Novel coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 4.1 million people, infecting at least 195.7 million around the world. Here are updates for July 27:

A waiter wearing a face mask serves customers at a restaurant in Leadenhall Market in the City of London on July 27, 2021.
A waiter wearing a face mask serves customers at a restaurant in Leadenhall Market in the City of London on July 27, 2021. (AFP)

Tuesday, July 27:

Britain reports highest deaths since March

Britain has recorded 23,511 cases, the seventh consecutive day with a lower total than the previous day, but 131 deaths were registered within 28 days of a positive test, the highest figure since March, according to official data.

Saudis breaking travel rules face 3-year exit ban

Saudi Arabia has warned that citizens visiting destinations on its list of countries blacklisted will face three-year travel bans following their return.

Those found to have travelled to restricted countries would face "hefty penalties... as well as being prevented from travelling abroad for a period of three years", the Interior Ministry said on Twitter.

CDC set to unveil revised mask guidance for vaccinated Americans

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to announce revised mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans in the wake of rising cases and the more transmissible Delta variant, sources said.

Officials told Reuters the CDC is expected to recommend fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors in at least some instances, but the specifics are not clear.

The CDC and White House declined to comment. 

Indonesia reports record virus deaths in 24 hours

Indonesia has reported a record 2,069 deaths in 24 hours as it faces its deadliest surge since the pandemic began.

The grim tally was nearly 600 deaths higher than the previous day and topped last week's daily record of 1,566 deaths, the Health Ministry said.

New infections also shot up to just over 45,000, from about 28,000 on Monday.

Thousands of foreigners have left Indonesia in recent weeks, airport records showed, apparently spurred by a brutal pandemic wave and a general shortage of vaccines, which have gone to high-priority groups first.

UN calls for Covid-closed schools to reopen ASAP

Schools closed due to the pandemic must reopen as soon as possible, the United Nations has insisted, estimating that the education of more than 600 million children was at stake.

"This cannot go on," James Elder, spokesman for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), told reporters in Geneva.

While acknowledging the difficult choices that governments have to make when facing the crisis and the possible spread of the disease, "schools should be the last to close and the first to reopen," he said, calling it a "terrible mistake" to reopen bars and pubs before schools.

Russia OKs test combo Sputnik, AstraZeneca shots

Russia’s health officials have given a go-ahead to testing a combination of the AstraZeneca shot and the single-dose version of the domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine.

The country’s registry of approved clinical trials shows the small study was scheduled to start July 26 and to enroll 150 volunteers. The AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines use a similar technology.

Iran hits record for new cases for second day running

Iran has recorded nearly 35,000 new cases, the Health Ministry announced, amounting to the Islamic republic's highest daily infections number for a second consecutive day.

In the past 24 hours, Iran registered a record 34,951 positive cases, bringing the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 3,758,197.

The hardest-hit country in the Middle East also recorded 357 additional coronavirus-related deaths, taking total fatalities to 89,479.

Antibodies from Sinovac's shot fade after about 6 months, booster helps - study

Antibodies triggered by Sinovac Biotech vaccine have declined below a key threshold from around six months after a second dose for most recipients, although a third shot had a strong booster effect, according to a lab study.

Chinese researchers reported the findings from a study of blood samples from healthy adults aged between 18-59 in a paper published on Sunday, which has not been peer reviewed.

Among participants who received two doses, two or four weeks apart, only 16.9 percent and 35.2 percent respectively still had neutralising antibodies above what researchers regard as a detectable threshold level six months after the second shot, the paper said.

Those readings were based on data from two cohorts involving more than 50 participants each, while the study gave third doses of the vaccine or placebo to a total of 540 participants.

Researchers said it was unclear how the decrease in antibodies would affect the shot's effectiveness, since scientists have yet to figure out precisely the threshold of antibody levels for a vaccine to be able to prevent the disease.

Philippines records six week high in daily cases

The Philippines has recorded 7,186 new cases, the highest single-day increase in more than six weeks, and an additional 72 deaths, the Southeast Asian country's health ministry reported.

President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Monday of stricter virus curbs if the current outbreak worsens. According to one research group, daily cases could hit 8-10,000 infections a day without stronger countermeasures to contain the more contagious Delta variant.

Russia reports 23,032 new cases, 779 deaths

Russia has reported 23,032 new cases, including 2,623 in Moscow, amid a wave of infections blamed on the highly contagious Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations.

The government task force also confirmed 779 deaths in the last 24 hours. It said it had confirmed a total of 6,172,812 cases since the pandemic began. 

Tokyo hits record 2,848 virus cases days after Games begin

Tokyo has reported its highest daily number of new infections Tuesday, days after the Olympics began.

The Japanese capital reported 2,848 new cases, exceeding the earlier record of 2,520 cases from January 7.

It brings Tokyo’s total to more than 200,000 since the pandemic began last year.

Tokyo is under its fourth state of emergency that will last through the Olympics and into the Paralympics next month.

Experts have warned the more contagious delta variant could cause a surge during the Olympics, which started on Friday.

Chinese city lists more cases in local outbreak

The major eastern Chinese city of Nanjing has recorded another 31 locally transmitted cases, as authorities announced more than 1.5 billion doses of vaccine have been administered around the country.

The new cases bring Nanjing’s total to more than 106 over recent days. The virus circulating in the city has been identified as the delta variant, according to local officials.

The city has been carrying out mass testing and placed tens of thousands of people under lockdown. Along with near-universal indoor mask wearing, China has utilised such practices to largely contain the domestic spread of the virus.

Fiji urges more jabs as deaths rise

Fiji’s leader is urging people to get vaccinated as the island nation contends with a devastating outbreak of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Relative to its population of less than 1 million people, Fiji’s outbreak is currently among the worst in the world.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said the nation’s mission was to vaccinate 80 percent of adults by the end of October. About 47 percent of Fijians have had at least one vaccination dose.

He said “lies, misinformation, and unholy insanity” about the vaccine were endangering people.

Fiji has reported a record 1,285 new cases in its latest daily update.

It has reported 193 deaths since the outbreak began in April.

Fiji has also reported a further 101 deaths of Covid positive patients that it’s not classifying as coronavirus deaths because the patients had underlying conditions. Before the April outbreak, Fiji had recorded just two deaths.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan report record daily  infections

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have reported record numbers of fresh infections, standing at 6,797 and 789 respectively, signalling that Central Asia has yet to overcome the latest pandemic wave, driven by new variants.

Uzbekistan has a population of 34 million compared with Kazakhstan's 19 million but the latter does more tests while daily figures in the former are more indicative of cases requiring hospitalisation.

Kazakhstan has administered the first vaccine dose to 5.2 million people and 3.4 million have been fully inoculated.

In Uzbekistan, 4.2 million people have received the first dose, with about 1.1 million fully vaccinated.

Moderna pushes back July vaccine shipment for S.Korea to Aug

Moderna has pushed back its late-July vaccine shipment schedule for South Korea to August, South Korean health official Lee Sang-won told a briefing. 

India reports 29,689 new cases, lowest since March 17

India reported 29,689 new cases in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said, for the lowest daily rise since March 17, according to a Reuters tally.

India's total of 31.44 million infections now ranks second only to the United States.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 1,545

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,545 to 3,758,401, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. 

The reported death toll rose by 38 to 91,565, the tally showed. 

UN: COVID hitting poor and conflict nations worse this year

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting conflict-ridden and impoverished countries much worse this year than in 2020, with many facing higher caseloads and rising deaths, the UN’s deputy humanitarian chief has warned.

Ramesh Rajasingham said in a closed briefing to the UN Security Council that these surges are being fueled by a lack of access to vaccines, an easing of public health measures, increased social mixing, and the spread of the delta variant to at least 124 countries, including 17 fragile and conflict-affected nations.

In his briefing, Rajasingham said that so far in 2021 almost three-quarters of countries needing humanitarian aid have recorded more cases or deaths than in all of 2020. And in over one-third of those countries, he added, “at least three times more cases or deaths have been recorded this year compared to last.”

Rajasingham urged the international community to respond by ensuring that the poorest countries have access to protective equipment, oxygen, testing kits and other critical supplies. To tackle the pandemic and the worsening impact on the poorest people, he said, the global humanitarian system is appealing for $36 billion to help 161 million people.

Rajasingham said fragile and conflict-affected countries also must have access to vaccines. To date, he said, 80 million vaccine doses have been delivered to countries where the UN has appealed for humanitarian assistance.

Germany's cases rise by 1,545 - RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 1,545 to 3,758,401, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. The reported death toll rose by 38 to 91,565, the tally showed.

China reports 71 new cases

China has reported 71 new Covid-19 cases, compared with 76 cases a day earlier, the national health authority said.

Local infections accounted for 31 of the new cases, down from 40 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said in a statement. All of the local cases were reported in the eastern province of Jiangsu, it said.

The number of new asymptomatic cases - which China does not classify as confirmed cases - declined to 20 from 24 a day earlier.

Total confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China stand at 92,676, and the death toll remains at 4,636.

Australia's Victoria to ease lockdown restrictions

Australia's Victoria state will begin easing its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions as planned from Tuesday night, Premier Daniel Andrews said, after the state reported fewer new cases.

People can leave their homes for any reason but several restrictions would remain, including a ban on guests in homes and masks mandatory both indoors and outdoors, Andrews said.

Victoria detected 10 new local cases, down from 11 a day earlier, with all infections linked to the latest outbreak and in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

Meanwhile, a busy shopping mall in Sydney's southwest has been added to virus exposure sites and anyone who visited at any time over a 10-day period has been classified as a close contact who should test and self isolate for two weeks.

Sydney, Australia's largest city and state capital of New South Wales, is into its fifth week of a lockdown to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.

The lockdown is due to end on Friday but strict stay-home rules could be extended further as daily new cases have stubbornly remained above a hundred, with many still active in the community while infectious.

South Australia, which also registered infections from the Sydney outbreak, is on track to exit its week-long lockdown on Wednesday.

Brazil reports 18,999 new coronavirus cases, 578 deaths

Brazil has recorded 18,999 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 578 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

Brazil has registered more than 19.7 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 550,502, according to ministry data.

Mexico posts 5,920 more cases, 171 additional deaths

Mexico's health ministry has recorded 5,920 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 171 fatalities, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,754,438 and the reported death toll to 238,595.

World Bank to finance extra jabs for poorer nations

A new World Bank financing mechanism will allow developing countries to purchase Covid-19 vaccines collectively through the Covax facility.

Covax was set up to ensure 92 developing territories could access coronavirus vaccines to fight the pandemic, with the cost covered by donors.

The new mechanism will allow those countries to buy additional doses on top of the subsidised ones they will already receive via Covax.

Using money from the World Bank and other development banks, the facility says it will make advanced purchases from vaccine manufacturers based on aggregated demand across countries.

The financing mechanism builds on the existing Covax cost-sharing arrangement which aims to provide 430 million additional doses, or enough doses to fully vaccinate 250 million people, for delivery between late 2021 and mid-2022 for the 92 countries.

Those doses could be purchased through new financing arrangement.

Countries should also have some flexibility in selecting to buy particular vaccines that align with their preferences.

Covax is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gavi vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies