Spain sets post-lockdown record as coronavirus cases surge: Live | News

  • Spain has reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June and beating the previous day’s record rise.

  • More than 18.55 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Wednesday, up by more than 400,000 in just one day. More than 11.1 million have recovered, while about 700,000 have died.

  • Amid fears of widespread coronavirus infections among voters, Sri Lankans will head to the polls on Wednesday to choose a new parliament in an election President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s party is expected to win.

Here are the latest updates:

Wednesday, August 5

16:40 GMT – Greek PM warns over jump in COVID-19 cases

Greeks must stick to rules aimed at containing the coronavirus more closely than ever, the country’s prime minister has said, warning of new restrictions if a worrying rise in daily cases does not abate.

Greece reported 124 new cases, part of a surge of what appears to be mainly domestic infections.

“Any form of complacency is unjustified,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. “We still don’t know how …many months we will be forced to live with the virus.”

16:25 GMT – Virus kills leading Brazil indigenous chief Aritana

One of Brazil’s leading indigenous chiefs, Aritana Yawalapiti, has died of respiratory complications caused by COVID-19, his family said.

Aritana, 71, a chief of the Yawalapiti people in the Amazon, was known for fighting to protect the world’s biggest rainforest and the rights of the indigenous peoples who live there.

“He was a great advocate in the struggle to preserve and perpetuate his people’s culture for future generations and a tireless activist against the effects of deforestation,” his family said in a statement.

FILE PHOTO: Yawalapiti chief Aritana is seen in the Xingu National Park

Aritana, 71, a chief of the Yawalapiti people in the Amazon, was known for fighting to protect the world’s biggest rainforest [File: Ueslei Marcelino/ Reuters]

16:10 GMT – Switzerland adds Spain to coronavirus quarantine list

Travellers returning to Switzerland from mainland Spain will be required to quarantine themselves, the health ministry has said, adding to a list of countries seen as having heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission.

As well as Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 28,000 deaths, the Swiss health ministry also added Singapore and Romania.

Exclusive: Inside hospital battling coronavirus in Spain

15:55 GMT – Turkey announces new measures to curb COVID-19 rise

Turkey’s interior ministry has announced new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 as daily confirmed cases have peaked back above 1,000.

In a circular, the interior ministry said its units would conduct “one-on-one monitoring” for people who have been required to self-quarantine, especially in the first seven days of isolation.

The ministry warned it would not accept any violations of measures to wear masks and maintain social distancing at gatherings such as weddings or circumcision ceremonies.

15:40 GMT – Arsenal to sack 55 staff as COVID-19 hits revenues

Less than a week after winning the FA Cup to secure their place in next season’s Europa League and as they negotiate a multi-million pound contract extension with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal have announced plans to layoff 55 staff.

The club said that the cuts were the result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement sparked an immediate social media backlash from fans contrasting the huge sums involved with keeping key players to the lost jobs of staff at the north London outfit.

15:25 GMT – New York City erects quarantine checkpoints to curb coronavirus

New York City will put up COVID-19 quarantine checkpoints at key entry points to ensure that travelers from 35 states on New York state’s travel advisory comply with the state’s 14-day quarantine mandate, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said.

“Travelers coming in from those states will be given information about the quarantine and will be reminded that it is required, not optional,” de Blasio told a news briefing. He added that, under certain circumstances, fines for not observing the quarantine order could be as high as $10,000.

14:35 GMT – Canada signs deals for experimental COVID-19 vaccines

Canada has signed separate deals with Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc to supply millions of doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccines, a top official said.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand also told a news conference that Ottawa was negotiating with other potential domestic and international vaccine suppliers but did not give details.

There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, but 19 vaccines are being tested in humans around the world.

14:20 GMT – Oman to lift internal travel restrictions, reduce curfew

Oman will on Saturday lift a domestic ban on travel between provinces, imposed on July 25 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, the state news agency ONA has said.

From Saturday it will also reduce its curfew for a week to between 9 pm and 5 am (1700-0100 GMT), instead of 7 pm to 6 am (1500 to 0200 GMT). A full lockdown of the Dhofar province in the south will be maintained until further notice.

Oman, a country of 4.7 million people, has recorded almost 80,000 coronavirus infections and 421 deaths.

14: 15 GMT

Hello, this is Elizabeth Melimopoulos taking over the live updates from my colleague Hamza Mohamed in Doha.

12:45 GMT – Scotland shuts pubs in Aberdeen to tackle virus outbreak

Scotland imposed new restrictions on the northeastern city of Aberdeen to tackle an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, ordering pubs to close and visitors to stay away.

“We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is necessary, and also in my view, sensible,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at a news conference.

12:25 GMT – Trump says he may suspend payroll tax

US President Donald Trump said he may suspend the payroll tax himself as part of his administration’s efforts to help the economy after the coronavirus shutdown when the idea faced opposition in Congress in talks on the next relief bill.

“Well I may do it myself,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

“I have the right to suspend it, and I may do it myself – I have the absolute right to suspend the payroll,” he added.

12:05 GMT – German-Chinese coronavirus vaccine trial begins in China

Clinical trials on humans have begun in China for a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by German pharmaceutical group BioNTech with Chinese company Fosun Pharma, the companies said.

Seventy-two participants have already received their first dose following approval for the phase one trial from Chinese regulatory authorities, BioNTech and Fosun Pharma said in a statement.

The vaccine candidate, known as BNT162b1, is one of four based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology.

outside image - corona vaccine

More than 200 candidate vaccines are currently being developed with roughly two dozen at the stage of clinical trials with human volunteers [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

Another, BNT162b2, is being evaluated in a global phase three trial conducted by BioNTech and US giant Pfizer which started on July 27.

The phase one trial in China involves 144 participants who will receive two doses 21 days apart. Those aged 18-55 will be the first to take part, followed by older people.

11:45 GMT – Vietnam confirms 41 new infections

Vietnam’s health ministry on Wednesday reported an additional 41 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 713 infections, including eight deaths.

Forty of the new cases are linked to Danang, the new coronavirus epicentre where Vietnam on July 25 detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months.

There were two other cases reported earlier in the day.

There have been 264 cases since the virus resurfaced in Danang, which include all eight of the country’s COVID-19 deaths. Infections have since been found in at least 10 locations in Vietnam.

Vietnam Danang

Last month, Vietnam detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months [Hoang Khanh/AFP]

11:15 GMT – One-third of Afghans estimated to have contracted virus: Gov’t

Nearly a third of Afghanistan’s population – or 10 million people – has been infected with the coronavirus, according to health ministry estimates published on Wednesday.

The figure comes from a survey based on antibody tests on nearly 9,500 people across the country, with technical support from the World Health Organization, Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani said at a press briefing.

Afghanistan coronavirus Reuters

The virus entered Afghanistan in February as thousands of migrants returned from neighbouring Iran, which at the time was the region’s worst-hit nation [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

The survey estimated that 31.5 percent of the population had contracted the virus, with the highest infection rate in Kabul where more than half of the city’s five million population were thought to have been infected.

But the country of about 32 million people has a limited testing capacity and has officially declared just 36,000 cases and more than 1,200 deaths.

“A second wave of the infection is happening everywhere in the world and we cannot be an exception. We will use the findings of this survey to better prepare ourselves for a possible second wave,” Osmani said.

10:30 GMT – Hong Kong reports 85 cases as authorities battle third wave

Hong Kong reported 85 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including three locally transmitted ones, as authorities battle to control a third wave of the outbreak which has seen a resurgence in infections over the past month.

Since late January, about 3,700 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 42 of whom have died.

outside image - Hong Kong

Wednesday’s figure was up marginally from Tuesday’s 80 cases [Kin Cheung/AP]

10:00 GMT – Indonesia reports more than 1,800 new cases, 64 new deaths

Indonesia recorded 1,815 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 116,871, data by the country’s health ministry showed.

There were 64 additional deaths, taking the overall number of fatalities to 5,452, the data showed. 

09:45 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus cases surpass 865,000

Russia reported 5,204 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its nationwide tally to 866,627, the fourth-largest caseload in the world.

Russia’s coronavirus task force said 139 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 14,490.

Cemetery workers wearing protective suits carry the coffin of a COVID-19 victim in the special purpose for coronavirus victims section of a cemetery in Kolpino, outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday,

Only the US, Brazil and India have reported more cases than Russia [File: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP]

09:25 GMT – Hundreds of Peru women, girls went missing during lockdown

Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing and are feared dead in Peru since a lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

From March 16 through June 30, 606 girls and 309 women were reported missing, according to authorities.

Last week, Peru’s women’s ministry said 1,200 women and girls had been reported missing during the pandemic – a higher figure that included the month of July.

Read more here.

09:15 GMT – Philippines reports more than 3,400 new cases

The Philippine health ministry reported 3,462 new coronavirus infections and nine additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total infections had risen to 115,980, putting the tally just behind Indonesia’s 116,871 cases, which is the highest in East Asia.

Coronavirus deaths in the Philippines have reached 2,123.

08:45 GMT – Coronavirus infects 24,000 South African health workers

Some 24,000 health workers in South Africa have contracted the coronavirus, 181 of whom have died, since the pandemic hit the country in March, the health minister announced on Wednesday.

South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa, with at least 521,318 infections diagnosed so far, accounting for more than half of the continent’s cases.

Health Minister Zweli Mkwize told a news conference that the numbers of health workers who tested positive for coronavirus stood at 24,104, including 181 deaths.

South Africa coronavirus

The numbers of infected healthcare workers translate to about 5 percent of South Africa’s total caseload [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters]

08:05 GMT – Gargling solution flies off Japan’s shelves after governor touts anti-virus effect

Japanese drugstores were stripped bare of gargling solution by Wednesday, a day after the governor of the western prefecture of Osaka suggested it could help fight coronavirus, triggering panic buying reminiscent of the early days of mask shortage.

Hundreds of thousands of people posted pictures of emptied shelves on Twitter, accompanied by handwritten “Out of Stock” notices, as they canvassed suggestions on how to acquire the coveted antiseptic.

On Tuesday, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said a study showed a smaller viral load in the saliva of 41 patients with mild symptoms after regular gargling with a medicine infused with a povidone-iodine solution than in those who had not.

Banners notifying sold-out of gargling medicine are displayed at empty shelves at a drugstore in Tokyo

Banners notifying sold out of gargling medicine displayed at empty shelves at a drugstore in Tokyo [Issei Kato/Reuters]

07:10 GMT – Indonesia’s virus-hit economy contracts for first time in 20 years

Indonesia’s economy contracted in the second quarter for the first time in more than 20 years as it was slammed by coronavirus restrictions, with warnings that the recovery could be among the weakest in Southeast Asia.

Output in the region’s biggest economy slumped 5.3 percent on-year in April-June, the statistics agency said.

“Economic activity in Indonesia collapsed in the second quarter,” research house Capital Economics said in a note after the figures were published.

Firefighters Indonesia coronavirus

Indonesia has announced a stimulus package worth more than $48bn to help offset the impact of the virus [Reuters]

06:35 GMT – Ukraine reports record daily new coronavirus cases

Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,271 new coronavirus cases on August 4, the country’s council of security and defence said on Wednesday.

The number of new infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late May.

People wearing protective face masks walk out of a metro station in Kyiv

 Ukraine has started to gradually lift its coronavirus restrictions [Reuters]

The total number of cases rose to 75,490, including 1,788 deaths and 41,527 recovered as of August 5.

05:50 GMT – Czechs record biggest daily jump in cases since June end

The Czech Republic reported on Wednesday its biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases since the end of June as a recent uptick in infections stays elevated.

The central European country of 10.7 million recorded 290 new cases on Tuesday, Health Ministry data showed, bringing the total number of cases detected to 17,286. Of those, 11,812 have recovered and 383 have died of the COVID-19 illness.

05:30 GMT –

Hello, this is Hamza Mohamed in Doha taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur.

04:50 – Global coronavirus deaths exceed 700,000, one person dies every 15 seconds on average

The global death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University and Reuters tallies, with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities.

Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.

That equates to 247 people per hour, or one person every 15 seconds.

The United States and Latin America have been the epicentres of the pandemic and both are struggling to curb the spread of the virus.

03:45 GMT – Latin America now has world’s highest death toll

Latin America has surpassed Europe to become the region with the highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.

The region has now recorded more than 206,000 deaths, approximately 30 percent of the global total.

Brazil, the Latin American country most affected by the novel coronavirus, has now recorded a total of 95,819 deaths as of Tuesday. Mexico, the second-most affected country in the region, has recorded 48,869 deaths.

The spread of the pandemic has also accelerated in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia.

03:38 GMT – US health chief to visit Taiwan

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will visit Taiwan in coming days, making the highest level visit by a US official in 40 years in a move likely to anger China which claims the island as its own.

“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” Azar said in a statement.

“I look forward to conveying President Trump’s support for Taiwan’s global health leadership and underscoring our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health.”

03:09 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports deadliest day of pandemic

Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria has reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak with 15 deaths in the last 24 hours and a record daily rise in infections.

The state reported 725 new cases compared with 439 a day earlier.

It recorded its previous one-day high of 723 cases and 13 deaths last week.

02:08 GMT – US gov’t urged to let other firms make remdesivir

A bipartisan group of state attorneys general has urged the US government to allow other companies to make Gilead Sciences’ COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, to increase its availability and lower the price of the antiviral drug.

The coalition of more than 30 state attorneys general called on the government to act or allow states to do so, saying in a letter to US health agencies that Gilead “has not established a reasonable price” for remdesivir.

“Gilead should not profit from the pandemic and it should be pushed to do more to help more people,” the letter said.

WHO COVID Debrief on global coronavirus vaccine efforts (4:08)

The drugmaker is charging most US patients $3,120 per course, or $520 per vial of remdesivir.

Gilead said in a statement that the AGs were misrepresenting facts about access to remdesivir and that the regulatory actions proposed are unauthorised under these circumstances and would do nothing to speed up access.

The medicine is one of only two that have demonstrated an ability to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients in formal clinical trials.

01:39 GMT – Australia’s Queensland shuts state border

Australia’s Queensland state will close its border with New South Wales (NSW) state to hold back a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

A surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city, has forced the state of Victoria to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s movements and order most businesses to stop trading from Wednesday night.

Other states are imposing new restrictions of their own to prevent any spillover from Victoria and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has already shut her northeastern state’s border to Victorians, said travellers from NSW and the capital Canberra also would be barred from Saturday.

“We have seen that Victoria is not getting better, and we’re not going to wait for New South Wales to get worse. We need to act,” Palaszczuk said at a news conference in Brisbane.

00:45 GMT – US fraud losses near $100m

US losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100m since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of COVID-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group has said.

A report from the, based on government data, highlighted the vast scope of a fast-growing criminal cottage industry – from phoney stimulus-check offers to shopping scams and fake cures – preying on people already distressed by the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania – the most populous of the 50 US states – to be the five most targeted by coronavirus scams in the country.

Together, they accounted for about a third of more than 150,000 instances of COVID-related fraud reported nationally by the Federal Trade Commission from mid-March, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, through July, the report published on Tuesday showed.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

For all the key coronavirus-related developments from yesterday, August 4, click here.

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