International update: Global Covid infections pass 55.6 million – US death toll nears quarter million

18th November 2020 (Last Updated November 18th, 2020 11:18)

18 November

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed 55.6 million, meanwhile, the global coronavirus death toll exceeds 1.33 million according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US: US Covid-19 infections have passed 11.3 million. The US coronavirus death toll is 248,687 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in New York have topped 2,000 the highest since early June, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. Cases continued to increase in hot spot areas of the state including Queens, Brooklyn, Rockland and Westchester counties, Western New York, the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and counties that border Pennsylvania.

Republican senator Chuck Grassley, 87, of Iowa has tested positive for Covid-19.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is imposing a curfew starting at 10 pm on 19 November, clamping down on retail establishments in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the state. The curfew will run from 10 pm to 5 am. each day for 21 days, the Republican governor announced Tuesday in one of his regularly scheduled briefings.

Top US virus scientist Anthony Fauci hails a Moderna vaccine found to be nearly 95% effective in a trial as “stunningly impressive”, saying it validates experimental mRNA technology that some had doubted.

Spain: Spain recorded 435 new Covid deaths on Tuesday, the highest daily toll seen so far in the country’s second wave of the coronavirus. Its total number of cases has now passed the 1.5 million mark and stands at 1,510,023.

UK: In the UK, 598 people died on Tuesday within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK total to 52,745. This represents the highest daily increase since 12 May.

British Airways is to launch a voluntary coronavirus test for passengers travelling to the UK from three American airports. The airline said it will trial a testing regime, which will involve hundreds of travellers on particular routes from the US to Heathrow.

Brazil:  A Brazilian politician died of Covid-19 just hours after being elected, Edilson Filgueira won the race to become the next mayor of Itaguaru, a small town in the midwestern state of Goiás, during Brazil’s municipal elections on Sunday. But less than 24 hours later the 60-year-old politician was dead.

 Italy: Italy has registered 32,191 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday, up from 27,354 the day before. The ministry also reported 731 Covid 19-related deaths, up from 504 the previous day and the highest daily toll since 3 April, when the country was in full national lockdown.

Iran: Iran’s daily new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours hit 13,352 on Tuesday, a new record, the government announced. The number of deaths in the previous 24 hours reached 482. The total death toll has now reached 42,461, the highest in the middle east.

Vaccine news

Global: Trial data for AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine with the University of Oxford is “days to weeks” away, the company’s chief financial officer told investors at a Jefferies conference. Marc Dunoyer said Astra’s management was encouraged by the data seen from Pfizer Inc.’s and Moderna Inc.’s vaccines in the last week because of shared traits, according to a note published by Jefferies after the discussion Tuesday, which was closed to the media.

Lockdown updates

US: Pennsylvania is requiring that travellers entering the state, as well as residents returning home, have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering or they must quarantine for 14 days upon entry. The order will take effect on Nov. 20. Those who fail to comply may be fined between $25 and $300.

Germany: German officials have cited security concerns in their decision to ban a series of protests planned Wednesday outside the federal parliament by people opposed to coronavirus lockdown measures. The unusual move comes amid fears that extremist groups could try to use a rally initially planned for Wednesday to attack the Bundestag, echoing an unsuccessful attempt to storm the parliament building during a similar demonstration in August.

Scotland: Scotland imposed its highest level of restrictions on Glasgow and Stirling, as well as swathes of central and western parts of the country, to combat a “worrying” rise in cases. “The infection rate in all of these areas remains stubbornly and worryingly high,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told lawmakers in Edinburgh.

Poland: The worst may be over for Poland as the nation is seeing declining number of new infections amid fewer tests, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski tolds reporters in Warsaw. Recently announced restrictions will remain in place until Nov. 29 unless the situation worsens, he said. Poland registered 19,152 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, down from 20,816 on Monday, the Health Ministry said earlier on Twitter.

Netherlands:The Dutch government extended partial lockdown measures while at the same time lifting some restrictions imposed two weeks ago. That means libraries, theaters, cinemas, museums and swimming pools can reopen in a rare move in Europe to ease curbs on movement. Bars and restaurants will remain closed.

France:France’s next phase in efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus won’t be a full end to lockdown measures, Prime Minister Jean Castex said in a hearing in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Australia: South Australia is urging 4,000 people to self-isolate to contain a cluster of Covid-19 infections in the state capital of Adelaide. Some 20 people have been infected after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel was exposed to the virus and health authorities are conducting extensive contact tracing in an effort to prevent a wider outbreak.

Economy updates

US: The governor of Colorado Tuesday called a special session of the legislature to provide “prompt and direct” aid to small business and families facing eviction. Governor Jared Polis also told a news conference he will be stepping up Covid-19 restrictions over a large swath of the state, including the suspension of dine-in services at restaurants.