13 August

Global: There are 749,421 known coronavirus deaths globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, as the world nears the milestone of 750,000 dead in nearly eight months since the first coronavirus cases were reported. Total cases now number more than 20.6 million.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 1.1% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.17 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.7% to 165,328.

National Football League (NFL) players in the US can expect daily Covid-19 testing through 5 September, the players’ union said in advance of the season kick-off next month.

California is seeing more trends that indicate the state is “turning the corner on this pandemic,” Governor Gavin Newsom said at a news briefing. The state had 5,433 new cases in the last 24 hours, when a backlog of tests from prior days is excluded, marking a slowdown from the 14-day average of 7,911.

Venezuela: Venezuela’s communications minister and close adviser to President Nicolás Maduro said Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

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India: India reported another record daily rise in novel coronavirus infections on Thursday, while the death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 47,000. The country, with the world’s biggest case load behind the United States and Brazil, has now reported a jump of 50,000 cases or more each day for 15 straight days.

France: More than 2,500 new coronavirus cases were registered in France in 24 hours in the sharpest increase since May, government data showed on Wednesday, as officials said indicators were “clearly worsening”. Of 600,000 tests over the past week, more than 11,600 were positive, the health ministry’s DGS public health division said. Despite the rise in infections, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 continued to fall and was down by 121 to 4,891, the first time it fell below 5,000 since 19 March.

Australia: The state of Victoria has recorded 278 new coronavirus cases overnight, consistent with a recent downward trend that is bringing cases to numbers closer to those seen in mid-July, after increases to the 600s in early August. Eight people have died overnight.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported 14 new Covid-19 cases, of which 13 were locally transmitted infections, as officials scrambled to trace the source of the country’s first outbreak in more than 100 days. There are now a total of 36 active cases in the country.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,858 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 737 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 498,380 cases and 54,666 deaths.

UK: A revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app for England will begin its public trials on Thursday, according to the BBC.

Thailand: Thailand confirmed three new coronavirus cases on Thursday, all in state quarantine after arriving from Singapore and India, according to the Covid-19 center. They reported that 132 people are currently hospitalized and 3,169 have recovered.

China: Two patients in China that recovered from Covid-19 months ago tested positive again, raising concern about the virus’s ability to linger and reappear in people who it previously infected.

Consumers in the Chinese city of Shenzhen have been urged to exercise caution when buying imported frozen food after a surface sample of chicken wings from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement from the local government.

Vaccine news

Latin America: Argentina and Mexico will produce the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for most of Latin America, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez after a meeting with company executives involved in the project.

France: French health minister Olivier Veran said France will never offer a Covid-19 vaccine to its population if it hasn’t passed phase 3 trials, adding that vaccines from European and American research teams are currently undergoing phase 3 trials.

Lockdown updates

Jordan: Jordan will close its border with Syria for a week starting Thursday, after staff at their only open land crossing tested positive for coronavirus, state media said.

Chile: Chile will lift one of the world’s longest lockdowns on Monday. The mayor said citizens should remain indoors whenever possible, wear masks in public and wash their hands. People may leave their homes on weekdays without the previously required police permissions, and meet in small groups, while businesses can gradually reopen.

Germany: Germany on Wednesday added Bucharest and several other areas of Romania to a list of places considered a high risk for coronavirus infections, forcing a German minister to cancel a work trip to the Romanian capital.

Peru: President Martín Vizcarra has banned family gatherings and extended lockdowns to five more regions of the country amid a fresh surge in cases of coronavirus. 15 of Peru’s 25 regions were already covered by rolling lockdowns.

Italy: Italy has ordered travellers arriving from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain to be tested for Covid-19 and added Colombia to a list of countries under a complete travel ban amid growing concern over new infections. Health services are bracing for a return of travellers from destinations where social distancing, face masks and other protective measures appear to have been widely ignored.

Economic updates

China: Hong Kong International Airport said that passengers from mainland China would be able to transit through Hong Kong to other destinations from August 15 until October 15, in a boost for its dominant carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

Germany: Tourism giant TUI and the German government have agreed to a second massive aid package to bolster the firm through its winter 2020/21 season.