Covid-19 has killed over 4.2M people and infected nearly 200M globally. Here're all the coronavirus-related developments for August 3:

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a bilateral meeting with Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset on the sidelines of the opening of the 74th World Health Assembly at the WHO headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2021.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a bilateral meeting with Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset on the sidelines of the opening of the 74th World Health Assembly at the WHO headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2021. (Reuters)

August 3, Tuesday

WHO's pandemic project faces cash crunch amid vaccine, oxygen shortages

The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking $11.5 billion in urgent funding to fight the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus, a draft report seen by Reuters has shown, amid worries wealthy nations are partly bypassing its Covid-19 programmes.

A large portion of the cash being requested from the WHO's partners is needed to buy tests, oxygen and face masks in poorer nations, says the document which is expected to be released this week.

And a quarter of it would be to buy hundreds of millions of vaccines for them that would otherwise go elsewhere.

The paper, still subject to changes, outlines the results and financial needs of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the programme co-led by the WHO to distribute fairly Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests across the world.

The programme, set up at the start of the pandemic, remains vastly underfunded, and its coordinators are now acknowledging it will remain so as many governments look to address global Covid needs "differently", an ACT-A official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

As a result, it has cut by nearly $5 billion its total request for funds, the document shows. But it still needs $16.8 billion, almost as much as what has been raised so far, and $7.7 billion is required urgently.

The document also calls for a further $3.8 billion, on top of the $7.7 billion, to take up options for 760 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that would be delivered next year.

Turkey logs 24,832 new cases and 126 more deaths

Turkey reports 24,832 new cases of Covid-19 and 126 more deaths, according to official data issued by the country's health ministry.

UK mulls giving Covid-19 vaccine to teenagers, approval expected next week - The Sun

Teenagers in Britain aged 16 and 17 will be given the green light for Covid-19 vaccine within days before they head back to schools and colleges in September, The Sun has reported.

UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is poised to give the nod as soon as the weekend, the report added.

"Late teens are some of the most socially active members of society so if we can cut that transmission, it can only be a good thing," the report quoted a government official as saying.

Kenya launches new Covid-19 protocols for tourists

Visitors to Kenya will have to adhere to new coronavirus rules, Tourism Minister Najib Balala has said.

Balala said the measures are part of the “new normal” for health and safety regulations.

“With the majority of people embracing the Covid-19 vaccines worldwide, we deem it important to issue a comprehensive Covid-19 vaccination policy and procedures for both guests and staff at all levels of establishments’ operations. That’s why today we are launching the reviewed protocols,” Balala told a news conference in the capital Nairobi.

Spain's infection rate continues to recede after last month's Delta peak

Spain's Covid-19 contagion rate has continued to fall, with the two-week rate dropping 19 points compared with the previous day.

The 14-day coronavirus contagion rate was 653.81 cases per 100,000 of population, according to health ministry data, compared to 673.52 cases on Monday.

The proportion of hospital beds used for coronavirus patients fell to 8.69% on Tuesday from 8.90 percent the day before.

However, slightly more intensive care beds are being used to treat patients, with the proportion rising to 20.40 percent on Tuesday from 20.02 percent on Monday, health ministry data showed.

The Delta variant had been growing and became dominant in Spain last month, but now is receding.

The number of people who tested positive with Covid-19 rose to 4,523,310 and the total number of people who have died from coronavirus stood at 81,773. 

Scotland to lift almost all restrictions next week

Scotland’s first minister has announced that almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted from next Monday.

Addressing the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Nicola Sturgeon said the latest easing of restrictions “will entail the lifting of most of the remaining legally enforced restrictions, most notably on physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings.”

“It also means that from August 9 no venues will be legally required to close,” she said.

“This change is significant and hard-earned. The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year-and-a-half can never be overstated.

“However, while this move will restore a substantial degree of normality, it is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid-19 struck.

“Declaring freedom from, or victory over, this virus is premature. The harm the virus can do, including through the impact of long Covid-19, should not be underestimated. And its ability to mutate may yet pose us real challenges.”

The changes mean that from August 9, sports and music venues can reopen at full capacity, with social distancing coming to an end. Double-vaccinated individuals will also no longer have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive for coronavirus, so long as they test negative.

A few restrictions will remain, however. These include face masks being mandatory “for some time to come”, working from home will continue to be advised, and the use of vaccine passports for certain events will continue to be considered.

Ivory Coast president to self-isolate after Covid-19 contact

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has decided to self-isolated after coming into contact with someone who later tested positive for Covid-19, his office said in a statement.

US donates more than 110 mln vaccine doses abroad: White House

The United States has donated over 110 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries so far, the White House said, as the world grapples with the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.

President Joe Biden will announce the donation tally later on Tuesday, the White House said in a statement, calling the donations "a major milestone" in the pandemic fight.

Biden, who is scheduled to deliver remarks on efforts to combat the novel coronavirus at 3:45 pm ET (1945 GMT), had earlier pledged to donate at least 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses worldwide.

Italy reports 27 deaths, 4,845 new cases

Italy has reported 27 coronavirus-related deaths against 23 the day before, the health ministry has said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 4,845 from 3,190.

On Monday the ministry data from the Lazio region around Rome were incomplete due to a hacker attack on its system for booking Covid-19 vaccinations, the ministry said.

Italy has registered 128,115 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.36 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 2.196 on Tuesday, up from 2,070 a day earlier.

There were 26 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 25 on Monday. The total number of intensive care patients increased to 258 from a previous 249.

Some 209,719 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 83,223, the health ministry said. 

Bangladesh extends lockdown 

Bangladesh has extended the existing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to be effective until August 10 as the prevailing situation across the country continued worsening.

The South Asian country has implemented a 14-day strict lockdown since July 23 amid surging coronavirus deaths and infections, Bangladesh Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque told the reporters following an inter-ministerial meeting on the Covid-19 situation in Dhaka.

Israel issues travel warning for US over Covid-19 concerns

Israel has warned against travel to the United States and other countries and said it would tighten quarantine measures for inbound travellers as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant.

New Covid-19 cases have surged in highly-vaccinated Israel since the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant, prompting health officials this week to begin administering vaccine booster shots to people over 60.

It also began mandating isolation for returning travellers - including those vaccinated or recovered from the virus - from countries deemed "red", indicating a rapid spread of the disease.

On Tuesday, the health ministry said it would add 18 countries to its red list, including the United States, France, Italy, Iceland, Greece and others.

UK reports 138 deaths, 21,691 new cases

Britain has reported 138 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, and another 21,691 infections.

The reported deaths is higher than Monday's 24 but that figure has previously been elevated on Tuesdays, owing to reporting patterns in hospitals after the weekend. The number of new cases is in line with Monday's 21,952.

Chinese air passengers can request refunds for Aug 4 to Aug 31 flights

Passengers who have bought domestic tickets for flights scheduled from August 4 to 31 can request a full refund, China's aviation regulator has said as the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus hit many Chinese cities.

The policy is to accommodate control and prevention measures for coronavirus by reducing the movement of people, the Civil Aviation Administration said in a statement.

New York becomes first US city to mandate vaccines to enter restaurants, gyms

New York City will become the first major US city to require proof of Covid-19 vaccination for customers and staff at restaurants, gyms and other indoor businesses as the country enters a new phase of battling the highly contagious Delta variant.

Unlike the surges last year and in January, highly effective vaccines are now widely available against the virus that has killed over 600,000 people in the United States, lessening the need to close businesses and for people to stay home.

New York City's policy requires proof of at least one dose and will be enforced starting September 13. Like past policies over masks and stay-at-home orders, the plan will likely meet resistance. 

UAE lifts ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan

The United Arab Emirates will on Thursday lift a ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan, the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) has said.

India and Pakistan are important markets for Emirates, Etihad Airways and other UAE carriers flydubai and Air Arabia.

The Gulf state, a major international travel hub, had banned passengers from many South Asian and African states travelling through its airports this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

China orders mass testing after virus returns to Wuhan

Chinese authorities have announced mass testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

The provincial capital of 11 million people in central China is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. 

Three cases were confirmed in Wuhan on Monday, its first non-imported cases in more than a year.

China has largely curbed at home after the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan and spread globally. Since then, authorities have tamped down and controlled the disease whenever it pops up with quick lockdowns and mass testing.

The current outbreaks are still in the hundreds of cases in total, but have spread much more widely than previous ones. Many of the cases have been identified as the highly contagious delta variant.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 90 new cases had been confirmed the previous day.

South Korea on alert for new Delta Plus variant

South Korea has detected its first two cases of the new Delta Plus variant, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday, as the country battles with its fourth wave of infections.

The Delta Plus variant is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant first identified in India, and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N, which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Reports of Delta Plus cases have been few, and a handful of countries, including Britain, Portugal and India, have reported some cases.

"The first case (in South Korea) was identified in a man in 40s who has no recent travel records," the KDCA told Reuters. The source of transmission is under investigation.

Test results in around 280 people who were in contact with the man found that only his son was positive too, Park Young-joon, a KDCA official told a briefing.

Park said it was unclear whether the son was also infected with Delta Plus.

Tokyo daily infection cases total 3,709

Newly-reported cases in Tokyo totalled 3,709 on Tuesday, the metropolitan government announced.

The Olympic host city registered a record daily total of 4,058 on Saturday. 

Bangladesh allows human trials of India's homegrown vaccine

Bangladesh has green lit human trials of India’s first indigenous coronavirus vaccine, official sources confirmed.

“After a thorough scientific analysis, we have given ethical clearance for human trial of this Indian vaccine (COVAXIN) and more than a month ago, we also recommended human trials of a Chinese vaccine, excluding Sinopharm,” Syed Modasser Ali, chairman of state-run Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC), told Anadolu Agency.

He added that a Chinese university and another company of the country jointly applied for a human trial of a Chinese vaccine through Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, a premier postgraduate medical institution of Bangladesh, a month before the Indian application.

Ali, however, added that he could not reveal the name of the vaccine.

About the human trial of the local Indian vaccine, Ali added: “We have formed an independent committee to review this vacc ine and after a full scientific analysis of the committee, we have permitted human trial.”

Nigeria receives 4M vaccine doses from US: Official

Nigeria received four million doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the US, officials have announced.

Faisal Shuiab, head of the country's Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHDA), said late on Monday that the doses arrived in the country on the previous day.

"These four million doses of Moderna were donated by the U S government and distribution to all states will soon start," Shuaib said in the capital Abuja, inspecting the shipment alongside other health officials.

He said the new doses could be administered with AstraZeneca's vaccine.

Nigeria recorded 32 new confined cases of the Delta variant pushing total confirmed cases at 174,315, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said in an update.

Russia reports 22,010 new cases, 788 deaths

Russia reported 22,010 new cases, including 1,952 in Moscow, taking the total to 6,334,195 since the pandemic began.

The government coronavirus task force also confirmed 788 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 1,766 -RKI

Germany's tally of infections rose by 1,766 to 3,773,875, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 19 to 91,679, the figures showed. 

Shortage of medical staff worsens Indonesia's virus crisis

A shortage of medical staff has compounded the virus crisis in Indonesia, as healthcare workers increasingly fall victim to the virus.

With numbers of infections in Indonesia skyrocketing and deaths steadily climbing, health staff feel they have no other option but to jump right back into the fray to help their overworked colleagues.

Irman Pahlepi is back at work in Jakarta's Dr. Suyoto public hospital, immediately resuming his duties treating patients after recovering from an infection himself, for the second time.

“We have so many extra patients to treat compared to last year,” he said. “The number of Covid-19 patients is four times higher now than during the previous highest spike in January.”

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, had its deadliest day last week with more than 2,000 people dying last Tuesday, and has reported only slightly lower daily numbers since then.

The total death toll currently exceeds 97,000, with more than 1,200 health workers among the dead. Just under 600 were doctors.

China's Wuhan to test all residents as virus returns

Authorities in Wuhan say they would test its entire population after the central Chinese city where the virus emerged reported its first local infections in more than a year.

The city of 11 million is "swiftly launching comprehensive nucleic acid testing of all residents", senior Wuhan official Li Tao said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Authorities announced on Monday that seven locally transmitted infections had been found among migrant workers in the city, breaking a year-long streak without domestic cases after it squashed an initial outbreak with an unprecedented lockdown in early 2020.

China has confined the residents of entire cities to their homes, cut domestic transport links and rolled out mass testing in recent days as it battles its largest outbreak in months.

NSW premier sets vaccination target for Sydney

The premier of Australia's most populous state has set a goal to administer 6 million vaccine doses the end of August.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney that about 3.9 million doses have already been administered in the state.

She said 6 million jabs would give Greater Sydney more options for life after August 29.

The lockdown in Sydney and surrounds was in place till at least August 28.

Berejiklian reported 199 new cases on Tuesday, with most of the infections occurring in workplaces and households.

"If you must leave the house, assume everybody that you're coming into contact with has the virus," she said.

Sydney and its surrounding areas are in the sixth week of lockdown.

India reports 30,549 new cases

India reported 30,549 new cases in the last 24 hours, a government statement said.

Japan will only hospitalise most serious cases as infections surge

 Japan will focus on hospitalising patients who are seriously ill and those at risk of becoming so while others isolate at home, officials said, amid worries about a strained medical system as cases surge in Olympics host city Tokyo.

The country has seen a sharp increase in cases, and is recording more than 10,000 daily new infections nationwide. Tokyo had a record high of 4,058 on Saturday.

Fewer elderly people, most of whom are vaccinated, are getting infected, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

"On the other hand, infections of younger people are increasing and people in their 40s and 50s with severe symptoms are rising," he said. "With people also being admitted to hospital with heat stroke, some people are not able to immediately get admitted and are recovering at home."

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, announcing the change on Monday, said the government would ensure that people isolating at home can be hospitalised if necessary.

Previous policy had focused on hospitalising a broader category of high-risk patients.

New Zealand PM Ardern tests negative

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's test result is negative, a government spokesman confirmed.

Ardern had stepped back from her duties on Tuesday after picking up a "seasonal sniffle" from her three-year-old daughter. 

She had taken a test earlier in the day as a precautionary measure.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson stood in for Ardern and took on all her responsibilities for the day.

New Zealand is largely free of the virus and has had no cases in the community since February. 

Death toll in Colombia passes 121,000

The death toll in Colombia surpassed 121,000 on Monday, with 218 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours.

The country also reported 6,636 new cases, according to data released by the Health Ministry, taking the total to 4.80 million.

Another 10,422 people won the battle against the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 4.59 million.

More than 15.49 million people have received at leas t one dose of vaccine while 9.78 million are fully vaccinated in the country with a population of over 51 million.

Japan starts to 'name and shame' quarantine rule-breakers

Japan has carried out a threat to publicly shame people not complying with coronavirus border control measures, releasing the names of three people who broke quarantine rules after returning from overseas.

The Health Ministry said late on Monday the three Japanese nationals named had clearly acted to avoid contact with authorities after recently returning from abroad.

The announcement, the first of its kind, sparked a flurry of speculation among Twitter users about the details of those identified, such as their jobs and locations.

Japan is asking all travellers from overseas, including its own citizens, to self-quarantine for two weeks, during which they are asked to use a location-tracking smartphone app and report on their health condition.

Australia's New South Wales reports 199 locally acquired cases

New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, has reported 199 locally acquired cases of Covid-19, down from 207 a day earlier, as officials scramble to bring under control an outbreak of the Delta variant in state capital Sydney.

Of the new cases, at least 50 spent time in the community while infectious, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney. 

Total cases in the year's worst outbreak have topped 3,800 since the first was detected in mid-June.

China reports 90 new coronavirus cases

China has reported 90 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland for August 2, compared with 98 a day earlier, according to the National Health Commission.

Of the new infections, 61 were locally transmitted, the health authority said. That compares with 55 local cases a day earlier.

China reported 41 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections, compared with 60 a day earlier.

No new deaths were reported.

As of August 2, mainland China had recorded 93,193 confirmed cases, with the cumulative death toll unchanged at 4,636. 

Mexico sees nearly 250 new deaths

Mexico's Health Ministry has reported 6,506 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 245 more fatalities, bringing its total to 2,861,498 infections and 241,279 deaths.

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

NZL PM Ardern takes Covid test

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken a Covid-19 test after picking up a "seasonal sniffle" from her three-year-old daughter, the government spokesman has said.

Ardern will step back from her duties for the day due to the sickness and the deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will take on the responsibilities, the spokesman said.

New Zealand is largely free of coronavirus and has had no cases in the community since February.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies