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Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) leave with a patient at North Shore Medical Center where the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients are treated, in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 14, 2020. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: European Commission Secures Access to 300Mln Doses of Potential COVID-19 Vaccine

The death toll from the coronavirus infection in the world is nearly 669,000; over 17.1 million cases of infection have been detected, and over 10 million of those patients have recovered, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

As of 19:30 GMT Thursday, the number of people infected globally is 17,241,298, of them 672,062 have died, according to the World Health Organisation.

The United States still has the highest case count in the world; 4,494,966 were infected, including 152,062 who have died and 1,414,155 who have recovered.

Countries with previous experience dealing with infectious disease outbreaks acted most swiftly to contain COVID-19 and have been the most successful in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, Maria Van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 technical lead at the World Health Organisation (WHO), said on Thursday.

Table of contents
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03:55 GMT 01.08.2020
Germany Records 955 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Reaches 209,653 – Robert Koch Institute

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Germany has confirmed 955 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, with the total count reaching 209,653, the Robert Koch Institute said on Saturday.

The death toll has grown by seven to 9,148 people within the same period of time. More than 192,000 people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

A day earlier, the country confirmed 870 new coronavirus cases and seven fatalities.

02:07 GMT 01.08.2020
Bolivia Extends Coronavirus-Linked Quarantine Until 31 August

LA PAZ (Sputnik) – Bolivia has prolonged the coronavirus-linked quarantine across the country until the end of August, the presidency minister said.

The restrictions will differ in different regions of the country depending on the epidemiological situation.

"The cabinet decided to prolong the quarantine in the country ... until August 31. The governments of municipalities and departments will have to take response measures to ensure quarantine within their jurisdiction," Yerko Nunez said on late Friday.

He also expects the number of COVID-19 cases to further rise in August.

Bolivia has confirmed 75,234 coronavirus cases so far, with 2,894 fatalities.

02:00 GMT 01.08.2020
Death Toll From COVID-19 in Mexico Rises to 46,688 People, Becomes 3rd in World, Official Says

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of COVID-19 in Mexico, has risen by 688 to 46,688 within the past 24 hours thus making the Mexican death toll the third in the world, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.

The number of victims in Mexico is now bigger than in the United Kingdom, where 46,119 people have died of the disease. The largest number of fatalities – 153,311 – has been recorded in the United States, while Brazil comes second with 92,475 deaths.

Lopez-Gatell also said on late Friday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 8,458 to 424,637 over the past day.

A day earlier, the Latin American nation recorded 7,730 new cases of the coronavirus, with 639 fatalities.

00:54 GMT 01.08.2020
Twenty US States Consider Using Google App for COVID-19 Contact Tracing, Vice President Says

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Some 20 US states are looking to adopt a new Google application developed with Apple to trace novel coronavirus carriers and 16 countries are already using it, Google Vice President David Burke said in a company announcement.

"In May, we partnered with Apple to launch the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) and made it available to public health authorities around the world in their fight against COVID-19," Burke said on Friday.

The ENS allows public health authorities to develop applications that aid and improve human contact tracing efforts while preserving the privacy of citizens, the announcement claimed.

"As of today, public health authorities have used ENS to launch in 16 countries and regions across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, with more apps currently under development. In the United States, 20 states and territories - representing ... 45 percent of the US population - are exploring apps based on ENS," the announcement said.

Google expects to see the first set of the apps roll out in the next few weeks and the Association of Public Health Laboratories has said it will host a national key server to support all US states, the announcement added.

00:02 GMT 01.08.2020
Number of COVID-19 Cases in Argentina Rises by 5,929 to 191,302 – Health Ministry

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Argentina has confirmed 5,929 new cases of the coronavirus across the country within the past 24 hours, with the total number of people infected with COVID-19 having reached 191,302, the national Ministry of Health said.

A day earlier, Argentina registered record 6,377 new COVID-19 cases and 153 fatalities.

"Today, 5,929 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of [COVID-19] positive tests in the country to 191,302," the ministry said in a daily bulletin on late Wednesday.

The death toll has increased by 102 to 3,543 people within the same period of time.

23:51 GMT 31.07.2020
Death Toll From COVID-19 in Colombia Surpasses 10,000, Health Ministry Says

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of the coronavirus in Colombia, has risen by 295 to 10,105 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Friday.

The number of confirmed cases has increased by 9,488 to 295,508 within the same period of time.

More than 150,000 people have recovered in Colombia since the start of the outbreak. Over 1.5 million coronavirus tests have been carried out in the country.

22:31 GMT 31.07.2020
Number of COVID-19 Cases in Brazil Rises by 52,383 to Over 2.66Mln, Health Ministry Says

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 52,383 to 2,662,485 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Friday.

The death toll has risen by 1,212 to 92,475 people within the same period of time. Over 1.8 million people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

A day earlier, Brazil reported about 57,837 new cases of the coronavirus disease and 1,129 new fatalities.

Brazil comes second on a global tally of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has recorded more than 4.5 million COVID-19 patients.

21:24 GMT 31.07.2020
Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Turkey Rises by 982 to 230,873, Health Minister Says

ANKARA (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Turkey has risen by 982 to 230,873 within the past 24 hours, Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said.

"Today, 982 new cases have been discovered, the total number of those infected has reached 230,873. 17 patients have died today, the death toll amounts to 5,691 people," the minister wrote on his Twitter page on late Friday.

The number of recoveries has increased by 996 to 214,535 within the same period of time.

A day earlier, Turkey registered 967 new coronavirus cases and 15 fatalities.

20:57 GMT 31.07.2020
IMF Approves Second COVID-19 Disbursement for Gabon of $152Mln

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Gabon will receive $152 million in the second emergency disbursement to address fallout from the measures implemented to address the novel coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a press release on Friday.

“Today’s purchase brings total IMF COVID-19 support under the RFI [Rapid Financial Instrument] to Gabon to US$299.61 million,” the release said.

The release credited Gabon’s authorities with implementing “commendable measures” to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, since the approval of the first RFI purchase on 9 April, 2020, weaker external demand and a more pronounced impact of containment measures have further deteriorated growth prospects and worsened external and fiscal positions, the release said.

The Gabonese authorities adopted a revised budget focused on addressing imminent healthcare needs to save lives, protecting the most vulnerable, and supporting the private sector, notably small businesses, the release added.

The latest disbursement will help the nation accommodate a resulting increase in the nation's budget deficit due to crisis-related emergency measures and address continued economic deterioration, according to the release.

20:26 GMT 31.07.2020
US Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 Surpass 4,5Mln - Johns Hopkins University

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has recorded more than 4.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the coronavirus, the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University showed on Friday.

Health officials in the country had documented 4,541,016 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon, the data showed

The United States has also documented 152,878 deaths caused by the disease, according to the data.

20:08 GMT 31.07.2020
Canadian Officials Identify 52 New COVID-19 Cases in Indigenous Communities in Two Weeks

TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canadian officials have identified 50 new COVI-19 cases in indigenous communities in the span of two weeks, new figures from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) revealed on Friday.

"As of July 30, ISC is aware of these confirmed cases of COVID-19 for First Nations on reserve in provinces: 404 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19; 32 hospitalizations; 350 recovered cases," the ISC said in a statement.

The updated figures reveal an increase of 52 cases from the reported 352 cases on 16 July.

At the peak of the pandemic, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and other top medical officials expressed concern about how the traditionally underserved communities would be impacted by the deadly pandemic.

As of Friday, Canada has reported more than 116,000 novel coronavirus cases and more than 8,930 virus-related fatalities.

20:03 GMT 31.07.2020
European Commission Secures Access to 300Mln Doses of Potential COVID-19 Vaccine

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Commission said on Friday it had completed talks with the pharmaceutical partnership of France's Sanofi and UK's GSK, paving the way for an Advance Purchase Agreement on 300 million doses of their candidate coronavirus vaccine.

The Sanofi-GSK vaccine has already signed early purchase contracts with the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.

"The European Commission has concluded exploratory talks with a pharmaceutical company to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19. The envisaged contract with Sanofi-GSK would provide for an option for all EU Member States to purchase the vaccine. It is envisaged that, once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, the Commission would have a contractual framework in place for the purchase of 300 million doses, on behalf of all EU Member States," the press release said.

The commission said it would also continue intensive discussions with other vaccine manufacturers.

The Sanofi-GSK vaccine is a combined product of the recombinant protein-based technology used by Sanofi for an influenza vaccine and GSK’s established pandemic adjuvant technology. The candidate vaccine is now underway with the third out of three required phases of clinical trials.

Earlier in the day, Sanofi-GSK announced reaching a deal with the US government to receive up to $2.1 billion in funding under the latter's Operation Warp Speed for an early supply of 100 million doses of the potential vaccine and an additional delivery of 500 million doses longer term.

The UK government, in turn, secured early access to 60 million Sanofi-GSK candidate vaccines on Wednesday.

17:43 GMT 31.07.2020
COVID-19 Detected in 4 Crew Members of Cruise Ship Docked in Norway, Reports Say

MURMANSK, Russia (Sputnik) - The coronavirus infection has been confirmed in four crew members of a Hurtigruten cruise ship in Norway, who are now hospitalized, media reported on Friday.

According to the Norwegian NRK broadcaster, all crew members of the Roald Amundsen ship docked in the city of Tromso will run tests for the virus, while all passengers are set to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The broadcaster also reported that all four are foreign citizens who arrived from the Svalbard archipelago, adding that the crew will be quarantined on the ship. Meanwhile, all passengers who have already disembarked will receive a self-isolation order.

The ship was reportedly set to return to Svalbard's town of Longyearbyen on August 4.

17:31 GMT 31.07.2020
COVID-19 Death Toll in France Up to 30,265 Health Ministry Says

The coronavirus death toll in France rose to 30,265 on Friday from 30,254 on Thursday, the country's health ministry said. 

17:29 GMT 31.07.2020
Denmark Advises Mask Use in Public Transport as Coronavirus Cases Spike

HELSINKI, July 31 (Sputnik) - Denmark became the first Nordic nation to recommend the use of face masks in packed public transport after recording the highest weekly increase since early May.

The Health Authority's director, Soren Brostrom, said people will find it harder to keep social distance as more are expected to return to offices, schools and universities after restrictions are further eased in August.

"This applies to public transport during rush hours... We now recommend that you keep a covering in your bag for such occasions and put it on if you find it difficult to keep distance," he said in a statement.

Northern European countries have been reluctant to introduce mandatory use of face coverings, in a stark contrast to the south where wearing a mask has become part of daily routine.

But summer's arrival drove Denmark's tally upward as holidaymakers crowded beaches. The country recorded the highest number of infections this week since mid-May.

There were 57 new cases on Wednesday, 91 on Thursday and 64 on Friday, according to the State Serum Institute for disease control. Overall, Denmark has confirmed 13,789 cases and 615 virus-related deaths.

17:22 GMT 31.07.2020
WHO Reports Global Daily Coronavirus Death Toll Rises by 6,812

According to the WHO, there was registered a record increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally: it rose by 292,527 in 24 hours.

The global death toll increased by 6,812 in the past 24 hours, a WHO report shows. 

16:56 GMT 31.07.2020
Coronavirus Lockdown in Argentina Extended Until 16 August

Argentina extends a mandatory lockdown in and around Buenos Aires until 16 August due to coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday.

According to the World Health Organisation, as of 31 July, the number of COVID-19 cases in Argentina is 185,360, with 3,441 deaths. 

16:30 GMT 31.07.2020
Japanese Gov't, Pfizer Reportedly Reach Agreement on COVID-19 Vaccine Deliveries

The Japanese government and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have reached a deal on deliveries of a COVID-19 vaccine, media reported on Friday, citing Japanese Health Minister Kato Katsunobu.

According to the NHK broadcaster, the deal envisages that if Pfizer succeeds in developing the vaccine, about 120 million doses for 60 million people will be delivered to Japan by June 2021, given that one person should be vaccinated twice.

Pfizer plans to obtain a vaccine approval as early as October, the broadcaster stated.

Meanwhile, Katsunobu has not revealed a contract value, noting that the Japanese government will continue talks with other pharmaceutical companies so that the country's citizens get access to a vaccine as soon as possible.

Pfizer is cooperating with German biotechnological company BioNTech in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, and the companies are prepared to make up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020, and possibly more than 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

16:07 GMT 31.07.2020
US Funding Boosts Odds of at Least 1 COVID-19 Vaccine by End of 2020, Health Secretary Says

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Sputnik) – A flurry of US contracts for promising novel coronavirus vaccine candidates, including a $2.1 billion deal with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline announced on Friday, aims to increase the probability that at least one vaccine will be ready for mass distribution by the end of 2020, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a press release.

"The portfolio of vaccines being assembled for Operation Warp Speed increases the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year," Azar said on Friday.

Under the Trump administration’s Warp Speed program, the government will not only fund vaccine trials, but companies will also produce and stockpile hundreds of millions of doses of each experimental vaccine for distribution in hopes of winning approval for immediate distribution.

The $2.1 billion contract for a vaccine being jointly developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline marked the latest in a series of deals reportedly worth up to $8 billion.

The contract calls on Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline to make and for the government to initially purchase 100 million doses, even as clinical trials are underway, with an option to buy another 500 million doses.

Several vaccine candidates in the Warp Speed program have already entered late-stage clinical trials.

AstraZeneca and Moderna, producers of two of the most promising vaccine candidates, have also said their vaccines could be ready by the end of the year, according to media reports.

15:42 GMT 31.07.2020
Vietnam Health Ministry Confirms Second Coronavirus Death
15:20 GMT 31.07.2020
Russia Unveils Requirements for Foreigners Arriving in the Country Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Foreigners arriving in Russian must have a certificate of COVID-19 negative status already upon boarding the plane, including during transit via Russia, according to a decree of chief state sanitary doctor published on legal information portal.

"Foreign citizens and stateless persons, when boarding an aircraft performing international air transportation, travelling to a destination in Russia, including for the purpose of transit through the territory of Russia, and when crossing Russia's state border, must ensure that they have a medical document with them (in Russian or English), confirming the negative result of a laboratory study of material for COVID-19," the document says.

It is specified that the study must be performed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method no earlier than three calendar days before arrival in Russia.

14:42 GMT 31.07.2020
Florida Reports Record COVID-19 Death Toll Increase

Florida has reported a record increase in new COVID-19 deaths for the fourth day in a row on Friday, with 257 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the state health department said, as quoted by Reuters. 

The total number of confirmed cases in Florida has increased by 9,007 to over 470,000, while the total death toll rose to nearly 7,000, a Reuters tally shows. 

14:33 GMT 31.07.2020
Japan Reportedly Sees Record Number of Daily New COVID-19 Cases

TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan has once again exceeded its maximum daily increase of COVID-19 cases with more than 1,500 new patients, the NHK broadcaster reported on Friday.

It is the third time the country has updated its daily record this week following Wednesday's 1,260 and Thursday's 1,305 new cases.

Meanwhile, Tokyo has, for the first time, recorded over 400 new cases within 24 hours. The prefecture's authorities have asked residents to refrain from leaving their homes, especially to visit restaurants, bars, and other high-risk locations.

In light of the situation, the southern prefecture of Okinawa has declared an emergency, according to Governor Denny Tamaki.

"I declare the emergency across the prefecture's territory. It will last from August 1-15," the governor said in a speech broadcast by the Fuji News Network.

Okinawa has diagnosed 71 news COVID-19 cases, one-fifth of its total since the pandemic broke out.

The Osaka prefecture is introducing limits on the work of bars and restaurants in the city's Minami area from August 6-20, after having recorded 216 new coronavirus cases, the second-largest daily increase in the prefecture. Now the area's bars will have to close at 8 p.m. local time (11:00 GMT).

"I do not know how effective these measures would be, but I request [the management] of the establishments in Minami [to cooperate]," Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said, adding that they will receive financial compensation.

A the same, Japan's government is not planning to declare an emergency in the country for the second time.

"Despite the speed of daily increases rising in a number of regions, which is concerning, the general level of the infection's growth is somewhat slower than what we saw in March and April. This is not the situation that requires bringing back limitations and completely abandoning social and economic activity," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Japan has confirmed more than 37,000 cases, with a death toll surpassing 1,000.

The country previously declared an emergency that lasted from April 8 to May 25.

14:16 GMT 31.07.2020
Philippine President Extends COVID-19 Quarantine in 12 Regions, NCR Until 15 August

MOSCOW, July 31 (Sputnik) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte extended on Friday the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Manila and the surrounding areas, officially known as the National Capital Region (NCR), and 12 other territories until August 15, the presidential press service said.

GCQ involves the wearing of masks, maintaining social distance, and restrictions on the operation of public places, institutions, businesses, and transport. In some areas, where a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) is in effect, the socio-economic sector is allowed to operate with minimal restrictions.

"During his address to the nation on July 31, President Rodrigo Duterte imposed general community quarantine (GCQ) in the city of Cebu, and it will come in effect on August 1. At the same time, the capital district will also remain at this level of quarantine," the press service wrote on Facebook.

The press service noted that GCQ would also be effective in 12 other provinces, including Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan. The presidential office also stressed that a strict quarantine at the local level could be imposed in areas under GCQ, where the virus was rapidly spreading.

The Philippines has registered a record single-day increase in COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row. On Thursday, the health authorities reported about 3,954 new cases, while on Friday, 4,063 infections have been reported. The total number of cases is at 93,354, and the death toll stands at 2,023.

14:01 GMT 31.07.2020
French Sanofi, UK’s GSK Win US Funding for COVID-19 Vaccine

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The US government’s Operation Warp Speed partnership has chosen the vaccine candidate developed jointly by France’s Sanofi and UK’s GSK pharmaceutical companies as the subject to funding the production and delivery of 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the US, Sanofi announced on Friday.

Operation Warp Speed is the US state program that aims to accelerate the development and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

"Sanofi and GSK today announce a collaborative effort with the U.S. government to accelerate the development and manufacturing of a COVID-19 recombinant protein-based vaccine," the statement published by Sanofi read.

According to the statement, the project will receive an up to $2.1 billion package from the US authorities, the majority of which will go to Sanofi.

The US government funding is aimed at the further development of the vaccine, including clinical trials and an initial supply of 100 million doses of the potential vaccine. As part of its Operation Warp Speed program, the US gets to receive an additional delivery of 500 million doses longer term.

The Sanofi-GSK vaccine is a combined product of the recombinant protein-based technology used by Sanofi for an influenza vaccine, and GSK’s established pandemic adjuvant technology.

The statement also said that the companies were carrying out discussions with the European Commission and other governments and global health organizations so that the potential vaccine would be available globally.

Earlier this week, the UK government signed a deal for 60 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed under the Sanofi and GSK joint project.

13:22 GMT 31.07.2020
Germany's Robert Koch Institute Designates 3 Spanish Regions as COVID-19 High Risk

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's responsible agency for the pandemic monitoring and control, included on Friday the Spanish regions of Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre on its list of international high-risk travel destinations with unfavorable epidemiological environment.

The list was first published in mid-June and regularly updates since. Earlier this week, Robert Koch Institute Director Lothar Wieler already warned against traveling to these Spanish regions, traditionally very popular with European tourists, due to an epidemiological upsurge in them.

"Changes since last amendment: Spain - the Autonomous Communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre are currently considered as risk areas," the update read.

Spain is currently the only country on the list to be designated as high risk not in its entirety but rather separate regions.

The list is representative of the German government's recommended pool f destinations for nationals' travel. It also means that travelers returning to Germany from the designated countries will have to self-isolated for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19, whereas the tests in such cases are going to become free of charge beginning next week.

The decision to include regions on the list is taken jointly by the German Health Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.

There are two criteria that get countries are included on the list. The first is if they have more than 50 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 population within the last seven days, and the second is a qualitative assessment of the epidemiological situation on the ground, the information for which is being provided by foreign-stationed German diplomats. They normally consider such aspects as the size of the outbreak, the number of tests per capita and the countermeasures taken by a given government as well as the availability of reliable reporting in some cases.

12:45 GMT 31.07.2020
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Says Plan to Reopen Depends on Transmission Rate
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London - Sputnik International
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Says Plan to Reopen Depends on Transmission Rate
12:44 GMT 31.07.2020
Spain's GDP Shrinks by Record 18.5% in Q2 Amid COVID-19

The Spanish economy contracted by 18.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020, a time during which most coronavirus quarantine measures were in effect, compared to the previous three months, marking the largest quarter-on-quarter drop since record-keeping began in 1970, the country's National Statistics Institute said on Friday.

"Spanish GDP registers a -18.5% variation in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter in terms of volume. This rate is 13.3 points less than the Registered in the first quarter," the agency said in a press release.

The economic situation is expected to improve in the third quarter, but problems in the tourism sector, which accounts for 12 percent of the country's GDP, will prevent the country from quickly recovering from the crisis. According to Bank of Spain's forecasts, by the end of the year, the economy will shrink by 9 to 15.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the National Statistical Institute of Portugal said that the country's GDP decreased by 14.1 percent in the second quarter compared to the first one amid the coronavirus restrictions.

"Reflecting the economic impact of the pandemic, the Portuguese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) registered a strong contraction in the second quarter of 2020, decreasing by 16.5% in volume, in year-on-year terms, after the reduction of 2.3% in the previous quarter ... The negative contribution of net external demand was more pronounced in the second quarter, as a result of the more intense reduction in Exports of Goods and Services than in Imports of Goods and Services, due largely to the non-resident tourism almost being interrupted," the agency said in a statement.

Italy's GDP, in turn, fell by 12.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to first three months of the year — the largest quarter-on-quarter drop since record-keeping began in 1995 — and by 17.3 percent compared to the same period in 2019, the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) said on Friday.

In June, Istat said that the country's economy was expected to fall by 8.3 percent this year due to the shocks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the economy is expected to partially rebound by 4.6 percent in 2021.

11:31 GMT 31.07.2020
India Extends Ban on International Passenger Flights Until 31 August
10:48 GMT 31.07.2020
Key Election Postponed in Hong Kong Amid Spike in Coronavirus Cases

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Friday that the Legislative Council elections scheduled for September 6 will be postponed over the COVID-19 threat.

"It is a really tough decision to delay the election, but we want to ensure public safety and health, and we need to make sure the elections are held in an open, fair and impartial manner. The decision is therefore essential," Lam said at a press conference.

The epidemiological situation in Hong Kong has significantly deteriorated in recent weeks, with the number of cases growing every day. In total, 3,151 cases of infection have been detected in Hong Kong since the start of the outbreak, and 25 people have died from the disease.

The Hong Kong government banned public gatherings of more than two people starting July 29 amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.

10:29 GMT 31.07.2020
Coronavirus Infections on Rise in England, Survey Shows
10:27 GMT 31.07.2020
Poland Mulls New Restrictions After Record High New Coronavirus Case Count
09:35 GMT 31.07.2020
Indian Finance Minister Hints at Loan Restructuring for Relief to Borrowers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Relief may be in sight for borrowers who are facing trouble repaying bank loans due to the ongoing pandemic, Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

08:10 GMT 31.07.2020
Vietnam Registers First COVID-19 Related Death

Vietnam on Friday recorded the first death from COVID-19 within the country, media reported, tarnishing its heretofore clear record.

The victim was a 70-year-old man from the central city of Hoi An with a host of health problems who is believed to have caught the virus during a hospital visit in nearby Da Nang, which has become Vietnam’s COVID-19 epicenter in recent weeks, state media Vietnam News reported.

Vietnam was hailed as one of the few countries to have successfully kept COVID-19 at bay with early and proactive measures. Health authorities, however, began detecting a cluster of infections in the resort town of Da Nang earlier this month after three months of no local transmissions.

Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry announced it had registered a record 45 cases in Da Nang, taking the nationwide total to 509 cases, 93 of which were registered in the past week.

08:04 GMT 31.07.2020
Russia Records 5,482 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

Russia has registered 5,482 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (5,509 yesterday), bringing the cumulative total to 839,981, the country's coronavirus response center said on Friday.

"Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 5,482 COVID-19 cases in 84 regions, of which 1,396 (25.5 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said in a statement.

This beings the total case count to 839,981.

Moscow has registered 695 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, which is more than any other region in Russia, followed by the Sverdlovsk Region with 210 cases and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region with 171 new cases (compared to 678, 215 and 172 yesterday, respectively).

No new cases have been recorded in the Chukotka Autonomous Region.

A total of 161 COVID-19 patients died in Russia in the past 24 hours (129 on the previous day), which brings the death toll to 13,963.

As many as 8,755 coronavirus patients have been discharged (compared to 9,322 on the previous day), bringing the total number of recoveries to 638,410.

06:59 GMT 31.07.2020
Germany Registers 870 New Coronavirus Cases
04:58 GMT 31.07.2020
Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 55,078 to Over 1.6Mln

India has confirmed 55,078 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 1,638,870, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

The death toll from the disease has reached 35,747, with 779 new fatalities being recorded over the past day. More than 1.05 million people have recovered in India since the start of the outbreak.

A day earlier, India registered 52,123 new coronavirus cases and 775 fatalities.

India comes third in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, following the United States and Brazil.

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