The coronavirus, which caused a global pandemic, has now infected over 17.3 million people and has killed more than 673,000. Here are the latest updates for July 30:

People queue in front of a night club after the coronavirus disease restrictions for restaurants, bars and nightclubs were lifted, in Helsinki, Finland, July 15, 2020.
People queue in front of a night club after the coronavirus disease restrictions for restaurants, bars and nightclubs were lifted, in Helsinki, Finland, July 15, 2020. (Reuters)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

'Young people are not invincible' - WHO 

Young people letting down their guard to enjoy the summer holidays are partly driving a spike in new Covid-19 cases in some countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

A fresh jump in cases in parts of Europe, the United States and Asia has fuelled fears of a second wave of new coronavirus infections and prompted some countries to impose new restrictions on travel.

"We've said this before and we'll say it again: young people are not invincible," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing in Geneva.

Evidence suggests that recent spikes of cases in some countries are being "driven in part by younger people letting down their guard during the northern hemisphere summer," he said.

UK reports 846 positive coronavirus tests, highest daily total since June 28

Britain reported 846 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the highest daily number in over a month, official data showed.

The data, published on the government's website, showed the daily total was last higher on June 28, when 901 new cases were recorded.

France's new cases close 1,400 for second day in a row

France confirmed nearly 1,400 new Covid-19 cases for the second day running on Thursday, a level unseen since the end of June, while the country's hospitals reported a rise in the number of people in intensive care for the first time in 16 weeks.

"The virus circulation is sustained with new daily cases increasing by more than 1,000 ... Swift and sweeping efforts are necessary," health authorities said in a statement.

An additional 1,377 cases of the virus were reported, bringing the moving 7-day average above the 1,000 threshold for the first time since the first half of May, when France eased its lockdown, and the overall total to 186,573.

Health authorities said 381 people were in intensive care units (ICUs) due to the disease, up by only one compared with 24 hours earlier but the first time that figure has increased on a daily basis in 16 weeks.

At the peak of the pandemic, early April, there were more than 7,000 people in ICUs being treated for coronavirus.

The number of patients hospitalised for the disease declined by 75, to 5,375, continuing a more than two-month downward trend.

There were 16 new deaths from the disease, taking the total to 30,254. 

Heatwave adds to health alert in Europe

Temperatures soared across Europe on Thursday, heading above 40 Celsius in places, adding extreme heat to the health warnings of a continent already taking fresh measures to rein in a potential second wave of coronavirus infections.

The heat undoubtedly made it more difficult to wear face masks in the Spanish capital. Spain's meteorological agency said the hot air was coming from Africa and would last until Saturday.

Daily Covid-19 recoveries nearly 1,000 in Turkey

Turkey confirmed 982 more recoveries from Covid-19, bringing the total tally to 213,539, according to the country's health minister.

Citing Health Ministry data, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that a total of 967 people contracted the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours, which pushed the overall count to 229,891.

The country's death toll from coronavirus rose to 5,674 with 15 new fatalities reported in the past day.

UK scientists immunise hundreds with coronavirus vaccine

Scientists at Imperial College London say they are immunising hundreds of people with an experimental coronavirus vaccine in an early trial after seeing no worrying safety problems in a small number vaccinated so far.

Dr Robin Shattock, a professor at the college, told The Associated Press that he and colleagues had just finished a very slow and arduous process of testing the vaccine at a low dose in the initial participants and would now expand the trial to about 300 people, including some over age 75.

The Imperial vaccine uses synthetic strands of genetic code based on the virus. Once injected into a muscle, the body’s own cells are instructed to make copies of a spiky protein on the coronavirus. That should in turn trigger an immune response so the body can fight off any future Covid-19 infection.

Sri Lanka to reopen schools early August 

Sri Lankan authorities have decided to reopen schools on August 10, nearly five months after they were shut because of the coronavirus. The Education Ministry said on Thursday that all public and government-approved private schools will resume with social distancing measures.

Students in grades 5, 10, 11, 12 and 13 will attend school every day because of the need to prepare for government examinations. Students in grades 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 will attend one day per week, while those in grades 4 and 9 will attend two days a week. This arrangement will continue until October 9, when school holidays begin. 

IMF approves $171.9M disbursement to Madagascar 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $171.9 million of funding to Madagascar, bringing the total Covid-19 emergency support to the country to $337.9 million.

"This is the second emergency disbursement since the onset of the pandemic and will help finance the country's urgent balance of payments and fiscal needs," the IMF said in a statement.

England women not to play in 2021 SheBelieves Cup 

The England women's team will not participate in the annual SheBelieves Cup next year due to "uncertainties" around the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the United States, British media reported.

England have taken part in the invitational round-robin tournament every year since its inception in 2016 and were crowned champions last year when they topped the standings ahead of hosts United States, Japan and Brazil.

Zimbabwe government minister died from Covid-19

Zimbabwe's agriculture minister Perrance Shiri died from the Covid-19 infection, becoming the first senior government official to succumb to the pandemic, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.

Shiri, a retired general who helped plot a coup that ousted Robert Mugabe in 2017, died on Wednesday.

The late liberation war veteran was declared a national hero and will be buried on Friday during a closed ceremony.

Ireland reports highest daily number of infections since May

Ireland reported its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases for two months on Thursday, with 85 cases confirmed compared to an average of around 20 per day during the past two weeks.
That was the highest daily number reported in Ireland since late May.

Florida reports record increase in deaths for third day in a row

Florida reported a record increase in new Covid-19 deaths for a third day in a row on Thursday, with 252 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

Florida also reported 9,956 new cases, bringing its total infections to over 461,000, the second-highest in the country behind California, according to the state health department. 

Florida's total death toll rose to 6,709, the eighth highest in the nation, according to a Reuters tally.

Due to the spike in cases, the Miami-area school district, the nation's fourth-largest district, said students would not return to classrooms when the new academic year begins in a few weeks.

Florida was among six states on Wednesday that reported single-day records for coronavirus deaths. California, Idaho, North Carolina, Texas and South Dakota also had their biggest one-day spikes in coronavirus fatalities since the pandemic started. California, Florida and Texas are the three most populous states and where about a quarter of all US residents live.

One person in the United States died about every minute from Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Former US presidential candidate Herman Cain dies of virus

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after battling the coronavirus. He was 74.

A post on Cain’s Twitter account on Thursday announced the death. Cain had been ill with the virus for several weeks. It’s not clear when or where he was infected, but he was hospitalised less than two weeks after attending President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June.

The former pizza company executive has been an outspoken backer of the president and was named by the campaign as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.

Brazil first lady, fifth minister test positive 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's wife and one of his ministers have tested positive for Covid-19, according to an official statement on Thursday.

Just days after her husband said he had overcome the virus with a negative test following weeks in quarantine, Bolsonaro's wife Michelle has tested positive, the presidential office said in a statement.

Brazil's science and technology minister, Marcos Pontes said he had tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the fifth minister to be diagnosed with the virus.

Pontes made his announcement on Facebook, saying he was quarantining and working remotely.

"I just tested positive for the new coronavirus," he said. "I'm well, just a bit of flu symptoms and a headache."

Brazil has the world's second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, behind the United States. Brazil set daily records on Wednesday for new cases –– 70, 869 –– and related fatalities. 

India: Herd immunity won't work, need vaccine

India’s Health Ministry says herd immunity in the country can’t be an option due to its large population and it will need a vaccine to beat coronavirus.

“With India’s population, to build herd immunity without vaccination is not a strategic choice or option,” Rajesh Bhushan, a senior health official, said.

Herd immunity is when a virus can no longer spread easily because enough people are immune to it. India has a population of 1.4 billion people.

India has 1.5 million coronavirus cases, the world’s third-highest caseload after the United States and Brazil. There have been nearly 35,000 confirmed deaths.

UK care home residents, staff unable to get regular tests

One of Britain's largest care home providers said the government is unable to meet its promise to regularly test staff and residents in care homes after problems were discovered with coronavirus testing kits.

Earlier this month, the government announced that staff will be tested for the virus each week while residents will receive a test every 28 days. The health minister. Matt Hancock, said at the time this would keep residents and staff safe.

However, Andrew Knight, chief executive of residential services at CareUK, said the government told him that a problem with a test from an unnamed supplier means that it may take five weeks before staff and residents can access regular testing.

"I am sure many of you will find this situation as disappointing as I do," Knight said in a letter to relatives.

Johnson & Johnson starts human safety trial for vaccine 

Johnson & Johnson kicked off US human safety trials for its Covid-19 vaccine after releasing details of a study in monkeys that showed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strong protection in a single dose.

When exposed to the virus, six out of six animals who got the vaccine candidate were completely protected from lung disease and five out of six were protected from infection as measured by the presence of virus in nasal swabs, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

Britain to raise virus self-isolation period

Britain is raising the self-isolation period for people who test positive for the coronavirus or have symptoms to 10 days from seven days.

The UK’s chief medical officers say there’s evidence people may still be able to spread the virus for more than a week after developing symptoms.

They say “people with Covid-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between seven and nine days after illness onset”.

Spain wants UK to list some areas as virus safe

Spain is trying to persuade the British government to put some Spanish regions on its safe travel list.

Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya says the UK decision last weekend to require people arriving from Spain to self-isolate for 14 days was based on Spain’s recent national surge in coronavirus cases.

Gonzalez Laya told Radio Euskadi in an interview that some Spanish regions are not badly affected, and suggested Britain could allow “travel corridors” between those regions and the UK.

South Africa now at 471,000 cases

South Africa’s confirmed cases are now above 471,000 as the country with the world’s fifth-largest confirmed caseload makes up well over half the recorded infections on the African continent.

Africa’s 54 countries have a total of more than 891,000 cases as local transmission of the virus is underway in many countries. Severe testing shortages mean the real number of cases is likely much higher. 

Czech virus spike continues as cases top 16,000

Cases of the new coronavirus in the Czech Republic have surpassed 16,000 as a recent spike in infections continues, health ministry data showed.

The central European country of 10.7 million has faced a rise in cases in July in several hot spots, including in an eastern mining region and more recently in the capital Prague, which reported a daily record of 101 cases on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the health ministry also unveiled plans to ramp up testing capacity, which Health Minister Adam Vojtech said was currently at around 17,000 daily. The country carried out 7,413 tests on Tuesday, the most since mid-May.

In total, the country has seen 16,093 cases since the outbreak started in March, with 11,429 recoveries so far and 374 deaths from the Covid-19 illness.

Iran's cases pass 300,000

The number of infections from the new coronavirus in Iran has reached 301,530, according to official Health Ministry figures announced on state TV.

Iran has the Middle East’s highest number of recorded cases and infections and deaths have risen sharply since restrictions on movement began to be eased in mid-April.

There were 226 deaths from the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours taking the total number of deaths from the pandemic to 16,569.

Hong Kong reports record daily number of 149 new cases

Hong Kong reported 149 new cases, a daily record, including 145 that were locally transmitted, as authorities said the global financial hub faced a critical period to curb the spread of the virus.

Since late January, more than 3,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 24 of whom have died.

Poland reports highest daily rise in cases

Poland reported its highest daily rise in cases since the start of the pandemic, with 615 new infections, according to the health ministry's Twitter account.

The health ministry also announced the deaths of a further 15 people.

Poland has reported a total of 45,031 infections and 1,709 deaths so far.

Indonesia reports 1,904 new cases, 83 deaths

Indonesia reported 1,904 new infections, bringing the country's total tally to 106,336 cases, health ministry data showed.

The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to Covid-19 rose by 83, bringing the total number of fatalities to 5,058. 

Russia reports more than 5,500 new cases

Russia reported 5,509 new cases, pushing its national tally to 834,499, the world's fourth-largest caseload.

Officials said 129 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 13,802. 

India reports another record surge

India has registered more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours for the first time. The record surge of 52,123 reported cases took the national total to 1,583,792.

The health ministry also reported another 775 deaths in the past 24 hours, driving total fatalities up to 34,968. The number of recoveries from the coronavirus in India has crossed 1 million.

India has reported the third most coronavirus cases in the world after the US and Brazil.

The reported deaths from the virus in India, however, mark a far lower fatality rate than in the other two countries.

Florida to close test centres with storm looming

Florida will close its coronavirus testing centres, a day after the state reported a record 216 deaths from the disease, as authorities batten down for a looming storm.

Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to hit the southern state by the end of the week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Florida has emerged as a major new epicentre of the US coronavirus battle. Its number of confirmed cases recently surpassed New York and is now second only to California, a state with twice as many people.

More than 450,000 people have been infected with the virus in the Sunshine State, while more than 6,300 have died.

Ukraine sees record daily high of 1,197 new cases

Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,197 new cases, the country's council of security and defence said.

The number of new daily infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late-May.

Health Minister Maxym Stepanov said 248 people had been admitted to hospital over the past day that also was a record high number.

The total number of cases rose to 68,794, including 1,673 deaths and 38,154 recovered as of July 30.

Poland may quarantine returnees from some states

Poland may reinstate quarantine measures for people returning home from some countries, a government spokesman said, after recent data showing a spike in coronavirus infections.

Citing Spain and France as countries triggering concerns about the coronavirus, he said the government may announce its decision within days if the epidemic spikes in a particular country.

Poland is also experiencing a resurgence in the number of coronavirus infections. On Saturday, the number hit 584, the second-highest daily tally since the beginning of the pandemic.

The current total number stands at 44,416 with 1,694 documented deaths from Covid-19 in the country of 38 million. 

Japan braces for spike

Japan is bracing for a surge in the number of infections after fresh cases exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time, a week after the start of a national travel campaign to revive the tourism industry.

Tokyo confirmed 367 new coronavirus infections, national broadcaster NHK said, topping the previous record of 366 cases on July 23.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government launched a national travel campaign, dubbed “go to travel”, on July 22 that aimed to revive a battered tourism industry despite a resurgence in coronavirus infections.

Peru passes 400,000 cases

Peru passed 400,000 confirmed cases, the health ministry said, after the largest daily increase in infections for more than six weeks. 

Nearly 19,000 people have died as a result of the disease nationwide, and the country has recorded more Covid-19 cases than anywhere in Latin America except for Brazil and Mexico. 

There were 204 additional deaths in the last 24 hours and 5,678 infections over the same period, the highest daily number of new cases since June 12.

Peru began lifting a nationwide lockdown on July 1 for most regions of the country, including the capital Lima. 

Cramped Palestinian refugee camps fear surge

A second wave of coronavirus infections sweeping the Israeli-occupied West Bank is fuelling fears of a surge in overcrowded Palestinian refugee camps where social distancing is next to impossible.

The Palestinian health ministry's update logged more than 10,860 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, including more than 75 deaths.

That compares with an accumulated total of less than 2,700 infections and seven deaths as recently as July 1.

Vietnam to conduct mass testing for 21,000

Vietnam's capital will conduct mass testing for 21,000 people who recently returned from the central city of Danang, Hanoi's ruling body said, as authorities race to contain the first domestic outbreak in the country since April.

The mass testing will take place from Thursday to Saturday, using rapid test kits, the city's administration said in a statement.

Hanoi registered its first case of Covid-19 linked to the Danang outbreak and has ordered bars to shut and has banned large gatherings from midnight on Wednesday. 

Australia records its worst day in pandemic

Australia has recorded its worst day in the pandemic with 723 new infections and as many as 13 deaths in Victoria state alone.

The previous national record of new cases was 518.

Victoria state has been struggling to contain a second wave of infections throughout July and earlier this week authorities there said the latest outbreak may have peaked.

The outbreak in Victoria state has also spilled over into neighbouring states despite internal borders being closed.

Queensland state said it had found three new cases, two of whom were believed to have contracted the virus while in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales state.

Mainland China reports 105 new cases

China reported 105 new cases in the mainland for July 29, up from 101 cases a day earlier.

Of the new infections, 96 were in the far western region of Xinjiang, five were in the northeastern province of Liaoning, one was in Beijing, and three were imported cases.

China also reported 21 new asymptomatic patients, down from 27 a day earlier.

As of Wednesday, mainland China had 84,165 confirmed cases and the death toll remained at 4,634.

Brazil reopens international flights to tourists as deaths spike

Brazil reopened international air travel to foreign tourists, which had been banned since March, even as the country's outbreak ranks as the world's second worst.

Tourists from all countries may travel to Brazil as long as they have health insurance for the duration of their trip, the government said in a decree which did not explain the rationale for the decision.

Brazil, the country worst hit by Covid-19 after the US, reported a record number of new deaths and confirmed cases.

Brazil is reopening its air borders faster than other countries in the region with less severe outbreaks, such as Colombia, Argentina, Panama and Peru, which remain closed to international commercial flights.

Mexico's health ministry confirms 5,752 new cases

Mexico has 5,752 new known cases and 485 additional deaths, bringing the nation's total to 408,449 cases and 45,361 fatalities, the health ministry reported on Wednesday.

Mexico has the fourth highest death tally worldwide.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the number of confirmed cases

Kuwait allows citizens, residents to travel to and from the country

Kuwait will allow citizens and residents to travel to and from the country starting August 1st.

The decision excludes residents coming from Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, Nepal.

Last month, Kuwait announced it would partially resume commercial flights from August, but does not expect to reach full capacity until a year later, as its aviation sector gradually recovers from a suspension sparked by the crisis.

Guatemala burying dozens of unidentified virus victims

Guatemalan hospitals say they have had to bury dozens of virus victims who have never been identified, and one hospital is creating archives in hopes that once the pandemic passes, their relatives will come looking for them.

Workers at one of the country’s largest public hospitals have started photographing patients who arrive alone and too ill to give their personal details. Those who die unidentified are placed in body bags with transparent windows over the faces in case relatives finally arrive.

Protocols that call for rapidly burying the dead during a pandemic only make the situation more difficult, officials say.

The government has reported more than 47,000 confirmed infections and more 1,800 deaths nationwide.

UN: Virus cost global tourism $320B from January to May

The pandemic has cost the global tourism sector $320 billion in lost revenue between January and May, the UN World Tourism Organization said.

This is "more than three times the loss during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009", the Madrid-based organisation said in a statement.

FDA could soon authorise treatment with antibody plasma – WSJ

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could authorise emergency use of antibody-rich blood plasma from recovered patients to treat those infected as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reported.

An FDA emergency-use authorisation could allow faster access to a therapy for the pandemic.

People who survive an infectious disease, are left with blood plasma containing antibodies, or proteins the body's immune system made to fight off a virus.

This can be transfused into newly infected patients to try to aid recovery, and since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors have been transfusing convalescent plasma into critically ill patients.

Earlier this month, the EU said it wants to fast-track funding to treat patients with blood plasma collected from survivors. 

Brazil confirms nearly 70,000 cases in new daily record

Brazil set a daily record on for both confirmed cases and related deaths, with 69,074 new cases and 1,595 fatalities, health ministry data showed.

Brazil has now registered more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of the virus and 90,134 deaths since the pandemic began, according to ministry data.

China's Sinopharm to test potential vaccine in Brazil

Chinese drug company Sinopharm and Parana state have agreed to launch the fourth major vaccine trial in Brazil and will seek regulatory approval in the next two weeks.

A trial by Sinopharm would join Phase III trials already announced in Brazil by AstraZeneca, Sinovac Biotech and a Pfizer partnership with BioNTech.

Jorge Callado, head of the Parana Technology Institute (Tecpar), said they would soon finalise their proposal and submit it for approval with federal health regulator Anvisa.

Brazil's outbreak, the world's worst outside the US, has made it global testing ground for potential vaccines.

Sinopharm's candidate vaccine is already being tested in the United Arab Emirates with 15,000 volunteers.

Parana is also in talks with Russian researchers about producing their potential vaccine, the state government said in a statement, adding that Governor Ratinho Junior would soon meet with Russia's ambassador to Brazil.

Russians have also contacted Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute to discuss testing their vaccine.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies