The coronavirus pandemic has killed over a million people and infected more than 33 million worldwide. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for September 28:

People wearing protective face masks travel on a passenger ferry at Yangon jetty, amid the outbreak of Covid-19, in Yangon, Myanmar, September 28, 2020.
People wearing protective face masks travel on a passenger ferry at Yangon jetty, amid the outbreak of Covid-19, in Yangon, Myanmar, September 28, 2020. (Reuters)

Monday, September 28, 2020

WHO to provide poor countries millions of Covid-19 test kits

Some 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for Covid-19 will be made available to low- and middle-income countries over a period of six months and will be priced at a maximum of $5 per unit, the World Health Organization said on Monday. 

The tests provide reliable results in just 15 minutes, the WHO's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a news conference in Geneva.

Nearly 280,000 US school children have had coronavirus

Almost 280,000 school-aged children were infected with the novel coronavirus between March 1 and September 19, according to detailed data in a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The figure accounted for roughly four percent of the total US caseload over this period, with children aged 12-17 approximately twice as likely to be infected as those aged 5-11.

The rate of new cases rose steadily during the spring and then shot up over the summer, peaking on July 19 with an average weekly incidence of 37.9 per 100,000.

The new cases then plateaued for several weeks before declining in late August, though it appears they are now rising again towards summer levels.

The authors wrote that the data helped establish a baseline for monitoring trends of Covid-19 infection as some schools return to in-person learning now and in the coming months.

Turkey reports 1,412 new coronavirus cases

Recoveries from the novel coronavirus in Turkey exceeded infections for the first time in weeks, according to daily Health Ministry figures.

The country reported 1,412 more Covid-19 cases, as well as 1,422 recoveries over the past 24 hours.

Overall infections now stand at 315,845, including 277,052 recoveries.

The death toll from the pandemic in Turkey rose to 8,062, with 65 more fatalities reported since Sunday.

A total of 115,523 more coronavirus tests were conducted over the past 24 hours, pushing the total above 10.15 million.

Slovakia to declare state of emergency

Slovakia is set to declare a new state of emergency this week to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said following a sharp rise in cases.

The measure is expected to be approved by the government on Wednesday and would be the second time that Slovakia introduces a state of emergency to combat the pandemic.

Under the proposed restrictions, all sporting events, cultural events, and religious services would be banned from October 1.

Weddings and funerals would only be allowed if all the participants can prove they have had a negative test for coronavirus.

Restaurants, bars, and cafes would close at 10:00 pm (2000 GMT) and if people not living in the same household come closer than two metres (six feet) outdoors, they would have to wear masks.

Masks are already compulsory in public indoor spaces in Slovakia.

France number of new cases down, casualties up

French health authorities reported 4,070 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Saturday's third-highest ever tally of 14,412 and Sunday's 11,123.

The Monday figure always tends to dip as there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays.

The seven-day moving average of new infections, which smoothes out reporting irregularities, stood at 12,083, above the 12,000 threshold for the fourth day in a row, versus a low of 272 on May 27, two weeks after the country ended its two-month-long lockdown.

The number of people in France who have died from Covid-19 infections rose by 81 to 31,808, versus 27 on Sunday.

The cumulative number of cases now totals 542,639.

Russia reports over 8,000 new cases

Russian health officials have reported over 8,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time since mid-June.

The 8,135 new confirmed cases brought the country’s total to nearly 1.16 million, the fourth largest caseload in the world. Almost 27 percent of Monday’s new cases, 2,217, were registered in Moscow.

The number of daily new cases started to rapidly grow this month in Russia, which had earlier lifted most of the virus-related restrictions and resumed air traffic with several countries.

Officials have repeatedly dismissed rumors of a second lockdown, saying the growth in the autumn was expected and Russia's health care infrastructure was prepared for it.

Iran reports 190 more virus deaths, over 3,500 cases

At least 190 more Covid-19-related fatalities have raised the death toll in Iran to 25,779, the country's Health Ministry said.

Some 3,512 more people tested positive for the virus over the past 24 hours, pushing the overall count up to 449,960, ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said.

She added that 376,531 patients have recovered so far, while 4,068 are hospitalised in critical condition.

Some 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces are in the red zone with a high risk of coronavirus, Lari warned.

Palestine sees 503 new virus cases, 10 fatalities

Palestine has confirmed 503 new cases from the virus over the past 24 hours.

In a statement, the Palestinian Health Ministry said the virus claimed 10 lives in the occupied West Bank, including two in East Jerusalem.

Among the infections, 468 were in the West Bank, including 85 in East Jerusalem, in addition to 35 cases in the blockaded Gaza.

The virus death toll in Palestine rose to 353, while the total number of infections reached 49,695, and 39,386 recoveries, the Health Ministry said.

Azerbaijan extends some restrictions until November 2

Azerbaijan has extended some of its lockdown restrictions until November 2 and decided to keep its borders closed after a rise in the number of new coronavirus cases, the government said.

Azerbaijan introduced measures to stem the coronavirus on March 24 and has extended them several times.

As of Monday, the country of about 10 million people in the South Caucasus had registered 40,061 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 588 deaths.

Oman to reopen mosques on November 15

Oman will reopen mosques for prayers on November 15 with strict measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, state media cited the Islamic Affairs Ministry as saying, in a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the sultanate.

The Gulf Arab state has said it will resume international flights on October 1 and lift a lockdown in Dhofar governorate in the south of the country, in place since March, on the same day.

Oman, a country of 4.7 million people, in the last 24 hours recorded 607 new cases to take its total to 98,057 with 924 deaths.

It had seen the daily infection count rise above 2,000 in July.

Going it alone on Covid-19 brings 'greater disaster'

The coronavirus is a wake-up call for the world, and trading blame "will only bring greater disaster," China's foreign minister said.

Days after the United States and China lashed out at each other on UN platforms over the coronavirus outbreak, China's top diplomat Wang Yi told a forum in Beijing that individual countries had "turned the solemn international venue of the UN into a performance space for serving their own politics and self-interest."

China has recently moved to reshape the pandemic narrative away from its early outbreak in Wuhan to a story of the country's success in stopping the virus spread.

But the US has led nations criticising Beijing for its handling of the epidemic.

Kenya's president extends national curfew, shortens hours

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the nationwide curfew put in place to curb the spread of the new coronavirus but said it would end two hours later at 11 PM.

Kenyatta, who said the virus infections curve had been flattened, also lifted a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars.

Brussels imposes curfew on bars as cases soar

Facing a surge of new coronavirus cases far higher than in other parts of Belgium, Brussels authorities are closing bars early in the EU institution's capital city.

Beginning Monday night, all bars and cafes have to close between 11 PM and 6 AM while any other businesses selling drinks or food will shut down at 10 PM. In addition, eating at street markets is now forbidden.

Local media said authorities thought about starting the bar curfew at 10 PM but the proposal was rejected to support virus-ravaged businesses. 

According to the Belgian cafes federation, half of the country's 12,000 bars may not survive the coronavirus crisis.

Russia's cases expected to rise until reaching plateau in October

The number of new coronavirus infections in Russia will reach a plateau at the beginning of October before a small decline, the RIA news agency reported, citing Victor Maleev, a scientific adviser to consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

The number of infections has been steadily rising in recent weeks and surged past 8,000, the highest daily increase since June 16. Russia exited lockdown in early June.

Japan to remove travel ban for 10 countries in October - Nikkei

Japan plans to remove a ban on overseas travels for about 10 countries starting next month, hoping that such a step would prompt other countries to lift travel curbs on the Japanese.

The 10 countries will include Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam or those with a low number of new coronavirus infections, the Nikkei business daily reported. 

But decisions on whether to accept travelers from Japan will ultimately be up to those governments, according to the report. 

We can't allow virus to spread exponentially - German spokesperson 

 The rise of new virus infection numbers is highly worrying and Germany cannot allow the virus to spread exponentially again, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson has said.

Steffen Seibert declined to comment on a report that said Merkel told the leadership of her party that infections could hit 19,200 per day in Germany if the current trend continues.

Seibert was speaking at a regular government news conference.

Czech Republic reports 1,305 new cases, 15 deaths

The Czech Republic reported 1,305 new cases and 15 deaths, health ministry data showed, as the country battles one of the highest recent infection rates in the world.

The number of new cases was below Saturday's 1,985 infection count, but above 985 cases the Saturday before.

The figures brought the total number of cases to 64,597 and deaths to 606 in the country of 10.7 million people. There were 32,723 active cases.

The number of people in hospitals dipped to 802 from 809 as of Saturday, the latest data available.

Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) put the Czech Republic at the second spot in Europe, behind Spain, measured by infections per population over the past two weeks. 

Dubai to restrict nightlife amid virus increase

Dubai has announced new restrictions on nightlife to curb a rising tide of coronavirus infections.

Dubai’s tourism authorities have ordered all bars and restaurants in the city-state to stop serving and halt “entertainment activities” at 1 am. Hotels will be restricted by law to offering only delivery and room service after 3 a.m.

Authorities urged dining and drinking establishments to adhere to anti-virus protocols or face “consequential procedures and violations,” including shutdowns and huge fines.

The new rules are the first since res taurants and bars were allowed to reopen in July as Dubai, a top travel destination known for its lively nightlife, emerged from lockdown.

The United Arab Emirates has recorded more than 90,600 infections since the pandemic began, including over 400 deaths. Daily new infection rates are now climbing to heights last seen four months ago.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 1,192 

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,192 on Monday compared to Sunday, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by three to 9,460, the data showed.

Infections in India cross 6 million

India's case tally passes 6 million after the country reported 82,170 new infections in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Monday.

Deaths from the virus rose by 1,039 in the last 24 hours to 95,542, the ministry said, which is 1.6% of total cases.

Globally, India has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases, behind the United States where infections crossed 7 million last week.

Beijing asks frozen food importers to shun countries suffering virus

China's capital call on importers on to shun frozen food from countries suffering from severe virus outbreaks after several cases of imported seafood products testing positive for the coronavirus.

"Customs and local governments have repeatedly detected the coronavirus in imported cold chain food, proving it risks contamination," the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau said in a statement issued to import companies.

The bureau urged them to closely monitor the overseas pandemic situation and "proactively avoid importing cold chain food from areas heavily hit by the coronavirus" and make alternative plans for imports.

Virus cases in Victoria state reach lowest in months

Five million residents in Australia's second biggest city, Victoria emerge from an almost two-month overnight curfew as just five new virus cases were recorded in worst-hit Victoria state.

The figure was the lowest daily rise in infections in Victoria since June 12 and came as residents of the state capital Melbourne saw a raft other virus restrictions also eased.

Curbs on industries such as construction and manufacturing have been lifted in Melbourne, with childcare centres reopening and small religious services allowed to resume.

New York authorities worry over neighbourhood virus hotbeds

Virus infection rates have increased at "an alarming rate" in several New York neighbourhoods, particularly among the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, city health authorities say. 

Although the Big Apple has touted that it kept its infection rate under one percent for more than a month, six neighbourhoods in Brooklyn and two in Queens have seen their rates spike, surpassing five to six percent in Midwood and Gravesend.

The increase coincides with the Jewish High Holidays, the most holy days in the Jewish calendar, that culminate Monday with Yom Kippur.

South Korea reports lowest cases since last month

South Korea reported 50 new coronavirus cases, the lowest since a new wave of outbreaks emerged from a church and a large political rally last month.

Of the new cases, 40 were domestic and 10 imported, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The numbers were the lowest since August 11, just before a new cluster of infections emerged from a church whose members attended an anti-government rally in Seoul on August 15, which had boosted the daily tally to more than 440 late last month.

Australian firm's nasal spray reduces virus growth

Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory said that a nasal spray it is developing to improve the human immune system to fight common cold and flu significantly reduced the growth of the coronavirus in a recent study on animals.

A study on ferrets showed the product dubbed INNA-051, which could be used complementary to vaccines, lowered the levels of the virus that causes the disease by up to 96 percent, the company said. The study was led by British government agency Public Health England.

Ena Respiratory said it would be ready to test INNA-051 in human trials in less than four months, subject to successful toxicity studies and regulatory approval.

Mainland China registers 21 cases

Mainland China reported 21 new virus cases, up from 14 a day earlier, the national health authority said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, who are not classified by China as confirmed virus patients, fell to 14 from 26 a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed virus cases in mainland China now stands at 85,372, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

Mexico's total cases rise to 730,317

Mexico's confirmed virus cases rose to 730,317, according to updated data from the health ministry, along with a total reported death toll of 76,430.

Authorities reported 3,886 new cases along with 187 deaths, but the true figures are likely significantly higher due to little testing. 

Brazil sees 14,318 cases

Brazil records 14,318 additional confirmed cases of the virus in the past 24 hours, and 335 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 4.7 million confirmed cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has reached 141,741, according to the data.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies