From The Guardian
Summary of what we have learned so far today:
- The Australian state of Victoria has recorded seven new cases of Covid-19, and no new deaths. There are fewer than 100 active cases in the state for the first time since late June, as Victoria seeks to contain an outbreak in the northern suburbs of Melbourne before more restrictions ease.
- Mexico’s health ministry reported on Friday 6,604 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 418 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 880,775 and the death toll to 88,312.
- The United States broke its daily record for new coronavirus infections on Friday as it reported at least 83,948 new cases due to outbreaks in virtually every part of the country.
- Germany has reached 10,000 deaths from Covid-19. The country has reported 14,714 new cases of Covid-19 overnight, and an additional 49 deaths.It takes the country’s totals to 418,005 cases and 10,003 deaths.
European Union fights second waveThe AFP has provided this wrap of the current Covid-19 situation in Europe:
The European Union’s disease control agency has joined frantic health workers to sound the alarm over a coronavirus surge across the continent, as the World Health Organization warned of an “exponential” rise in infections.
Even countries that avoided severe outbreaks during Europe’s first wave of contagion in the spring have watched their case numbers surge, with Germany’s death toll passing 10,000 on Saturday.
Governments have reintroduced containment measures to slow the renewed spread of the virus in nations that only weeks earlier believed they had triumphed over the crisis.
But populations weary of social isolation and economic hardship have pushed back against fresh restrictions, including overnight clashes in Italy’s hard-hit Naples between police and hundreds of protesters.
After Spain became the first European country to officially record a million Covid-19 cases earlier in the week, the prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, said on Friday the real number of infections was likely more than triple that number.
France followed Spain past the million-case milestone on Friday while Germany hit a fresh daily record of nearly 15,000 new cases, with health authorities urging the public to follow social distancing measures.
Urgent new restrictions on daily life have come into effect in several nations, with France extending a curfew to cover 46 million people.
Wales entered a full lockdown on Friday evening, a day after Ireland shut down, while Poland adopted a nationwide “red zone” lockdown mandating the partial closure of primary schools and restaurants.
Only Sweden, which famously refused to lock down earlier this year, continued to stick to its guns despite a rise in cases.
Belgium has seen one of Europe’s deadliest per capita outbreaks and has found itself suffering some of the highest second-wave infection rates in Europe.
“We’re losing. We’re overwhelmed. We’re bitter,” said Benoit Misset, the head of the intensive care unit at the University hospital in the city of Liege, where several of his staff are having to work despite being positive – if asymptomatic – themselves.
Thailand records another locally transmitted caseThailand reported one more locally transmitted case of the coronavirus on Saturday, after confirming five domestic infections last week.
The new patient is a 57-year-old French woman in the southern province of Surat Thani who tested positive for the virus a few days after she had completed a 14-day quarantine, the country’s coronavirus taskforce said.
The patient’s husband and child tested negative, health officials said.
Earlier in the week five people in the town of Mae Sot, on the border with Myanmar, tested positive, and in September a prison inmate in the Bangkok area tested positive.
Before these six cases, Thailand reported its first confirmed local transmission in more than 100 days on 3 September. In total, Thailand has reported 3,731 cases of the virus and 59 deaths.
South Yorkshire moves to tier 3 restrictionsMore than a million people in South Yorkshire are now living under the strictest coronavirus rules in England after the region moved into the tier 3 controls as health officials battle to stem the spread of the disease.
The region joined Liverpool city region, greater Manchester and Lancashire on the highest alert level for England with the new rules kicking in on Saturday at 12.01am.
Meanwhile, talks were continuing between the government and local leaders in Nottinghamshire, with parts of the county expected to enter tier 3 on Wednesday. And the council in Warrington in Cheshire – where many residents commute to Manchester and Liverpool – has confirmed that it will be moving to tier 3 on Thursday.
It means households will be banned from mixing except in parks and other open spaces while pubs and bars will have to close unless they serve meals.
Three more areas – Coventry, Stoke and Slough – have now also moved into tier 2, the second highest alert level.
It came as Wales began a two-week national “firebreak” at 6pm on Friday evening with a return to the “stay at home” message of the initial lockdown in March. In Scotland, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has set out a five-tier series of controls that will come into force on 2 November if they are approved next week by the Holyrood parliament.
In England, ministers have said they hope the latest measures will suppress the virus sufficiently to enable families to spend Christmas together.
President of Poland tests positive to Covid-19Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, has tested positive for coronavirus but is feeling good, the presidential minister Blazej Spychalski announced on Saturday.
“The president yesterday was tested for the presence of coronavirus. The result turned out to be positive. The president is fine. We are in constant contact with the relevant medical services,” Spychalski said on Twitter.
Duda’s infection comes as the country faces a surge in the Covid-19 epidemic, with new infections hitting a daily record of more than 13,600 on Friday.
Duda, 48, holds a mainly ceremonial role, but has the power to veto legislation. He is an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party.
From Saturday, more restrictions to curb the spread of the virus are due to come into force in Poland, including a two-week shutdown of restaurants and bars.
The health ministry reported 153 coronavirus deaths on Friday, taking the total toll to 4,172.
Highest ever daily Covid-19 tally for Czech RepublicThe Czech Republic recorded 15,252 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the country’s highest ever daily increase.
It also recorded 126 deaths overnight, bringing the death toll to 1,971.
The Czech Republic managed to escape the first wave of Covid-19 relatively unscathed, with case numbers rarely rising above 200 a day prior to September, but has been hit extremely hard as Europe battles a resurgence in the virus.
Western Australia has reported four new cases of Covid-19 overnight.
The positive cases – all males aged between 30 and 57 – returned to Perth from overseas. They are all in hotel quarantine, and none are in hospital.
Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by the prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, the palace said on Saturday, after sources told Reuters the PM had asked the king to declare a state of emergency.
Muhyiddin met with the king on Friday to present the emergency proposal that includes a suspension of parliament, sources said – a move the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, denounced as an attempt by the PM to cling to power amid a power struggle.
The proposal comes as Malaysia sees a resurgence in coronavirus cases and as Muhyiddin faces a leadership challenge from Anwar, who last month said he had majority support in parliament to oust the PM.
The palace did not identify the recommendations made by Muhyiddin, and said the king would soon hold the consultation with other Malay rulers.
“Al-Sultan Abdullah greatly understands the need for the country’s administration to continue to tackle the threat of Covid-19,” the palace said in a statement. The Council of Rulers, which groups the heads of Malaysia’s nine royal houses, has the power to withhold consent from any law and deliberate on questions of national policy.
A source familiar with the matter said the rulers would meet on Sunday.
Muhyiddin’s office has not commented on the emergency proposal.
The government is scheduled to propose its 2021 budget on 6 November, and there have been questions over whether it can muster a majority in parliament for that. Defeat on the budget would count as a vote of no-confidence in Muhyiddin and could trigger an election. Emergency rule might mean the budget would not be put to a vote at that time.
South Korea has reported 77 new cases of Covid-19, AP reports, mostly from the greater capital area where officials are scrambling to stem transmissions at hospitals and nursing homes.
Russia has reported 16,521 new coronavirus cases and 296 deaths in the past 24 hours, up from 17,340 new cases and 283 deaths the previous day.
The Czech Republic reported 15,252 new cases for 23 October, the highest daily tally. Deaths rose by 126 to 1,971.