The latest:

South Korea has reported more than 2,000 new cases of the coronavirus, approaching a one-day record set last month, as officials expressed concern about an erosion in citizen vigilance amid prolonged pandemic restrictions.

The 2,050 cases reported Wednesday was the sixth time the daily increase came over 2,000 in a span of a month, including a record 2,221 on Aug. 11.

The capital Seoul and the nearby metropolitan area have had the country’s toughest physical distancing rules short of a lockdown for nine consecutive weeks. The measures force night clubs and churches to close and prohibits private social gatherings of three or more people after 6 p.m. unless the participants are fully vaccinated.

The Health Ministry said people’s exhaustion and frustration with virus restrictions are becoming an increasing challenge. Highway traffic, credit card usage and other indicators of activity and movement are all rising, said Park Hyang, a senior ministry official, during a briefing.

There’s concern that transmissions would worsen during the Chuseok holidays, the Korean version of Thanksgiving that comes in two weeks.

The country is drawing up a plan on how to live more normally with COVID-19, expecting 80 per cent of adults to be fully vaccinated by late October, health authorities said on Wednesday.

“We’ll review measures that will allow us to live more normally, but any such switch will be implemented only when we achieve high vaccination rates and overall [COVID-19] situations stabilize,” Son Young-rae, a senior health ministry official, told a briefing.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 6:50 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada WATCH | Health-care workers speak out against Alberta’s pandemic response: Health-care workers speak out against Alberta’s pandemic responseAs the worsening fourth wave of COVID-19 takes a severe toll on health-care workers, some are voicing their disapproval over how the province has handled the pandemic and say the official case count has been understated. 2:57 What’s happening around the world A member of the medical staff operates a tablet inside the Church of the Virgin Mary during a vaccination rollout in the town of Archanes on the island of Crete in Greece. (Michael Varaklas/The Associated Press)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 221.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.5 million.

In Europe, Spain’s health-care regulator approved a third dose of vaccines for people with severely compromised immune systems who are likely to have weaker protection from the conventional two-dose inoculation schemes.

Meanwhile, Sweden will push ahead with easing restrictions at the end of this month, removing most curbs and limits on public venues such as restaurants, theatres and stadiums.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines capital region will remain under the second strictest coronavirus containment measures, despite a day earlier announcing a relaxation of curbs to spur business activity.

Indonesia’s daily coronavirus positivity rate dropped below the World Health Organization’s benchmark standard of five per cent this week for the first time.

Health worker Amanda Henriquez, right, embraces Nicol Parra, who carries a picture of her father, David Parra, who died of COVID-19, during a vigil in front of the Public Urgency hospital in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday. (Esteban Felix/The Associated Press)

In the Americas, Venezuela has received its first batch of vaccines through COVAX, the Pan-American Health Organization said.

U.S. President Joe Biden will present a six-pronged strategy intended to fight the spread of the delta variant and increase U.S. vaccinations, the White House said.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia removed the United Arab Emirates, Argentina and South Africa from its entry banned country list and re-allowed citizens to travel to the three countries starting Sept. 8, state TV reported.

In Africa, the International Monetary Fund’s executive board on Tuesday approved $567 million in emergency support for Tanzania to help it finance a vaccination campaign and meet the health and social costs of the pandemic.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 6:50 a.m. ET

Source From CBC News

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