Home International FACT BOX: Coronavirus – the latest on what’s happening around the world

FACT BOX: Coronavirus – the latest on what’s happening around the world

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The European Commission said it would contribute 400 million euros to an initiative led by the World Health Organization to buy Covid-19 vaccines, but did not clarify whether EU states would acquire shots through the WHO scheme.

A Covid-19 test sample. File picture: Fernando Zhiminaicela, Pixabay

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Private tuition centres shut for the first time in South Korea’s capital on Monday and traffic was light on the first working day of tighter social-distancing rules aimed at halting a second wave of infections.

* Japan’s plan to more than triple its coronavirus testing is unlikely to improve its fight against the outbreak without an overhaul in the test approval process, experts say.

* Hong Kong will resume face-to-face school classes from Sept. 23 as authorities aim to wind back restrictions.

* India reported 78 512 infections on Monday, more than any other country but fewer than the previous day when it posted the world’s biggest single-day tally, as authorities looked to open more sectors of the economy.

* A more infectious mutation of the novel coronavirus has been found in Indonesia, the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology said.

* The state at the epicentre of Australia’s second wave of Covid-19 infections said the number of new cases fell to a near two-month low.

EUROPE

* Paris will make free Covid-19 testing available in all of the capital’s 20 districts, as authorities battle against signs of a re-emergence of the virus in France.

* British finance minister Rishi Sunak is considering a sweeping set of tax increases to help fix the huge hole in the public finances, two newspapers said.

AMERICAS

* US cases surpassed 6 million on Sunday as many states in the Midwest reported increasing infections, according to a Reuters tally.

* The head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is willing to fast-track a Covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, the Financial Times reported him as saying in an interview published on Sunday.

* Total cases in Colombia surpassed 600 000 on Sunday, ahead of the end to more than five months of lockdown.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Following a five-month lockdown, South Africa is easing domestic travel restrictions, allowing hotels to reopen.

* Schools in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos will reopen next month.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* High-profile Covid-19 vaccines developed in Russia and China share a potential shortcoming: they are based on a common cold virus that many people have been exposed to, potentially limiting their effectiveness, some experts say.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* China’s largest state-owned banks are readied for rising bad debt and increased margin pressure in the months ahead as forbearance policies designed to give borrowers breathing space during the coronavirus crisis expire.

* The Danish government proposed a significant boost in state spending next year, including creating a $1.5 billion “war chest” to help its economy and secure access to a future vaccine.

* The share of German companies that have implemented short-time work plans declined to 37% in August from 42% in July, a poll by German economic institute Ifo showed.

* Kenya’s central bank will have to approve any plans by commercial lenders to issue dividends for this year, it said in a memo to bank executives seen by Reuters on Monday.