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Guatemala declares emergency state amid Delta Covid surge

​​Covid-19 has killed more than 4.3M people and infected over 206M globally. Here are all the coronavirus-related developments for August 14:

People walk past the San Juan de Dios hospital as the coronavirus continues, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, July 15, 2020.
People walk past the San Juan de Dios hospital as the coronavirus continues, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, July 15, 2020. (Reuters)

Saturday, August 14:

Guatemala declares state of emergency over Delta surge

Guatemala has declared a new state of emergency and will impose an overnight curfew from Sunday to contain a surge in Covid infections due to the Delta variant, President Alejandro Giammattei said.

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The 30-day state of emergency is being implemented due to a rebound in cases attributed to the “more aggressive” Delta variant, Giammattei said in a televised address on Friday.

“The Delta variant is highly contagious. It is causing new outbreaks and many governments have had to impose new restrictions on their populations as a mitigation measure. Guatemala cannot be the exception, ” he said.

Australia clamps down on ‘most concerning day of the pandemic’

Australia’s biggest city has announced tighter Covid restrictions including heavier fines and tighter policing as authorities battled to contain a Delta outbreak and said they were seeing the “most concerning day of the pandemic” so far.

After months of pursuing a “Covid zero” strategy, Australia has been struggling to bring a resurgence of virus cases under control, with more than 10 million people under lockdown in its two largest cities and the capital Canberra.

Residents of Sydney, going into an eighth week under stay-at-home orders, will now face heftier fines for flouting rules or lying to contact tracers, with current restrictions proving insufficient to stop the spread.

Virus has killed 300 journalists in Brazil

A total of 300 journalists have died from the virus in Brazil between January 2020, when the first virus case was confirmed in the country, and July 2021, according to a trade union organisation.

The head of the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ) Maria Jose Braga said the ongoing national vaccination campaign has reduced the danger to journalists contracting the virus.

In Brazil, where the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded after the US, nearly 566,900 people have died, while more than 20.28 million infections have been registered.

More US cities requiring proof of vaccination to go places

A rapidly growing number of places across the US are requiring people to show proof they have been inoculated against the virus to teach school, work at a hospital, see a concert or eat inside a restaurant.

Following New York City’s lead, New Orleans and San Francisco will impose such rules at many businesses starting next week, while Los Angeles is looking into the idea.

The new measures are an attempt to stem the rising tide of the virus cases that has pushed hospitals to the breaking point, including in the Dallas area, where top officials warned they are running out of beds in their pediatric intensive care units.

Tokyo daily cases hit 5,094

Tokyo’s new daily virus cases has hit 5,094, a day after marking a record of 5,773, the Tokyo government said. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday urged people to refrain from travelling as virus cases spiked to record highs in Tokyo and nationwide, heaping pressure on the medical system.

Russia releases worst pandemic death numbers to date

Russia’s daily deaths have hit a new record of 819, a day after Moscow’s health department reported the highest number of monthly deaths in the city since the start of the pandemic.

Russia’s daily virus deaths are on the rise after infections peaked in July. Authorities blame the infectious Delta variant and a slow vaccination rate.

Moscow said late on Friday that the mortality rate in the city in July was 70 percent higher than before the pandemic in 2019 and 60 percent higher than in the same month last year.

Philippines reports second-biggest daily rise in infections

The Philippine health ministry has recorded 14,249 new virus cases, the new second-largest daily increase in infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections in the Philippines have increased to 1.727 million, while deaths have reached 30,070, after reporting 233 additional casualties.

Active cases, at 98,847, was at a near four-month high, government data showed.

India reports 38,667 cases

India has reported 38,667 new infections in the last 24 hours, a government statement said.

Daily deaths in the country rose by 478, health ministry data showed. Total cases rose to 32.12 million.

Germany’s cases rise by 5,644 – RKI

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany has increased by 5,644 to 3,816,285, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. The reported death toll rose by 11 to 91,864, the tally showed.

Canada to mandate vaccine for government workers

The Canadian government has announced that it will require all federal workers to get vaccinated, amid a surge in virus cases due to the Delta variant.

“We know that vaccines are the best way to end this pandemic,” said Dominic LeBlanc, a government minister in charge of Canada’s federal bureaucracy.

“We expect federal public servants to want to comply with this mandatory requirement,” he added.

A deadline for inoculations for some 300,000 public servants will be announced in the coming weeks.

The federal government is Canada’s largest employer and LeBlanc said the vaccine mandate is “aimed at helping Canada reach a minimum level of coverage needed to fully reopen the economy, and keep it open as well as to protect thousands of workers.”

Australia’s Victoria reports 21 new local cases

Australia’s Victoria state has reported 21 locally acquired cases, up from 15 a day earlier, while Melbourne, the state capital, is in its second week of an extended lockdown.

Of the new cases, 10 have spent time outside while infectious, the state’s health department said. All cases were linked to a current outbreak.

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state and home to nearly 7 million people, entered into its sixth lockdown since the pandemic began on August 5, weeks after a brief exit to the last one.

Mexico records 22,758 more cases, 603 deaths

Mexico has reported 22,758 more confirmed cases and 603 additional fatalities, according to health ministry data, bringing the total number of cases to 3,068,329 and the overall death toll to 247,414.

Brazil registers 966 deaths

Brazil has registered 966 deaths and 33,933 additional cases, according to data released by the nation’s Health Ministry.

The South American country has now registered a total of 567,862 coronavirus deaths and 20,319,000 total confirmed cases.

Canada enters supply deal with Moderna for vaccine beyond 2021

The Canadian government has said it had signed an agreement with Moderna Inc for additional supply of its vaccine for 2022 and 2023, with an option to extend into 2024.

Canada will receive 40 million doses, as per the deal, with an option for an additional 65 million doses. The agreement will allow access to new vaccine adaptations.

The partnership “will help to bridge Canada’s capacity to maintain a reliable and rapidly available supply of vaccines into 2022 and 2023 ahead of Moderna’s Canadian vaccine facility becoming operational,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Moderna signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian government, under which the vaccine maker will set up an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Canada and also give access to its mRNA development engine.

US administers 354.8 mln doses of vaccines – CDC

The United States has administered 354,777,950 doses of vaccines in the country as of Friday morning and distributed 414,376,925 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Those figures are up from the 353,859,894 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by August 12 out of 411,253,925 doses delivered.

The agency said 197,081,471 people had received at least one dose while 167,699,170 people are fully vaccinated as of Friday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech , as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine as of 6:00 am ET on Friday.

Zambia receives 119,200 AstraZeneca doses

Zambia has received an additional 119,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX facility, assuring those due for a second dose of the jab in coming weeks that it was readily available.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malama said 300,572 AstraZeneca jabs have been administered, along with 105,156 of the second dose.

“We assure the public that key to our response is ensuring that there is continuity in the provision of essential health services in our country and we can only build on this,” Malama told reporters in the capital of Lusaka.

He reported 97 new infections from 2,529 tests – the first time the daily infection rate was below 100 in nearly three months.

But those numbers could be put to an immediate test because of the number of public gatherings as Zambia held a general election Thursday.

The number of confirmed cases recorded now stands at 201,867.

Hawaii bracing for more cases amid surge

Hawaii officials are bracing for more confirmed cases and hospitalisations as the delta variant takes hold in the islands.

“We continue trend in the wrong direction. Our hospitals are filling up,” Governor David Ige said during a briefing on Friday.

Hawaii has reinstated restrictions on social gatherings amid a surge of new coronavirus cases.

Governor Ige imposed the new restrictions on Tuesday in a bid to help hospitals maintain care for a record number of patients and to curb widespread community transmission of the virus.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the executive order took effect immediately and limits social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Bars, restaurants, gyms, churches and other establishments must reduce their capacity to 50 percent.

Hawaii is now averaging more than 500 new cases a day, double what it was in August 2020 at the then height of the pandemic.

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