COVID-19 Apocalypse: 1,217 new cases in Northern Ireland, 7,332 cases in Italy,10,000 children per month may die this year from malnutrition due to the COVID-19 crisis


15th October 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 38,549,729 with 1,093,355 deaths as of 12am today.

Three new reports just published show coronavirus immunity can last for months, and maybe even longer. The findings suggest that many, if not most, people who recover from coronavirus infections are protected for at least a period of time. They also suggest that coronavirus vaccines may be able to protect people for more than just a few weeks.

An extra 10,000 children per month may die this year from malnutrition due to the COVID-19 crisis, the head of the World Health Organisation warned on Wednesday. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a U.N Food and Agriculture (FAO) conference that due to the pandemic he expected a 14% rise in cases of severe child malnutrition this year – or 6.7 million more people – mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.


Juventus FC, one of Italy’s top soccer teams, is going into self-isolation after player Weston McKennie tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced Wednesday.

Northern Ireland has reported 1,217 new positive COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a record-high for the nation. In Northern Ireland, there will be a four-week closure of pubs and restaurants from Friday, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries. 

“Juventus Football Club announces that, during the tests provided by the Serie A protocol, player Weston McKennie tested positive for COVID-19. In compliance with the regulations and the protocol, the team will go into preventive isolation this evening,” the club said in a statement.  Portugal and Juventus soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is on his way to Turin, Italy, aboard a private air ambulance, after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. 

Wales will ban travellers from high coronavirus hotspots in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from entering Wales starting Friday, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Wednesday.

 In England, a new three-tier Covid Alert system emphasizing localized restrictions came into force on Wednesday as case numbers continue to surge. But the main opposition Labour party has warned the government has not gone far enough. It called for a two-to-three week “circuit breaker” lockdown in an attempt to reduce the nation’s R rate, or the number of people that those infected pass the virus on to. England is unlikely to have a national lockdown in the next two weeks, Cabinet minister Thérèse Coffey said Wednesday.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced the country will enter a “state of calamity” midnight on Wednesday, saying the COVID-19 situation in the country was “serious.”  Tougher measures will be imposed in Portugal from Thursday onwards to contain record levels of coronavirus cases, including stricter limits on gatherings and heavier penalties for rule-breaking establishments.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of Netherlands announced Tuesday that all restaurants and bars must close as of 10pm from Wednesday, including outside dining, except for takeout. An additional 7,305 new COVID-19 patients were reported in the past 24 hours, slightly below the previous day, Dutch news agency ANP reported, citing the country’s health agency.

Germany, where infections jumped by 4,122 on Tuesday to 329,453 total, has secured 9 million so-called antigen tests per month that can deliver a result in minutes and cost about 5 euros ($5.90) each. That would, in theory, cover more than 10% of the population.

New cases in Italy jumped to 7,332 from 5,901 on Tuesday, higher than the 6,557 infections at the peak of the pandemic on 21st March.  The spike at least partly reflects more thorough screening. Daily tests totalled 152,196, up from 112,544 the previous day and more than 9 times the March daily average of 15,752.

Primary and secondary schools closed overnight in Czech Republic. Bars and restaurants can trade — without seated service or indoor dining– until 8 p.m. and then via delivery only, Ministry of Health officials told CNN.  On Tuesday, the country reported 8,325 new cases – its second-highest daily case count since the pandemic began.  The Czech Republic has more cases per 100,000 people (521.5) than any other European country, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

There were 6,526 new COVID-19 cases and 116 deaths in Poland, the government reported Wednesday, the first time the daily death toll has crossed 100.

Authorities in Switzerland responded to a surge in infections by broadening rules on mask-wearing and imposing other restrictions. In Geneva, public gatherings of more than 15 people will be forbidden, while private events are capped at 100 participants and school trips cancelled.

 Austria, Slovenia and Croatia also reported a record number of infections. Separately, Bulgaria reported a record 785 new cases, a day after the Balkan country posted its highest daily number of Covid-related deaths.

U.S. and Canada

The United States and Canada are also buying millions of tests, as is Italy, whose recent tender for 5 million tests attracted offers from 35 companies.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city continues to see a “leveling off” of COVID-19 cases in the communities most effected.  He said city health officials are making progress in reducing infection rates in areas of Brooklyn and Queens where coronavirus cases have been spiking recently.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that Covid-19 is not going away any time soon, as he remarked on the state of the virus as colder months and the flu season approach.

A spin studio in Canada that public health officials say followed all COVID-19 protocols is now reporting 61 positive cases of the disease, and as many as 100 staff, clients and family members may have been exposed.

Eli Lilly & Co on Wednesday said other trials of its experimental coronavirus antibody therapy remain on track after a government-run study testing the treatment in hospitalised COVID-19 patients was paused due to safety concerns.

China and Hong Kong

Chinese health authorities in the city of Qingdao are batch testing to speed up a citywide mass COVID-19 testing program, the municipal government said on Wednesday. The testing method combines 10 samples at a time; if any batch turns out positive, all 10 people are then quarantined and tested individually. The city of Qingdao in eastern China has tested more than 7.5 million people for coronavirus amid a citywide testing program, the Qingdao Municipal deputy director Chen Wansheng said in a news conference Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the world

Russia has granted regulatory approval to a second COVID-19 vaccine, according to its register of authorised medicines. A delighted President Vladimir Putin announced the news at a government meeting on Wednesday. The jab was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia and completed early-stage human trials last month. However, results have not been published yet and a large-scale trial, known as Phase III, has not yet begun.

Bangladesh will begin reopening movie theatres on Friday, according to state news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS).

Schools in India are set to reopen Thursday after being closed for months, albeit with new government regulations in place, according to a news release from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants the poor, soldiers and police officers to receive the first shots of the coronavirus vaccine once available.

Iran announced a travel ban to and from five major cities, including the capital Tehran, over an extended holiday weekend as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Japan’s biggest airline ANA Holdings Inc 9202.T has secured US$3.8 billion in subordinated loans to bolster funds it needs to survive a slump in air travel caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions, three people with knowledge of the deal said.

India added 63,509 coronavirus infections in a day, bringing the total to 7.24 million confirmed cases, government data showed.

Malaysian health authorities reported 660 new COVID-19 cases for a second day in a row on Wednesday as the capital imposed tighter restrictions on movement for two weeks.

A South African company part-owned by the government is in talks with the global COVID-19 vaccine distribution scheme and pharmaceutical companies to produce some of the vaccines the country needs to protect itself against the disease. The Biovac Institute, a Cape Town-based joint venture between the government and private sector, could produce up to 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines per year, depending on the technology involved, Chief Executive Morena Makhoana told Reuters.

Information compiled from CNN, REUTERS, CNA and Bloomberg.