International update: Global Covid cases approach 38 million – infections at record levels

13th October 2020 (Last Updated October 13th, 2020 09:55)

13 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,080,840 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 37.8 million world wide.

In the week through October 11, countries reported a record 2.2 million new cases and 39,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Europe had the largest increase in infections, rising 34%, while deaths in Africa rose 27%. The US. had the largest increase in newly reported cases since early August, at 327,000. Spain had a 24% drop.

Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries not to pursue “herd immunity.” “Herd immunities are achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said. “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It’s scientifically and ethically problematic.”

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 7.8 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 215,086 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US President Donald Trump has tested negative for Covid-19 and he is not infectious to others, the White House physician said on Monday. In a memo released by the White House, Dr Sean Conley said Trump had tested negative on consecutive days using an Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW antigen card.

As Donald Trump declared himself “immune” at his Florida rally, a new case study published in The Lancet revealed a 25-year-old man in Nevada was infected with coronavirus twice this year. This is the first confirmed case of reinfection in the US.

India: India total infections of more than 7.17 million. While the daily rate of cases appears to be slowing, India is expected to surpass the US as the worst hit nation in the world by as early as next month. The country’s death toll rose to 109,856.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded its 18th consecutive day of no new cases of Covid-19 spread in the community, health officials said on Tuesday. One imported case was reported on Tuesday, in a traveller who had entered New Zealand from the United States on 8 October.

France: France reported a three-month high in ICU patients. Health authorities said the number of people treated in intensive care units for Covid-19 surpassed the 1,500 threshold on Monday, for the first time since 27 May, raising fears of local lockdowns in the country.

In France, prime minister Jean Castex has urged people to limit gatherings in their homes but said he “cannot regulate” them. He added that the battle against the virus will last “several months more, I think”.

South Korea: South Korea reported 102 new coronavirus cases as of Monday midnight, marking a triple-digit increase in six days, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Tuesday.

Iran: For the second day in a row, Iran has announced the highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus, with 272 new victims, as well as its single-day highest count of new cases, with 4,206.

China: the city of Qingdao in eastern Shandong province announced plans to test each of its 9 million residents, after six new cases emerged linked to a hospital treating infections in returning international travellers.

Vaccine news

Global: China’s joining of a global push to make coronavirus vaccines accessible for developing nations brings to 180 the number countries participating in the World Health Organization-backed initiative – representing 90% of the global population, Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said Monday. While the US hasn’t joined the $18 billion effort, called Covax, the breadth of participants is encouraging, Swaminathan said.

US: Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it has temporarily paused its Covid-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study. The participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by an independent data and safety monitoring board as well as the company’s clinical and safety physicians, it said in a statement.

China: Units of China National Pharmaceutical Group, known as Sinopharm, rose on a report that inoculation by its coronavirus vaccines is available through appointments in Beijing and Wuhan. The company will administer two vaccines being developed by subsidiary China National Biotec Group, local news outlet Jiemian reported, citing unidentified sources.

Lockdown updates

Czech Republic: The Czech government will order bars, restaurants and clubs to close from Wednesday until 3 November and shift most schools to distance learning as it puts new measures in place to curb the fast spread of Covid-19 cases in the country. Public gatherings will also be limited to six people, alcohol consumption in public spaces will be banned, and masks will be required at public transport stops.

UK: The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, set out a new, three-tiered system for Covid restrictions to “simplify and standardise” rules in England. The city region of Liverpool was immediately put into the “very high” category, with pubs and bars closed and almost all household mixing banned.

Malaysia: Announced that it will impose some restrictions on movement in its capital city and in the neighbouring state of Selangor from Wednesday, as the country grapples with a fresh surge of cases.

Singapore: Travellers to Singapore from Hong Kong will have their quarantine requirement cut from 14 days to a seven day stay-home notice, as Hong Kong joins the list of places where the virus is deemed to be “well under control and the risk of importation is low.”

Economy updates

Global: Oil demand will take years to recover from the pandemic and will peak at a lower level, the International Energy Agency said. After an unprecedented 8% drop this year, global oil consumption will return to pre-crisis levels in 2023, if Covid-19 is brought under control next year, the agency said.

US: The Covid-19 pandemic will exact a $16 trillion toll on the US, about four times the cost of the Great Recession, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and fellow Harvard University economist David Cutler wrote in an essay published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Spain: In Spain, the government agreed protocols to establish travel corridors between European states and the Canary and Balearic Islands, both of which rely heavily on tourism and have been hit hard by the Covid crisis. Unemployment in the Balearics has risen by 90% since last year as a result of coronavirus.

China: Underscoring the country’s continued recovery from its pandemic-induced economic slump, deliveries of sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehicles rose 7.4% in September from a year earlier to 1.94 million units, according to the China Passenger Car Association. A third straight monthly rise in contrast with weakness in the US and Europe.