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Malaysia detects new coronavirus strain that is ten times more infectiousThe mutation, earlier seen in other parts of the world and called D614G, was found in at least three of the 45 cases in a cluster that started from a restaurant owner returning from India and breaching his 14-day home quarantine.The mutation has become the predominant variant in Europe and the U.S., with the World Health Organization saying there’s no evidence the strain leads to a more severe disease.While Malaysia has largely managed to prevent a resurgence of the virus seen elsewhere in the world, the number of new cases found in the country has been picking up.Australian state premier apologises for cruise ship failures after COVID-19 spikeThe leader of Australia’s New South Wales state apologised on Monday for failing to stop people carrying the coronavirus from disembarking from a cruise ship in Sydney in March, triggering that was at the time Australia’s worst outbreak.The apology from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for her government’s poor handling of the outbreak aboard the Ruby Princess came as the number of deaths from a second wave of infection in Victoria state hit a record 25.Australia has reported 23,500 COVID-19 cases and 421 deaths, far fewer than many other developed nations, but missteps in the handling of the Ruby Princess and possibly also with hotel quarantine in Victoria have proven costly.South Koreans urged to stay home as cases jumpSouth Korea counted its fourth straight day of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus cases Monday as the government urged people to stay home and curb travel. The 279 new cases reported Sunday was South Korea’s biggest single-day jump since early May amid concerns about an outbreak in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.Bolivia surpasses 100,000 cases, authorities predict September peakChina reports 22 new coronavirus infections for Aug. 16, no new Xinjiang cases546 new COVID19 cases and 14 deaths reported in Jharkhand yesterday.

Total number of cases now at 23,224 including 14,747 recoveries and 244 deaths: State Health Department

Britain encourages at-risk groups to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine trialsBritain on Monday urged elderly people and volunteers from Black and Asian minority groups to sign up to a COVID-19 vaccine trial registry to boost efforts to find a working vaccine against the disease that offers protection against higher risk groups.No COVID-19 vaccine candidate has yet been proven effective against the disease, but around 20 are in clinical trials.Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in vaccine trials, Britain’s business ministry said.British home sales hit record after lockdown, Rightmove saysBritons bought and sold a record number of homes between mid July and early August as pent-up demand from the coronavirus lockdown and a desire to leave London bucked the usual summer slowdown, industry data showed on Monday.Property website Rightmove, which says it is used by 90% of British estate agents, reported the highest number of home sales agreed since it began tracking the data more than 10 years ago, with transactions more than 20% higher than the previous record.The most recent figures from the Bank of England – which cover June, before July’s announcement of a tax break on moving home – showed a sharp rebound in demand for mortgages, but fewer loans were approved than before the pandemic.Brazil confirms over 23,000 new COVID-19 cases, 600 deaths576 new COVID-19 cases and 8 deaths reported in Chhattisgarh yesterday.

Total cases rise to 15,621 including 5,244 active cases, 10,235 discharges and 142 deaths: State Health Department

Kerala: Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala opened yesterday

Lord Ayyappa temple re-opened on the eve of the monthly five-day puja for the Malayalam month of Chingam. The puja will start from today morning and the bar on devotees’ entry will continue as per COVID-19 protocol.

Jharkhand reports 546 new COVID-19 cases on SundayOdisha conducts more than 1 lakh COVID-19 tests in two daysAustralia reports deadliest day of COVID-19 pandemic, new cases steadyVictoria state said 25 people had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, more than the previous worst daily toll of 21 reported nationally on Aug 12.Authorities in the southeastern state said 282 new COVID-19 cases had been detected, about the same as the 279 cases reported on Sunday.Those numbers are well below the peak of more than 700 daily cases in Victoria earlier this month and health officials are confident strict lockdown measures are working to contain the virus.Coronavirus speeds up push for congestion charge in citiesThe coronavirus outbreak gives city authorities an opportunity to implement congestion pricing to curb traffic and pollution, urban experts said, even as the pandemic has forced Singapore to put its new satellite-based system on hold.Congestion pricing, which charges private vehicles entering the city’s busiest areas, was first introduced in Singapore in 1975.London, Milan, Oslo and Stockholm are among the cities that also have a charge, with New York City planning to introduce one from 2021. Dozens of other cities have signalled interest.New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern postpones election as coronavirus flares up

An early election works in Ardern’s favour, as her success in stifling COVID-19 and keeping the country virus-free for 102 days until the latest outbreak has boosted her popularity.

Japan’s economy shrinks at record rate, slammed by pandemicJapan’s economy shrank at annual rate of 27.8% in April-June, the worst contraction on record, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed consumption and trade, according to government data released Monday.Japanese media reported the latest drop was the worst since World War II. Japanese economic growth was flat in July-September. Growth was modest in the quarter before that.For the April-June period, Japan’s exports dropped at a whopping annual rate of 56%, while private consumption dipped at an annual rate of nearly 29%.

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