- This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top stories: Indonesia extends COVID-19 curbs; WHO chief backs Tokyo Olympic Games; 80% of new US cases due to Delta variant.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 191.4 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.11 million. More than 3.7 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
The vast majority of new COVID-19 cases in Spain over the past five weeks have been in unvaccinated people, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Monday.
Peru has signed a deal to buy 20 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, its Health Ministry announced yesterday.
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Turkey have risen to 8,780 – double a low point reached earlier in July.
New COVID-19 cases in Britain have risen by nearly 41% in the last seven days, with 46,558 new cases reported yesterday.
Zimbabwe has ordered all its workers should receive a COVID-19 vaccine and asked all but 10% of civil servants to work from home, in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.
Australia’s two largest states have reported increases in new COVID-19 cases, hitting hopes that restrictions could be eased. New South Wales registered 110 new cases – up from 78 the day before – nearly four weeks into a lockdown of its largest city, Sydney. Victoria reported 22 new cases – up from nine.
South Korea has reported a daily record of 1,784 new COVID-19 cases, breaking a mark set last week.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is behind more than 80% of new U.S. cases, but authorized vaccines remain more than 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, said top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci yesterday.
It comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that life expectancy in the U.S. fell by a year and a half in 2020 to 77.3 years – primarily as a result of deaths caused by the pandemic. It’s the biggest one-year decline since World War Two.
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2. Indonesia extends COVID-19 curbs
Indonesia has extended its COVID-19 restrictions to 25 July, with case numbers still high. The country is aiming for a gradual easing of restrictions next week if infections drop, President Joko Widodo said yesterday.
“If the trend of cases continue to decline, from July 26 the government will initiate gradual easing,” he said in a virtual address.
Infections have repeated been around 50,000 per days in the last week, with the number of COVID-19-related deaths above 1,000 for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday.
Restrictions that were first introduced on 3 July will remain in place on the island of Java and Bali and other cities across the archipelago. They include having workers at non-essential businesses working from home, limited on travel and the closure of shopping malls.
3. WHO chief backs Toyko Olympics
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, has said the Tokyo Olympic Games should go ahead to demonstrate what is possible with the right plan and measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to the International Olympic Committee members at their session in the Japanese capital, Tedros said the world needed the Olympics now “as a celebration of hope”.
“The Olympics have the power to bring the world together, to inspire, to show what’s possible,” he said.
Dr Tedros criticised the vaccine discrepancies between countries though, saying the pandemic could be ended if there was a fairer distribution of vaccines.
“Instead of being deployed widely, vaccines have been concentrated in the hands and arms of a lucky few,” he said.
“The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. It is in our hands,” he said. “We have all the tools we need. We can prevent this disease, we can test for it and we can treat it.”