COVID-19 Apocalypse: Cases in Italy shoot above 10,000 for the first time, curfew in 10 French cities begins at midnight


17th October 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 39,372,324 with 1,105,644 deaths as of 12am today.


The European Union should renegotiate a 1 billion euro (US$1.17 billion) contract it sealed last week with Gilead for a six-month supply of the COVID-19 drug remdesivir after it showed poor results in a large trial, experts said on Friday.

The surge in the five worst-affected European nations was nearly 42% higher than the increase in the US in the week from 6th to 13th October, according to JHU’s seven-day moving average of new cases.

The World Health Organization’s Europe Director, Hans Kluge, said he is “very worried” about the second wave in Europe, but warned against imposing national lockdowns as cases surge in the region. 

Paris and nine other French cities will be subject to a night-time curfew starting at midnight local time on Friday after cases in the country increased by 53% in a week. The restrictions come as France reported a record 30,621 new daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he would intervene with further localised restrictions to fight a rapidly growing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic after more of northwest England was put on the highest COVID alert level.  The United Kingdom recorded 15,650 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 136 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, government data showed, government data showed. Boris Johnson said the rise of coronavirus cases in Greater Manchester is “grave” and “worsens with each passing day.” Londoners have expressed confusion and doubt over coronavirus lockdown restrictions announced Thursday that will affect millions living in the city.

Italy has registered 10,010 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday, the highest daily tally since the start of the country’s outbreak and up from the previous record of 8,804 posted on Thursday.

 Banging pots and pans, some 1,000 hospitality workers rallied in Barcelona’s Old City on Friday to protest against a 15-day shutdown of bars and restaurants ordered by the Catalan regional government to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections in Spain.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced she was cancelling the upcoming EU special summit on China due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease control center, said early Friday that 7,334 new cases were confirmed in the previous 24 hours. That compares with 6,638 a day earlier.

Poland has suffered its highest daily COVID-19 death count, reporting 132 fatalities on Friday. And Friday is the second day in a row that the Czech Republic reported its highest increase in infections. On Friday, Poland also reported 7,705 new cases of the virus, the second-highest daily case count after Thursday’s record of 8,099 cases. The Czech Republic has recorded 9,721 new coronavirus cases in its highest one-day increase since the pandemic began.

U.S. and Canada

Retail sales climbed in September for the fifth straight month as people spent on clothing, sporting goods, furniture and other items in stores and online. US retail sales rose 1.9% in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That’s well above the 0.7% rise predicted by economists surveyed by Refinitiv.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday morning that the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management have added resources to the Amarillo area to help combat the spread of the virus.

The city of El Paso, Texas, is reporting a new record high daily number of COVID-19 cases, just a day after setting the record for single-day cases.

China and Hong Kong

coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Qingdao, which prompted mass testing of millions of residents, has been traced back to two dock workers, authorities said on Friday. A total of 12 locally transmitted cases were reported last weekend at the Qingdao Chest Hospital, sparking fears of a wider outbreak. City officials took immediate action and in just four days, they tested more than 10 million people, according to Qingdao’s Information Office.

China is rapidly increasing the number of people receiving its experimental coronavirus vaccines, with a city offering one to the general public and a biotech company providing another free to students going abroad.

Rare pink dolphins are returning to the waters between Hong Kong and Macau after the coronavirus pandemic halted ferries, but scientists remain deeply concerned about their long-term survival in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.

Elsewhere in the world

Russia reported 15,150 new cases of coronavirus Friday, almost a 1,000 more compared to the previous record daily increase reported on 14th October. Russia has seen a surge in cases in the past two weeks, updating its record in single-day increases almost everyday. 

Australians living under lockdown in the southeast of the country are eyeing a return of freedoms this weekend as coronavirus numbers reached a four-month low Friday.

Nine new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore on Friday, including eight imported infections. 

The organiser of Vietnam’s first Formula One grand prix on Friday said it has cancelled the race, having already postponed the event initially scheduled for April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information compiled from REUTERS, CNN, CNA and Bloomberg.