Covid-19 has infected over 190 million people and killed more than 4 million. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for July 17:
Saturday, July 17:
Study: Zhifei shot largely retains effect against Delta variant
A vaccine developed by a unit of China’s Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products largely retained its neutralising effect against the Delta variant but there was a slight reduction, Chinese researchers found in a laboratory study.
Scientists and regulators are watching closely to see whether the Delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than the original variant of the new coronavirus, will render available vaccines and treatments insufficient.
South Korea sees 11th straight day over 1,000 cases
South Korea has reported another new 1,455 cases, its 11th straight day over 1,000, as officials push to tighten pandemic restrictions nationwide.
The numbers reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national caseload to 176,500, including 2,055 deaths.
The record-breaking surge has been mostly driven by transmissions in the greater Seoul region, home to half of the country’s population of more than 51 million.
First case found at Tokyo Olympics Village
A person has tested positive at the Tokyo Olympics athletes’ village, organisers said, in the first such case that adds to concerns about infections at the Games which begin next week.
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto confirmed that a visitor from abroad who is involved in organising the Games had tested positive.
He would not reveal the person’s nationality, citing privacy concerns.
India’s daily infections rise by 38,079
India reported 38,079 new cases over the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 31.06 million, health ministry data showed.
The number of deaths rose by 560, taking the total to 413,091, according to ministry data.
Sydney tightens lockdown as Australia’s virus cases rise
The Australian city of Sydney ordered a shutdown of building sites, banned non-essential retail and threatened fines for employers who make staff come into the office as new cases kept rising three weeks into a citywide lockdown.
Authorities in New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, also banned hundreds of thousands of people in the city’s western suburbs – the worst affected area – from leaving their immediate neighbourhoods for work, as they recorded 111 new cases in the prior 24 hours, up from 97 the day before.
Meanwhile, the state of Victoria reported a jump in daily cases, raising fears it may extend a short lockdown that was scheduled to end on Tuesday as the country struggles to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant.
Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 1,608 – RKI
The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,608 to 3,743,389, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.
The reported death toll rose by 22 to 91,359, the tally showed.
China reports 30 new cases on July 16 vs 36 a day earlier
China reported 30 new confirmed cases in the mainland on July 16, compared with 36 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said.
Twenty eight of the new cases were imported and two were locally transmitted, data from the National Health Commission showed.
Thailand reports daily record of 10,082 new coronavirus cases and 141 deaths
Thailand reported a new daily record of 10,082 new cases and 141 new deaths, as authorities are considering bringing in tighter restrictions to contain soaring infections in the latest outbreak that started in April.
The new cases bring the total number of infections to 391,989 cases and 3,240 fatalities since the pandemic started, the country’s virus task force said.
Fake vaccination certificates for sale in Mexico
First there were fake vaccines. Now bogus immunisation certificates are being offered for sale in the Mexican capital, aimed at people traveling to countries that require proof of inoculation.
In an area of the historic district known for its printers and counterfeiters, a new service has appeared alongside documents purporting to be birth certificates, driver’s licenses and passports.
Customers for the fake vaccination certificates are usually people who want to travel but have not been fully immunised, or who received vaccines not recognised in the country they plan to visit, a vendor said.
Biden says social media misinformation on Covid-19 ‘killing people’
President Joe Biden said that social media misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccinations is “killing people” and the White House said Facebook needs to clean up its act.
“They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden told reporters at the White House, as he left for a weekend at the presidential retreat in Camp David.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Facebook and others are not doing enough to push back.
Facebook rejected criticism by Biden that social media misinformation is killing people, saying its efforts to get facts out are actually saving lives.
“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” Facebook said of Biden’s barb.
Thailand bans public gatherings as cases, deaths hit daily records
Thailand has imposed a nation-wide ban on public gatherings and is considering more restrictions on movement as authorities reported record numbers of new cases and deaths, despite partial lockdowns in Bangkok and nine other provinces this week.
The country’s Covid-19 task force reported 10,082 new cases and 141 new deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 391,989 cases and 3,240 fatalities since the pandemic started.
Germany’s infections rise by 1,608
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 1,608 to 3,743,389, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. The reported death toll rose by 22 to 91,359, the tally showed.
US vaccine doses going to Ukraine, Bangladesh
The United States sent 2 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine to Ukraine via the Covax international vaccine-sharing programme, a White House official said, and plans to send 3.5 million Moderna doses to Bangladesh over the weekend.
The doses for Bangladesh will arrive on Monday, the official said.
Tunisia reports daily record 205 deaths
Tunisia has recorded 205 deaths in the last 24 hours, a daily record since the start of the pandemic, the health ministry said.
The ministry reported 6,787 new cases, raising new concerns about the country’s ability to fight the pandemic, with intensive care departments completely filled and a lack of oxygen supplies. The vaccination campaign is very slow.
Oman lifts entry ban on Singapore and Brunei
Oman’s civil aviation authority said in a tweet that it has removed Singapore and Brunei from its entry-ban list of countries.
The United Kingdom, Tunisia, India, Iran and Pakistan are among those to stay on the banned countries list.
The authority added that exceptions for citizens, diplomatic personas and health workers and their families are still in place.
Brazil registers 1,456 deaths
Brazil has registered 1,456 Covid-19 deaths and 45,591 additional cases, according to data released by the nation’s Health Ministry.
The South American country has now registered a total of 540,398 coronavirus deaths and 19,308,109 total confirmed cases.
Barcelona reimposes curfew
Barcelona and other cities in northeastern Spain will reimpose a night-time curfew starting this weekend to fight a surge in virus cases after the measure won court approval.
The curfew is aimed at discouraging social gatherings on beaches and in parks to curb a spike in cases of the highly-contagious Delta variant, especially among unvaccinated young people.
Catalonia’s regional government asked the courts this week for permission to restore a nightly curfew between 1:00 am and 6:00 am (0000 GMT and 0500GMT) in areas where infection rates surpass 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period.
The top court in the northeastern region on Friday approved the move, which will affect 161 municipalities, including popular beach resorts like Sitges, Salou and Lloret de Mar.