Tokyo Olympic Village
Coronavirus digest: Athlete infections rise in Tokyo Olympic Village

Organizers confirmed at least 10 coronavirus cases linked to the Olympics, with the two infected athletes listed as non-Japanese. Meanwhile, German experts expect the fourth wave by autumn. Follow DW for the latest.

At least two athletes tested positive for the coronavirus in the Tokyo Olympic Village on Sunday with less than a week to go before the opening of the Games.

Organizers confirmed the positive tests, adding that both cases were listed as non-Japanese. They said another athlete had tested positive but this person was not residing in the Olympic village, a complex of apartments and dining areas.

This comes a day after the first non-athlete tested positive in the Olympic village in Tokyo Bay, which will house 11,000 athletes and thousands of other support staff.

Overall, 10 new infections linked to the Olympics were reported, including media, contractors and personnel, down from 15 on Saturday.

The 2020 Games, delayed last year due to the pandemic, are being held despite widespread opposition from health experts and the general public. 

It will open on Friday under a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. The emergency order lasts until August 22, well after the Olympics close on August 8.

 

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Here’s a look at the latest coronavirus news from around the world:

Asia-Pacific

Australia has ordered an immigration investigation into British commentator Katie Hopkins after she was quoted bragging about flouting the country’s hotel quarantine rules on the social media platform Instagram.

Hopkins flew into Sydney to feature on reality television program Big Brother VIP, according to Australian media. She then posted a video on Instagram joking about answering the door naked and without a face mask to people delivering meals while she was in hotel quarantine.

The video was later removed, but lawmakers said they were probing whether Hopkins’s visa should remain valid.

Australia’s coronavirus measures mandates a two-week hotel quarantine for international arrivals. Under the rules, people must also wear a mask before meals are delivered, then wait 30 seconds to collect the food to avoid infection.

A Seven Network spokesman said Hopkins was not part of Big Brother VIP.

Devastating wave of Covid infections sweeps across Indonesia

Indonesia has reported a record number of deaths of doctors from COVID-19 in the first half of July as the country experiences a surge in infections fueled by the delta variant.

The Indonesian doctors’ association, IDI, told a virtual news conference that 114 doctors died from July 1 to July 17. That number, the highest reported for a period of similar length, represents more than a fifth of the total toll of doctor deaths from COVID-19, which stands at 545.

The increase comes despite the fact that 95% of health workers in the country have been vaccinated. The government now wants to use Moderna vaccines as a booster to the Chinese Sinovac vaccine for workers in the medical sector.

Bangladesh lifts national lockdown in time for Eid

Thailand reported a third consecutive day of record case numbers, prompting authorities to expand restrictions, including travel curbs, mall closures and a night-time curfew to three more provinces.

The Southeast Asian country logged 11,397 infections and 101 deaths. The new figures brought the cumulative total to 403,386 cases and 3,341 fatalities.

South Korea will airlift its entire 300-member crew off a navy destroyer on an anti-piracy mission off East Africa, after nearly 70 of them tested positive for COVID-19. A replacement team will steer the vessel back home, the Ministry of Defense said.

The country is battling a spike in infections as the highly contagious delta variant spreads throughout the county, forcing authorities to put the Greater Seoul area under a partial lockdown.

Australia’s two largest states reported a decline in infections, but added that it could be days before restrictions showed progress in containing the spread of the Delta variant.

New South Wales (NSW) state reported 105 new cases in the previous day, down from 111 the day before, while Victoria confirmed 16 new cases, down from 19.

NSW capital Sydney and Victoria state are under lockdown after a flare-up if the new variant last month.

Middle East

Tunisia, which is facing its worst coronavirus surge since the pandemic began, has decided to deploy its armed forces to vaccinate people in the regions with the worst infection rates and in areas with particularly low vaccination rates.

Military health workers vaccinated thousands of people in Kesra and other areas in the Siliana region in central Tunisia, mainly those over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions. The campaign in Kesra used China’s Sinovac vaccines.

Medical deployment could be extended to other areas in the coming days, the military has said.

Tunisia’s president said the military would also send helicopters to mountainous areas to transport vaccines to isolated villages.

Israel’s health ministry has said oncology patients should actually stick with two shots only, contrary to an earlier announcement. 

The ministry said that after reviewing data on hundreds of patients from oncology wards, “the recommendation at this stage is to not vaccinate” cancer patients.

“Nearly 90% of the patients receiving chemotherapy developed antibodies following the (two doses of) vaccination, and the level of antibodies remained high a number of months after the vaccination,” it said in a “clarification” to the health funds and hospitals administering the jabs.

“In addition, the vaccination could have side effects… that could affect the oncological treatment,” the ministry added.

The ministry also said the country’s daily caseload has exceeded the 1,000-mark for the first times in four months.

While Sunday’s 1,118 new cases were the highest reported in a 24-hour span since mid-March, the country had seen daily cases upwards of 10,000 during the peak of the pandemic in January.

Saudi Arabia is allowing crowds to gather for the second downsized hajj since the start of the pandemic.

The kingdom, home to the two holiest sites in Islam, is allowing only 60,000 fully vaccinated residents to take part in the pilgrimage. The participants were chosen through a lottery.

South Africa struggles to cope with third COVID wave

Europe

On the Spanish island of Mallorca, the delta variant is now being detected in 85% of all coronavirus tests, according to a report by the German-language newspaper Mallorca Zeitung.

The seven-day incidence rate of new infections per 100,000 people stood at around 270 on Friday, the paper said. In Germany, that figure is currently 10. The island is one of the most popular holiday destinations for German tourists.

Germany’s public health experts expect a fourth wave by autumn amid rising infections and stagnating vaccinations.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control and prevention, the seven-day incidence rate rose on Sunday for the 11th day in a row, reaching 10 new infections per 100,000 residents, up from 9.4 the previous day and 4.9 at the most recent low on July 6.

“The number of infections is rising again and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future; We are in a race against the Delta variant when it comes to vaccination. Every single vaccination increases the protection of all of us for autumn and winter,” Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said Saturday.

England set to drop all coronavirus measures

France has launched an investigation into falsified vaccination certificates, according to French media.

Investigators are probing six people, two of whom are in custody, broadcaster France Info reported, citing judicial sources.

Four suspects are said to have procured the fake certificates while the other two are suspected of having bought a fake vaccination certificate, according to newspaper Le Monde.

European Union leaders celebrate the bloc’s vaccination program outpacing that of the United States, by inoculating a higher proportion of its population.

“We promised it and it’s done. The EU this week overtook the US as the continent with the most first doses in the world,” EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Twitter.

The EU had given 55.5% of its population at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to 55.4% in the US, France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune said, citing statistics website Our World in Data.

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