- This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top stories: Recession hits South Korean economy; South Africa's death toll could be higher than previously thought; and the WHO warns patience needed for vaccines.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
The total number of confirmed cases around the world has surpassed another grim milestone, breaching the 15 million mark in the past 24 hours. Data from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine show the death toll has now passed 623,000.
Switzerland has added more countries to its coronavirus hot-spot list, bringing the number to 42. Visitors from listed countries must go into quarantine for 10-days or face a fine of over $10,000.
Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil has tested positive for the coronavirus for the third time this month.
Hong Kong has made face masks compulsory in all indoor spaces and on public transport. It reported 113 new coronavirus cases on 22 July, a single-day record.
COVID-19 has caused the UK to shrink its international aid budget by $3.7 billion. The country’s foreign minister said the UK would still meet its international development commitments.
The South Korean economy is in recession. GDP fell by 2.9% year-on-year, while exports sank to a 57-year low, the BBC reports.
In India, the annual Shri Amarnathji Yatra pilgrimage has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. The Hindustan Times describes the Amarnath cave temple as “one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism.”
From 1 August, travel restrictions are being eased in Qatar. Visitors, citizens and permanent residents will be able to travel in and out of the country, Al Jazeera says.
2. Report: True COVID-19 death toll in South Africa could be greater
South Africa has been hit harder by the pandemic than any other African country. It has recorded 394,948 confirmed cases and 5,940 deaths.
But a new report suggests the death toll from COVID-19 could be even higher.
The South African Medical Research Council found by the second week of July, there were 59% more deaths from natural causes than would have been expected based on historical data.
3. WHO: Don't expect first COVID-19 vaccinations until early 2021
Early indications from coronavirus vaccine trials are broadly positive. But Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, has urged caution.
Don’t expect a vaccine to become widely available until 2021, he warned during an event broadcast on social media. “Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated,” he said.
He’s not alone in warning that the world may have to be patient. Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive of the biotech company Valneva, told Sky News: "We are trying to bring a 10-year development cycle into 10 months. I hope that some will be faster but… I don't expect personally that we're going to see major supplies before the middle of next year.”
The US government has pledged to spend $1.95 billion buying 100 million doses of a potential vaccine being jointly developed by the US and Germany. The doses will be given to US citizens free-of-charge, the Financial Times reports.