Health News Roundup: Philippines confirms 3,637 coronavirus infections, 94 more deaths; UK head teachers concerned about COVID test and trace scheme and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Philippines confirms 3,637 coronavirus infections, 94 more deaths

The Philippines reported 3,637 new coronavirus infections and 94 more deaths on Saturday, taking its tally to 213,131 cases and a toll of 3,419, the health ministry said in a bulletin. The nation is grappling with the highest number of virus infections in Southeast Asia, with a death toll second only to neighbouring Indonesia, since nearly a third of the Philippine deaths have been reported over the past 15 days.

UK head teachers concerned about COVID test and trace scheme: survey

Almost 70% of head teachers do not have confidence in the UK government’s test, trace and isolate system ahead of the return of millions of school children next week, a new survey of over 4,000 school leaders has shown. England’s nearly 25,000 schools are set to return full time next week after many saw only a fraction of pupils return for the end of the last academic year.

Surge in South Korea coronavirus cases sparks hospital bed shortage concerns

South Korea recorded its 16th consecutive day of triple digit rises in new coronavirus cases on Saturday, extending a second wave of infections that is fanning concerns about a shortage of hospital beds in Seoul. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) posted 308 new cases as of midnight Friday, the majority of them in the capital and surrounding areas.

Exclusive: WHO sweetens terms to join struggling global COVAX vaccine facility – documents

Wealthier countries that join the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 vaccine plan are being offered a new option to pick and choose which shots they get while reserving a right to receive their “full share” of doses, documents seen by Reuters show. The change appears aimed at convincing governments which have negotiated their own bilateral deals securing experimental vaccines to also sign up for the global COVAX facility by Monday’s deadline for submitting expressions of interest.

Exclusive: Most U.S. states reject Trump administration’s new COVID-19 testing guidance

A majority of U.S. states have rejected new Trump administration COVID-19 testing guidance in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s top agency for disease prevention, according to officials at state health agencies and public statements reviewed by Reuters. At least 33 states continue to recommend testing people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms, spurning guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week that said testing may be unnecessary. Sixteen states did not immediately respond to requests for comment and North Dakota said it had not made a decision.

Indonesia reports record new coronavirus cases for third day

Indonesia reported its biggest rise in new coronavirus infections for a third successive day on Saturday, the health ministry website showed. Saturday’s 3,308 cases take Indonesia’s tally of infections to 169,195, while 92 new deaths carried its toll to 7,261, data on the website showed.

Australia’s Victoria state posts lowest COVID-19 case rise in two months

Australia’s Victoria state on Saturday reported its lowest rise in new coronavirus cases in almost two months, but authorities warned there would be no rush to lift social distancing restrictions. The Victorian state capital of Melbourne is four weeks into a six-week hard lockdown that was spurred by a second wave of infections in Australia’s second largest city.

Russia’s coronavirus death toll exceeds 17,000

Russia said on Saturday 111 people had died from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours, raising the official death toll to 17,025. Russia’s coronavirus taskforce reported 4,941 new cases, bringing its nationwide tally to 985,346, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

India records another surge in daily coronavirus cases

India reported 76,472 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, slightly lower than the record breaking numbers of the past couple of days, but extending a run that has made the country’s outbreak currently the world’s worst. India has reported a total of 3.46 million cases during the pandemic, a tally that places them behind the United States and Brazil in terms of total caseload. However, the south Asian country has reported higher single-day case rises than both those countries for almost two weeks.

Latest on the worldwide spread of coronavirus

Japan plans to secure enough coronavirus vaccines to inoculate its population four times over, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Commission was working on signing further contracts to secure vaccines.



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