Europe has passed a total of 10m cases, with nearly a quarter of a million cases being diagnosed each day, compared with around 15,000 at the start of July. France has begun a month-long lockdown, Belgium will adopt tighter restrictions from Monday, clashes in Barcelona erupted over Spanish Covid restrictions and England is expected to announce a national lockdown next week.
In Australia, Victoria – which this week emerged from one of the world’s longest lockdowns in the state’s capital, Melbourne – has recorded just one case and no new deaths. Neighbouring New South Wales has recorded four new cases, three of them in hotel quarantine. It comes amid an ongoing row over borders remaining shut in some states.
The other main developments include:
- England is expected to go into national lockdown from early next week, with the prime minister, Boris Johnson, set to bow to pressure from his scientific advisers to impose tighter restrictions. On Friday the UK has reported 274 more deaths and 24,405 new cases.
- The US has passed 9m coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. The figure stands at 9,007,298, the highest in the world, followed by India with 8,088,851 and Brazil with 5,494,376.
- France has reported 49,215 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared with 47,637 on Thursday. The total number of infections rose to 1,331,984 while the death tally went up by 256 over 24 hours to 36,565.
- Coronavirus infections in Italy rose by 31,084 on Friday, a jump of over 4,000 in a day, while 199 more fatalities were recorded. Hospital admissions increased by over 1,000 in a day, bringing the total across the country to 16,994, of which 1,746 are in intensive care.
- Canada needs to adopt a stronger response now to tackle a second wave of the coronavirus that has already killed more than 10,000 people and is growing worse, health authorities have said according to Reuters.
- Australia’s political fight over border restrictions is continuing, with the state of Queensland under pressure for continuing to bar entry to people from Greater Sydney. The state of Victoria has recorded one new case, as Melbourne residents enjoy their first weekend since the end of one of the world’s longest lockdowns.
- Belgium will impose tighter lockdown rules from Monday, closing non-essential businesses and restricting household visits. Households will only be allowed to receive one visitor, half-term holidays for schools will be extended to 15 November and those who can adapt their jobs to work from home will be asked to do so.
- Germany has set a new record for new daily coronavirus cases, reporting 19,059 infections. This breaks Germany’s previous highest daily increase of 18,681, set the day before.
- Anti-mask protesters were arrested in Melbourne on Saturday, as the state of Victoria - which has eased out of a more than 100 day lockdown in recent days - recorded no new Covid-19 cases. The state of New South Wales recorded four new cases of coronavirus, one of which was transmitted locally.
- Ukraine also registered a daily Covid-19 record, recording 8,752 new cases, up from the 8,312 new cases announced on Friday.
National lockdown expected in EnglandThe United Kingdom government is expected to announce a national lockdown across England next week.
The Guardian has been told the prime minister, Boris Johnson, has bowed to pressure from his scientific advisers for new national lockdown restrictions.
They are expected to be announced early next week.
Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Chris Whitty, who head the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), are understood to have warned the prime minister that the time has come for national action across England.
Sage scientists presented Johnson with evidence at a meeting in Downing Street, where they explained that Covid-19 is spreading significantly faster than their worst-case scenarios.
Read the full story here .
Europe passes 10m casesEurope has listed more than 10 million cases to date since the virus first appeared according to latest health authority data analysed by AFP.
In terms of cases, the continent lags Latin America and the Caribbean (11.2 million) and Asia (10.5 million).
In terms of deaths Europe’s tally of some 275,000 puts it second only to about 399,000 for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Australia's state borders slowly open upAustralia’s political fight over Covid-19 border closures is continuing despite moves from some states to ease their restrictions.
Facing pressure from other states and industry, the premiers of Western Australia and Queensland have now both announced they would relax tough border rules preventing residents of other states entering in the coming days.
But business and political leaders have hit out at Queensland’s decision to continue a hard border with the greater Sydney area, despite minimal community transmission in the city.
Alan Joyce, the chief executive of Qantas, labelled the decision “ridiculous”.
“Keeping the doors bolted to places you can’t reasonably call hotspots makes no sense from a health perspective and it’s doing a lot of social and economic damage as well,” he said.
All states continue to keep their borders closed to Victoria, where authorities have just confirmed one new case was recorded in the past 24 hours.
The 14-day rolling average in Melbourne, which just came out of one of the world’s longest lockdowns, is now 2.4. There are only two cases that haven’t been linked to a known outbreak over the past two weeks.
In New South Wales, education authorities will close Sydney’s Cabramatta High School after a student returned a positive test.
Queensland will reopen to regional NSW from Tuesday, while Western Australia has confirmed it will ease hard border restrictions for all states on 14 November.
Melbourne enjoys first post-lockdown weekendResidents in the Australian city of Melbourne are easing in to their first weekend since the end of one of the world’s longest lockdowns.
Victoria recorded one new case over the past 24 hours, although authorities described the infection as a “low positive”.
Eased restrictions for the city of 5 million mean locals can now dine at cafes and restaurants, or grab a drink at bars and pubs.
However, strict patron limits remain in place and venues have been encouraged to seat customers outside.
Retailers are also open once again, and residents may now invite two adults from the same household into their homes.
The restrictions were eased on Wednesday, with some venues opening their doors to customers from just past the stroke of midnight .
France reports 49,000 casesFrance reported 49,215 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours on Friday, compared with 47,637 on Thursday.
The total number of infections rose to 1,331,984. The death tally went up by 256 over 24 hours to 36,565.
Stricter lockdown rules come into effect at midnight. People will only be able to leave their own homes for certain essential purposes, as the country tries to put the brakes on a Covid-19 outbreak that the president, Emmanuel Macron, said risked accelerating out of control. More details here .
Belgium to tighten restrictionsBelgium will impose tighter lockdown rules from Monday, closing non-essential businesses and restricting household visits.
“These are last-chance measures if we want to get the figures down,” said prime pinister Alexander de Croo, warning that the new rules would stay in place for at least a month and a half.
Households will only be allowed to receive one visitor, half-term holidays for schools will be extended to 15 November and those who can adapt their jobs to work from home will be asked to do so.
“It’s a lockdown, but a lockdown that allows factories to operate, that will allow schools to open cautiously, and that will not plunge people into isolation,” said health minister Frank Vandenbroucke.
Belgium, with 11.5 million inhabitants, has the most Covid-19 cases per capita in the world and has as many hospital cases now as at the peak of the pandemic’s first wave in April.
There were 6,187 patients in hospital on Friday, 1,057 of them in intensive care. Over the last week Belgium has recorded more than 100,000 new infections – more than 15,000 per day on average.
Spain sees protests over Barcelona lockdownProtesters in Spain who deny the existence of Covid-19 and object to restrictions to curb the pandemic’s spread clashed with police in Barcelona on Friday.
About 50 demonstrators threw bricks and fireworks at police and set fire to rubbish containers in the centre of Spain’s second largest city, police said, according to Reuters.
Police repelled the protesters with their batons but did not charge, a spokesman for the Mossos d’Escuadra, the Catalan regional police, said.
One person was injured after being hit on the head by a brick. Two people were arrested.
Earlier, about 700 people staged a peaceful demonstration through one of the city’s main streets.
It follows similar disturbances sparked by those who deny the existence of the pandemic in Bilbao, in Spain, on Thursday and in cities across Italy on Monday.
Spain, one of the hardest-hit countries by Covid-19, imposed a state of emergency this week to try halt the rise of coronavirus infections.
Like other European countries, Spain has resorted to increasingly drastic measures to curb infections, although less stringent than in Germany or France .
China reports 33 new casesMainland China reported 33 new Covid-19 cases on 30 October, up from 25 a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 27 were imported infections originating from overseas, reports Reuters.
The National Health Commission said in a statement that six local infections were reported in the western region of Xinjiang.
The commission also reported 38 new asymptomatic cases, down from 53 a day earlier. China does not count symptomless patients as confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Colombia records 10,000 new cases, 209 deathsColombia has recorded more than 10,000 new cases, as it surpassed more than 31,000 deaths.
The country reported 10,029 new cases and 209 deaths in the past 24 hours, according the country’s ministry of health.
It takes the death toll to 31,135, while there have now been 1,063,151 infections since the start of the pandemic.
US reports 94,000 cases as Trump downplays pandemicThe United States saw a record number of new coronavirus infections for the second day running Friday, with more than 94,000 cases reported just days before voters decide if Donald Trump should remain in the White House.
AFP reports that the skyrocketing caseload helped push the US tally past 9 million cases reported since the pandemic began, while Europe topped 10 million and France entered a new lockdown.
The increasingly resurgent pandemic is forcing other countries to consider following suit – but Trump has vowed the US will not be among them if he wins a second term on Tuesday.
The US set a daily record for new infections Friday, charting more than 94,000 in 24 hours according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University – just one day after the previous high of 91,000.
Hospitals across the country were bracing as cases soar in nearly every state and winter flu season looms.
But on the campaign trail Trump, who says the virus will “disappear”, remained defiant.
“We just want normal,” he told supporters – many of them unmasked – at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life.
He again bucked his own administration’s health experts and dismissed the more than 229,000 Americans who have already died of Covid-19, saying: “If you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.”
Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who has sought to turn the 3 November election into a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, has accused his Republican rival of surrendering to the virus.
“It is as severe an indictment of a president’s record as one can possibly imagine, and it is utterly disqualifying,” he said in a statement Friday.
Virus fears have also hit Wall Street, which suffered its worst week and month since March on Friday with another losing session as markets gird for the election.
Indonesia reports 3,143 new cases
Indonesia reported 3,143 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, taking the country’s total to 410,088, according to the health ministry website.
There were also 87 new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 13,869, Reuters reports.
Indonesia has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in south-east Asia, but infection rates are comparatively low at 1,494 cases per million people, according to a tally kept by the Worldometers website.
Fifth day of record infections in PolandPoland reported a record number of coronavirus infections for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday, with 21,897 new cases, as major protests continued after an abortion ruling last week.
The health ministry said that as of Saturday, Covid-19 patients were occupying 16,144 hospital beds and using 1,305 ventilators, compared with 15,444 and 1,254 respectively a day earlier.
The country of 38 million has reported a total of 362,731 coronavirus infections - 9,588 per million people - and 5,631 deaths.
The latests figures come amid mass protests against a ruling by the constitutional tribunal last week that amounts to a near-total ban on abortion in the predominantly Catholic country Reuters reports.
The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has warned that the protests will lead to big jump in new coronavirus cases, but some immunologists say most protesters have been wearing face masks, keeping distance and were out in the open, which reduces the risk of infection.
“Perhaps the governmemt would focus on purchasing tests and stop shifting the blame for its incompetence,” Klementyna Suchanow, a Polish writer and activist from Strajk Kobiet or Women’s Strike, the organiser of the protests, said on Friday.
US breaks world record for daily new infectionsThe United States has set a new all-time, global high for coronavirus cases recorded in a single 24-hour period, with just over 100,000 new infections on Friday eclipsing its previous record of 91,000 the day before.
The daily caseload of 100,233 - according to a Reuters tally - is a world record for the global pandemic, surpassing the 97,894 cases reported by India on a single day in September.
Five times over past ten days, the United States has exceeded its previous single-day record of 77,299 cases registered in July. The number of daily infections reported during past two days indicates that the nation is now reporting more than one new case every second.
Despite its record breaking overall figure, the US has a rate of about 28,100 cases per million population, which places it about 14th in the world for prevalence.
The spike comes just four days ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 230,000 people in the United States, has dominated the final stretch of the campaign.