(Bloomberg) — The highly transmissible delta variant now makes up 83% of all sequenced Covid-19 cases in the U.S., up from 50% in early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
A spokesman for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that the country’s self-isolation rules aren’t optional following some mixed messaging from a government minister.
France has seen a jump in vaccinations since President Emmanuel Macron announced that passes showing proof of testing or immunization will be required in restaurants and cafes. Apple Inc. is pushing back its return-to-office deadline because of the resurgence in cases across many countries.
Tokyo’s infections continue to rise with just three days left until the Olympics, and more Japanese companies have decided against sending executives to Friday’s opening ceremony. Singapore will tighten restrictions on dining-in and social gatherings again, and half of Australia’s population is back in lockdown.
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Delta Now Accounts for 83% of U.S. Cases (11:45 a.m. NY)
The delta variant now makes up 83% of all sequenced Covid-19 cases in the U.S., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in a Senate hearing. The new figure is up from 50% from the week of July 3. She said areas of the country with limited vaccination coverage are allowing spread of the highly transmissible variant, which was first identified in India.
“Each death is tragic and even more heartbreaking when we know that the majority of these deaths can be prevented with a simple, safe, available vaccine,” Walensky said.
NYC Daily Vaccination Rate Drops to 15,000 (10:30 a.m. NY)
New York City’s vaccine administration rate has plunged to less than 15,000 a day, from more than 100,000 a day in mid-April, as cases increase.
The city has fully vaccinated 4.5 million residents, data show, falling short of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal to have 5 million New Yorkers fully vaccinated by June.
The city reported a seven-day average of 576 confirmed and probable cases on July 18, more than double the average on July 6.
Hospitalizations have edged up just slightly. Almost all of those admitted for Covid-19 haven’t been vaccinated, according to Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi. “This is preventable suffering,” he said on Twitter.
Netherlands Weekly Cases Rise (9:10 a.m. NY)
The Netherlands reported 69,731 weekly cases on Tuesday, up from 51,957 last week. The number of hospitalizations has gone up in recent days, though at a slower pace than infections. Official figures showed 50 new admissions on Monday, the biggest daily increase since May 10.
The Dutch government has reintroduced some restrictions, including limiting opening hours for bars, while a recommendation for people to work from home if possible was reinstated from Monday.
Indonesia May Begin Easing Curbs (9:05 a.m. NY)
Indonesia may start to gradually ease nationwide emergency curbs if cases and levels of hospital occupancy decline. The government may relax the restrictions starting July 26 if cases continue to fall, according to President Joko Widodo. This will include allowing some eateries and shops to stay open for longer, Jokowi, as the president is known, said in a televised address on Tuesday.
Mauritius Outbreaks Among Vaccinated Workers (8:52 a.m. NY)
Mauritius recorded a record daily number of cases after outbreaks among vaccinated foreign factory workers living in hostels, according to the Health Ministry.
The Indian Ocean island nation, which reopened its borders to tourists last week, added 368 new infections on Monday, with 305 of them being factory workers and almost all asymptomatic. Foreign labor in the country’s export-oriented manufacturing industry accounts for 47% of total employment.
Mauritius is seeking to revive its tourism industry after ramping up vaccinations, and about a third of its 1.3 million people are fully inoculated.
French Shots Surge After Passes Announced (7:51 a.m. NY)
France’s vaccination rollout is accelerating after President Emmanuel Macron announced that “health passes” — showing proof of testing or immunization — will be required in restaurants and cafes.
A Health Ministry official said at a briefing that 4.3 million injections were administered last week, including 1.7 million first doses. In another record, 880,000 shots were administered on Friday. And this week saw the best Monday of the rollout, the official said.
French vaccinations are proceeding twice as much fast as the rollouts in Italy and Germany, the official said. After Macron’s speech, the number of online vaccine appointments climbed to 520,000 daily from 140,000 daily in early July. France will reach its target of 40 million first doses ahead of schedule, the official said.
U.K. Says Self-Isolation Crucial (7:20 a.m. NY)
The U.K. government insisted people told to isolate by the National Health Service contact-tracing mobile app can’t ignore the advice. Earlier, a minister had said it was “optional” and not legally binding.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Press Association that “isolation remains the most important action people can take to stop the spread of the virus.” The mixed messaging came after Business Minister Paul Scully told Times Radio on Tuesday “it is up to individuals and employers” whether they isolate after being “pinged.”
Iran Reports Most Deaths in Two Months (6:27 a.m. NY)
Iran reported a record number of new cases, with 27,444 in the past 24 hours. The country also posted its highest daily death toll in two months, at 250. The latest figures bring Iran’s total infections to more than 3.5 million and its fatalities to 87,624. About 2% of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to Health Ministry data.
Hong Kong, Singapore Travel Bubble Review (4:38 p.m. HK)
Hong Kong and Singapore agreed to conduct a review in late August on whether to implement a quarantine-free air travel bubble, the Hong Kong government said on its website. The condition for launching the bubble couldn’t be met for the time being given the recent surge of confirmed cases in Singapore.
Tokyo Cases Continue to Rise Before Olympics (4:27 p.m. HK)
With just three days left until the Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese capital’s cases continue to rise, with 1,387 confirmed on Tuesday, up from 830 a week earlier. The seven-day average, at 1,180, has roughly doubled over the past two weeks.
Infections among Olympics staff, athletes and others linked to the games are also increasing. Organizers say a total of 71 people have tested positive, including 31 who are among the tens of thousands of international visitors expected in Japan to compete or work at the Olympics.
Meanwhile, more Japanese companies have decided against sending executives to Friday’s opening ceremony.
Singapore Imposes Restrictions Again (3:28 p.m. HK)
Singapore will re-tighten restrictions on dining-in and social gatherings and halt indoor exercise from Thursday amid a record number of daily infections, fueled by highly transmissible strains spreading across Southeast Asia.
Group gatherings will be slashed from five people to just two through Aug. 18, authorities announced at a briefing, with the measures to be reviewed after two weeks. Singapore will also unveil a virus support package in the coming days. The new restrictions underscore Singapore’s struggle in shifting from the strict controls that have been part of its “Covid-zero” strategy toward a new normal that treats the disease as endemic.
Italy Passes 50% of Population Vaccinated (3:16 p.m HK)
The total number of people inoculated in Italy, who have completed the vaccination cycle with two doses or a single shot, are 27,581,936, or 51.07% of the population over 12, according to the government website.
Japan Clears Roche’s Ronapreve as Treatment (2:05 p.m. HK)
Roche Holding AG and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co.’s Ronapreve was cleared as an intravenous infusion for patients with mild to moderate infection. Japan is the first country to clear the antibody combination. The medicine has shown it can improve survival in high-risk patients.
Only 6% of India’s Population Fully Vaccinated (1:40 p.m. HK)
India added 30,093 cases Tuesday, pushing the total tally to 31.2 million. The country has administered almost 412 million vaccine doses so far, but only about 6% of the second-worst hit nation’s population is fully inoculated against the virus. Covid-related deaths rose by 374 in a day to 414,482 total fatalities.
The U.S. lowered its travel advisory to India after a drop in cases there, but scientists in the country say it is ill-prepared for a possible third wave. The Indian Council of Medical Research — a little known government body before the pandemic — has been criticized for its Covid management as India battled its biggest outbreak in May.
Apple Will Postpone Return to Office (11:35 a.m. HK)
Apple Inc. is pushing back its return-to-office deadline by at least a month to October at the earliest, responding to a resurgence of Covid variants across many countries, people familiar with the matter said.
The iPhone maker becomes one of the first U.S. tech giants to delay plans for a return to normality as Covid persists and cases involving a highly transmissible variant increase. Apple will give its employees at least a month’s warning before mandating a return to offices, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing internal policy.
Victoria Extends Lockdown, Shuts Sydney Border (10:07 a.m. HK)
Australia’s Victoria state extended its fifth lockdown since the pandemic began and tightened border restrictions with Sydney as authorities battle to contain an outbreak of the delta variant.
Stay-at-home orders will remain in place for another seven days until midnight July 27 after Victoria recorded 13 new locally-acquired cases for a second straight day, state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters Tuesday. The state will effectively shut its border to people from Sydney, with exceptions for essential workers such as freight drivers and for compassionate reasons, he said.
Authorities have issued stay-at-home orders for almost half of the nation’s population, hampering the country’s economic recovery after Australia slid into its first recession in about three decades last year.
Philippines May Return to Stricter Curbs (9:14 a.m. HK)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said more stringent movement restrictions may be needed after the country detected cases of the more transmissible delta coronavirus variant.
“We may need to reimpose stricter restrictions to avoid mass gathering and prevent superspreader events,” Duterte said in a recorded briefing aired late Monday. The reported local cases of the delta variant is “a cause for serious alarm and concern,” he said.
The Philippines, home to the second-worst Covid-19 outbreak in Southeast Asia, has recorded more than 1.5 million cases and 26,786 deaths as of July 19.
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