Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Thursday, May 13

A new global system should be set up to respond faster to disease outbreaks to help ensure no future virus causes a pandemic as devastating as COVID-19, an independent World Health Organization review panel led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said on Wednesday.

Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world.



Germans desperate to be vaccinated against the coronavirus are becoming increasingly aggressive, doctors said on Wednesday, as frustration mounts after six months of lockdowns even though infection rates are now falling.

As Germany extends priority for vaccines to more groups, it is becoming less comprehensible to many people why they should have to wait behind others, Richter-Scheer, deputy head of the German association of family doctors, said.

People are showing up at doctors' practices and trying to get vaccines even though it is not their turn, with the mood getting more aggressive, she said.


France reported 21,498 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, pushing total cases to 5.82 million, 2.02 percent more than a week ago and the slowest week-on-week increase since late June 2020. The country reported 184 new deaths.


Italy reported 262 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday against 251 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 7852 from 6946.


Britain reported on Wednesday a further 2284 cases of coronavirus and an additional 11 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to official data.


Portugal's government said on Wednesday it was investigating how a mass gathering of thousands of Sporting fans celebrating their club being crowned Portuguese champions got out of hand.

Many of the supporters ditched face masks and maintaining social-distancing became close to impossible as more people showed up. Others became aggressive, breaking down metal barriers and throwing glass bottles and smoke bombs towards police and journalists.

Portugal, which has suffered 840,493 cases and 16,998 deaths, imposed a nationwide lockdown in mid-January.


Sweden will delay plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions on some public gatherings, such as football matches, until June 1, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Wednesday.



The three largest cities in Colombia, which has recorded nearly 79,000 COVID-19 deaths, are now bracing for an extended third peak in coronavirus cases and over-stretched intensive care units, local authorities said, after violent anti-government protests.

Capital Bogota is confronting a "hospital collapse," Mayor Claudia Lopez said in a press conference on Monday, and will not see infections drop this week as previously predicted.


Former Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello failed to take up Pfizer on its offer of COVID-19 vaccines last year because he believed Brazil should rely on British and Chinese shots made in the country, two sources told Reuters. Hundreds of thousands of deaths later, with Brazil badly short on vaccines, the three-star army general has been summoned by a Parliamentary inquiry looking into the mishandling of the deadliest coronavirus outbreak outside the United States.

Costa Rica

Hospitals in the Central American country of Costa Rica are running out of space for COVID-19 patients amid a new wave of infections, the president of the national doctors' union said on Tuesday.



India's coronavirus death toll crossed 250,000 on Wednesday in the deadliest 24 hours since the pandemic began, as the disease rampaged through the countryside, leaving families to weep over the dead in rural hospitals or camp in wards to tend the sick.

The head of the main Indian health agency responding to the coronavirus has said districts reporting a high number of infections should remain locked down for another six to eight weeks to control the spread of the rampaging disease. Deaths grew by a record 4205 while infections rose 348,421 in the 24 hours to Wednesday.

Currently, three-fourths of India's 718 districts have what is known as a test-positivity rate above 10 percent, including major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and the tech hub of Bengaluru.

"The high positivity districts should remain [shut]. If they come to 5 percent from 10 percent [positivity rate] we can open them, but that has to happen. That won't happen in six-eight weeks, clearly," Bhargava said in an interview at the New Delhi headquarters of the ICMR, the country's top medical research body.

A volunteer carries the body of a child who died due to the coronavirus.
A volunteer carries the body of a child who died due to the coronavirus. Photo credit: Getty

Scores of bodies are washing up on the banks of the Ganges as Indians fail to keep pace with the deaths and cremations of around 4000 people a day from the novel coronavirus.


Taiwan reported its largest daily rise in domestic COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while the stock market tanked after the health minister warned the island could move to a higher alert level, though he later clarified that such a step was not imminent.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday said it supported Japanese measures to counter COVID-19 and was confident the Tokyo Olympics would be a "historic" event, despite wide public opposition.

With less than three months to go before the Games begin on July 23, Japan is battling a surge in coronavirus infections.

A majority of its population wants the Olympics cancelled or postponed for a second time, according to several polls, with about 70 percent of the 10,500 athletes - about 7800 - already qualified for the Games.

Technical problems derailed Japan's coronavirus vaccination booking system on Wednesday, compounding frustration over the government's handling of new outbreaks of infections and an inoculation drive that critics say has been woefully slow.


Authorities in Australia's second most populous state warned on Wednesday the next few days would be critical to preventing a coronavirus outbreak after a man in his 30s tested positive a day earlier for COVID-19.

Australia tapped Moderna for 25 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, as the country tries to speed up its vaccination drive and cut reliance on AstraZeneca.


Nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Fiji on Wednesday, ahead of a 24-hour curfew.


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Wednesday for the need to double the capacity of COVID-19 vaccine production and for fairer redistribution of the shots in the developing world, which faces new waves of the coronavirus.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday she is pushing for a waiver of COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property rights because the United States and drug makers have "an obligation to help save the world right now."


China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine was 98 percent effective at preventing death and 96 percent effective at preventing hospitalisation among a group of inoculated Indonesian medical staff, a study conducted by the country's health ministry has found.


Norway will not resume use of the COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca, and a decision on whether to include Johnson & Johnson shots in its mass inoculation scheme remains on hold, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.

Johnson & Johnson

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday it had found more cases of potentially life-threatening blood clotting among people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and sees a "plausible causal association".

The CDC said in a presentation the agency has now identified 28 cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) among the more than 8.7 million people who had received the J&J vaccine. TTS involves blood clots accompanied by a low level of platelets - the cells in the blood that help it to clot. 

So far, three of the 28 have died. Previously, as of April 25, the CDC had reported 17 cases of clotting among nearly 8 million people given vaccines.

Reuters / Newshub.