August 28 coronavirus news

By Adam Renton, Steve George, Tara John and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 8:11 a.m. ET, August 29, 2020
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8:07 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Germany's Merkel warns coronavirus pandemic will become "more difficult" in the coming months

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media in Berlin on August 28.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media in Berlin on August 28. Henning Schacht/Pool/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is “likely to get more difficult in the coming months,” cautioning that society "is never going to be the same" until a successful vaccine is developed.

"Things will not return to normal until we have a coronavirus vaccine," Merkel said Friday. 

“We will have to live longer with new coronavirus [cases]," she added. 

Speaking during her annual summer press conference in Berlin, Merkel stressed that the “economy should be kept alive or brought back to life,” adding that Germany will “work with the European Parliament so that the recovery fund can be launched early next year.” 

The Chancellor’s comments come just a day after the introduction of tougher measures in Germany to curb the spread of coronavirus ahead of the autumn and winter season, including new travel regulations. 

“We can see that the number of infections has risen in recent weeks…we take this increase in the summer months very seriously,” Merkel said. 

8:12 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

France's Macron calls for more coordination on restrictions to prevent European "standstill"

From CNN's Fanny Bobille and Ivana Saric in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron waits outside Élysée Palace in Paris on August 26.
French President Emmanuel Macron waits outside Élysée Palace in Paris on August 26. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for greater coordination within the European Union on coronavirus restrictions and border regulations, asserting that it would be “absurd” to impose tougher border restrictions within the bloc.

“It makes no sense to close the borders between two countries when there are outbreaks of infection, areas of active circulation, which are well identified. There is a need for a common methodology to define these areas of active circulation, and to address them within each country,” Macron said Friday. 

In Europe we have millions of cross-border workers…it would be absurd to impose constraints because it hinders daily life, economic life."

Speaking during a televised address on Friday, the French President urged his European partners to focus on developing a unified approach which “allows Europe to not to be at a standstill” as a result of the pandemic.

“There is still progress to be made to improve coordination. Let's not repeat the mistakes of March in this regard, it is counterproductive and, above all, it is ineffective in the fight against the virus and its spread,” Macron said. 

7:47 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

All you need to know about Europe's outbreak

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Europe is grappling with a second coronavirus surge. Here's how it's playing out across the continent:  

Spain

The country recorded its highest number of cases since the lockdown lifted on Thursday, with 9,658 new infections. Fernando Simón, director of the country's Center for Health Emergencies, attempted to allay concerns, saying the "situation is completely different to the one we had in March or April." 

Simón explained that "in March, 12% of the cases died, now [it is] 0.4%." He added that "during the peak of the pandemic only 1.6% of the cases were asymptomatic," while in the past week, 56% showed no symptoms.

Extra measures have been put in place to bolster the school system, including mask mandates for all students over the age of six. Other new measures announced on Thursday includes a bubble system in schools, students having to disinfect their hands five times a day, and regular classroom sanitization. Some Spanish regions have placed a cap of 20 students per classroom.

France

A compulsory mask rule came into force in Paris and its suburbs on Friday, which means over 7 million Parisians will have to wear a face covering in public -- even when on a bike or scooter.

On Thursday, France saw the highest number of new cases since March 31 -- the peak of the epidemic -- with 6,111 new cases. Prime Minister Jean Castex also declared 21 "red zones" across the country, which refers to areas where the active cases have exceeded 50 per 100,000 people.

A face mask mandate began in the Paris region on Friday.
A face mask mandate began in the Paris region on Friday. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

UK

The UK continues to be hit by local outbreaks, with 75 positive cases in a poultry factory in Norfolk, eastern England. Hundreds of workers at the Banham poultry facility have been told to self-isolate as a result of the 22% infection rate. 

The UK removed the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from its travel corridor list on Thursday, in a bid to keep infections down. Yet cases are also rising in the country, which reported 1,522 new infections on Thursday, the highest number since June 12.

Italy

Italy is also observing an upward trend with 1,179 positive new cases reported on Thursday, the highest number since May 6, and five deaths.

Ireland

Some 93 new cases were recorded by Ireland's Health Protection Service Surveillance Center on Thursday. The Irish government remains watchful after a spike in cases during the last fortnight prompted a tightening of social distancing measures.

Germany

Germany recorded 1,507 cases on Thursday, according to the Robert Koch Institute, which noted the marked rise in cases in a number of federal states.

The institute also predicted that by early 2021 there will be a successful vaccine candidate ready for production. It noted, however, that there will not be enough initial doses available for the entire population.

7:53 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Deaths and cases double in a few weeks in Argentina

From CNN's Tim Lister

People protest the government's Covid-19 quarantine policies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Aug. 17, 2020.
People protest the government's Covid-19 quarantine policies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Aug. 17, 2020.

Argentina's coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of easing. According to figures from its health ministry, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases there has doubled since July 31, and its death toll has doubled since August 4.

On Thursday, 10,104 new cases were reported -- bringing the total of cases to 380,292. The health ministry also reported 106 deaths but, over the past week, the daily average of deaths has been over 200. 

Argentina has reported a total of 8,050 deaths, the majority recorded in the capital, Buenos Aires, and its surrounding province of the same name. The same applies to the number of cases recorded: 327,000 of the 380,000 cases identified so far are in Buenos Aires city and province. 

The government has extended lockdown measures in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. 

7:10 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Philippines reports nearly 4,000 new infections

From Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

The Philippines reported 3,999 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, according to data from its health department.

This brings the country's tally to 209,544 confirmed cases -- 71,745 of which are active cases, according to the health department.

There were 91 virus-related deaths recorded there on Friday, pushing the national death toll up to 3,325 since the outbreak began. More than 2.3 million coronavirus tests have been done in the country.

6:37 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Vaping ad tactics "exploited" the pandemic, study says

From CNN's Michael Nedelman and Lauren Mascarenhas

Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising collected more than 300 Covid-related ads from 21 e-cigarette brands and 41 online stores for its study
Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising collected more than 300 Covid-related ads from 21 e-cigarette brands and 41 online stores for its study

A free roll of toilet paper with your vape? How about hand sanitizer?

Vaping companies -- long criticized for marketing that appealed to kids and implied their products were less harmful than smoking -- are now under the microscope for seizing on the Covid-19 pandemic to sell their products.

Some have launched promotions offering free toilet paper, face masks or hand sanitizer with a qualifying purchase, according to a new paper published Thursday in the journal Tobacco Control.

"While we thought we'd seen it all, we never imagined that we'd see tobacco companies exploiting a global pandemic for marketing purposes," study author Dr. Robert Jackler told CNN in an exclusive interview.

What really surprised us was how many different ways they did it, and how many companies and brands engaged in the practice."

Jackler founded the group Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising, which has collected more than 300 Covid-related ads from 21 e-cigarette brands and 41 online stores.

In most sanitizer giveaways the researchers observed, the products came in the same bottles as e-liquids. In one case, a company described its sanitizer as "WHO recommended."

"They offer their hand sanitizer in the same little bottle," Jackler said. "You can very easily accidentally think that that's for use in vaping. You pour 70% alcohol in the vaporizer, breathe it in, can do some serious harm to your lungs."

Read more:

6:10 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Europe's migrant crisis is worsening during the pandemic. The reaction has been brutal

From CNN's Emma Reynolds in London

Migrants board the MS GNV Azzurra quarantine ship at the Italian island of Lampedusa on August 4.
Migrants board the MS GNV Azzurra quarantine ship at the Italian island of Lampedusa on August 4.

In a year of tragedies, Europe's shores are seeing some of the most horrifying scenes: bodies washing up on beaches as desperate families make hazardous journeys in search of a safe home.

Coronavirus has left countries such as Tunisia facing serious economic hardship and unemployment, while others, including Libya, are dealing with the effects of war. That's led to an increase in sea arrivals this year in countries including Italy and Malta, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Arrivals in southeastern Europe are also up on 2019, mostly from Syria, followed by Morocco and Iraq.

But European responses have often been brutal. Humanitarian organizations say pushbacks at borders in countries such as Greece, an absence of sea rescues in the Mediterranean and unhealthy quarantine arrangements have created huge challenges. And it comes at a time when movement is harder and more dangerous thanks to travel restrictions and the closure of transport routes and processing centers.

Last week, a man was found dead on Sangatte beach, near Calais in northern France. He and a friend had tried to cross the English Channel, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, in an inflatable dinghy with shovels for paddles. The friend said he was just 16, but French authorities said his papers belonged to a 28-year-old Sudanese migrant and an autopsy showed he was an adult. He couldn't swim, his companion said.

Read more:

5:34 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

British government says it is "safe to return to work" despite surging cases

From CNN's Nada Bashir in London

The UK government is telling people to go back to their workplaces, just a day after the country registered its highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in months. 

“Our central message is pretty straightforward: we’re saying to people it is now safe to return to work,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said during an interview on Friday. 

Your employer will have, or should have, carried out work to make your employment place Covid-secure."

Speaking to the BBC, the government minister asserted that the UK has “got the rate of infection down” and encouraged citizens to return to their offices. 

However, his comments come a day after the UK reported 1,522 new cases, and the highest daily increase in new infections since June 12.

According to government data, a further 12 deaths were recorded on Thursday, bringing the UK's official coronavirus death toll to 41,477.

5:07 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Germany announces tougher coronavirus measures amid continued rise in cases

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media following a virtual meeting with governors of Germany's 16 states at the Chancellery during the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, on August 27
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media following a virtual meeting with governors of Germany's 16 states at the Chancellery during the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, on August 27 Omer Messinger/Pool/Getty Images

Germany will introduce tougher measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country ahead of the autumn and winter season, including new travel regulations, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Thursday.

"We can see that the number of infections has risen in recent weeks … we take this increase in the summer months very seriously," Merkel said. 

Speaking during a news conference after a meeting with federal and state government leaders, Merkel added that Germany has ''come through this pandemic well" so far, but cautioned that new measures would be needed to tackle the rise in the infection rate.

The new restrictions include:

  • In most states, a fine of 50 euros ($59) for people who fail to wear face coverings in public spaces.
  • A ban on large-scale gatherings, including concerts and sporting events, has been extended until the end of the year.
  • Travelers have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel to high-risk areas.
  • Those returning from such areas will now be required to self-isolate for at least five days before being permitted to take a coronavirus test. 

Latest numbers: Confirmed Covid-19 cases have, over recent weeks, risen to levels not seen since the end of April in Germany. On Friday, the country's public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute, confirmed that at least 1,571 new infections had been recorded, bringing the total to 239,507 cases and 9,288 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.

Concerns over the spike in cases have also led authorities in Berlin to ban a protest planned to take place this weekend against the German government's coronavirus restrictions, citing concerns over hygiene regulations; organizers, however, say they will continue to demonstrate, in defiance of the ban.