Coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 3.8M people and infected over 179M globally. Here are the latest Covid-related developments for June 21:

People receive doses of coronavirus vaccines at Izmir city in Turkey on June 17, 2021.
People receive doses of coronavirus vaccines at Izmir city in Turkey on June 17, 2021. (AA)

Monday, June 21

Erdogan says Turkey easing Covid-19 curbs further as of July

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will further relax restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus after the number of daily cases fell to around 5,000.

Following a cabinet meeting, Erdogan announced the lifting from July 1 of lockdowns that had been imposed on Sundays and curfews after 1900 GMT on weekdays.

Turkey started easing curbs in recent weeks, limiting the lockdown to Sunday and opening restaurants to a limited number of guests, after daily cases began to fall from a peak above 60,000 in April. 

Indonesia sees 2 million Covid cases, nearly 300 new deaths 

Indonesia passed the 2 million mark in coronavirus cases after a record in new infections, as authorities announced a tightening of restrictions to contain the spread in the world's fourth most populous country.

Indonesia has been grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases this month and reported 14,536 new infections, taking its total to 2,004,445, among the highest case numbers in Asia.

It also recorded 294 new deaths, taking total fatalities to 54,956.

The tighter regulations will apply for two weeks in 29 "red zones" nationwide where infection rates are high, with religious activities at houses of worship suspended and restaurants, cafes and malls required to operate at 25% capacity, Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said.

WHO setting up hub to make Covid-19 vaccines in SAfrica- Tedros

The World Health Organization (WHO) is setting up a technology transfer hub for producing mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa, with Afrigen Biologics and Biovac to be involved, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.

Poland cases drop significantly 

Poland's virus figures have dropped very significantly, with 73 new cases reported and one death of a coronavirus patient with other coexisting health issues.

The daily numbers released by the Health Ministry are the lowest in 16 months. 

The last time there was a two-digit daily infection number was in early March 2020. On June 14, there were 140 new cases reported.

However, the figures  tend to be lower than the weekly average because of irregular reporting during the weekend.

Italy reports 21 coronavirus death, 495 new cases

Italy has reported 21 coronavirus-related deaths against 17 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 495 from 881.

Italy has registered 127,291 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 4.25 million cases to date.

Australia urges people to get AstraZeneca jab despite deaths

A top health official has urged Australians to get their second doses of AstraZeneca despite deaths from the vaccine exceeding the nation’s Covid-19 death toll this year.

Two women in Australia have died from rare blood clots caused by the vaccine. The only fatality this year was an 80-year-old traveler who died in April after being infected overseas and diagnosed in hotel quarantine.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told state leaders that health authorities did not recommend people follow up their first AstraZeneca dose with a different vaccine. 

Globally, the safety and effectiveness of switching vaccines between doses is still being tested.

Myanmar's virus cases hit highest since coup

Myanmar's junta-controlled health ministry reported 595 cases of Covid-19 as daily infections hit the highest since the army seized power in a coup that prompted many medical workers to abandon the health service and anti-coronavirus programme.

Reported infections have jumped this month, raising concerns of a much bigger wave. Many of the new infections have been reported from near the border with India.

UK records 10,633 new virus cases

The United Kingdom recorded 10,633 new virus cases, up from the 9,284 the day before, the government said in its daily statistical update.

A further five people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, compared with six on Sunday.

The official data also showed that 81.9 percent of all adults have had a first Covid–19 vaccine while 59.7 percent have had both doses.

Canada to lift some border restrictions on July 5

Canada will start cautiously lifting border restrictions for fully vaccinated citizens and other eligible people on July 5 but US and other foreign travellers will still be excluded, the government has said.

From 11:59 pm EDT on July 5 (0359 GMT on July 6), those who have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will no longer have to spend time in quarantine. The relaxation of the measures applies to Canadians and permanent residents.

UAE's Abu Dhabi offers Covid vaccines to tourists

The UAE has quietly launched vaccine tourism, with the emirate of Abu Dhabi offering visitors free jabs after approving the inoculation of all those with visas issued by its authorities.

Abu Dhabi has not officially announced that it is vaccinating tourists, but authorities in the emirate said in a brief statement earlier this month that free Covid-19 vaccines were approved for everyone with an "entry visa".

The UAE is made up of seven emirates including the capital Abu Dhabi and freewheeling Dubai.

Gilead's remdesivir reduces Covid-19 mortality risk- data

Gilead Sciences Inc said an analysis showed its antiviral remdesivir reduced mortality rates in hospitalised patients with Covid-19 and increased the likelihood of being discharged by day 28 after a five-day course of the treatment.

The drugmaker said it analysed data from 98,654 patients from three retrospective studies of the real-world treatment of hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

Portugal speeds up vaccination as virus infections rise

As the Delta coronavirus variant continues to spread, Portuguese authorities are scrambling to bring a worrying spike in cases under control and said they would accelerate vaccinations and increase testing.

Just over 25 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated against the virus in Portugal, a country of 10 million that faced its toughest battle against the virus in January.

Most of those fully vaccinated are older or more vulnerable but a recent rise in cases around the populous Lisbon area led authorities to speed up the vaccination campaign, especially among younger people.

Moderna plans to expand vaccine production – WSJ 

Moderna Inc is adding two new production lines at its Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing plant in Massachusetts, in a bid to prepare for making more booster shots, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The additions will help Moderna increase overall production capacity by 50 percent at the plant, the report said citing company officials.

Hong Kong to shorten quarantine for most arrivals to 7 days

Hong Kong said it would shorten the quarantine period for vaccinated people arriving in the city to seven days from 14, provided travellers show sufficient antibodies against the novel coronavirus.

City government leader Carrie Lam told a media briefing the shorter period of quarantine would only be for people who had a second vaccination does at least 14 days before their arrival.

The new rule is due to come into effect from the end of the month, she said.

Up to 10,000 fans allowed at Tokyo Olympics events: organisers

Up to 10,000 fans will be allowed at Tokyo Olympic events, organisers said, warning competition could move behind closed doors if infections surge.

The decision, just weeks before the opening ceremony, ends months of speculation about whether domestic spectators would be able to attend the pandemic-postponed Games. Overseas fans were banned in March.

A lottery will determine which existing ticket-holders can attend a Games that will be unlike any other, with cheering banned, masks mandatory, and fans told to go straight home after the competition.

India expands jab access with under 4% fully vaccinated

India has opened up free vaccinations to all adults in an attempt to bolster its inoculation drive.

The country’s vaccination drive has significantly slowed in recent months due to a shortage of jabs and hesitancy, even as it battled a vicious surge in cases in April and May that overwhelmed the healthcare system in many places. 

Cases are down now and experts worry reopenings will spur another surge.

Only less than 4% of India’s people are fully immunised. Experts caution that by the end of the year, vaccination rates must go up significantly to protect most Indians from the virus that has so far already killed more than 386,000 people — a figure considered to be a vast undercount.

The government expanded the vaccine rollout to include all adults aged below 45 on May 1 but states and private hospitals had to procure and buy the shots themselves for the younger age group, leading to confusion and shortages.

Now New Delhi will procure 75 percent of vaccine supplies and distribute them to states so that they can inoculate people for free.

Starting Monday, every adult in India will be eligible for a shot paid for by the federal government. The new policy, announced last week, ends a complex system of buying and distributing vaccines that overburdened states and led to inequities in how the shots were handed out.

Russia reports 17,378 new cases, 440 deaths

Russia has reported 17,378 new Covid-19 cases, including 7,584 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,334,204.

The government coronavirus task force said 440 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the previous 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 129,801.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to Covid-19 from April 2020 to April 2021

Taiwan reports 75 new domestic cases

Taiwan has reported 75 new domestic Covid-19 infections, down from the previous day's figure of 107.

It was the first time the daily figure has dipped below 100 since May 15, when the government raised the alert level for Taipei and its neighbouring city in the wake of a sudden spike of 180 domestic cases.

Dongguan becomes latest city in China's Guangdong to be hit by Covid-19

The major manufacturing hub of Dongguan in China's most populous province of Guangdong launched mass testing on Monday for the coronavirus and cordoned off communities after detecting its first infections in the current outbreak.

The Delta variant of Covid-19 has dominated infections in the provincial upsurge, the first time it has hit China. Seen by experts as highly transmissible, the variant was first identified in India.

Dongguan launched a citywide testing programme on Monday, following two cases reported since last Friday.

City authorities told residents not to leave, except for essential reasons.

India reports 53,256 new cases

India has reported 53,256 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, a government statement showed, taking the country's total cases to 29.9 million.

The south Asian country's deaths from coronavirus rose by 1,422 to 388,135.

Germany's cases rise by 346

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 346 to 3,722,327, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. 

The reported death toll rose by 10 to 90,395, the tally showed. 

Mexico posts 1,578 new cases, 36 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry has reported 1,578 new confirmed cases in the country and 36 more fatalities, bringing the total figures to 2,477,283 infections and 231,187 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% above the confirmed figure.

US extends travel restrictions at Canada, Mexico land borders through July 21

US land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21, the US Homeland Security Department has said.

The 30-day extension came after Canada announced its own extension on Friday of the requirements that were set to expire on Monday and have been in place since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The US government held working-group meetings with Canada and Mexico last week.

Homeland Security said in a statement it noted "positive developments in recent weeks and is participating with other US agencies in the White House’s expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably."

Brazil reports 44,178 new cases, 1,025 deaths

Brazil recorded 44,178 additional confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, along with 1,025 deaths, the Health Ministry has said.

Brazil has registered more than 17.9 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 501,825, according to ministry data. 

UK airline industry appeals for action over virus crisis

The British Airline Pilots Association has called for more help and clearer guidelines from the UK Government with regard to aviation and navigating an exit from the pandemic.

Many businesses have suffered during the UK lockdowns but aviation has been particularly badly affected.

Brian Strutton, spokesperson for British Pilots, has accused the government of playing "hokey cokey" with decisions over "taking holidays" and "visiting families abroad."

The Delta variant which has been sweeping across the British Isles has created confusion and u-turns from the government over travel guidelines.

The restrictions have caused flight cancellations, which in turn have led to job losses.

Many people living near the airports rely on them for work, and have been forced to seek out different industries to work.

Chile admits violation of virus protocols at Copa America

Chile captain Claudio Bravo has admitted that teammates of its Copa America squad violated the tournament's coronavirus protocols after a "barber" visited the players' hotel in the Brazilian city of Cuiaba.

The Real Betis goalkeeper spoke during a news conference ahead of clash against Uruguay in Cuiaba.

The number or names of players involved were not disclosed.

Head coach Martin Lasarte told that his players made "a serious mistake" but all will remain eligible for the match against Uruguay.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies