August 13 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Ed Upright and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 12:13 a.m. ET, August 14, 2020
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5:38 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Hong Kong reports 69 new cases as officials attempt to contain third wave

From CNN's Vanesse Chan in Hong Kong 

Medical workers hand out coronavirus test kits to local residents on August 7 in Hong Kong.
Medical workers hand out coronavirus test kits to local residents on August 7 in Hong Kong. Qin Louyue/China News Service/Getty Images

Hong Kong reported 69 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, 65 of which were locally transmitted. Four of the cases were imported, according to officials at the city's daily health briefing.

Among the local infections, 33 cases are untraceable and 32 are linked to previous infections.

Of the latter group, 27 cases are linked to family and friends gathering, Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan of the health department's Communicable Disease Branch said.

The health official did not break down the remaining five cases but did note that two were linked to a domestic helper cluster and one was linked to previous cases at the city's Kwai Chung Container Terminal.

One more person has died bringing the city's death toll to 65.

Hong Kong officials have struggled to contain a third wave of the virus in recent weeks.

The total number of cases in the city stands at 4,312.

8:08 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Philippines to begin clinical trials of Russian vaccine in October 

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

Vials of a coronavirus vaccine as seen on display at the Gamaleya Institure on August 6 in Moscow, Russia.
Vials of a coronavirus vaccine as seen on display at the Gamaleya Institure on August 6 in Moscow, Russia. Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund/AP

The Philippines plans to begin clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine later this year, according to the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA). 

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the approval of a vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, claiming it as a "world first."

Phase 3 clinical trials will take place in the Philippines from October 2020 to March 2021 -- the same time as they are held in Russia, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a media briefing, PNA reported. 

The trials will be held after a vaccine expert panel conducts a review of the results of clinical trials for Phase 1 and Phase 2 in September, Roque said.

Roque added that should the process move as scheduled, President Rodrigo Duterte can be vaccinated by May 1, 2021, according to PNA.

PNA reported that on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte accepted Russia's offer to supply the Philippines with its vaccines once mass production starts.

At a public address in Davao City, Duterte said he was “very happy” that Russia would provide vaccines free of charge.

Duterte volunteered to be the first person to be injected with the Russian vaccine.

"I’ll agree to be injected. I’ll be the first to be experimented on. It’s fine with me," he said, according to a PNA article published Monday.  

As of Wednesday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Philippines is 143,749 with 2,404 deaths, according to data from the Philippine government. 

4:39 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

In the age of coronavirus, these new Seoul bus shelters refuse entry to anyone with a fever

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul and Joshua Berlinger

Determined to curb the spread of Covid-19, authorities in the South Korean capital of Seoul have installed a series of glass-paneled bus shelters that scan the temperature of commuters and refuse entry to anyone detected to have a fever.

Ten solar-powered shelters have been set up along major bus routes in the Seongdong district of the city's center, the local government said in a statement.

These so-called "smart shelters" have several features to stop people infected with the coronavirus from spreading it to others, including external thermal cameras and internal UV sterilizers. They also have air conditioning, free WiFi, charging stations and play therapeutic music.

While the virus does spread easier indoors than outdoors, summers in Seoul can be brutal.

Jeong Mi-rang, a Seongdong district official, said authorities wanted to create "an environment where people can escape scorching weather and pouring rain while preventing virus infections."

Read more:

4:47 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

New Zealand was acclaimed a world leader in handling Covid-19. Now it's dealing with a fresh outbreak

From CNN's Julia Hollingsworth

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks with media at a Covid-19 briefing on August 13 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks with media at a Covid-19 briefing on August 13 in Wellington, New Zealand. Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

New Zealand reported 13 new community coronavirus cases on Thursday as the country tackles a fresh outbreak that ended an enviable run of more than 100 days without any locally transmitted infections.

The new cluster, which now totals 17 cases, has prompted the country to put its most populous city under lockdown as authorities scramble to trace the source of the outbreak. New Zealand now has 36 active infections, including imported cases. In total, the country has reported 1,238 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.

Authorities are warning that the number of cases are likely to increase, raising the prospect that a three-day lockdown in Auckland could be extended and putting the date of the country's upcoming general election in doubt.

"As we all learned from our first experience with Covid, once you identify a cluster it grows before it slows," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference Thursday. "We should expect that to be the case here."

New Zealand's outbreak is a dramatic turn of events for the country, which was heralded as a world leader in how it handled the outbreak. For months, life was largely back to normal, and the country went 102 days without a locally acquired case.

Read the full story:

8:08 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

US health advisers "troubled" by change to how hospitals report Covid-19 data

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Michael Caputo, Health and Human Services assistant secretary for public affairs.
Michael Caputo, Health and Human Services assistant secretary for public affairs. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In a letter, public health advisers to the US government said they are “extremely concerned” and “troubled” about the change in how hospitals report Covid-19 data.

Nearly three dozen current and former members of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee shared their concerns in a letter intended to be read by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and obtained by CNN. 

The committee is an independent group of experts that provide guidance to the HHS and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on infection control practices and strategies. When asked by CNN, HHS did not confirm if it had received the letter. Members of the committee said that the CDC, which is part of HHS, was informed of the letter. 

The letter, dated July 31, described hospitals as “scrambling” to determine how to meet new daily Covid-19 reporting requirements to HHS.

In a memo posted on the HHS website on July 10, the Trump administration ordered all hospitals to report all Covid-19 patient information to HHS, rather than to the CDC and HHS, as they had been doing. The Trump administration said the change would streamline the data collection process. 

“We are extremely concerned about this abrupt change in Covid-19 reporting,” the letter said. Retiring the CDC system that was in operation would have “serious consequences on data integrity.” 

By removing the data collection task from the CDC, the country would lose decades of expertise in interpreting and analyzing information about infectious disease and it would jeopardize the department’s goals of developing interventions that would improve public health, the letter said. 

In a statement to CNN, an HHS official said the CDC system “was unable to keep up” with the demands of the pandemic. 

“Today, CDC has access to all the data it once had and more. The CDC’s NHSN was unable to keep up with the fast-paced data collection demands of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, said in an email.

3:29 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

More than 800 million children aren’t able to wash their hands at school: WHO and UNICEF report

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at a news conference at its head office in Geneva on July 3.
World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at a news conference at its head office in Geneva on July 3. Kyodo via AP Images

More than 800 million children globally are not able to wash their hands at school, according to a new joint report from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund released Wednesday. 

Guidelines for reopening schools during the Covid-19 pandemic emphasize the need for hygiene to reduce transmission and recommend that schools enforce regular hand washing, among other measures.  

“However, in the 60 countries identified as having the highest risk of health and humanitarian crisis due to Covid-19, one in two schools lacked basic water and sanitation services and three in four lacked basic handwashing services at the start of the pandemic,” the report said. 

There are 818 million children globally who do not have access to basic handwashing at school. Of those children, 355 million -- mainly in Northern Africa and Western Asia -- have access to water but not soap. The remaining 462 million have no access to hand washing. 

Over half of the children without access to hand washing live in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Nearly 70% of schools had basic drinking water services, but this still left 584 million children globally without access to basic drinking water at school, the report said. Many lived in sub-Saharan Africa, and three countries in particular: Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Nearly 700 million children lacked basic sanitation at school, and 20%, or over 350 million schools, had no sanitation service at all. 

“Access to water, sanitation and hygiene services is essential for effective infection prevention and control in all settings, including tools,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, in a news release alongside the report.
“It must be a major focus of government strategies for the safe reopening and operation of schools during the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic.” 

WHO and UNICEF also launched the global initiative “Hand Hygiene for All” in June 2020, which aims to scale up hand hygiene in response to Covid-19. 

2:58 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

US is at "war" with Covid-19 and Americans must pull together for the country, CDC director says

 From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. 
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called on all Americans to pull together "for your country" to help stop the spread of Covid-19, saying the US was in a "war" against the disease.

“I'm asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday in an interview with WebMD.

“I'm not asking some of America to do it ... We all gotta do it.”

Redfield reiterated his warning that if Americans do not adhere to these recommendations, this could be “the worst fall (season), from a public health perspective, we've ever had.”

The CDC director urged Americans to prepare for a difficult fall season by getting the flu vaccine.

“Please don’t leave this important accomplishment of American medicine on the shelf for yourself, your family, your church, your workforce,” he said. 
“By getting vaccinated, you can protect your children ... Clearly when we look at the mortality that we see with flu, one thing is for certain, the kids that get vaccinated, they basically get protected against death.”

Redfield said the CDC has purchased 10 million doses of the flu vaccine for uninsured adults this year, compared to the typical 500,000 doses. 

“Eventually this virus is going to have its day,” Redfield said of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. “It's either going to infect a majority of the global population, or we're going to have a biological countermeasure that's going to be an effective vaccine.”

Phase 3 trials are currently underway for several coronavirus vaccine candidates.  

Redfield said he is cautiously optimistic that the United States will have one or more vaccines deployed by the start of 2021.

2:33 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

Another Indian cabinet minister tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Naik. 
Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Naik.  Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Indian cabinet minister Shripad Naik tested positive for Covid-19 Wednesday, he announced on his official Twitter page. 

Naik heads the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy -- also known as AYUSH. 

Naik is the latest member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to test positive for Covid-19, including Home Minister Amit Shah and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.  

Naik tweeted Wednesday that he was tested even though he was not exhibiting any symptoms. 

“I underwent Covid-19 test today & it has turned out assymptomaically (sic) positive. My vitals are within normal limits and I have opted for home isolation," he wrote.
"Those who have came in contact with me in last few days are advised to get tested for themselves and take required precautions."
2:06 a.m. ET, August 13, 2020

India records nearly 67,000 new Covid-19 cases in its highest single-day spike

From journalist Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Relatives and bystanders, some of them wearing protective suits, line up to get oxygen cylinders for patients outside a hospital in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on Wednesday, August 12.
Relatives and bystanders, some of them wearing protective suits, line up to get oxygen cylinders for patients outside a hospital in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on Wednesday, August 12. Mukhtar Khan/AP

India recorded 66,999 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the country's health ministry announced Thursday -- its highest confirmed number of daily infections yet. 

The country has reported 2,396,637 Covid-19 cases since the outbreak began, according to the ministry, the third highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.

More than 653,000 cases remain active. The total number of recovered patients in India stands at over 1.6 million, according to the government.

In India, not all patients require a test to be considered recovered. Patients with mild and moderate symptoms are considered no longer active after 10 days of symptom onset if they meet certain conditions, and a test to confirm that they no longer have the virus is not required. However, severe cases can only be discharged after one negative coronavirus test.

The health ministry also announced 942 new coronavirus-related fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing India's death toll to 47,033.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, more than 26.8 million coronavirus samples have been tested so far.

CNN is tracking worldwide coronavirus cases here: