deaths in the past 30 days.

The ministry also said the recovery rate has improved to 67 percent from 63 percent over the last 14 days. Nearly 600,000 patients are still undergoing treatment.

The case fatality rate stands at 2.09 percent.

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are the worst-hit Indian states.

Australian hot spot state says don't panic-buy

The premier of Australia’s hot spot Victoria state has urged residents not to panic-buy as he announced reductions in meat productions.

The state capital Melbourne began its first full day of tough lockdown restrictions as Victoria posted 471 new Covid-19 infections and eight deaths.

Premier Daniel Andrews says beef, lamb and pork production will be reduced by one third from late Friday because of the virus transmission risks in abattoirs and meat processing plants.

Poultry production will be reduced by 20 percent.

He says the measure s are designed to drive down to the lowest possible numbers of workers to without at the same time delivering a shortage of products.

Andrews says there was no need for shoppers to stockpile, as has occurred spasmodically and to various extents during Melbourne’s first and second lockdowns.

He says: “you may not necessarily be able to get exactly the cut of meat that you want, but you will get what you need and you will get all the products that are, basically, fundamentally important to you.”

Japan region declares coronavirus emergency

The governor of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture has announced a regional “state of emergency” seeking to curb the coronavirus.

Governor Hideaki Ohmura asked businesses to close altogether or close early and urged people to stay home at night.

The measures continue through August 24, a period that coincides with the Obon holidays, when schools and many companies close. Aichi includes Nagoya, which is home to Toyota Motor Corp’s headquarters.

The governor says confirmed coronavirus cases have been rising in Aichi since mid-July at 100 or more a day. Before that, daily cases had been zero for extended periods.

Japan’s national government in April called for social distancing and business closings, though those measures were gradually lifted. Japan has had nearly 42,700 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 1,000 deaths.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 1,045 to 213,067

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,045 to 213,067, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,175, the tally showed.

Brazil's death toll rises to 97,256 

Brazil reported 57,152 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,437 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the country's health ministry has said.

Brazil has registered 2,859,073 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 97,256, according to ministry data, in the world's worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States.

China reports 37 new cases in mainland

China reported 37 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for August 5, up from 27 a day earlier, the country's health commission has said.

Seven of the new infections were imported cases, versus five a day earlier, according to a statement by the National Health Commission on Thursday.

The commission also reported 20 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 24 a day earlier.

As of August 5, mainland China had 84,528 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The Covid-19 death toll remained at 4,634.

Mexico reports 829 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry has reported 6,139 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 829 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 456,100 cases and 49,698  deaths.

Florida tops 500,000 virus cases 

Florida surpassed 500,000 coronavirus cases  as testing ramped up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias, state officials have said.

A long line of cars waited outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Wednesday morning for a coronavirus testing site to reopen after being closed because of the storm.

Florida reported 225 new deaths and 5,409 news cases on Wednesday. Overall, Florida's reported 502,739 cases ranks second to California, with more than 527,000 cases, and above Texas with more than 466,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Facebook removes Trump post over virus misinformation

Facebook Inc has removed a post by US President Donald Trump, which the company said violated its rules against sharing misinformation about the coronavirus.

The post contained a video clip, from an interview with Fox & Friends earlier in the day, Trump claimed that children are "almost immune" to Covid-19.

"This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19, which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation," a Facebook spokesperson said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gambia shuts borders, airspace 

Gambian President Adama Barrow has declared a state of emergency, shutting his country’s borders and airspace amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

Covid-19 cases in Gambia have surged over 60 percent in the last seven days to nearly 800, a trajectory he said is "worrisome." 

The country has registered 16 coronavirus deaths so far.

Barrow also imposed a night curfew from 10am to 5pm starting Thursday until August 26, the same time the state of emergency is expected to last.

The declaration also shut all houses of worship. Only persons on official Covid-19 duties, ambulances and public officials on essential assignments are exempted.

Schools are also declared closed. Grocery stores, markets, banks and all essential businesses remain open.

Detained Colombia ex-president has coronavirus, party says

Former Colombia president Alvaro Uribe tested positive for coronavirus a day before the Supreme Court placed him under house arrest, his political party has said.

Uribe was "in good health" despite his diagnosis, said the Democratic Center party.

The court, which held a hearing Tuesday into witness tampering accusations, ordered the 68-year-old to be put under house arrest after deeming there were "possible risks" he would attempt to obstruct justice.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies