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South Korea coronavirus cases highest since March: Live news | News

South Korea coronavirus cases highest since March: Live news | News
  • South Korea reports the highest number of daily coronavirus cases since March, and parliament forced to close amid expectations that authorities will impose tougher restrictions. 
  • The U-turn by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on testing close contacts of people with COVID-19 raises concern among experts about asymptomatic spread of the disease.
  • The Australian state of Victoria has reported its lowest number of cases in nearly two months.
  • More than 24 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 15.8 million have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 826,000 people have died.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, August 27

08:35 GMT – Coronavirus hits isolated Indian island tribe

Ten members of India’s dwindling Great Andamanese tribe have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said, fuelling concerns about the safety of the group and other indigenous people in the remote archipelago.

Out of the 10, six have recovered and have been put in home quarantine, while the rest are undergoing treatment in a local hospital, officials told AFP.

Just over 50 Great Andamanese people survive today and live on the tiny Strait Island where the Indian government looks after their food and shelter.

08:10 GMT – Novacyt launches test to differentiate COVID-19 and flu

Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt , one of many healthcare companies whose shares have surged during the pandemic, has launched a test to differentiate between COVID-19 and common winter diseases.

Novacyt said its “Winterplex” test panel included two gene targets specific to COVID-19, as well as gene targets for influenza A&B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“We believe Winterplex is one of the world’s first approved respiratory test panels that can differentiate between COVID-19 and other common respiratory diseases,” Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis said.

07:45 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus cases surpass 975,000

Russia has reported 4,711 new cases of the new coronavirus, bringing its nationwide tally to 975,576 – the fourth largest caseload in the world.

Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 121 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 16,804.

07:30 GMT – Rwanda again tightens Covid-19 measures as cases surge

An engineer operates a high-tech robot developed by Zora Bots, which was donated by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the Kanyinya treatment centre that treats COVID-19 patients in Kigali, Rwanda [File: Clement Uwiringiyimana/Reuters]

Rwanda has lengthened its evening curfew and prevented movement in and out of the western area of Rusizi after a recent surge in cases of the new coronavirus.    

After a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame, the government announced  a national curfew would be tightened to 7pm-5am from the current 9pm to 5am.

“Because of increasing cases of coronavirus in Kigali City, public transport between Kigali and other districts has also been banned,” read a statement from the government.

All transport is banned in and out of Rusizi where there has been a significant increase in cases.

07:00 GMT – Aerospace giant Rolls-Royce logs £5.4bn H1 loss on virus

British aerospace giant Rolls-Royce said it has suffered a massive net loss in the first half of the year as the coronavirus outbreak sparked a crisis in air transport.

Rolls, which operates in the air, defence and energy sectors, posted a net loss of £5.4bn ($7.1bn) in the six months to June, after a net loss of £909m ($1.2bn) a year earlier.

The company also unveiled a £2bn ($2.6bn) asset disposal programme.

06:45 GMT – India reports record 75,000 new virus infections

India has recorded another single-day record of new coronavirus cases, reporting 75,760 new confirmed infections in the past 24 hours.

The health ministry also reported 1,023 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 60,472.

India’s previous highest daily count was 70,488 on August 22. India has been recording more than 60,000 new infections per day for the last two weeks and now has reported 3.3 million cases since the pandemic began.

Hello, this is Linah Alsaafin taking over the blog from my colleague Kate Mayberry.

04:40 GMT – Online schooling excludes 463 million children: UN

The UN Children’s Fund says 463 million children are not able to access virtual schooling, which has become necessary during the pandemic, because they do not have the equipment or access to the internet.

After gathering data from 100 countries, UNICEF said children in South Asia, Africa, the Pacific and East Asia were most seriously affected.

“The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is a global education emergency,’ said Henrietta Fore, executive director of the fund. 

03:50 GMT – South Korean parliament closed; lawmakers in self-quarantine

South Korea’s parliament has closed after a photojournalist covering the governing party tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to Yonhap news agency.

Parliament said more than 50 people, including 14 senior members of the Democratic Party, had been in contact with the journalist and would need to go into self-quarantine and get tested.

Several government offices have also been forced to close because of reported cases, Yonhap said.

03:40 GMT – South Korea urges people to work from home

South Korea is urging employers to allow their staff to work from home.

The country is battling a surge in new cases, mostly linked to churches and an anti-government rally earlier this month, and are worried offices could become hotspots.

“Please carry out thorough checks of risk factors at workplaces, where the work environment is especially vulnerable to infection, such as call centres and logistics warehouses,” said Health Minister Park Neung-hoo as he reminded businesses of the need to adopt flexible working practices. 

02:30 GMT – Hong Kong moves to relax some coronavirus restrictions

Hong Kong is moving to relax some of its rules on social distancing measures from midnight (16:00 GMT) on Thursday for seven days. 

The first phase of relaxation includes the re-opening of indoor premises such as cafes and restaurants for limited hours, as  as well as outdoor sports premises where activities involve little physical contact.

Gatherings of more than two people will remain banned.

02:10 GMT – Urumqi begins new round of testing: state media

In China, the People’s Daily says the city of Urumqi in the far western region of Xinjiang, has begun nucleic acid testing of “key communities” as part of measures to “gradually restore normality”.

The city has reported no new infections for 11 days.

01:35 GMT – South Korea reports biggest jump in cases since March

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country recorded 441 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily number since March.

This is the first time the number has been above 400 since March 7, and raises the prospect of tighter restrictions to curb the disease’s spread. Cases have been in triple digits since August 14.

Tougher restrictions would include a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, while cinemas, cafes and wedding venues might also have to close.

00:00 GMT – Victoria reports lowest number of daily cases in two months

The Australian state of Victoria reported 23 deaths and 113 new infections – the lowest figures in nearly two months, helped by a strict lockdown.

The state is battling a second wave of the virus thought to have been set off by returning travellers breaching quarantine rules.

23:00 GMT (Wednesday) – Air New Zealand posts $300m loss

Air New Zealand has posted a net loss of 454 million New Zealand dollars ($300m) for the financial year ended June 30.

Like many around the world, the closing of borders has led to a collapse in the airline’s passenger traffic.

About one-third of Air New Zealand’s 12,500 employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result.

22:30 GMT (Wednesday) – Concern at US testing U-turn

Health experts are concerned a sudden decision by the US to change testing guidance for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 patients but have not developed symptoms risks spreading the virus further.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says so-called “close contacts” of people with COVID-19 do not “necessarily need” to be tested if they do not have symptoms.

The CDC has not explained the decision.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (August 26) here.

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