21st November 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 58,099,381 with 1,380,859 deaths as of 11.30pm today.
Europe, and Switzerland in particular, have failed to learn the lessons from the first wave of the virus, said David Nabarro, the World Health Organization’s special envoy on COVID-19 preparedness and response. Without further action now, Europe will experience a third wave early next year, said Nabarro, adding that surveillance of individuals self-isolating needs to be done by the government. It’s too serious to be left to individuals, he said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will urge fellow G20 leaders to make “bold pledges” on climate change and to work together to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic when the nations meet over the weekend.
The government is preparing to relax the U.K. lockdown to allow “several” families to form a bubble for up to a week over the Christmas period, the Telegraph said on Saturday. The so-called winter plan will outline replacement measures to the current lockdown and will be announced as soon as Monday, the newspaper reported.
Spain’s campaign to vaccinate its population against COVID-19 will begin in January and will be voluntary, El Confidencial reported, citing Health Minister Salvador Illa.
Poland will allow shopping malls to reopen, while keeping restaurants, cinemas and schools closed as Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked for patience until a vaccine arrives.
France reported a fourth day of falling hospitalizations and patients in intensive care for COVID-19 on Friday, after health authorities said the country has passed the peak of its second wave of the coronavirus.
Germany added nearly 23,000 new coronavirus infections as of Saturday morning, lifting the total above 900,000.
Hungary reported a record 121 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, though the number of hospitalized patients and new infections showed signs of levelling off. Hungarian authorities have been bracing for a further deterioration in the pandemic through mid-December.
Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told VTM Nieuws on Friday that it’s possible the country could get its first Covid vaccines at the start of the new year, according to De Tijd newspaper.
U.S. and Canada
The U.S. reported 1,870 fatalities on Friday, in a week in which the death rate rapidly rose, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.
November has been a month full of devastating COVID-19 records in the US. Almost every single state has sounded the alarm on a rapid surge in cases and nationwide numbers have been climbing much faster than ever before with the country reporting a staggering 2.7 million infections since the beginning of the month. On Friday, more than 195,500 new infections were reported, a level many could not imagine just weeks ago. The highest number of single-day cases during the country’s summer surge was a little more than 77,100 in July.
President Trump tweeted this morning that his son Donald Trump Jr. is doing “very well” after he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the week.
Most coronavirus infections are spread by people who have no symptoms, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in newly updated guidance. It’s one of the main reasons mask use is so important, the CDC said.
An estimated one in 49 residents of Colorado are infected with COVID-19, the most since the pandemic erupted, the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment announced Friday. Colorado’s population is about 5.7 million.
New York City restaurants are expected to remain open through the Thanksgiving holiday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Texas recorded almost 12,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, just shy of the record 12,256 posted a day earlier, according to state health department figures released late Friday.
Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine candidate. This is the first coronavirus vaccine to seek regulatory clearance in the United States.
Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, is going into lockdown for at least 28 days to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to a news release from the Office of the Premier of Ontario published Friday.
Central and Latin America
Brazil reached 6 million coronavirus infections amid growing signs the spread is accelerating in what was already one of the world’s hardest-hit nations.
Sao Paulo, one of the early hotspots, is of particular concern as data show hospitalizations on the rise, threatening to stretch the health system to its limits. Nationwide, the daily infections have jumped 25% in the past two weeks as testing picked up, according to the country’s association of diagnostic medicine.
China and Hong Kong
CanSino Biologics will start testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in late-stage human trials in Argentina and Chile, the co-founder of the Chinese pharmaceutical company said on Saturday
The Shanghai government said it put 86 people into quarantine because they had close contact with two new confirmed coronavirus cases.
China is starting mass testing on 3 million people in a section of the northern city of Tianjin and has tested 4,015 others in a hospital in Shanghai after the discovery of a pair of cases there.
Hong Kong has postponed a much-hyped travel bubble with Singapore due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the city, just hours after their counterparts in Singapore said it would go ahead. Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, announced the two-week delay during a press conference on Saturday.
On Saturday, the government said it would ban live performances in catered premises such as clubs, pubs and nightclubs, and shut all party rooms. The rules take effect at midnight on 22nd November.
Customers who no longer wish to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong due to the deferment of the air travel bubble can request for a full refund of the “unutilised portion” of their ticket and have the cancellation fees waived, a Singapore Airlines (SIA) spokesperson said on Saturday
Elsewhere in the world
There were also 24,822 new coronavirus cases in Russia, which was also a daily record for the nation with the fifth-most cases globally.
Tens of thousands of mourners attended the funeral of a hardline Pakistani cleric in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday, defying a government ban on large public gatherings in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
Japan recorded a daily high increase of new coronavirus cases for the third day in a row on Friday. The country’s Health Ministry announced there had been 2,427 new coronavirus infections and 20 deaths in the past 24 hours.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 386 new daily coronavirus cases as of midnight on Friday, bringing total infections to 30,403, with 503 deaths. New cases topped 300 for the fourth day in a row, after Tuesday saw the highest since August.
South Australia was on track on Saturday to end its hard COVID-19 lockdown three days early, recording only one new infection, while other states marked weeks of no new cases or deaths related to the novel coronavirus.
The Iranian government will make monthly payments to almost 30 million people over the next four months to support the economy during the coronavirus outbreak, President Hassan Rouhani said. Iran started a two-week lockdown on Saturday, reducing economic activity to essential services and businesses in many areas.
Singapore reported five new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, all imported, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
Information compiled from REUTERS, CNN, CNA and Bloomberg.