Thailand reports record 16,533 new cases
Thailand reported on Wednesday a daily record of 16,533 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total accumulated cases to 543,361.
The country’s Covid task force also reported 133 new deaths, taking total fatalities to 4,397.
South Korea reports 1,896 new cases
South Korea on Wednesday reported 1,896 new cases for Tuesday, its highest daily increase, as the country struggles to subdue a fourth wave of outbreaks fanned by the more contagious Delta variant.
The daily tally broke a previous record set on 22 July as infections are spreading beyond the capital, Seoul, and its neighbouring regions where the toughest social distancing rules are in place, Reuters reports.
There were 1,823 domestically transmitted cases on Tuesday and 33.5%, or 611, of the were from areas outside the capital regions, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
This is the first time the number of cases outside the Seoul metropolitan region has exceeded the 600 mark since the first Covid wave emerged from a church in the southeastern city of Daegu.
Tighter social distancing curbs took effect across most of the country on Tuesday and will last for two weeks. Those areas will be under Level 3 curbs on a four-level scale, which will mean a 10pm (1300 GMT) dining curfew and ban on gatherings of more than four people.
The tighter curbs were enacted to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus during South Korea’s peak summer holiday season.
The great Seoul area region remains under Level 4 curbs that include a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6pm.
US may mandate vaccines for federal workers
Joe Biden says requiring all federal workers to get coronavirus vaccine is “under consideration” as the Delta variant surges.
Meanwhile, CNN has reported that the president will indeed announce a vaccine requirement for all federal employees and contractors, or submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements, according to a source the network said is close to the matter.
As he wrapped up a speech to members of the intelligence community at the Office of the Director of National intelligence today, Biden took a couple questions from reporters.
One journalist asked Biden whether he plans to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for federal employees.
“That’s under consideration right now, but if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not really as smart as I thought you were,” Biden said:
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
South Korea has reported 1,896 new cases, its highest-ever daily increase, as the country struggles to subdue a fourth wave of outbreaks fanned by the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. Thailand also reported a daily record, of 16,533 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total accumulated cases to 543,361.
Meanwhile in the US, Joe Biden says requiring all federal workers to get coronavirus vaccine is “under consideration” as the US responds to surging Delta variant cases.
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
- Plans to significantly open up international travel are expected to be announced on Wednesday, with UK ministers poised to let people who have been fully vaccinated in the US and EU avoid quarantine if arriving from amber list countries.
- Kuwait said it will allow only vaccinated citizens to travel abroad starting 1 August, the government communication office reported.
- Iran’s Covid-19 cases hit a record high for the second time in as many days today, rising to almost 35,000, as the health minister warned there was little hope of improvement unless the public followed health precautions, state TV reported.
- The UK and Germany “have protected Covid vaccine patents over human lives”, campaigners have said as the World Trade Organization is reportedly about to delay a decision on whether to waive patents on Covid vaccines. The two countries are expected to resist efforts to allow poorer countries to produce their own vaccines, thus speeding up the global rollout of the jabs.
- The US’s top health agency is expected to backpedal and recommend that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in parts of the US where Covid is surging, according to reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to make an announcement later in the day revising guidance issued in May, which said vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks in most indoor settings.
- Schools closed due to the pandemic must reopen as soon as possible, the United Nations said, estimating that the education of more than 600 million children was at stake.
- Ireland is set to open its vaccination programme to those aged 12 to 15 after its national immunisation advisory committee made a favourable recommendation. Foreign minister Simon Coveney said the decision meant “the benefit of vaccination can be extended to this much younger cohort” but that parents would retain the right to decide how to proceed.
- Almost 99% people who have died of Covid-19 in Italy since February this year were not fully vaccinated, the National Health Institute said.
- An additional 18,000 New Zealand children were pushed into poverty in the first year of the pandemic, according to research, despite child welfare being one of prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s main concerns.
- The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, announced the EU has met the target of administering a Covid jab to 70% of adults by July, making good on the promise to “catch up” after a rocky start to the bloc’s vaccination rollout.
- Tokyo’s 2,848 daily coronavirus infections on Tuesday were the Olympic host city’s highest since the pandemic began, officials said, but Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga said it was “not a problem” for the Games and that Tokyo residents should focus on working from home to suppress the movement of people
- Germany is planning to introduce tighter controls on citizens returning from holiday in an attempt to control the growth in coronavirus cases.
- People advised to shield during the first wave of the pandemic were eight times more likely to get Covid-19 and five times as likely to die following infection than the general population, a study indicated.