WHO says no ‘silver bullet’ to defeat coronavirus: Live updates | News


  • WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there might never be a “silver bullet” answer to the new coronavirus despite the rush to discover effective vaccines.

  • More than 18 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Monday. Almost 11 million have recovered and while nearly 690,000 have died.
  • The US is in a new phase of the outbreak, with infections “extraordinarily widespread” in rural areas as well as cities, a White House expert said as cases hit 4.68 million with more than 155,000 deaths reported.

  • Despite fears of the spread of coronavirus, parliamentary elections will go ahead in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hoping to tighten his hold on the nation’s politics.

  • Millions of COVID-19 tests that work in 90 minutes will be rolled out in the UK, the country’s health minister says. Cases nationwide surpassed 306,000, with more than 46,000 deaths.

  • Brazil has recorded 25,800 additional confirmed cases and 541 deaths, bringing the total to more than 2.73 million cases and more than 94,000 deaths as of the end of Sunday.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, August 3

11:25 GMT – WHO: There may never be a COVID-19 ‘silver bullet’

The World Health Organization has warned that despite strong hopes for a vaccine, there might never be a “silver bullet” for the coronavirus disease, and the road to normality would be long.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan exhorted all nations to rigorously enforce health measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing and testing.

“The message to people and governments is clear: ‘Do it all’,” Tedros told a virtual news briefing from the UN body’s headquarters in Geneva. He said face masks should become a symbol of solidarity round the world.

“A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment – and there might never be.”

11:15 GMT – UK to roll out millions of rapid COVID-19 tests after criticism

UK Government Urges Employees To Return To The Workplace From Today

Many offices in the banking and financial sector in the City of London and across the country remain closed [Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

Millions of COVID-19 tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out in Britain, the country’s health minister, after criticism there has not been enough testing especially in nursing homes.

Capacity will be boosted at hospitals, care homes and laboratories starting from next week, the government said, comprising 5.8 million tests using DNA and 450,000 swab tests. Neither will need to be administered by a health professional.

“The fact these tests can detect flu as well as COVID-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others,” said health minister Matt Hancock, adding that he hopes half a million tests a day would be delivered by the end of October.

10:55 GMT – Greece makes masks compulsory on ship decks after COVID-19 spike

Greece will make mask-wearing compulsory on the decks of ferries sailing to its islands, extending the requirement beyond interior spaces after a recent spike in coronavirus infections, the government’s spokesman said.

Last week Greece made mask-wearing mandatory in all indoor public spaces and also in outdoor spaces where proper social distancing cannot be observed.

The new measure will go into effect from Tuesday until August 18, as the summer holiday season hits its peak.

“Compliance with this measure is crucial to avoid more drastic measures that would reduce passenger load limits on ships,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.

09:38 GMT – Norway’s Hurtigruten halts cruises after COVID-19 outbreak

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tromso

The MS Roald Amundsen ship, operated by Norway’s Hurtigruten line, leaves a port in Tromso after its crew members were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Tromso, Norway [Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix/ via Reuters]

Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten is halting all its so-called expedition cruises until further notice following an outbreak of COVID-19 on one of its vessels last week, the company said.

At least 40 passengers and crew from the MS Roald Amundsen cruise liner have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, public health officials said on Sunday.

“A preliminary evaluation shows a breakdown in several of our internal procedures,” Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam said in statement.

“Our own failure, as well as the recent rise in infections internationally, have led us to halt all expedition cruises in Norwegian and international waters,” he said.

08:55 GMT – Top Indian ministers in hospital as virus cases breach 50,000 for fifth day

India’s interior minister Amit Shah and the chiefs of two big states – Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh – have been hospitalised with COVID-19 as the country’s daily cases topped 50,000 for a fifth straight day.

The country reported 52,972 new confirmed infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1.8 million – the third highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.

With 771 new deaths, the COVID-19 disease has now killed 38,135 people in India, including that of a minister on Sunday in the most-populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

08:05 GMT – Data leak reveals Iran cover-up on COVID-19 deaths: BBC

A BBC Persian service investigation has found the number of deaths from the coronavirus disease in Iran is nearly triple what Iran’s government claims.

The government’s own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with COVID-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

The number of people known to be infected is also almost double the official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827.

07:40 GMT – Melbourne to close retail, scale back other industries until mid September

Australia’s second-biggest city Melbourne has announced fresh restrictions on industries including retail and construction, as it steps up desperate efforts to contain the spread of a resurgent coronavirus.

From Wednesday night, Melbourne will close retail, some manufacturing and administrative businesses as part of a six-week lockdown which is expected to hit 250,000 jobs, roughly the number already impacted.

Meanwhile, the state of Victoria declared a “state of emergency” on Sunday due to a surge in community transmissions.

“As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment… that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus,” Victoria’s state premier Daniel Andrews told a news conference.

07:06 GMT – Poland to check virus regulations followed in shops

Poland reopens the borders with the European Union countries

Poland has made wearing face masks mandatory in public [File: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]

Poland’s health minister said police health authorities would start checks in shops this week to see if people are following regulations to keep their mouths and noses covered.

“This week we are starting inspections in shops… (to see) whether clients are wearing masks, whether the staff are wearing masks,” Lukasz Szumowski told Polish public radio.

06:20 GMT – Vietnam PM says early August ‘decisive time’ to avert large-scale virus spread

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said early August would be a decisive period for preventing large-scale coronavirus spread, which has reemerged after more than three months.

“We have to deploy full force to curb all known epicentres, especially those in Danang,” state broadcaster VTV quoted Phuc as saying.

Phuc said this current wave of infection could have a more “critical impact” than the previous one and ordered officials to both contain the spread and maintain supply chains.


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


 

05:06 GMT – Singapore to make travellers wear electronic tags to enforce quarantine

Singapore will make some incoming travellers wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure compliance with coronavirus quarantines as the city-state gradually reopens its borders.

From August 11, the devices will be given to all travellers coming from a select group of countries who will be allowed to isolate at home rather than at a state-appointed facility, Reuters news agency said.

The travellers are required to activate the device upon reaching their home and must acknowledge all notifications received on the device. Attempts to leave home or tamper with the device will alert the authorities.

04:22 GMT – US registers more than 45,000 new COVID-19 cases, 420 deaths

The United States has registered at least 45,688 new cases as of the end of Sunday, raising the total to 4.68 million from the previous day of 4.64 million, according to the latest Reuters tally on Monday.

Reuters also reported at least 420 new deaths during the same 24-hour period, raising the total to 155,343, compared to 154,923 the previous day.

04:03 GMT – Honduras extends coronavirus curfew for another week

Honduras will extend its coronavirus curfew for another week through to August 9 in an effort to curb the pandemic, Reuters reported, quoting the country’s security ministry.

Honduras first imposed a curfew, in effect between 5pm (23:00 GMT) and 7am (13:00 GMT), in March.

03:48 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 509 to 210,402

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 509 to 210,402, Reuters reported on Monday, quoting the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,148, the tally showed.

03:18 GMT – Sri Lanka polls to go ahead despite spread of coronavirus

Parliamentary elections will go ahead in Sri Lanka on Wednesday despite coronavirus fears. Voters will wear masks, carry their own pens and maintain physical distancing for the poll, which has been postponed twice because of the pandemic. Votes will be counted on Thursday.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes to tighten his hold on the nation’s fractious politics in an election that could elevate his brother and allow the two to change the constitution if they prevail.

Sri Lanka has reported 2,816 infections and 11 COVID-19 deaths as of Sunday. The totals are lower than in neighbouring South Asian countries, held in check by a strict lockdown since March.

Sri Lanka elections

Sri Lanka’s main opposition party leader Sajith Premadasa, centre, waves to supporters during the last day of the election campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Colombo on Sunday [Chamila Karunarathne/EPA]

02:31 GMT – Coronavirus outbreak in Xinjiang subsides, 28 new cases reported

An outbreak in China’s far northwestern region of Xinjiang is still subsiding, with 28 new cases reported Monday, according to AP news agency.

The 590 cases so far have been concentrated in the capital, Urumqi, where authorities have conducted mass testing, cut public transport, isolated some communities, and restricted travel.

02:15 GMT – South Korea reports 23 new COVID-19 cases

South Korea has confirmed 23 new cases – 20 from overseas and three local transmissions – amid a downward trend in the number of locally infected patients, AP reported.

The cases announced on Monday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the country’s total to 14,389 cases and 301 deaths.

Health authorities consider imported cases less threatening to the wider community as they enforce two-week quarantines on all arrivals from overseas.

02:00 GMT – Australia’s Melbourne braces for more business closures as tougher restrictions bite

Australia’s second-biggest city, Melbourne, entered its first day of tougher restrictions to contain a resurgent coronavirus, Reuters reported. State premier Daniel Andrews was expected to announce measures around business closures later on Monday.

The state of Victoria declared a “state of disaster” on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew for the capital as part of the country’s harshest movement restrictions to date, a move backed by the federal government.

Supermarkets will remain open along with restaurant takeaway and delivery services, but some other businesses will be asked to shut down. Schools will move to remote learning from Wednesday.

01:15 GMT – Pope appeals to political leaders create jobs

Pope Francis has called on politicians to create jobs so economies can relaunch from the lockdowns imposed to combat the pandemic, according to AP news agency.

The pope, speaking after the traditional Sunday blessing, said “without work, families and society cannot go forward … It requires lots of solidarity and lots of creativity to resolve this problem.”

The pope’s remarks follow a week in which officials released statistics showing a record plunge in both the US and eurozone economies.

00:55 GMT – Italy’s tally of new virus cases down to 239

The number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy nudged lower to 239 in the last 24 hours, while eight deaths were recorded in Lombardy, the epicentre of the country’s epidemic.

That brings the total number of cases in Italy to 248,070 to date and deaths to 35,154, AP news agency reported early on Monday quoting the country’s health ministry.

The number of daily cases in Italy has hovered between 200-300 for weeks, mostly related to people arriving from outside of Italy, either foreign workers or migrants.

00:25 GMT – Britain to roll out millions of 90-minute coronavirus tests

UK - coronavirus

Britain’s healthcare system has come under severe strain during peaks in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 46,000 people, the fourth-highest toll in the world [Andy Rain/EPA]

Millions of COVID-19 tests – which can offer results in 90 minutes and do not need to be administered by a health professional – will be rolled out to British hospitals, care homes and laboratories in the coming months, Reuters news agency quoted health secretary Matt Hancock as saying.

Separately, the publicly-funded National Health Service said it would be offering “COVID-friendly” treatments to cancer patients, including drugs that do not have a big impact on the immune system.

Britain’s healthcare system has come under severe strain during peaks in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 46,000 people, the fourth-highest toll in the world, according to a Reuters tally collated on Sunday.

00:15 GMT – Mexico reports 4,853 new coronavirus cases, 274 more deaths

Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,853 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 274 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 439,046 cases and 47,746 deaths, according to Reuters news agency.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher.

Mexico

Workers are pictured next to a body bag containing the body of a COVID-19 victim at a crematory in Mexico City on Sunday [Edgard Garrido/Reuters]

00:01 GMT – Brazil registers 25,800 new coronavirus cases, death toll tops 94,000

Brazil has recorded 25,800 additional confirmed cases and 541 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to Reuters news agency quoting the country’s health ministry.

Brazil has registered more than 2.73 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 94,104 as of the end of Sunday, according to the ministry data.

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Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For all the key coronavirus-related developments from yesterday, August 2, click here.



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