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Monday, August 10, 2020, 22:59
WHO: Over US$100b needed to ensure access to vaccines
By Agencies
Monday, August 10, 2020, 22:59 By Agencies

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. (Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP)

WASHINGTON / LONDON / BRASILIA / MEXICO CITY / ADDIS ABABA / CAIRO / BERLIN / MOSCOW / MINSK / COPENHAGEN / GENEVA - For the vaccines alone, over US$100 billion will be needed to ensure everyone everywhere can access the tools to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

Speaking at a virtual press conference from Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "This sounds like lots of money and it is. But it's small in comparison to the 10 trillion dollars that have already been invested by G20 countries in fiscal stimulus to deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic so far."

He told reporters that the coming three months present a crucial window of opportunity to scale-up the work of the ACT-Accelerator, a WHO-sponsored global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

However, he said, to exploit this window "we have to fundamentally scale up the way we are financing the ACT-Accelerator and prioritize the use of new tools."

According to the WHO chief, there is a vast global gap between the ambition for the ACT-Accelerator and the amount of funds that have been committed.

"We're only 10 percent of the way to funding the billions required to realize the promise of the ACT Accelerator," he said.

Noting that this week the registered cases of COVID-19 will reach 20 million, with 750,000 deaths, the WHO chief stressed that "behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering."

"Leaders must step up to take action and citizens need to embrace new measures," he said.

The United States passed 5 million COVID-19 infections Sunday after adding 1 million new cases in just over two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University while infections among US children grew 40 percent in the last half of July, according to a report.

According to the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, 97,078 new cases involving children were reported from July 16-30, bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 338,982. That represents 8.8 percent of all infections. The range of ages varied from state to state, with some including an age limit as high as 24. California, Florida and Arizona had the highest number of total child cases, with more than 20,000 each.

Meanwhile, Texas’ seven-day average rate of positive tests exceeded Saturday’s record and jumped to a new high of 20.3 percent, health authorities said.

In California, a total of 30.5 percent of patients in hospitals are in intensive-care units, based on a five-day average, the highest in more than a month, according to state data Sunday.

ALSO READ: WHO: COVID-19 cases in Americas surpass 10 million

In another development, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said they were open to restarting COVID-19 aid talks, after weeks of failed negotiations prompted President Donald Trump to take executive actions that Democrats argued would do little to ease Americans' financial distress.

Both Pelosi and Mnuchin appeared willing to consider a narrower deal that would extend some aid until the end of the year, and then revisit the need for more federal assistance in January. 

Global tally

Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 19.8 million while the global death toll topped 731,000 on Monday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

The United States is the worst-hit country in this pandemic, with the highest tally and toll, followed by Brazil.

Countries with more than 400,000 cases also include India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Peru, according to the CSSE.  

Africa tally

The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Sunday said that the total number of COVID-19 cases reported across Africa has risen to 1,036,564.

The Africa CDC said that about 14,480 new cases were registered across the continent since Saturday.

It added that the death toll has increased by 505 to 22,966 on Sunday.

South Africa, with 553,188 confirmed COVID-19 cases, is Africa's highest affected country in terms of positive cases, followed by Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Morocco, Africa CDC said.

The Southern Africa region is the most affected area in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Northern Africa and Western Africa regions, it said.

READ MORE: Africa's COVID-19 cases exceed 1 million

A woman wearing a face mask sanitizes her hands outside St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug 9, 2020 as churches reopen following the lifting of restrictions on religious gatherings imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19. (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Belarus

Belarus reported 97 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking its total to 68,947, according to the country's health ministry.

There have been 56 new recoveries in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 64,991, the ministry added.

So far, 589 people have died of the disease in the country, including two over the past 24 hours, it said.

As of Monday, over 1,376,000 tests for the virus have been conducted across the country, including 3,498 over the past 24 hours, according to official figures. 

Brazil

Brazil on Sunday reported 572 deaths from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, raising the death toll to 101,049.

In the 24-hour period, tests detected 23,010 new cases of infection, raising the total caseload to 3,035,422.

Brazil on Saturday passed the 100,000 deaths mark and the 3 million infections mark, maintaining its place at No. 2 in the ranking of the world's largest outbreaks of COVID-19, only after the United States.

The state of Sao Paulo, the country's most populated, is the epicenter of the national outbreak, with 25,114 deaths and 627,126 cases of infection, followed by Rio de Janeiro with 14,080 deaths and 178,850 cases, and Ceara with 7,954 deaths and 188,542 cases.  

Chile

The Chilean Ministry of Health reported on Sunday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country had risen to 373,056, with 10,077 deaths.

The ministry said that 2,036 new cases and 66 deaths were registered in the last 24 hours.

Denmark


An employee at Arla Foods Dairy Center in Hobro, north of Denmark, has tested positive for COVID-19, while 15 others were sent home for quarantine, the company said in a press release on Monday.

The Denmark-based international cooperative dairy group made the decision to send the employee home, as well as 15 fellow workers who may have been in contact with the infected, according to the press release.

In addition, Arla announced their intention to test the other 400 employees at the dairy center.

"As the infection picture looks in Denmark right now, we see no reason to take any chances...That's why we have asked the health authorities for help to get it done as quickly as possible so that we can slow down any chain of infection before it starts," said Aase Andersson, the company's senior press officer, in the release.

According to Arla, production at the dairy center will continue unchanged.

Meantime, the requirement to wear a face-mask on all public transport within the city limits of Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city, will apply from Aug 11 to Sept 1, according to an executive order issued from the Ministry of Health and the Elderly on Monday.

"In order to prevent and curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in connection with a specific outbreak of infection in Aarhus Municipality, travelers who begin or end a journey in Aarhus Municipality must have their mouths and noses covered by using face masks for public transport," stated the executive order.

Since last Friday, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Denmark has risen to 373 with one death, bringing the total infections to 14,815. To date, death toll in the country reached 620, according to the daily update from Statens Serum Institut on Monday. 

Ecuador

The Ecuadorean government announced on Sunday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country had risen to 94,459, with 5,922 deaths.

The Ministry of Public Health said that 887 new cases and six more deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. 

The number of patients recoveries rose to 66,099.

According to the authorities, the capital city of Quito has become the epicenter of the virus in the country, with the highest number of cases, followed by the city of Guayaquil, the former epicenter of the virus. Local authorities attributed the surge in cases in Quito to the residents' failure of complying with recommended preventive health measures.

Egypt

Egypt reported on Sunday 178 new COVID-19 infections, raising the country's infection tally to 95,492, said the Health Ministry.

Another 17 deaths were reported, marking the lowest single-day fatalities in the country since May 26 and bringing the death toll to 5,009, said the ministry's spokesman Khaled Megahed.

Megahed added that 1,006 more patients discharged from hospitals after recovery in the past 24 hours, taking the number of recoveries to 52,678.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia's confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 22,818 after 565 new cases were confirmed on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said.

The ministry said in a statement that 17 more deaths were recorded, raising the death toll to 407.

The number of recoveries rose to some 10,206 after 499 more patients were reported to have recovered in the last 24 hours, according to the ministry.

Germany

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 436 to 216,327, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday.

The reported death toll rose by one to 9,197, the tally showed.

German companies expect public life to be restricted for a further 8.5 months due to the coronavirus, a survey by the Ifo economic institute showed on Monday, as Europe's largest economy battles to recover from a pandemic-induced downturn.

Leisure firms, hit hard by the virus crisis, are particularly pessimistic, expecting restrictions to last another 13 months while the beverage sector is more optimistic, foreseeing an end to restrictions in 6.4 months.

Greece

Greece reported 203 new coronavirus cases Sunday, the biggest one-day number since the beginning of the pandemic, bringing the tally to 5,623. 

The increase was also the biggest jump in daily cases since April 21.

Italy

Italy reported 463 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the second-highest number in two months after reaching 552 on Friday. The country has recorded 250,566 cases since late February. Two more deaths were reported.

Kenya

Kenya's Ministry of Health said Sunday that the country's COVID-19 caseload has risen to 26,436 after 599 more people tested positive for the coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health, said the number of recoveries increased to 12,961 after 1,062 more patients were discharged from medical facilities, the highest daily rise in recoveries.

Two more deaths were reported across the country, raising the death toll to 420, according to Kagwe.

Meanwhile, George Magoha, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Education, said that the dates for the reopening of schools could still be changed depending on the COVID-19 situation, despite earlier plans to reopen learning institutions in January 2021.

People wearing face masks ride bikes at the Chapultepec park in Mexico City on Aug 09, 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. (CLAUDIO CRUZ / AFP)

Mexico

Mexico's health ministry reported on Sunday 4,376 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and 292 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 480,278 cases and 52,298 deaths.

Officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Mexico has the third highest coronavirus death tally globally, behind the United States and Brazil.

Morocco

Morocco registered 1,230 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the tally of infections in the North African country to 33,237, the health ministry said.

Recoveries increased by 1,157 to 23,347 while the death toll rose to 498 after 18 more fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours, said Mouad Mrabet, coordinator of the Moroccan Center for Public Health Operations at the Ministry of Health, at a press briefing.

Russia

Russian authorities confirmed 5,118 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, pushing the national case tally to 892,654, the fourth largest in the world.

The official death toll rose to 15,001 after authorities said in their daily coronavirus report that 70 people had died in the last 24 hours.

The number of deaths in Russia rose 19 percent in June from a year earlier, with nearly half of the additional victims diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The country recorded 25,521 more deaths in June this year than the same month last year, according to data from the Federal Statistics Service published on Sunday. In the period, 11,917 of the fatalities had COVID-19.

UK

A junior British health minister reiterated Monday that it is a national priority for children to return to school after months away from the classroom due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sadly we have seen children from more disadvantaged backgrounds (are) more likely to fall behind during this time so it is essential that we have children back at school this autumn,” Helen Whately told Sky News.

Whately's comments came a day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said reopening schools in September was a social, economic and moral imperative and insisted schools would be able to operate safely despite the pandemic.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Johnson said restarting schools was a national priority. Schools would be the last places to close in future local lockdowns, he was quoted by another newspaper as telling a meeting on Thursday.

The economic costs for parents who cannot work if schools are shut are spiralling, and the country faces big problems if children miss out on education, the prime minister warned.

Britain, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, its highest daily increase since June, taking the total number of cases past 310,000. The country has reported more than 46,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, the UK's official COVID-19 daily death count could be scrapped following an investigation into Public Health England's method of counting the toll, The Telegraph newspaper reported. The conclusions of the investigation, which was ordered by Health Secretary Matt Hancock after it emerged officials were "exaggerating" virus deaths, are expected this week, the newspaper reported. 

In this Aug 5, 2020 file photo, a teacher wearing a face shield offers hand sanitizer to elementary school students wearing masks before they enter the school for classes in Godley, Texas. (LM OTERO / AP)

US

The United States passed 5 million COVID-19 infections Sunday after adding 1 million new cases in just over two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University while infections among US children grew 40 percent in the last half of July, according to a report.

According to the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, 97,078 new cases involving children were reported from July 16-30, bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 338,982. That represents 8.8 percent of all infections. The range of ages varied from state to state, with some including an age limit as high as 24. California, Florida and Arizona had the highest number of total child cases, with more than 20,000 each.

Meanwhile, Texas’ seven-day average rate of positive tests exceeded Saturday’s record and jumped to a new high of 20.3 percent, health authorities said.

In California, a total of 30.5 percent of patients in hospitals are in intensive-care units, based on a five-day average, the highest in more than a month, according to state data Sunday.

ALSO READ: WHO: COVID-19 cases in Americas surpass 10 million

In another development, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said they were open to restarting COVID-19 aid talks, after weeks of failed negotiations prompted President Donald Trump to take executive actions that Democrats argued would do little to ease Americans' financial distress.

Both Pelosi and Mnuchin appeared willing to consider a narrower deal that would extend some aid until the end of the year, and then revisit the need for more federal assistance in January. 


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