Covid-19 has infected more than 188 million people and killed more than 4 million. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for July 13:

Workers refill oxygen cylinders inside an oxygen factory amid a countrywide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on July 8, 2021.
Workers refill oxygen cylinders inside an oxygen factory amid a countrywide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on July 8, 2021. (Reuters)

Tuesday, July 13:

Bangladesh to lift lockdown for festival despite record infections

Bangladesh will lift its nationwide coronavirus lockdown for the country's second-biggest religious festival, the government has said, even as new infections soared to record levels.

The cabinet said all restrictions would be eased in the Muslim-majority country of 169 million people from Thursday, ahead of the Eid al Adha festival, which will be celebrated from July 20 to 22 this year.

The removal of the curbs would "normalise economic activities" ahead of the celebrations, it added.

Tens of millions of people usually head back to their villages to mark Eid al Adha with their families.

Bangladesh imposed its strictest-ever lockdown at the start of the month as new Covid-19 cases and deaths climbed to pandemic highs.

Under the lockdown, people were only allowed to leave home for emergencies and to buy essentials, with public transport, shops and offices shut.

But infections have continued to climb, with nearly 14,000 people testing positive on Monday – a new daily record – to take the total number of cases to just over one million.

The death toll has risen above 16,600. But experts say the real figures could be much higher amid fears of underreporting.

US lowers travel advisory to Germany, Austria to 'exercise caution'

The United States has lowered its travel advisory for Germany, Austria and several other European countries, advising Americans to exercise increased caution due to Covid-19, the State Department said.

In an updated advisory dated Monday, the department lowered Germany and Austria from Level 3 "Reconsider Travel" to Level 2 "Exercise Increased Caution." Advisories for Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Serbia were also lowered, as well as Armenia. 

The risk of Covid-19 infection may be lower if someone is fully vaccinated, according to the advisory. However, the department also calls for practicing increased caution in Germany due to terrorism.

UK reports 50 deaths, highest since April

Britain has reported 50 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, the highest level since April as the government prepares to remove almost all coronavirus restrictions in England from next week.
An additional 36,660 cases were registered, according to official data.

Italy reports 20 deaths, 1,534 new cases

Italy has reported 20 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday against 13 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 1,534 from 888.

Italy has registered 127,808 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eight-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.27 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 — not including those in intensive care — stood at 1,128 on Tuesday, down from 1,149 a day earlier.

There were seven new admissions to intensive care units, up from four on Monday. The total number of intensive care patients edged down to 157 from a previous 158.

Some 192,543 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 73,571, the Health Ministry said.

Scotland on track to remove most restrictions on August 9

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said the country was still on track to lift almost all Covid-19 restrictions by August 9, but that face coverings would be required for some time after that.

"We previously indicated that we hope to move beyond level zero on 9th August, that remains our expectation," Sturgeon told a briefing on Tuesday.

Sturgeon said that face coverings would be mandatory for some time even after most other restrictions are removed as part of its cautious approach, diverging from rules in England, where masks will no longer be mandatory from July 19.

All of Scotland will move to "level zero" restrictions from July 19, but with some modifications to its original plan to ensure a more gradual lifting of the rules, she added.

South Korea reports 1,440 cases, highest daily total 

South Korea has recorded 1,440 new Covid-19 cases as, Yonhap news agency reported, the country's highest daily total, though vaccinations among elderly and other vulnerable groups has limited serious infections. 

South Africa says vaccine rollout, essential health care disrupted by unrest

South Africa's health department has said that violent protests had disrupted the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and essential healthcare services like the collection of chronic medication by tuberculosis, HIV and diabetes patients.

The department said in a statement that it was temporarily closing some vaccination sites, adding that anyone with an inoculation scheduled in an area affected by ongoing unrest was advised to defer their vaccination.

Indonesia hits record 47,899 daily cases

Indonesia has logged a record daily 47,899 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the Health Ministry.

The daily virus count topped 40,427 cases on Monday. 

Hospitals are already bursting beyond capacity and oxygen supplies are running out, leaving individuals to cope with caring for sick friends and relatives at home. The surge in newly cases attributed to the highly transmissible delta variant.

At least 451 people who tested positive have died while self-isolating in their homes since last month, according to LaporCovid-19, an independent virus data group that keeps track of deaths at home.

It noted many go unreported.

It says an average of 45 Covid-19 patients in self-isolation died at home each day in Jakarta, citing data from the Jakarta Health Agency.

Nationwide, there has been more than 2.6 million cases and 68,219 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Dutch infections soar by 500% in a week

Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands skyrocketed by more than 500 percent over the last week, the country's public health institute reported Tuesday. 

The surge follows the scrapping of almost all remaining lockdown restrictions and the reopening of night clubs in late June.

The weekly update showing that nearly 52,000 people in the Netherlands tested positive for Covid-19 over the past week came a day after caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized for the June 26 lockdown relaxation and called it “an error of judgment.”

Rutte backtracked on Friday and reintroduced some restrictions in an attempt to rein in the soaring infection rate. Bars again have to close at midnight, while discotheques and clubs were shuttered again until at least Aug. 13.

The Netherlands, along with other European nations, is facing a rise in infections fueled by the more contagious delta variant just as governments hoped to greatly ease or eliminate remaining pandemic restrictions during the summer holiday season.

South Korea passes 1,000 new cases for seventh consecutive day

South Korea's rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations to people aged 55-59 has stuttered to a week-long halt after a spike in new cases sparked a rush for shots, booking up available supplies and crash ing the official government reservation website.

The halt in vaccination appointments for people in the upper 50s age bracket came late on Monday, the first day that inoculation bookings were opened to under-60s. 

It came as daily infections, featuring the highly contagious Delta variant, came in at 1,150, a seventh straight day of more than 1,000 cases - the country's worst coronavirus outbreak so far.

South Korea has added more than 13,000 cases this month alone, bringing its total for the pandemic to 170,296, including 2,046 deaths from Covid-19.

Malaysia shuts virus-stricken vaccination centre

Malaysia has shut down a mass vaccination center after more than 200 medical staff and volunteers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said it was difficult to determine if the infections occurred at the center, while stressing that swift government action had stopped the cluster.

He urged people who were vaccinated at the center from Friday onward to isolate themselves for 10 days in case they develop symptoms.

Khairy, who is in charge of the national immunisation program, said he ordered testing for all 453 workers at the center in central Selangor state after two volunteers contracted the virus.

Khairy said the 204 whose results were positive had low viral loads, meaning the amount of virus in their bodies was small.

The centre was shut for deep sanitisation and all its workers were being isolated. Khairy said the center will reopen Wednesday with a new team of medical workers.

Despite a strict lockdown since June 1, the pandemic had worsened in Malaysia with total confirmed cases breaching 844,000 and more than 6,200 deaths. But vaccination has picked up pace, with nearly 11 percent of the population inoculated.

Russia reports record daily deaths, more than 24,000 cases

Russia has reported 780 coronavirus-related deaths, the most confirmed in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as 24,702 new cases nationwide.

Russia is in the grips of a surge in cases that authorities have blamed on the contagious Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations. Moscow, where the mayor has said the situation is beginning to stabilise, reported 4,991 new Covid-19 cases.

Thailand approves self-tests, self-isolation as cases climb

Thailand has given the go-ahead for home isolation of coronavirus patients with mild symptoms and use of home self-test kits, as a stubborn coronavirus outbreak puts pressure on its capital's healthcare and testing capacity.

Thailand has so far been predominantly using RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests but long queues at testing facilities in Bangkok, the epicentre, have caused a rethink of measures to track infections.

The rapid antigen test kits, the approval of which was announced in the official Royal Gazette, should be available in stores next week.

A Food and Drug Administration official said efforts were being made to keep the price of the kits, which are less accurate than RT-PCR tests, at around $3.06 (100 baht).

Thailand has recorded 8,685 infections and 56 deaths, among the 353,712 cases and 2,847 fatalities overall, most of which have been since early April.

Authorities also approved home and community isolation for asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic coronavirus cases, as daily infections of more than 9,000 stretch resources.

Australian apartment blocks placed in hard lockdown

An Australian apartment block was placed under strict lockdown with police posted outside Tuesday, as authorities stepped up efforts to curb a fast-growing coronavirus outbreak.

Police guarded both the front and rear exits of an apartment block in Sydney's Bondi neighbourhood, where nine people have tested positive for Covid-19, with movement in and out of the building restricted.

A sign taped to one apartment window read "Send Beer" while another asked, "where is the vaccine?"

Sydney is currently in its third week of a partial lockdown as authorities try to stamp out the spread of the virus in the community.

Most residents of Australia's largest city are allowed to leave home for exercise, essential shopping, work or health reasons, but are encouraged to remain at home.

Tougher restrictions are placed on people who have visited locations that are declared a virus hotspot, which may include mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Australia's latest Covid-19 outbreak began in mid-June and has since grown to 767 cases.

India reports 32,906 new cases, death toll rises by 2,020

India has reported  32,906 new cases and 2,020 new deaths in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed.

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 646 - RKI

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has increased by 646 to 3,737,135, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 26 to 91,259, the tally showed.

US officials flag "small" reaction risk with J&J vaccine

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine may pose a "small possible risk" of a rare but potentially dangerous neurological reaction, US health officials have said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on Monday it has received reports of 100 people who got the shot developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, an immune system disorder that can cause muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis.

That number represents a tiny fraction of the nearly 13 million Americans who have received the one-dose vaccine. Most cases of the side effect were re ported in men — many 50 years old and up — and usually about two weeks after vaccination.

The CDC said it would ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to review the issue at an upcoming meeting. J&J didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brazil logs 745 deaths

Brazil has registered 745 Covid-19 deaths and 17,031 additional cases, according to data released by the nation's Health Ministry.

The South American country has now registered a total of 534,233 coronavirus deaths and 19,106,971 total confirmed cases.

Mexico reports 89 more fatalities

Mexico's health ministry has reported 3,074 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 89 more fatalities, bringing total figures to 2,593,574 infections and 235,058 deaths.

France orders all health workers to get vaccinated

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered all French health care workers to get virus vaccine shots by September 15 and urged all of his compatriots to get vaccinated as soon as possible, to fight resurgent infections that are threatening the country’s economic recovery.

In a televised address, Macron also mandated special Covid-19 passes for anyone who wants to go to a restaurant, shopping mall or hospital or get on a train or plane. To get a pass, people must have proof they’re fully vaccinated, or recently recovered from the virus, or have taken a fresh negative virus test.

The delta variant is driving France’s virus infections back up again, just as the country kicked off summer vacation season after a long-awaited reopening. Some 40 percent of France’s population is fully inoculated.

“Get vaccinated!" was the president's overall message. He even tweeted a GIF of himself repeating the phrase.

Spain reimplements restrictions

Spanish regions are resorting back to curfews, caps on socialisation and nightlife curbs to contain a sharp rise in coronavirus contagion as the fast-spreading delta variant infects mostly the unvaccinated youth.

Catalonia and Valencia, the two regions in the Mediterranean coast with major virus outbreaks, are limiting social gatherings to 10 people and bringing back late night curbs on all activities, while the northern Asturias region on Monday banned bar and restaurant activity indoors.

Propelled by parties to mark the end of the school year and the first summer celebrations, the two-week Covid-19 caseload is currently over three times higher among residents under 30 than the average among the total population.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies