French health authorities reported 10,561 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a new daily record as the number topped 10,000 for the first time since wide-scale testing was launched in the country.
British clinical trials for the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine have resumed following confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority that it was safe to do so. Clinical trials were suspended this week due to an illness in a study subject in the UK.
More than 28.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and nearly 916,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. About 19.2 million patients have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, September 12
23:25 GMT – Vatican says return to in-person masses ‘urgent’
The Vatican says it is “necessary and urgent” to return to in-person masses as soon as anti-coronavirus measures permit.
The head of the Vatican’s liturgy office, Cardinal Robert Sarah, says in a letter to bishops’ conferences Saturday that virtual liturgies, while useful, were no replacement for the real thing.
He says physical presence by the faithful in churches was “vital, indispensable, irreplaceable”.
While some Catholic priests claimed coronavirus lockdowns that shuttered churches infringed on their religious liberty, Pope Francis adhered to Italy’s strict lockdown.
21:38 GMT – UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan
The UN refugee agency is stepping up efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 among tens of thousands of Syrians in camps in Jordan after the first cases were confirmed last week, the head of the agency in the country said.
The UNHCR confirmed three cases in the country’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Zaatari, near the border with Syria, and two cases in a smaller camp, Azraq.
The infections in the two camps that house a total of about 120,000 refugees were the first confirmed cases since the pandemic was first reported in the kingdom last March.
21:15 GMT – Turkey reports 1,500 new coronavirus cases
Turkey reported 1,509 more coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s overall infection count to 289,635, according to the Health Ministry data.
The number of COVID-19 fatalities in Turkey increased by 48 over the past day, reaching 6,999.
The number of patients in critical condition now stands at 1,241, the data showed.
20:20 GMT – Israeli protesters keep up pressure on Netanyahu over corruption
Thousands of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem over his alleged corruption and the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The crowd rallied outside Netanyahu’s residence, blowing whistles, waving signs and flags and calling for his resignation. Smaller protests were held along bridges at major intersections in cities across Israel.
Israeli media estimated that about 10,000 people attended what has become a weekly demonstration in Jerusalem.
The protests built up over the summer as COVID-19 cases spiked.
18:33 GMT – French daily COVID-19 cases hit new record
French health authorities reported 10,561 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a new daily record as the number topped 10,000 for the first time.
A previous record of 9,843 new infections had been reported on Thursday. The death toll since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak this year in French hospitals and nursing homes has reached 30,910, with 17 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, it added.
Officials have become increasingly concerned about the infection figures, even if the death toll and admissions to intensive care are well below the highs recorded in March and April.