WHO says world must be better prepared for next pandemic: Live | News

  • WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says pandemics are “a fact of life” and that the world must be better prepared to deal with future ones.
  • India’s health ministry reported another daily record of 90,802 cases on Monday, bringing the total to over 4.2 million and overtaking Brazil to become the second-hardest-hit country.

  • The world’s coronavirus cases have hit 27.1 million, more  than 18.1 million people have recovered and more than 883,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

  • At least 200 UN staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Syria, according to a leaked document, as the organisation steps up efforts to contain the spread of the disease in the war-torn country.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, September 7

20:30 GMT – WHO says India in talks to join ‘COVAX’ vaccine scheme

The World Health Organization is in talks with India about joining the “COVAX” global vaccine allocation plan, a senior WHO adviser said.

“India is certainly eligible, like all countries in the world, to be part of the COVAX facility and discussions are ongoing in that regard,” Bruce Aylward told a briefing in Geneva. “We would welcome Indian participation.”

The WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance are leading the COVAX facility, aimed at helping buy and distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus fairly around the world. But some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join COVAX.

20:00 GMT – Football: PSG star Kylian Mbappe contracts COVID-19

French forward Kylian Mbappe, 21, has withdrawn from the national team after testing positive for coronavirus.

“Kylian Mbappe will miss the game against Croatia. His COVID-19 test – carried out by UEFA this morning – was positive, and he was isolated from the rest of the squad,” said the French national team in a statement.

France will face Croatia for the Nations League game on Tuesday.

19:30 GMT – Iraq to reopen borders for trade, bring back sports and dining

Iraq is reopening its land border crossings, restaurants, hotels, and will bring back sporting events without spectators, the prime minister said, three days after it recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus infections.

Land crossings would be open for trade only so as to secure local market needs, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in a statement. Restaurants and five-star hotels must adhere to public health guidelines, he added.

Sporting events would resume as of September 12. Government agencies can now bring back to work up to 50 percent of their employees, he said.

18:10 GMT – Turkey announces strict new measures announced to fight virus

Turkey has announced strict new measures to fight the novel coronavirus, as the daily infection numbers in the country recently crossed 1,000 and beyond.

“In all provinces, no standing passengers in public transportation will be allowed,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Cafes and restaurants will also be subject to stricter inspections, he added.

On the new school year, Erdogan said: “We will continue education with a system where we will do both face-to-face and remote education, taking into account the conditions of the epidemic.”

17:35 GMT – French COVID cases and death toll creeps up

The number of new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in France has risen by 4,203 compared with the previous day to stand at a total of 328,980, the French health ministry said on Monday.

The number of deaths also rose by 25 over the last 24 hours to stand at 30,726.

France has the seventh-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world.

17:00 GMT – WHO warns against politics in COVID-19 response

The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization says governments that provide “politically motivated” information about the coronavirus pandemic could face a political backlash.

Dr Michael Ryan said “trying to present oversimplified, simplistic solutions for people is not a long-term strategy that wins”. He told reporters in Geneva that “transparency, consistency, honesty” and admitting errors can build trust.

Ryan went on to say coronavirus-related messages sometimes come with “political overtones” and he alluded to a saying that trust takes years to build but seconds to lose.

16:30 GMT – Spain passes 500,000 coronavirus cases in Western European first

Protesters demand social structuring after pandemic in Madrid

People stage a demonstration demanding a social structuring after the coronavirus pandemic following labour union’s call for protest in Madrid [File: Anadolu Agency]

Spain has become the first country in Western Europe to register 500,000 coronavirus infections, after a second surge in cases that coincided with schools reopening.

Health ministry data showed a total of 525,549 cases, up from 498,989 on Friday, and 2,440 infections registered in the last 24 hours. Spain updates its data retroactively, so the latest numbers could be revised.

Recent infections have been more common among younger people who often develop no symptoms thanks to their stronger immune systems, and the death rate remains far below the March-April peak when daily fatalities routinely exceeded 800.

15:48 GMT – UK records 2,948 daily confirmed cases of COVID-19

The United Kingdom has recorded 2,948 daily confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to government data published on Monday, down slightly from 2,988 a day earlier.

Daily case numbers had been rising at about 1,000 a day for most of August, but have started to increase in recent days. Britain’s testing capacity has also increased since the peak of the first wave earlier this year.

15:20 GMT – Libya reports highest virus cases for single day

Libya has reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest tally for a single day since the conflict-ravaged country announced its first cases in late March.

“Of the 4,291 tests performed on Sunday, 1,080 were positive,” said the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a Tripoli-based government agency.

The figure brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the North African country to 18,834, including 16,376 who required hospitalisation, 2,162 patients who recovered and 296 deaths.

14:45 GMT – World must be better prepared for next pandemic, says WHO boss

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world must be better prepared for the next pandemic, as he called on countries to invest in public health.

More than 27.1 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and more than 888,300 have died since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

“This will not be the last pandemic,” Tedros told a news briefing in Geneva. “History teaches us that outbreaks and pandemics are a fact of life. But when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready – more ready than it was this time.”

14:25 GMT – Greece reports nine coronavirus cases in Moria migrant camp

Greece has registered at least nine cases of coronavirus in the overcrowded migrant camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos so far, a migration ministry official said.

Last week, the facility was placed under quarantine after authorities confirmed that a 40-year-old asylum-seeker had tested positive for coronavirus.

“So far, there are nine cases in the camp in Moria. The number might increase,” the ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

13:30 GMT – Oman to restart international flights on October 1

Oman will restart international flights on October 1, state news agency ONA said on Twitter, after they were suspended in March as part of coronavirus precautions.

“Flights will be scheduled according to health data for specific destinations and according to bilateral agreements with other airlines,” ONA said.

Hello, this is Linah Alsaafin taking over the blog from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui.

Colombia eases restrictions, but a happy public ignores rules

12:54 GMT – Denmark to limit public gatherings in Copenhagen after virus spike

The limit on public gatherings will be lowered to 50 people from 100 in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen and in Odense, after a recent spike in number of COVID-19 infections, the country’s health minister said.

12:33 GMT – Pakistan announces reopening schools in phases

Pakistan on Monday announced that all the schools across the country will reopen from Sept. 15, ending a six-month closure propelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the decision after a meeting of the provincial education ministers in the capital Islamabad, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that some 300,000 schools, colleges, and universities will reopen in phases starting from September 15, in an attempt to avoid another wave of the virus.

How COVID-19 has affected Pakistan’s wedding industry

12:05 GMT – Etihad to provide COVID-19 insurance to passengers to boost travel confidence

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said it would cover medical and quarantine costs for passengers if they contract the new coronavirus after travelling on one of its flights.

Medical costs of up to 150,000 euros ($177,000) and quarantine costs of up to 100 euro a day for 14 days will be covered by Etihad for its passengers who contract the disease within 31 days of first travel.

11:32 GMT – Malaysia reports sharpest spike in new coronavirus cases in 3 months

Malaysia’s health authorities reported 62 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the sharpest spike since early June, just as the government began barring long-term immigration pass holders from countries with high infection numbers.

From Monday, Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy imposed a ban on pass holders from 23 countries that have reported more than 150,000 COVID-19 cases, in a bid to clamp down on imported cases.

Countries on the ban list include the United States, Britain and France.

Malaysia economy [Bloomberg]

Malaysia has reported more than 9,000 infections and 128 deaths [File: Samsul Said/Bloomberg]

10:55 GMT – HK study finds COVID-19 stool tests may be more effective for infants

Stool tests may be more effective than respiratory tests in identifying COVID-19 infections in children and infants since they carry a higher viral load in their stool than adults, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said.

Stool samples carry the virus even after it has cleared from a patient’s respiratory tract and that could lead to better identification of asymptomatic cases, particularly in infants and others who have difficulty providing nasal or throat swabs, CUHK researchers said in a press release.

10:20 GMT – Nigerian doctors begin strike over pay, facilities

Nigerian doctors in state-run hospitals began an indefinite strike to demand a pay rise, better welfare and adequate facilities, union leaders said.

The industrial action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which represents some 40 percent of doctors, is the latest in a string of stoppages by medics to hit Africa’s most populous nation as it struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

A medical health worker takes a sample for coronavirus during a community testing, as authorities race to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria April 15, 2020. REUTERS

Nigeria has over 55,000 infections and 1,057 reported deaths [File: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

09:54 GMT – Partial return for New Delhi urban trains as virus surges

Delhi Metro trains resumed operations after five months as India’s coronavirus cases surged to 4.2 million, the second-highest confirmed total in the world.

Only asymptomatic people were allowed to board the trains, with masks, social distancing and temperature checks mandatory.

The capital’s metro train network is India’s largest rapid transport system.

09:24 GMT – Man City’s Mahrez, Laporte test positive for COVID-19

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez and defender Aymeric Laporte have tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League club announced.

City said in a statement that both players did not display any symptoms and are currently self-isolating in line with protocols established by the Premier League and the British government.

Manchester City v Burnley FC - Premier League

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City is replaced with Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020 [File: Michael Regan/Getty Images]

08:53 GMT – Philippines sees 1,383 new coronavirus cases, lowest in nearly 8 weeks

The Philippines’ health ministry on Monday reported 1,383 new coronavirus infections, its lowest number of new daily cases in nearly eight weeks.

The ministry said there were 15 new deaths, taking total COVID-19 fatalities to 3,890.

The Philippines has the most coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, with 238,727 confirmed cases.

08:20 GMT – Indonesia reports 2,880 new coronavirus cases, 105 deaths

Indonesia reported 2,880 new coronavirus infections and 105 more coronavirus-related deaths, data issued by the country’s COVID-19 task force showed.

It was the lowest rise in daily infections in six days and brought the Southeast Asian country’s total cases to 196,989, while fatalities rose to 8,130.

Health officials bring resident to cemetery as a COVID-19 warning

Health officials bring a resident to a cemetery with a stretcher after he was caught without a mask in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia on September 6, 2020. The Bogor Regency Government has implemented this sanction for residents who violate health protocols amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic [Eko Siswono Toyudho/Anadolu] 

07:56 GMT – Russia reports over 5,000 new cases

Russia reported 5,185 new coronavirus cases on Monday, pushing its national tally to 1,030,690, the fourth largest in the world.

Authorities confirmed 51 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,871.

07:15 GMT – Malaysia fears new COVID-19 cluster

A new cluster of novel coronavirus cases is feared to have emerged in a Malaysian town after a football referee tested positive for the disease, local media reported.

According to local media outlet The Star, health official G. Navindran said those who were involved in a football competition at the Tawau Prison field and Tawau Municipal Council stadium recently, including spectators, should immediately get tested for COVID-19.

Passengers wearing protective masks wait in line to board a bus at a bus station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kuala Lumpur

Passengers wearing protective masks wait in line to board a bus at a bus station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [File:Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

06:45 GMT – Russia to complete early-stage trials on second COVID-19 vaccine on Sept 30

Russia will complete early-stage trials on a second potential COVID-19 vaccine produced by the Vector Institute on Sept. 30, the RIA news agency cited Russia’s consumer health safety watchdog as saying.

06:10 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 814 to 250,799

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 814 to 250,799, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

With no new deaths reported, the death toll stayed at 9,325, the tally showed.

Germany coronavirus

People, wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus as they line up to enter the partially ruined Burchardi Church after a ‘chord change’ of the organ of the John Cage in Halberstadt, Germany [Markus Schreiber/AP]

Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia.

05:18 GMT – Australia approves funding for two potential vaccines

Australia announced on Monday it had struck agreements with pharmaceutical companies worth 1.7 billion Australian dollars ($1.2 billion) for two potential COVID-19 vaccines, the Associated Press agency reported.

Britain’s University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca and Australia’s University of Queensland working with CSL will provide more than 84.8 million vaccine doses for 26 million Australians, almost all made in Melbourne, Australia, a government statement said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said both vaccines would need to be proven safe and effective and meet all necessary regulatory requirements before being made available to the public. Any vaccine would be free to all Australians.

04:40 GMT – India overtakes Brazil as country second-worst-hit by coronavirus

Coronavirus - India

For the fifth day in a row on Monday, India reported over 1,000 daily fatalities [Bikas Das/AP]

India’s health ministry reported another daily record of 90,802 coronavirus cases on Monday, raising the total nationwide to over 4.2 million and overtaking Brazil to become the second-hardest-hit country.

Brazil is now behind India in the total number of cases by almost 70,000; the US remains at the top with more than 6.2 million cases. 

India’s health ministry also reported 1,016 new fatalities, raising the total to 71,642. For the fifth day in a row, India has reported more than 1,000 deaths.

Read more here.

04:25 GMT – Germany’s cases rise to 250,799

Germany’s infectious disease agency has reported 814 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number to 250,799.

The Robert Koch Institute also announced on Monday that there were no new COVID-19 deaths, keeping the death toll at 9,325.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 224,000 coronavirus patients in Germany have recovered, about 87 percent of the total.

04:00 GMT – South Korea reports 119 new COVID-19 cases

South Korea’s Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 119 new coronavirus cases, most of which are local, according to Yonhap news agency. Eleven of the new cases were imported, including three from the Philippines and three from India.

The total number of infections in the country has reached 21,296 as of Monday, while more than 16,200 have recovered. Two more deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 336.

The country has carried out 2,051,297 coronavirus tests since January 3.

03:33 GMT – Honduran finance minister tests positive for COVID-19

Marco Midence, the finance minister of Honduras, has revealed on social media that he tested positive for coronavirus.

The Harvard-educated lawyer was appointed finance minister on August 20.

He wrote in Spanish that he will work from home and remain in isolation while recovering from the “mild” symptoms of the disease.

03:10 GMT – Spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines slowing down – study

Pandemic - Philippines

The Philippines has recorded more than 237,000 cases – the highest in the Asia-Pacific region [Rolex dela Pena/EPA]

Dr Guido David said in an interview that an interdisciplinary group of researchers from the University of the Philippines found the rate of spread has gone down from 0.99 percent to .94 percent in the most recent week.

The average daily number of cases in mid- to late-August also went down, from 4,000 to 3,000. The government had reimposed a lockdown during that period.

The Philippines recorded more than 237,000 cases – the highest in the Asia-Pacific region – as well as more than 184,000 recoveries and 3,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

02:40 GMT – China reports 12 new cases

The National Health Commission in China has reported 12 new coronavirus cases in the country, all of which are imported.

While the commission said that it has not recorded new positive cases locally, 17 people were declared “asymptomatic” – which China does not count as confirmed cases.

As of Monday, the cumulative number of infections in China stands at 85,134. There were no new deaths reported, keeping the death toll at 4,634, according to the government.

02:08 GMT – Mexico reports more than 4,600 cases, 232 deaths

The Mexican health ministry has reported 4,614 new cases and 232 deaths from COVID-19, pushing the total to 634,023 cases and 67,558 deaths.

The government says the real number of infections could be significantly higher, and the health ministry said on Saturday that it has recorded more than 122,000 excess deaths during the pandemic.

01:40 GMT – Chinese drug company staff, families given COVID-19 vaccine 

Chinese drug firm Sinovac’s spokesman Liu Peicheng was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying that some 3,000 employees and their families have been offered the company’s vaccine. 

The CoronaVac, developed by Sinovac Biotech, is currently undergoing phase three clinical trials – the last phase before mass production.

Zhang Yinan, a senior manager at China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which is developing its own vaccine, said she had been given her company’s vaccine. The CNBG vaccine is being tested among 35,000 residents in the United Arab Emirates.

01:10 GMT – Brazil reports 14,521 coronavirus cases, 447 deaths

Brazil - coronavirus

Brazil ranks second in the number of cases and deaths, but also highest in the number of recoveries at more than 3.5 million [Pilar Olivares/Reuters]

Brazil’s health ministry has reported at least 14,521 additional coronavirus infections and 447 deaths, raising the total number of cases to at least 4.14 million and death toll to over 126,600.

Brazil ranks second in the number of cases and deaths, but also highest in the number of recoveries at more than 3.5 million.

In terms of number of cases, the country could soon be overtaken by India, which reported 4.11 million infections as of Sunday.

00:35 GMT – Over a million Hong Kong residents sign up for COVID-19 testing 

Hong Kong - coronavirus

The Hong Kong government said as of Sunday night, at least 675,000 samples have been collected [Anthony Kwan /Pool via EPA]

An estimated 1.13 million of 7.5 million Hong Kong residents have signed up for a free coronavirus testing programme, which pro-democracy activists have called for a boycott of, citing privacy concerns as medics from mainland China helped in the testing.

In a statement, the Hong Kong government urged more residents to participate and said that, as of Sunday night, at least 675,000 samples had been collected and an additional 180,000 people signed up for tests.

More than 4,800 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong, and at least 94 have died. More than 4,500 have recovered.

00:10 GMT – Australia’s Victoria state reports 41 new cases, nine deaths

Australia’s Victoria state has reported 41 new cases and nine new deaths from the coronavirus, lower than the previous day’s 63 infections, but with fatalities almost doubling from Sunday’s five.

On Sunday, the state premier ordered an extension of a “hard lockdown” in the capital Melbourne until September 28. Australia’s second-most-populous state accounts for most of the cases and deaths in the country.

The country has reported some 26,200 cases, and more than 760 deaths.

00:05 GMT – Over 200 UN staff in Syria have coronavirus

Syria - coronavirus

According to Johns Hopkins University, Syria has over 3,100 coronavirus cases and 134 deaths as of Sunday [Youssef Badawi/EPA]

A United Nations official says more than 200 of its staff in Syria have contracted coronavirus.

In a letter leaked to Reuters news agency, Imran Riza, UN resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, informed UN heads of agencies that the international organisation is trying to secure a medical facility to treat the remaining patients, as three had been medically evacuated.

The news comes as Syria is reportedly experiencing a tenfold increase in cases in the last two months, with more than 3,100 cases and 134 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

00:01 GMT – COVID-19 cases rise in 22 US states

A Reuters analysis has looked at the increase in cases in 22 US states, comparing cases for the two-week period of August 8-22 with the past two weeks.

Three weeks ago, cases were increasing in three states: Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota, while now cases are rising in 22 states in less-populated parts of the Midwest and South.

Many state officials have issued precautionary measures for residents, but thousands across the US, including the state of California, congregated in public areas without observing proper distancing and protective rules as the country celebrated the end-of-summer Labor Day weekend.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Read all the developments from yesterday (September 6) here

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