COVID-19 Apocalypse : Over 1 million cases recorded in Africa, risk of virus spreading widely in Vietnam is “very high”, all schools in New York to reopen in September


8th August 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 19,374,498 with 719,856 deaths as of 12.30am today.


Two schools in northeast Germany have closed due to coronavirus infections, state authorities announced on Friday. Both schools, the Ostsee elementary school and the Goethe High School, are in the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. This was the first German state to re-open for classes, at the beginning of this week following the summer holidays.

Italy, the first COVID-19 epicentre outside of China, has used an aggressive testing regime and face coverings to beat back a second wave of the pandemic so far. But as the nation’s children prepare to return to the classroom, many schools are taking matters into their own hands — by chopping up the furniture.

Sweden reported no new virus deaths on Friday, according to the National Health Agency. However, the Nordic nation is seeing “an increasing share of cases in the age group 20-29 years,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told reporters in Stockholm on Thursday, “and that’s a bad sign.”

There is evidence to suggest the rate of infection in England has flattened, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday. Boris Johnson’s government warned British tourists they face more disruption to their plans for holidays in Europe amid reports that France may be next on the U.K. list of countries hit by travel restrictions.

Switzerland signed a deal with Moderna Inc. for 4.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine the company is working on. 

Norwegian leisure and ferry operator Hurtigruten Group AS said 62 people have now tested positive aboard the MS Roald Amundsen, an increase from last week’s total of about 40.

Norwegians should avoid all travel abroad, also to countries with few COVID-19 cases as authorities try to prevent a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Norway’s health minister has said. “There is still little contamination in Norway, but we see increased contamination in countries that used to have control over their situations,” Bent Hoie told a news conference.

Poland reported 809 new cases on Friday, the third daily record this week, taking the total number of infections to 50,324. The spike has prompted new containment measures in some of the most affected areas in the country of 38 million people.

Denmark is discouraging non-essential travel to Spain because of a “marked increase” in infections there, adding the country to a list that already includes the U.K., Bulgaria and Romania.

Spanish authorities have ordered about 32,000 people into lockdown in the central riverside town of Aranda de Duero in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

U.S. and Canada

The market opened lower Friday morning even though the US government reported a solid rebound in the labour market.

The US economy added another 1.8 million jobs in July, a sharp slowdown from June and a small step for an economy that’s still down 12.9 million jobs during the pandemic.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said all school districts in the state can reopen in September.

All school districts across New York state are cleared to open, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a telephonic news conference Friday.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new rules Friday designed to better enforce mask requirements and give local authority guidelines to enforce compliance.

The state of Florida is reporting 7,686 additional coronavirus cases and 180 additional deaths, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health on Friday. 

Restaurants in Baltimore will be allowed to reopen at 5 p.m. ET today, with indoor dining limited to 25%, despite White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx naming the Maryland city as an area of concern.  

Arizona’s infections continued to increase at a slower pace as the state reported 1,406 new cases Friday for a total of 185,053. The state’s seven-day average increase fell to less than 1%, the lowest since late June. Officials counted 78 new deaths, bringing the toll to 3,626.

Hawaiian officials are tightening restrictions after a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide — with the majority of the cases on the island of Oahu.

Schools in a district in the US state of Georgia will operate remotely after dozens of staff members were placed in quarantine.

The coronavirus-hit Canadian economy created 419,000 jobs in July, a higher-than-predicted increase of 2.4 percent, while unemployment continued to fall to 10.9 percent, the national statistics institute said.

China and Hong Kong

Hong Kong will offer voluntary, universal testing as officials scramble to contain a third wave of the virus. A new testing lab will also be built at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Centre, in an effort to ease pressure on hospitals. Hong Kong confirmed 89 new cases of COVID-19 in the city on Friday, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 3,939.

Elsewhere in the world

Africa surpassed 1 million coronavirus infections, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, accounting for about 5% of cases worldwide. The organization has recorded 22,066 deaths and 690,436 recoveries since the virus reached the continent in February.

Rugby in South Africa is aiming to restart next month after the government gave permission for matches to go ahead again without spectators.

Bollywood actors and crew older than 65 will be allowed to resume shoots, an industry official said, after an Indian court overturned coronavirus restrictions limiting the presence of older people on film sets.

Libya reported 404 new coronavirus cases Thursday, a record high for the country. Libya has a total of 4,879 confirmed cases and 107 deaths, according to its National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and Johns Hopkins University, but officials fear the case count could be much higher due to the country’s extremely limited testing capability.

At least 156 new coronavirus-related deaths in Iran have raised the country’s toll to 18,132, the health ministry said. 

The South Korean government has approved a private organization’s request to send COVID-19 relief products to North Korea.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a Friday news conference he believes any country that eventually produces a viable Covid-19 vaccine needs to share it with the world.

Pakistan’s government has announced plans to reopen tourist hot spots, restaurants, salons and movie theatres next week due to a continued drop in coronavirus infections in the country.

Vietnam reported 34 new infections, of which 32 cases are tied to the coastal city of Danang and two are imported, according to the health ministry. The risk of COVID-19 spreading widely in Vietnam is “very high”, its prime minister said on Friday, after a new outbreak in the central city of Danang late last month ended a three month run of no new domestic cases.

The country has identified 281,863 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 6,035 patients have died. Authorities reported Friday that 727 cases and 21 fatalities had been identified in the previous 24 hours.

Thailand will allow schools to fully reopen from next Thursday after the Southeast Asian nation went without a local transmission of coronavirus for more than two months.

Tokyo confirmed 462 cases on Friday, up from 360 a day earlier, the first time daily new infections exceeded 400 since 1st August. Japan’s Osaka prefecture had a record 255 new cases, TV Asahi reported.