The coronavirus has now infected over 19.7 million people and has killed more than 727,000. Here are the latest updates for August 8:

People wearing protective masks walk near the Louvre Museum as France reinforces mask-wearing as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of Covid-19 across the country, in Paris, France, August 6, 2020.
People wearing protective masks walk near the Louvre Museum as France reinforces mask-wearing as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of Covid-19 across the country, in Paris, France, August 6, 2020. (Reuters)

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Paris makes face masks mandatory 

Face masks must be worn outdoors in Paris along the banks of the River Seine and along the Canal St Martin as well as in open-air markets and other places where social distancing is difficult, the Paris prefecture said.

Masks will be mandatory from 0600 GMT on Monday and the order will remain in place for one month, the prefecture said.

Turkey reports 1,172 new cases

Turkey has confirmed 1,172 new virus cases, raising the total number of infections to 239,622 cases, according to Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

The country has confirmed 1,082 more recoveries from the virus, raising the total to 222,656.

The death toll stands at 5,829 after 16 more deaths were announced.

Ireland reports highest infection numbers

Ireland reported 174 new cases of Covid-19, by far the highest number of infections since May and up from 98 on Friday and an average of 58 cases per day for the past week.

Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn said 118 of the new cases were linked to the three counties - Kildare, Laois and Offaly - where some restrictions on movement were reintroduced on Friday following a surge in cases there.

"While today’s numbers of confirmed cases are high, they are not unexpected," Glynn said. "Our priority now ... is to avoid these cases and clusters leading to widespread community transmission of the disease."

Algeria eases restrictions 

Algeria said it will further ease its virus lockdown, including shortening an overnight curfew and lifting some travel curbs.

In addition, large mosques will be allowed to reopen, along with beaches, entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants and cafes.

The North African country has recorded 34,155 coronavirus infections, with 1,282 deaths.

The new measures include lifting a travel ban on 29 provinces from August 9 until the end of the month. During that period, a curfew will be shortened and will run from 11 pm to 6 am from the current 8 pm to 5 am, the government said.

Mosques with a capacity of more than 1,000 worshipers can reopen from August 15, though Friday prayers, which attract larger numbers of people, will remain banned throughout the country.

The use of air conditioners in mosques also remain banned, as does a prohibition of access for women, vulnerable people and children under 15 years.

Afghan grand assembly participants test virus positive

At least 17 participants of a major Afghan grand assembly tested positive for the virus, officials said, a day after the high-profile gathering began in Kabul to deliberate over the fate of Taliban prisoners and the beginning of the peace process in the war-torn country.

After being called by the Afghan government, the gathering, known as the Loya Jirga, began on Friday with over 3,600 participants amid tight security and the Covid-19 pandemic to debate whether hard-core Taliban prisoners should be freed, removing a major obstacle in the peace talks.

"Samples from all 3,620 participants were taken by our health team, and among them result of 17 were positive" for the virus that causes the disease, said Saeed Jami, a spokesman for Afghanistan's ministry of public health. Some participants were tested twice, he said.

The 17 who tested positive have been sent to the hospital quarantine and treatment, he said.

Brazil expected to hit 100,000

Brazil's death toll from the virus is expected to hit 100,000 and continue to climb as most Brazilian cities reopen shops and dining even though the pandemic has yet to peak.

Confronting its most lethal outbreak since the Spanish flu a century ago, Brazil reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus at the end of February. The virus took three months to kill 50,000 people, and just 50 days to kill the next 50,000.

Led by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the gravity of the epidemic and fought lockdowns by local officials, Brazilians who protested nightly from their windows in the first months of the outbreak have met the grim milestone with a shrug.

"We should be living in despair, because this is a tragedy like a world war. But Brazil is under collective aneasthesia," said Dr Jose Davi Urbaez, a senior member of the Infectious Diseases Society.

He and other pubic health experts have raised the alarm that Brazil still has no coordinated plan to fight the pandemic, as many officials focus on "reopening," which is likely to boost circulation and worsen the outbreak.

Germany says Romania, Bulgaria risk areas

Germany has declared certain regions in Romania and Bulgaria as risk areas after an increase in virus infections there, as Europe struggles to control an uptick in cases during the summer season.

Germany's foreign ministry issued a warning against travelling to the Romanian regions of Arges, Bihor, Buzau, Neamt, Ialomita, Mehedinti and Timis as well as to Bulgaria's Blagoevgrad, Dobritsch and Varna regions.

Travellers entering Germany from those areas of Romania and Bulgaria, which are both members of the European Union, will face mandatory virus tests. If they test positive, they will then face a two-week quarantine.

Russia reports 5,212 new cases

Russian authorities reported 5,212 cases of the coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 882,347, the fourth largest in the world.

The official death toll rose to 14,854 after officials said 129 people had died across the country during the past 24 hours.

Poland cases reach 51,167

Poland reported 843 virus cases, according to the health ministry's Twitter account, the seventh daily record in two weeks.

Poland has reported 51,167 cases of the virus in all, and 1,800 deaths.

Britain to require masks at most indoor places

People in Britain must wear masks in most indoor settings starting as the country tries to squash a rise in infections that has followed the easing of lockdown measures.

England and Scotland now require face-coverings in most indoor spaces, including places of worship, museums, cinemas, banks and libraries. They were already mandatory in shops and on public transit.

Czechs record biggest daily jump with since April 3

The Czech Republic recorded its biggest daily rise in virus cases since April 3 due to local outbreaks in a number of regions, the health ministry reported.

The central European country of 10.7 million recorded 323 new cases on Friday, health ministry data showed, bringing the total number of cases detected to 18,060. Of those, 12,749 have recovered and 389 have died.

Indonesia infections rise by 2,277 to 123,503

Indonesia reported 2,277 infections and 65 more deaths, data from its health ministry website showed.

This brings the country's total to 123,503 virus infections and 5,658 deaths, the data showed.

Philippines confirms 4,226 cases

The Philippines' health ministry reported 4,226 virus infections and 41 additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections have risen to 126,885 while deaths have reached 2,209, with bulk of cases and casualties reported in the capital.

The Philippines, with a population of 107 million, leads Southeast Asian nations in the most number of cases and is second to Indonesia in deaths.

India's cases near 2.1M

India recorded 933 fatalities during the past 24 hours as fresh infections surged by another 61,537 cases to reach nearly 2.1 million.

The health ministry says the total deaths touched 42,518, including more than 20,000 in the past 30 days. An average of around 50,000 new cases are reported each day since mid-June.

India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil.

China logs 31 cases

China has reported 31 new cases of virus in the latest 24-hour period, mainly in the far west Xinjiang region where an outbreak has infected about 750 people.

The National Health Commission said that 25 new cases had been confirmed in Xinjiang. The other six were people who had arrived from outside mainland China.

The latest confirmed cases brought China’s cumulative total to 84,596 since the pandemic began. Of those, 4,634 have died.

Australia's state of Victoria records 12 deaths

The Australian state of Victoria recorded 466 new cases  and 12 more deaths, including another man in his 30s. The figures were released as the city of Melbourne remained in lockdown and under an overnight curfew.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said that six of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities.

On Friday, when the state reported 450 new cases and 11 deaths, the chief health officer said the virus infection rate in the hard-hit state had been “relatively flat” in the past week. That was down from a record 725 infections reported a week earlier.

The deaths announced took the state’s toll to 193 and the figure for deaths in Australia to 278.

Germany's cases rise by 1,147 to 214,214

The number of virus cases in Germany increased by 1,147 to 214,214, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by eight to 9,183, the tally showed.

US schools reopen amid fresh outbreaks

Undeterred by the coronavirus, schools in several US states have reopened for in-person classes – but some have already been hit by large quarantines of students and staff following fresh outbreaks.

In Mississippi – the state with the country's highest positivity rate at 22 percent of everyone tested, sick or otherwise – the Corinth School District has so far seen eight confirmed cases across several schools, according to officials.

As a result, over 100 people who came into close contact with them have been asked to quarantine, swiftly disrupting local authorities' plans for a return to normal.

Vaccine may be partially effective  Fauci

The top US infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci says an approved coronavirus vaccine could end up being effective only 50-60 percent of the time, meaning public health measures will still be needed to keep the pandemic under control. 

"We don't know yet what the efficacy might be. We don't know if it will be 50 percent or 60 percent. I'd like it to be 75 percent or more," Fauci said in a webinar hosted by Brown University. 

"But the chances of it being 98 percent effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach."

The virus has infected nearly 5 million people in the US and killed more than 160,000.

Brazil reports 1,079 more deaths

Brazil has recorded 50,230 new virus cases and 1,079 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Brazil has registered 2,962,442 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from the virus has risen to 99,572, according to ministry data, in the world's worst coronavirus outbreak after the US.

Mexico records 6,717 more cases

Mexico has reported 6,717 new virus infections and 794 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 469,407 cases and 51,311 deaths.

The country's health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

With the highly contagious virus spreading rapidly across the region, Mexican Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told reporters "the pandemic will be prolonged".

Egypt's death toll nears 5,000

Fatalities from the novel coronavirus have risen to 4,971 in Egypt.

Twenty people died and 141 others were diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours, the nation’s health officials reported.

Total cases topped 95,000, with more than 50,500 patients recovering from the disease.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies