Coronavirus has infected more than 181 million people and has claimed over 3.9 million lives. Here are the latest Covid-related developments for June 26:

A teacher sprays a colleague's hands with sanitiser as they wait to receive a dose of a coronavirus vaccine during a vaccine rollout for teachers in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 23, 2021.
A teacher sprays a colleague's hands with sanitiser as they wait to receive a dose of a coronavirus vaccine during a vaccine rollout for teachers in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 23, 2021. (Reuters)

Saturday, June 26

Delta variant becoming dominate in South Africa

New coronavirus infections in South Africa appear to be dominated by the Delta variant that was first identified in India, scientists said on Saturday as a third wave sweeps the hard-hit African country.

South Africa is the continent's worst-affected nation in terms of coronavirus cases and deaths, accounting for roughly a third of confirmed infections and more than 40 percent of deaths.

UK health minister quits after breaking Covid rules

Britain's health minister Matt Hancock has resigned after he admitted breaking Covid-19 guidance by kissing and embracing an aide in his office.

Downing Street has released Hancock's resignation letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mallorca probes outbreak among hundreds of students

Authorities in Mallorca have been investigating a outbreak involving more than 600 students celebrating the end of term in the Spanish island, just as it prepares for British tourists to return following the easing of travel curbs.

Students visiting from the mainland went to a music concert at a bullring in the capital, Palma, as well as parties on boats and in hotels, and officials said they wanted to find out if venues had adhered to virus-control measures.

Italy reports over 830 new cases

Italy has reported 40 deaths, down from 56 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 838 from 753.

Italy has registered 127,458 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world.

Germany to ramp up vaccinations in race with Delta variant

Germany will soon have so many doses of vaccine on hand that it will be able offer shots to passers-by in city centres or at places of worship as it seeks to vaccinate at least 80 percent of the population, health officials said.

The government will deliver 5 million doses to regional vaccination centres in the first week of July and drugmaker Moderna Inc will be able to deliver double the doses it had originally promised Germany, Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a televised discussion on the coronavirus.

Namibia to suspend first doses as vaccine supplies run low

Namibia will from Tuesday temporarily suspend administering first doses of vaccines as supplies run low, a Health Ministry memo seen by Reuters showed.

The southern African nation, in the midst of a deadly "third wave" of infections, recorded more than 2,500 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily tally since the virus was first detected in the country in March last year.

Ganges flooding exposes India's Covid-19 graves

Seasonal flooding of the Ganges has flushed out shallow graves and exposed some of the hundreds of bodies that were buried by the river during India's recent surge.

Neeraj Kumar Singh, an official in the northern city of Allahabad, said that almost 150 bodies have had to be cremated in the past three weeks.

"We are not exhuming any bodies but only those which are floating up due to rising water levels are being cremated," he said.

Turkey administers over 46.8M vaccine shots

Turkey has administered over 46.84 million doses since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January, according to official figures released.

More than 32 million people have received their first doses, while over 14.8 million have been fully vaccinated, showed the Health Ministry count.

It also confirmed 5,266 new cases in the last 24 hours, including 470 symptomatic patients.

Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.4 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 49,524 with 51 new fatalities.

UK sees over 18,000 new cases, highest since February

The United Kingdom has recorded 18,270 new infections, the highest daily rise since February 5, and 23 deaths, official data showed.

Daily positive cases have been rising in Britain for a month but a rapid vaccination programme appears to have largely broken the link between infections and deaths, with daily fatalities remaining around 20 or lower.

Iran produces test batch of Russian Sputnik V vaccine

Iran's Actoverco pharmaceutical firm has produced a test batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said.

Iran is the first country in the Middle East to produce the vaccine, RDIF said, adding that this would help accelerate vaccinations without boosting logistic costs.

Iran approved Sputnik V for domestic use in January and had planned to start domestic production in April.

New Zealand suspends travel bubble with Australia

New Zealand has announced a three-day suspension of its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia, with Wellington citing "multiple" outbreaks of Covid-19 in the neighbouring country.

The announcement comes as a two-week lockdown begins in Sydney to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the Delta coronavirus variant.

More than 80 cases have been reported so far in Australia's largest city, while a handful of community cases have also been recorded in the Northern Territory, Victoria and Queensland in recent days.

He added that the suspension would give officials time to consider measures "to make the bubble safer, such as pre-departure testing for all flights" between the two countries.

New Zealand has previously paused the bubble arrangement five times with individual states but this is the first time it has put a blanket halt to quarantine-free travel from all of Australia.

Both countries have been among the world's most successful in containing Covid-19. New Zealand has recorded just 26 Covid-19 deaths in a population of five million, and Australia has had fewer than 1,000 deaths in a population of 25 million.

Sydney broadens lockdown as Delta variant cases sweep city

Sydney's usually bustling harbourside restaurants have been shuttered and city streets are nearly deserted as a two-week lockdown began across Australia's largest city to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the Delta virus variant.

More than 80 Covid-19 cases have been reported so far in an infection surge linked to an international flight crew transported to a quarantine hotel from the airport.

The flare-up was a shock for a city that had returned to relative normality after months with very few local cases.

Indonesia record 21,095 coronavirus cases

Indonesia has recorded its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases with 21,095 cases, taking the total tally to 2,093,962, according to data from the country’s health ministry.

The data showed 358 new deaths overnight, taking the total to 56,729.

Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths from Covid-19 in Southeast Asia.

'Alarming' virus surge prompts new Bangladesh lockdown

Bangladesh has announced it will impose a tough new lockdown starting Monday, after a "dangerous and alarming" surge in Delta variant cases of virus.

All government and private offices will be shut for a week and only medical-related transport will be allowed, the government said late Friday.

"No one can step out of their homes except in emergency cases," a statement added.

Health department spokesman Robed Amin said police and border guards would be deployed to enforce the lockdown and the army may be involved if needed.

India's daily deaths rise by 1,183 – health ministry

India has reported 48,698 new infections during the past 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed. 

Death toll in the country also increased by 1,183. 

Taiwan reports first case of Delta variant

Taiwan has reported its first domestically transmitted case of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, that first originated in India.

In response authorities tightened controls in a southern part of the island where the cases have occurred.

Taiwan is battling a cluster of domestic infections, almost all of them due to the previously globally dominant Alpha variant, though numbers are steadying and the outbreak has been comparatively small.

Russia reports 21,665 cases

Russia has reported 21,665 new cases, including 8,457 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,430,753.

The government coronavirus task force said 619 people had died of virus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 132,683.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to the virus from April 2020 to April 2021.

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 592 - RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 592 to 3,726,172, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. 

The reported death toll rose by 68 to 90,746, the tally showed. 

China reports 25 new virus cases vs 24 a day earlier

China reported 25 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for, compared with 24 a day earlier, the health authority said.

All of the new infections were imported, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Saturday. There were no new deaths.

China also reported 23 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 20 a day earlier.

Australia's New South Wales reports 29 cases as exposures spread

Australia's state of New South Wales reported 29 locally acquired Covid-19 cases as a list of exposure sites grew and a week-long partial lockdown in Sydney began. Saturday's data includes 17 infections in the country's most populous state that were already announced on Friday, taking the number of infections linked to the Bondi outbreak to 80.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would hold an emergency government meeting with health authorities later on Saturday, signalling further restrictions could be imposed, as exposure sites have increased beyond the initial areas of concern.

Madrid celebrations as masks not required any more

Spain has scrapped its requirement to wear face masks outdoors. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the lifting of the restrictions one week ago.

It's been positively received by both tourists and locals.  

Germany bans most travel from Portugal, Russia over variant

Germany has classed Portugal and Russia as so-called coronavirus variant countries, banning most arrivals from both nations.

From Tuesday, only citizens and residents of Germany will be allowed in from the two countries, with air, rail, and bus companies prohibited from transporting other passengers.

Those allowed to enter from Russia and Portugal will be subject to a two-week quarantine, regardless of whether they can provide a negative Covid-19 test.

Brazil reports 79,277 new cases, 2,001 deaths

Brazil recorded 79,277 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 2,001 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 18.3 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 511,142, according to ministry data. 

Mexico's death toll rises to 232,346

Mexico's health ministry reported 5,270 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 278 more fatalities, bringing the total figures to 2,498,357 infections and 232,346 deaths.

The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published in March suggested the actual death toll is at least 60 percent above the confirmed figure.

Tunisian PM Hichem Mechichi contracts Covid-19

Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has been infected with the coronavirus, the government said.

Mechichi received a Covid-19 vaccine last month.

The prime minister will cancel his meetings and continue to work remotely, the government statement added.

San Francisco to require city employees to get Covid vaccine

The city of San Francisco has announced it will require all municipal employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, or they could face penalties up to and including dismissal.

The new rule will not take effect until the vaccines have received full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, which has so far green-lit their use on an emergency basis due to the pandemic.

San Francisco will then require its 35,000 employees, including police and firefighters, to be vaccinated. Those who fail to comply and do not receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons will be punished or could even be fired.

Honduras to receive 1.5 mln doses of Moderna vaccine from US

Honduras will receive 1.5 million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from the United States on Sunday as part of the initial delivery of doses through the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, White House officials told Reuters.

The shipment is part of 80 million US doses that President Joe Biden has pledged to share with other countries around the world either directly or through the COVAX program.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies