Global Updates: Japan on said the country faces a second wave of cases which is larger than the first, while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez rejected calls for a fresh lockdown as the country re-emerges as the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe. The head of the US Food and Drug Administration acknowledged errors in comments about blood plasma therapy and said he would never reverse an agency decision for political reasons.
California and Florida reported positive trends, adding to signs that an infection spike in Sun Belt states is easing. Argentina saw a record number of new cases for a second straight day. Houston tried to maintain while preparing for the blow from Hurricane Laura. Cambridge scientists won funding from the U.K. government to start trials for a DNA-based vaccine against multiple coronaviruses.
Globally, there are nearly 24 million infections with over 8 lakh deaths and 15.5 million recoveries.
Covid-19 news from across the globe
Jakarta to open cinemas
Jakarta plans to ease social-distancing measures further by reopening cinemas soon, despite a rising number of virus cases in Indonesia’s capital, Governor Anies Baswedan said Wednesday. Cinema operators must adhere to strict protocols, such as requiring face masks and only allowing customers between 12 and 60 years old. Total infections in the city of more than 10 million people jumped to nearly 35,000 as of Tuesday as Indonesia grapples with the second-worst outbreak in Southeast Asia.
Hong Kong to accept online registration for mass testing
All Hong Kong ID card holders, including permanent and non-permanent residents, can register online for the government’s city-wide voluntary coronavirus testing program from Aug. 29, according to the government’s website. Medical staff will take nasal and throat swabs at community testing centers in all 18 districts. Participants will be notified of negative results by SMS, while the Health Department will call those who test positive to arrange for isolation and treatment.
Japan could impose stricter norms; South Korea dismisses rumours of tighter curbs
Japan is considering how to make social-distancing rules more binding as it confronts a wave of coronavirus cases larger than the one that prompted a state of emergency in April-May, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
South Korea, meanwhile, dismissed rumors that anti-virus measures will be raised to the strictest level today. Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official, said in a briefing that the government will monitor the situation this week before deciding whether to strengthen social-distancing measures to Level 3, from Level 2 currently.
Singapore, on the other hand, has tightened border measures for travelers arriving from South Korea after a resurgence of virus cases there. Those who have traveled to or transited in South Korea within the past two weeks will be required to serve a 14-day quarantine at government-run facilities when they enter Singapore, the Health Ministry said in a statement. Travelers will need to take a Covid-19 test before the end of their quarantine.
Mask rules tightened for English schools
English children over the ages of 11 will now be required to wear face masks in schools in high-risk areas, the latest U-turn by the UK government over its coronavirus policy. From Sept. 1, staff and pupils in secondary schools in areas under possible local lockdowns must wear masks when moving around the building and in communal areas, but not in classrooms. In less risky areas, face masks will not be obligatory but schools will have the discretion to make it a requirement.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro’s son Flavio tests positive for Covid-19
The eldest son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he’s tested positive for coronavirus and is in isolation with no symptoms. Sen. Flavio Bolsonaro is the fourth member of President Jair Bolsonaro’s direct family infected by the coronavirus. The president, first lady Michelle Bolsonaro and Jair Renan Bolsonaro, another son, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
N. Korean leader calls for readiness against virus
In a rare display of urgency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held his third high-level political conference in as many weeks, where he raised alarm about the nation’s coronavirus response and a typhoon forecast to hit the country early Thursday. During an enlarged meeting of the Politburo of the ruling Workers’ Party on Tuesday,
Kim lamented unspecified “defects” and “shortcomings” in the country’s’ anti-virus campaign and urged that they be corrected swiftly, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday. The North has yet to confirm a single-case of COVID-19, but outsiders have widely doubted its virus-free claim.
Other news from across the globe
- Median weekly incomes in New Zealand fell 7.6% in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, Statistics NZ said Wednesday, the first decline since the data series began in 1988.
- KFC is temporarily suspending its long-time tagline that its food is “Finger Lickin’ Good,” deeming it “the most inappropriate slogan for 2020” amid the coronavirus .
- The former president of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, said he had tested positive for COVID-19, as the tourist-dependent island nation reports a pick-up in cases since re-opening its borders last month.
- South Korea issued return-to-work orders to trainee and fellow doctors in the Seoul area who launched a three-day strike Wednesday to protest a government plan to increase the number of doctors and establish a public medical school.
- Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister who helped lead the 2004 Orange Revolution, has been moved to intensive care after contracting the coronavirus.
- Australian researchers hope to start human trials of a coronavirus antibody therapy in early 2021, while a large-scale trial of a vaccine could begin by the end of this year, scientists said on Wednesday.
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