26 July

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim milestone of 4 million, with a figure of 4,161,529 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 194 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 34.4 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 610,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Indonesia: Hundreds of children – many under age five – have died in Indonesia from Covid in recent weeks, a mortality rate that’s higher any other country, the New York Times reported, citing doctors. The children’s deaths challenges the notion that they face a far lower risk than adults, the paper said. The surge in child deaths corresponds with the spread of the delta variant, the paper said, and the outbreak now makes Indonesia the new epicenter of the pandemic.

UK: The UK reported a drop in new coronavirus cases for a fifth consecutive day, a potential boost for Prime Minister Johnson after a chaotic week since the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

A total of 29,173 new infections were recorded on Sunday, down from 31,795 on Saturday, according to data from Public Health England. New cases were in excess of 50,000 on 17 July, but have since been on a downward trend, the data shows.

Data in the coming days and weeks will be crucial: Venues such as nightclubs were allowed to re-open on July 19, and any potential impact of this re-opening could yet push up infections. Health Secretary Sajid Javid has previously warned that new cases could peak at 100,000 per day.

Young people are getting “seriously ill” from Covid-19, a member of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has warned, as he urged them to get vaccinated.

UK health secretary Sajid Javid has apologised for a tweet which suggested the nation need not “cower” from coronavirus.

Fresh concerns have been raised in the UK over police being forced into isolation over Covid-19 contacts after it was said the number of absent Metropolitan Police officers reached nearly one in five.

Australia: In Australia, New South Wales logged its second-highest daily increase of the year in locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Sunday amid fears of a wave of new infections after thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest.

Sydney’s daily cases climbed and are expected to keep rising after thousands took to the streets over the weekend in defiance of the lockdown restrictions sweeping parts of Australia.

The city of almost 6 million people recorded 145 new cases Monday, up by a handful from the day before, with half of the people active in the community while infectious. There have been 2,226 cases since the latest outbreak began in mid-June, fueled by the contagious delta variant.

Malaysia: Malaysia’s total coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic surpassed 1 million on Sunday after the country’s health ministry reported a record 17,045 new cases.

Russia: Russia reported 24,072 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, including 3,406 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 6,126,541.

China: China added 39 local confirmed cases in eastern province of Jiangsu and 1 infection in Liaoning province on July 25, according to a statement from National Health Commission. There were also four new local asymptomatic cases reported Sunday; provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Guangdong and Sichuan each had one.

Vietnam: Vietnam reported 2,704 new local cases, with 1,714 coming from Ho Chi Minh City. That’s taken the total infections in the country to more than 100,000, the government reported Monday morning.

Brazil: Brazil reported 18,129 new infections over the past 24 hours, pushing its total to almost 19.7 million, according to data from the Health Ministry. Deaths rose by 476 to 549,924, the world’s highest number of fatalities after the US.

Vaccine news

Global: Immunity provided by the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE may drop but most recipients will remain protected against severe Covid-19 illness and may not need a third shot, Dow Jones reported, citing BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin.

US: White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said about 790,000 doses were administered in the past 24 hours, the most since earlier this month. US Covid vaccinations have been trending upward for almost a week, after hitting their lowest level since the start of the year. The daily average has risen six days in a row from a low of 498,000 on 19 July, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. That compares with a daily average peak of more than 3.3 million in mid-April.

Meanwhile, the US is moving in the “wrong direction” in combating a new wave of Covid-19, and a booster vaccine shot may be needed especially for the most vulnerable, said Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. It’s a problem that half of the country is still not fully vaccinated, he said. Based on the modeling of data, the US faces a worst-case scenario of daily deaths reaching the winter peak of 4,000. “I’m not sure if it would be the worst-case scenario but it’s not going to be good,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’re going in the wrong direction.”

Japan: Osaka-based Shionogi & Co. started a Japanese Phase 1 clinical trial of an orally administered antiviral drug for Covid-19. The first dose was administered successfully on July 22 and no safety concerns have been identified so far. This is just the start of clinical trials and lots of such drugs eventually fail to make the cut.

Taiwan: Taiwan will allow people to take combinations of two different vaccines, health minister Chen Shih-chung said at a briefing Sunday. The government decided to allow the public to take one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a second dose of an mRNA vaccine after examining international data and cases. Chen did not say when the first mixed inoculations would start. Currently, Moderna is the only mRNA vaccine available in Taiwan, with 15 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine scheduled to start arriving from September.

South Korea: South Korea said 32.9% of its population have had the first round of vaccine. The country has given 6.86 million doses and 13.4% of its people are fully vaccinated. South Korea added 1,318 new cases.

Lockdown updates

UK: In the UK, it is being reported that only fully-vaccinated football fans may be able to attend Premier League matches and other events with more than 20,000 spectators from October under government plans.

Separately, the UK may drop quarantine requirements on travel from France next week, The Times reported.

South Korea: South Korea is to tighten social distancing rules across most of the country this week, warning that its worst-ever Covid-19 wave might spread further in the summer holiday season.

Germany: Some of Germany’s most senior politicians have floated the possibility of tough restrictions for unvaccinated people, or even compulsory inoculation, echoing similar sentiment throughout Europe as the delta variant spreads in the region. The unvaccinated would have to curb contact in the event of a high level of infections in Germany and would be banned from “restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums,” Helge Braun, chief of staff in Angela Merkel’s chancellery, told Bild am Sonntag on Sunday. Those restrictions may be imposed regardless of tests, he added.

Ghana: Ghana is restricting the length of events such as weddings and funerals to two hours and has banned post-event receptions due to the risk of people abandoning safety protocols including mask-wearing and social distancing. “It appears that our nation like many others is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19 infections,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a state broadcast late Sunday. Ghana has reported more than 102,000 Covid-19 cases, including 823 deaths, since the first case was reported.

Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike met on Sunday to discuss the Olympic Games being held in the capital and anti-coronavirus measures.

Indonesia: Indonesia is extending its mobility curbs for another week until Aug. 2 as cases remain high even after about a month of restrictions. Adjustments are being made to allow small businesses to operate under strict health protocols, President Joko Widodo said. Traditional markets selling staple foods will open as normal, while shops selling non-food items and other small merchants are allowed to operate at half capacity and shorter trading hours. Dine-in can resume at food stalls and restaurants in outdoor areas under very strict protocols.

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City officials are imposing a 6 pm to 6 am curfew beginning Monday to contain a fast-spreading outbreak, news website VnExpress reported earlier, citing Chairman of the City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong. All activities in Vietnam’s business hub will be suspended during the curfew, except for emergency and epidemic coordination activities, according to the report.

South Africa: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa eased virus curbs after new infections slowed and the nation’s vaccination program gathered pace. Alcohol sales, which have been banned for the past four weeks, will now be permitted at restaurants and at retail outlets from Monday to Thursday, the president said in a televised address. Restrictions on leisure travel and gatherings will also be relaxed.

Algeria: Algeria declared an 8 pm to 6 am curfew in major cities as the North African nation battles a surge in cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus. The curfew will be imposed in places with large numbers of infections, state TV reported Sunday, citing a cabinet meeting and without identifying the cities. Algeria has had over 158,000 Covid-19 cases and about 4,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the World Health Organization.

Protests Emerge Globally

US: More than 100 people gathered outside the Iowa state Capitol Saturday to protest against vaccination rules including those issued by some hospitals in the state, the Associated Press said.

France: In France, more than 160,000 demonstrators gathered Saturday to oppose the government’s Covid-19 health pass policy, the New York Times reported. Tear gas was used after clashes with police in Paris, it added.

Italy: Protests also emerged in cities across Italy where thousands rallied against the government’s requirement for a so-called green pass next month for a number of venues.

Tunisia: Tear gas was also deployed in Tunisia, where violent rallies broke out Sunday as protesters defied Covid curbs to demonstrate in a number of cities over the economy and the outbreak, the AP said.