Daily Covid-19 update: 13 more deaths on Level 1 eve, world nears 1m fatalities

Indonesian artist from Mural Medan Community paint graffiti mural on the wall of a building in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, 18 September 2020. Indonesia has recorded over 200,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, with nearly 9,000 deaths, the highest number in Southeast Asia. EPA-EFE/DEDI SINUHAJI/EPA-EFE

Globally, the pandemic has killed at least 957,948 people in the world since emerging in China late last year and more than 30.8 million people have been infected.

As the world nears a million deaths related to the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa has recorded an additional 13 fatalities as it prepares to enter Level 1 of its lockdown regulations.

According Health Minister Zweli Mhize, the total number of identified Covid-19 cases now stood at 661,211 with 1,555 new cases identified since Saturday. During this period an additional 16,884 new tests conducted.

Covid-19 statistics, Sunday 20 September 2020. Picture: Health Dept

The regional distribution of the deaths are: three from Eastern Cape, one from KwaZulu-Natal, three from Gauteng and six from Western Cape. The total official death toll regarding Covid-19 related deaths is now 15,953.

“Our recoveries now stand at 590,071 which translates to a recovery rate of 89,2%,” Mkhize said.

Coronavirus: latest global developments

– More than 957,000 dead –

The pandemic has killed at least 957,948 people in the world since emerging in China late last year, according to an AFP on Sunday based on official sources.

More than 30.8 million people have been infected.

The United States has the most deaths with 199,268, followed by Brazil with 136,532, India with 86,752, Mexico with 73,258 and Britain with 41,759.

– UK imposes hefty fines –

People in England who refuse to self-isolate to stop the spread of the virus could face fines of up to £10,000 ($13,000, 11,000 euros) under tough new regulations to tackle a surge in cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that from September 28 people in England will be legally obliged to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to by the National Health Service (NHS) tracing programme.

– Belgium tops 100,000 cases –

Belgium passes the 100,000 milestone of infections following a sharp increase in cases in recent weeks, according to figures from the research institute Sciensano.

The trend accelerated markedly in the first half of September, reaching an average of 1,000 new daily infections during the week of September 9 to 15, according to the data.

– Italy votes, cases rise –

Italians cast their ballots in a referendum and regional elections, despite warnings against opening polling stations while Covid-19 case numbers are on the rise. Italy currently has fewer new cases than Britain, France or Spain but it is still recording more than 1,500 daily.

“The country is in a state of emergency; it is utterly contradictory to be massing people together at polling stations, particularly in light of the trend in Europe,” Professor Massimo Galli, infectious diseases chief at Milan’s Sacco hospital, tells AFP.

– Hollywood Covid-era awards –

The first major Covid-era award show for Hollywood takes place Sunday with the Emmys — the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars — looking radically different to previous editions, with no red carpet and a host broadcasting from an empty theatre in Los Angeles.

– Fewer US election monitors –

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors elections in many parts of the world, says it will only send a small team to observe the US polls in November due to the pandemic.

No short-term observers will be deployed to monitor the election on the day, Katya Andrusz, OSCE spokeswoman, tells AFP. The team for the elections on November 3 will consist of just 14 analysts and 30 long-term observers.

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