Coronavirus deaths in Iran surge past 15,000

  • Death toll in Iran from the novel coronavirus has surged past 15,000 as 2,621 people tested positive in the last 24 hours.

  • Papua New Guinea has put out a call for emergency assistance to the WHO, fearful it might be facing widespread community transmission of the disease.
  • More than 15 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and at least 8.6 million people have recovered, while more than 622,000 have died – according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

    Thursday, July 23

    12:00 GMT – Cuba sets example with successful COVID-19 strategy

    Cuba has been able to send thousands of doctors and nurses overseas to help other countries fight COVID-19.

    That is because the island nation has had huge success containing the virus domestically, with a rigorous active screening campaign and strict restrictions.

    Al Jazeera’s Ed Augustin reports from Havana, Cuba.

    11:40 GMT – South Africa sees ‘huge discrepancy’ in virus, total deaths

    The South African Medical Research Council is reporting a “huge discrepancy” between the country’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths and the number of excess deaths from natural causes, while Africa’s top health official says the virus is spreading there “like wildfire”.

    10:55 GMT – Iran death toll surges past 15,000

    Iran confirmed 221 additional fatalities from the novel coronavirus, bringing the nationwide death toll to 15,074, according to the Health Ministry.

    A further 2,621 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the overall count to 284,034, ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

    10:24 GMT – Proportion of COVID-19 contacts traced by British scheme rises

    The proportion of the contacts of coronavirus-positive cases reached by England’s test and trace system rose in its latest week of operation, figures from the health ministry showed.

    The Department of Health said 3,887 positive cases had been transferred to service in the week to 15 July, with 77.9 percent of the 16,742 identified contacts reached and advised to self-isolate, up from 72 percent the previous week.

    The Philippine health ministry on Thursday reported 2,200 new coronavirus infections and 28 new deaths.

    In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths had increased to 1,871 while infections rose to 74,390.

    09:30 GMT – Bahrain, Qatar have highest per capita virus rate in the world

    The small, neighbouring Gulf Arab nations of Bahrain and Qatar have the world’s highest per-capita rates of coronavirus infections.

    In the two countries, COVID-19 epidemics initially swept undetected through camps housing healthy, young foreign labourers.

    09:10 GMT – Philippine Bishop and Duterte critic tests positive for COVID-19

    Renowned Manila-based Bishop Broderick Pabillo has tested positive for the coronavirus, local Philippine media outlet Rappler reported.

    In a statement, Pabillo said his staff had tested negative, and those he came in contact with had been “duly informed”.

    Pabillo who heads the Manila archdiocese, is considered the unofficial head of the Philippine Catholic Church.

    08:45 GMT – The UN wants to see cash transfers go global to fight coronavirus

    Introducing a temporary basic income for the world’s poorest people will not only give them the means to buy food and medicine, but could also help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stresses in a new report released on Thursday.

    The report, Temporary Basic Income: Protecting Poor and Vulnerable People in Developing Countries, advocates for a time-bound and unconditional cash transfer to serve as a minimum income guarantee for 2.7 billion people living under or near the poverty line in 132 developing countries.

    Read more here.

    08:10 GMT – Philippines re-imposes non-essential international travel ban

    The Philippines has reimposed a ban on non-essential travel abroad, more than two weeks after permitting touristic trips outside the country, a government spokesman said.

    Filipinos were banned from all non-essential domestic and international travel from mid-March when a lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

    07:45 GMT – China’s Sinopharm says coronavirus vaccine could be ready by year-end – state media

    A coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) could be ready for public use by the end of this year, state media reported, ahead of previous expectations that it may become available in 2021.

    Sinopharm Chairman Liu Jingzhen told state broadcaster CCTV the company expects to finish late-stage human testing within about three months.

    Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which is responsible for two coronavirus vaccine projects, said in June the shot may not be ready until at least 2021 as a lack of new infections in China made it difficult to find people to test it on.

    07:37 GMT – Germany links over 2,000 cases to slaughterhouse

    A German official says authorities have now linked more than 2,000 coronavirus infections to an outbreak at a slaughterhouse last month that led to a partial lockdown in two western counties.

    Regional authorities restored some coronavirus restrictions in the Guetersloh and Warendorf areas in late June after more than 1,400 people at the Toennies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck tested positive for the virus.

    07:20 GMT – Australia reports highest coronavirus deaths in 3 months, infections climb

    Australia reported its highest daily number of coronavirus-related deaths in three months as new infections continued to climb in its second-most populous state.

    Victoria state said it had confirmed another 403 infections, while five people had died from the virus in the last 24 hours.

    The fatalities, including a man in his 50s, mark the country’s biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 deaths since late April.

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