International update: Global Covid death toll heads towards 3.5 million
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International update: Global Covid death toll heads towards 3.5 million

25 May 2021 (Last Updated May 25th, 2021 11:37)

25 May

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising towards 3.5 million with a figure of 3,474,656 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 167,345,000 world wide.

China has vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report citing US intelligence materials that said several members of staff at a key virus laboratory in Wuhan had fallen ill shortly before the first patient with Covid-like symptoms was recorded in the city on 8 December 2019.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 590,574 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

With more than 61% of U.S. adults having received at least one vaccine dose, the rate of new coronavirus infections continues to slide. New cases rose 0.5% in the past week, the slowest increase since the pandemic began in March 2020, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

Bahrain: Bahrain reported its highest daily number of coronavirus deaths on Monday, with 23 further deaths registered amid a spike in cases.

Taiwan: Taiwan has recorded six new deaths from Covid-19, and several hundred more cases in the continuing outbreak. It is the second day in a row of six recorded deaths from the outbreak.

Malaysia: Malaysia has reported a 61 further coronavirus deaths – its highest daily toll since the pandemic began. The south-east Asian country, which has a population of around 32 million, also registered 6,509 new positive cases, taking its total since the pandemic began to 518,600.

Malaysia has overtaken the global pandemic hotspot of India in confirmed coronavirus infections per capita. The Southeast Asian nation’s new Covid cases reached 216 per million on May 23, higher than 175 in India, according to data compiled from Johns Hopkins University and the United Nations. However, there’s a statistical caveat that India’s numbers may have undercounted cases especially in the villages, and the country’s death rate is higher.

Vaccine news

US: The US could pursue a single shot to protect against the top ten infectious diseases and an mRNA vaccine to shield against common cancers as part of a $6.5 billion research center sought by President Joe Biden. The details, from National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, are the first specifics of potential research that may be pursued by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. Biden’s proposal is modeled on initiatives at the Pentagon and the Department of Energy that paved the way for the internet and GPS.

India: Many of India’s 140 million migrant workers are at risk of being left out of the country’s vaccination programme, experts have warned, despite being at high risk of illness.

Brazil: One in five Brazilian cities reported a shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses last week, according to a survey of the country’s municipalities.

Malta: Malta has vaccinated up to 70 per cent of the adult population with least one dose of the vaccine, the first country in the EU to reach this goal.

Taiwan: China is willing to send emergency vaccine shipments to Taiwan, according to a Xinhua report, citing the website of the State Council’s Taiwan affairs office. China is also willing to send medical experts to Taiwan to help control an increasing case count there, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson of the office, was quoted as saying.

Vietnam: Prime Minister Chinh called on government agencies and ministries to seek donations to the nation’s vaccine fund, according to a post on the government’s website. Vietnam’s finance ministry has proposed setting up a fund to speed up purchases of vaccines. The health ministry estimated it will cost the country about 25.2 trillion dong ($1.1 billion) to acquire 150 millions of doses for 75 million people.

Lockdown updates

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka has extended its on going travel ban for another two weeks as health experts warn of a possible breakdown of the country’s health system due to rampant coronavirus infections.

Vietnam: Hanoi authorities increased restrictions amid a growing virus outbreak in northern Vietnam, banning indoor dining, parties and closing parks and hair salons beginning from noon Tuesday, according to a post on the government’s website. The order follows a rising number of infections in the capital with a dozen untraceable cases, it said. Residents are encouraged to work from home, the city government said on its website.

Australia: Group restrictions will be imposed in Melbourne as authorities race to clamp down a small cluster of Covid-19 cases in Australia’s second-most-populous city. Private gatherings in homes will be limited to five visitors per day from 6 pm Melbourne time on Tuesday, while public gatherings will be restricted to 30 people, Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters in Melbourne. Masks will be mandatory when indoors in public spaces for people aged 12 and older, including in workplaces.

US: The US raised its travel advisory on Japan to say Americans shouldn’t visit the country, where sections are under a state of emergency that could be extended. The State Department issued the upgraded travel advisory on Monday. The move is another blow to Japan’s plans to host the Olympic Games starting on 23 July.