COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 16 July

People queue for free coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rapid antigen tests at a mass testing station, as the spread of COVID-19 continues, in Bangkok, Thailand, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa - RC2WKO9R80TA
As COVID-19 cases rise across the world, testing and vaccination programs continue to expand.
Image: REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa
  • 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.

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.

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.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases by specific countries
Many countries are experiencing a consistent rise in COVID-19 cases, caused by the spread of the Delta variant.
Image: Our World in Data

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.

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