(Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday the country must begin to ease strict COVID-19 restrictions once vaccination rates increase, with over half of all Australians enduring weeks-long lockdowns to curb Delta outbreaks.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* The United Kingdom will begin offering COVID-19 antibody testing to the general public in the coming week for the first time, British media reported.
* Thousands demonstrated across France for a sixth consecutive weekend against a COVID-19 health pass required for daily activities, highlighting a simmering political risk for President Emmanuel Macron.
* The Euro 2020 soccer final between England and Italy in July was a “superspreader” event due to the level of COVID-19 infection found in or around London’s Wembley Stadium on the day, according to official data.
* New Zealand is set to stay in COVID-19 lockdown until at least midnight Friday, New Zealand Herald reported without giving the source of the information.
* China’s health authority reported there were no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 for the first time since July, offering more signs that the current outbreak which began late last month may be tapering off soon.
* Vietnamese soldiers were deployed on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City to help enforce a lockdown in the country’s business hub, which has become the epicentre of its worst coronavirus outbreak so far during the pandemic.
* North Korea has developed its own polymerase chain reaction (PCR) equipment to conduct coronavirus tests, state media said, as the country steps up efforts to head off more contagious new strains of the virus.
* South Korea’s health ministry said Moderna will supply the country with 7.01 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by the first week of September, following a government request to speed up delivery.
* Filipino workers who have been vaccinated in the Philippines will be allowed to enter Hong Kong from Aug. 30, Manila’s labour minister said.
* Sri Lanka announced a 10-day lockdown starting on Friday night in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as surging infections and deaths overwhelm the island’s health system.
* A healthcare network that operates several hospitals in Toronto said it would sack any staff members who are not fully vaccinated by the end of October.
* Cuba’s drug regulator granted emergency approval for its homegrown Soberana 2 vaccine, allowing the drug’s full inclusion in the country’s inoculation program as it races to curb a Delta variant-fuelled coronavirus outbreak.
* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, irrespective of their vaccination status.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* A third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has significantly improved protection from infection and serious illness among people aged 60 and older in Israel compared with those who received two shots, findings published by the Health Ministry showed.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aiming to give full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
* Asian shares bounced on Monday as a wave of bargain hunting swept beaten-down markets and China reported no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases for the first time since July, though the mood remained brittle overall. [MKTS/GLOB]
(Compiled by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Devika Syamnath and Federico Maccioni; Edited by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)