14 July

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim milestone of 4 million with a figure of 4,048,968 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 187.8 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33.9 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 607,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Indonesia: Indonesia surpassed India’s daily Covid-19 case numbers, marking a new Asian virus epicenter as the spread of the highly-contagious delta variant drives up infections in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The country has seen its daily case count cross 40,000 for two straight days, including a record high of 47,899 on Tuesday, up from less than 10,000 a month ago. Officials are concerned that the more transmissible new variant is now spreading outside of the country’s main island, Java, and could exhaust hospital workers and supplies of oxygen and medication. Indonesia’s current numbers are still far from India’s peak of 400,000 daily cases in May. India, with a population roughly five times the size of Indonesia’s 270 million people, saw daily infections drop below 33,000 on Tuesday as its devastating outbreak wanes.

Cyprus: Cyprus has reported a record-high number of new Covid-19 infections, health ministry data showed, with the number of positive cases surging past 1,000. Tuesday’s figure of 1,081 cases was the highest single-day count since the eastern Mediterranean island recorded its first cases of coronavirus in March 2020, Reuters reports.

Singapore: Singapore is stepping up its investigation of new Covid-19 cases in karaoke lounges, as it seeks to control an emerging cluster linked to the social hostesses who frequent the establishments. The premises will be closed for two weeks to allow for deep cleaning and special testing operations will be conducted for all staff, the Ministry of Health said in a statement late Tuesday. Free Covid-19 testing will also be extended to the public who had frequented these places, or who interacted with the hostesses in any setting over the last two weeks.

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By GlobalData

Malaysia: Malaysia’s Covid cases topped a record 11,000 Tuesday and may climb further in the next few days before stabilizing as the outbreak is being driven by the contagious Delta variant, Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

Netherlands: Weekly cases in the Netherlands surged more than sixfold with 51,957 infections reported by the Dutch health service in the week ending 13 July. Last week’s tally was 8,541 cases.

Vaccine news

Europe: The European Medicines Agency said it is analysing data on rare cases of a nerve disorder reported among recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, after the US added a warning label to the shot. In its decision to add a warning label, the FDA said 100 preliminary reports of GBS included 95 serious cases that required hospitalisation and one reported death.

France: Daily vaccinations hit a new high in France on Tuesday. “Today you are 792,339 to have received a first jab, a new record. This drive must amplify and continue in coming weeks,” the country’s prime minister Jean Castex wrote on Twitter.

Germany: German chancellor Angela Merkel said she is not planning to follow France and other countries in introducing compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations for parts of the population, despite the number of jabs given yesterday at its lowest since February amid apparent hesitancy.

Thailand: Thailand defended mixing two different Covid-19 vaccines, after the WHO’s top scientist warned it was a “dangerous trend” not backed by evidence. Authorities said they will mix a first dose of the Chinese-made Sinovac jab with a second dose of AstraZeneca to try to achieve a “booster” effect in six weeks instead of 12.

India: India’s Covid vaccination rollout has continued to falter due to supply shortages and vaccine hesitancy, casting doubt on the government’s pledge to vaccinate the entire population by December. Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of Delhi, tweeted that “vaccines have run out in Delhi again. The central government gives vaccines for a day or two, then we have to keep the vaccine centres closed for several days.”

Lockdown updates

Greece: Greece will require customers at indoor restaurants, bars and cafes to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, the government announced. Under the new regulations, which will remain in force until next month, all customers at indoor bars and restaurants will have to be seated. Those dining outdoors will not require proof of vaccination or a test.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh is to lift its nationwide lockdown for the country’s second-biggest religious festival, the government has said, even as new infections rise. The removal of the curbs would “normalise economic activities” ahead of the celebrations, it added. Tens of millions of people usually head back to their villages to mark Eid al-Adha with their families.

Spain: Spain, Europe’s second largest tourism market pre-pandemic, is still a safe destination, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said on Tuesday after Germany and France earlier warned citizens about the risks of heading there. Catalonia and Valencia, two of the most popular vacation spots, have both seen a surge in infections in recent days as restrictions are relaxed.

Economies update

India: India is seeing an increase in hunger, particularly in urban areas, after legions of residents had their economic toehold ripped away in lockdowns over the last 12 months. While few statistics are available, migrants and workers at food distribution centers in major Indian cities say they can’t remember seeing lines this long of people yearning for something to eat. As India’s economy shrunk by 7.3% last year, the daily average wage for about 230 million Indians – enough to make the world’s fifth-largest nation – dropped below the 375-rupee ($5) threshold, according to a study by the Azim Premji University in Bangalore. “An alarming 90% of respondents” reported “that their households had suffered a reduction in food intake as a result of the lockdown,” the study said.