Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
The World Health Organization has said the world is nowhere near reaching herd immunity, a situation in which enough people would have antibodies from having had the virus to stop its spread.
Australia has signed a deal to secure supplies of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca should it pass clincal trials.
The number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world now exceeds 22 million, and more than 779,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 14 million people have recovered from the disease.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, August 19
01:40 GMT – Global caseload exceeds 22 million
More than 22 million cases of coronavirus have now been reported around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The first cases were reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
The US has now confirmed the most cases, followed by Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa. The US has also recorded the most deaths.
- US – 5,481,557
- Brazil – 3,407,354
- India – 2,702,742
- Russia – 930,276
- South Africa – 592,144
- US – 171,687
- Brazil – 109,888
- Mexico – 57,023
- India – 51,797
- UK – 41,466
01:30 GMT – New cases in South Korea reach five month high, tightens curbs
South Korea’s reported the highest number of new cases of coronavirus since March, with many traced to churches in Seoul.
The country added 297 cases – including 283 that were locally transmitted – the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. That’s the most since March 8, according to Yonhap news agency.
The spike in cases has prompted the authorities to tighten restrictions. Gatherings involving more than 100 people if outside and 50 if inside are now banned and venues seen as high-risk including karaoke lounges and nightclubs have been closed. Churches in Seoul and surrounding areas have been told to stop in-person services.
00:05 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports 216 new coronavirus cases, 12 deaths
Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria says 12 people have died from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and reported 216 new cases.
Victoria reported 222 cases a day earlier, its lowest one-day rise in a month, and 17 deaths.
The state is the epicentre of Australia’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, but cases appear to have slowed in recent days.
00:00 GMT – Australia secures vaccine deal
Australia has signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to secure a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed with Oxford University.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the vaccine is one of the most promising and advanced of the drugs currently in development.
UK coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response in trials
Read all the updates from yesterday (August 18) here.
Al Jazeera and news agencies