Catalas for Latin American coronavirus death 250,000: Live updates | News

  • The French Ministry of Health reported 4,711 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, a new post-lockdown record and a level last seen during the height of the epidemic in France.

  • Germany confirmed 1,707 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since April, official figures showed.

  • Brazil cautiously expressed optimism that the country’s coronavirus outbreak could be about to slow, with cases and deaths on a weekly basis falling out of its peaks at the end of July.

  • More than 22.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and more than 14.4 million have been recovered. More than 790,500 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, August 21st

04:27 GMT – Peru, Morocco to test China’s Sinopharm vaccine

Authorities in Peru and Morocco have approved Phase 3 clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the company said late Thursday.

Phase 3 studies, which typically involve several thousand participants, allow researchers to gather data on the effectiveness of potential vaccines for definitive regulatory approvals.

The experimental vaccine of CNBG, a unit of the state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), has undergone a Phase 3 trial in the United Arab Emirates that has already recruited 15,000 volunteers.

It has also received approval to test in Bahrain in a Phase 3 study designed to involve about 6,000 participants.

03:55 GMT – Stay-at-home order in Sittwe of Myanmar

Health authorities ordered residents of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state Myanmar, to stay home after three more locally transmitted cases were detected, according to the Myanmar Times newspaper.

A total of nine cases have been reported in Rakhine since August 16, when authorities discovered Myanmar’s first locally transferred case in nearly a month.

Buses and flights have stopped operations in and out of Sittwe since Thursday.

For years, Rakhine has been embroiled in conflict between military and ethnic groups in search of greater autonomy. The restive state is also home to the Rohingya, a persecuted mostly Muslim minority, many of whom now live in camps for displaced persons.

03:32 GMT – Biden says his top priority is ‘getting virus control’

Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, said his “first step” as president-elect of the United States would be to “gain control of the virus that has devastated so many lives.”

Speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Biden said: “We will never get our economy back on track, we will never get our children back to schools, we will never have our lives back until we deal with this virus.”

His plan to contain the pandemic included the development and deployment of rapid tests, the strengthening of protection towers and the establishment of a national mandate for masks.

Biden also offered a wild assessment of Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic: “Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to the nation: he has failed to protect us.”

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden accepts Democratic presidential nomination in 2020

Joe Biden accepts the nomination of the Democratic president in 2020 during a speech delivered for the largely virtual Democratic National Convention of 2020 by the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, US, August 20, 2020 [Kevin Lamarque/ Reuters]

03:12 GMT – New Zealand defends lockdown decision

New Zealand reported nine new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus, and issued a decision on reducing restrictions in its largest city, Auckland, until next week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would announce on Monday if the government will limit the level 3 restriction in Auckland, and level 2 measures in the rest of the country.

02:41 GMT – Germany takes on more debt in 2021

Germany will have to take on even more debt in 2021 to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on the economy, said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

“Next year we will continue to be forced to suspend the debt rule and spend a lot of funds to protect the health of citizens and stabilize the economy,” Scholz said in an interview with the media group Funke, referring to Germany’s coveted policy of a to keep budget balanced.

Scholz has already planned to borrow around 218 billion euros ($ 258 billion) this year to pay for an enormous rescue package to steer the country through the coronavirus-caused downturn.

The minister said he expected the German economy to recover from the virus shock and return to pre-crisis levels “by the end of next year and the beginning of 2022”.

02:26 GMT – New virus cases in Victoria’s Australia hit five weeks low

Victoria’s Australia reported its lowest number of new infections in five weeks, recording 179 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared to 240 a day earlier and down from more than 700 two weeks ago.

The decline in cases comes after authorities introduced a nocturnal balance and major swathes shut down Victoria’s economy. The state reported nine deaths.

Despite the second outbreak of the wave in Victoria, Australia has for the most part prevented the high casualties of other nations with just under 24,500 infections and 450 deaths due to the virus.


A man with a face mask crosses a quiet road in Melbourne’s Chinatown on 13 August 2020 [William West/ AFP]

02:11 GMT – Japan to reduce redevelopment of foreign residents

Japan plans to launch its COVID-19 entry restrictions on foreign nationals with resident visas early next month, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Again, visa holders, including permanent residents and exchange students, will be allowed on condition that they undergo 14 days of coronavirus testing and quarantine, the same policy that applies to Japanese citizens re-entering the country, according to NHK.

01:58 GMT – Mexico to receive 2,000 doses of Russian vaccine for testing

Mexico will receive at least 2,000 doses of Russia’s potential COVID-19 vaccine, called ‘Sputnik V’, for testing among its population, according to the Mexican Foreign Minister.

Marcelo Ebrard called the Russian offer “very good news”.

Mexico has already agreed to help produce a vaccine candidate being developed by the British AstraZeneca and Oxford University to supply the Latin American market. It is also preparing for late-stage trials for US company Johnson & Johnson and two Chinese companies.

COVID-19 vaccine: Security concerns as countries rush to cure (2:24)

01:46 GMT – Extreme poverty ‘could increase by 100 million’

David Malpass, the president of the World Bank, warned that the coronavirus pandemic could drive as many as 100 million people back into extreme poverty.

The Washington-based development developer previously estimated that 60 million people would fall into extreme poverty because of COVID-19, but the new estimate puts the decline at 70 to 100 million, and Malpass told the AFP news agency “that number could go higher” than the pandemic is getting worse or dragging on.

The situation makes it “imperative” that creditors reduce the amount of debt that is at risk by poor countries, going beyond the promise to close down debt payments, he added.

01:07 GMT – Morocco may re-enter

King Mohammed VI warned that Morocco could return to a full lockon of coronavirus amid a jump in infections that have strained health services and provoked protests by medical staff.

New cases nationwide have increased to more than 1,000 per day since Morocco lifted an endless three-month lockdown in late June and hit a record high of 1,766 on August 15th.

“As numbers continue to increase, the COVID-19 Scientific Committee may recommend another lockdown, perhaps with even stricter restrictions,” the king said in a speech.

As of Thursday, Morocco had recorded a total of 47,638 cases, including 775 deaths and 32,806 recaptures.

START HERE | Coronavirus: What are they doing wrong? (9:03)

00:57 GMT – Canada expands emergency aid

Canada announced a four-week extension of emergency assistance for people losing their jobs due to the pandemic, and a release of unemployment benefit qualification rules if that expires.

Officials estimate the cost of the new measures at 37 billion Canadian dollars ($ 28 billion) over one year.

About 4.5 million Canadians, or 12 percent of the population, currently receive $ 2,000 a month in emergency assistance. That will now be in place until September 27th.

Subsequently, reporters will be transferred to an unemployment benefit program.

00:33 GMT – Peruvian, Argentine economies report huge cases

Peru’s year-on-year gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 30 percent in the second quarter of 2020 due to measures to contain coronavirus, the government said.

In Peru, compulsory detention took place throughout the second quarter and was only lifted on 1 July in the majority of the country. The sectors least affected by the economy were mining, down 20.9 per cent; processing, with 44.5 percent down; and services, down 28.3 percent, said the State Statistics and Information Institute.

In Argentina, official data showed that the country’s economy declined by almost 13 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.

The year-on-year decline in GDP for June was 12.3 percent, although that was an improvement on April and May.

Brazilian tourism concerns plagued by COVID-19 pandemic (2:37)

00:27 GMT – Latin America’s death toll rises to 250,000

The death toll from COVID-19 in Latin America exceeded 250,000 on Thursday, according to a Reuters census.

The angry milestone was passed as Brazil reported 1,204 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours.

Over the past week, the region has reported more than 3,000 deaths per day, while daily caseloads continue to increase in Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

00:16 GMT – The cases of Brazil are top 3.5 million

Brazil reported 45,323 new cases of the new coronavirus and 1,204 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said.

Brazil has now registered 3,501,975 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from COVID-19 has been increased to 112,304, according to ministry data.

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

Go here for all the major developments from yesterday 20 August.