International update: Global Covid-19 infections exceed 23.4 million as deaths near 809,000 – US cases pass 5.7 million

24 August 2020 (Last Updated August 24th, 2020 10:18)

24 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.4 million with more than 808,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The US Food & Drug Administration said it has authorised the use of blood plasma from patients who have recovered from Covid-19 as a treatment for the disease, a day after President Donald Trump blamed the agency for impeding the rollout of coronavirus vaccines for political reasons.

As US Covid-19 cases passed 5.7 million, New York reported that virus-related hospitalizations had dropped to 472 and intensive care patients to 110, both the lowest since mid-March. It also marked the 16th straight day of positive-test results under 1%.

California reported 6,777 new virus cases on Sunday, the highest number in a week but still less than the seven-day average of 7,822.

China: China sees no locally transmitted cases for the eighth day in a row. The country reported 16 new Covid-19 cases in the mainland for 23 August, all of which were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, the country’s health authority said on Monday.

South Korea: South Korea counted its 11th straight day of triple-digit daily jumps in coronavirus cases as officials tighten social distancing restrictions nationwide to combat what they describe as the biggest crisis since the emergence of Covid-19.

Japan: Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited a Tokyo hospital on Monday for a second time within days, stoking concern about his ability to stay on as leader due to health issues and fatigue from tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported its lowest daily rise in new coronavirus infections in seven weeks on Monday, fuelling optimism that a deadly second wave there is subsiding. Victoria on Monday reported 116 cases and 15 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of more than 700 cases early this month.

France: France reported almost 4,900 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, its highest figure since May.  Deaths increased by one to 30,513 in the past 24 hours.

Italy: The number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in Italy has nearly doubled in the past five days, rising to more than 1,200 on Sunday. Italy recorded 1,210 cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 642 on Wednesday, latest official figures showed. There were seven deaths compared with three the day before.

UK: The UK recorded 1,041 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, down from 1,288 on Saturday, government figures showed. It is the fourth day in a row that new infections have been more than 1,000 in 24 hours.

Greece: The Greek island of Lesbos was added to a list of areas under heightened Covid-19 vigilance, officials said. The move came as health authorities announced a new daily infection high of 284 cases nationwide in the last 24 hours. The total number reached 8,664, of which around 40% has been reported in August. The death toll reached 242.

Mexico: Mexico has reported 226 more deaths from the coronavirus, finishing the week with 3,723 fatalities, the lowest total in over two months, according to government figures.

Vaccine news

China: The Chinese government has been administering a vaccine candidate to selected groups of key workers since July, a senior health official told state media yesterday. Zheng Zhongei, head of the national health commission’s science and technology centre, told CCTV the government had authorised “emergency use” and it was in line with the law, the South China Morning Post has reported.

Philippines: The Philippines is negotiating with 16 manufacturers of potential Covid-19 vaccines to procure supplies needed to battle South-East Asia’s largest outbreak. In addition, the Philippine education department reported that at least 311 teachers and 268 students have been infected with the coronavirus. In an announcement on social media, Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said that of the total cases, 318 remain active while 22 have died. It was unclear how many of the total fatalities were teaching staff or students.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, will continue with its Level 3 restrictions for an additional four days. Auckland was set to lift the restrictions – requiring residents to ‘stay at home and stay local’ – on Wednesday, but those have now been extended to 11:59pm on Sunday.

Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro defended the reopening of retail outlets “with responsibility” and said his government had done everything possible to curb the spread of Covid-19, in a video posted on social media Sunday.