President Vladimir Putin says Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus, but the WHO said it does not have enough information on the vaccine to evaluate it.
Worldwide coronavirus cases have surpassed 20.4 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 12.7 million have recovered, and more than 745,000 have died,
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, August 13
01:48 GMT – Disney World actors ready to work after testing dispute resolved
Walt Disney World actors, who argued that the US theme park’s proposed coronavirus safeguards were inadequate to protect them, have resolved a dispute over COVID-19 testing, according to a union statement.
The Actors’ Equity Association had called on Walt Disney Co to provide regular coronavirus testing for its members, who cannot wear protective masks while performing as other park employees do.
Disney said on Wednesday it would provide space just outside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for a testing site run by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The site will be open to Disney employees, known as cast members, and the public.
Walt Disney World Update – @Disney has announced that it is providing space for testing in the parks, including for Equity performers within Walt Disney World. With that, Equity’s executive committee has signed off on the MOU with Disney permitting our performers to return. pic.twitter.com/5FZwZt0org
— Actors’ Equity (@ActorsEquity) August 12, 2020
01:35 GMT – Australia on course for lowest one-day rise in three weeks
Australia was poised to post its lowest one-day rise in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks on Thursday, stoking hopes that a second wave of new infections gripping Victoria state is finally being brought under control.
Victoria reported 278 new infections in the past 24 hours, down from 410 a day earlier.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW) reported 12 new cases, while Queensland state said it has found no new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours.
Barring a large rise in cases from states that have effectively eliminated the virus, that means Australia’s total of 290 cases would be the lowest one-day rise in new coronavirus cases since July 20.
Australian authorities cautiously welcomed the decline.
“I think we have to wait and see what happens over the coming week just to make sure that downward slope continues over the days ahead,” Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told Australia’s Channel 9.
01:19 GMT – Mexico’s confirmed cases almost at 500,000
Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,858 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 737 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 498,380 cases and 54,666 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
00:58 GMT – UN chief says pandemic threatens peace and risks new conflicts
Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, warned that the COVID-19 pandemic not only threatens gains in fighting global poverty and building peace but risks exacerbating existing conflicts and “fomenting new ones”.
The UN chief told a Security Council meeting a number of warring parties took steps to de-escalate and stop fighting following his March 23 call for an immediate cease-fire in conflicts around the world to tackle the coronavirus.
“Yet, regrettably, in many instances, the pandemic did not move the parties to suspend hostilities or agree to a permanent ceasefire,” Guterres said.
The pandemic has also raised growing questions about the effectiveness of health systems, social services, trust in institutions and systems of governance, he said.
“All of this means that our commitment to sustaining peace is more urgent than ever.”
The UN chief also warned that “without concerted action, inequalities, global poverty and the potential for instability and violence could grow for years”.
Syria’s healthcare system in shambles due to war (2:22)
00:37 GMT – Peru to return to total curfew on Sundays
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced the return of a total curfew on Sundays in response to a new surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
“We want and think that it is better to go back one step so that we are all responsible again for recovering the conditions that we would all like to have,” he said.
The national curfew will prohibit gatherings of family and friends.
Peru’s government has reported more than 489,000 infections, with an average of more than 7,000 new cases per day, and the highest death rate per million in the Americas, above Chile, the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
00:24 GMT – England’s revamped contact-tracing app to begin public trials
A revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app for England will begin its public trials on Thursday, according to the BBC.
The software will be modelled after Apple and Google’s privacy-centric method of one smartphone detecting another, BBC said, adding that engineers were still trying to reduce how often the Bluetooth-based tech wrongly flags people as being within 2m (6.6ft) of each other.
The app will also let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits.
00:14 GMT – White House, Democrats trade blame over aid deadlock
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of President Donald Trump’s top negotiators with Democrats on US coronavirus aid, tried to shift blame for a five-day lapse in talks back on House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Mnuchin disputed a statement from Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that said Republicans had invited more talks but refused to budge from their initial offer of a $1 trillion response.
He said Pelosi “made clear that she was unwilling to meet to continue negotiations unless we agreed in advance to her proposal, costing at least $2 trillion”.
Trump extends coronavirus relief as talks with Congress falter (2:20)
Sticking points between the two sides include the size of an extended unemployment benefit, aid to state and local governments, money for schools to reopen and other issues.
Congress has already approved about $3 trillion in assistance for families, hospitals, healthcare workers, state and local governments, vaccine research and testing.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday found that Americans divide blame pretty evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key developments from yesterday, August 13, go here.