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Mexico warns of ‘prolonged pandemic’: Coronavirus live updates | News

  • France has recorded over 2,200 confirmed coronavirus infections, a new daily record since the lockdown was lifted in June.

  • The total number of United States coronavirus deaths surged past 160,000 with more than 4.9 million confirmed infections across the country.

  • More than two million people have now been confirmed infected in India, which is the country the third worst hit by COVID-19. 
  • At least 19.3 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while the global death toll crossed 719,000. Nearly 11.7 million have recovered.



Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, August 8

11:48 GMT – Ukraine closes checkpoints at Crimean border to control coronavirus

Ukraine’s government said it had temporarily closed its border with Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

All three crossing points between the mainland and Crimea, which is defined by Ukraine as an occupied territory, will be closed from August 9 to August 30, a government statement said.

Only Crimean residents with Ukrainian citizenship will be allowed to enter Crimea.

Ukrainians who permanently live on the mainland will be able to return home during the three week closure.

Ukraine has registered a steady daily increase in new coronavirus infections since the end of July. The number of confirmed cases rose by 1,489 in the last 24 hours.

The total number of cases is at 79,750, including 1,879 deaths.

11:19 GMT – At least 17 participants of Afghan grand assembly positive for coronavirus

At least 17 participants of a major Afghan grand assembly tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said, a day after the high-profile gathering began in Kabul to deliberate over the fate of Taliban prisoners and the beginning of the peace process in the war-torn country.

After being called by the Afghan government, the gathering, known as the Loya Jirga, began on Friday with over 3,600 participants amid tight security and the COVID-19 pandemic to debate whether hard-core Taliban prisoners should be freed, removing a major obstacle in the peace talks.

It was not immediately clear if the testing was done before or after the assembly began, but there is a fear that the infection could have spread given the size of the gathering, which took place under a tent.

Afghanistan has officially recorded 37,015 cases of the virus and 1,307 COVID-19 deaths, but officials said this week that at least 10 million people may have been infected.

09:57 GMT – Children walk back to school in Gaza after five-month shutdown

Hundreds of thousands of children walked through the streets of the Gaza Strip to return to classes after five months of shutdown – though authorities said they were ready to close schools again if coronavirus cases spike.

Gaza, mostly cut off from the world by an Israeli-led blockade, has not recorded any COVID-19 cases in the towns and refugee camps where around two million Palestinians live.




Gaza grape farmers struggle with Israeli blockade, pandemic

Health workers will sanitise Gaza’s 751 schools twice a day, officials said. Children do not have to wear masks but must bring their own lunch and outdoor breaks are banned.

About 40 km (25 miles) away in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which has reported a spike in COVID-19 cases, high school classes began this week but elementary schools remain closed.

West Bank health officials have reported 94 deaths and 13,600 cases, most of them in the last two months.

08:43 GMT – Poland reports 843 new coronavirus cases

Poland reported 843 new coronavirus cases, according to the health ministry’s Twitter account, the seventh daily record in two weeks.

Poland has reported 51,167 cases of the new coronavirus in all, and 1,800 deaths.

07:14 GMT – Australia’s Victoria state reports 450 new coronavirus cases

Australia’s second most populous state of Victoria on Friday reported 11 coronavirus-related deaths and 450 new infections in the last 24 hours, compared with eight fatalities and 471 cases a day earlier.

The state began a six-week total lockdown on Thursday, closing down shops and businesses to contain a second wave of infections requiring its five million residents to stay home.

Victoria reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday with 15 deaths and a record daily rise of 725 cases.

06:29 GMT – 4 US deaths tied to methanol-based hand sanitizers

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help stop the coronavirus from spreading, but drinking the products turned out to be deadly for four people in two states.

Health officials reported this week that 15 adults were poisoned in Arizona and New Mexico in May and June after drinking hand sanitizer.

Besides the four who died, three had ongoing vision problems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

All had consumed sanitizers containing methanol, or wood alcohol. The active ingredient that kills germs in legitimate sanitizers is ethyl alcohol, which is consumable. But some companies have been replacing it with poisonous methanol, which is used in antifreeze.

05:25 GMT – New Zealand’s Ardern launches ‘COVID election’ campaign

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern kicked off her re-election campaign, pledging a NZ$311m ($205m) rescue package for businesses affected by the coronavirus lockdown. 

She told her supporters in Auckland that the measure was aimed at securing the jobs of 40,000 people employed by companies that had suffered serious financial losses as a result of the pandemic.

“When people ask, is this a COVID election, my answer is yes, it is,” Ardern said. 

Read more here.

Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern attends the launch of the Labour Party’s election campaign in Auckland on August 8, 2020 [Michael Bradley/ AFP]

04:55 GMT – India reports 933 deaths

has recorded 933 COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours as fresh infections surged by another 61,537 cases to reach nearly 2.1 million.

The Health Ministry said the number of total deaths stood at 42,518, including more than 20,000 in the past 30 days. An average of around 50,000 new cases have been reported each day since mid-June.

The ministry asked state authorities to test grocery shop workers and street vendors, saying that if undetected they can potentially spread infection to a large number of people.

India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the US and Brazil.

03:32 GMT – Australia’s Victoria records 466 cases, 12 deaths

The Australian state of Victoria reported 466 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths, including another man in his 30s. 

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said that six of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities. The figures were released as the city of Melbourne remained in lockdown and under an overnight curfew.

On Friday, Victoria reported 450 new cases and 11 deaths. That was down from a record 725 infections reported a week earlier.

AUSTRALIA - HEALTH - VIRUS

Protective services officers speak to a woman at the Southern Cross Station in Melbourne on August 7, 2020, as the city goes into a strict new lockdown [William West/AFP]

03:20 GMT – New Zealand accepts ICC decision to postpone Cricket World Cup

New Zealand said it could have probably hosted the women’s Cricket World Cup next year but supported the decision of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to postpone the event for a year.

The ICC announced its decision on Friday to shift the 50-over tournament until February 2022 because of the uncertainty around COVID-19. One of the concerns was the fact that no teams had played since March and time was running out to hold a qualifying tournament to find the final three sides.

“This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world,” New Zealand Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson said in a statement.

“The organising committee in New Zealand has been working with the government to ensure a safe and enjoyable tournament could be played. We could have done it in 2021, but now we will look to 2022. As a government we have reiterated our commitment to supporting the tournament.”




Dakar Youth Olympic Games delayed until 2026 (2:25)

02:19 GMT – El Salvador court rebukes president’s decree to reopen economy

The constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court of Justice declared that an executive decree to  establish protocols for the gradual reopening of the economy was unconstitutional.

The court said President Nayib Bukele’s decree outlining a stage-by-stage reopening “contradict[s] constitutional parameters established” earlier to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

“In every country in the world, governments are ordering reopening, gradually, to control the pandemic,” Bukele said on Twitter. “In El Salvador, today that is also unconstitutional.”

02:00 GMT – Mexico’s president defends virus record

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the president of Mexico, defended his government’s record fighting the coronavirus and ruled out a change in strategy after the official death toll surged past 50,000.

The Latin American nation of 128 million recently overtook the United Kingdom to become the third hardest-hit country in terms of total virus deaths, after Brazil and the United States.  

But Lopez Obrador said that in terms of deaths relative to population size, “we have not been so hard hit”, and on that basis, Mexico ranks fifth in the Americas, behind the US, Brazil, Chile and Peru.    

“And if we compare ourselves with Europe, there are more deaths in Spain, France and England than in Mexico,” he said.




COVID-19 crisis crippling South America’s largest economy (2:21)

01:41 GMT – Rare syndrome linked to COVID-19 found in nearly 600 US children

Nearly 600 children were admitted to US hospitals with a rare inflammatory syndrome associated with the novel coronavirus over four months during the peak of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but severe condition that shares symptoms with toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.

It has been reported in children and adolescent patients about two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19. The CDC report said state health departments across the country reported a total of 570 MIS-C patients diagnosed with the illness from March 2 to July 18.

Among the MIS-C cases, all patients tested positive for COVID-19 and 10 died, the CDC said in the report.

00:45 GMT – Mexico warns of ‘prolonged pandemic’ as cases rise

Mexico posted 6,717 newly confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, increasing the country’s accumulated total to 469,407.

Officials also said the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths rose by 794 to a total of 51,311.

Hopes for a significant decline in cases have been frustrated by continued high infection rates, with Assistant Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell warning that “this is going to be a prolonged pandemic”.




Mexico’s Oaxaca state bans sale of junk food to children (2:15)

00:13 GMT – Italian cabinet approves $29bn stimulus package

Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte’s cabinet approved a stimulus package totalling 25 billion euros ($29bn) to revive an economy battered by the coronavirus crisis.

The plan, which has to be approved by parliament, allows for greater tax benefits for Italy’s southern regions – and calls for cruise liners to resume sailing from August 15 and for trade fairs to take place from September.

It also extends emergency monthly payments to vulnerable families ranging from 400 to 800 euros ($472 to $943) as well as a sum of 500 million euros ($589m) allotted for overtime payments to stretched health workers.

“We are protecting jobs, we are supporting workers, we are reducing the tax burden, we are helping the regions,” Conte told reporters.

He also said social distancing and face masks would be mandatory until September 7, adding: “These are the minimum rules.”


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 7, go here.

    

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