Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Australia has signed a deal to secure supplies of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca should it pass clincal trials. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also said the vaccine should be compulsory for Australia’s 25 million people.

South Korea has reported the highest daily number of coronavirus cases since March with many of those diagnosed with the disease linked to churches in the capital.

The number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world now exceeds 22 million, and more than 779,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 14 million people have recovered from the disease.

Here are the latest updates:

Wednesday, August 19
03:20 GMT – Brazil gives nod to final stage trials for Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Brazil’s health regulator has approved final stage trials for Johnson & Johnson’s experimental coronavirus vaccine – the fourth to get the nod for testing in the country.

The vaccine will be tested on 7,000 volunteers across seven states, Anvisa, the health regulator, said in a statement.

Brazil has the world’s second biggest case load for COVID-19 and has recorded nearly 110,000 deaths from the disease.

02:50 GMT – Indigenous protesters resume Amazon roadblock

Indigenous protesters have resumed a roadblock of a key highway through the Amazon rainforest despite a judge ordering then to dismantle the blockade. 

The protesters from the Kayapo Mekranoti ethnic group want help to fight the coronavirus and an end to illegal mining and deforestation.

Indigenous people have been among the groups worst affected by the coronavirus in Brazil with at least 21,000 diagnosed with the disease and 618 deaths.

The highway is a major route taking soy and corn exports from farms to Amazon river ports and beyond.

A member of the Kayapo at the roadblock along the BR163 highway in the Amazon [Joao Laet/AFP]

02:45 GMT – Australia PM says COVID-19 vaccine should be compulsory

More on Australia and its plan for vaccines.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the coronavirus vaccine should be compulsory for all Australians with only limited medical exceptions.

He told local radio station 3AW the vaccination should be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” and the stakes were too high to allow the disease to continue to spread.

“We’re talking about a pandemic that has destroyed the global economy and taken the lives of hundreds of thousands all around the world.”

01:40 GMT – Global caseload exceeds 22 million

More than 22 million cases of coronavirus have now been reported around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The first cases were reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

The US has now confirmed the most cases, followed by Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa. The US has also recorded the most deaths.

Coronavirus cases

US – 5,481,557
Brazil – 3,407,354
India – 2,702,742
Russia – 930,276
South Africa – 592,144

Coronavirus deaths

US – 171,687
Brazil – 109,888
Mexico – 57,023
India – 51,797
UK – 41,466

A colourised scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (purple) captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in the US [Handout National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases via AFP] 

01:30 GMT – New cases in South Korea reach five month high, tightens curbs

South Korea’s reported the highest number of new cases of coronavirus since March, with many traced to churches in Seoul.

The country added 297 cases – including 283 that were locally transmitted – the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. That’s the most since March 8, according to Yonhap news agency.

The spike in cases has prompted the authorities to tighten restrictions. Gatherings involving more than 100 people if outside and 50 if inside are now banned and venues seen as high-risk including karaoke lounges and nightclubs have been closed. Churches in Seoul and surrounding areas have been told to stop in-person services.

00:05 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports 216 new coronavirus cases, 12 deaths

Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria says 12 people have died from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and reported 216 new cases.

Victoria reported 222 cases a day earlier, its lowest one-day rise in a month, and 17 deaths.

The state is the epicentre of Australia’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, but cases appear to have slowed in recent days. 

00:00 GMT – Australia secures vaccine deal

Australia has signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to secure a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed with Oxford University.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the vaccine is one of the most promising and advanced of the drugs currently in development.

UK coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response in trials


Read all the updates from yesterday (August 18) here.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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