Covid-19 wrap: Global cases cross 24.4m, US breaches 180 000 deaths and Latin America cases pass 7m

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

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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 24.4 million, death toll at 828 455

More than 24.4 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 828 455 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.


US surpasses 180 000 virus deaths - Johns Hopkins

Washington – The United States passed the grim milestone of 180 000 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University's real-time tracker.

The US added 931 new virus deaths in 24 hours, the Baltimore-based university reported at 20:30 (00:30 GMT Friday), bringing the total death toll to 180 527.

An additional 42 859 new cases brought the overall caseload to 5 860 397.

The US is by far the hardest-hit country in the world in terms of both number of cases and deaths. At least 2 101 326 have recovered from the virus in the country.

 - AFP

Coronavirus cases in Latin America pass 7 million - Reuters tally

ASUNCION – Coronavirus cases passed the 7 million mark in Latin America on Thursday even as some countries begin to show a slight decline in infections in a region with the world's highest level of contagion, according to a Reuters tally.

The daily average of cases fell to about 77 800 in the last seven days through Wednesday, against almost 85 000 the previous week, the tally based on government figures showed.

Six months since the first case was confirmed in Brazil, the country with the worst outbreak outside the United States reported on Thursday 44 235 new cases and 984 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 3 761 391 cases and the death toll from Covid-19 to 118 649.

Despite the alarming figures, Brazilian authorities maintain they are seeing a downward trend in new cases and a "plateau" in the number of daily deaths.

Mexican authorities said they were also seeing a sustained decline, although the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the scale of the pandemic in Latin America's second most populous nation has been underestimated.


India reports record daily jump of 77 266 coronavirus infections

MUMBAI – India reported a record daily jump of 77 266 coronavirus infections on Friday, taking its total to 3.39 million, as cases surged across the country, data from the federal health ministry showed.

India has reported the highest single-day caseload in the world every day since 7 August, a Reuters tally showed, and is the third-most affected country behind only the United States and Brazil.

Deaths in the same period went up by 1 057, taking the total toll to 61 529.


Russia's coronavirus cases surpass 980 000

MOSCOW – Russia reported 4 829 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing its nationwide tally to 980 405, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

Russia's coronavirus task force said 110 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 16 914.


Severe or fatal Covid-19 very rare in children, study finds

LONDON – Children and young people are far less likely than adults to get severe cases of Covid-19 infection, and death from the pandemic disease among children is exceptionally rare, according to UK research published on Thursday.

A study of Covid-19 patients admitted to 138 hospitals in Britain found that less than 1% were children, and of those fewer than 1% – or six in total – died, all of whom were already suffering serious illness or underlying health disorders.

"We can be quite sure that Covid in itself is not causing harm to children on a significant scale," said Malcolm Semple, a professor of outbreak medicine and child health at Britain's University of Liverpool, who co-led the work.

"The highest level message really has to be that [in children with Covid-19] severe disease is rare, and death is vanishingly rare – and that [parents] should be comforted that their children are not at direct harm by going back into school," he told a briefing.

Global data on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic shows that children and young people make up only 1-2% of cases of Covid-19 worldwide. The vast majority of reported infections in children are mild or asymptomatic, with few recorded deaths.


Rwanda again tightens Covid-19 measures as cases surge

Kigali – Rwanda has lengthened its evening curfew and prevented movement in and out of the western area of Rusizi after a recent surge in cases of the new coronavirus.

Rwanda was one of the first to impose strict lockdown measures in Africa, on 22 March, when it had only 19 cases, and partially lifted the measures on 1 May, when it had officially recorded 225 cases and zero deaths.

However, the country on Tuesday hit a record 217 cases in one day and has recorded a third of its 3 625 cases in the past 10 days, with authorities blaming the spike on complacency and fatigue with social distancing measures.

After a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame, the government announced late on Wednesday that a national curfew would be tightened to 19:00-05:00 from the current 21:00-05:00.

"Because of increasing cases of coronavirus in Kigali City, public transport between Kigali and other districts has also been banned," read a statement from the government.

All transport is banned in and out of Rusizi where there has been a significant increase in cases.

"Schools which were expected to be reopened in September will also remain closed."

 - AFP

Doctors in Kenyan capital end strike over pay delays, lack of PPE

NAIROBI – Doctors employed by Kenya's Nairobi County government resumed work on Thursday following a six-day strike over delayed salaries and a lack of protective equipment when handling patients who may have Covid-19, a union official said.

Thuranira Kaugiria, Nairobi County secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, said in a WhatsApp message the doctors had returned to work after signing an agreement with county officials on Wednesday.

In the agreement, the government promised to pay doctors on the fifth day of every month, failing which the doctors were free to stop work without notice.

The agreement, seen by Reuters, also provides doctors with two isolation facilities in the event that they contract Covid-19.

The county government also committed to providing the doctors with adequate supplies of high quality personal protective equipment (PPE), the agreement said.

The 320 striking doctors walked out last week, citing poor quality protective gear, too few isolation wards, and inadequate health insurance.


Havana announces curfew to curb new coronavirus peak

Havana's governor announced an overnight curfew, ban on travel from the Cuban capital to other provinces and greater restrictions on the circulation of vehicles on Thursday in a bid to curb a new peak in coronavirus cases.

The new measures will come into effect on 1 September for 15 days, Reinaldo García Zapata said on state television, at which point the situation will be re-assessed.

Cuba had mostly contained its novel coronavirus outbreak by the end of June, by isolating patients and conducting rigorous contact tracing, and eased lockdown restrictions.

But it tightened them again six weeks later after cases jumped again, especially in Havana, albeit allowing domestic tourism over the summer as long as would-be vacationers took a coronavirus test before heading out.

That loophole is now over, in the wake of the spread of infection from Havana to other provinces, as is freedom of movement from 19:00 to 05:00, the first curfew since the crisis began.


Brazil reports 44 235 new coronavirus cases, death toll at 118 649

BRASILIA – Brazil reported 44 235 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 984 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Brazil has registered 3 761 391 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 118 649, according to ministry data, in the world's worst coronavirus outbreak outside the United States.


Mexico records 6 026 new coronavirus cases, 518 more deaths

MEXICO CITY – Mexico's health ministry on Wednesday reported 6 026 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 518 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 579 914 cases and 62 594 deaths.

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


Australia's Victoria state reports 113 new Covid-19 cases, 12 deaths

SYDNEY – Australia's second most populous state of Victoria on Friday said 12 people died from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and it reported 113 new cases.

Victoria, which has become the virus hot spot of the country, a day earlier reported 23 deaths and 113 cases, its lowest daily rise in nearly two months.

Strict lockdown measures have helped ease the daily rise of Covid-19 infections in Victoria after the state hit a one-day high of more than 700 cases about three weeks ago.


Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 1 571 to 239 507 - RKI

BERLIN – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1 571 to 239 507, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by three to 9 288, the tally showed.


Indonesia reports record new coronavirus cases for second day

JAKARTA – Indonesia on Friday reported 3 003 new coronavirus cases, its biggest rise in new infections for a second successive day, data from the country's Covid-19 task force showed.

The new cases brought Indonesia's total coronavirus infections to 165 887, while 105 new fatalities took the death toll to 7 169, the data showed.


Philippines reports 3 999 novel coronavirus cases, 91 more deaths

MANILA – The Philippine health ministry on Friday confirmed 3 999 additional novel coronavirus infections and 91 more deaths.

The ministry said total confirmed cases have reached 209 544, about a fifth of which were reported in the past 10 days, while deaths rose to 3 325.

The Philippines has the most confirmed Covid-19 infections in Southeast Asia and the region's second highest number of coronavirus deaths, next to Indonesia.


Ukraine reports daily record of 2 438 new coronavirus cases

KYIV – Ukraine registered a record 2 438 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, officials said on Friday.

Ukraine this week imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners from entering the country until 28 September and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

The country has so far reported a total of 114 497 infections and 2 451 deaths from the virus.


China reports 9 new mainland Covid-19 cases vs 8 a day earlier

SHANGHAI – China reported nine new Covid-19 cases in the mainland on 27 August, compared with eight a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Friday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new infections were imported cases involving travellers from overseas, marking the 12th consecutive day of no local transmissions.

The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 85 013, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4 634.

China also reported 16 new asymptomatic cases, down from 19 a day earlier. China, however, does not count these symptomless patients as confirmed Covid-19 cases.


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