International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 14.7 million – Brazil to commence mass testing of vaccine

21 July 2020 (Last Updated July 21st, 2020 09:43)

21 July

Global: Global Coronavirus cases have reached 14,707,451 while deaths have increased to 609,986 according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased to more than 3.8 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths rose 0.2% to 140,909.

The US will have to come up with alternative ways to detect Covid-19 infections as the current swab testing capacity won’t be able to meet demand during the fall flu season, the Financial Times reported, citing Quest Diagnostics Inc.

South Africa: WHO warned that South Africa’s growing numbers could be a “precursor” for outbreaks elsewhere on the continent. South Africa has 373,000 cases – around half the continent’s cases. By comparison, numbers in Kenya had increased by 31%, Madagascar by 50%, Zambia by 57% and Namibia by 69%.

Brazil: Brazil’s health ministry has reported the country’s death toll has passed 80,000 and the number of cases is now 2.1 million. It comes as two more Brazilian government ministers said on Monday they had tested positive for Covid-19.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 5,172 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 301 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 349,396 cases and 39,485 deaths.

Australia: Australia’s southern state of Victoria reported 374 new coronavirus cases. The state has introduced mandatory face coverings from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported one new case of Covid-19 in a returned traveller. The woman in her 30s arrived in the country on 16 July from London via Doha and Sydney. She has been transferred to an Auckland quarantine facility.

Japan: The organisers of the Tokyo Olympic Games are preparing a day of celebrations to mark a year to the start of the event, which is now due to be held in July 2021 after a year-long delay because of the coronavirus. In addition, the city reported 237 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, in comparison to 168 reported cases on Monday.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 45 new cases of coronavirus. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 20 of the cases were locally acquired, and nine of them came from a nursing home in western Seoul.

China: China is providing free Covid-19 tests to residents of Urumqi in the far western region of Xinjiang after a sudden spike in coronavirus cases there, according to state media. The testing is designed to “effectively lower the risk of the virus spreading,” the Global Times reported the city’s anti-epidemic group as saying.

All air travellers to China are required to provide results of coronavirus tests conducted within five days of their departure, according to a joint government statement on the Civil Aviation Administration website.

Vaccine News

Brazil: Brazil is to start mass testing of a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac on medical workers from six states, starting at the Clinical Hospital of Sao Paolo.

Lockdown updates

US Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to close down all New York bars and restaurants if large street gatherings continue and his social distance and mask regulations aren’t enforced.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to intensify arrests and detentions of those who violate government rules on wearing masks and social distancing, as coronavirus cases continue to surge.

Economy updates

Europe: Europe agrees on Covid-19 recovery plan. European council president Charles Michel said the agreement was a “pivotal moment” as heads of state finally thrashed out a deal on day five of their summit. It set out a €750bn pandemic recovery fund and long-term spending plans.

UK: Government borrowing soared to almost £130 billion ($165 billion) in the first three months of the fiscal year amid the towering cost of supporting the economy through the coronavirus crisis. The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday that the budget deficit stood at £35.5 billion in June alone, leaving debt at almost 100% of GDP.

Australia: Prime minister, Scott Morrison, has extended Covid-19 job support payments but reduced the size of the payments.