Global coronavirus cases top 16.7 million, over 660K dead 0

The new coronavirus has so far infected more than 16.7 million people around the globe and claimed the lives of 660,593 people, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

According to the university, 16,747,268 people have been confirmed infected and 660,593 have died around the world.

The following are the latest updates of the coronavirus pandemic as provided by Reuters:

Russian institute launches human trial of Russia’s second COVID-19 vaccine

A Russian state virology institute has started human trials of the country’s second potential COVID-19 vaccine, injecting the first of five volunteers with a dose on July 27, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.

The individual was feeling fine, the agency reported.

The next volunteer in the trial by the Vector virology institute in Siberia would receive an injection on July 30, RIA cited consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor as saying.

The trial is then expected to scale up to 100 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60, the clinical trial’s register shows. Vector is working on six different potential COVID-19 vaccines, World Health Organization (WHO) records show.

Yawalapiti chief Aritana, suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is supported by a doctor in front of the Sao Francisco de Assis Hospital after being transferred from Canarana to Goiania, in Brazil, on July 22, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the coronavirus pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data — including three developed in China and another in Britain.

Brazil registers 40,816 cases, 921 deaths

Brazil recorded 40,816 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 921 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Brazil has registered nearly 2.5 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 88,539, according to ministry data.

French Health Minister: We want to avoid another coronavirus lockdown

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday the battle against the COVID-19 virus would be long and urged people to comply with social distancing rules as authorities wanted to avoid another national lockdown.

“We are not facing a second wave, the epidemic is continuing… Some people do not respect the rules. We must not let down our guard,” Veran told LCI television.

“We do not want to resort to another lockdown, we are examining the situation on a case-by-case basis. The war is not over… People must understand that we are going to live with this virus for a fairly long time,” he added.

A customer pushes a shopping trolley past a Carrefour hypermaket in a shopping center in Charenton-le-Pont near Paris, in France, April 29, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Italian PM Conte wins backing to extend COVID-19 emergency period

Italy’s upper house of parliament approved on Tuesday a request by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to extend until Oct. 15 a state of emergency, expanding his government’s powers as it tackles the coronavirus health crisis.

Opposition parties had objected, accusing Conte of trying to keep too much power in his own hands despite a dramatic fall in the rate of contagion.

Conte announced a six-month state of emergency on Jan. 31, when the first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Rome.

Italy has been one of the worst-affected countries in Europe, registering more than 35,000 deaths from around 246,500 cases.

However, new infections have fallen sharply over the past three months and Conte’s critics said he needed to involve parliament in key decisions.

Portugal’s popular Madeira makes masks compulsory in public

Wearing masks in public will be compulsory at all times on the popular Portuguese island of Madeira from Aug. 1, the local government announced on Tuesday, making it the first region in the country to adopt such a measure against COVID-19.

Madeira has reported 105 infections, with no new cases since Saturday.

The use of masks in closed spaces and public transport is already compulsory in Madeira but now those on the streets must wear masks too.

Portugal, which as a whole has reported 50,410 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,722 deaths, was initially hailed as a success story in its fight against the outbreak.

But a wave of outbreaks on the outskirts of Lisbon over the past two months forced the government to bring back some measures across affected areas. The government is expected to ease some of those measures on Wednesday.

Belgians adapt to compulsory face masks along North Sea coast

Local authorities in northern Belgium have decided to make masks mandatory outdoors at all times from July 25.

“It’s not very pleasant after all,” said Belgian tourist Nancy van Impe in the port city of Ostend. “We were just cycling without a face mask and then we thought: Oh, do we have to put it on when we cycle?”

Tourists wearing protective face masks are seen in Ostend, Belgium, on July 28, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Belgium was hit hard in Europe’s initial coronavirus wave, still holding the record for the most deaths per capita from COVID-19 in the world apart from the tiny northern Italian city state of San Marino. It has since largely curbed transmission through a lockdown that has slowly been lifted in recent months.

But a surge of infections in the past three weeks has raised concern of a second wave. Some tourists said they accepted that drastic measures needed to be taken.

Romania set to make protective masks mandatory outdoors

Romania’s government plans to introduce new measures to help contain a spike in coronavirus cases, including shortening working hours for outdoor pubs and restaurants and making the wearing of protective masks outside mandatory, officials said.

The number of coronavirus infections in Romania has exceeded 1,000 new cases each day for the last week, lifting confirmed cases to 47,053 since the pandemic reached the country in late February. Some 2,239 people have died.

Malta says 65 rescued migrants test positive for COVID-19

Sixty-five migrants who were in a group of 94 people rescued at sea and taken to Malta on Monday have tested positive for COVID-19, Malta’s health ministry said on Tuesday.

It was the single largest cluster of positive cases detected on the Mediterranean island since the first case came to light there on March 7.

The health ministry said 85 of the migrants had been tested so far, with nine awaiting an examination.

It gave no further information about their condition. The nationalities of those infected were not given, but their dinghy was believed to have set sail from Libya.

US Forces in Japan to announce coronavirus case numbers to reassure public

US Forces stationed in Japan will begin announcing coronavirus cases and provide lists of infections at bases in a move aimed at reassuring the Japanese amid growing concern over outbreaks among military personnel, US Forces Japan announced in a press release.

North Korea calls on foreigners to abide by coronavirus restrictions

Following the announcement that North Korea is investigating its first possible coronavirus case, authorities reminded foreigners living in Pyongyang to abide by anti-coronavirus measures, the Russian embassy there said on Wednesday.

North Korea’s foreign ministry circulated a notice on Tuesday telling foreigners not to leave the city, hold large meetings, and to wear masks, among other rules, the embassy said in a post on its Facebook page.

North Korea declared a state of emergency and introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus, state media reported, after it locked down the town of Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.

Hong Kong warns city on verge of large coronavirus outbreak

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread take effect on Wednesday.

The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 106 new coronavirus cases, including 98 that were locally transmitted. Since late January, more than 2,880 people have been infected in the former British colony, 23 of whom have died.

Vietnam says every city, province now at risk of virus infection

Vietnam, virus-free for months, was bracing for another wave of COVID-19 infections on Wednesday after state media reported new cases in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands linked to a recent outbreak in the central city of Danang.

The government on Tuesday suspended all flights to and from Danang for 15 days. At least 30 cases of the novel coronavirus have been detected in or around the city.

Thanks to a centralized quarantine program and an aggressive contact-tracing system, Vietnam had managed to keep its coronavirus tally to just 446 cases, despite sharing a border with China.

With over 95 million people, Vietnam is the most populous country in the world to have recorded no deaths from the virus, and until now no locally transmitted infections had been reported for months.

Australian police officers patrol a walking track as Melbourne remains in lockdown, in Melbourne, Australia, on July 26, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Emergency teams battle Australia’s worst outbreak in aged care homes

Australia has sent defense and emergency medical teams, usually deployed to disaster zones, to aged care homes in the city of Melbourne to help contain the country’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus.

Another hotspot, in inner-city Sydney, forced a senior adviser to Prime Minister Scott Morrison into self-isolation, but the prime minister has been cleared to continue working.

Australia has reported far fewer coronavirus cases than many other countries, with nearly 15,600 confirmed infections and 176 deaths as of Wednesday.

Kazakhstan extends coronavirus lockdown until mid-August

Kazakhstan has extended its lockdown over the novel coronavirus for two more weeks until mid-August and the restrictions will then be eased gradually, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Wednesday.

(Source: Reuters)