Coronavirus: Latest from around the world - Saturday, August 1

The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Friday, with the total rising by 292,527.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. Deaths rose by 6812. The four countries have dominated global headlines with large outbreaks.

The previous WHO record for new cases was 284,196 on July 24. Deaths rose by 9753 on July 24, the second largest one-day increase ever. Deaths have been averaging 5200 a day in July, up from an average of 4600 a day in June.

To date, just under 680,000 people have now died in the pandemic, according to official statistics. 

Here are the latest developments from around the world overnight.

Europe

Poland 

The Polish government will consider new restrictions for certain parts of Poland with the most new coronavirus cases, a government official said on Friday, after the number of new cases rose by a record amount for the second successive day.

The Health Ministry reported 657 new cases and seven deaths, taking the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 45,688 and the death toll to 1716.

Poland has reported fewer cases of COVID-19 than some other European countries, but the number of new infections is now climbing.

Ireland

Ryanair has initiated legal proceedings against Ireland, questioning the legality of travel restrictions that have kept a quarantine policy in place for all but 15 countries, the airline said on Friday.

The Irish carrier, Europe's largest budget airline, said it had begun the action to challenge what it described as the Irish government's "ineffective" green list of countries, for which a 14-day quarantine requirement does not apply.

Ireland has taken a more cautious approach to reopening its economy and skies than many European countries. 

Germany

German restaurants and bars and their customers are expressing concern at reports that the contact data that guests must supply as part of coronavirus prevention rules has been used for police investigations.

Drinkers and diners have to provide a name and a telephone number to allow them to be traced if someone who is found to have the virus was present at the same time.

But the DPA news agency has cited several police stations as saying that they had used that data to find witnesses to help solve crimes.

France

French health authorities reported 1346 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Friday, which took the total to 187,919 as new cases are above 1300 per day for the third day in a row, the highest since late April.

In a statement, the health ministry also said that the number of people in intensive care units due to the disease fell by a further 10 to 371. On Thursday, that figure had increased by just one, which was the first daily increase after falling every day since April 9.

In the past 24 hours, 11 people died from the virus infection, taking the total to 30,265.

Greece

Greece will make mask-wearing compulsory in all indoor public spaces and also in outdoor spaces where proper social distancing cannot be observed, its deputy civil protection minister said on Friday, following a further rise in COVID-19 infections.

Greece reported 78 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections on Friday, its highest tally in about two months. Overall, it has so far confirmed 4,447 COVID-19 cases with 202 deaths, a relatively low number compared to many European countries, after imposing an early lockdown in the spring.

Americas

Mexico

Mexico is poised to overtake Britain as the country with the third-highest coronavirus death toll as the pandemic reaches new milestones in Latin America and threatens to disrupt efforts to reopen the economy.

The unwanted record will place Mexico behind Brazil, Latin America's largest and most populous nation, and the United States. More than 91,000 people have died in Brazil and the death toll in the United States has surpasses 152,000.

Mexico on Thursday recorded 639 additional fatalities to bring its confirmed coronavirus toll to 46,000, with 416,179 confirmed cases. The United Kingdom has recorded 46,084 deaths and 303,913 cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Mexican officials say the spread of the pandemic is likely far more extensive than official figures reflect.

United States

Florida reported a record increase in new COVID-19 deaths for a fourth day in a row on Friday, with 257 fatalities, according to the state health department.

In numerical terms, the loss of life is roughly equivalent to the number of passengers on a single-aisle airplane.

Mississippi also reported a record increase in deaths on Friday, with fatalities rising by 52. That was a record rise for the state for the second day in a row.

Overall in the United States, deaths have increased by nearly 25,000 in July to 153,000 total lives lost since the pandemic started.

One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday, the day with the largest increase in deaths so far this week. 

Argentina

Argentina will extend a mandatory lockdown until August 16 as its coronavirus cases continue to rise, President Alberto Fernandez announced on Friday.

The lockdown, which has been the strictest in the capital Buenos Aires, was due to expire on Sunday.

The South American nation has seen its caseload spike in recent weeks and recorded a record daily tally on Thursday with 6377 new cases. There are now 185,373 confirmed cases and 3466 deaths, according to the latest government data.

Asia-Pacific

Vietnam

Vietnam recorded its first two deaths from COVID-19 on Friday after winning plaudits worldwide for one of the most successful national responses to the pandemic.

The country of 96 million had gone 100 days without infection before an unexpected cluster of new cases of unknown origin surfaced in the popular central resort city of Danang a week ago.

A 70-year-old man became Vietnam's first fatality from COVID-19 early on Friday, followed hours later by a 61-year-old man, the health ministry said. Both appear to have contracted the disease in Danang.

Fiji

Fiji has confirmed its first COVID-19 related death, a man who arrived from India and was already sick.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Friday postponed a September 6 election to the Chinese-ruled city's legislature by a year because of a rise in coronavirus cases, dealing a blow to the pro-democracy opposition which had hoped to make huge gains.

The United States quickly condemned the move, saying it was the latest example of Beijing undermining democracy in the Chinese-ruled territory.

Australia-New Zealand

A person who flew from Auckland to Sydney on July 6 tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival, Australian health officials say.

"At this point, it appears the person may have been a previously unconfirmed case from March and this is responsible for the positive test result," a New Zealand Ministry of Health spokesperson told Stuff.

Close contacts are being followed up.

Medical developments

The first two COVID-19 vaccines to enter large-scale US trials will not be tested in pregnant women this year, raising questions about how this vulnerable population will be protected from the coronavirus, researchers told Reuters.

Moderna and Pfizer, which has partnered with Germany's BioNTech, this week separately launched clinical trials that use a new and unproven gene-based technology. Both companies are requiring proof of a negative pregnancy test and a commitment to using birth control from women of childbearing age who enroll.

Drugmakers say they first need to make sure the vaccines are safe and effective more generally. In addition, US regulators require that drugmakers conduct safety studies in pregnant animals before the vaccines are tested in pregnant women to ensure they don't harm the fetus or lead to miscarriage.

Reuters / Newshub.