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Spain sets post-lockdown record as coronavirus cases surge: Live

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  • Spain has reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June and beating the previous day’s record rise.

  • More than 18.55 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Wednesday, up by more than 400,000 in just one day. More than 11.1 million have recovered, while about 700,000 have died.

  • Amid fears of widespread coronavirus infections among voters, Sri Lankans will head to the polls on Wednesday to choose a new parliament in an election President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s party is expected to win.

Here are the latest updates:

Wednesday, August 5

21:20 GMT – US: Choctaw tribe hardest-hit by Mississippi coronavirus crisis

When Sharon Taylor died of coronavirus, her family – standing apart, wearing masks – sang her favourite hymns at her graveside, next to a tiny headstone for her stillborn daughter, buried 26 years ago. Fresh flowers marked row after row of new graves.

As confirmed coronavirus cases skyrocket in Mississippi, the state’s only federally recognised American Indian tribe has been devastated. COVID-19 has ripped through Choctaw families, many of whom live together in multigenerational homes.

Almost 10 percent of the tribe’s roughly 11,000 members have tested positive for the virus. More than 75 have died.

Read more here.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI CHOCTAW

Kristina Taylor, 18, cries as she holds a portrait of her late mother, Sharon Taylor, who never saw Kristina, the class valedictorian at Choctaw Central High School, graduate [Rogelio V Solis/AP Photo]

21:00 GMT – Brazil death toll from COVID-19 rises to 97,256 

Brazil has reported 57,152 new cases of coronavirus and 1,437 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry has said.

Brazil registered 2,859,073 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 97,256, according to ministry data, in the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States.

20:40 GMT – US firms cut back dramatically on hiring in July

Companies in the United States have drastically cut back on hiring workers last month, in yet another signal that the nation’s jobs market recovery is faltering as COVID-19 infections spike in parts of the country.

The ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls increased by a mere 167,000 jobs in July after jumping by 4.314 million in June and 3.3 million in May.

That means the economy still has 13 million fewer jobs than it did in February, according to ADP – before lockdowns swept the nation, throwing tens of millions of Americans out of work.

Read more here.

20:30 GMT – Florida tops 500,000 virus cases as testing resumes after storm

Florida has surpassed 500,000 coronavirus cases as testing ramped up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias, state officials said.

A long line of cars waited outside Hark Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens for a coronavirus testing site to reopen after being closed because of the storm.

20:15 GMT – The Gambia imposes curfew as coronavirus cases surge 

The Gambia, mainland Africa’s smallest country, has imposed a three-week curfew after coronavirus cases surged over 60 percent in the last seven days to nearly 800.

Authorities attributed the rise to people relaxing their guard on protective measures that had so far kept The Gambia’s case total the lowest in Africa. Testing has also increased in the country, where the number of deaths is 16.

20:00 GMT – Former Colombian President Uribe tests positive for coronavirus

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has tested positive for the coronavirus, just one day after being placed under house arrest by the Andean country’s Supreme Court.

The former president is not displaying symptoms, a member of Uribe’s team told Reuters.

Colombia has reported almost 335,000 cases of coronavirus and 11,315 deaths. Uribe was placed under house arrest by the Supreme Court on Tuesday after it concluded there was potential for obstruction of justice to take place while a fraud and witness tampering case continues.

FILE PHOTO: Colombia's former president Alvaro Uribe, speaks during a news conference after a private hearing at Supreme Court of Justice, in Bogota,

Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe is not displaying symptoms [File: Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

19:45 GMT – Virginia touts nation’s first contact tracing app

Virginia has launched the first contact tracing app for the coronavirus in the US that uses new technology from Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

The state is betting that the app, COVIDWISE, can help it catch new cases faster, though long delays in getting test results must be overcome in order for it to be effective.

Phones with the app exchange Bluetooth signals to keep an anonymous list of close encounters. The app then allows people who catch the virus to notify those contacts without anyone revealing their identity.

19:30 GMT – Italy threatens to ban Ryanair for virus rule-breaking

Italy’s national civil aviation authority ENAC has threatened to suspend Ryanair’s permit to fly in the country over alleged non-compliance with coronavirus safety rules, but the low-cost carrier denied flouting them.

The authority accused the Irish airline of “repeated violations of the COVID-19 health regulations currently in force and imposed by the Italian government to protect the health of passengers”.

“Not only is the obligation to distance passengers not respected, but the conditions for making an exception to that rule are also being ignored”, it said in a statement.

19:00 GMT – Germany warns against travel to parts of Belgium following coronavirus surge

Germany’s Foreign Ministry has revised its travel guidance for Belgium, warning against all non-essential travel to the province of Antwerp because of the high incidence of the coronavirus epidemic in the region.

In parallel, Germany’s public health agency declared the region centred on Belgium’s largest port and second city as a high-risk area, meaning returnees from there can be forced to enter 14 days of quarantine.

“Numbers of new infections and deaths have been rising since the end of July, especially in Antwerp province, where the number of new cases currently exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days,” the Foreign Ministry wrote.

18:45 GMT – Trump, Biden face muted US political conventions amid coronavirus

US President Donald Trump has proposed accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in a speech from the White House, prompting the country’s leading elected Democrat to accuse him of politicising the historic residence.

Separately, his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, will accept his party’s nomination in a national address from his home state of Delaware rather than in Milwaukee as planned, party officials said.

The coronavirus pandemic has led both political parties to downsize the traditional made-for-television affairs featuring often-raucous speeches in front of thousands of the party faithful.

18:30 GMT – Moscow expands COVID-19 express tests to major airports

Russia is expanding COVID-19 express tests to other major air hubs in Moscow after using them at the country’s busiest airport, Sheremetyevo, in the capital, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has said.

The portable testing system, which fits in two small suitcases, gives results within an hour and is already being used by some Russian companies and at major events, the RDIF said.

Moscow announced the resumption of some regular international flights on August 1 to Turkey, the UK and Tanzania, as the coronavirus crisis eases in Russia. The country has also been in talks with other countries to re-launch the flights.

18:15 GMT – France’s daily COVID-19 cases highest since end-May

France’s daily COVID-19 infections have reached the highest in more than two months, at 1,695, and the seven-day moving average stood above the 1,300 threshold for the first time since the end of April, when the country was still in lockdown.

The 1,222 daily average of cases seen since the beginning of August is now almost three times higher than June’s 435 figure but still half April’s 2,585, when the pandemic was in full swing.

France’s main seaside resorts have made wearing masks in the streets mandatory and some have restricted access to the beaches in the wake of the uptick in new cases.

18:00 GMT – Canary Islands to insure tourists who catch virus

Spain’s Canary Islands has taken out insurance to cover costs visitors face if they become infected with the coronavirus, the archipelago’s regional government said.

Under a deal struck with the Spanish branch of French insurer AXA, any tourist who tests positive for COVID-19 during their stay will be eligible for free medical care, repatriation and additional accommodation for quarantine measures.

17:45 GMT – Swedish economy plunges

 Sweden’s economy has shrunk 8.6 percent in the second quarter, even though the country never imposed strict coronavirus lockdowns seen elsewhere in Europe.

According to Statistics Sweden, the downturn represents the largest drop since at least 1980, which is as far back as comparable statistics are available.

17:30 GMT – Amsterdam enforces face masks in crowded places

Amsterdam has made face masks compulsory in certain busy areas including the Dutch capital’s Red Light district, as coronavirus infections showed a worrying spike.

The new measures come as the number of infections doubled in a week in the country, where more than 55,000 people have now been infected and some 6,150 have died.

17:00 GMT – North Dakota COVID-19 active cases surge 

North Dakota health officials have reported 124 new COVID-19 infections and one additional death.

The updated report confirms 108 deaths from complications of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. 

16:40 GMT – Greek PM warns over jump in COVID-19 cases

Greeks must stick to rules aimed at containing the coronavirus more closely than ever, the country’s prime minister has said, warning of new restrictions if a worrying rise in daily cases does not abate.

Greece reported 124 new cases, part of a surge of what appears to be mainly domestic infections.

“Strict adherence to the rules is demanded even more at this crucial turn, to prevent a new significant rise in cases in August and the adoption of possible new restrictive measures which will hurt the economy and society,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hold a joint news conference in Vienna

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the registered rise in infections, three months after restrictions were eased, as ‘worrying’ [File: Reuters]

16:25 GMT – Virus kills leading Brazil indigenous chief Aritana

One of Brazil’s leading indigenous chiefs, Aritana Yawalapiti, has died of respiratory complications caused by COVID-19, his family said.

Aritana, 71, a chief of the Yawalapiti people in the Amazon, was known for fighting to protect the world’s biggest rainforest and the rights of the indigenous peoples who live there.

“He was a great advocate in the struggle to preserve and perpetuate his people’s culture for future generations and a tireless activist against the effects of deforestation,” his family said in a statement.

FILE PHOTO: Yawalapiti chief Aritana is seen in the Xingu National Park

Aritana, 71, a chief of the Yawalapiti people in the Amazon, was known for fighting to protect the world’s biggest rainforest [File: Ueslei Marcelino/ Reuters]

16:15 GMT – Chicago says students will stay home

Chicago will teach online only when school resumes in September, the mayor has said.

The teachers’ union and many parents in Chicago had objected to a plan to allow  students  the option of attending class in pods of 15 pupils twice a week.

Local media reported that the Chicago Teachers’ Union had called for a strike vote over the issue.

“In a perfect world, students would be in classrooms more, not less. But unfortunately, that is not where we find ourselves today,” Chicago schools chief Janice Jackson said at a news conference.

Chicago is the third-largest school district in the United States behind New York and Los Angeles, with 350,000 students.

16:10 GMT – Switzerland adds Spain to coronavirus quarantine list

Travellers returning to Switzerland from mainland Spain will be required to quarantine themselves, the health ministry has said, adding to a list of countries seen as having heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission.

As well as Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 28,000 deaths, the Swiss health ministry also added Singapore and Romania.

15:55 GMT – Turkey announces new measures to curb COVID-19 rise

Turkey’s interior ministry has announced new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 as daily confirmed cases have peaked back above 1,000.

In a circular, the interior ministry said its units would conduct “one-on-one monitoring” for people who have been required to self-quarantine, especially in the first seven days of isolation.

The ministry warned it would not accept any violations of measures to wear masks and maintain social distancing at gatherings such as weddings or circumcision ceremonies.

15:40 GMT – Arsenal to sack 55 staff as COVID-19 hits revenues

Less than a week after winning the FA Cup to secure their place in next season’s Europa League and as they negotiate a multimillion-pound contract extension with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal have announced plans to layoff 55 staff.

The club said that the cuts were the result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement sparked an immediate social media backlash from fans contrasting the huge sums involved with keeping key players to the lost jobs of staff at the north London outfit.

An update from your club.

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 5, 2020

15:25 GMT – New York City erects quarantine checkpoints to curb coronavirus

New York City will put up COVID-19 quarantine checkpoints at key entry points to ensure that travellers from 35 states on New York state’s travel advisory comply with the state’s 14-day quarantine mandate, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said.

“Travelers coming in from those states will be given information about the quarantine and will be reminded that it is required, not optional,” de Blasio told a news briefing. He added that, under certain circumstances, fines for not observing the quarantine order could be as high as $10,000.

14:35 GMT – Canada signs deals for experimental COVID-19 vaccines

Canada has signed separate deals with Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc to supply millions of doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccines, a top official said.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand also told a news conference that Ottawa was negotiating with other potential domestic and international vaccine suppliers but did not give details.

There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, but 19 vaccines are being tested in humans around the world.

14:20 GMT – Oman to lift internal travel restrictions, reduce curfew

Oman will on Saturday lift a domestic ban on travel between provinces, imposed on July 25 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, the state news agency ONA has said.

From Saturday it will also reduce its curfew for a week to between 9 pm and 5 am (1700-0100 GMT), instead of 7 pm to 6 am (1500 to 0200 GMT). A full lockdown of the Dhofar province in the south will be maintained until further notice.

Oman, a country of 4.7 million people, has recorded almost 80,000 coronavirus infections and 421 deaths.


14:15 GMT

Hello, this is Elizabeth Melimopoulos taking over the live updates from my colleague Hamza Mohamed in Doha.


12:45 GMT – Scotland shuts pubs in Aberdeen to tackle virus outbreak

Scotland imposed new restrictions on the northeastern city of Aberdeen to tackle an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, ordering pubs to close and visitors to stay away.

“We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is necessary, and also in my view, sensible,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at a news conference.

12:25 GMT – Trump says he may suspend payroll tax

US President Donald Trump said he may suspend the payroll tax himself as part of his administration’s efforts to help the economy after the coronavirus shutdown when the idea faced opposition in Congress in talks on the next relief bill.

“Well I may do it myself,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

“I have the right to suspend it, and I may do it myself – I have the absolute right to suspend the payroll,” he added.

12:05 GMT – German-Chinese coronavirus vaccine trial begins in China

Clinical trials on humans have begun in China for a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by German pharmaceutical group BioNTech with Chinese company Fosun Pharma, the companies said.

Seventy-two participants have already received their first dose following approval for the phase one trial from Chinese regulatory authorities, BioNTech and Fosun Pharma said in a statement.

The vaccine candidate, known as BNT162b1, is one of four based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology.

outside image - corona vaccine

More than 200 candidate vaccines are currently being developed with roughly two dozen at the stage of clinical trials with human volunteers [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

Another, BNT162b2, is being evaluated in a global phase three trial conducted by BioNTech and US giant Pfizer which started on July 27.

The phase one trial in China involves 144 participants who will receive two doses 21 days apart. Those aged 18-55 will be the first to take part, followed by older people.

11:45 GMT – Vietnam confirms 41 new infections

Vietnam’s health ministry on Wednesday reported an additional 41 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 713 infections, including eight deaths.

Forty of the new cases are linked to Danang, the new coronavirus epicentre where Vietnam on July 25 detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months.

There were two other cases reported earlier in the day.

There have been 264 cases since the virus resurfaced in Danang, which include all eight of the country’s COVID-19 deaths. Infections have since been found in at least 10 locations in Vietnam.

Vietnam Danang

Last month, Vietnam detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months [Hoang Khanh/AFP]

11:15 GMT – One-third of Afghans estimated to have contracted virus: Gov’t

Nearly a third of Afghanistan’s population – or 10 million people – has been infected with the coronavirus, according to health ministry estimates published on Wednesday.

The figure comes from a survey based on antibody tests on nearly 9,500 people across the country, with technical support from the World Health Organization, Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani said at a press briefing.

Afghanistan coronavirus Reuters

The virus entered Afghanistan in February as thousands of migrants returned from neighbouring Iran, which at the time was the region’s worst-hit nation [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

The survey estimated that 31.5 percent of the population had contracted the virus, with the highest infection rate in Kabul where more than half of the city’s five million population were thought to have been infected.

But the country of about 32 million people has a limited testing capacity and has officially declared just 36,000 cases and more than 1,200 deaths.

“A second wave of the infection is happening everywhere in the world and we cannot be an exception. We will use the findings of this survey to better prepare ourselves for a possible second wave,” Osmani said.

10:30 GMT – Hong Kong reports 85 cases as authorities battle third wave

Hong Kong reported 85 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including three locally transmitted ones, as authorities battle to control a third wave of the outbreak which has seen a resurgence in infections over the past month.

Since late January, about 3,700 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 42 of whom have died.

outside image - Hong Kong

Wednesday’s figure was up marginally from Tuesday’s 80 cases [Kin Cheung/AP]

10:00 GMT – Indonesia reports more than 1,800 new cases, 64 new deaths

Indonesia recorded 1,815 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 116,871, data by the country’s health ministry showed.

There were 64 additional deaths, taking the overall number of fatalities to 5,452, the data showed. 

09:45 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus cases surpass 865,000

Russia reported 5,204 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its nationwide tally to 866,627, the fourth-largest caseload in the world.

Russia’s coronavirus task force said 139 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 14,490.

Cemetery workers wearing protective suits carry the coffin of a COVID-19 victim in the special purpose for coronavirus victims section of a cemetery in Kolpino, outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday,

Only the US, Brazil and India have reported more cases than Russia [File: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP]

09:25 GMT – Hundreds of Peru women, girls went missing during lockdown

Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing and are feared dead in Peru since a lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

From March 16 through June 30, 606 girls and 309 women were reported missing, according to authorities.

Last week, Peru’s women’s ministry said 1,200 women and girls had been reported missing during the pandemic – a higher figure that included the month of July.

Read more here.

09:15 GMT – Philippines reports more than 3,400 new cases

The Philippine health ministry reported 3,462 new coronavirus infections and nine additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total infections had risen to 115,980, putting the tally just behind Indonesia’s 116,871 cases, which is the highest in East Asia.

Coronavirus deaths in the Philippines have reached 2,123.

08:45 GMT – Coronavirus infects 24,000 South African health workers

Some 24,000 health workers in South Africa have contracted the coronavirus, 181 of whom have died, since the pandemic hit the country in March, the health minister announced on Wednesday.

South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa, with at least 521,318 infections diagnosed so far, accounting for more than half of the continent’s cases.

Health Minister Zweli Mkwize told a news conference that the numbers of health workers who tested positive for coronavirus stood at 24,104, including 181 deaths.

South Africa coronavirus

The numbers of infected healthcare workers translate to about 5 percent of South Africa’s total caseload [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters]

08:05 GMT – Gargling solution flies off Japan’s shelves after governor touts anti-virus effect

Japanese drugstores were stripped bare of gargling solution by Wednesday, a day after the governor of the western prefecture of Osaka suggested it could help fight coronavirus, triggering panic buying reminiscent of the early days of mask shortage.

Hundreds of thousands of people posted pictures of emptied shelves on Twitter, accompanied by handwritten “Out of Stock” notices, as they canvassed suggestions on how to acquire the coveted antiseptic.

On Tuesday, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said a study showed a smaller viral load in the saliva of 41 patients with mild symptoms after regular gargling with a medicine infused with a povidone-iodine solution than in those who had not.

Banners notifying sold-out of gargling medicine are displayed at empty shelves at a drugstore in Tokyo

Banners notifying sold out of gargling medicine displayed at empty shelves at a drugstore in Tokyo [Issei Kato/Reuters]

07:10 GMT – Indonesia’s virus-hit economy contracts for first time in 20 years

Indonesia’s economy contracted in the second quarter for the first time in more than 20 years as it was slammed by coronavirus restrictions, with warnings that the recovery could be among the weakest in Southeast Asia.

Output in the region’s biggest economy slumped 5.3 percent on-year in April-June, the statistics agency said.

“Economic activity in Indonesia collapsed in the second quarter,” research house Capital Economics said in a note after the figures were published.

Firefighters Indonesia coronavirus

Indonesia has announced a stimulus package worth more than $48bn to help offset the impact of the virus [Reuters]

06:35 GMT – Ukraine reports record daily new coronavirus cases

Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,271 new coronavirus cases on August 4, the country’s council of security and defence said on Wednesday.

The number of new infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late May.

People wearing protective face masks walk out of a metro station in Kyiv

 Ukraine has started to gradually lift its coronavirus restrictions [Reuters]

The total number of cases rose to 75,490, including 1,788 deaths and 41,527 recovered as of August 5.

05:50 GMT – Czechs record biggest daily jump in cases since June end

The Czech Republic reported on Wednesday its biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases since the end of June as a recent uptick in infections stays elevated.

The central European country of 10.7 million recorded 290 new cases on Tuesday, Health Ministry data showed, bringing the total number of cases detected to 17,286. Of those, 11,812 have recovered and 383 have died of the COVID-19 illness.

05:30 GMT –

Hello, this is Hamza Mohamed in Doha taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur.

04:50 – Global coronavirus deaths exceed 700,000, one person dies every 15 seconds on average

The global death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University and Reuters tallies, with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities.

Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.

That equates to 247 people per hour, or one person every 15 seconds.

The United States and Latin America have been the epicentres of the pandemic and both are struggling to curb the spread of the virus.

03:45 GMT – Latin America now has world’s highest death toll

Latin America has surpassed Europe to become the region with the highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.

The region has now recorded more than 206,000 deaths, approximately 30 percent of the global total.

Brazil, the Latin American country most affected by the novel coronavirus, has now recorded a total of 95,819 deaths as of Tuesday. Mexico, the second-most affected country in the region, has recorded 48,869 deaths.

The spread of the pandemic has also accelerated in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia.

03:38 GMT – US health chief to visit Taiwan

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will visit Taiwan in coming days, making the highest level visit by a US official in 40 years in a move likely to anger China which claims the island as its own.

“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” Azar said in a statement.

“I look forward to conveying President Trump’s support for Taiwan’s global health leadership and underscoring our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health.”

03:09 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports deadliest day of pandemic

Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria has reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak with 15 deaths in the last 24 hours and a record daily rise in infections.

The state reported 725 new cases compared with 439 a day earlier.

It recorded its previous one-day high of 723 cases and 13 deaths last week.

02:08 GMT – US gov’t urged to let other firms make remdesivir

A bipartisan group of state attorneys general has urged the US government to allow other companies to make Gilead Sciences’ COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, to increase its availability and lower the price of the antiviral drug.

The coalition of more than 30 state attorneys general called on the government to act or allow states to do so, saying in a letter to US health agencies that Gilead “has not established a reasonable price” for remdesivir.

“Gilead should not profit from the pandemic and it should be pushed to do more to help more people,” the letter said.

WHO COVID Debrief on global coronavirus vaccine efforts (4:08)

The drugmaker is charging most US patients $3,120 per course, or $520 per vial of remdesivir.

Gilead said in a statement that the AGs were misrepresenting facts about access to remdesivir and that the regulatory actions proposed are unauthorised under these circumstances and would do nothing to speed up access.

The medicine is one of only two that have demonstrated an ability to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients in formal clinical trials.

01:39 GMT – Australia’s Queensland shuts state border

Australia’s Queensland state will close its border with New South Wales (NSW) state to hold back a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

A surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city, has forced the state of Victoria to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s movements and order most businesses to stop trading from Wednesday night.

Other states are imposing new restrictions of their own to prevent any spillover from Victoria and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has already shut her northeastern state’s border to Victorians, said travellers from NSW and the capital Canberra also would be barred from Saturday.

“We have seen that Victoria is not getting better, and we’re not going to wait for New South Wales to get worse. We need to act,” Palaszczuk said at a news conference in Brisbane.

00:45 GMT – US fraud losses near $100m

US losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100m since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of COVID-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group has said.

A report from the Socialcatfish.com, based on government data, highlighted the vast scope of a fast-growing criminal cottage industry – from phoney stimulus-check offers to shopping scams and fake cures – preying on people already distressed by the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania – the most populous of the 50 US states – to be the five most targeted by coronavirus scams in the country.

Together, they accounted for about a third of more than 150,000 instances of COVID-related fraud reported nationally by the Federal Trade Commission from mid-March, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, through July, the report published on Tuesday showed.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

For all the key coronavirus-related developments from yesterday, August 4, click here.

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World

The poisoning of Alexey Navalny: Five key things to know

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What happened on the day Navalny fell ill?

On August 20, a Thursday, Alexey Navalny, Russia’s leading Kremlin critic, had finished up campaigning for opposition politicians in Siberia for local elections, which were taking place from September 11 to 13. 

He left Xander Hotel and headed for the Tomsk Bogashevo airport. There, he drank a cup of tea. He was on the way to Moscow.

In the first half-hour of the flight, he fell ill and witnesses said he screamed in pain. He was later in a coma.

He was airlifted to Germany’s capital, a six-hour flight, to the Berlin Charite hospital.The plane made an emergency landing at Omsk. He received treatment in the Russian city, where doctors said he was too unwell to be moved, but two days later on August 22, a Saturday, they said his life was not in danger.

Was he poisoned? 

Navalny’s team believes he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, a claim several European countries support.

A laboratory in Germany said it had confirmation on September 2, followed by laboratories in France and Sweden on September 14.

Samples from Navalny have also been sent to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague for testing.

Russia says there is no evidence to prove Navalny was poisoned, while its ally Belarus has also doubted the claim. The doctors in Omsk said they had not detected poisonous substances in Navalny’s body. 

US President Donald Trump has been criticised for towing Russia’s line, saying on September 4 – two days after Germany’s claim to have “unequivocal evidence” – that “we have not had any proof yet”.

How is Navalny’s condition now?

On September 7, more than two weeks after falling ill on the plane, Navalny’s doctors in Germany said he was out of a coma and that his condition was improving. His spokeswoman said, “Gradually, he will be switched off from a ventilator.”

On September 15, Navalny posted on Instagram that he was breathing alone. He has said he plans to return to Russia. 

If he was poisoned, who may have poisoned him and where?

Navalny’s team believes he was poisoned at the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin – a claim the Kremlin has strongly denied. 

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh had initially said she believed Navalny’s tea at the airport was poisoned, but on September 17, his team said the nerve agent was detected on an empty water bottle from his hotel room in the Tomsk, suggesting he was poisoned there and not at the airport. 

What effect has the alleged poisoning had?

The alleged attack has widened a rift between Europe and Russia, with Germany and France leading calls for a full investigation but stopping short of outrightly blaming the Russian government. 

MEPs have called for sanctions against Russia, saying on September 17, “The poison used, belonging to the ‘Novichok group’, can only be developed in state-owned military laboratories and cannot be acquired by private individuals, which strongly implies that Russian authorities were behind the attack.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Germany’s ambassador to Moscow, while the United Kingdom has summoned the Russian envoy over the incident.

For its part, Moscow rejects what it called the politicisation of the issue.

Significantly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure to halt the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which transfers Russian gas to Germany. Once again, the Kremlin has warned not to involve the Navalny case in any discussion about the pipeline, with Dmitry Peskov saying on September 16, “It should stop being mentioned in the context of any politicisation.”


A timeline of events surrounding the alleged poisoning attack on Navalny: 

August 20 – Navalny falls ill on flight; plane makes emergency landing in Omsk; his spokeswoman says he was poisoned, perhaps by the tea he drank at the airport

August 22 – Navalny airlifted to Berlin Charite hospital 

September 2 – Germany says it has ‘unequivocal evidence’ Navalny was poisoned, Russia responds by saying the claim is not backed by evidence

September 4 – US President Donald Trump says ‘we do not have any proof yet’

September 6 – Heiko Maas, German foreign minister, threatens action over gas pipeline project, saying, ‘I hope the Russians don’t force us to change our position on Nord Stream 2’

September 7 – German doctors say Navalny is out of an artificial coma

September 11-13 – Russia holds local elections; Navalny’s allies make gains in Siberian cities

September 15 – Navalny posts on Instagram that he is breathing alone

September 16 – Kremlin spokesman warns against politicising Navalny issue in discussions over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Germany

September 17 – Navalny’s team now suspects he was poisoned in his hotel room, not the airport, citing traces of nerve agent on an empty water bottle

September 17 – MEPs call for sanctions against Russia 

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Former Canada PM Turner, in office for just 11 weeks, dies

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John Turner, Canada’s 17th prime minister who held the office for just 79 days in 1984, died on Saturday aged 91.

Former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner, who was in office for only 11 weeks in the 1980s, has died at age 91, Canadian media outlets reported on Saturday.

Turner served as the country’s 17th prime minister and, despite his short tenure at the helm of a Liberal Party government in 1984, he spent decades in Canadian federal politics.

Turner took over from Pierre Elliott Trudeau – current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s father – in late June 1984 at a time of increasing voter fatigue with the Liberals, who had been in power for 20 of the previous 21 years.

At that point, he had already held the posts of finance and justice minister.

But his 79-day tenure as prime minister was the second shortest in Canadian history. He resigned as Liberal leader in 1990 and was replaced by Jean Chretien, who led the party to victory in 1993.

Turner’s time in federal politics was perhaps best remembered for his battles with former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, especially over free trade with the United States, CBC News reported.

‘Distinguished service’

On Saturday, legislators from across the Canadian political spectrum shared their memories of Turner, whom many described as being deeply devoted to the public service, and sent their condolences to his family.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who held the post from 2006 to 2015, said Turner “served his family and country with great dignity”.

“His legacy and commitment to public service will be remembered for generations,” Harper tweeted.

Liberal parliament member Yvan Baker said Turner was one of his early political role models.

“Canada meant everything to him, and he will be remembered for his life-long & distinguished service to this country,” Baker wrote on Twitter, alongside an image of himself with the late former prime minister.

Deeply saddened to learn former PM John Turner has passed away. He was one of my first political role models. Canada meant everything to him, and he will be remembered for his life-long & distinguished service to this country. My sympathies to his family at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/U1Mq6pX1ZE

— Yvan Baker, MP (@Yvan_Baker) September 19, 2020

Bob Rae, a longtime politician and now Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Turner was many things – a lawyer, Rhodes scholar, athlete – but a “believer above all in the public service”.

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous-Crown Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, said she would miss Turner’s “wise counsel”.

“He cared deeply about this country and our democratic institutions. We must now all carry his torch as we build an even better Canada,” she tweeted.

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Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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Trump bans TikTok over security concerns

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From: Inside Story

More than 100 million Americans will not be able to download two of the world’s most popular apps from Sunday.

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