Covid-19 wrap: Spanish gov wants partial Madrid lockdown, Russia's new cases hit highest since 23 June

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Russia's new coronavirus cases hit highest since 23 June 

Russia's daily tally of new coronavirus cases hit its highest level since 23 June on Friday as officials reported 7 212 infections across the country, bringing the national tally to 1 136 048.

In the capital Moscow, the tally of new cases rose almost 50% overnight to 1 560 from 1 050 the previous day. Authorities said 108 people had died across Russia, pushing the official coronavirus death toll to 20 056.

- Reuters


China says WHO gave blessing for coronavirus vaccine emergency use programme

The World Health Organisation gave China its support and understanding to start administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to people while clinical trials were still underway, a Chinese health official said on Friday.

China launched its emergency programme in July, having communicated with the WHO in late June, according to Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official.

Hundreds of thousands essential workers and other limited groups of people considered at high risk of infection have been given the vaccine, even though its efficacy and safety had not been fully established as Phase 3 clinical trials were incomplete

."At end-June, China's State Council approved a plan of COVID-19 vaccine emergency use program," Zheng told a news conference.

"After the approval, on June 29, we made a communication with the relevant representatives of the WHO Office in China, and obtained support and understanding from WHO," Zheng said.

WHO's representative in China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

- Reuters


Spanish government wants partial Madrid city lockdown, local authorities differ

The Spanish government has recommended reimposing a partial lockdown on all of Madrid city to curb the spread of coronavirus after local authorities imposed restrictions on just some areas of the wider region, the health minister said on Friday.

"These are the minimum measures we have to take to control the spread of the virus in the city," Salvador Illa told reporters.

Spain, one of the countries in Europe worst-affected by the pandemic, was under a draconian lockdown from March until May in which people could not leave their homes.

The restrictions began to be lifted in stages and by region, and was totally lifted on June 21, but the pandemic has surged again in recent weeks. The Madrid region authorities have ordered a lockdown in 45 areas, mainly the poorest ones, where the contagion rate is above 1000 cases per 100 000 people.

But in an apparent clash between the national government and regional authorities, Minister Illa announced his recommendations at a news conference at the same time as Madrid announced much softer measures which only cover some areas of the region.

Illa said that the Madrid regional authorities had the sole power to make this decision.

- Reuters


Coronavirus toll

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 984 068 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Friday.

At least 32 298 410 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 22 141 000 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.

On Thursday, 5 730 new deaths and 312 068 new cases were recorded worldwide. Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 1 141 new deaths, followed by United States with 846 and Brazil with 831.

- AFP


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