International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.6 million – first documented human re-infection confirmed

25 August 2020 (Last Updated August 25th, 2020 10:24)

25 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.6 million with more than 813,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Cancer patients are at high risk of severe disease if they contract Covid-19, and those with blood diseases are in the most danger, researchers said. People with leukaemia and other blood cancers who contract the coronavirus face as much as 57% higher odds of severe disease compared to those with breast cancer, according to a study published Monday in The Lancet Oncology journal.

China: A Hong Kong man has been re-infected with Covid-19 after four-and-a-half months, leading to immunity concerns. A Hong Kong man who recovered from Covid-19 was infected again four-and-a-half months later in the first documented instance of human re-infection, researchers at the University of Hong Kong said on Monday.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.6% as compared with the same time Sunday to 5.72 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.2% to 176,991.

Gaza: Gaza reported its first Covid-19 cases outside quarantine areas and declared lockdown. The first cases of coronavirus have been detected outside of quarantine facilities within the Gaza Strip, a potentially disastrous development given the enclave’s fragile health system.

Sweden: Sweden is likely to see local outbreaks but no big second wave of Covid-19 cases in the autumn, such as inundated hospitals a few months ago, Sweden’s top epidemiologist and architect of its unorthodox pandemic strategy said.

Pakistan: latest figures from Pakistan show the country has 8,934 active cases of coronavirus – the lowest since April 24, according to our correspondent Asad Hashim. Pakistan recorded an additional 450 cases on Monday and 11 deaths.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 148 new cases of coronavirus and eight deaths in the past 24 hours. The state’s capital, Melbourne, is slightly more than halfway through a six-week lockdown imposed as a second wave of cases emerged in the state.

Germany: New coronavirus cases increased at a pace close to Saturday’s four-month high, while the infection rate fell below a key benchmark of 1.0. There were 1,628 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, taking the total to 236,122.

Singapore: Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority ordered a stop to activities at some construction worksites after a new Covid-19 cluster was found at the country’s largest foreign worker dormitory, raising concerns of a resurgence in virus infections.

Vaccine news

US: Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, warned that distributing a Covid-19 vaccine under special emergency use guidelines before it has been proved safe and effective in large trials is a bad idea that could have a chilling effect on the testing of other vaccines.

Dr Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the agency will not be influenced by political pressure when it comes to approving a vaccine for Covid-19. Hahn said the FDA’s decision to issue an emergency authorisation for blood plasma treatment for coronavirus at the weekend was not political.

Mexico: Four different coronavirus vaccine initiatives will receive financial support from the Mexican Government, the Foreign Ministry said in a presentation. A total of 19 projects including those focused on Covid-19 treatments will receive financing via a fund with resources from the Mexican International Development and Cooperation Agency, foreign entities and private foundations, the Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement.

Lockdown updates

Global: The United Nations said the threat from ISIL (ISIS) has been reduced by the coronavirus lockdowns imposed in many countries. “Measures to minimise the spread of Covid-19, such as lockdowns and restrictions on movement, seem to have reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many countries,” said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for counter-terrorism.

South Korea: South Korea on Tuesday ordered most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and move classes back online, the latest in a series of precautionary measures aimed at heading off a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Reuters reports.

Colombia: Colombia will start a new phase of the pandemic in which mandatory lockdowns end and authorities instead impose “selective lockdowns” with fewer restrictions to individual mobility, President Ivan Duque said on state TV.

Economic updates

Australia: Qantas Airways Ltd. plans to cut as many as 2,500 more jobs by offloading ground operations such as baggage handling and aircraft cleaning as the cost of the coronavirus pandemic mounts.

Philippines: The Philippines’ House of Representatives on Monday approved the final version of a 165.5 billion-peso ($3.4 billion) pandemic relief bill that would provide subsidies to the unemployed, assistance to businesses and loan repayment extension to borrowers.