United States President Donald Trump continues to claim there will be a coronavirus vaccine in weeks, contradicting the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The UN is warning coronavirus could be more widespread in Syria than official data suggests with nearly 90 percent of cases unable to be traced to a known source.
The world’s biggest rubber glove maker – Malaysia’s Top Glove – is expected to announce record profits as the pandemic boosts demand.
More than 29.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and 938,820 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some 20.2 million people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates: 
Thursday, September 17
07:00 GMT – Hurtigruten cancels remaining 2020 cruises
Norway’s Hurtigruten has called off its remaining cruises this year due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Europe and the Americas, the company said.
The decision affects Hurtigruten’s so-called expedition cruises, which often take passengers into Arctic or Antarctic waters, though its business of shipping goods and people between ports along the Norwegian coast will continue.
The company was the first cruise operator worldwide to return an oceangoing cruise ship to service in mid-June, touting reduced passenger capacity, social distancing and strict rules on hygiene.
06:40 GMT – UK faces bottleneck on testing due to lab capacity: minister
Britain faces difficulties in carrying out COVID-19 tests due to shortages of lab capacity, said junior health minister Edward Argar.
“Lab capacity is one of the bottlenecks, or one of the challenges in significantly increasing that capacity,” Argar told Sky News.
Britain can avoid further local restrictions and another national lockdown by sticking to the rules such as not meeting in groups of more than six people, minister added.
06:15 GMT – Czech Republic’s daily jump in COVID-19 cases exceeds 2,000
The Czech Republic reported more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day for the first time as it battles a surge in infections that is among the fastest in Europe.
The health ministry recorded 2,139 cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, up from a previous record 1,675 reported for the previous day.

People wearing mask as a precaution against coronavirus walk on street in Prague [File: Anadolu] 

05:45 GMT – Ukraine sets daily record with 3,584 new cvirus cases
Ukraine set a daily record with 3,584 new coronavirus infections, the national security council said, up from a figure of 3,144 on Sept. 11.
Ukraine has a total of 166,244 cases, with 3,400 deaths and 73,913 recoveries, the council added.
Hello, this is Umut Uras in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry.
05:15 GMT – Survey finds people in Asia blame certain groups for COVID-19
Nearly half of people in four Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Pakistan – blame certain groups for spreading COVID-19 including foreigners, people attending religious ceremonies and those who do not follow the rules on matters such as mask wearing or physical distancing.
Viviane Fluck, the community engagement and accountability coordinator at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Asia Pacific, which carried out the survey, described the findings as alarming.
“We are very concerned that vulnerable groups such as migrants and those who cannot afford protective equipment may be discriminated against due to stigma and fear,” she said in a statement. The survey also found nearly four out of five people distrusted social media, despite it being one of the leading sources of information about the virus.
05:00 GMT – The journey not the destination, airlines offer flights to nowhere
More of the Asia Pacific’s embattled airlines are offering “flights to nowhere” as the pandemic grounds international travel, according to Reuters news agency.
Qantas is the latest to join the trend, offering a seven-hour flight over Australia’s Outback and Great Barrier Reef, which apparently sold out in 10 minutes despite a starting price of 787 Australian dollars ($575). Taiwan’s EVA Airways and Japan’s ANA have also offered special sightseeing flights.
Tough border restrictions to keep the coronavirus under control have led to a 97.5 percent plunge in international travel in the region, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.
04:40 GMT – Syria cases may be much higher than figures suggest: UN
The United Nation’s top humanitarian official says coronavirus could be much more widespread in Syria than official figures suggest.
Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday that it would only be possible to get a clearer picture of the situation when testing was stepped up. He noted that the source of nearly 90 percent of confirmed cases could not be traced to a known source, suggesting widespread community transmission.
Syria has confirmed 3,618 cases of the virus.

— Mark Lowcock (@UNReliefChief) September 16, 2020

04:30 GMT  – India breaks daily record for coronavirus cases – again
India has reported another record jump in daily coronavirus cases confirming 97,894 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry.
Deaths, which have been relatively low so far, are also climbing. The country has recorded more than 1,000 deaths every day for the last two weeks.
04:10 GMT – Burberry to kick off first virtual London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week is due to get underway later on Thursday with a livestreamed show from the luxury British brand Burberry.
The show will be broadcast online at 12:00 GMT with Riccardo Tisci, its Italian designer, promising an uninhabited wilderness show in a collaboration with German artist Anne Imhof that has been described as a “radical meeting of fashion and art”.
Around 80 designers will present their latest collections during the six-day event, but only a handful will stage the kind of physical shows that in pre-COVID times drew hordes of industry insiders, celebrities and journalists from around the world.

Exploring the work of Anne Imhof, the internationally acclaimed artist invited by Riccardo Tisci to partner on the upcoming #BurberrySpringSummer21 show experience .#BurberryShow #Burberry pic.twitter.com/1yTo1bRNLV
— Burberry (@Burberry) September 15, 2020

03:50 GMT – World’s biggest glovemaker to report record profit
Malaysia’s Top Glove is due to report record profits later on Thursday, thanks to a surge in sales as a result of the coronavirus.
Analysts are expecting the company – the world’s biggest manufacturer of rubber and nitrile gloves – to announce a profit of at least 1 billion Malaysian ringgit ($241 million) for the three months ended August 31, its fiscal fourth quarter.
Top Glove is benefitting from higher prices and a surge in demand as a result of the coronavirus, but it has also been criticised over its treatment of migrant workers. US customs imposed an import ban on its products in July over forced labour concerns.

A worker inspects disposable gloves at the Top Glove factory in Shah Alam near the Malaysian capital. The company’s expected to report record profits on Thursday thanks to COVID-19 demand [Mohd Rasfan/AFP]

03:40 GMT – Relief for Australian sport as NSW relaxes restrictions
Crowds of as many as 40,000 people will soon be able to attend major sporting events in Sydney after the New South Wales government announced a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.
The new rules – allowing stadiums to be filled to 50 percent capacity – come into effect on October 1 as the National Rugby League and Rugby Championship approach the end of their seasons. 
Stadium Australia, the arena built for the 2000 Olympics, will be able to welcome 40,000 fans, the new Western Sydney Stadium in Parramatta 15,000 and the Sydney Cricket Ground 23,000.
Fans will have to wear facemasks going into the stadiums, but will be able to take them off inside, where they will be seated in “chequerboard” arrangements to allow physical distancing, the NSW government said.
02:45 GMT – ‘Punched, hit, kicked, shoved, deliberately spat at’
New research shows holders of temporary visas in Australia suffered increasing racist abuse after they were left out of the government’s economic support schemes and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was time to go home.
In a survey of more than 6,000 temporary visa holders, a quarter said they had experienced racist abuse, and a quarter reported people avoiding them because of their appearance.
“Over 1,600 participants described being targeted with xeonphobic slurs, treated as though they were infected with COVID because they looked Asian or haraassed for wearing a face mask,” said Professor Bassina Farbenblum, an associate professor at UNSW Law, who worked on the study with Laurie Berg, an associate professor at UTS Law. The two are co-directors of the Migrant Worker Justice Initiative. “Many reported that because off their Asian appearance they were punched, hit, kicked, shoved, deliberately spat at or coughed on by passers-by in the street and on public transport.”
More than one million people live in Australia on temporary visas including international students, backpackers, and refugees. The survey found 70 percent of respondents lost all or most of their work as a result of the pandemic, with one in three international students expecting their funds to run out by next month.

The government’s failure to support these vulnerable people has the potential to profoundly impact Australia’s global reputation – Latest research from UTS Law’s Laurie Berg and @UNSWLaw’s Bassina Farbenblum on COVID’s impact on international students: https://t.co/el0EZqPC4F pic.twitter.com/2SKtwF86Ho
— UTS Faculty of Law (@UTSLaw) September 16, 2020

02:15 GMT – Brazil’s Bolsonaro appoints general as new health minister
Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has apppointed a general with no experience in health as the country’s new health minister.
General Eduardo Pazuello was given the job on a temporary basis four months ago, but will now be made permanent. He has been more willing to go along with Bolsonaro’s approach to the pandemic than his predecessors, including recommending doctors prescribe hydroxycholoroquine to treat COVID-19 despite there being no evidence of it being effective.
Bolsonaro, who’s dismissed the virus as a “little flu”, brandished a box of the drug as Pazuello was sworn into office in Brasilia.  

Brazilian Army General Eduardo Pazuello, who has no background in health. has been more willing to go along with President Bolsonaro’s pandemic response than his predecessors [Sergio Lima/AFP]

01:35 GMT – Australia tensions rise over citizens stuck overseas
Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison says the number of people allowed into Australia will rise by 2,000 from next Friday, according to public broadcaster ABC.
The states, who will have to house the arrivals in hotel quarantine have yet to give their approval.
About 4,000 people are currently allowed into Australia each week, but at least 25,000 are stranded overseas because of the cap on arrivals. Many Australians also say they have been bumped from flights home repeatedly.

The govt should leave no stone unturned; on top of increasing the cap they can charter additional flights, employ RAF resources, use airports other than Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, or use federal quarantine facilities to increase capacity for people to isolate themselves.
— Joel Clark 🕯️🏳️‍🌈 (@JoelM_Clark) September 17, 2020

00:30 GMT – New Zealand reports record fall in GDP
New Zealand has just released economic data for the second quarter when the country was in lockdown, and it’s not pretty.
The figures show gross domestic product shrank by 12.2 percent compared with the previous quarter, the biggest drop on record. The country is now in its worst recession since 2010.
00:00 GMT – Trump contradicts CDC chief over vaccine
US President Donald Trump has directly contradicted Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over the timing of any coronavirus vaccine.
While Redfield told a US Senate committee a vaccine was unlikely to be ready until mid to late 2021, Trump said it would be much sooner and accused the CDC chief of making a “mistake” and being “confused”. He told the news conference a vaccine could be announced as soon as October. 
Trump has been pushing for a vaccine ahead of the November election, raising concerns about safety. Vaccine development usually takes years, and there is no guarantee of success. The process has been accelerated for the coronavirus and there are a number of candidates currently in large-scale phase three human trials, which are designed to test efficacy and safety.

COVID-19 vaccine: Safety concerns as countries rush for protection

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 16) here.
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