August 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ed Upright and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020
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3:16 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

US federal agency invests in needle-free vaccine technologies 

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The US federal government said Wednesday it’s investing nearly $2.5 million in efforts to create a needle-free coronavirus vaccine. 

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) announced four small grants to groups trying to make either oral vaccines against coronavirus, or patches that could painlessly deliver a vaccine.

“The novel routes of administration they are developing could reduce the dependence on needles and syringes that are used to deliver vaccine via intramuscular injection. Instead, a wearable skin patch or oral option for vaccines may support rapid, large-scale immunization while reducing the strain on the manufacturing supply chain,” BARDA said in a statement.

The four new technologies are also "shelf-stable" -- unlike current coronavirus vaccine candidates, they don’t have to be kept under special conditions or temperatures, making them easier to store and deliver.

The four groups:

  • Michigan-based Esperovax is working on vaccines people could take in capsules. They received $600,000 from BARDA.
  • The University of Connecticut already has a microneedle patch that can deliver pneumonia vaccines. They are now testing a coronavirus vaccine in animals. BARDA gave them $430,000.
  • Vaxess Technologies spun out of research done at Tufts University and MIT. Its patch releases a vaccine over time. BARDA gave them $749,000.
  • California-based biotech startup Verndari is creating a fast-production, sugar-based microneedle patch. BARDA awarded them $700,000.
2:43 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

WHO alarmed over rapidly escalating rates of Covid-19 in Libya

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh 

The World Health Organization is "alarmed" by the rapid spread of Covid-19 in Libya, the organization said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the past two weeks alone, the number of confirmed cases in the country has more than doubled, the statement said -- and since there are acute shortages of tests and laboratory capacity, the real number of cases is likely much higher.

Libya has confirmed nearly 12,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 200 deaths, according to the latest data available from Johns Hopkins University.

Worsening the problem is the fact that years of conflict in the region have damaged Libya's healthcare system; about half of all primary health care facilities are closed, the WHO statement said.

“We are alarmed at the rapid spread of the virus in the country,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Libya, in the statement.

“We are in a vicious cycle. The virus is spreading because infected people and their contacts are lost, preventing follow up. The ever greater numbers of infected patients are placing a huge strain on the health system, which is already unable to cope with normal workloads.” 

WHO added that it's working with Libyan authorities and other international organizations like UNICEF to respond to the crisis, launch public awareness campaigns, and stepping up testing efforts.

2:09 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

New Zealand to fine people not wearing a mask on public transport 

From CNN’s Zehra Jefree and Julia Hollingsworth

New Zealand said it would make not wearing a mask on public transport a finable offense.  

Offenders will be punished with a 300 New Zealand dollars ($198) infringement notice or a fine of up to a $1,000 New Zealand dollars ($658) imposed by the courts, the country's Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced Thursday in a statement.  

He said masks would be mandatory on public transport and planes from Monday, but taxis and school buses are excluded from the rule. 

The minister added that people with a disability or a physical or mental condition that makes face coverings unsuitable will be exempted, along with children under the age of 12.   

Hipkins noted that mask wearing isn't a part of New Zealand's culture, but said, “What we are asking is for people to wear a face covering just as you would buckle up when you get into a car.” 

New cases: New Zealand reported seven new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections registered since the pandemic began to 1,351, the country’s director of public health Caroline McElnay said Thursday.  

Among the new infections, one was imported while the rest were locally transmitted.  

1:42 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

India reports highest single-day surge with over 75,000 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Swati Gupta and Esha Mitra in New Delhi

India recorded 75,760 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday -- the country's highest one-day jump in cases since the pandemic began, according to the Health Ministry.

That raises the country's total number of infections to 3.31 million. Of those, more than 2.5 million have recovered, leaving over 725,000 active cases, according to the ministry.

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 death toll stands at 60,472, according to the ministry. 

Meanwhile, the state of West Bengal has extended its lockdown: The restrictions are now scheduled to expire on September 20.

"Covid is still happening, it might be less or more in some districts but we need to be careful," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday.

During lockdown, only essential services will continue to operate, with the exception of industrial activity and some local transport. Schools will stay shut.

Some days will be designated "total lockdown" -- meaning no movement or commercial activity at all will be permitted. The complete list of these dates have not yet been released.

1:30 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Indigenous Brazilians end protest after 10 days, calling for more government Covid-19 assistance

From CNN's Fernanda Wenzel in São Paulo and Sharif Paget in Atlanta 

Indigenous Brazilian protesters removed their barricades from a key highway in Brazil’s Amazon on Wednesday, after 10 days of protest against the federal government.

The group has decided to end their protest until a decision is reached regarding a lawsuit filed by Pará state's Federal Public Attorney. The suit urges the government to renew a program that compensates communities for the environmental impact the highway has over their territory.

The indigenous group also has another demand: for the government to step up its efforts to contain Covid-19, which has ravaged their community.  

The Kayapó Mekragnoti people first blocked the highway last Monday, August 17, near the city of Novo Progresso to demand health assistance, medical supplies and food to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.   

The indigenous group kept the road open since Saturday as it negotiated with government officials. By Wednesday, August 26, the group decided to leave the highway for good and return home.   

1:14 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

The US reported more than 44,000 new cases on Wednesday

The United States reported 44,109 new cases of Covid-19 and 1,222 new virus-related fatalities on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national total to at least 5,821,819 cases and 179,708 deaths.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

Follow CNN's live tracker of US cases here:

1:02 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Mexico reports more than 5,200 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Karol Suarez in Mexico City 

Mexico recorded 5,267 new cases of Covid-19 and 626 virus-related fatalities on Wednesday.

This raises the country's total to 573,888 cases and 62,076 deaths.

Mexico has reported the third-highest number of deaths from coronavirus, behind only the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Within Latin America, Mexico has seen the third-highest number of total cases, following Brazil and Peru.

12:25 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

South Korea records highest new daily coronavirus case numbers since March

From CNN's Gawon Bee in Seoul

South Korea recorded 441 new coronavirus cases in the past day, marking the highest number of new daily cases since March 7, according to data from South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Among the new cases, 434 were locally transmitted. Of these, 313 were from the Seoul metropolitan area, health ministry officials said Thursday. 

Meanwhile, officials continue to conduct contact tracing in relation to the Sarang-jeil Church cluster; more than 900 cases have been linked to it so far.

On top of the initial 4,066 close contacts of the Sarang-jeil Church congregation and visitors, an additional 1,846 people have been identified through on-site contact tracing, officials said today.

Meanwhile, Gwangju City Mayor Lee Yong-sub issued an executive order on Thursday, banning all religious gatherings and shutting down facilities used by the public.

12:03 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Peru reports nearly 6,000 new cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Jennifer Landwehr in Chicago

Peru’s Health Ministry recorded 5,996 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections identified in the country to 613,378.  

The Health Ministry also confirmed 123 new fatalities, taking the country's coronavirus death toll to 28,124.

Only Brazil has recorded more Covid-19 cases in Latin America than Peru, according to Johns Hopkins University.