Coronavirus update: Pandemic sees off KFC’s famous advertising slogan

Kentucky Fried Chicken is temporarily suspending its long-time advertising slogan “it’s finger lickin’ good”, calling it inappropriate in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile two European patients were confirmed to have been reinfected with the coronavirus, according to regional public broadcasters, raising concerns about immunity.

This story will be updated throughout Wednesday.

Wednesday’s key moments:

KFC says hold off on the “Finger Lickin”

Kentucky Fried Chicken is temporarily suspending its long-time advertising slogan “it’s finger lickin’ good”, calling it inappropriate in the current COVID-19 pandemic where personal hygiene has become top priority to stem transmission.

In an era when face masks and hand-washing have become the norm and health officials are recommending people to stop touching their faces, KFC said the slogan “doesn’t feel quite right”.

The slogan, used on and off by the Yum Brands owned chain for 64 years, will be paused in advertising around the globe from this week, the company said.

The restaurant chain unveiled a short video clip on its KFC UK and Ireland YouTube channel on Monday, showing various KFC chicken buckets with the “Finger Lickin'” words blurred out from its captions.

The ad then ends with the tagline “That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now”.

The move comes after the chain pulled down one of its advertisements in the UK featuring the catchphrase, which showed people licking their own fingers as well as those of their companions after eating its chicken.

Gaza in lockdown to try to contain its first COVID-19 outbreak

A Palestinian Hamas policeman wears a face mask as he guards in a street in Gaza City.
Four cases of coronavirus were confirmed in a single family in a refugee camp, a government spokesperson said.(AP: Khalil Hamra)

A lockdown took hold in Gaza after confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 in the general population of the Palestinian enclave, whose restricted borders have spared it from wide infection.

Health authorities in the Hamas Islamist-run territory of two million people are concerned over the potentially disastrous combination of poverty, densely populated refugee camps and limited hospital facilities in dealing with an outbreak.

A government spokesperson said four cases of coronavirus were confirmed in a single family in a refugee camp, the first in Gaza that did not involve people quarantined in border facilities after crossing into the coastal enclave from Egypt and Israel.

Citing security concerns, both Egypt and Israel maintain tight restrictions at the Gaza frontier, leaving Gazans with little access to the outside world for years and hospitals often complaining of shortages in medical supplies.

With businesses, schools and mosques ordered closed for at least 48 hours, Gaza’s streets were largely deserted but some people scrambled to buy essentials in groceries and bakeries.

The health crisis comes amid heightened tensions fuelled by the launching of sporadic rocket attacks and incendiary balloons at Israel, which has responded with air strikes against Hamas positions.

Gaza’s health ministry said the four COVID-19 cases were uncovered after a woman travelled to the West Bank, where she tested positive.

The ministry said there have been 110 cases of coronavirus inside border quarantine facilities and one death since the pandemic began.

Last month, the Gaza director of the World Health Organization, Abdelnaser Soboh, said the territory’s health system could only deal with 500 positive cases at one time.

Two European patients reinfected with coronavirus

Two European patients are confirmed to have been reinfected with the coronavirus, according to regional public broadcasters, raising concerns about immunity.

The news follows a report this week by researchers in Hong Kong about a man there who had been reinfected four and a half months after recovering.

Broadcasters said on Tuesday (local time) that a patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium had been reinfected with the virus.

Dutch broadcaster NOS cited virologist Marion Koopmans as saying the patient in the Netherlands was an older person with a weakened immune system.

“That someone would pop up with a reinfection, it doesn’t make me nervous,” she said.

“We have to see whether it happens often.”

India’s new cases top global tally for 18th straight day

Woman with dark hair wearing mask walking through market
Infections in India have risen by another 1.5 million since the start of August.(AP: Channi Anand)

India reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases globally for the 18th straight day.

It took India from the end of January, when the country’s first case was reported, until July to reach around 1.6 million cases, a period when the Government imposed a strict lockdown.

However, infections have risen by another 1.5 million since the start of August, taking the total of cases to around 3.1 million, behind only Brazil and the United States.

The rate of new cases in India is increasing rapidly, climbing by 60,975 in the latest 24-hour period, according to the Federal Health Ministry.

But deaths have remained comparatively low at 58,390, or 1.84 per cent of total cases, lower than the global mortality percentage of 3.4 per cent.

India reported its first COVID-19 fatality in mid-March, with the death toll rising to around 35,700 by the end of July.

In August so far, around 22,600 deaths have been recorded. Deaths are considered a lagging indicator, given the two-week incubation period of the disease.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government said it is reassured by the high recovery rate of around 75 per cent of the total 3.1 million cases, according to data from the federal health ministry.

Spain ready to send in troops to tackle coronavirus resurgence

Member of Military Emergency Unit walk with special equipment to disinfect areas
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said an initial 2,000 troops would be made available to help in Spain’s latest battle with coronavirus.(AP: Alvaro Barrientos)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said troops will be made available to help regions overcome a resurgence of coronavirus.

He also said regional administrations could make decisions themselves on how to handle the fight against the epidemic rather than have the central government take charge.

“The pandemic data curve is worrying and has to be contained. We have to be calm and vigilant,” Mr Sanchez said, adding that an initial 2,000 troops would be made available to help.

“The army’s specific training in early detection and epidemiological tracking includes procedures for identifying risk factors and contact tracing.”

Spain’s cumulative tally of coronavirus cases — already Western Europe’s highest — hit 405,436 after a surge last week, which was the worst week for infections since the epidemic’s peak in late March, Health Ministry figures show.

Infections have risen sharply since Spain lifted a three-month state of emergency and lockdown in late June, but daily deaths have been much lower than in March-May.

Spain’s total death toll stands at 28,872.

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