More than 18.54 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Wednesday, up more than 400,000 in just one day. More than 11 million have recovered, while over 700,000 have died.
Amid fears of widespread coronavirus infections among voters, Sri Lankans will head to the polls on Wednesday to choose a new parliament in an election the party of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is widely expected to win.
Mexico’s health ministry has reported 6,148 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 857 additional deaths, bringing the total in the country to 449,961 cases and 48,869 deaths.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, August 5
04:50 – Global coronavirus deaths exceed 700,000, one person dies every 15 seconds on average
The global death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University and Reuters tallies, with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities.
Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.
That equates to 247 people per hour, or one person every 15 seconds.
The United States and Latin America are the new epicenters of the pandemic and both are struggling to curb the spread of the virus.
03:45 GMT – Latin America now has world’s highest death toll
Latin America has surpassed Europe to become the region with the highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.
The region has now recorded more than 206,000 deaths, approximately 30 percent of the global total.
Brazil, the Latin American country most affected by the novel coronavirus, has now recorded a total of 95,819 deaths as of Tuesday. Mexico, the second-most affected country in the region, has recorded 48,869 deaths.
The spread of the pandemic has also accelerated in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia.
03:38 GMT – US health chief to visit Taiwan
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will visit Taiwan in coming days, making the highest level visit by a US official in 40 years in a move likely to anger China which claims the island as its own.
“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” Azar said in a statement.
“I look forward to conveying President Trump’s support for Taiwan’s global health leadership and underscoring our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health.”
03:09 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports deadliest day of pandemic
Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria has reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak with 15 deaths in the last 24 hours and a record daily rise in infections.
The state reported 725 new cases compared with 439 a day earlier.
It recorded its previous one-day high of 723 cases and 13 deaths last week.
02:08 GMT – US gov’t urged to let other firms make remdesivir
A bipartisan group of state attorneys general has urged the US government to allow other companies to make Gilead Sciences’ COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, to increase its availability and lower the price of the antiviral drug.
The coalition of more than 30 state attorneys general called on the government to act or allow states to do so, saying in a letter to US health agencies that Gilead “has not established a reasonable price” for remdesivir.
“Gilead should not profit from the pandemic and it should be pushed to do more to help more people,” the letter said.
WHO COVID Debrief on global coronavirus vaccine efforts (4:08)
The drugmaker is charging most US patients $3,120 per course, or $520 per vial of remdesivir.
Gilead said in a statement that the AGs were misrepresenting facts about access to remdesivir and that the regulatory actions proposed are unauthorised under these circumstances and would do nothing to speed up access.
The medicine is one of only two that have demonstrated an ability to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients in formal clinical trials.
01:39 GMT – Australia’s Queensland shuts state border
Australia’s Queensland state will close its border with New South Wales (NSW) state to hold back a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
A surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city, has forced the state of Victoria to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s movements and order most businesses to stop trading from Wednesday night.
Other states are imposing new restrictions of their own to prevent any spillover form Victoria and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has already shut her northeastern state’s border to Victorians, said travellers from NSW and the capital Canberra also would be barred from Saturday.
“We have seen that Victoria is not getting better, and we’re not going to wait for New South Wales to get worse. We need to act,” Palaszczuk said at a news conference in Brisbane.
00:45 GMT – US fraud losses near $100m
US losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100m since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of COVID-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group has said.
A report from the Socialcatfish.com, based on government data, highlighted the vast scope of a fast-growing criminal cottage industry – from phoney stimulus-check offers to shopping scams and fake cures – preying on people already distressed by the pandemic and its economic fallout.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania – the most populous of the 50 US states – to be the five most targeted by coronavirus scams in the country.
Together, they accounted for about a third of more than 150,000 instances of COVID-related fraud reported nationally by the Federal Trade Commission from mid-March, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, through July, the report published on Tuesday showed.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key coronavirus-related developments from yesterday, August 4, click here.