July 18 2021 – 22:00
UK records 48,161 new cases of Covid-19, 25 deaths
Britain on Sunday recorded 48,161 new cases of Covid-19 and 25 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, government data showed.
Both figures were slightly down on the previous day, when there were 54,674 positive tests and 41 deaths.
July 18 2021 – 21:10
France reports more than 12,500 new coronavirus cases
France reported more than 12,500 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the third day that the tally has held above 10,000, as the quick spread of the more contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 led to a jump in new infections.
The health ministry reported 12,532 new cases on Sunday, against 10,949 on Saturday, taking the total over 5.87 million.
At the same time France recorded 891 people in intensive care units with the new coronavirus, up one from the previous day, while the total number of deaths in hospitals rose by five to 111,472.
July 18 2021 – 19:30
183 Covid-19 deaths and 11,215 cases recorded in 24 hours
SA recorded 183 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total number dead from the Covid-19 pandemic to 66,859 to date.
TheNational Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed the latest figures on Sunday evening.
In the same period there were 11,215new Covid-19 cases recorded, taking the total number of infections to 2,295,095.
However, these figures were still impacted by the low testing rates in KwaZulu-Natal, which is still trying to recover from violent looting that started just over a week ago. There were 829 confirmed positive cases in KZN in the past 24 hours.
Gauteng accounted for the majority of new infections, with 4,398 cases (35.6%) recorded there. This was followed by the Western Cape (2,156 cases) and Mpumalanga (1,035).
July 18 2021 – 19:07
Yemen to get more COVID-19 vaccines by end of month – health ministry
Yemen expects to get a second batch of Covid-19 shots by the end of this month through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing scheme, the health ministry said on Sunday.
Yemen is expecting to get 151,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine, out of an eventual total of 504,000, a spokesperson said.
The desperately poor country, whose health infrastructure has been devastated by six years of war, received 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in March through COVAX.
Another batch of AstraZeneca shots is expected via COVAX in August, according to the health ministry of the Saudi-backed internationally-recognised government.
July 18 2021 – 18:25
Italy reports three coronavirus deaths on Sunday, 3,127 cases
Italy reported just three coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday against 13 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections edged up to 3,127 from 3,121.
Italy has registered 127,867 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world.
The country has reported 4.29 million cases to date.
July 18 2021 – 17:05
‘Please, please be cautious’ as we lift Covid-19 rules, says UK PM
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the British public to be cautious and said they must self-isolate when told to do so as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted in England on Monday.
“Please, please, please, be cautious,” Johnson said in a video from his own period of self-isolation, which was announced earlier on Sunday.
“Go forward tomorrow into the next step with all the right prudence and respect for other people, for the risks that the disease continues to present and, above all, please please please when you’re asked to get that second jab … please come forward and do it.”
July 18 2021 – 16:10
Immunised pilgrims gather for haj as Covid-19 restrictions limit numbers
Muslim pilgrims vaccinated against Covid-19 gathered on Sunday for the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, which has barred worshippers from abroad for a second year running due to the pandemic and has also restricted entry from inside the kingdom.
Clad in white and carrying umbrellas against the blistering summer sun, 60,000 Saudi citizens and residents are performing the rite, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, compared with some 2.5 million in 2019.
With the coronavirus the main concern this year, authorities have restricted access to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunised against the virus and do not suffer from chronic diseases.
Robots are being used to disinfect the Grand Mosque in Mecca and its courtyard and also to distribute bottles of zamzam water, pumped from a holy well in Mecca, to reduce human interaction and ensure physical distancing.
Thermal cameras at entrances to the Grand Mosque monitor people’s temperatures. Around 3,000 electric carts have been provided for pilgrims, who also wear electronic identification bracelets connected to GPS.
July 18 2021 – 14:54
Thailand to halt local flights in Covid-risk areas
Domestic flights to and from Bangkok and other provinces classified by the Thai government as high risk from Covid-19 will be suspended starting July 21, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said on Sunday.
Exceptions are being made for medical flights, emergency landing aircrafts and flights in connection with the government’s tourism reopening programs, the announcement said.
Other domestic fights can only fly at 50% capacity.
July 18 2021 – 14:00
Singapore reports 88 new local COVID-19 cases, highest in 11 months
Singapore’s health ministry reported 88 new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily toll since August last year, driven by growing clusters of infections linked to karaoke bars and a fishery port.
The outbreak at karaoke or KTV lounges and bars had led the city-state to tighten some restrictions on social gatherings just a week after easing them.
Of Sunday’s cases, 23 belong to the KTV cluster and 37 are linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster, the health ministry said in its preliminary report.
As a precaution, authorities on Sunday shut fresh fish and seafood stalls in markets across the city-state as it tested stallholders for Covid-19.
It said Covid 19 clusters had been uncovered involving fishmongers who visited the Jurong Fishery Port to collect their stock to sell at the markets.
Singapore is also racing to find people linked to the clusters at the KTV lounges, but there are concerns some patrons could be reluctant to come forward.
July 18 2021 – 12:55
Russia reports 25,018 new Covid-19 cases, 764 deaths
Russia reported 25,018 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 4,357 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,958,133.
The government coronavirus task force said 764 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 148,419.
July 18 2021 – 10:24
UK PM Johnson was in contact with Covid-19 carrier
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his finance minister Rishi Sunak have been contacted by NHS test and trace as contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID, Downing Street said on Sunday.
“They will be participating in the daily contact testing pilot to allow them to continue to work from Downing Street,” Downing Street said in a statement.
“They will be conducting only essential government business during this period.”
July 18 2021 – 06:00
All adults in Britain offered a Covid-19 shot ahead of Monday reopening
Every adult in the United Kingdom has been offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the health ministry said on Sunday, ahead of the end of legal restrictions in England on Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s target was for every adult who wanted to a shot to be able to get one by July 19.So far, 87.8% of adults have received a first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, with the government also meeting a target to give two-thirds of adults two doses of vaccine by Monday.
Johnson is proceeding with the full re-opening of the economy despite a fresh surge of cases fuelled by the highly transmissible Delta variant. New infections are running at their highest level since January.
Some scientists have expressed concern about the re-opening given the high case rates, the substantial proportion of the population which is not yet fully vaccinated and the projected increases in hospitalisations and deaths.
Johnson’s health minister, Sajid Javid, on Saturday said he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was self-isolating.
Johnson argues that the vaccine rollout has substantially weakened the link between COVID cases and deaths, and that summer is the best time to reopen the economy since pressures on the health service are lower.
“Thank you again to everyone coming forward, and to those helping others to get jabbed. You are the reason we are able to cautiously ease restrictions next week, and return closer towards normal life,” Johnson said in a statement.