A boy gets tested for COVID-19 after vaccinated family members tested positive for the coronavirus, in North Miami, Florida, on Aug 9, 2021. (MARTA LAVANDIER / AP)
BRUSSELS / BERLIN / WASHINGTON / OTTAWA / DUBLIN / RABAT / TUNIS / LONDON / MEXICO CITY / BRASILIA / PARIS / MOSCOW / ADDIS ABABA / HAVANA / SANTIAGO / COPENHAGEN / MILAN / VIENNA – Children made up 15 percent of the reported weekly COVID-19 cases in the United States for the week ending Aug 5, according to a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Amid a surge of infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant in the country, almost 94,000 COVID-19 cases among children were reported the past week, "a continuing substantial increase," said AAP in the report updated on Monday.
"After declining in early summer, child cases have steadily increased since the beginning of July," it said.
As of Aug 5, nearly 4.3 million children had tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States since the onset of the pandemic, said the report.
Hospitals across the US were parceling out beds for COVID-19 patients Monday, hunting for doctors and nurses as the Delta variant sweeps coast to coast.
In a few states, the unvaccinated are entering intensive care at rates matching the winter wave.
Delta’s march began in the US in the Ozarks and South, in states and regions with low vaccination rates. But the surge has shown that even the best vaccinated areas still don’t have enough immunity against the easy-spreading variant.
Thirty-eight states have transmission levels considered high by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meaning they’re posting at least 100 cases per 100,000 residents or have positivity rates of at least 10 percent. The other 12 states and the nation’s capital have transmission rates that are considered substantial, the second-worst category.
Twenty-three states and the nation’s capital have seen their seven-day average cases increase at least 50 percent in the past week, including such highly vaccinated states as Vermont, Washington state and Hawaii, according to CDC data.
Across the country, officials reported alarmingly small numbers of open intensive-care beds. In at least one state, they could be counted with fingers: Eight, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced. “We saw the largest single-day increase in hospitalizations and have eclipsed our previous high of COVID hospitalizations,” he wrote in a tweet.
Nationwide, hospital utilization is expected to rise further in coming weeks, according to projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and there are already too few people to care for patients.
In Florida, adult intensive-care unit occupancy has soared to 5,804; that’s a more than seven-fold increase just since mid-July, with some hospitals converting conference rooms and cafeterias into patient areas. Florida has an overall vaccination rate close to the national average, though some counties resemble the laggard Deep South.
The Defense Department will make vaccinations against COVID-19 mandatory for members of the US military by Sept 15 as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads globally, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Monday.
Austin said in a memo that he will seek President Joe Biden's approval to make the vaccines mandatory "no later than mid-September, or immediately upon” approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, “whichever comes first”.
In a statement, Biden signaled he’ll to approve a request from Austin for mandatory vaccinations.
The Defense Department has 2.91 million personnel, including about 1.35 million in the active-duty military.
In another development, the US is preparing to send Mexico vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca in coming days to bolster its southern neighbor’s fight against COVID-19, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Separately, the CDC warned on Monday against travel to Israel, France, Thailand, Iceland and several other countries because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in those nations. The US added Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, along with other places, including Aruba and French Polynesia, to the highest "Level 4: Very High".
The US State Department also issued its parallel Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisories for Iceland and France on Monday.
Russia on Tuesday reported 21,378 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,811 in the city of St Petersburg, taking the official national case tally to 6,491,288 since the pandemic began.
Coronavirus officials also confirmed 792 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours.
Nine coronavirus patients died in a Russian hospital in the southern city of Vladikavkaz after an oxygen pipe burst underground, cutting supply to an intensive care ward, Russian news agencies reported on Monday.
"Nine patients with coronavirus died due to a lack of oxygen," the TASS news agency cited the local health ministry as saying.
"A total of 71 people were in intensive care, not all were (receiving) oxygen supply," TASS quoted the ministry as saying.
Regional authorities have agreed with the defense ministry to supply oxygen to all of the city's hospitals from the town of Mozdok, around 80 km north of Vladikavkaz, the RIA news agency reported.
Coronavirus cases worldwide exceeded 203.28 million while the global death toll topped 4.3 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 7,040,394 as of Monday afternoon, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The death toll from the pandemic stood at 177,400 while the number of recoveries reached 6,138,912, the Africa CDC said.
A woman receives a COVID-19 jab at the country's largest 'vaccination street' situated at the Austria Center in Vienna, Austria, April 2, 2021. (JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Austria plans to start COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Oct 17, nine months after the first group of people to get the jabs received their second dose, the country's health minister said on Tuesday.
The first wave included vulnerable people in nursing homes and medical personnel, Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told broadcaster ORF in an interview.
"There are certain groups, for example immunosuppressed people, where it may be possible to vaccinate even earlier after consultation with the doctor," Mueckstein said.
With a population of 8.9 million, Austria has logged 659,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 10,500 deaths from the disease since the pandemic began last year.
It was set to administer its 10 millionth dose of vaccine on Tuesday.
Around 60 percent of the total population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 54 percent are fully vaccinated, according to government data.
READ MORE: WHO calls for moratorium on COVID-19 booster doses
The European Union (EU) decided not to reinstate restrictions on non-essential travel from the U.S. despite new Covid-19 cases there exceeding the bloc’s threshold.
READ MORE: EU looks at fresh travel ban from US
The next review of the list of countries being granted unrestricted access into the EU will be in two weeks, according to a spokesperson for the Slovenian presidency, who confirmed Monday’s decision.
The list also includes Australia, Canada, Lebanon, Israel, Japan, Serbia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Portugal on Tuesday recommended that 12 to 15-years-old kids be vaccinated against COVID-19, ideally before the start of the academic year, as the Delta variant has led to a surge of cases in the country.
About 400,000 youth included in that age group will get one of the two vaccines authorized for teenagers by the European Union's
medicines regulator: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the Health Authority DGS said.
"The vaccines will be available to adolescents accompanied by parents or legal guardians without the need for a doctor's prescription," Health Authority head Graca Freitas said at a news conference.
She added data in the EU and the US have shown no increased risk of rare side effects like myocarditis and pericarditis for the 15 million teenagers who got vaccine shots.
Portugal reported 2,232 cases and 17 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 990,293 cases and 17,502 deaths since the pandemic started.
Germany needs to increase testing and boost vaccinations to avoid another COVID-19 lockdown, the conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor said on Tuesday, before government talks to curb a rise in new cases.
Less than seven weeks before a federal election, Merkel and leaders of the 16 federal states will try to agree on measures to avoid a new wave of infections, driven by the spread of the Delta variant, and avert unpopular restrictions.
"We want to and will test more to avoid a new lockdown," Armin Laschet told the North Rhine-Westphalia assembly.
A draft document prepared for the talks, due to start in the afternoon, proposes that people who are neither vaccinated nor recovered must test negative for COVID-19 to be able to enter indoor restaurants, take part in religious ceremonies and do indoor sport.
The document also showed that the leaders will agree to end free coronavirus tests in October in an effort to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2,480 to 3,794,429, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.
The reported death toll rose by 19 to 91,803, the tally showed.
Germany would start providing other countries with vaccines through COVAX, deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer announced on Monday. More than 940,000 doses would go to Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Sudan in the first batch.
The UK on Monday reported 25,161 nwe coronavirus cases and another 37 deaths, bringing the tally to 6,094,243 and the toll to 130,357, according to the latest official data.
The UK government will ease travel restrictions to allow tens of thousands of government officials, climate advocates and journalists from around the world to attend a major summit in Scotland that starts in October.
The UK government had already offered vaccinations to delegates from countries that don’t have access to their own. Now it also plans to ease quarantine and travel rules for them, according to a COP26 official.
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Cars waits to enter Canadian customs at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, New York on Aug 9, 2021. (DEREK GEE / THE BUFFALO NEWS VIA AP)
Moderna Inc said on Tuesday it had agreed with the Canadian government to start domestic production of mRNA vaccines as the country looks to boost supplies to fight respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 and seasonal influenza.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Moderna will set up an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Canada and also give access to its mRNA development engine.
The COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna, based on mRNA technology, is already being used in the United States, the European Union, and Canada.
Last week, Moderna said its COVID-19 shot was about 93 percent effective through six months after the second dose, showing hardly any change from the 94 percent efficacy reported in its original clinical trial.
On Monday, Canada unilaterally began allowing fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents to enter the country, 17 months after the two nations agreed to close the border to non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible US citizens and permanent residents must live in the United States and have allowed 14 days to pass since receiving a full course of a Health Canada-approved vaccine.
They are also needed to show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that's no more than 72 hours old and to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.
Monday also marks the end of mandatory quarantine hotels. Previously, all travelers flying into Canada from an international destination had to quarantine at an airport hotel at their own expense for up to three days while they await a COVID-19 test result.
Canada reported 1,203 new cases Monday, raising the cumulative total to 1,442,087 cases, including 26,678 deaths, according to CTV.
In the past two weeks, Canada has seen daily increased new cases of COVID-19 as public health restrictions are gradually eased across the country.
Also on Monday, the federal transport ministry said Canada will extend its ban on arriving passenger flights from India to Sept 21 because of the risks posed by COVID-19.
Ireland has decided to include Kazakhstan in its mandatory hotel quarantine list due to the COVID-19 situation, the Department of Health said on Monday.
Non-fully vaccinated people who have been in or transited through Kazakhstan in the previous 14 days will have to be quarantined upon their arrival in Ireland for 14 days at government-designated hotels at their own cost.
The decision will take effect at 4 a1m. on Friday, Aug 13, said the department in a statement.
The total number of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Morocco has reached 11,069,848, the Ministry of Health on Monday said in a statement.
So far, a total of 15,342,370 first doses have been administered in Morocco, according to the statement.
The development came as Morocco's infection tally rose to 701,325 after 5,043 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours.
The death toll went up by 69 to 10,404 while the total number of recoveries increased by 5,021 to 617,411, according to the statement.
Tunisia received on Monday Egypt's donation of medical equipment to support Tunisia's efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tunisian presidency announced in a statement.
"Three Egyptian military planes arrived on Monday at Tunis-Carthage International Airport, loaded with medical equipment and quantities of oxygen to fight the COVID-19 pandemic," reads the statement.
ALSO READ: Moderna says its vaccine 93% effective 6 months after 2nd dose
Mexico recorded 6,513 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and an additional 270 deaths on Monday, according to health ministry data, bringing the total confirmed number of cases to 2,978,330 and the overall death toll to 244,690.
Brazil has had 12,085 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 411 deaths from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Monday.
The South American country has now registered 20,177,757 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 563,562, according to ministry data.
While Monday numbers tend to be lower due to slower weekend reporting, the number of cases is the lowest for a Monday since Nov 9.
Cuba reported on Monday 7,950 new COVID-19 infections and 77 more deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the totals to 466,169 cases and 3,515 deaths.
There are currently 46,746 active cases in the country, with 474 patients in intensive care units, said Francisco Duran, director of hygiene and epidemiology at the Cuban Ministry of Health.
Havana registered most of the new infections with 1,625 cases, followed by the provinces of Cienfuegos (1,071) and Ciego de Avila (798).
People wait for their COVID-19 test results at a rapid testing tent set up to provide tests for the new health pass at a restaurant plaza in Marseille, southern France, Aug 9, 2021. (DANIEL COLE / AP)
France saw the number of patients in intensive care wards with COVID-19 increase by 111 on Monday, the first time since early April that the tally was over 100, health ministry data showed.
The total number in emergency care beds rose to 1,667, following a steady increase from a 2021 low of 859 on July 21. At the end of April, at the peak of the third wave, more than 6,000 COVID-19 patients were in ICU.
The worsening data follows a sharp increase in the number of daily new infections, driven by the more contagious Delta variant of the virus. New infections are back to a seven-day average of more than 22,000 per day, after having fallen to less than 2,000 per day at the end of June.
France also reported 68 additional coronavirus deaths in hospitals, taking the toll to 112,270.
France's overseas territory of Martinique will enter a tougher lockdown for three weeks from Tuesday to tackle a COVID-19 outbreak on the West Indian island, a local government official said on Twitter.
Authorities in Martinique also advised tourists to leave the island.
Martinique had already imposed an evening curfew but the tougher lockdown, set to start from 7 p.m., will shutter shops selling items that are not essential, close beaches and clamp down on people's movements.
The French health ministry said 240 health workers would on Tuesday fly to Martinique and another overseas territory, Guadeloupe, to reinforce local staff as COVID-19 infections overwhelm hospitals on the two Caribbean islands.
Chile reported on Monday 871 new COVID-19 cases and 91 deaths, bringing the cumulative tally to 1,624,316 with 36,107 deaths.
According to the Ministry of Health, cases have fallen nationally by 16 percent in the last seven days and 33 percent in the last 14 days.
The positivity rate was 1.48 percent for the whole country in the last day, with all regions presenting a positivity rate no more than 2 percent, confirming a lower circulation of the virus.
The southern region of Los Rios had the highest incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants nationwide, followed by Tarapaca, Arica and Parinacota, and Atacama.
A Danish pharmaceutical company said on Monday it has developed an effective new COVID-19 vaccine.
Bavarian Nordic has completed a first phase of human trials of the ABNCoV2 vaccine, which uses the capsid virus-like particle (cVLP) technology.
"We are very pleased to report positive results from this first-in-human trial of our ABNCoV2 COVID-19 vaccine, confirming its ability to induce strong and broad antibody levels, superior to those of the current approved vaccines, while also providing a favorable safety profile," said Paul Chaplin, President and CEO of Bavarian Nordic, in a press release.
Bavarian Nordic said the new vaccine seemed to work against "all SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the dominant Delta variant." It said the vaccine was well-tolerated across all groups after both the first and second doses, with no serious adverse reactions reported.
Phase 2 trials of the ABNCoV2 vaccine on more than 200 volunteers will start in Germany later this month.
A steward checks a passenger's ticket on a train from Kampala, Uganda, Aug 9, 2021. (NICHOLAS KAJOBA / XINHUA)
Passenger train services in Uganda's capital Kampala have resumed after the country lifted a 42-day lockdown on July 30 following a fall in the COVID-19 infection rate.
Deo Kyomya, Uganda Railways Corporation commercial manager, told Xinhua by telephone they had deployed two trains to carry passengers along two busy routes in the city.
Each coach, according to Kyomya, will carry 50 percent of its capacity as directed by government in efforts to ease congestion.
Ethiopia registered 440 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 284,531 as of Monday evening, the country's health ministry said.
The death toll rose by four to 4,430 while the number of recoveries stood at 264,673, the ministry said.
The country currently has 15,426 active cases, including 302 patients in severe conditions.
Ethiopia has so far administered a total of 2,286,107 COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to the ministry.
Italy reported 22 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday, double the day's before figure, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 4,200 from 5,735.
Italy has registered 128,242 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.40 million cases to date.
Patients in hospital with COVID-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 2,786 on Monday, up from 2,631 a day earlier.
There were 39 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 24 on Sunday. The total number of intensive care patients increased to 323 from a previous 299.