The latest:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose state is engulfed in a fourth COVID surge, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, but so far has no symptoms of the illness, his office said.

Abbott, a Republican who is locked in battle with some local leaders over his ban on mask mandates in schools, is isolating, his office said. The governor, who is fully vaccinated, is also receiving a monoclonal antibody treatment.

“I test myself everyday, and today is the first day that I tested positive,” Abbott said in a video posted on Twitter. “Also want you to know that I have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and that may be one reason why I’m really not feeling any symptoms right now.”

The statement did not give any indication as to when the governor contracted the virus.

The news of Abbott’s infection came on the same day that officials in Houston said they would pay $100 to anybody receiving their first dose of a COVID vaccine, and as hospitals in the area are expected this week to surpass records for the number of COVID patients in their care.

Maksim Mongayt, 7, hugs his mother, Alexandra Mongayt, in front of his elementary school on the first day of classes in Richardson, Tex., on Tuesday. (LM Otero/The Associated Press)

Vaccines protect people from serious illness, hospitalizations and death after contracting the coronavirus, but vaccinated people can still be infected and pass it on.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said that earlier this month it requested five mortuary trailers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in case hospitals need support in storing COVID victims’ bodies. So far, none have requested the use of the trailers, it said in an email.

The highly infectious delta variant continues to rampage across Texas and other states with low levels of vaccinations.

The United States has registered more than 37 million cases of COVID since the pandemic began, and more than 623,000 deaths.

-From Reuters, last updated at 7:30 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada WATCH | The efforts to convince some of Canada’s most COVID-19 vaccine hesitant to get a shot: The efforts to convince some of Canada’s most COVID-19 vaccine hesitant to get a shotAylmer, Ont., is one of the least vaccinated parts of Canada, but the community is using information and targeted campaigns to convince the vaccine hesitant to get COVID-19 shots. 5:59 What’s happening around the world A medical worker administers a dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Narathiwat Hospital compound in the southern Thai province of Narathiwat on Wednesday. (Madaree Tohlala/AFP/Getty Images)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 208.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.3 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Southeast Asian countries need more help securing COVID-19 vaccines, as the region struggles to contain record infections and deaths, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

New Zealand’s city streets were largely deserted on Wednesday as the country returned to life in lockdown for the first time in six months in a bid to halt any spread of the delta variant.

This picture shows an empty highway during a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday. (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

In Europe, Britain’s health regulator has approved Moderna’s vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 17, weeks after Pfizer’s shot was given the green light ahead of schools reopening.

In Africa, Botswana needs to budget an extra $100 million US to help secure vaccines and equipment as the southern African country battles a third wave of infections, Finance Minister Peggy Serame told parliament.

In the Americas, several doctors in Cuba have taken to social media to decry shortages of medicine, oxygen and other materials needed to battle a dire COVID-19 outbreak, in a rare public denunciation of conditions in the island’s hallowed health-care system.

Ecuador will administer a third vaccine dose to people with weak immune systems and will carry out tests to determine if the rest of the inoculated population also needs a booster, Health Minister Ximena Garzon said.

In the Middle East, Iran on Tuesday reported 50,228 new cases of COVID-19 — yet another single-day high. The country, which is dealing with a surge in cases, also reported 625 additional deaths.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 8 a.m. ET

Source From CBC News

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