Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continued coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I am Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
- Brazil has expressed cautious optimism that the coronavirus outbreak in the country could be set to slow, with cases and weekly deaths falling from their peaks in late July.
- Kamala Harris accuses US President Donald Trump of “leadership failure” for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- More than 22 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 globally and at least 14 million have recovered. Nearly 784,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday August 20
01:55 GMT – South Korea reports seventh day of triple-digit cases
South Korea reported its seventh consecutive day of triple-digit cases, with Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirming 288 cases – 276 acquired locally – in the past 24 hours.
Many cases have been attributed to churches in Seoul, but a growing number is appearing elsewhere in the country, including in the cities of Busan, Daejeon and Gwangju.
The largest group is linked to Sarang Jeil Church in northern Seoul.
01:40 GMT – Chinese state media defend Wuhan pool party
Chinese state media came to defend a theme park in Wuhan that hosted a huge music festival and pool party over the weekend and raised concerns about COVID-19 when pictures and videos were released. been widely shared abroad.
The Global Times said the packed event was a sign of a return to normalcy in a city that has spent 76 days in lockdown and accused critics of “sour grapes.” The virus first appeared in Wuhan late last year.
Criticizing #Wuhan residents for having fun at the water park music festival shows foreign sour grapes. People should think about why their country’s epidemic control has failed rather than smearing Wuhan people and their hard-won victory over #coronavirus https://t.co/NJVBmxLiHk https: // t .co / BRQBJvZtoe
– Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 19, 2020
VIDEO: 🇨🇳 Crowds packed a water park this weekend in the central town of #Wuhan, where #coronavirus first emerged late last year, eager to party as the town was returning to normal life pic.twitter.com/SJFBmx5sU8
– AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 17, 2020
01:15 GMT – Qantas posts $ 1.4 billion loss in pandemic restructuring
Australian airline Qantas says it suffered a loss of A $ 1.96 billion ($ 1.4 billion) in the fiscal year ended June 30, due to restructuring and accounting charges related to the pandemic .
Managing Director Alan Joyce said trading conditions were the worst in the carrier’s 100-year history, with international flights suspended and domestic routes hampered by closed borders in Australia.
Joyce added that international flights were unlikely to resume until a vaccine was widely available, which might not be until the end of next year.
12:30 GMT – Harris says Trump’s coronavirus ‘failure’ claimed US lives
Kamala Harris to accuse US President Donald Trump of ‘leadership failure’ during coronavirus pandemic that has claimed countless lives and jobs, when she accepts the Democratic Party nomination to be their running mate at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday evening (US time).
Harris will also attack Trump’s abilities and character, according to snippets released to news agencies.
Trump’s incompetence scares us [and] hardness makes us feel lonely. ”
The United States has recorded the most cases and the most deaths from the coronavirus of any country in the world.
You can keep up to date with all the developments of the convention, which is being held online, here.
12:15 GMT – Trump touts convalescent plasma as treatment for coronavirus
US President Donald Trump is touting the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for coronavirus, saying he has “heard fantastic things” about it.
Trump made his comments after The New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration had suspended emergency approval of the treatment over fears the data on plasma use was too low.
The president, who faces re-election in November, said the decision could be political.
“There are a lot of people out there who don’t want to rush things because they want to do it after November 3,” Trump said, referring to the election.
“I’ve heard numbers well over 50 percent successful. And people are dying and we should have approved it if it’s good and I hear it’s good. I hear from folks at the FDA that it’s good. ”
The blood plasma of people recovering from COVID-19 contains antibodies that have been created to fight infection. It has been used in some countries, including China, to help other patients with the disease.
00:00 GMT – Cautious optimism in Brazil as study shows transmission rate below one
Brazil’s health ministry said there were signs the country’s coronavirus outbreak – the second worst in the world – could be about to slow.
The number of confirmed cases fell to 304,684 last week, from a high of 319,653 in the week ending July 25. The number of deaths reported each week also fell to 6,755, from 7,677 in the last week of July.
A study from Imperial College London also shows that Brazil’s transmission rate has fallen below one, according to local media. This means that each person diagnosed with the disease will infect less than one person, which will slow down the epidemic.
“In a way, it’s a trend. We have to see how the disease behaves over the next two weeks to see if there is a significant drop, ”said Arnaldo Medeiros, secretary for health surveillance, on Wednesday.
Daily figures continue to show a steady increase in cases and deaths, with the country recording a total of 3,456,652 cases of the disease and 111,100 deaths.
Read all of yesterday’s (August 19) updates here.