Coronavirus live news: New Zealand battles first Delta outbreak, vaccine warning for south-east Asia lockdown after its first case of the Delta variant emerged on Tuesday.

Coronavirus live news: New Zealand battles first Delta outbreak, vaccine warning for south-east Asia lockdown after its first case of the Delta variant emerged on Tuesday.

The practice of some politicians not wearing face coverings in parliament when they are not speaking may conflict with the spirit of government guidance.

PA reports that on Wednesday the House of Commons was at its busiest since March 2020, as MPs were recalled to debate the situation in Afghanistan, with members sitting shoulder to shoulder.

Some were wearing face coverings as they sat for the hours-long session, but many, including Boris Johnson, were not.

Since 19 July face coverings have not been mandatory in England, but government guidance says they are recommended in crowded and enclosed spaces.

It says: “We expect and recommend that members of the public continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet.” It adds that people should “use your judgment in deciding where you should wear one”.

Edinburgh University professor of public health Linda Bauld said:

The virus is airborne, we currently have slightly rising numbers of cases, so it is a protective measure that they can take and I’m sure everyone in public health would agree when indoors we should do that where possible.

It is important that people who are in positions of authority lead by example, and that’s been a bit of an issue throughout the pandemic in a whole variety of respects but continues to be the case.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has been touting a Covid-19 antibody treatment in which a top donor’s company has invested millions of dollars.

DeSantis has been flying around the state promoting Regeneron, a monoclonal antibody treatment that was used on then-president Donald Trump after he tested positive for Covid-19, the Associated Press reports. The governor first began talking about it as a treatment last year.

Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, has $15.9m in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical, according to US filings. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin has donated $10.75m to a political committee that supports DeSantis — $5.75m in 2018 and $5m last April.

The AP reports that it is not unusual for hedge funds to have a wide range of investments. BlackRock, which has primarily donated to Democratic candidates, though has also donated substantially to Republicans, has a large holding in the company – more so than Citadel.

DeSantis ramped up the call for Floridians to seek out monoclonal antibody treatments in August as coronavirus cases spiked. He has held news conferences at treatment sites and a Tampa hospital touting the effectiveness of the drug if people receive treatment soon after testing positive.

“Early treatment with these monoclonal antibodies – Regeneron and others – have proven to radically reduce the chances that somebody ends up being hospitalised,” DeSantis said on Monday at a treatment site in Orlando. “Reducing hospital admissions has got to be a top priority.”

Experts agree with him. The drugs, when given within 10 days of initial symptoms, have been shown to cut rates of hospitalisation and death by roughly 70%.

“We definitely need treatments like monoclonal antibodies that can prevent mild disease from progressing to severe disease. Ultimately, it’s still best to prevent someone from contracting Covid-19 in the first place,” said Dr. Leana Wen, public health professor at George Washington University and former Baltimore Health Commissioner. “Monoclonal antibodies are not prevention.”

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said that Citadel has far greater investments in Moderna and Pfizer, which manufacture Covid-19 vaccines.

“Vaccines prevent serious illness from Covid-19. But if someone who is unvaccinated gets Covid, or a vaccinated person gets a breakthrough infection, those in risk categories with comorbidities should consider getting early treatment with Regeneron. It is safe, effective, and free of charge to all patients in Florida. This should not be a political issue – it’s about saving lives,” Pushaw said.

Despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating that K-12 students should wear masks for in-person learning, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed an executive order on 30 July that bars school districts from putting mask mandates in place, even though children under 12 cannot yet receive a vaccine.

This has left some Florida parents making difficult individual decisions to have their children wear masks, often going up against the political and social norms of their schools and communities.

‘A vocal group got its way’: Florida parents condemn schools’ lack of mask mandates

Ecuador is the latest country to announce it will administer booster jabs to people with weak immune systems, health minister Ximena Garzon has said.

With the current evidence base limited, the country will also carry out tests to determine if the rest of the inoculated population also needs a third shot, he said.

“At an international level, it has already been shown that people who have some type of immunodeficiency will need a third dose,” Garzon said. “We will apply it, three months after the second dose, to people who meet certain parameters of immune disorders.”

Experts have warned the scientific and public health case for large-scale boosting has not been made and could have far-reaching consequences in other countries. On Saturday, the World Health Organization renewed its call for a suspension of booster shot campaigns.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
(@DrTedros)
Countries with high coverage are seeing a decoupling of #COVID19 cases & deaths, whereas countries that can’t access vaccines are seeing high cases drive steep rises in death.
No one is safe until everyone is safe & that’s why we need a moratorium on boosters. #VaccinEquity https://t.co/Mp4LM2S6tX

August 14, 2021
Official data shows that as of Sunday, Ecuador has vaccinated 4.8m people with two doses and almost 10m with one dose.

The country is using Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac shots as part of a broad vaccination plan. This week it began to use the single-dose vaccine developed by the China’s CanSino Biologics in hard-to-reach areas and in prisons. “We are already seeing … decreases in the percentage [of hospital bed occupancy],” Garzon said.

Ecuador, population 17m, has reported about 500,000 infections and around 31,900 deaths confirmed or likely Covid-19 deaths, Reuters reports.

Russia’s single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine against Covid-19 has demonstrated 93.5% efficacy in Paraguay, with data taken from the South American country’s vaccination campaign, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has said.

Developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, Sputnik Light had shown 79.4% efficacy when it was first authorised for use in May, Reuters reports.

The RDIF, citing data from Paraguay’s health ministry collected by 30 July, said the vaccine had proved highly effective among more than 320,000 people – though it was unclear whether the study accounted for any possible seasonal change affecting the spread of the virus.

“The use of the single-component vaccine Sputnik Light allows the Paraguayan authorities to shorten vaccination periods for the population and speed up the formation of collective immunity,” RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev said.

A person receives the vaccine against Covid-19, in the Club Fomento de Barrio Obrero in Asuncion, Paraguay, 21 July.
A person receives the vaccine against Covid-19, in the Club Fomento de Barrio Obrero in Asuncion, Paraguay, 21 July. Photograph: Nathalia Aguilar/EPA
Hello and greetings to everyone reading, wherever you are in the world. Mattha Busby here to take you through the next few hours of global Covid developments. Thanks to my colleague Robyn Vinter for covering the blog up until now. Please feel free to drop me a line on Twitter or message me via email (mattha.busby.freelance@guardian.co.uk) with any tips or thoughts on our coverage.

Amy Remeikis Amy Remeikis
The Australian federal parliament will sit as scheduled next week, despite the ACT lockdown, as the government faces deadlines on key pieces of legislation it must have passed.

The sitting had been placed in limbo after the ACT went into lockdown at the end of last week, following its first positive community-transmitted Covid case in 14 months.

Federal parliament to sit next week despite Covid lockdown in Canberra

That’s it from me. I’ll leave you with a summary of today’s events before handing over to my colleague Mattha Busby.

New restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid took effect in Israel after the largely vaccinated country reported the highest daily infection rate since January. The measures, announced on Sunday, require vaccination certificates or negative coronavirus tests to enter a range of public spaces.
New Zealand’s coronavirus cluster has grown to 10, with genomic sequencing linking it to the Delta outbreak that began in Sydney, as the country woke up to day one of a snap lockdown stemming from just one case.
Australia is on track to break its daily coronavirus case record with surging infections and more deaths in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, fuelling national concern. The state, which is under lockdown, reported a record-breaking 633 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Qantas airlines will require all of its frontline employees, including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
India reported on 35,178 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, nearly 40% higher than yesterday. Deaths remained low, with 440 reported in the past 24 hours.
Pope Francis has encouraged people to get Covid vaccines in a new media campaign. Getting vaccinated is “an act of love”, the pontiff says in a public service advert that will circulate online and on television from Wednesday.
The International Federation of Red Cross has called for south-east Asian countries to be given more help securing Covid-19 vaccines, as the region struggles to contain record infections and deaths driven by the Delta variant.
New York has become the first US city to require proof of vaccination to enter gyms, theatres and restaurants.
Japan’s government expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more regions on Tuesday as it battles a record wave of infections a week before the

Mexican young people wear costumes to get their vaccine
Young people in Mexico City are being encouraged to wear costumes to make receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations more fun.

A young woman wears a chicken mask on the esplanade of the Municipal Palace of Nezahualcóyotl, State of Mexico, while receiving the first dose of the Sinovac biological vaccine against Covid-19.
A young woman wears a chicken mask on the esplanade of the Municipal Palace of Nezahualcóyotl, State of Mexico, while receiving the first dose of the Sinovac biological vaccine against Covid-19. Photograph: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock
The country could tip over into a quarter of a million recorded deaths when the figures for yesterday are published today.

Mexico registered 14,814 new Covid-19 infections and 877 more deaths, health ministry data showed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 3,123,252 and the death toll to 249,529.

A woman dressed as a unicorn heads to the esplanade of the Municipal Palace of Nezahualcóyotl, State of Mexico, to receive the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine.
A woman dressed as a unicorn heads to the esplanade of the Municipal Palace of Nezahualcóyotl, State of Mexico, to receive the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine. Photograph: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock
Over the weekend, seven states reported growth in the virus, with health authorities in San Luis Potosí declaring the state was now red on the country’s traffic light system, with Covid-19 now affecting more younger people.

A young woman dressed as a skeleton waits to receive the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine.
A young woman dressed as a skeleton waits to receive the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine. Photograph: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock
Updated at 11.34am BST
FacebookTwitter
2h ago
10:25
Israel begins new measures requiring vaccination certificates or negative tests to enter public spaces
New restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid took effect in Israel on Wednesday, after the largely vaccinated country reported the highest daily infection rate since January.

The measures, announced on Sunday, require vaccination certificates or negative coronavirus tests to enter a range of public spaces, including restaurants and bars, cultural and sports venues, hotels and gyms, the health ministry said.

The same applies to worshippers wanting to enter synagogues, mosques or churches with more than 50 people in attendance, Agence France-Presse reports.

In addition, the capacity of stores, shopping malls and industrial parks will be limited to one person per seven square metres (75 sq ft).

After its launch in December, Israel’s widely praised vaccination drive helped to drastically bring down infections. But that trend has since reversed, driven by the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, with restrictions that were lifted in June reimposed since July.

In recent weeks, the state has begun administering booster shots to Israelis aged 50 and over, while urging anyone aged 12 and older to get vaccinated.

About 1 million Israelis have not been vaccinated even though they are eligible.

According to the health ministry, more than 8,700 people tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest number for a single day since January.

The prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has been imploring Israelis to get vaccinated, warning of a possible lockdown that could affect the Jewish high holidays next month unless inoculation numbers rise.

Russia reported 20,914 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, including 1,590 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 6,663,473.

The government coronavirus taskforce said 799 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 172,909.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded about 315,000 deaths related to Covid-19 from April 2020 to June 2021.

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has put out a video on social media after testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, saying he has no symptoms of the virus and is fully vaccinated.

The Republican spent weeks banning local mask requirements and meeting maskless crowds in the US state.

Texas has once again emerged as a hotspot for coronavirus, with only 314 available intensive care unit beds statewide. Paediatric ICUs are running out of space while children head back to class.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *