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Coronavirus digest: Thailand sees record daily cases, deaths

COVID-19 infections have continued to climb in Thailand's worst outbreak since the pandemic started. Tokyo Olympics organizers also reported the highest increase in cases linked to the Games. Follow DW for the latest.

A health worker performs a nasal swab on a person

Thailand's capital Bangkok has been the main hotspot for the outbreak

Thai health authorities reported a daily record of 17,669 new COVID-19 cases and 165 deaths on Thursday. 

In recent weeks, Thailand has been hit by the worst outbreak of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic — largely attributed to the spread of the coronavirus delta variant. 

A total of 4,562 people have died of the coronavirus there, while 561,030 cases have been recorded.

Watch video 02:20

COVID-19: Thailand's hospital system stretched to limit

The surge in cases prompted Cambodia to close border checkpoints with Thailand and impose a lockdown in several provinces along the border.

Prime Minister Hun Sen signed an order overnight that bans people in the affected regions from leaving their homes and gathering in groups.

"The temporary lockdown ... aims to prevent community-based transmission of the new COVID delta variant," Hun Sen said in the order posted on Facebook.

Here's a look at the latest coronavirus news from around the world:

Asia-Pacific

Olympics organizers have reported 24 new coronavirus infections linked to the Tokyo Games. It marked the highest daily increase related to the event since July 1 and brings the total number of cases to 193. 

Japan's top medical adviser warned Thursday that the country was facing its most serious situation since the beginning of the pandemic, calling on the government to send a "clearer, stronger message" about growing risks. 

"The biggest crisis is that society does not share a sense of risk," top medical adviser Shigeru Omi told a parliamentary panel. 

His remarks came after Tokyo hit a daily record high of infections for the second straight day, with 3,177 new coronavirus infections reported on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, as infections surge, the government is considering a state of emergency for Osaka as well as three prefectures around Tokyo, Kyodo news agency reported.

Australia's New South Wales state reported another record number of daily COVID-19 infections on Thursday, with 239 new locally transmitted cases. 

The state's health authorities said only 81 cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period, and at least 66 were infectious in the community.

"Based on those numbers we can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better given the quantum of people infectious in the community," New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. 

The reports came a day after New South Wales extended its lockdown by four weeks.

Furthermore, New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said he had asked for 300 Australian Defense Force personnel to be deployed "to boost its operational footprint" and enforce the lockdown measures.

 

Watch video 01:35

COVID-19: Australia locks down due to delta variant outbreak

New Zealand's health regulator Medsafe has granted provisional authorization for the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older. The country has only rolled out the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine so far, although it secured 7.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab through an agreement last year.

India's southern state of Kerala on Thursday announced a two-day lockdown as federal authorities planned to send experts to fight the spread of infections in the country's leading COVID-19 hotspot.

Kerala, with an active case load of around 154,000, accounts for 37.1% of India's total active cases. Its case positivity rate indicating the pace of spread in infections is now the country's highest.

India's daily cases have fallen after a devastating second wave that overwhelmed the health care system, and vaccination efforts are picking up pace.

But experts have warned the authorities against swiftly reopening cities.

India on Thursday reported 43,509 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 31.53 million, though experts believe the actual figure could be much higher.

Watch video 03:06

Paying a high price for COVID-19 treatment in India

Europe

Germany recorded 3,142 new COVID cases and 21 deaths in the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported Thursday. 

The public health body had earlier reported 3,520 new infections and 10 deaths, but later revised its figures.

According to the RKI, the seven-day incidence has risen sharply in the past three weeks. On Thursday, the rate was at 16, compared to 4.9 on July 6. 

The UK's decision to keep quarantine measures for fully vaccinated travelers coming from France and not for those coming from other European Union countries is discriminatory and not based on science, French Europe Minister Clement Beaune told LCI TV on Thursday.

"It's excessive, and it's frankly incomprehensible on health grounds ... It's not based on science and discriminatory towards the French," he said. "I hope it will be reviewed as soon as possible, it's just common sense."

The British government has said it is keeping quarantine rules for travelers from France because of the presence of the beta variant there, but French officials say the bulk of cases comes from the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

Beaune said France was not planning tit-for-tat measures "for now."

Watch video 03:22

British economy struggles with 'pingdemic' – DW's Charlotte Chelsom-Pill reports

Middle East

The so-called Green Pass has been back in force in Israel since Thursday due to rising numbers of COVID infections.

That means at public gatherings involving over 100 people, participants older than 12 years of age must show a certificate showing that they are either fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID or have a negative coronavirus test result.

This applies to sporting and cultural events as well as gyms, restaurants, conferences and houses of worship, among others.

The Green Pass had been introduced in the country in February. But after a significant drop in the number of infections, most of the restrictions had been lifted.

Oman on Thursday extended a night-time lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The government said that public movement and business activities are to be restricted between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. until further notice.

Cases in the country of around 4.5 million people have started to rise again after showing a steady fall since mid-June.

Americas

AstraZeneca said Thursday that it intends to seek US authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of this year.

The announcement came as the drugmaker released its second-quarter financial results.

They showed that the company and its sub-licensees delivered more than 700 million doses of the vaccine to over 170 countries in the first half of this year.

That includes 80 million doses that went to the COVAX initiative for low- and middle-income countries.

fb, sri/nm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters) 

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