(Reuters) – Olympic organisers are set to ban all spectators from the Games, the Asahi daily said on Thursday, as Japan declared a coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo that will run through its hosting of the event to curb a new wave of infections.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* COVID-19 infections in England have quadrupled in a month since early June, a large prevalence study showed, ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to fully reopen the economy in two weeks’ time.
* The highly contagious Delta variant now represents around 40% of new infections in France and could ruin the summer if a fourth wave of infections is allowed to build, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.
* The Dutch government said it will consider whether it needs to take fresh action following a swift rise in new COVID-19 cases.
* Indonesia and Thailand are considering offering a booster shot to their medical workers immunised with Sinovac’s vaccine, a move likely to reduce public trust in the Chinese product that has been their main inoculation tool.
* South Korea reported its biggest daily rise in new cases and a top health official warned the numbers may nearly double by the end of July, even as the country considers imposing a semi-lockdown in hard-hit Seoul.
* Taiwan will partially ease its COVID-19 curbs next week but will officially maintain its existing alert level until later in the month, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said, as its domestic outbreak continues to stabilise.
* Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases this year as officials struggle to stamp out a growing cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant.
* The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis will require all employees to be fully vaccinated by the end of August in preparation for the bank’s return to more in-person work.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Tunisia has recorded 9,823 new coronavirus cases and 134 deaths, a daily record since the start of the pandemic, the health ministry said on Wednesday, as concerns grow that the country will not be able to control the pandemic.
* Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have received approval from Indian authorities for a late-stage clinical trial of their protein-based vaccine candidate, the drugmakers said.
* World Health Organization emergencies head Michael Ryan urged countries on Wednesday to use extreme caution when lifting COVID-19 restrictions so as “not to lose the gains you’ve made”.
* Global stocks fell on Thursday, tracking a slump in Asia in response to a widening crackdown on the tech sector in China and concern over the strength of the country’s economic recovery, while oil prices sagged on supply uncertainty.
* The Bank of Japan is expected to slash this fiscal year’s economic growth forecast in fresh quarterly projections due out next week, sources say, as prospects of another state of emergency for Tokyo threaten to dent consumption.
* Turkey is considering a fresh capital injection for state banks but they also need a plan to deal with lingering bad debt after the lenders depleted their resources helping Ankara’s battle against COVID-19, senior bankers and government officials say.
(Compiled by Federico Maccioni and Amy Caren Daniel; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta, Kirsten Donovan)