27 Aug 2020

Covid-19: Updates from around the world on 27 August

8:08 pm on 27 August 2020

More than 24.18 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 824,514 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

A health official takes a swab sample from a woman to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a testing point in Allahabad, India

A health official takes a swab sample from a woman to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a testing point in Allahabad, India Photo: AFP

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Public distrust of China's offer for Hong Kong testing

A Chinese government offer to test all Hong Kong residents for the novel coronavirus is meeting scepticism from the city's medical community and public and is emerging as a politically charged issue ahead of the launch of the plan next week.

A 60-person mainland Chinese team will carry out tests and build temporary hospitals in the first direct help from Chinese health officials for the semi-autonomous city in its battle with the epidemic.

A man wearing a face mask as a precautionary measure against Covid-19 walks on a street in Hong Kong.

A man wearing a face mask as a precautionary measure against Covid-19 walks on a street in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

Some medical experts have cast doubt on the effectiveness and need for the tests, with some branding the exercise more of a political effort by Beijing to burnish its image rather than a medical necessity.

Plans to start UK-US "air bridge"

The United Kingdom and United States' governments are in talks to introduce an "air bridge" between London and New York to enable travellers to sidestep quarantine, The Telegraph newspaper reported.

Ministers are studying plans for regional air bridges that would enable business and other travellers to come to Britain from "low-risk" areas such as New York City within countries that are "red listed" because of their continued overall high coronavirus rates, the report said.

Chinese companies face difficulties

China's BGI Genomics said its coronavirus testing kit has "relatively high accuracy", a day after Sweden said about 3700 people received false positive results due to a fault in the company's product. BGI said devices sensitive enough to detect a smaller amount of the virus would deliver positive results, while less sensitive products would return negative results.

Separately, Canada's National Research Council said it has ended its partnership for a coronavirus vaccine with CanSino Biologics, saying the Chinese company lacks the authority to ship the vaccine at this time.

CanSino's vaccine candidate is one of the few being tested in a late-stage study, as companies race to develop a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19.

Gender differences in Covid-19 response

The immune system of women may induce more appropriate responses to the coronavirus, a small study of 98 mostly older adults hospitalised with mild or moderate Covid-19 suggests, providing a clue to why Covid-19 tends to be more severe in men.

The women overall had more "robust" and "sustained" attacks on the virus by their immune systems' T cells, researchers reported in Nature. Poor T cell responses in men were linked with worse outcomes, they found.

Sex hormones may contribute to gender differences in Covid-19 mortality, new research suggests. Researchers studied electronic health records of nearly 37,000 female Covid-19 patients from 17 countries, and found that among women over age 50, those receiving HRT with the female hormone estradiol had a two-thirds lower risk of death from the coronavirus compared to non-users in that age group.

Brazil hits 3.7 million cases

Brazil reported 47,161 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 1086 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.

Brazil has registered 3,717,156 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 117,666, according to ministry data, in the world's worst coronavirus outbreak outside the United States.

Victoria reports lowest rise in Covid-19 cases in nearly two months

Australia's second most populous state of Victoria on Thursday reported 23 deaths from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 113 new cases, its lowest daily rise in nearly two months.

People wearing face masks exercise around the Albert Park Lake in Melbourne on August 26, 2020, as the city battles an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

People wearing face masks exercise around the Albert Park Lake in Melbourne on 26 August Photo: AFP

The southeastern state, which has become the country's virus hot spot, a day earlier reported its second-most deadly day of the pandemic with 24 deaths and logged 149 cases.

Strict lockdown measures have helped ease the daily rise of coronavirus infections in Victoria after the state hit a one-day high of more than 700 cases about three weeks ago.

Mexico registers 5267 new coronavirus cases, 626 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry on Wednesday (local time) reported 5267 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 626 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 573,888 cases and 62,076 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

South Korea reports 441 new coronavirus cases

South Korea reported 441 new coronavirus cases as of Wednesday (local time), the most daily infections since early March when the country had the first large outbreak, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Some 434 of the new cases were locally transmitted, bringing the total tally to 18,706 infections, with 313 deaths.

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 1507

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1507 to 237,936, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

The reported death toll rose by five to 9285, the tally showed.

India reports record daily jump of 75,760 coronavirus infections

India reported on Thursday a record daily jump of 75,760 coronavirus infections, taking its total caseload to 3.31 million as cases surged across the country, data from the federal health ministry showed.

India is the worst affected country in Asia and third behind the United States and Brazil in terms of total cases. It has posted the highest single-day caseloads in the world since 7 August, according to a Reuters tally.

Deaths in the same 24-hour period increased by 1023, taking the death toll to 60,472.

- Reuters

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