Covid-19 wrap: Finland opens drive-in voting, Mexico, UK approve J&J vaccine, Spain to trial certificate

Keeping you up to date on
the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

FOLLOW LIVE | Covid-19 in SA: 4 424 new cases, 93 more deaths

Coronavirus toll at 10:00 (GMT) Friday

– The novel coronavirus has killed at least 3 513 088 people since the outbreak
emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources
compiled by AFP at 10:00 (GMT) on Friday.

least 168 905 450 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to experience symptoms
weeks or even months later.

figures are based on daily reports provided by health authorities in each
country. They exclude revisions made by other statistical organisations, which
show that the number of deaths is much higher.

World Health Organisation estimates that the pandemic’s overall toll could be
two to three times higher than official records, due to the excess mortality
that is directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19.

large number of the less severe or asymptomatic cases also remain undetected,
despite intensified testing in many countries.

Thursday, 12 736 new deaths and 586 617 new cases were recorded worldwide.

on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 3 660
new deaths, followed by Brazil with 2 245 and United States with 1 234.

United States is the worst-affected country with 593 288 deaths from 33 218 046

the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 456 674 deaths from 16 342 162
cases, India with 318 895 deaths from 27 555 457 cases, Mexico with 222 657
deaths from 2 405 772 cases, and the United Kingdom with 127 758 deaths from 4 473
677 cases.

 – AFP

Finland opens drive-in voting for a Covid-safe

– Cars are queued up on an old airport runway on the outskirts of the Finnish
capital Helsinki – not for coronavirus tests, but for drivers to cast their

polling stations have sprung up across the Nordic country as authorities try to
make voting as socially distanced as possible ahead of the country’s local
elections on 13 June.

in and filling out the ballot paper went brilliantly,” retiree Joukko
Salminen tells AFP from inside his white car. “And corona safe too!”

municipal vote was due to take place in April, but was postponed due to the
pandemic, after which officials began looking for ways to cast ballots outside
during a two-week advance voting period, while protecting the legally protected
privacy of voters.

built screens that stop people being able to see the voting happening,”
polling station manager Vesa Kouvonkorpi tells AFP.

the car is the polling booth, and by law you’re not allowed to see into the
polling booth.”

cars are directed into one of three voting lanes, and the driver hands a
polling clerk their voting ID through the window and is given a ballot paper.

clerk turns their back while the driver casts their vote, puts it into an
envelope and returns it.

law states that a person must be alone when voting so they are not under
duress, meaning any passengers inside the vehicle must wait outside.

 – AFP

Africa needs 20 million second-dose AstraZeneca
jabs in six weeks – WHO

– Africa needs at least 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine within six
weeks if those who have had their first shot are to get the second in time, the
WHO said on Thursday.

needs vaccines now,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation’s
Regional Director for Africa.

pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope.”

WHO statement underlined the importance of respecting the recommended interval
of eight to 12 weeks between doses to ensure a recipient’s prolonged 81%
protection rate.

addition to this urgent need, another 200 million doses of any WHO Emergency
Use Listed Covid-19 vaccine are needed so that the continent can vaccinate 10%
of its population by September 2021,” the statement added.


Mexico authorizes J&J vaccine against Covid-19
for emergency use

CITY – Mexico’s health regulator COFEPRIS has granted emergency use authorisation
to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine against Covid-19, Deputy Health Minister
Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Thursday.

authorisation for emergency use certifies that the vaccine meets the quality,
safety and efficacy requirements necessary to be applied,” COFEPRIS said
in a separate statement.

on Thursday, Mexico reported more than 3 000 new cases of Covid-19.


UK approves single shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19

– Britain on Friday approved the use of the single shot Johnson & Johnson
coronavirus vaccine, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
(MHRA) announced on Friday.

is a further boost to the UK’s hugely successful vaccination programme, which
has already saved over 13 000 lives, and means that we now have four safe and
effective vaccines approved to help protect people from this awful virus,”
said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

 – AFP

Next 3 weeks key to speed up vaccinations and stop
infection spread – Japan PM

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the next three weeks
will be key to speeding up vaccinations and stopping the coronavirus
infection’s spread, as he extended the state of emergency in Tokyo and other
areas of Japan on Friday until 20 June, just over a month before the Olympics.


Hungary detects first cases of Indian Covid-19

– Hungary has identified two cases of the coronavirus variant first detected in
India, the government official in charge of vaccinations said on Friday.

has been badly hit by the pandemic, and according to Johns Hopkins University
data is the country with the most deaths per 100 000 people. An especially
lethal third wave has been easing after an aggressive vaccination campaign.

Indian variant is present in Hungary, according to experts we cannot exclude
the possibility of a new wave of the pandemic,” Istvan Gyorgy, deputy
minister and head of the government’s task force on vaccinations, told a news

General Cecilia Muller added one of the two patients has recovered already.
Contact tracing was unable to establish how they were infected. Neither of them
spent time abroad recently.


Spain to take part in EU Covid-19 certificate trials from 7 June

– Spain will participate in general trials of the European Union’s digital Covid-19
certificate from 7 June, ahead of its planned launch in July, Prime Minister
Pedro Sanchez said at an event on Friday.

will be decisive in getting the certificate ready before summer begins and is
big news for our tourism industry,” he told an event on rural depopulation
in the northern Spanish city of Soria.


Greece ready to use Covid-19 pass before July to save summer, PM

– Greece is ready to use a Covid-19 travel certificate before its EU-wide
launch on 1 July to attract foreign travellers and save its tourism sector from
a second summer lost to the coronavirus.

was one of the early advocates of a certificate that would ease European Union
travel curbs and help pull the country’s economy from recession by lifting
tourism revenues.

European Council and parliament last week reached a deal on the digital green
certificate following a rapid pick-up of vaccinations allowing widespread
lifting of coronavirus curbs.

European Parliament is expected to pass a law in the week from 7 June and more
than a dozen EU countries, including France and Spain, have agreed to test the
system before a launch on 1 July.

certificate would show if a person had received a vaccine, had a recent
negative test or had immunity based on recovery.


India posts lowest daily rise in Covid-19 cases in over a month

BENGALURU – India reported on Friday 186 364 new
coronavirus infections during the previous 24 hours, for its lowest daily rise
since 14 April, while deaths rose by 3 660.

The South Asian nation’s tally of infections now
stands at 27.56 million, with the death toll at 318 895, health ministry data


Argentina posts record rise in daily Covid-19 cases

AIRES – Argentina posted a record one-day number of new Covid-19 cases of 41 080
on Thursday, amid a second wave of infections that has made the country one of
the hardest hit in the world, pushing the local health care system to its

nation of 45 million inhabitants has so far registered a total 3 663 215 cases
and 76 135 deaths, according to official data, making it one of the countries
with the most deaths per capita along with neighbours Uruguay, Paraguay and

began a strict lockdown for nine days on Saturday to get the virus under
control. But the rollout of its vaccination programme has been slower than
promised by the centre-left government of President Alberto Fernandez.


Brazil reports 67 467 new coronavirus cases, 2 245 deaths

DE JANEIRO – Brazil recorded 67 467 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus
in the past 24 hours, along with 2 245 deaths from Covid-19, the Health
Ministry said on Thursday.

has registered more than 16.3 million cases since the pandemic began, while the
official death toll has risen to 456 674, according to ministry data.


Mexico reports 3 050 new Covid-19 cases, 429 more deaths

CITY – Mexico’s health ministry on Thursday reported 3 050 new confirmed cases
of Covid-19 in the country and 429 more fatalities, bringing the total to 2 405
772 infections and 222 661 deaths.

government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher,
and separate data suggested the actual death toll is at least 60% above the
confirmed figure.


Russia reports 9 252 new Covid-19 cases, 404 deaths

– Russia reported 9 252 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, including 3 274 in
Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5 044 459.

government coronavirus task force said 404 people had died of
coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll
to 120 406.

federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia
recorded around 250 000 deaths related to Covid-19 from April 2020 to March


Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 7 380

BERLIN – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased
by 7 380 to 3 669 870, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious
diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 192 to 88 187, the
tally showed.


Philippines reports highest daily Covid-19 cases in
4 weeks

– The Philippines reported 8 748 new coronavirus infections on Friday, its
highest single-day increase this month.

health ministry said areas outside the capital region, the epicentre, have seen
a rise in Covid-19 cases, as well as an increase in usage of healthcare
facilities. Deaths rose by 187 on Friday to 20 566 overall. The Philippines has
recorded 1.2 million coronavirus cases.


Malaysia reports 8 290 new coronavirus cases, a
daily record

LUMPUR – Malaysia reported 8 290 new coronavirus cases on Friday, its fourth
straight day of record infections.

brings the total cumulative cases since the start of the pandemic to 549 514.


Taiwan reports another rise in domestic Covid-19

TAIPEI – Taiwan reported 555 new domestic Covid-19 cases on Friday,
including 258 cases added to the totals for recent days as it continues to
readjust its infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests.


China reports 7 new Covid-19 cases vs 19 a day

– China reported 7 new Covid-19 cases on the mainland for 27 May, down from 19
cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Friday.

of the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas, the National
Health Commission said in a statement.

number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed
cases, rose to 26 from 22 cases a day earlier.

total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 91 045,
while the death toll remains unchanged at 4 636.



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