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Global coronavirus cases cross 18 million mark: Live updates | News

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  • More than 18 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Monday. Almost 10.64 million patients have recovered and while almost 688,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
  • The United States is in a new phase of the novel coronavirus outbreak with infections “extraordinarily widespread” in rural areas as well as cities, a White House coronavirus experts said, as cases hit 4.6 million with more than 154,000 deaths reported.

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

  • Millions of COVID-19 tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out in the UK to boost capacity in the coming months, the country’s health minister has announced, while cases nationwide surpassed 306,000, with more than 46,000 deaths.

  • Brazil has recorded 25,800 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 541 deaths, bringing the total to more than 2.73 million and more than 94,000 deaths as of the end of Sunday, according to the country’s health ministry.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, August 3

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 coronavirus pandemic, Reuters news agency reported on Monday quoting the country’s security ministry.

Honduras first imposed a curfew, which is in daily effect between 5 pm (2300 GMT) and 7 am (1300 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 news agency reported on Monday quoting data from 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 fears that the coronavirus could spread among the crowd of voters.

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.

Rajapaksa, who claims credit for controlling the spread of the new coronavirus in the island nation, hopes to install his elder brother and former president – current caretaker Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa – in the post formally with an outright election victory.

Voters in the tiny Indian Ocean nation of 21 million people will wear masks, carry their own pens to mark ballot papers and maintain physical distancing for the parliamentary polling that has twice been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Votes will be counted on Thursday.

Sri Lanka has reported 2,816 infections of the new coronavirus 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 rally 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 continuing to subside, with 28 new cases reported Monday, according to AP news agency.

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

Meanwhile, the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong are struggling to contain infections, with more than 200 added over the weekend.

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

South Korea has confirmed 23 additional cases of the coronavirus, amid a downward trend in the number of locally infected patients, AP news agency reported.

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

The agency says 20 new cases came from overseas while the rest were locally infected.

Health authorities have said imported cases are less threatening to the wider community as they enforce two-week quarantines on all people arriving from abroad.

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 the spread of a resurgent coronavirus on Monday as residents braced for further announcements on business closures, Reuters news agency reported.

The state of Victoria declared a “state of emergency” on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew for the capital as part of the country’s harshest movement restrictions to date.

The move was backed by the federal government with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying it was “regrettably necessary” to stop the spread of the pandemic.

State premier Daniel Andrews was expected to announce fresh measures around businesses that must close later on Monday.

Supermarkets will remain open along with restaurant takeaway and delivery services, but some businesses that previously had not been forced to close will be asked to shut down. Schools will move to remote learning from Wednesday.

“This is devastating … nobody wanted it to get to this,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Nine News television.

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

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

The pope, speaking after the traditional Sunday blessing, said that ’”without work, families and society cannot go forward. Let us pray for this, because this will be a problem in the post-pandemic period, the poverty and the lack of jobs. It requires lots of solidarity and lots of creativity to resolve this problem.”

The pontiff also wished the faithful “some days of rest, and contact with nature, to recharge also in the spiritual dimension.”

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 all 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 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 able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out to British hospitals, care homes and laboratories to boost capacity in the coming months, Reuters news agency reported on Monday quoting the country’s health minister.

The tests will comprise 5.8 million tests using DNA and 450,000 swab tests. Neither will need to be administered by a health professional, said Matt Hancock.

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 than the confirmed cases.

Mexico

Crematory workers are pictured next to a body bag containing the body of victim of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 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 of the novel coronavirus and 541 deaths from the disease caused by the virus 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.

_______________________________________________________________

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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Over 200,000 People Have Died in the US: Live Covid-19 Updates

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Three major economies — the United States, China and Russia — have not joined. All three are pursuing their own vaccine plans.

In a virtual appearance before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, insisted that Russia’s vaccine was safe and effective, and offered free shots to U.N. staff. Russia’s approval of the vaccine, which came with much fanfare, occurred before it had been tested in late-stage trials.

More than 130 potential vaccines are estimated to be in development globally.

Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Tuesday that COVAX “represents the most secure means of access, because it includes vaccines from very different countries of the world.”

Mexico has seen one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, with over 700,000 recorded cases, or 555 per 100,000 people, and nearly 74,000 deaths, according to a Times database.

In other news around the world:

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand has apologized after being photographed with supporters without social distancing or masks last week while on the campaign trail, drawing criticism from the public and opposition politicians.

  • The awards ceremony for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been canceled because of the pandemic, the Norwegian Nobel Institute announced on Tuesday. Instead of the usual ceremony at Oslo City Hall, a scaled-back event will be held at the city’s university with a limited number of guests on Dec. 10. The prize will be announced at a news conference on Oct. 9.

  • Russia has reported a sharp rise in the number of new cases, with Moscow the epicenter of a nationwide spike in infections. Official figures released on Tuesday showed 6,215 new cases over the previous 24 hours — a marked increase from the start of the month and the highest number of daily cases since mid-July. Of those, 980 were reported in Moscow.

  • South Korea on Tuesday suspended a plan to provide free flu shots for about 19 million people, amid reports of problems with storing some of the vaccines during transport. The number of newly confirmed cases in the country, which is battling a second wave of infections, has stayed below 100 for the past three days. But millions are set to travel domestically next week to celebrate a five-day holiday.

  • Sixteen more residential areas in Madrid exceeded the infection rate criteria to return to lockdown restrictions, government data showed Tuesday. Those areas are in addition to 37 that went back under lockdown on Monday, raising the prospect that restrictions on movement will soon spread further across Spain’s capital region. Ignacio Aguado, the deputy head of the Madrid region, said that health care services were struggling to control the spread of the virus, while Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, urged residents of Madrid to stay at home as much as possible.

Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Stephen Castle, Troy Closson, Rick Gladstone, Abby Goodnough, Andrew Higgins, Jan Hoffman, Mike Ives, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Apoorva Mandavilli, Victor Mather, Patricia Mazzei, Patrick McGeehan, Raphael Minder, Claire Moses, Campbell Robertson, Simon Romero, Dagny Salas, Anna Schaverien, Christopher F. Schuetze, Megan Specia, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Katherine J. Wu, Carl Zimmer and Karen Zraick.

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Vatican: Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia ‘Intrinsically Evil’ | World News

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NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

ROME (AP) — The Vatican on Tuesday reaffirmed its stance that euthanasia and assisted suicide are “intrinsically evil,” and told priests they should minister to those contemplating such deaths to try to change their minds but shouldn’t be present at the end if they don’t.

The Vatican’s doctrine office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a lengthy new document on end-of-life care for the terminally ill on Tuesday. It takes into account medical advances, the advent of “do not resuscitate” orders and legal approval for assisted suicide, as well as new Vatican perspectives on palliative care, including for children.

Catholic teaching holds that life must be defended from conception until its natural death. It insists that chronically ill patients, including those in vegetative states, must receive “ordinary” care such as hydration and nutrition, but that “extraordinary” or disproportionate care can be suspended if it is no longer beneficial or is only prolonging a precarious and painful life.

The Vatican stressed in the new document that the renunciation of extraordinary care in no way can mean a request for assisted suicide or euthanasia, which it called “a crime against human life.”

“The judgment that an illness is incurable cannot mean that care has come at an end,” it said. “Euthanasia, therefore, is an intrinsically evil act, in every situation or circumstance.”

It said those who participate in it, including medical personnel, are committing “homicide” and that lawmakers who approve it “become accomplices of a grave sin.”

Pope Francis has described euthanasia and abortion as evidence of today’s “throwaway culture,” in which the sick, the elderly and disabled are considered unworthy of life.

In the text, the Vatican told priests they should provide spiritual accompaniment to those who have expressed a desire to end their lives through assisted suicide or euthanasia. But it said priests can only offer the sacraments of confession or anointing of the sick if the patients truly repent and change their minds.

“To delay absolution is a medicinal act of the church, intended not to condemn, but to lead the sinner to conversion,” it said.

And it told priests that if such patients don’t change their minds, the priests shouldn’t be present at the time of death since “that could be interpreted as approval of this action.”

The Vatican backed the use of hospice centers and palliative care, including deep sedation to reduce pain. But it said such medication must never be used with the intent of hastening death.

And it called for the expansion of “prenatal hospice centers” to provide medical, psychological and spiritual care to parents and children suffering pre-natal pathologies that are “inconsistent with life.”

Rather than resorting to abortion, the Vatican said, providing this assistance “helps the parents to handle their grief and to regard this experience not just as a loss, but as a moment in the journey of love which they have travelled together with their child.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Jailed Kurdish Politician Handed Another Year for Insulting Turkey’s Erdogan | World News

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ANKARA (Reuters) – A former Kurdish parliamentarian jailed in Turkey on terrorism charges has been handed an additional prison term for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan, two of her lawyers said.

Sebahat Tuncel was sentenced last week to 11 months and 20 days for calling Erdogan an enemy of Kurds and women in a speech in 2016, comments one of her lawyers defended as legitimate criticism of a political opponent.

Tuncel had served in Turkey’s parliament for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Her lawyer said her words had been taken out of context

“The defendant said that the president was an enemy of women and Kurds,” said attorney Sivan Cemil Ozen.

Her statements were “criticism of a political rival, which is within the boundaries of freedom of expression,” she said.

In a July hearing, Tuncel denied the charge, saying she should be able to criticise a political opponent. The charges against her were an attempt to “prevent freedom and thought, expression and organisation, especially the freedom of politics,” she said.

Last year, Tuncel was jailed for 15 years for spreading terrorist propaganda and belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is banned in Turkey and branded a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. She had denied the charges.

Charges of insulting the president carry a maximum four-year prison sentence. Such cases rose by 30% in 2019, with 26,115 people investigated, some 5,000 facing court hearings and 2,462 jailed, according to data from the justice ministry.

How Turkey’s courts turned on Erdogan’s foes https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/turkey-judges

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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