Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim milestone of 4 million, with a figure of 4,267,859 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have passed 201 million world wide.
US: Covid -19 infections have passed 35.4 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 615,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.
CNN has fired three members of staff in the US for reporting to work without being vaccinated. Company bosses said the staff had violated its zero-tolerance policy for having the jab.
China: China reported 124 new cases of the virus on Friday, the highest number of the current outbreak amid a surge in locally transmitted infections.
Japan: Tokyo reported a record 5,042 new cases, as the Olympics entered its final few days in the Japanese capital. The leap from the previous day brought the seven-day moving average to about 3,646, while the number of serious cases rose to 135 from 115 the previous day, government data showed. While the number of cases directly linked to the Olympics remained low, the government’s top virus adviser said the event may have made people more relaxed about precautions.
Australia: New South Wales recorded another record number of cases on Friday – 291 – and more than half of Australia is in lockdown again. There were protests in Melbourne on Thursday night as the state of Victoria headed into another snap lockdown. Queensland could move out of lockdown on Sunday after only 10 new cases of the virus were reported on Friday.
Thailand: Thailand reported 21,379 new Covid-19 infections, a daily record that took the nation’s total past 700,000, as recent tightening of containment measures has failed to quell a raging outbreak. The Southeast Asian nation also reported a single-day record 191 deaths, official data showed Friday.
Singapore: Singapore’s locally-transmitted virus cases stayed below 100 for a third day, ahead of a planned government review of strict social distancing restrictions that have banned dining in and limited gatherings to just two people. Singapore is also easing regulations on visitors from Taiwan as conditions there have improved, the health ministry said in a separate statement. Those who’ve spent the last 21 days in Taiwan can enter without a 14-day stay-home notice requirement so long as they test negative on arrival.
France: French officials said that another 52 residents died of Covid-19, bringing the official toll to 112,133. The nation reported 26,460 new cases in the past day.
Global: Moderna’s final analysis of the company’s late-stage study, described in a statement on Thursday, suggests its vaccine’s protection remains stable for long after recipients complete the standard two-dose regimen. The 93% effectiveness level is just short of the shot’s initial efficacy of 94%.
US: The US could announce its plan to give out booster vaccines within weeks, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The US has given nearly 350m Covid-19 jabs.
The Biden administration is considering using federal regulatory powers and the threat of withholding federal funds from institutions to push more Americans to get vaccinated – a huge potential shift in the fight against the virus and a far more muscular approach to getting shots into arms, according to four people familiar with the deliberations. The effort could apply to institutions as varied as long-term care facilities, cruise ships and universities, potentially impacting millions of Americans, according to the people, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations. The conversations are in the early phases and no firm decisions have been made, the people said. One outside lawyer in touch with the Biden administration on the issue is recommending that the president use federal powers sparingly.
California officials ordered all health care workers in the state to be fully vaccinated by the end of September, in what they called the nation’s first such mandate. The order, issued Thursday by State Public Health Officer Tomas Aragon, covers all workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, and doctors’ offices – even dialysis centers. Employees must be vaccinated unless exempted by their employer for religious or medical reasons. The move goes one step farther than an announcement last week by Governor Gavin Newsom, who said the state would require health care workers to be vaccinated or wear a mask at work and submit to testing at least once per week. It comes after two of California’s biggest health care providers – Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health – said they would require their employees to be vaccinated by 30 September.
China: President Xi Jinping pledged to dramatically expand Covid-19 vaccine exports to two billion doses this year, matching commitments by Group of Seven nations amid warnings about inoculation shortages in the developing world. The developing world is counting on shots from Chinese developers Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Sinopharm Group to slow the spread of the virus, even though they appear to be less effective than vaccines developed in the West using newer technology.
Chile: Chile will start to vaccinate residents with a third dose against coronavirus next week in a campaign that mixes shots from different providers, as the government seeks to protect the population from the delta variant. Chile joins countries from Uruguay to Israel in announcing third doses as the world moves to deal with the rapid spread of the delta variant. They are looking past the World Health Organization’s calls for a moratorium on booster shots to enable poorer countries to catch up in inoculation rates.
US: Amazon.com Inc. says corporate employees won’t have to return to the office regularly until January, becoming the latest big company to postpone its resumption of regular work habits as infections from the delta variant surge in the US. The largest online retailer told employees in an email on Thursday that they should plan to begin going to offices the week of 3 January.
BlackRock Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. are pushing their return-to-office plans back a month to early October, as Wall Street grapples with rising Covid-19 rates across the US.
UK: The UK government has destroyed the public’s trust in travel quarantine rules, a former government adviser has said, after the latest changes to the traffic-light system for overseas travel.
Young people in the UK will “miss out” on access to nightclubs if they don’t get vaccinated, warns an advertising campaign being launched to boost take-up.Six other European nations, including Germany, were added to the lowest-risk “green” list, meaning all visitors can avoid quarantine whether or not they are fully vaccinated. All changes will come into effect from 4 am on Sunday, 8 August.
All businesses in Wales, including nightclubs, will be able to reopen from Saturday and there will be no legal limits on the number of people who can get together as the country moves to Covid alert level 0.
Australia: Australians who live abroad will not be able to leave the country if they return home unless they appeal for a special exemption as Canberra tightened its restrictions on pandemic travel.
South Korea: South Korea will extend its social distancing curbs by two weeks as the government contends with outbreaks nationwide and more people fall severely ill, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Friday.
Italy: The Italian government has said teachers will need proof of immunity from Covid-19 from the start of September, as travellers on public transport will also need the country’s “green pass”.
Philippines: The Philippines included more cities and provinces under lockdown, adding to the capital region which returned to the strictest form of movement curbs on Friday. Laguna, Iloilo City and Cagayan De Oro were placed under enhanced community quarantine, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said late Thursday.
UK: The UK’s live events sector has finally been promised a Covid cancellation insurance scheme worth £750m after months of lobbying.