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Coronavirus digest: US lowers travel advisory for India

The number of fresh cases in India has fallen to a four-month low. Elsewhere, a new study shows over 1 million children have lost a caregiver due to COVID. DW has the latest.

Passengers at a baggage scanner in New Delhi

US asks citizens to travel if they must, since cases remain active in some local hotspots

The US State Department has lowered its COVID-related travel advisory for India and Pakistan to "Level 3 — Reconsider Travel" from "Level 4 — Do Not Travel."

The advisories had previously asked US residents not to travel to either country.

Restrictions imposed in May, which bar the entry of nearly all non-US citizens who have been in India within the last 14, remain in place.

Though India's COVID cases have been slowing, some local hotspots remain quite active, driving up the total number of cases. The health ministry confirmed 42,015 new infections on Wednesday, and 3,998 deaths, the highest since June 12.

Some provinces in Pakistan have seen a sharp rise in cases lately, but the country has brought the situation under control more generally.

Nearly all travelers to the US must show a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from the disease.

Here's an overview of other major coronavirus developments around the world.

Americas

Guatemala received three million doses of Moderna coronavirus vaccines donated by the US. The country's health minister said it was the biggest shipment yet, and would allow the country to vaccinate everyone over 40.

Watch video 01:50

Mexico works to develop its own vaccine

Asia-Pacific 

The Tokyo Olympics should go ahead to demonstrate to the world what can be achieved with the right COVID measures in place, World Health Organization (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday. The world needed the Olympics "as a celebration of hope," and the number of cases should not be used to judge the event, Tedros said. Instead, he urged people to think of the way the cases are handled. 

But the head of Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said the Games could still be axed at the last minute.

Toshiro Muto said officials are worried about rising infection numbers,

More than 70 people associated with the Games have tested positive ahead of Friday's opening ceremony.

"We will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," said Mr Muto when asked at a press conference if the Games might be cancelled even at this late stage.

"At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

Watch video 42:37

Countdown during Lockdown - The Rocky Road to Tokyo

South Korea reported a new daily high for COVID-19 infections, with 1,784 confirmed cases. The figures marked the biggest single-day jump since the pandemic began.

Australia's Victoria state logged the biggest daily rise in locally acquired coronavirus cases in more than a week. Health authorities reported 22 new cases on Wednesday, up from nine a day earlier.

The state has extended its stay-at-home orders until July 27.

Mainland China reported 22 new COVID cases, compared to 65 a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Wednesday. Of the new cases, 20 originated overseas. The rest were local cases, all in the southwestern border province of Yunnan. China's total number of coronavirus cases stands at 92,364. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,636.

Motorcycling's Thailand Grand Prix has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MotoGP said on Wednesday.

The race was scheduled to be held at the Chang International Circuit from October 15-17.

It is the third Asian motorcycling race to be canceled after the Australian and Japanese rounds.

Thailand has recorded more than 420,000 COVID-19 infections and 3,408 deaths so far.

Africa

The BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be produced for the first time in Africa, Pfizer has announced.

South African firm, the Biovac Institute, based in Cape Town will manufacture the vaccine for distribution across 54 African countries.

Production is set to begin in 2022 with a goal of reaching more than 100 million finished doses annually.

The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine will be the second to start production in the country after the Johnson & Johnson shot.

Watch video 03:37

What can be done about Africa's low vaccination rate?

Europe

Authorities in Mallorca are rethinking COVID rules as cases continue to rise on the Spanish holiday island. The number of new infections per 100,000 people rose to 335 from 310 on Tuesday. Last Friday, the figure was 270.

Germany has extended the current coronavirus rules for people arriving in the country until September 10, with some changes to the quarantine period.

The current coronavirus travels were set to remain in place until July 28.

Under the new quarantine regulations, fully-vaccinated travelers arriving in Germany from designated virus variant regions can end their quarantine early if they can prove that their vaccine is effective against the variant in question.

Previously, even fully vaccinated persons traveling from virus-variant areas were subject to a strict 14-day quarantine.

The government plans to shorten the quarantine period for travelers, whose country is designated "virus variant" on arrival but is subsequently downgraded.

The number of cases in Germany rose by 2,203 and the death toll increased by 19. The total number of cases now stands at 3,748,613 and deaths at 91,416.

Greek Orthodox Church authorities published a circular busting conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. It includes advice that vaccines "do not contain microchips." Spiritual leaders have urged churches to read the guidelines out to the faithful.

Watch video 02:23

Greece starts vaccination campaign at migrant camps

Global

Around 1.5 million children worldwide lost at least one parent, grandparent or other caregiver as a result of the pandemic between March 2020 and April this year, a new study led by a researcher at the Imperial College London reveals.

Australia and New Zealand have both withdrawn from the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, citing "player welfare and safety" owing to the pandemic.

In a joint statement, the world's top two ranked nations urged organizers to postpone the event until next year.

jsi, rm/rt  (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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