13 July

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim milestone of 4 million with a figure of 4,039,889 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 187million world wide.

The number of people who did not have enough food to eat rose steeply during the Covid-19 pandemic to include almost a third of the world, according to a new UN report published on Monday.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33.8 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 607,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US soared 47% to 136,351 in the week ended Sunday, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg show. The largest weekly rise since April 2020 comes as the highly contagious delta variant spreads in the country amid declining vaccination rates. The death toll for the period ticked up to 1,629. While last week’s figures are a fraction of the weekly numbers during the winter, about half of Americans remain unvaccinated, slowing the battle against the virus. The US has administered 334 million doses of vaccine, enough to cover about 52% of residents, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is urging the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to review her investigation of Amazon Inc. for deceiving search results on the sale of masks authorized by the US, Food and Drug Administration. Finding the masks on Amazon “is a mess, and Amazon seems to be actively misleading customers,” she says on Twitter.

Indonesia: Indonesia has reported its highest daily number of infections yet, with 40,427 cases logged on Monday, data from the country’s Covid-19 task force showed. Meanwhile, authorities have expelled four foreign tourists from Bali after they breached the island’s tough coronavirus restrictions.

Australia: The number of Sydney residents hospitalized from Covid-19 increased to 65 as the Australian city struggles to contain an outbreak of the delta variant. A man in his 70s died, the second fatality in the past week from an outbreak that’s grown to more than 700 cases since mid-June.

Vietnam: Vietnam has reported another new record in daily coronavirus infections, with 2,367 cases, its health ministry said.

Bangladesh: Another grim record has been set in Bangladesh, where 13,768 new infections were logged in the 24 hours to Monday morning. A further 220 deaths were also registered.

Iraq: A fire at the al-Hussein hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya killed at least 36 Covid-19 patients and injured dozens, according to the state-run Iraqi News Agency.

Vaccine news

Global: Sputnik V was shown to be effective against new Covid-19 variants, including the alpha, beta, gamma and delta strains, as well as two mutations detected in Moscow, according to a study published in Vaccines magazine.

Nepal: The US is delivering more than 1.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to Nepal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in on Twitter.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe ramped up daily Covid-19 vaccinations to a record as the government expects a faster rollout to help the economy recover from its second contraction into two years. On Thursday 29,750 people were vaccinated, the highest number since the public rollout plan began earlier this year. To date, 895,980 people have received their first dose and 595,417 a second, according to Ministry of Health data.

US: The fact sheet for Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine was revised to warn of the risk of a rare immune-system disorder, adding new headwinds for a shot once expected to be a linchpin of the US immunization effort. The Food and Drug Administration said it was adding the warning after 100 reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves, among people who had received the shot. So far, about 12.8 million Americans have been given the one-dose vaccine. The FDA said 95 of the cases required hospitalization and one person had died. While the available evidence suggests a link between the shot and the syndrome, the agency said the data was insufficient to be able to say definitively it had caused the illness. Symptoms began within 42 days of receiving the shot.

Israel: Israel’s Health Ministry granted permission to health providers to offer a third dose of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE coronavirus vaccine to immunocompromised patients, Channel 12 news reported Monday. Patients eligible for the third dose include people who have undergone liver transplants and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, the report said.

France: France will not allow health workers to go to work and will not pay them if they are not vaccinated against Covid-19 by September 15, the health minister Olivier Veran said.

Japan: Japan’s health ministry plans to approve Regeneron’s casirivimab-imdevimab antibody cocktail for the treatment of Covid-19 as soon as next week, the Mainichi newspaper reported, without attribution. The ministry will hold a panel meeting to discuss the treatment on 19 July.

South Africa: South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said that days of protests, looting and riots in the country led to the cancellation of coronavirus vaccination efforts in some parts of the country and could lead to further disruption of the programme just when the country was picking up the pace to inoculate its citizens.

Malaysia: A vaccination center in the Malaysian state of Selangor was closed down for a day after staff tested positive, Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said. It’s the first time the country has shuttered a center since beginning its vaccination campaign in February.

Vietnam: Japan will provide 1 million more vaccine doses to Vietnam, with delivery expected on July 16, bringing its total donations to the Southeast Asian country to 3 million, according to a Vietnam health ministry publication.

Greece: Greece is mandating vaccinations for those who work in senior citizen homes, within private or public health-care and for those in the military, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Monday in a national television address.

Lockdown updates

UK: With social distancing and the mandatory wearing of masks due to end in England on July 19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing ahead with dropping virus measures even as a new wave of the pandemic takes hold. Daily hospital admissions are expected to hit 1,000-2,000 per day at a peak in August and there could be as many as 200 daily deaths, according to modeling by the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. Economists expect a dip in consumer confidence in the coming weeks due to the greater perceived threat to public safety.

Netherlands: Prime minister Mark Rutte apologised for relaxing coronavirus restrictions too soon as cases surge in the wake of reopening.

Spain: Valencia’s regional government has succeeded in obtaining a court order to authorise lockdowns in more than 30 towns in eastern Spain as cases surge among unvaccinated young people.

New Zealand: Finance Minister Grant Robertson said New Zealand’s border curbs “will be with us for some time” as the pandemic continues to evolve, but there are opportunities to refine the approach as vaccination rates increase.

Economies update

US: Covid is fueling a productivity boost for the US economy by speeding up workplace digitization, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which said annualized growth in output per hour has risen 3.1% since the crisis began, compared with 1.4% in the previous business cycle.

China: China’s exports unexpectedly surged in June, helping underpin the economy amid signs the recovery is starting to slow. Export growth accelerated to 32.2% in dollar terms in June from a year earlier, the customs administration said, overturning economists expectations of a slowdown to 23%. Imports climbed 36.7%, beating the median forecast of 29.5% and leaving a trade surplus of $51.5 billion, the highest since January.

Meanwhile, China’s two biggest investment banks are cutting travel budgets, in another example of state-owned financial groups coming under pressure to reduce costs and support the country’s recovery from the pandemic.