The death toll from the coronavirus disease in the Middle East is more than 50,000 but numbers still may be an undercount, as testing in war-torn nations like Libya and Yemen remains extremely limited.
- The United States has said it will stop paying its dues to the World Health Organization, a day after it said it would not participate in the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), a global vaccine development and distribution project.
- Steroids have been confirmed to reduce the risk of death in patients suffering from severe cases of COVID-19.
- More than 26 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and at least 866,598 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some 17.4 million people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Friday, September 4
01:35 GMT – Brazil’s coronavirus cases top 4 million
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil has risen above four million, after health authorities logged 43,733 new infections at the end of Thursday.
Data from the health ministry also showed that the virus has caused nearly 125,000 deaths in Brazil.
Both totals are the second-highest for any country in the world, behind the US, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
01:19 GMT – 100 million discounted meals eaten in UK during August
Around 100 million discounted meals were eaten by British diners during August as part of a government drive to encourage nervous customers back to restaurants.
Under the so-called “Eat Out to Help Out” programme, sitting customers could receive a 50 percent discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks at participating restaurants between Monday and Wednesday up to 10 pounds ($13) per person.
Official figures show the programme for August cost more than envisioned, racking up a cost of 522 million pounds ($680m), 22 million pounds more than estimated.
Critics said the scheme did not change the underlying dynamics facing the industry, but Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said the programme helped protect the jobs of 1.8 million people working in the hospitality sector and boosted the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus-recession.
“From the get-go, our mission has been to protect jobs, and to do this we needed to be creative, brave and try things that no government has ever done before,” he said.
00:58 GMT – ‘The Batman’ shoot suspended after positive COVID-19 test
British actor Robert Pattinson has tested positive for COVID-19, news media reported, temporarily halting the production of “The Batman”.
Warner Bros said in a statement that “a member of ‘The Batman’ production” in the United Kingdom had tested positive for the coronavirus, but did not give a name. Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair all cited sources as saying the person who tested positive was Pattinson, the film’s star.
00:24 GMT – At least 7,000 health workers dead from coronavirus, Amnesty says
At least 7,000 health workers worldwide have died after being infected with the coronavirus, including more than 1,300 in Mexico alone, the most for any country, according to Amnesty International.
“Every health worker has the right to be safe at work, and it is a scandal that so many are paying the ultimate price,” said Steve Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty.
“Many months into the pandemic, health workers are still dying at horrific rates in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and the USA, while the rapid spread of infections in South Africa and India show the need for all states to take action.”
Other hard-hit countries include the US with 1,077 deaths among health workers, the UK with 649, Brazil with 634, Russia with 631 and India with 573.
Even these figures are likely to be “a significant underestimate,” as deaths may not have been officially registered in many countries, Amnesty said.
00:11 GMT – Tracing apps may stem COVID-19 spread even when only a few use them
Contact tracing apps can sharply reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus even when only a few people use them, according to a study published by researchers at Google and Oxford University.
An app used by 15 percent of the population together with a well-staffed contact-tracing workforce can lead to a 15 percent drop in infection rates and an 11 percent drop in COVID-19 deaths, according to statistical modelling by the Alphabet Inc unit and Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine.
With a 15 percent uptake of contact tracing apps alone, the researchers calculated an 8 percent reduction in infections and a 6 percent reduction in deaths.
The findings were based on data from a digital tracing system similar to one jointly developed by Google and Apple Inc.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For key developments from yesterday, go here.