• US top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has warned of the risks of rushing out a coronavirus vaccine before it is proven to be effective.
  • Champion sprinter Usain Bolt has tested positive for coronavirus days after celebrating his 34th birthday with a big – unmasked – party.
  • More than 23.6 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 15.3 million have recovered. More than 813,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, August 26

09:50 GMT – UN: Global tourism loses $320bn amid coronavirus pandemic

The global tourism industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, with $320bn lost in exports in the first five months of the year and more than 120 million jobs at risk, the United Nations chief has said.

In a policy briefing and video address on Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said international tourist arrivals decreased by more than half because of the global health crisis, which has crippled the world’s economies.

London Tourism Hit Hard Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Industry devastated by coronavirus, with tourist arrivals halved and more than 120 million jobs at risk, according to UN [Hollie Adams/Getty]

Tourism is the third-largest export sector of the global economy, behind fuels and chemicals, and it employs one in every 10 people worldwide, Guterres said. In 2019, it accounted for 7 percent of global trade.

Read more here.

09:30 GMT – Indonesia confirms 2,447 new infections

Indonesia reported 2,447 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 157,859, data from the country’s COVID-19 taskforce showed.

The data recorded an additional 99 deaths, taking the total to 6,858, the highest COVID-19 death toll in Southeast Asia.

09:15 GMT – Coronavirus: Why are more young people getting infected?

An increasing number of young people are now getting infected with the novel coronavirus, with clusters of cases emerging in different locations as countries have eased restrictions and lifted lockdowns.

Between February and July, there was an increase in the proportion of individuals aged between five and 24 being infected, according to an analysis of six million cases – out of the more than 23 million total infections worldwide – reported to the WHO by member states.

Among the available data of these six million cases, one-third of which were from the United States, the proportion of infected people aged five to 14 years grew from 0.8 percent to 4.6 percent, those aged 15 to 24 years grew from 4.5 to 15 percent.

Read more here.

08:55 GMT – Myanmar urged to restore internet in Rakhine to help contain virus

Humanitarian workers battling coronavirus in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have urged authorities to restore high-speed internet access to help tackle rising infections.

Aid workers from three groups said the government should restore 4G internet access to help inform people about the virus.

“If they do not do it at this time, when information is essential, it will be recorded in history as a crime,” said Zaw Zaw Tun, the secretary of one of the aid groups, the Rakhine Ethnic Congress.

Citing security, Myanmar has curbed internet access in large swathes of the area, where many people live in camps due to fighting between the army and ethnic minority insurgents. 

People who fled from Rathedaung Township arrive in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine StateThe region has seen the fastest spread of the coronavirus in Myanmar in recent months with more than 80 confirmed cases out of the country’s total of 474 [Reuters]

08:25 GMT – Qantas to axe 2,500 more jobs

Australian flag carrier Qantas announced plans Tuesday to cut almost 2,500 more jobs, just days after posting a huge annual loss as it reels from a collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus.

Qantas and its budget offshoot, Jetstar, said they would outsource their ground handling operations at all domestic airports, pending a final review of the roles.

It comes on top of 6,000 redundancies already announced as the company undertakes a US$10-bn cost-cutting blitz in response to “the most challenging period” in its 99-year history.

A view shows the last Qantas Boeing 747 jumbo jet that departed from Sydney Airport, in Sydney

Qantas has grounded more than 200 of its planes, after the firm’s revenues collapsed 82 percent between April and June [Stephen Coates [Reuters]

08:00 GMT – Russia reports more than 4,600 new infections

Russia reported 4,696 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing its national total to 966,189, the fourth largest in the world.

Authorities said 120 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 16,568.

07:50 GMT – Oxford COVID vaccine data could go before regulators this year

An experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca could be put before regulators this year if scientists are able to gather enough data, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group said on Tuesday.

“It is just possible that if the cases accrue rapidly in the clinical trials, that we could have that data before regulators this year, and then there would be a process that they go through in order to make a full assessment of the data,” Andrew Pollard told BBC Radio.

Scientists develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease in Saint Petersburg

The Oxford vaccine showed early promise in the first human trial when it produced an immune response [Reuters]

07:25 GMT – South Korea closes most schools in Seoul area to battle resurgent virus

South Korea ordered most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and move classes back online, the latest in a series of precautionary measures aimed at heading off a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

All students, except for high school seniors, in the cities of Seoul and Incheon and the province of Geonggi will take classes online until September 11, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday.

The beginning of the spring semester had been postponed several times since March, but as daily coronavirus cases dropped sharply since a February peak, most of South Korea’s schools reopened in stages between May 20 and June 1.

South Korea

Classes will now take place online until September 11, according to the ministry of education [Ahn Young-joon/AP]

Over the past two weeks, at least 150 students and 43 school staff have tested positive in the greater Seoul area, Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae told a briefing.

06:50 GMT – AstraZeneca starts trial of antibody treatment for COVID-19

AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it started early stage trials for an antibody-based treatment for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, as the British drugmaker also ploughs on with its vaccine candidate.

The trial will evaluate if AZD7442, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, is safe and tolerable in up to 48 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 55 years in the United Kingdom with the backing of the United States.

06:35 GMT – Mexico widens net for infections in battle against virus

Mexican health authorities will begin this week to use a broader definition to identify possible coronavirus cases, a top official said, after questions about whether testing was too limited.

A new definition of “suspected” infections will come into use on Tuesday and will include loss of smell, loss of taste and diarrhea as possible COVID-19 symptoms, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.

It will also allow a person with just one symptom, rather than two or more, to be viewed as potentially infected.

“This gives you a larger margin of potential, which will result in faster, timelier attention for a greater number of people,” Lopez-Gatell told a news conference.

VIRUS OUTBREAK MEXICO

Mexico on Monday reported 3,541 new cases and 320 fatalities, bringing its total tallies to 563,705 cases and 60,800 deaths [Rebecca Blackwell/AP]

06:20 GMT – Hong Kong to ease some coronavirus measures

Hong Kong announced it would ease some coronavirus measures from August 28, as the government cautioned against complacency despite a steady fall in the number of new cases.

Hong Kong had seen a resurgence of locally transmitted cases since the start of July but the daily number has fallen from triple digits in recent weeks to low double digits.

Monday’s daily infection count of nine new cases was the lowest in nearly two months.

06:10 GMT – 

Hello, this is Hamza Mohamed in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

05:30 GMT – Pakistan’s active cases fall to four-month low

Latest figures from Pakistan show the country has 8,934 active cases of coronavirus – the lowest since April 24, according to Al Jazeera correspondent Asad Hashim.

Pakistan recorded an additional 450 cases on Monday and 11 deaths.

It carried out 24,231 tests with a positivity rate of 1.87 percent. 

04:30 GMT – Rohingya mark three years since crackdown 

The Muslim-majority Rohingya will mark three years since a brutal crackdown by the Myanmar army forced them into refugee camps in Bangladesh with a “silent protest” forced by coronavirus curbs.

Fear of an outbreak has prompted authorities in Bangladesh to ban all gatherings and restrict refugees’ movements although only 84 cases have been confirmed.

Mohib Ullah, a Rohingya leader in the camps, says people will mark the day with silence and prayers in their makeshift huts.

“There will be no rallies, no work, no prayers or mosques, no NGO or aid activities, no schools, no madrassas and no food distribution,” he told the AFP news agency.

About 750,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in August 2017 in a military crackdown that led to the country being charged with genocide at the United Nations’s top court.

Bangladesh

A medical centre inside the Kutupalong refugee camp where coronavirus restrictions mean the Rohingya will mark the third year since they were forced out of Myanmar with a ‘silent protest’ in their shelters [Munir Uz zaman/AFP]

04:15 GMT – FDA’s Hahn apologises over false blood plasma data

While Dr Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has told the Reuters news agency the FDA makes its decisions based on science and public health concerns, he has taken to social media to apologise for misrepresenting a key statistic related to the efficacy of blood plasma treatment for COVID-19.

The agency issued emergency authorisation for plasma use on Sunday, and Hahn came under pressure after repeating a false claim from the US president that the treatment reduced mortality rates by 35 percent.

In a series of tweets, Hahn said the criticism was “entirely justified”.

03:35 GMT – FDA commissioner says agency makes decisions based on science, not politics

Dr Hahn says the agency will not be influenced by political pressure when it comes to approving a vaccine for COVID-19.

“I will not participate in a decision at FDA that’s made upon anything other than data and science,” Hahn Reuters. “That I can assure you.”

Hahn said the FDA’s decision to issue an emergency authorisation for blood plasma treatment for coronavirus at the weekend was not political.

The commissioner said the agency was focused solely on the good of the American public and dismissed President Trump’s claims of a so-called “deep state” within the organisation wanting to slow the development of vaccines.

03:00 GMT – Lockdown drives increase in abuse of elderly people

The police in Malaysia say abuse of elderly parents by adult children increased during lockdown, known locally as the MCO.

Siti Kamsiah Hassan, the principal assistant director of the police’s Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division, told the Malay Mail that the unit recorded 134 such cases during the first three months of the MCO compared with 125 cases in the previous three months. 

The unit also logged 205 cases of domestic abuse, compared with 261 previously.

The police figures are based on actual complaints received where investigations have been opened, she said.

Malaysian NGOs say there was a rise in domestic violence during the lockdown with families forced to stay at home over a prolonged period of time.

01:40 GMT – Jamaica confirms Bolt has tested positive for coronavirus

Jamaica’s health ministry has confirmed that Usain Bolt has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder over 100 and 200 metres earlier posted a video of himself on Twitter saying he had taken a test and was in quarantine.

Bolt took the test on Saturday, after celebrating his 34th birthday at a big party where he did not wear a mask. He retired from sprinting in 2017.

You can read more on that story here.

Usain Bolt

Olympic champion Usain Bolt, pictured here winning the men’s 100m at the Rio Games in 2016, has been diagnosed with coronavirus [File: Franck Robichon/EPA]

01:30 GMT – Jump in cases from unknown sources in Seoul

South Korea has reported 280 new cases of the new coronavirus – including 264 local infections.

While many of the cases are linked to the Sarang Jeil Church and a mass rally many members later attended, there are also a growing number of unlinked cases, according to Yonhap news agency.

It says about 18.5 percent of the cases identified over the past two weeks have no known infection route, compared with 8.5 percent in the previous two-week period.

Physical distancing measures have already been tightened in Seoul and from Wednesday all teaching in schools in the metropolitan area will go online again. 

01:05 GMT – Coronavirus catches world’s fastest man?

Usain Bolt has put himself into quarantine after being tested for COVID-19 on Saturday.

“I am trying to be responsible so I am going to stay in and be safe for my friends,” the sprinter, who has won eight Olympic golds, said in a video he posted to Twitter.

00:15 GMT – Victoria reports 148 cases, eight deaths

The Australian state of Victoria has confirmed 148 new cases of the new coronavirus and eight deaths in the past 24 hours.

The state’s capital, Melbourne, is slightly more than halfway through a six-week lockdown imposed as a second wave of cases emerged in the state. 

00:00 GMT – Fauci warns against rushing approval for vaccine 

Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert in the US, has warned about the risk of rushing through a vaccine without testing it properly first.

Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Reuters giving approval to one potential vaccine would make it “difficult, if not impossible for other vaccines to enrol people in their trial”.

Scientists and health experts are concerned US President Donald Trump might pressure the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the country’s main regulator, to approve a vaccine as a way to boost his chances in November’s presidential election.

On Sunday, Trump signed emergency use authorisation for COVID-19 plasma before the treatment had been properly assessed in clinical trials.

“It’s absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective, both,” Fauci said. 

23:30 GMT – UN says virus lockdowns have helped keep ISIL at bay

The UN says the threat from ISIL (ISIS) has been reduced by the coronavirus lockdowns imposed in many countries.

“Measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19, such as lockdowns and restrictions on movement, seem to have reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many countries,” said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for counterterrorism.

Voronkov warned, however, that there was evidence ISIL was regrouping in conflict zones like Syria and Iraq, and had an estimated 3,500 fighters in West Africa.

—-

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (August 25) here.