Global COVID-19 cases top 16.34 million, death toll surpasses 650,000 on Monday: WHO

UNTV News   •   July 30, 2020   •   157

Global confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 16.34 million and death toll reached 650,805 as of 16:52 CEST Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO coronavirus disease dashboard showed the number of COVID-19 cases in the America is at 8,728,962, covered more than half of the global total.

Europe reported more than 3.26 million cases. Southeast Asia and Eastern Mediterranean reported over 1.83 million and 1.49 million cases, respectively.

Meanwhile the confirmed cases from Africa stood at 726,105, and the Western Pacific at 291,993.

The United States, with the most confirmed cases in the world, reported 33,884 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections up to more than 4.3 million, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

The national death toll reached 148,298, 1,013 cases more than the previous day, the CSSE tally showed.

The state of Florida on Tuesday reported 186 new deaths, a record high since the outbreak of the pandemic in the state.

Brazil, second only to the United States both in terms of caseload and death toll, on Tuesday recorded 921 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 88,539.

Meanwhile, tests have detected 40,816 new infections, taking the total caseload to 2,483,191, said its health ministry.

The Autonomous Community of Madrid on Tuesday became the last region in mainland Spain to confirm that wearing a face mask will be mandatory starting from Thursday in all open and closed spaces regardless of whether safe social distancing is or can be practiced.

The Spanish Health Ministry on Monday said that 1,278 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Community of Madrid in the previous week. The new measures aimed at containing the virus include limits on the number of people allowed to meet and on the opening times of late-night bars and discos.

Turkey confirmed 963 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, while the total diagnosed cases climbed to 227,982, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Zimbabweans will mark Heroes’ Day and Defense Forces Day without gatherings this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities said on Tuesday. Instead, virtual celebrations will take place over a period of two weeks and will be broadcast by the state broadcaster ZBC.

Zimbabwe has seen a spike in COVID-19 infections over the past week, which rose from 1,713 on July 20 to 2,704 as of Tuesday with 36 deaths.

India’s COVID-19 tally crossed the 1.5 million-mark on Wednesday, reaching 1,531,669, the federal health ministry said.

The ministry said 768 new deaths from COVID-19 and 48,513 positive cases were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 34,193 and total cases to 1,531,669. (Reuters)

Duterte may be injected with Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine by May 2021 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may be inoculated with Russia-made vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in May 2021, Malacañang said on Thursday.

In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte could get Sputnik V vaccine shots as early as May 1 provided that the vaccine is already approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The May 1 is when the PSG [Presidential Security Group] may allow him ‘pag natapos na po lahat ng test na kinakailangang gawin dito sa Gamaleya vaccine,” he said.

Duterte earlier said he is willing to participate in the clinical trials for Sputnik V.

Base on the timeline presented by Roque, the vaccine expert panel will review the results of phases 1 and 2 of the Sputnik V’s clinical trials this September.

The Philippines and Russia will conduct simultaneous phase 3 clinical trials which will run until March 2021. The Russian government is expected to shoulder the costs.

The vaccine will then have to go through the registration process with the FDA in April 2021.

Roque, however, stressed that the vaccine could become available in the market earlier since other organizations are also in advanced stages of conducting clinical trials.

“Baka mayroon pang ibang mauna dahil marami namang pong nasa third phase ng clinical trials at matagal na po silang nasa 3rd phase,” he said.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research, said that if no problems will be encountered on the efficacy of Russia-made vaccine during the trials, the Sputnik V vaccine could be rolled out for commercial use in the Philippines by April 2021.

Montoya is part of the team of Philippine health and vaccine experts who met with the manufacturer and scientists who developed the Sputnik V.

Russia on Tuesday announced it is the first country to grant regulatory approval to a vaccine after less than two months of human testing.

The announcement raised concerns from some international scientists about the safety of the vaccine.

The World Health Organization said Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine should first undergo the necessary evaluation process before it could become available for public use. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Immigration personnel with COVID-19 reach 46, says BI chief

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday reported that 46 of its employees have tested positive for novel coronavirus disease.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that of the 46 personnel infected with the virus, nine have already recovered while 37 are still housed in government-accredited quarantine facilities.

Half of those who contracted the virus are currently assigned at the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila while the rest are stationed in other places such as the international airports in Pasay and Cebu, and the bureau’s satellite and extension offices in Metro Manila, and elsewhere nationwide, he added.

“The good news is that, so far, none of our employees have succumbed to the virus,” Morente said in a statement.

He also said that only one of the bureau’s employees with confirmed COVID-19 infection is presently confined and recovering in a hospital.

The BI Chief also said that the bureau had 93 suspected COVID-19 cases among its workers but half of them were already cleared of the virus after undergoing home quarantine.

Morente said the public should not be surprised that some BI employees were infected by the virus.

“We are one of the few government agencies whose personnel render frontline services, not only in our offices, but in the ports of entry as well. It is unavoidable that some of our employees do come in contact or are exposed to persons who are carriers of this virus,” he said.

The bureau earlier announced that it scaled down operations as Metro Manila and other areas reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine.

However, it assured that its online appointment system remains open to foreigners who are scheduled to leave the country during the community quarantine period.

India’s interior minister tests positive for coronavirus, hospitalised

UNTV News   •   August 3, 2020

India’s Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday (August 2) that he had tested positive for coronavirus and had been admitted to hospital.

Amit Shah, a close aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and one of the country’s most powerful politicians, heads a key ministry that has been at the forefront of managing India’s coronavirus outbreak.

“I request all of you who came in contact with me in the last few days to isolate yourselves and get tested,” Shah said in a tweet.

India has 1,695,988 confirmed cases and 36,511 deaths due to coronavirus as of August 2, according to a Reuters tally. (Reuters)

(Production: Polly Rider, Michael Fiorentino)

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