- Russia’s sovereign wealth fund says it will sell 100 million doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine to an Indian drug company.
- India has now reported more than five million cases of the coronavirus, the second country after the US to report so many cases.
- Melbourne looks to be on course to ease out of a strict lockdown and curfew from September 28, as the average number of cases drops.
- Nearly 29.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 933,542 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 20 million people have recovered from the disease.
Wednesday, September 16
17:05 GMT – WHO warns of coronavirus momentum as winter looms in north
The World Health Organization has warned that COVID-19 is spreading at a worrying pace in some parts of the northern hemisphere, a few months away from the winter influenza season.
“We are starting to see worrying trends in some countries,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for COVID-19, said during a social media webcast.
“We are seeing increases in hospitalisations, in intensive care units, particularly in Spain, France, Montenegro, Ukraine and some states of the United States. That is worrying because we have not seen the flu season yet.”
Van Kerkhove also said hospitalisations of people aged 15-49 infected with COVID-19 were increasing in several countries.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert, advised people at high risk for COVID-19 infections to get a flu vaccination.
17:00 GMT – US outlines sweeping plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccines
The federal government outlined a sweeping plan to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of scepticism rippling across the land.
15:50 GMT – New York mayor furloughs himself, staff for week to ease pandemic budget gap
Everyone in the New York City mayor’s office, including the mayor himself, will be furloughed for one week without pay beginning October 1 to close a budget shortfall created by the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.
The coronavirus outbreak had caused the city to lose $9bn in revenue and forced a $7bn cut to the city’s annual budget, de Blasio told reporters.
The furloughs will save only about $1mn, the mayor said, but may serve as a useful symbol as he continues to negotiate with labor unions representing municipal employees over broader payroll savings.
14:40 GMT – Coronavirus pandemic to cost football $14bn this year, says FIFA
FIFA has put the cost of the coronavirus pandemic on football around the world at $14bn in lost revenue.
That figure accounts for about a third of the game’s global economic value with the club and national game worth about $46bn worldwide.
The pandemic has already led to more than 150 football associations seeking financial help from the $1.5bn emergency relief fund set up by football’s governing body.
14:00 GMT – Peru’s coronavirus cases show signs of stabilising
Authorities in Peru have reported that coronavirus cases are stabilising in the Andean country, with some regions exhibiting a downward trend after months of lockdown.
Peru has recorded nearly 740,000 cases of the coronavirus, the fifth highest case load in the world, and 30,927 deaths as of Tuesday (September 15).
It has tracked amongst the world’s deadliest in fatality rate per capita, with 94 deaths per 100,000 residents.
However, authorities say positive results from lockdown are starting to come through.
12:46 GMT – Palestinian refugee agency warns of instability amid crisis
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is experiencing a financial crisis that could force it to halt some services to an already impoverished population of more than five million people, the head of the agency said.
Philippe Lazzarini also warned in an interview with The Associated Press news agency in Beirut the spread of the novel coronavirus, an economic meltdown in Lebanon and a huge deficit in UNRWA’s budget are deepening the hopelessness among Palestinian refugees, some of whom are trying to flee the Mediterranean nation on migrant boats.
12:20 GMT – Johnson says UK record on testing compares well with European peers
The UK’s record on COVID-19 testing compares well with other European countries and the government is working hard to turn them around even more quickly, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
11:48 GMT – Global economic outlook not as bad as expected – OECD
The global economy is not doing as badly as previously expected, especially in the United States and China, but has still suffered an unprecedented drop due to the coronavirus pandemic, an international watchdog said.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to decline by 4.5 percent this year – less than the 6 percent plunge it had predicted in June.
The global economy is expected to rebound and grow by 5 percent next year, the organisation said.
11:11 GMT – Lilly says antibody reduces need for hospitalisation for moderate COVID-19 patients
Eli Lilly & Co said its experimental antibody reduced the need for hospitalisation and emergency room visits for patients with moderate COVID-19 symptoms, according to an interim analysis of a mid-stage clinical trial.
The study tested three different doses of LY-CoV555, a manufactured antibody designed to recognise and lock onto the novel coronavirus, preventing the infection from spreading.
Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, to Indian drug company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow speeds up plans to distribute its shot abroad.
The deal comes after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine in India, which is a major consumer of Russian oil and arms.
10:13 GMT – Ukraine bars entry to 1,000 Jewish pilgrims over virus
More than 1,000 Hasidic Jewish pilgrims – including children – were massed at the Ukraine-Belarus border after Kyiv denied them entry due to coronavirus restrictions, the two countries said.
Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews travel every Jewish New Year to the central Ukrainian town of Uman to visit the tomb of Rabbi Nachman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.
09:45 GMT – Infections surge in Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has registered another steep rise in coronavirus infections, with the number of new confirmed cases surpassing 1,600 in one day for the first time.
The health ministry says the day-to-day increase reached a new record of 1,677 on Tuesday. The record was broken four times last week.
09:10 GMT – Vietnam to resume international flights, but not tourism
Vietnam will resume international commercial flights connecting the country to several Asian destinations starting from Friday, after a months-long shutdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
08:30 GMT – Philippines confirms 3,550 new coronavirus infections, 69 deaths
The Philippines’ health ministry recorded 3,550 additional novel coronavirus infections and another 69 deaths.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had risen to 272,934, the most in Southeast Asia, while confirmed deaths have reached 4,732.
07:53 GMT – More than 300 Indian jails infected with COVID-19 – NCAT
At least 351 jails across India, from a total of 1,350, have reported coronavirus infections, according to The National Campaign Against Torture.
Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were the states with the most prisons infected.