- This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top stories: Los Angeles reimposes mask mandate, WHO asks for transparency on COVID origins, and US administers over 336 million doses.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 188.9 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.06 million. More than 3.54 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
India reported 38,949 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours on Friday, health ministry data showed, taking the nationwide tally above 31 million.
The United States has administered 336,054,953 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Thursday morning and distributed 388,738,495 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.
Hungary will offer the option of taking a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from 1 August and will make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for all healthcare workers, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.
Los Angeles County will reimpose its mask mandate this weekend in the latest sign that public health officials are struggling with an alarming rise in coronavirus cases tied to the highly contagious Delta variant.
Thailand reported on Friday a daily record of 9,692 coronavirus infections, taking its total cases to 381,907 since the start of the pandemic, as authorities struggle to tackle the country's biggest wave of infections so far.
The Philippines has recorded the country's first locally acquired cases of the more infectious Delta variant, prompting authorities to reimpose stricter coronavirus measures in some areas.
Britain's biggest supermarket groups will encourage staff and customers to keep wearing face coverings from Monday despite new rules in the country making it a matter of personal choice.
2. WHO Director-General asks for more transparency on COVID-19 origins
Further information is needed to discover more about the origins of COVID-19, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.
A WHO-led team spent four weeks in and around the city of Wuhan, China, with Chinese researchers and said in a joint report in March 2021 that the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal. It said that "introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway".
But speaking in a press conference on Thursday, Tedros said that investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there.
"We ask China to be transparent and open and to cooperate," he said. "We owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died to know what happened."
China has called the theory that the virus may have escaped from a Wuhan laboratory "absurd" and said that "politicizing" the issue will hamper investigations.
Tedros will brief the WHO's 194 member states on Friday regarding a proposed second phase of study, the WHO's top emergency expert Mike Ryan said.
"We look forward to working with our Chinese counterparts on that process and the director-general will outline measures to member states at a meeting tomorrow, on Friday," he told reporters.