• India confirms 69,878 new infections – the fourth straight day above 60,000.

  • Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, said he would shut down the United States to contain its coronavirus outbreak if experts recommended such a measure. 

  • Brazil’s COVID-19 outbreak is stabilising and any reversal of the virus’s rampant spread in the vast country would be “a success for the world”, the World Health Organization said.
  • More than 22.9 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world, and more than 14.7 million have recovered. More than 799,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, August 22

11:20 GMT – France delays launch of COVID-19 economic reboot plan to September

The French government said on Saturday it would unveil details of its 100 billion euro ($118 billion) plan to reinvigorate the economy in the first week of September, instead of next Tuesday, as it focuses on preparing the new school term.

“The recovery plan is ready, the timetable for its implementation still stands,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said in a statement.

Schools are set to reopen on September 1, after most were closed during a two-month lockdown earlier this year to fight the coronavirus, and the government is working to ensure protective measures will be adequate, Attal said.

10:45 GMT – Argentina joins Chinese coronavirus vaccine trial, maker says

Argentina joined Peru, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates in approving Phase 3 clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the company said late Friday.

As China forges ahead in the global race to develop a vaccine to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and as cases within China dwindle, CNBG needs research participants from other countries for testing.

Scientists develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease in Saint Petersburg

Phase 3 trials, which usually involve several thousand participants, allow researchers to gather data on the efficacy of potential vaccines for final regulatory approvals [Anton Vaganov/Reuters]

0:10 GMT – Qatar reports 284 infections

Qatar confirmed 284 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the country’s total to 116,765.

The country’s public health ministry said 315 people recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours. At least 113,531 recovered from coronavirus in the Middle Eastern country.

A field hospital set up by Qatari authorities to treat people infected with the coronavirus Covid-19 is pictured of May 11, 2020 in Doha. Qatar has established a series of field hospitals to treat pat

 As of Saturday, 193 people have died from the virus in Qatar [Karim Jaafar/AFP]

09:40 GMT – Philippines reports 4,933 infections, 26 deaths

The Philippines reported 4,933 infections of the new coronavirus on Saturday, the fifth straight day above 4,000, and 26 COVID-19 deaths.

In a bulletin, the health ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 187,249 while confirmed deaths have reached 2,966.

VIRUS OUTBREAK PHILIPPINES

The Philippines has the most infections in Southeast Asia, and second-highest number of deaths, behind Indonesia [Aaron Favila]

09:15 GMT – Coronavirus cases in India approach three million

India reported a record daily jump of coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the total near 3 million and piling pressure on authorities to curb huge gatherings as a major religious festival began.

The 69,878 new infections – the fourth straight day above 60,000 – take India’s total cases to 2.98 million, behind only the United States and Brazil.

COVID-19 deaths increased by 945 to 55,794, data from the federal health ministry showed.

Residence of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan after he and son actor Abhishek Bachchan tests positive for coronavirus disease (CIVID-19) in Mumbai

Almost 70,000 new cases reported in India where more than 55,000 people have died of the coronavirus [Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]

08:15 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus infection tally passes 950,000

Russia reported 4,921 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing its confirmed national tally up to 951,897.

Authorities said 121 people had died of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, raising the official death toll to 16,310.

outside image - Russia vaccine

Only US and Brazil have confirmed more infections than Russia [EPA]

07:45 GMT – Czech authorities report 506 new cases in record daily increase

The Czech authorities recorded 506 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number of new infections in one day since the outbreak began there.

Czech has so far reported 21,551 confirmed cases of the virus, with 411 deaths, including 19 over the past week.

The Czech government was among the first in Europe to introduce curbs on movement and business as the outbreak took hold. It began to lift restrictions since May but has reintroduced some measures as cases rose in recent weeks.

07:05 GMT – Germany reports more than 2,000 cases

The number of coronavirus infections in Germany surpassed 2,000 in the previous 24 hours, a high not seen since the end of April, authorities said on Saturday.

The RKI health institute said it registered 2,034 new cases and seven more deaths, taking the total fatalities to 9,267 and cases to 232,082.

06:40 GMT – Ukraine reports daily record 2,328 infections

Ukraine registered a record 2,328 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, officials said on Saturday.

The data given by the national council of security and defence surpassed the previous single-day record of 2,134, reported on Thursday.

Total cases are at 102,971, with 2,244 COVID-19 deaths.

outside image - germany

Infections have risen sharply in Ukraine in recent days [Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters]

06:25 GMT – Travelers from France to UK must self-certify no coronavirus symptoms

Travelers from France to the United Kingdom will be required to self-certify that they are not suffering coronavirus symptoms or have been in contact with a confirmed case within 14 days preceding travel, the British government said.

The United Kingdom has said travelers returning from France on or after August 15 should self-isolate upon their return, due to high COVID-19 infection rates in France.

The imposition of quarantine conditions have hit Britons’ favourite holiday destinations in the middle of summer and as the travel industry fights for survival.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London

Other countries including Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia and Austria are already on the UK’s quarantine list [Peter Nicholls [Reuters]

06:10 GMT – 

Hello, I’m Hamza Mohamed in Doha, Qatar taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

04:24 GMT – Moderna says more than 40 percent of participants enrolled for vaccine trial

Drug developer Moderna Inc says it has so far enrolled 13,194 participants in the continuing late-stage 30,000-volunteer US trial testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

In a tweet, the company also said 18 percent of the participants currently enrolled are Black, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, groups among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Moderna began the study of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in July and expects to complete enrolment in September.

03:46 GMT – S Korea orders nationwide restrictions

South Korea has banned large gatherings, shut down nightspots and churches and removed fans from professional sports nationwide in an attempt to slow a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced the new measures after officials reported 332 newly confirmed cases, marking the ninth straight day of triple-digit increases.

Most of the new cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the centre of the viral surge of recent weeks. But infections were also reported in practically every major city and in towns across the country.

The government had already imposed the tighter restrictions in the capital region earlier this week, a move they resisted for months out of economic concerns.

02:43 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports 13 deaths, 182 cases

Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, has reported 13 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, authorities said, while new infections in the hotspot state remain below 200 for the second consecutive day.

“It’s great to see two days in a row under 200, certainly we are trending down,” said Brett Sutton, the state’s chief health officer. “The best way to safeguard against a third wave is to bring that number down to the lowest feasible, possible level.”

The state reported 182 new cases on Saturday, up from the 179 new cases and nine deaths a day earlier, but down from more than 700 a day two weeks ago.

01:53 GMT – Boeing testing hand-held UV wand to sanitise cockpits, cabins

Boeing Co said it is developing a hand-held wand that emits ultraviolet light to neutralise bacteria and viruses, part of a suite of methods to disinfect flight deck surfaces and controls, as well as surfaces throughout the cabin.

The wand would eliminate the need for using alcohol or other disinfectants that could damage sensitive electronic equipment, Rae Lutters, chief engineer for Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator programme, told a media briefing.

01:18 GMT – Biden says he will shut down US if experts said to

Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, says he would do whatever was needed to keep the US safe amid the coronavirus pandemic even if that meant shutting down the country.

“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden said in an interview with ABC.

“In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus.” And if scientists recommended shutting down the country, “I would shut it down,” Biden added.

The interview airs on Sunday night, but clips were provided on Friday.

00:58 GMT – US closes lanes, adds checks at Mexico border

The US has closed lanes at select ports of entry at the border with Mexico and will conduct more secondary checks to limit non-essential travel and the spread of coronavirus, according to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official.

Non-essential travel has been restricted at the border since March, but the curbs have mostly been applied to Mexican citizens. The new measures appeared to be aimed at US citizens and legal residents living in Mexico.

“We need people to think twice about non-essential travel and to ask themselves if the travel is worth risking their lives and the lives of others,” El Paso CBP spokesman Roger Maier said in a written statement.

00:36 GMT – Nigeria to bar entry for citizens of countries that block Nigerians

Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s aviation minister, told airline and travel industry representatives the Nigerian government will bar entry to nationals of countries that impose travel bans on Nigerians during the coronavirus pandemic.

“If they ban both the passengers and the carriers together, then that’s what’s going to happen,” Sirika said on a Zoom call.

“Our numbers are not equal to the numbers we’ve seen in Europe,” Sirika said, adding that with travel bans, “we feel that it is discriminating against our people”.

Nigeria has 50,951 confirmed coronavirus cases and 992 deaths.

00:20 GMT – South Africa’s cases breach 600,000 mark

South Africa has reported 3,398 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s total to 603,338 infections.

The new figures mark a sharp decline in cases, compared with a peak of more than 13,000 infections a day seen in July. South Africa now accounts for more than half of Africa’s cases and its death toll – 12,483 – makes up about 47 percent of the continent’s deaths.

“We believe that South Africa is in a way moving past the point of the peak of the pandemic; we believe we have gone beyond the inflexion point,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday.


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

For all the key developments from yesterday, August 21, go here



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