Global COVID-19 cases exceed 11.32 million, deaths top 530,000

UNTV News   •   July 7, 2020   •   342

The number of global confirmed infections of COVID-19 continued climbing to 11,327,790 cases, while the deaths caused by the virus rose to 532,340 as of 18:01 CEST, Monday, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

India has overtaken Russia to become the world’s third-worst affected nation in terms of infections.

India’s federal health ministry Monday morning said 425 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 24,248 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 19,693 and total cases to 697,413.

According to ministry officials, so far 424,433 people have been discharged from hospital after showing improvement.

Presently the country has entered the “Unlock 2.0” phase, though restrictions remain in full force inside the COVID-19 containment zones.

The country on Monday reopened a total of 3,691 tourist attractions after they were ordered to close three months ago.

On Friday the country’s civil aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced commercial international flights to and from India shall remain suspended until July 31.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States topped 130,000 on Monday, reaching 130,248 as of 23:33 GMT, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

A total of 2,931,142 cases have been reported in the country, an increase of over 55,000 from Sunday, according to the CSSE.

The state of New York reported the most cases and the highest death toll in the country, standing at 397,649 and 32,219, respectively. Other states with over 100,000 cases include California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Arizona, the CSSE data showed.

According to the Texas Health and Human Services, as of Monday, 200,557 confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported in the state, an increase of 5,318 from Sunday. The death toll reached 2,655.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. state of Arizona exceeded 100,000 to reach 101, 441 on Monday, with 3,352 new cases in 24 hours, the state’s Department of Health Services said.

Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 65,000 on Monday after 620 more patients died in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 65,487, the Ministry of Health said.

The total number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the start of the outbreak rose to 1,623,284, following a daily surge of 20,229 cases.

Some 927,292 patients have recovered from the disease, the ministry said.

The state of Sao Paulo, the country’s most populated, is also the hardest hit by the pandemic, with 323,070 cases and 16,134 deaths, followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 121,879 cases and 10,698 deaths.

Russia recorded 6,611 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 687,862, the country’s coronavirus response center said in a statement Monday.

The death toll rose by 135 to 10,296, while 454,329 people have recovered, said the statement.

By Monday, Russia has conducted over 21.3 million tests.

Also by Monday, Germany had confirmed about 196,554 COVID-19 infections, increasing by 219 from the previous day, while deaths rose by four to stand at 9,016, according to a report from Robert Koch Institute.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejects the idea of backing away from the face mask requirement in the country’s shops, government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said Monday.

“Wherever the minimum distance cannot be guaranteed in public life, masks are an important and, from today’s perspective, still indispensable means,” stressed Seibert. The wearing of masks is still necessary in order to “keep the number of infections low and to protect other people and ourselves

The Tokyo metropolitan government confirmed 102 new daily COVID-19 cases in the capital on Monday, marking the fifth successive day infections have topped 100 in Tokyo amid a prolonged resurgence of cases.

Of the 102 new cases, the trend of younger people being infected has continued, the metropolitan government said, with 72 new infections being those in their 20s and 30s, or about 70 percent of the total.

Of the newly confirmed cases in the city of 14 million, 42 have no known infection route, with 35 of the cases connected to nighttime entertainment establishments in downtown districts in Tokyo.

As clusters of infections continue in such districts, the Tokyo metropolitan government said Monday that 31 of the new cases were connected to such a nightspot in a part of the city’s Shinjuku district.

The Tokyo metropolitan government has urged people to pay serious attention to such virus-hit downtown areas and preventative measures, or lack thereof, against the spread of the pneumonia-carrying virus being taken by establishments located there.

It has also urged Tokyo residents to refrain from making unnecessary trips across prefectural borders.

Tokyo’s cumulative COVID-19 cases have now reached 6,867, the highest among Japan’s 47 prefectures, according to the latest official figures Monday evening, accounting for roughly one-third of Japan’s total cases.

Nationwide, cases increased by 174 on Monday, bringing Japan’s cumulative total to 19,996, not including COVID-19 cases connected to a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama.

Japan’s death toll from the virus stands at 991 people, according to the latest figures Monday evening from the health ministry and local authorities.

Australia’s coronavirus death toll has increased for the first time in about 10 days to 106.

Authorities in Victoria on Monday revealed that two men, one in his 90s and the other in his 60s, died from COVID-19 in hospital on Sunday and Monday respectively, taking the state’s death toll to 22.

Michael Kidd, the Australian government deputy chief medical officer, said in an update on Monday that there have been 140 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia in the last 24 hours.

Of the new cases, 127 were in Victoria. And this is the state’s biggest daily increase, according to local media.

In response to the spike in cases, New South Wales (NSW) has joined other states in closing its borders to Victoria. (Reuters)

Global COVID-19 cases continue to decline, WHO says

Robie de Guzman   •   February 16, 2021

The number of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases reported globally continues to decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

In a regular press briefing in Geneva on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the decline in global COVID-19 cases has been observed for the fifth consecutive week.

Tedros said that so far this year, the number of weekly reported cases has fallen by almost half, from more than 5 million cases in the week of January 4 to 2.6 million cases in the week starting February 8.

“This shows that simple public health measures work, even in the presence of variants,” he said.

Tedros, however, stressed that what matters now is how the world will respond to this trend.

“The fire is not out, but we have reduced its size. If we stop fighting it on any front, it will come roaring back,” he said.

In the hopes of bringing the pandemic under control, Tedros said the WHO has given emergency use listing for two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be rolled out globally through COVAX facility.

The WHO emergency use listing assesses and assures the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, and is a prerequisite for vaccines to be distributed by COVAX.

In addition to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, these are now the second and third vaccines to receive emergency use listing.

“We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines. But we still need to scale-up production, and we continue to call for vaccine developers to submit their dossiers to WHO for review at the same time as they submit them to regulators in high-income countries,” Tedros said.

The WHO chief emphasized that ensuring the rapid and equitable rollout of vaccines is essential in saving lives and livelihoods, as well as stabilizing health systems and economies.

LGUs urged to support COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Robie de Guzman   •   February 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged local government units (LGU) to support the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) solidarity trial for COVID-19 vaccine and other independent vaccine trials.

The DILG said that this in line with the memorandum of agreement between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and DILG on the zoning and implementation of vaccine trials where all cities in Metro Manila, including the municipality of Pateros, Davao City, and the provinces of Cebu and Cavite have been identified as areas of implementation for vaccine trials.

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, vaccine recipients for the WHO Solidarity Trial will be recruited from the top 5 to 10 barangays with high COVID-19 cases identified by the Department of Health-Bureau of Epidemiology (DOH-EB).

Malaya stressed that coordination with LGUs, especially at the barangay level, is vital in the success of the vaccine clinical trials.

“We need the full support of our LGUs since trial sites will be at the barangay level and randomization will be by households. The household census will also be obtained from the barangays to ensure follow up,” he said in a statement.

Malaya clarified that the vaccine solidarity trials are different from the government’s vaccination program, as the trials are for candidate vaccines to test their efficacy and safety while the national vaccination program are for vaccines that are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The DILG said some 15,000 volunteers aged 18 to 59 years will be involved the country’s WHO solidarity trials, which is a global effort to evaluate the safety and efficacy of candidate vaccines which are not yet approved by the FDA.

Independent clinical trials by private vaccine companies may also be assigned trial zones to ensure equal and rational distribution to avoid competition in subject recruitment.

In Memorandum Circular No. 2021-011, DILG officer-in-charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. urged identified LGUs to provide logistic support or other non-monetary assistance needed by the project teams through transportation of potential participants to the trial sites for screening, vaccination, and scheduled follow-up visit.

LGUs are also enjoined to assist in locating participants who do not come to the trial site for the scheduled visit and bringing participants to the hospital site in the event of an exposure to or presentation of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or the development of adverse reactions.

Local government units are likewise encouraged to assist, in coordination with the project team, in organizing meetings related to the clinical trials such as the orientation of potential participants.

“Inaasahan po namin ang inyong buong suporta at pakikiisa upang maging matagumpay ang mga vaccine trials sa ating bansa. Ipakita po natin ang tunay na diwa ng bayanihan sa ating patuloy na pagtugon sa pandemiyang ito,” Malaya said.

For monitoring purposes, the DILG has directed all its concerned regional offices to submit monthly situation reports regarding the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine trials in their respective areas of jurisdiction to the DILG Central Office through the Bureau of Local Government Development.

WHO laments world’s poorest countries might get left behind in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has lamented that distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to the “world’s poorest countries” could face delays.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said richer countries and several private companies are buying up all the available vaccines. This also causes a spike in prices of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure—and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries,” he said.

Ghebreyesus reported that 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries while only 25 have been administered in one lowest-income country.

“The situation is compounded by the fact that most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries where the profits are highest, rather than submitting full dossiers to WHO,” he noted.

WHO previously promised free COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries enlisted in the COVAX facility, which includes the Philippines.

The WHO Director General also expressed concerns that the pandemic may last longer if there is no coordination in the vaccine distribution across the globe.

“Not only does this ‘me-first’ approach leave the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, it’s also self-defeating. Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering,” he said. AAC (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)

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