COVID: Latest Developments In The World

Commuters wear masks at a train station in Tokyo on 28 July, 2021, a day after the city reported a record 2,848 new daily cases of COVID-19. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

'The War Has Changed'

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is as contagious as chickenpox, probably causes more severe disease, and breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases, according to a leaked United States (US) government document.

Delta Spread In China

Hundreds of thousands of people in China are in lockdown as the country battles its worst outbreak in months.

Japan 'Doing Best' 

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that Japan is doing its best to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading during the Tokyo Olympics but stresses there is no such thing as zero risk.

It issues the warning after Japan extended a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and expanded the measure to four more regions as it battles a record surge in infections a week into the pandemic-postponed Games.

England Cases Rise

Coronavirus case numbers increase more than 15 percent across England after restrictions were removed, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says, contradicting health ministry data, which registered dramatically declining cases.

German Entry Restrictions

Anyone entering Germany from abroad will have to take a COVID-19 test unless they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease, according to new rules signed off by Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet.

Philippines Lockdown

The Philippines will send more than 13 million people in the national capital region back into lockdown next week, the government says, as it tries to head off a surge in cases.

Kenya Curfew 

Kenya says it is extending a night-time curfew and banning public gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, warning that hospitals are becoming overwhelmed.

Vaccine-Resistant Variants Risk

Relaxing restrictions like mask-wearing and social distancing when most people have been vaccinated greatly increases the risk of vaccine-resistant variants of the virus, new research shows.

Broadway Mandates Vaccines

Broadway will require audiences to be fully vaccinated and wear masks at all shows, New York's theatre industry announces, as the US steps up mandatory vaccinations.

Cricketers Banned 

Sri Lanka's cricket board bans three top Test players for one year for leaving their bio-secure hotel during a tour of England.

Four Million Dead 

The coronavirus has killed at least 4,202,179 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

The US is the worst-affected country with 612,122 deaths, followed by Brazil with 554,497, India with 423,217, Mexico with 239,997 and Peru with 196,214 fatalities. 

The WHO says up to three times the number suggested by official figures have died directly or indirectly as a result of the pandemic. – AFP