COVID-19 Apocalypse : Worldwide cases reach 32.1m, AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic tests positive, Google Maps to show coronavirus hotspots


25th September 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 32,199,082 with 983,686 deaths as of 12.30am today.


As Europe endures its second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of students in several universities across Europe are self-isolating following mass outbreaks of COVID-19 that local officials blame on partying. European Union health regulators sounded the alarm about a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the bloc and urged governments to step up testing and contact tracing.

All 2,500 students at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland’s most prestigious hospitality school, are quarantining following a “major outbreak” in infection, according to the Vaud Canton regional authority on Wednesday.” More than 500 students at Scotland’s Abertey and Aberdeen Universities have also been forced to quarantine, with local health boards investigating the outbreaks.

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak set out his plan to rescue millions of jobs and businesses as the virus pandemic threatens to derail the economy again. The measures include fresh support for the self-employed and pay subsidies for part-time workers.

Britain is planning to host clinical trials where volunteers are deliberately infected with the new coronavirus to test the effectiveness of vaccine candidates, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people involved in the project.

Integumen, a British company that developed a system to detect the COVID-19 virus in waste water, said the same technology could be deployed in a personalised breath test that could become an effective tool in fighting the pandemic.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country is “worrying.”  The Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t take part in AC Milan’s Europa league match Thursday evening, the team said in a statement.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is under fire for creating a legal loophole to allow tens of thousands of fans to attend Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup game in Budapest amid rising coronavirus cases.

Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has gone into coronavirus quarantine — the country’s second cabinet member to do so.

Poland registered a record number of new coronavirus infections on Thursday, raising total to 82,809, the Health Ministry said on Twitter. The previous daily record of 1,002 occurred on 19th September.

Norway’s central bank ruled out an increase in interest rates for the coming years, citing a highly uncertain economic environment due to the pandemic. The comments triggered a slump in the krone after some investors and analysts had expected a more hawkish signal.

Dogs trained to detect the novel coronavirus began sniffing passenger samples at Finland’s Helsinki-Vantaa airport this week, authorities said, in a pilot project running alongside more usual testing at the airport.

U.S. and Canada

US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn on Thursday declined to comment on statements from President Trump that the White House could override the agency if it released tougher standards for the authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Google Maps will show how prevalent coronavirus is in geographic areas with a new colour-coded update later this week. Google is pulling data from three sources: Johns Hopkins University, the New York Times, and Wikipedia.

Another 870,000 workers filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis. That was up very slightly from the previous week.

United Airlines will become the first US airline to offer coronavirus testing to its passengers. 

The Canadian province of Ontario on Thursday moved to limit COVID-19 testing as labs struggled to keep up with demand, and some doctors called for immediate restrictions on non-essential businesses as the country entered a second wave of infections.

China and Hong Kong

The city of Beijing has “punished” 1,112 officials and public servants for failing to carry out Covid-19 prevention and control measures.

Chinese vaccine developer Sinovac Biotech Ltd. said that countries running its final-stage clinical trials like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey will get its coronavirus shots at the same time as China, underscoring how vaccine supply agreements could cement diplomatic ties in the Covid-19 era.

China National Biotec Group (CNBG) said on Thursday it will donate 200,000 doses of its candidate coronavirus vaccine to the central city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged late last year.

Elsewhere in the world

Israel has announced a significant tightening of restrictions during its second general lockdown, as numbers of new coronavirus cases continue to rise, including strict limits on protests and prayer groups and a wider closure of places of work.

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin asked 5,000 companies to allow more employees to work from home due to a rising number of infections, Ria Novosti reported, citing the city’s press service. Sberbank, which pressed workers to return to the office after Chief Executive Officer Herman Gref told managers in June that work from home was less effective, was among the companies to receive the request, RBC website reported. On Thursday, Moscow reported 1,050 new cases, the first time that the Russian capital diagnosed over a thousand infections in a day since June.

The United Arab Emirates will resume issuing visas to foreign visitors to all seven of its regions as of Thursday after a six-month suspension imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported.

Pakistan virus cases increased by 799 in the past 24 hours, the highest in almost seven weeks, as it gradually increases testing with schools re-opening. The positive cases among tests has continued to around 2%.

Indonesia banned political parties and campaign teams from holding mass gatherings to contain the spread of COVID-19 ahead of polls on Dec. 9. The general elections supervisory body, or Bawaslu, will give a written warning to those violating the provisions or disperse the gathering, according to the rule issued by the nation’s general elections committee, known as KPU. Indonesia is offering free tours and staycations to 4,440 residents of its resort island of Bali, in a seven-week tourism dry-run to promote the international holiday hotspot and test its coronavirus health protocols.

Fifteen new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore as of noon on Thursday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Australia’s Victoria state, the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, said on Thursday the number of new daily infections was close to a three-month low, buoying hopes that restrictions will be eased sooner than expected.

Information compiled from CNN, Reuters, CNA and Bloomberg.