India reported 78,357 new coronavirus cases in the past one day, taking its total to more than 3.7 million infections as the government eases pandemic restrictions nationwide.
The United States is turning its back on the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), a global effort to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine that is being led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The pandemic has pushed Australia into a recession for the first time since 1991 after the country reported a second-quarter drop in GDP that was the biggest since records began.
The latest data from Johns Hopkins University shows more than 25.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 857,015 have died. More than 17 million people have recovered.
Here are all the latest updates:
Wednesday, September 2
16:10 GMT – EU warns against shortening COVID quarantine as cases in Europe spike
The European Union is warning governments not to reduce the 14-day quarantine for people infected with COVID-19 as some develop the infection even after two weeks, the head of the bloc’s health agency said, signalling a new surge in cases in Europe.
Germany, the EU’s largest country, informed EU authorities that it planned shortening the quarantine length, following similar moves by the Netherlands and Norway, minutes of a late-August meeting show.
“We are looking to provide some evidence to decision makers on what kind of risks they would take if quarantine was shorter,” Andrea Ammon, head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), told EU lawmakers in a regular hearing.
Police officers wearing protective masks patrol in front of the Eiffel Tower as France reinforces mask-wearing as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease [Charles Platiau/Reuters]
She cautioned that in 3-4 percent of cases, infections emerge only after 14 days, which is currently the standard length of the COVID-19 quarantine.
Last week, Germany decided that from October people returning from high-risk regions abroad will have to quarantine for five days.
The partial loosening of COVID-19 preventive measures comes as Europe is experiencing a new increase in cases.
15:50 GMT – AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by end of 2020
The first shots of British drug maker AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by the end of 2020, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.
“We are talking about a potential vaccine so we need to be extremely prudent, but… if the vaccine is confirmed as safe and able to meet its objective it will be already available by the end of 2020,” Speranza told parliament.
The European Commission has paid 336 million euros ($397.82 million) to AstraZeneca to secure at least 300 million doses of its potential vaccine for EU nations.
15:10 GMT – Ukraine warns measles vaccinations down in pandemic
Ukraine warned that many parents were not getting their children vaccinated against infectious diseases such as measles during the coronavirus pandemic, risking a loss of herd immunity.
In recent years, the post-Soviet country has had one of Europe’s low vaccination rates, partly due to a vocal anti-vaccination movement. It has experienced major outbreaks of measles.
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The health ministry said the measles vaccination rate had dropped significantly this year, increasing the risk of a new outbreak of the disease.
Lyashko warned that such a rate would not be enough to develop “collective immunity” against measles.
14:55 GMT – UN: Pandemic will widen gender poverty gap
The coronavirus crisis will push 47 million more women and girls into extreme poverty and widen the gender poverty gap, according to a United Nations report released.
Initial estimates had once pointed to a 2.7 percent decrease in the poverty rate for women between 2019 and 2021. However, due to the pandemic, it is now expected to increase by 9.1 percent.
The data by UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) show that there will be 118 women for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty by 2021. The gap is expected to widen to 121 women per 100 men by 2030.
The crisis will push 96 million people below the poverty line by 2021, nearly half of whom are women and girls, according to the report.
14:01 GMT – German police officers attacked after stopping man not wearing mask
A man allegedly attacked two police officers in Dusseldorf after they approached him for not wearing a mask on public transport, a police spokesman said.
The 25-year-old, who is known to the police, was caught flouting the anti-coronavirus rules during a check on a bus in the western German city.
WHO COVID Debrief on masks
After officers addressed him, he launched himself out of the bus at full speed with fists and a knee raised, landing on a 23-year-old policewoman who was blocking the way, the spokesman said.
The man then attempted to flee but was wrestled to the ground by a 30-year-old policeman, the official added. The attacker is said to have continued kicking and punching while on the ground.
Police managed to handcuff the suspect with the help of public transport workers.
12:46 GMT – Colombia expands reopening as coronavirus cases stabilise
Airports, bus terminals, restaurants and gyms have reopened in most of Colombia as the Latin American nation attempts to reignite its economy following months of restrictions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Hospital occupancy rates and COVID-19 deaths have stabilised across much of Colombia over the past 10 days, prompting the government on Tuesday to lift more of the emergency measures that had been in place for five months, including a ban on most travel within the country.
Read more here.
Customers wearing protective masks talk to a waiter at the Andres Carne de Res restaurant, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Chia, Colombia [Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]
12:30 GMT – Thailand hits 100 days with no local virus transmissions
Thailand’s prime minister congratulated his countrymen on the nation having achieved 100 days without a confirmed locally transmitted case of the coronavirus, even as security along the border with Myanmar is being stepped up as a measure against the disease.
Health officials did not highlight the milepost, but Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha described it as a “good accomplishment” towards making the country safe.
12:15 GMT – Coronavirus despair forces girls across Asia into child marriage
Tens of thousands of girls across Asia are being forced into child marriage by desperate families plunged into poverty because of the coronavirus pandemic, as campaigners warn that years of progress tackling the practice is being undone.
Child marriage has long been practised as part of a tradition in communities from the Indonesian archipelago to India, Pakistan and Vietnam, but numbers had been decreasing as numerous initiatives worked to spread awareness of its dangers and encouraged access to education and women’s health services.
Read more here.
Women witness a teenaged couple’s marriage in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh [Allison Joyce/Getty Images]
11:55 GMT – 30 percent Germans think coronavirus crisis overblown: Study
About 30 percent of people in Germany think the government is making the coronavirus crisis out to be worse than it actually is, according to a new study. Some 2,000 people were interviewed in July as part of the survey for the nonpartisan organisation More in Common, the result of which comes at a time of deep divisions over the country’s approach to the pandemic. Nonetheless, the government’s handling of the situation scored well, with 70 percent of people regarding its coronavirus policies as “more democratic than undemocratic, more fair than unfair, more competent than incompetent”, the study found.
11:20 GMT – UK PM says furlough scheme keeps people in ‘suspended animation’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson described a scheme created to retain jobs as keeping people in “suspended animation”, saying the government instead wanted to get the United Kingdom back to work.
Questioned in parliament by opposition parties over whether he would extend the so-called furlough scheme beyond an end of October deadline to protect people’s jobs, Johnson said the programme keeps them in suspended animation and prevents them from going to work.
10:40 GMT – China will gradually resume direct international flights to Beijing
China’s aviation regulator said it will resume direct flights to Beijing from eight countries including Thailand, Cambodia, Greece, Denmark, Sweden and Canada from September 3.
In March, Chinese authorities ordered all international flights to Beijing to be diverted to other airports as their first port of entry, as the capital stepped up measures to battle imported infections.
10:20 GMT – Pope holds first public audience in months
Pope Francis has held his first public general audience after a pause of nearly six months due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Francis used the audience to call for solidarity as the way to exit the crisis. The pope said: “The current pandemic has highlighted our interdependence: We are all linked to each other, for better or for worse.”
Pope Francis leaves after the first weekly general audience to readmit the public since the coronavirus outbreak in the San Damaso courtyard at the Vatican, September 2, 2020 [Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters]
09:50 GMT – Singapore PM concedes ‘errors’ in pandemic response
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government erred in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “We must learn from these errors and do better next time,” Lee said, referring to the spread of the novel coronavirus across dozens of dormitories where about 320,000 migrant workers live 10-20 to a room.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that 49 more people had caught the virus, taking total infections since the outbreak began in January to almost 57,000.
09:15 GMT – Greece reports first coronavirus case in Moria camp on Lesbos
Greece recorded its first coronavirus case in the overcrowded migrant camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos, two migration ministry officials said on Wednesday.
A 40-year old asylum seeker has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been put in isolation, an official told Reuters news agency. Authorities were trying to trace the people he had contacted, the official said.
The Moria facility, which hosts about 13,000 people, has been frequently criticised by aid groups for poor living conditions [File: Alkis Konstantinidis]
08:42 GMT – Philippines reports 2,218 new COVID-19 cases, lowest rise in five weeks
The Philippine health ministry recorded 2,218 new coronavirus infections, the country’s lowest daily case increase in five weeks, and 27 additional deaths.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total infections have risen to 226,440 while deaths have reached 3,623, a quarter of which were recorded in the past 15 days.
08:03 GMT – Scotland imposes virus restrictions on Glasgow
Scotland imposed fresh restrictions on the city of Glasgow after a rise in coronavirus cases, as similar local lockdown measures elsewhere in the UK came under criticism.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said people living in Glasgow and two surrounding areas should not visit other people’s houses, after 66 new cases were recorded in the area on Tuesday. The measures will last two weeks.
1. New restrictions have come into effect in Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire & East Renfrewshire. I know residents in these areas – I am one – feel frustrated and are wondering why we have done X and not Y…so I thought it would be helpful to set out some of the rationale…
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 2, 2020
“I know how difficult this will be – I am a Glasgow resident so these rules apply to me too. But they are essential to, I hope, nip this in bud and avoid tougher restrictions,” she tweeted.
07:25 GMT – Russia reports nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases
Russia reported 4,952 new coronavirus cases, pushing its national tally to 1,005,000, the fourth largest in the world.
Authorities said 115 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,414.
06:45 GMT – Victoria extends state of emergency as virus cases decline
Australia’s hotspot Victoria state on Wednesday extended its state of emergency for another six months as its weekly average of new COVID-10 infections dipped to 95.
The Victorian Parliament’s upper chamber passed legislation by a 20-19 vote to extend the state of emergency, which enhances the government’s powers to impose pandemic restrictions.
The government had wanted a 12-month extension.
06:10 GMT – India’s daily surges making it world’s epicentre
India registered 78,357 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to more than 3.7 million as the government eases pandemic restrictions nationwide to help the battered economy.
India, a nation of 1.4 billion people, is fast becoming the world’s coronavirus epicentre.
It has been reporting the highest daily increases in new cases for more than three weeks, and at its current rate is likely to soon pass Brazil and ultimately the United States in total reported cases.
A boy watches a health worker in personal protective equipment as she walks past a house during a check-up campaign for COVID-19 in Mumbai, India [Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]
Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha, taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
05:30 GMT – Hong Kong hospital authority reports two COVID-19 deaths
Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority spokesperson says two people confirmed with COVID-19 died on Wednesday morning. The two patients were a 66-year-old man admitted to Yan Chai Hospital on August 2 with a persistent fever and cough, and a 79-year-old man who had been in United Christian Hospital since August 9 who had underlying health issues.
04:50 GMT – Hong Kong to relax some coronavirus curbs
The government in Hong Kong is expected to announce later tonight a relaxation of some coronavirus curbs.
Public service broadcaster RTHK says fitness centres and massage parlours will be allowed to open with some restrictions, while restaurants will be able to open longer for customers wanting to dine in.
The territory, which has just started a mass-testing campaign, is expected to announce just eight cases of the disease on Wednesday, the broadcaster said.
The #HongKong government is set to relax some #Covid social distancing measures like extending dine-in services till 10pm and allow fitness centres as well as massage parlours to reopen https://t.co/Cj7VFC2UZl
— RTHK English News (@rthk_enews) September 2, 2020
04:20 GMT – Australia’s AFL Grand Final to be held outside Melbourne in historic first
The Australian Football League’s Grand Final is to be held outside Melbourne, and at night, for the first time in its history as Australia’s second biggest city battles a resurgence of coronavirus.
The highlight of the Australian Rules football season is usually played on a late September afternoon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 100,000 fans.
This year it will take place in Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland, on October 24.
04:00 GMT – Nike for chicken: Filipinos turn to bartering
Scores of online bartering sites have popped up in the Philippines to help people struggling to make ends meet.
Many people are trying to swap possessions – from kitchen appliances to branded goods – for food.
“It’s so difficult nowadays,” Lorraine Imperio, a mother of two who swapped some Nike shoes for a chicken, told AFP news agency. “You don’t know where you’ll get the money to settle the bills for groceries.”
AFP estimates about 98 online bartering groups have appeared across the archipelago with tens of thousands of members. Searches for ‘barter food’ on Google have also soared, and there has been an increase in bartering groups on Facebook, too.
Lorraine Ann Imperio checks goods bartered via the Las Pinas Barter Community in Las Pinas City, suburban Manila. Struggling to make ends meet, she swapped a pair of Nike slip-ons for a chicken [Maria Tan/AFP]
03:10 GMT – BTS movie postponed in South Korea after virus cases surge
A documentary on the K-pop band BTS has been postponed because of the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
Big Hit Entertainment, the band’s agency, says Break the Silence: The Movie, which was originally scheduled for a September release will be delayed indefinitely, according to Yonhap News Agency.
South Korea reported 267 new cases on Wednesday, the 21st consecutive day of triple-digit increases.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says authorities were unable to identify the transmission route in 24.3 percent of patients over the past two weeks.
A documentary on the hugely popular boyband BTS has been postponed because of the resurgence of the coronavirus in South Korea [File: Jean Chung/Getty Images]
02:00 GMT – US sends rapid COVID tests to states for schools
The White House says it will send most of its newly-purchased 150 million rapid response COVID-19 tests to the states for schools, day care centres and emergency services.
The tests can give a result within 15 minutes and cost $5.
US President Donald Trump is pushing schools to reopen but many districts are reluctant to do so while the virus continues to circulate.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio has reached an agreement with teachers’ unions for phased resumption of classes with physical teaching resuming on September 21.
I couldn’t have more confidence in the teachers, staff and leadership at @NYCSchools. They care deeply about our kids, and it shows. The revised opening schedule we announced is an inspiring act of unity that will keep EVERYONE in our schools community safe. https://t.co/azXv13Sy3L
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) September 1, 2020
01:40 GMT – Australia in first recession in three decades
Coronavirus has brought Australia’s three decades of economic growth to a halt.
Latest figures show the economy contracted 7 percent in the second quarter after a 0.3 percent decline in the first quarter.
The drop was the biggest quarterly decline since records began in 1959.
A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.
01:35 GMT – Xinjiang resumes ‘normal life’: State media
State media in China is reporting that people in the far western region of Xinjiang have resumed “normal life order and production” after a sudden spike in cases last month.
CGTN says some epidemic control measures remain in force.
#Xinjiang resumes production, but epidemic measures remain #COVID19 https://t.co/gBvmYpkqK7 pic.twitter.com/y3cuEaem5e
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) September 2, 2020
01:15 GMT – Cases continue to ease in Australia’s ‘hotspot’ state
Cases continue to ease in Australia’s southeastern state of Victoria.
The state confirmed 90 new cases on Wednesday, compared with a peak of more than 700 last month. Six more people died.
State officials will announce plans on Sunday to ease coronavirus-related restrictions. Melbourne, the state capital and Australia’s second biggest city, is in the fourth week of a strict six week lockdown.
00:00 GMT – US turns back on global vaccine effort
The United States has said it will not join the World Health Organization-led global push for a coronavirus vaccine.
More than 150 countries have established the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, known as COVAX, but the US says it will not join because it does not want to be “constrained” by multilateral organisations like the WHO. It pulled out of the WHO in early July.
“The United States will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus, but we will not be constrained by multilateral organisations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.
A volunteer receives an injection as part of a study for a possible COVID-19 vaccine in Binghamton, New York in July. The US says it won’t join a WHO-led global effort to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine [File: Hans Pennink/AP Photo]
Read more on this story here.
23:30 GMT (Tuesday) – UN to hold summit on post-pandemic global governance
Niger, the current president of the United Nations Security Council, is organising a September 24 video conference between heads of state to discuss the future of global governance following the coronavirus pandemic.
The summit will debate “post-COVID-19 global governance in relation to the maintenance of international peace and security,” Niger’s UN Ambassador Abdou Abarry told journalists.
The session will take place during the annual UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders, which will take place this year mainly by video conference because of the pandemic.
“This will be an opportunity for our leaders to have political discussions on the need to adapt the current international system embodied by the United Nations and the Security Council in order to effectively face traditional threats to security such as conflicts, but also new threats such as organised crime and pandemics,” Abarry said.
23:00 GMT (Tuesday) – Recovered COVID-19 patients retain antibodies for months
A new study from Iceland has found antibody levels against the novel coronavirus rose and then held steady for up to four months in more than 90 percent of recovered COVID-19 patients.
Kari Stefansson, chief executive of deCODE Genetics, which conducted the study, says the findings could have implications for reinfection risks and vaccine durability.
Researchers measured antibody levels in more than 30,000 Icelanders.
Based on the results, they estimate that about one cent of the population had been infected. Of that group, 56 percent had received a confirmed diagnosis after a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory test. A further 14 percent had not been formally diagnosed, but had been quarantined after exposure to the virus. For the remaining 30 percent, the antibody tests led to the discovery of prior infection.
Among the 1,215 people with an infection confirmed by PCR, 91 percent had antibody levels that rose during the first two months after diagnosis and then plateaued, researchers reported.
The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur, keeping you updated for the next few hours.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 1) here.