A quick wrap of the latest developments:
- US president-elect Joe Biden said he will appoint a team of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to start work immediately on a Covid response plan “built on a bedrock of science” for as soon as he’s inaugurated.
- In Australia the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has announced the further easing of Covid restrictions over regional parts of the state after it recorded no new coronavirus cases for the ninth consecutive day on Sunday.
- New South Wales reported zero new local cases but is still investigating an emerging cluster in the Southern Highlands region, south of Sydney.
- Weekly figures for England show the central NHS test and trace system is reaching just under 60% of the close contacts of people testing positive, the lowest since the service began.
- Hospitals in Greater Manchester have suspended non-urgent appointments and surgery following a surge in the number of Covid patients being treated.
- 413 people with coronavirus have died across the UK in the last 24 hours, up from 355 the previous day, government figures show. It brings the overall UK death toll to 48,888.
- In France, the total number of deaths from coronavirus has exceeded 40,000 for the first time, the health ministry announced. Deaths from the virus reached 40,169.
- India reported 50,356 new Covid-19 infections in the past day, as cases in New Delhi surpassed 7,000 on Saturday.
- Papua New Guinea has reported a second case in New Ireland province, bringing the total number to 599. However testing has been minimal and the infection rate is expected to be much higher than 599, with cases reported in 15 of the 20 provinces.
- Italy approved a new aid package to cushion the blow to its economy from the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic. The measures agreed by cabinet overnight are worth €2.9bn (£2.6bn), according to a report by Reuters.
- The US confirmed 126,480 new coronavirus cases on Friday. It is the third day in a row that the US has reported a record-breaking number of Covid-19 cases.
- Polls opened in Myanmar this morning for a vote expected to return to power the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, in an election which went ahead despite virus fears.
- Scientists have warned that several hundred thousand extra deaths from tuberculosis are likely to occur this year as a result of Covid-19’s effect on global health services.
- Thousands of people in Leipzig, Germany, have demonstrated against coronavirus restrictions. The demonstration came as Germany finished its first week of a “lockdown light” with new restrictions to try and slow rising coronavirus cases.
- Travel to UK from Denmark has been banned amid worries over Covid in mink.
Portugal to impose curfewsReuters: Portugal will impose localised night-time curfews from Monday to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases reached a record high, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced in the early hours of Sunday.
The overnight curfew, from 11pm to 6am, will come into force across 121 of the country’s 308 municipalities, including Lisbon and Porto, on Monday as the country enters a 15-day state of emergency.
Costa also announced people will not be able to leave their homes between 1pm and 5am during the next two weekends - on both Saturday and Sunday. Some commercial outlets will close during these times, he said.
Russia reports 20,498 new coronavirus casesRussia reported 20,498 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, slightly below a record high it recorded on Friday, and 286 coronavirus-related deaths. This brings the national tally to 1,774,334 cases of infection and takes the official death toll to 30,537.
I’ll be looking after the global coronavirus liveblog today, my thanks to Helen Davidson for her sterling work from Australia. Please do get in touch from where you are. I’m on email@example.com and @lexytopping on Twitter. My DMs are open.
Biden to appoint Covid expert advisors on MondayIn his victory speech just now, the US president-elect Joe Biden has said he will - on Monday - be appointing a team of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to start work immediately on the Biden-Harris administration Covid response, and convert it to “an action blueprint” to start as soon as he takes office.[/h3]
The US has posted record case numbers for three consecutive days and is the worst hit nation in the world.That plan will be built on bedrock science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort, none. Or any commitments to turn around this pandemic.”
Third world war a risk in wake of pandemic, says UK defence chiefPA: The economic fallout during the coronavirus pandemic has made the prospect of a third world war “a risk”, the UK’s most senior military commander has said .
General Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the defence staff made the comments when asked by Sky News in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday whether he feared the global economic crisis brought on by coronavirus could lead to war.
He told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme there was a worry that the increase in regional conflicts playing out across the world could ramp up into “a full-blown war”, mirroring the run-up to the two world wars in the 20th century when a series of alliances between countries led to years of bloodshed.
The senior official argued that, with the world being “a very uncertain and anxious place” during the pandemic, there was the possibility “you could see escalation lead to miscalculation”.
“We have to remember that history might not repeat itself but it has a rhythm and if you look back at the last century, before both world wars, I think it was unarguable that there was escalation which led to the miscalculation which ultimately led to war at a scale we would hopefully never see again,” said Carter.
Asked whether he was saying there was a “real threat” of a third world war, he replied: “I’m saying it’s a risk and we need to be conscious of those risks
2,442 new coronavirus cases reported in the PhilippinesThe Philippines reported 2,442 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, its biggest daily increase since Oct. 19, taking the total to 396,395, its health ministry said.
The Department of Health also reported 54 more coronavirus-related deaths, taking the official death toll to 7,539.
Germany records 16,017 casesThe number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 16,017 to 658,505, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 63 to 11,289.
Covid set to cause 400,000 surge in TB deaths as medics divertedRobin McKie - The Guardian
Scientists have warned that several hundred thousand extra deaths from tuberculosis are likely to occur this year as a result of Covid-19’s effect on global health services.
In many countries – including South Africa, India and Indonesia – doctors and health workers have been shifted from tracking TB cases to tracing people infected with Covid-19. Equipment and budgets have also been reassigned, an investigation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed.
As a result, millions of TB diagnoses have been missed, and according to the WHO this is likely to result in 200,000 to 400,000 excess deaths from the disease this year alone, with a further million new cases occurring every year after that for the next five years.
“This is just one example of the very difficult choices that had to be taken to contain Covid-19,” said Thomas Kenyon, chief health officer of Project Hope, the humanitarian NGO. “It was obviously crucial that we tackle the pandemic but we cannot forget that we have other killers in our midst. We are going to have to be innovative in addressing them.”
Marcus Rashford ‘overwhelmed’ as government pledges £170m to help familiesThe footballer Marcus Rashford has described being “overwhelmed with pride” at the progress of his campaign to fight child food poverty as ministers announced a £170m winter grant scheme aimed at helping low-income families struggling as a result of Covid-19.
Rashford said he had talked with Boris Johnson after his Manchester United team played Everton on Saturday, and was told of the latest plans. While he said many of the campaign’s objectives had yet to be met, he was proud and grateful for the positive steps taken.
“Following the game today, I had a good conversation with the prime minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK,” the England striker said.
“There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough. But the intent the government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that. The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months.”
Ministers had faced fierce criticism for refusing to extend free school meals to children from low-income families during the half-term holiday, as demanded by Rashford.