Covid world news

Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media about changing the 2020 general election date during a press conference at the Parliament in Wellington on August 17, 2020. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on August 17 delayed New Zealand's looming election by four weeks to October 17 after a renewed COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak hampered campaigning. Marty MELVILLE / AFP

PARIS, Aug 17, 2020 (AFP) - Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

New Zealand election delay 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delays the general election by four weeks to October 17 after a renewed coronavirus outbreak hampers campaigning.

Since the shock discovery of COVID-19 in Auckland last week, ending the nation’s 102-day streak without community transmission, there have been 58 confirmed cases, leading to the country’s largest city being put into lockdown.

Japanese economy in historic plunge

Japan’s economy shrank 7.8 percent in the April-June quarter, the worst contraction in the nation’s modern history, as the coronavirus deepens the country’s economic woes.

The contraction is still significantly less severe than declines seen in many other industrial economies and Japan has seen a smaller coronavirus outbreak compared to some of the worst-hit countries.

More than 770,000 deaths

The pandemic has killed at least 770,429 people worldwide since surfacing in China late last year, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Monday.

More than 21.7 million cases have been registered.

The United States has recorded the most deaths with 170,052, followed by Brazil with 107,852, Mexico with 56,757, India with 50,921 and Britain with 41,366.

Spanish restrictions extended

Four more regions of Spain come under new measures to curb a rise in COVID-19 infections, a day after a noisy Madrid protest against virus restrictions.

Spain’s most populous region, Andalusia, along with Galicia and Cantabria in the north and Castilla and Leon in the centre become the latest Spanish regions to begin enforcing 11 measures the government unveiled Friday to curb one of the fastest virus growth rates in Europe.

Thousands in SKorea church quarantine

Thousands of members of a Protestant church linked to a coronavirus cluster in Seoul have been asked to quarantine.

The Sarang Jeil Church is headed by Jun Kwang-hun, a controversial conservative pastor who is a leading figure in protests against President Moon Jae-in.

Beirut hospitals overwhelmed

Lebanon’s health minister warns that hospitals are reaching maximum capacity to treat coronavirus patients after the deadly Beirut blast overwhelmed clinics and as COVID-19 cases have mounted.

Lebanon has seen a spike in coronavirus-related cases and deaths in recent weeks, and they have hit a new record in the aftermath of the massive explosion that ripped through large parts of Beirut on August 4.

British U-turn on exams

The British government abandons its policy for grading exams that were cancelled because of the pandemic after protests by students against a moderation process intended to avoid widespread grade inflation.

The publication of results of the key school leaving A-levels last week sparked outrage when it emerged that 39 percent of teachers’ assessments had been downgraded under an algorithm based on a school’s past performance.

World no 2 to skip US Open

World number two Simona Halep joins a growing list of tennis stars skipping the US Open over coronavirus fears.

“After weighing up all the factors involved and with the exceptional circumstances in which we are living, I have decided that I will not travel to New York to play the @usopen,” tweeted Halep, the current Wimbledon champion.