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Global COVID-19 cases surpass 180L, death toll nears 6.88L

Washington DC: The overall number of global Coronavirus cases has surpassed the 18 million mark, while the deaths were nearing 688,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Monday morning, the total number of cases stood at 18,002,567 and the fatalities rose to 687,930, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world's highest number of infections and fatalities at 4,665,932 and 154,841, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 2,733,677 infections and 94,104 deaths.

In terms of cases, India ranks third (1,750,723), and is followed by Russia (849,277), South Africa (511,485), Mexico (439,046), Peru (422,183), Chile (359,731), Iran (309,437), the UK (306,317), Colombia (306,181), Spain (288,522), Pakistan (279,699), Saudi Arabia (278,835), Italy (248,070), Bangladesh (240,746), Turkey (232,856), France (225,198), Germany (211,220), Argentina (201,919), Iraq (129,151), Canada (118,768), Indonesia (111,455), Qatar (111,107) and the Philippines (103,185), the CSSE figures showed.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the Mexico (47,746), UK (46,286), India (37,364), Italy (35,154), France (30,268), Spain (28,445), Peru (19,408), Iran (17,190), Russia (14,104) and Colombia (10,330).

Meanwhile, two new tests, both able to detect the novel Coronavirus in just 90 minutes, will be rolled out to hospitals, care homes and laboratories across the UK to increase testing capacity and distinguish between COVID-19 and winter flu in the coming months, the British government said on Monday.

One of the tests, the 90-minute LamPORE swab tests, will be supplied by Oxford Nanopore, an Oxford University spin-off co-founded by Indian-origin CEO Gordon Sanghera, who believes it also offers an "accessible global testing solution".

We are honoured to be playing a part in fighting COVID-19 in the UK, and preparing the country for the winter virus season. Ever since we founded Oxford Nanopore, our mission has been to create disruptive, high performance technology that has a profound, positive impact on society, Sanghera said.

Oxford Nanopore will be making 450,000 90-minute LamPORE swab tests available across adult care settings and labs in Britain from next week. These tests will be able to process swab and saliva samples to detect the presence of COVID-19 in 60 to 90 minutes.

LamPORE has the potential to deliver a highly effective and, crucially, accessible global testing solution, not only for COVID-19 but for a range of other pathogens. We are delighted to be working with the UK government to support and empower our communities to effectively manage testing at a national and localised level, added Sanghera.

The UK's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the new test has the same sensitivity as the widely used PCR swab test, but can be used to process swabs in labs, as well as on-location through pop up labs.

The desktop GridION machine can process up to 15,000 tests a day, or the palm-sized MinION can process up to 2,000 tests a day for deployment in a near-community pop-up lab.

The other new rapid test, which uses DNA to detect viruses, will be rolled out across NHS hospitals from September, with 5,000 DNA machines supplied by DnaNudge to provide 5.8 million tests in the coming months.

The DNA Nudgebox machines will be rolled out across NHS hospitals in the UK to analyse DNA in nose swabs, providing a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in 90 minutes, at the point of care. The machines will process up to 15 tests on the spot each day without the need for a laboratory.

The DnaNudge team worked with incredible speed and skill during the peak of the pandemic to deliver this highly accurate, rapid COVID-19 test, which requires absolutely no laboratory or pipettes and can be deployed anywhere with a direct sample-to-result in around just over an hour, said Regius Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge and founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College

London.

Both tests will be able to detect both COVID-19 and other winter viruses, such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The DHSC said the tests do not require a trained health professional to operate them, meaning they can be rolled out in more non-clinical settings.

The fact these tests can detect flu as well as COVID-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The Philippine president has agreed to place the capital and outlying provinces back under a lockdown after medical groups warned that the country was waging a losing battle against the Coronavirus amid an alarming surge in infections.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Monday that metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces will revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting Tuesday.

The move, which finance and economic officials oppose, will again prohibit non-essential travel outside of homes.

President Rodrigo Duterte relaxed the country's lockdown on June 1 in a bid to restart the stagnant economy.

Under the new restrictions, police checkpoints will return to ensure only authorized people, including medical personnel and workers in vital companies, venture out of their homes, Interior Secretary Eduardo

Ano said.

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