International update: Global Covid-19 cases near 20.3 million – WHO express Russian vaccine doubts as Putin grants regulatory approval

12 August 2020 (Last Updated August 12th, 2020 10:06)

12 August

Global: Global Covid-19 cases are approaching 20.3 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Deaths exceed 741,000 world wide.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.9% as compared with the same time Monday to 5.12 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average 1.1% daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 164,137.

Texas posted 8,913 new cases, pushing the cumulative total to 500,620, according to health department data. The state joins California and Florida in the US for crossing the half-million mark for infections.

Argentina: Argentina’s death toll from the coronavirus reached 5,004 on Tuesday amid a surge in cases despite months of lockdown since March 20. The country recorded 7,043 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, pushing the total confirmed infections to 260,911, surpassing the total caseload in Italy.

Mexico: Mexico reported a near-record 926 confirmed Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the country’s accumulated total to 53,929. The Health Department reported 6,686 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases so far to 492,522.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic with 21 fatalities in the last 24 hours and 410 new cases. The state reported 19 deaths from the coronavirus, its previous one-day high in casualties, on Tuesday and Monday. It logged 331 cases a day earlier.

Lebanon: Lebanon registered a record daily number of coronavirus cases. The country’s totals now stand at 7,121 cases and 87 deaths since February, according to health ministry data.

China: China’s newly confirmed community transmitted cases of coronavirus fell into the single digits on Wednesday, while Hong Kong saw another 33 cases of infection.

Vaccine news

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country has granted the first regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine. The announcement came after less than two months of human testing. The country’s sovereign wealth fund said the vaccine would be named Sputnik V, in a reference to the cold war space race.

The WHO said it had not received enough information to evaluate the Russian vaccine. The Pan American Health Organization said the vaccine should not be introduced in Brazil, as has been reportedly planned, until phase 2 and 3 trials are completed.

Lockdown updates

Netherlands: The Netherlands plans to introduce mandatory home quarantine for people identified by local authorities as having been in close contact with somebody infected with coronavirus, and for travellers returning from high-risk countries.

Germany: Germany has extended a partial travel warning for Spain to the capital of Madrid and the Basque region amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The foreign ministry said it was warning against any unnecessary tourist trips to both regions because of a rising number of new infections and local restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet will decide on Friday on the next steps with regards to the new restrictions placed across the country, as it reported four new probable cases of coronavirus in the community.

Vietnam: Vietnam indefinitely extended the suspension of passenger flights to and from the coastal tourism hub of Danang under a stay-at-home order after a major resurgence of the virus that began on July 25. Vietnam has reported 866 new infections since the Danang outbreak.

Economic updates

Japan: Japan’s economy won’t recover ground lost during the pandemic until the year starting April 2024, according to the Japan Center for Economic Research. The think-tank sees a 6.8% contraction in the current fiscal year, with weakness in the US and other key export markets dragging on growth.

Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific said it lost HK$9.9 billion ($1.27bn) in the first half of this year after border closures triggered by the pandemic grounded its fleets.