Yoshihide- Covid-19 wrap: Japanese urged to watch Olympics on TV, Tanzania to join COVAX, UK mulls vaccine passport
Keeping you up to date on
the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.
Coronavirus toll at 10:00 (GMT) Thursday
Paris – The novel coronavirus has killed at least 3
835 238 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according
to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 10:00 (GMT) on Thursday.
At least 176 966 040 cases of coronavirus have been
The vast majority have recovered, though some have
continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.
The figures are based on daily reports provided by
health authorities in each country.
They exclude revisions made by other statistical
organisations, which show that the number of deaths is much higher.
The World Health Organisation estimates that the
pandemic’s overall toll could be two to three times higher than official records,
due to the excess mortality that is directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19.
A large number of the less severe or asymptomatic
cases also remain undetected, despite intensified testing in many countries.
On Wednesday, 10 887 new deaths and 401 224 new
cases were recorded worldwide.
Based on latest reports, the countries with the
most new deaths were Brazil with 2 997, followed by India with 2 330 and
Argentina with 646.
The United States is the worst-affected country
with 600 653 deaths from 33 498 511 cases.
After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil
with 493 693 deaths from 17 628 588 cases, India with 381 903 deaths from 29 700
313 cases, Mexico with 230 624 deaths from 2 463 390 cases, and Peru with 189 522
deaths from 2 015 190 cases.
Tokyo coronavirus emergency to end 20 June, month before Olympics
Tokyo – A virus state of emergency in Tokyo and
several other regions will be lifted on 20 June, just over a month before the
Olympics, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Thursday.
But in its place, the government will implement
so-called “quasi-emergency” measures in the capital and several other
areas until 11 July, limiting alcohol sales and opening hours for bars and
Japan Prime Minister Suga urges Japanese to watch Olympics on TV
to prevent spread of Covid-19
TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on
Thursday called on the public to watch the upcoming Tokyo Olympics on TV to
avoid the spread of Covid-19 infections, as the organisers debate whether to
allow domestic spectators into Olympic venues.
Suga, speaking at a news conference to announce the
lifting of some Covid-19 restrictions in Tokyo and several other areas, said
that the most important thing was to avoid a rebound in the number of
infections and the collapse of the medical system.
Tanzania to request to join COVAX vaccine-sharing facility – WHO
NAIROBI – Tanzania plans to request to join the
COVAX global vaccine-sharing facility, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said
on Thursday, the latest sign of the country’s change of tack following the
death of its Covid-19 skeptic president in March.
Former president John Magufuli had underplayed the
pandemic and expressed skepticism of vaccines, but his successor Samia Suluhu
Hassan has sought to gradually bring the country into line with global public
standards for tackling Covid-19.
The nation of more than 58 million people is one of
just four African countries that have yet to start vaccination campaigns,
according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have received information that Tanzania is
now formally working to join the COVAX facility,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO
regional director for Africa, told a news conference.
Britain considers vaccine passports to restart
LONDON – Britain is looking at easing travel
restrictions, including allowing those who are double vaccinated against Covid-19
to enjoy a foreign holiday without intrusive red tape, a step that indicates
vaccine passports are firmly back on the agenda.
Countries in the European Union last week agreed to
an easing of travel restrictions over summer that will allow fully vaccinated
tourists to avoid tests or quarantines and broaden the list of EU regions from
which it is safe to travel.
Britain, whose vaccination programme has seen more
than half of adults receive both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, is now considering
similar plans, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Asked about the report, Financial Secretary to the
Treasury Jesse Norman said that nothing was ruled out in considering how to reopen
travel, but they would be cautious in introducing plans for so-called “vaccine
“We are trying to move cautiously and
progressively in the right direction so I wouldn’t write anything off at this
point,” Norman told Sky News, adding that the virus was not something that
could be controlled,
“(So) it would be imprudent to make any carte
blanche or… firm statement now.”
Costa Rica rejects delivery of Sinovac Covid-19
vaccine, says it is not effective enough
SAN JOSE – Costa Rican health authorities on
Wednesday said that after studying the available clinical studies, they had
decided to reject the delivery of Sinovac Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine for the
time being, saying it was not effective enough.
Earlier this month however, Uruguay released real-world
data on the impact of Sinovac’s vaccine among its population that showed it was
over 90% effective in preventing intensive care admissions and deaths.
Denmark to immunise 12-15 year-olds against Covid-19
ahead of winter
COPENHAGEN – Denmark will offer Covid-19 vaccines
for children aged 12-15 after the adult population has been inoculated, to
boost its overall immunity against the virus ahead of winter, health
authorities said on Thursday.
Initially, Denmark will only offer Pfizer‘s Covid-19
vaccine for 12-15 year-olds, as it is the only vaccine approved by the EU’s
drug regulator for use in adolescents, the Danish Health Authority said in a
In late May, the EU’s drug regulator cleared Pfizer
and BioNTech‘s Covid-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, and expects
to announce its decision on the use of Moderna‘s shot in adolescents sometime
“An expansion of the target group to the
12-15-year-olds is necessary to ensure even greater immunity in the population,
and thus ensure control of the epidemic in Denmark,” the head of the
Danish Health Authority, Soren Brostrom, said.
SYDNEY/CANBERRA – Australia will recommend only
people over 60 receive AstraZeneca‘s Covid-19 vaccine, the country’s Minister
for Health Greg Hunt said on Thursday, following a spate of blood clots in
those who have received the inoculation.
Australia has administered 3.3 million doses of the
AstraZeneca vaccine, and it has been linked to 60 cases of blood clots, the
government has said. So far, two people have died, which Hunt said has driven
the policy shift.
“The government places safety above all
else,” Hunt told reporters in Canberra.
“This updated advice received today is based
on new evidence demonstrating a higher risk for the very rare (thrombocytopenia
syndrome) condition in the 50-59 year-old age group.”
Australia in April moved to limit the use of the
AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 50 years old.
Brazil reports 2 997 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours – health
BRASILIA – Brazil has had 95 367 new cases of
coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 2 997 deaths from Covid-19, the
health ministry said on Wednesday.
The South American country has now registered 17 628
588 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to
493 693, according to ministry data, in the world’s third worst outbreak outside
the United States and India and its second-deadliest.
India reports 67 208 new Covid-19 cases, 2 330
BENGALURU – India reported on Thursday 67 208 new Covid-19
infections over the past 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed.
The South Asian country’s total Covid-19 case load
now stands at 29.70 million, while total fatalities are at 381 903, the data
showed. India’s coronavirus-related deaths rose by 2 330 overnight.
Russia reports 14 057 new Covid-19 cases, 416
MOSCOW – Russia on Thursday reported 14 057 new Covid-19
cases, including 6 195 in Moscow, pushing the national infection tally to 5 264
047 since the pandemic began.
The government coronavirus task force confirmed 416
coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 127 992.
The state statistics agency, which keeps separate
figures, has said that Russia recorded around 270 000 deaths related to Covid-19
from April 2020 to April 2021.
Indonesia reports 12 624 new Covid-19 cases, highest
rise since January
JAKARTA – Indonesia reported on Thursday 12 624 new
coronavirus infections, the biggest increase since 30 January, health ministry
The total number of infections rose to 1 950 276,
while the health ministry also reported 277 new Covid-19 deaths, taking total
fatalities to 53 753.
Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 1 330
BERLIN – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased
by 1 330 to 3 718 955, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious
diseases showed on Thursday.
The reported death toll rose by 105 to 90 179, the tally showed.
Taiwan reports 175 new domestic Covid-19 cases
TAIPEI – Taiwan reported 175 new domestic Covid-19 infections
on Thursday, up from the previous day’s figure of 167.