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Coronavirus digest: India confirms over 5 million cases

Over 5 million people have been infected with coronavirus in India. As many as 60,000 cases may have gone undetected in Australia. All the latest from DW here.

India on Wednesday reported 90,123 more cases of coronavirus, bringing total infections in the country to over 5 million, or 0.35% of India's 1.4 billion inhabitants. A total of 82,066 people in India have died from the virus.

India trails only the United States in total cases of coronavirus, where 6.6 million infections have been confirmed. It is expected that the South Asia country will surpass that number in the coming weeks.

Experts fear the death toll in India will also spike, as the country relaxes lockdown restrictions in all but high-risk areas. Most fatalities have been concentrated in large metropolitan areas, though smaller urban centers like Nagpur and Jalgaon have also reported a concerning number of deaths. 

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World

The global economy won't shrink as much this year as previously thought, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed in its latest round of forecasts. The Paris-based policy forum predicted that global economic output will contract 4.5% in 2020, less than the previous June forecast of 6.0%.   Fiscal and economic policy support implemented across all economies helped "to cushion the impact of the shock on household incomes and companies," the OECD said. 

There have been renewed international calls to ensure any future coronavirus vaccine is made available to all. Speaking to DW in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Commission was "strongly investing in the cooperation on fighting the virus and [it's] important that we create a global framework to not only find a vaccine but also to make sure that if we had the vaccine, it's accessible to all." United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called for a "people's vaccine" which would be affordable and available for all.There have been renewed international calls to ensure any future coronavirus vaccine is made available to all. Speaking to DW in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Commission was "strongly investing in the cooperation on fighting the virus and [it's] important that we create a global framework to not only find a vaccine but also to make sure that if we had the vaccine, it's accessible to all." United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called for a "people's vaccine" which would be affordable and available for all.

Europe

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany disease control agency, expects there will be several vaccines against the coronavirus available in the country. This is "probable" considering the large number of vaccine candidates, said Sabine Wicker, vice-chairwoman of RKI's vaccination commission. Certain vaccines may be more suitable for particular groups, for example, older individuals, she told the newspapers of the Funke Media Group.

The vaccination commission is tasked with setting priorities for who would receive a vaccination in the expected scenario that only limited quantities will be available initially. Vulnerable groups that could be prioritized include medical staff, people with chronic illnesses, and the elderly, Wicker said. German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Tuesday said he was confident a coronavirus vaccine will be available sometime next year.

Germany is adding Vienna to its list of high-risk areas, Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported, citing sources in the German government. People returning to Germany from Austria's capital will now be subject to mandatory testing for COVID-19 and may be required to go into quarantine. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Sunday said his country is experiencing "the beginning of a second wave" of coronavirus.

The UK is struggling to provide adequate testing for COVID-19, according to Justice Minister Robert Buckland. "Laboratory capacity has been an issue, we are working our way through that," he said, speaking with Sky News. "We're increasing the number of test centers. We've got 400 test centers, getting it up to 500, but clearly there are still real challenges."

Middle East

Israel will close down its entire education system following a significant increase in the number of coronavirus infections. All schools, nurseries, and daycare center, with the exception of special education facilities, will shut down starting Thursday, two days ahead of a nationwide lockdown scheduled to go into effect on Friday. Infections in Israel have increased steadily and authorities on Tuesday reported 5,523 new cases, the first time daily figures have gone over 5,000. Israel's second coronavirus lockdown will last for three weeks over the Jewish High Holiday season.

Asia and Oceania

The Australian state of Victoria said new cases there had fallen to a manageable level, clearing the way for an extended hard lockdown in former coronavirus hotspot Melbourne to be eased by the end of the month. Health authorities said the 14-day rolling average in Melbourne fell below 50, the benchmark the state set to start relaxing restrictions. The two-week case average must be below 50 on September 28 for the lockdown to be lifted.

Read more: Coronavirus pandemic has many down and out in Los Angeles

A new study looking at greater Australia suggests that 60,000 infections may have gone undetected. Researchers at The Australian National University used a new, "highly sensitive" blood test to detect previous exposure to COVID-19 in a sampling of the national population. "Our best estimate is that around 0.28% of Australians — one in 350 — had been infected with SARS-CoV-2" ahead of the country's second major outbreak, said Professor Ian Cockburn, who co-led the study. "This suggests that instead of 11,000 cases we know about from nasal swab testing, about 70,000 people had been exposed overall."

 

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Coronavirus: South African economy shrinks by more than a half

You can catch up on yesterday's coronavirus digest here: Coronavirus digest: Pandemic increases risks posed to environmental migrants

kp/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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