People stand in line to get a dose of Russia's Sputnik V or Sputnik Lite COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre at the Olympic Luzhniki football stadium in Moscow, on July 9, 2021. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP)
MOSCOW / GENEVA / ADDIS ABABA / RIO DE JANEIRO / SANTIAGO / HAVANA / BERLIN / ROME / VALLETTA / RABAT / TUNIS / LONDON / WASHINGTON – Russia on Saturday reported 752 coronavirus-related deaths, the most confirmed in a single day since the pandemic began, pushing the national death toll to 142,253.
The coronavirus task force also reported 25,082 new coronavirus cases, including 5,694 in Moscow. That pushed the national case total to 5,758,300.
The federal statistics agency has kept a separate death toll. It said on Friday it had recorded around 290,000 deaths related to COVID-19 between April 2020 and May this year.
In this March 27, 2021 photo, employees in cleanroom suits test the procedures for the manufacturing of the messenger RNA (mRNA) for the COVID-19 vaccine at the new manufacturing site of German company BioNTech in Marburg, central Germany. (THOMAS LOHNES / AFP)
The benefits of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the very small risk they might cause heart inflammation, as the jabs reduce hospitalisations and deaths, an advisory panel of the World Health Organization said on Friday.
In a statement, the WHO said that reports of two rare conditions – myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, and of its lining, called pericarditis – had typically occurred within days of vaccination, mainly among younger males after the second dose.
"Very rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed following vaccination with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines," it said, referring to the two vaccines using such technology, by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
"The benefits of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the risks in reducing hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 infections," it said.
Available data suggested myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination was "generally mild" and responded to treatment such as rest or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the WHO said. "Follow-up is ongoing to determine long-term outcomes," it said.
"Vaccinated individuals should be instructed to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms indicative of myocarditis or pericarditis such as new onset and persisting chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations following vaccination," it added.
Earlier on Friday, Europe's drug regulator said it had found a possible link between very rare heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It too stressed that the benefits of the shots outweighed any risks.
A man carries oxygen bottles after refilling them at a refill station in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 5, 2021. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)
Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s biggest economies plan to warn of persistent risks to global growth from coronavirus variants even as the overall outlook brightens, according to a draft communique seen by Bloomberg News.
Since April, “the global outlook has further improved, mainly due to the roll-out of vaccines and continued policy support,” according to a draft of the Group of 20’s statement, scheduled to be released Saturday in Venice, where policy makers are meeting. “However, the recovery is characterized by great divergences across and within countries and remains exposed to downside risks, in particular the spread of new variants of the COVID-19 virus and different paces of vaccination.”
The document, which may be subject to revision, indicates policy makers are far from ready to give the all-clear signal on the pandemic, with the delta variant causing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in many nations. While the US and Europe are enjoying strong recoveries as vaccinations spread, other places are lagging behind and suffering, such as India and South Africa.
The draft statement includes a pledge, similar to the group’s prior communique in April, “to use all available policy tools for as long as required to address the adverse consequences of COVID-19” and to avoid any “premature withdrawal of support measures.” It contains no explicit reference to the jump in US inflation, other than a nod to central banks remaining consistent with their mandates for price stability.
The G-20 is also set to endorse the global tax overhaul accord reached by 131 countries this month through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The draft statement calls for nations to address remaining details and come up with an implementation plan by October.
READ MORE: WHO's chief scientist warns pandemic is not slowing down
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 5,827,269 as of Friday afternoon, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The Africa CDC, the specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union, said the death toll from the pandemic stands at 149,635 while 5,082,564 patients across the continent have recovered from the disease.
Brazil registered 1,509 more COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising its national death toll to 531,688, the health ministry said Friday.
As many as 57,737 new cases were detected, taking the total caseload to 19,020,499.
Chile has fully vaccinated 73.65 percent of its target population, or over 11 million people, against COVID-19, the Ministry of Health reported on Friday.
In a statement, the ministry said that more than 23.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered.
Chile on Friday reported 2,906 new cases of COVID-19 and 122 more deaths in a single day, raising its accumulated caseload to 1,582,391 and the death toll to 33,636 since the onset of the health crisis.
According to the Chilean Ministry of Health, COVID-19 infections have fallen by 21 percent nationwide in the last seven days.
Cuba’s drug regulator announced on Friday it had granted emergency approval of the Abdala COVID-19 vaccine, which is already being deployed on the Caribbean island nation amid a surge in infections.
Approval by the Center for State Control of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices should help with the selling and licensing abroad of Abdala, which Cuba says has a 92.28 percent efficacy against the coronavirus.
A second locally produced COVID-19 vaccine, Soberana 2, is expected to be approved in the next few weeks. Cuba said late on Thursday the two-shot vaccine delivered with a booster called Soberana Plus had proven 91.2 percent effective in late-stage clinical trials against the coronavirus.
A teacher talks to pupils during a summer project at the primary school 'Sonnenschule' in Beckum, western Germany, on July 6, 2021. (INA FASSBENDER / AFP)
The seven-day incidence rate of new COVID-19 infections in Germany continued to climb for the third consecutive day, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Friday.
Despite the slight increase, the incidence rate in Germany still remained at a relatively low level of 5.5 reported COVID-19 cases in the past seven days per 100,000 citizens, up from 5.2 on Thursday, according to the RKI, the federal agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention.
On Friday, 949 new COVID-19 infections were registered in Germany, 300 more than one week ago.
The Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading in Italy, according to the country's National Institute of Health (ISS), leading to an increase in the number of cases, though officials have ruled out an immediate change in government policy.
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is considered to be more transmissible and is reportedly responsible for an increase in the infection rates in multiple European countries.
Infections in Italy rose this week to 11 cases per 100,000 residents, up from nine cases per 100,000 residents a week earlier, said ISS president Silvio Brusaferro, who noted that the number of cases remained "of concern … but reasonable."
As from July 14, Malta will restrict entry to travelers with a recognized vaccination certificate in an effort to counter a spike in new COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Chris Fearne said here on Friday.
Moreover, the country will once again close its English language teaching schools after most of the new cases were students who traveled to Malta to learn English, Fearne said at a press conference.
On Friday, Malta registered 96 new cases, up from 55 the previous day, 25 the day before and just a handful of cases prior to that. The number of active cases now stands at 252.
Mexico reported 9,319 new confirmed COVID-19 infections on Friday, according to data from the health ministry, as case numbers continued to rise this week amid signs of a resurgence in the pandemic.
The ministry also registered 217 additional fatalities, bringing Mexico's total tally to 2,577,140 infections and 234,675 deaths, according to the data.
The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently suggested the actual death toll could be 60 percent higher than the official count.
The state of Baja California is Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccination beachhead, an island of safety better protected than California itself, just a few hundred tantalizing yards away.
As President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rushes to revive his battered economy, Mexico is prioritizing scant vaccines for border states, trying to inoculate all adults there. In Baja California, home to Tijuana, 79 percent of residents 18 or over have been vaccinated with at least one shot, Mexico says. In California, that rate is only 62 percent, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.
Efforts to vaccinate all adults along the US-Mexico border would set up the countries for a “complete reopening of the border,” Lopez Obrador said at a press briefing Thursday. He said last week that the government will focus on 39 municipalities.
Morocco's COVID-19 tally rose to 539,839 on Friday as 1,250 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours.
The country's coronavirus death toll rose by five to 9,351, while 279 people were in intensive care units, said a statement by the Moroccan Ministry of Health.
Several countries promised to help Tunisia fight the coronavirus on Friday as the north African country recorded its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began, putting its health care system under severe stress and depleting oxygen supplies.
President Kais Saied said in a statement that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had pledged to send vaccinations and whatever medical equipment Tunisia needed.
Libya also pledged to send medical aid, the president's office said in a separate statement. Officials and local media said that Kuwait, Turkey and Algeria had promised to help.
Qatar had already sent a military plane with a field hospital on board, including 200 medics and 100 respirators.
After successfully containing the virus in the first wave last year, Tunisia is now grappling with a rise in infections. It imposed a lockdown in some cities starting last week, but rejected a full national lockdown over concerns about the impact on the economy.
Tunisia recorded 189 deaths on Friday, the highest daily toll since the pandemic began last year. It reported 8,500 new coronavirus cases.
Shoppers wearing protective face coverings to combat the spread of the coronavirus, walk along Oxford Street in central London on July 5, 2021. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)
Entertainment venues in England will force customers to use so-called vaccination passports from autumn to prove they have had either both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative test the day before, The Times newspaper reported.
COVID-19 certificates will be required for customers to enter bars, restaurants and nightclubs under plans to tackle a fourth wave of the coronavirus, the newspaper said.
The government plans to lift capacity restrictions on pubs, restaurants and other public events on July 19 in England.
Britain has reported another 35,707 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 5,058,093, according to official figures released Friday.
The country also recorded another 29 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 128,365. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.
READ MORE: UK to track virus variants with genomic sequencing across world
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance on Friday, urging schools to fully reopen in the fall regardless of whether all mitigation measures can be implemented.
"Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority," said the new guidance.
Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports, said the CDC.
The CDC recommended schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk.
"COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect people, including students, teachers, and staff, who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels," said the CDC.