Also, Sri Lanka heads to polls amid pandemic as global death toll from COVID-19 nears 700,000.
- More than 18.44 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Wednesday, up more than 400,000 in just one day. More than 11 million have recovered, and almost 700,000 have died.
Amid fears of widespread coronavirus infection among voters, Sri Lankans will head to the polls on Wednesday to choose a new parliament in an election that the party of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is widely expected to win.
- Mexico’s health ministry has reported 6,148 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 857 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 449,961 cases and 48,869 deaths.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, August 5
03:09 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports deadliest day of pandemic
Australia’s second most populous state of Victoria reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak with 15 fatalities in the last 24 hours and a record daily rise in infections.
The state reported 725 new cases compared with 439 a day earlier.
It recorded its previous one-day high of 723 cases and 13 deaths last week.
02:08 GMT – US gov’t urged to let other firms make remdesivir
A bipartisan group of state attorneys general urged the US government to allow other companies to make Gilead Sciences’ COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, to increase its availability and lower the price of the antiviral drug.
The coalition of more than 30 state attorneys general called on the government to act or allow states to do so, saying in a letter to US health agencies that Gilead “has not established a reasonable price” for remdesivir.
“Gilead should not profit from the pandemic and it should be pushed to do more to help more people,” the letter said.
The drugmaker is charging most US patients $3,120 per course, or $520 per vial of remdesivir.
Gilead said in a statement that the AGs were misrepresenting facts about access to remdesivir and that the regulatory actions proposed are unauthorised under these circumstances and would do nothing to speed access.
The medicine is one of only two that have demonstrated an ability to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients in formal clinical trials.
01:39 GMT – Australia’s Queensland shuts state border
Australia’s Queensland state said it would close its border with New South Wales (NSW) state to hold back a second wave of COVID-19.
A surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city, has forced the state of Victoria to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s movements and order most businesses to stop trading from Wednesday night.
Other states are imposing new restrictions of their own to prevent any spillover form Victoria and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has already shut her northeastern state’s border to Victorians, said travelers from NSW and the capital Canberra also would be barred from Saturday.
“We have seen that Victoria is not getting better, and we’re not going to wait for New South Wales to get worse. We need to act,” Palaszczuk said at a press conference in Brisbane.
00:45 GMT – US fraud losses near $100m
US losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100m since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of COVID-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group has said.
A report from the Socialcatfish.com, based on government data, highlighted the vast scope of a fast-growing criminal cottage industry – from phoney stimulus-check offers to shopping scams and fake cures – preying on people already distressed by the pandemic and its economic fallout.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania – the most populous of the 50 US states – to be the five most targeted by coronavirus scams in the country.
Together, they accounted for about a third of more than 150,000 instances of COVID-related fraud reported nationally by the Federal Trade Commission from mid-March, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, through July, the report published on Tuesday showed.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key coronavirus-related developments from yesterday, August 4, click here.
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