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Britain reports more than 32,000 new Covid cases

Coronavirus pandemic has killed over 4.4 million people and infected over 211.3 million globally. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for August 21:

Vials labelled “Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed UK flag, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021. (Reuters)

Saturday, August 21, 2021

UK sees more than 32,000 infections

Britain has recorded 32,058 new cases of Covid-19, government data showed, and reported a further 104 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

The data compared with 37,314 new cases reported on Friday and 114 deaths

Nearly 7,500 infections reported in Italy

Italy has reported 45 coronavirus-related deaths against 49 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 7,470 from 7,224.

Italy has registered 128,728 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 4.48 million cases to date.

Turkey records 232 coronavirus-related deaths

Turkey has administered nearly 88.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since launching a mass immunisation campaign in January, according to official figures.

According to the Health Ministry, over 45.8 million people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 34.9 million are now fully vaccinated.

Turkey has also given third booster shots to over 7.5 million people.

The data showed that 73.78 percent of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine.

The ministry also confirmed 19,351 new infections and 232 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, while as many as 13,163 more patients recovered.

Vietnam records over 11,000 new infections

Vietnam has reported 11,321 coronavirus infections, a record daily tally.

Most of the new cases were detected in Ho Chi Minh City and its neighbouring province of Binh Duong, the Health Ministry said.

The country has recorded 336,700 infections and at least 7,540 fatalities overall.

Palau loses virus-free status with first Covid cases

The tiny Pacific nation of Palau reported its first cases of coronavirus, losing its prized status as one of the world’s few Covid-free countries as authorities appealed for calm.

Two travellers, who tested positive after arriving from Guam, have been placed in quarantine along with their known contacts.

Russia sees nearly 800 deaths

Russia has reported 797coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours and 21,000 new cases, including 1,852 in the capital Moscow.

The country has vaccinated more than 43 million people so far against Covid-19 out of a population of more than 144 million, the RIA news agency reported on Friday, citing the health ministry.

Vietnam calls in army for strict virus lockdown

Vietnam’s government says it is sending troops to Ho Chi Minh City to help deliver food and aid to households as it further tightens restrictions on people’s movements amid a worsening surge of the coronavirus.

The army personnel will be deployed to help with logistics as the city of 10 million people asks residents to “stay put” for two weeks starting from Monday, a report on the government website said.

Toronto’s hospital network to sack unvaccinated employees

A healthcare network that operates several hospitals in Toronto said it would sack any staff members who are not fully vaccinated by the end of October.

The University Health Network (UHN), which includes the Toronto General hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, said employees who are not vaccinated by October 8 will be placed on unpaid leave for two weeks. They will then be terminated if their vaccination status does not change by the end of the month.

Shanghai places hundreds in quarantine after airport Covid-19 cases

Authorities in Shanghai have quarantined hundreds of people in an attempt to halt a fresh Covid-19 outbreak in the city after infections were detected in cargo workers at its airport, the municipal government said.

Some 120 people deemed close contacts of the infected five workers at Pudong Airport were placed into quarantine, along with hundreds of others deemed secondary contacts.

Two of the cargo workers, a Chinese national and an Ethiopian national, were included among four locally transmitted cases in mainland China’s tally of 20 new confirmed infections for August 20, announced.

US FDA aims to give full nod to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine Monday

The US Food and Drug Administration is aiming to give full approval to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, the New York Times has reported on.

Regulators had been working to finish the process by Friday, but were still working through “a substantial amount of paperwork and negotiation with the company,” the Times said, citing people familiar with the planning who were not authorised to speak publicly about it.

The agency had set an unofficial deadline for approval of around Labor Day, the newspaper said.

Australia’s Victoria reports 61 local cases

Australia’s second most populous state Victoria reported 61 new locally acquired coronavirus cases in the 24-hour period to Friday evening, health officials said.

There were an additional 16 local cases that were recorded on a rapid testing platform and will be reported in Sunday’snumbers, officials said.

Melbourne, home to five million people, entered into its sixth lockdown on Augugst 5, just weeks after exiting the last one, to quell an outbreak of the highly transmissible Deltavariant.

Australia’s New South Wales reports record 825 cases

Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, has reported a record 825 locally acquired daily Covid-19 infections on Saturday, up from 644 cases seen in the previous day.

There were three deaths reported overnight from the current outbreak of the highly transmissible coronavirus Delta variant, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a televised briefing.

New Zealand reports 21 locally acquired cases

New Zealand has recorded 21 new cases of Covid-19, bringing infections associated with the current community outbreak to 51, officials said.

Mexico reports 21,897 new cases, 761 more deaths

Mexico’s health ministry has reported 21,897 new cases of Covid-19 and 761 more deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country since the pandemic began to 3,197,108 and the death toll to 252,080.

Euro 2020 final at Wembley was a “superspreader” event

The Euro 2020 final at London’s Wembley Stadium in July was a “superspreader” event because about 2,300 people who attended the match were “likely to be infectious” with the coronavirus at the time, The Times newspaper has reported, citing UK government findings.

A further 3,404 people who attended the match between Italy and England went on to develop Covid-19 shortly after the July 11 event and may have contracted the virus at Wembley, Public Health England found, according to the newspaper.

Brazil has 870 deaths in 24 hours, lowest Friday toll since Jan 1

Brazil has had 33,887 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 870 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry said.

The South American country has now registered 20,528,099 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 573,511, according to ministry data, in the world’s third worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest after the United States.

It was the lowest death toll for a Friday since January 1.

As vaccination advances in Brazil, the rolling 7-day average of Covid deaths has fallen to less than one third of the toll of almost 3,000 a day at the peak of the pandemic in April.

WHO urges experts to join advisory group to probe new pathogens

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged experts to join its new Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) after criticism from China that a new study had been “politicized.”

The SAGO will advise the WHO on technical and scientific concerns on the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, and will be composed of a “wide range of experts acting in their personal capacity.”

SAGO will guide the WHO on the next steps for understanding the SARS-CoV-2 origins but China has not stated clearly that it will accept the group.

US gives 500,000 vaccine doses to Kosovo – Blinken

The United States has donated 500,000 doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine to Kosovo through the COVAX distribution scheme, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter.

The shipment comes amid a US vaccine diplomacy effort that has sent vaccines to dozens of countries. Washington also sent close to 600,000 doses of the same vaccine to Angola and 200,000 to Togo, White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said on Twitter.

It also comes just days after Kosovo on August 15 offered to provide temporary refuge to US-affiliated Afghans at risk after the Taliban seized power.

Blinken said the “gift represents the shared values and unwavering bonds between our people.”

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