Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Thursday, July 22

The UK's COVID-19 cases rose by nearly 41 percent over the past week, while the chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee did not rule out cancelling the Olympics if coronavirus infections spiked, as more athletes tested positive and some sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday's opening ceremony.

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

Europe

  • The Delta variant is now the majority variant of the virus circulating in France, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said
  • London's High Court ruled the UK acted lawfully over its so-called traffic lights system for travellers entering Britain in a case brought by Manchester Airports Group, backed by a number of airlines. The UK reported 46,558 new cases of COVID-19 in its latest update on Tuesday (local time), meaning the rise in cases between July 14 and July 20 stood at 40.7 percent compared with the previous seven days
  • Arsenal has cancelled their pre-season football tour to the US after a small number of positive cases at the club, the team said.
Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka. Photo credit: Getty Images

Asia-Pacific

  • Japanese health experts said there were concerns that rising cases in Tokyo could add to the burden on the medical system and create delays in patient care
  • Australia's two largest states reported sharp increases in new cases, a blow to hopes that lockdown restrictions would be lifted with more than half the country's population under stay-at-home orders
  • The first test batch of Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine has been produced in Vietnam, Russia's sovereign wealth fund RDIF and Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm VABIOTECH said
  • A major Taiwanese Buddhist group said it had signed a deal to buy 5 million doses of BioNTech SE's vaccine via the German firm's Chinese sales agent, bumping the island's order for the shot up to 15 million doses.
The Olympic Rings are seen in front of the skyline during sunset, three days ahead of the official opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2021.   REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach - RC29OO9LKZF0
Photo credit: Reuters

Americas

  • The Delta variant is the cause of more than 80 percent of new US cases, but the authorised vaccines remain more than 90 percent effective in preventing hospitalisations and deaths, top United States infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said in a Senate hearing
  • A fully vaccinated White House official tested positive off-site, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. Psaki also said she is in regular contact with the conservative network Fox News about its coverage of the vaccine.
Anthony Fauci.
Anthony Fauci. Photo credit: Getty Images

Africa and the Middle East

  • Pfizer and BioNTech said they had struck a deal for South Africa's Biovac Institute to process and distribute over 100 million doses a year of their COVID-19 vaccine for the African Union beginning in 2022
  • Iran imposed a one-week lockdown in the capital and a nearby province as daily caseloads hit a record high, state television reported.
Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Thursday, July 22
Photo credit: Getty Images

Medical developments

  • Sinopharm's vaccine-elicited weaker antibody responses against the Delta variant, based on the first published study of its effect against the more contagious version
  • Europe's drug regulator said it had started a real-time review of the vaccine developed by French drugmaker Sanofi and the UK's GlaxoSmithKline, the fifth shot currently under such a review.
Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Thursday, July 22
Photo credit: Reuters

Economic impact

  • European stocks lifted and bond prices fell across the euro area on Wednesday as investors bet an earlier flight to safety sparked by fears about the spread of the Delta variant was overdone
  • Japan brought forward the expected timing for achieving a primary balance surplus by two years to fiscal 2027 due to a surprise rise in tax revenues, even as the pandemic hobbled a fragile economic recovery.