COVID: Latest Global Updates

An anti-Olympic activist holds up a placard with a slogan reading "No Olympics" during a march to the offices of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo on 16 July, 2021. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

LA Return To Masks Defended

United States (US) surgeon general Vivek Murthy defends a renewed mask mandate in Los Angeles, saying other areas may have to follow and adding that he is "deeply concerned" about the COVID-19 outlook in the fall as more people return to work and unvaccinated children return to school.

Israel Rethinks Third Jabs 

Israel walks back part of its policy for third coronavirus vaccination shots, saying that contrary to a recent announcement, cancer patients should actually stick with two jabs only.

Olympic Outbreak

Organisers detect two infected athletes in the Olympic Village shortly after a staff member tested positive, five days before the opening of the Games in Japan. 

They are from "the same country and the same sport", a spokesman for the organising committee says, without giving further details.

UK PM Isolates

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been forced into isolation ahead of so-called "Freedom Day" – when most restrictions in England will be lifted.

Johnson and his finance minister were contacted by the country's health service app after being in contact with a positive case, a day after Health Minister Sajid Javid announced he had tested positive. 

France Tightens Travel Testing 

Unvaccinated travellers will now need a negative test 24 hours before setting off for France from several European countries, a change from previous requirements of 48 or 72 hours. 

France has also extended its list of "red" countries to Tunisia, Mozambique, Cuba and Indonesia. 

Senegal Bus Stoppage

Senegal's national bus company is suspending inter-city bus services because of an upsurge in infections around the country. 

Dakar Dem Dikk says in a statement it has received "alarming information" but gives no further details. 

Thailand Revolts

Thai police deploy rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon as demonstrators in Bangkok defy COVID restrictions to call for Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha's resignation.

The protesters have many grievances but the government's slow procurement of vaccines has been among the most incendiary in recent weeks. 

Four Million Dead

The coronavirus has killed at least 4,086,242 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1000 GMT on Sunday.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 608,898 deaths from 34,069,082 cases, followed by Brazil (541,266 deaths) and India (413,609). 

The WHO says up to three times more people have died directly or indirectly as a result of the pandemic than official figures suggest. – AFP