Covid-19 wrap: 19.72m global cases, NZ hits 100-day milestone, 7 die in India Covid-19 facility fire

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Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

FOLLOW LIVE | Grim milestone: SA Covid-19 deaths breach 10 000, global cases cross 19.72m and 726 246 deaths

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 19.72 million, death toll at 726 246

More than 19.72 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 726 246 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

 - REUTERS


Seven die in fire at Covid-19 hotel facility in India

MUMBAI – At least seven people died after a massive fire broke out at a hotel that was being used as a Covid-19 facility in India's southern Andhra Pradesh state early on Sunday, police said.

"Several people who were trapped and injured have been rescued and moved to a government hospital. Fire is under control, but rescue and fire-fighting operations are still under way," said Lakshmi, a constable at the police control room.

Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted: "Deeply anguished by the news of tragic fire accident at a Covid-19 facility in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh".

"Centre assures all possible support to the state government. My condolences are with the affected families in this time of grief. Praying for the speedy recovery of those injured," he wrote.

Last week, eight Covid-19 patients died in a fire that broke out in the intensive care ward of a private hospital in India's western city of Ahmedabad.

 - REUTERS


Brazil surpasses 100 000 coronavirus deaths

Rio de Janeiro – Brazil on Saturday surpassed 100 000 coronavirus deaths and three million cases of infection, crossing the grim milestone after President Jair Bolsonaro said he had a "clear conscience" on his response to the outbreak.

With 100 477 fatalities and 3 012 412 confirmed cases, the South American nation of 212 million people is the second hardest-hit country in the global pandemic, after the United States.

The health ministry reported 905 new deaths in the past 24 hours, as well as 49 970 fresh cases.

But the official figures are most likely an undercount, with experts estimating that the total number of infections could be up to six times higher due to insufficient testing.

Brazil has seen 478 deaths per million people, a figure roughly equivalent to that of the United States (487), but lower than that of Spain (609) or Italy (583).

 - AFP


New Zealand reaches 100-day milestone without virus transmission

Wellington – New Zealand marked 100 days on Sunday with no recorded cases of the coronavirus in the community, but health officials warned there was no room for complacency.

There are still 23 active cases, but all were detected at the border when entering the country and are being held in managed isolation facilities.

"Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can't afford to be complacent," director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.

"We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand."

New Zealand, with a population of five million, has won widespread praise for its effective handling of the coronavirus since closing its borders on 19 March.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has hailed the country as an example to others for having "successfully eliminated community transmission".

 - AFP


Australia's Victoria reports deadliest day of Covid-19 pandemic

SYDNEY – Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, reported its deadliest day of the Covid-19 outbreak on Sunday, with 17 people dying, as police thwarted a planned anti-mask rally in the capital of Melbourne.

Victoria, at the centre of a second wave of infections in Australia, reported 394 cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, compared with a daily average of 400-500 over the past week. The new deaths bring the state's total to 210.

The southeastern state, with infections concentrated in Melbourne, accounts for a lion's share of the national tally of more than 21 000 cases and 295 deaths.

In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, Victoria has imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people's daily movements and ordered large parts of the economy to close.

Those measures have helped, although the situation remains challenging, as cases with unknown sources of infection continue to increase, said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.

 - REUTERS


Mexico's coronavirus death tally exceeds 52 000, cases above 475 900

MEXICO CITY – Mexico's health ministry on Saturday reported 6 495 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 695 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 475 902 cases and 52 006 deaths.

Officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Mexico has the third highest coronavirus death tally globally, behind the United States and Brazil.

 - REUTERS


Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 555 to 215 891 - RKI

BERLIN – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 555 to 215 891, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday.

The reported death toll rose by one to 9 196, the tally showed.

 - REUTERS


Russia's coronavirus cases surpass 885 000

MOSCOW – Russia reported 5 189 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its nationwide tally to 887 536, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

Russia's coronavirus taskforce said 77 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 14 931.

 - REUTERS


Indonesia Covid-19 cases rise by 1 893, deaths by 65 - official data

JAKARTA – Indonesia reported 1 893 more novel coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking the total tally to 125 396 infections, the country's Covid-19 taskforce website showed.

The number of deaths rose 65 on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths to 5 723.

 - REUTERS


Hong Kong reports 72 new coronavirus cases

Hong Kong reported 72 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, of which 63 were locally transmitted, as authorities continued efforts to contain a resurgence of infections in the global financial hub over the past month.

More than 4 000 people have been infected in Hong Kong since January, 51 of whom have died. Sunday's figure was slightly up from Saturday's 69 cases.

 - REUTERS


China reports 23 new Covid-19 cases in mainland, vs 31 day earlier

BEIJING – China reported 23 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for 8 August, down from 31 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Sunday.

Among the new cases, 15 were locally transmitted and eight were imported infections, the National Health Commission said in a statement published on its website.

Some 45 people were discharged on Saturday and there are still 817 active cases in the country, including 43 severe cases.

The total number of infections in mainland China now stands at 84 619, with the death toll unchanged at 4 634.

 - REUTERS


Nigerian startup helps local churches digitise operations

LAGOS – Henry Okolo has grown accustomed to using his phone to stay in touch with God during the coronavirus pandemic. He uses an app every Sunday morning to listen to a virtual service in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos.

Okolo, a father of two, has used it to help his family pray at home following the closure of churches in March. Lagos state, with more than 15 000 confirmed infections and about 200 deaths, has the largest share of Nigeria's roughly 45 000 Covid-19 cases.

The O'Sanctus app, created last year by Nigerian tech firm Applus Dome Limited, allows Catholics to attend virtual services, reserve time with priests and make financial offerings.

"It made so many things easy for us," said Okolo.

It is part of a broader trend across Africa which has seen people worshipping remotely, often by watching sermons online, because of the widespread closure of churches.

 - REUTERS


Rwandans sent to late-night lectures for breaking Covid rules

Kigali – Rwandans caught breaking curfew or not wearing masks are being sent to stadiums in droves for all-night lectures on the dangers of coronavirus, as the country maintains a tough approach to stem its spread.

Since mid-July, official figures show that about 70 000 people accused of ignoring the 21:00 curfew or rules on mandatory face masks have been ordered by police to sit through hours of speeches at local arenas or detention centres.

Every evening, in stadiums across Rwanda, public health messaging is blared through loudspeakers to spectators seated at least a metre apart in the stands, imploring them to be ambassadors in the fight against the new virus.

The sessions – conducted under the watch of armed guards – wrap up around dawn, when those attending are sent home with strict orders to self-quarantine.

Jado son Nizeyimana said he was stopped by police for wearing his mask incorrectly and was told to report to the nearest stadium.

"From now on, I'll wear it wherever I am," he told AFP.

Hundreds have been corralled into classes at arenas across the country, including the national stadium in Kigali.

The press is often invited to attend so that images broadcast of those being reprimanded might dissuade others from ignoring the regulations.

 - AFP



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