Global Covid-19 update: Cases top 40 million as Europe readies new curbs8 min read . Updated: 19 Oct 2020, 05:05 PM IST
- Millions of Europeans are facing tighter restrictions on movement, with London, Paris and Vienna enforcing stricter curbs and Ireland preparing some of the region’s toughest measures
Global coronavirus cases exceeded 40 million, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing. Record numbers of infections are rolling across Europe while the U.S. and India are averaging more than 50,000 cases a day.
Millions of Europeans are facing tighter restrictions on movement, with London, Paris and Vienna enforcing stricter curbs and Ireland preparing some of the region’s toughest measures. Iran again reported a record number of daily deaths linked to the virus.
China’s economic recovery accelerated, aided by aggressive virus containment that has allowed factories to quickly reopen.
Iran Deaths Hit Record
Iran reported its highest number of daily deaths, with 337 fatalities. That’s fifth time in two weeks that Iran has reported a record number of deaths. The number of cases rose to 534,631 with 4,251 new infections, the Health Ministry said.
Slovenia Imposes Curfew
Slovenia will impose a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, while also limiting public gatherings to a maximum of 6 people to try to halt the spread of the virus. The Alpine state reported 537 new cases with a record positivity rate of 20.4%.
Ireland Weighs Some of Europe’s Toughest Curbs
Ireland is set to introduce some of the toughest curbs in Europe to curtail the coronavirus.
The cabinet is due to meet Monday in Dublin, after health authorities recommended a move to the tightest lockdown tier, Level 5. Most of the country is now at Level 3, and going to 5 would see non-essential stores shuttered, all bars closed and travel restricted to within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of one’s home. Amid concern about the implications of a near-total lockdown, the government may opt for a mix of Level 4 and Level 5 measures.
Austria Curbs Gatherings in Bid to Avoid Full Lockdown
Austria is limiting gatherings to 6 indoors and 12 outdoors and tightening rules for events such as soccer matches, theatre performances and Christmas markets to try a second lockdown, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday following a meeting with the country’s 9 provinces. The gathering limit applies from Friday to everything “from restaurants to yoga classes," Kurz said. Provinces can go beyond the national rules where necessary.
Moscow Resists Lockdown as Cases Soar
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin resisted returning to a lockdown even as he warned the city is on track to filling its 15,000 beds devoted to treating Covid-19.
A curfew, banning movement around the city or closing most businesses would be “absolutely unacceptable and impossible," Sobyanin wrote on his blog Monday. The mayor’s stance mirrors the Russian government, which has shied away from harsh restrictions during the pandemic’s second wave despite record numbers of new cases.
Global Cases Top 40 Million
Global cases topped 40 million as infections accelerated across Europe and the U.S. Midwest. It took six months for the worldwide tally to reach the first 10 million, but subsequent milestones have come increasingly faster, with the latest 10 million added in just 32 days. Global cases reached a single day record of more than 415,000 on Friday. The U.S., India and Brazil account for more than half the cases.
Poland to Turn Stadiums Into Hospitals
Poland has started construction of the first field hospital for Covid-19 patients at Warsaw’s national stadium, Wp.pl reported. The facility should initially have 500 beds and be ready this week, and similar hospitals should be built in other cities as Poland faces health-care system shortages amid a sudden outbreak of the virus.
Thailand Sees Five Cases, All Imported
Thailand reported five imported cases on Monday, which took the nation’s total infections to 3,691. All the new cases were found in state quarantine. So far, escalating anti-government protests in the Thai capital that have drawn thousands of protesters haven’t resulted in a spike in cases.
India Cases Continue Downward Trend
India added 55,722 coronavirus cases on Monday, the lowest in almost a week as officially reported infections continue an easing trend. The nation, which has the second-highest number of infections globally, was recording daily cases of almost 100,000 a month ago. Monday’s tally brings India’s total infections to 7.55 million.
China Broadens Recovery From Pandemic
China’s economic recovery accelerated, aided by an aggressive containment of the coronavirus that has allowed factories to quickly reopen. Gross domestic product climbed 4.9% in the third quarter from a year ago. Shoppers have been more cautious, but robust spending through the recent Golden Week holidays suggest they too are starting to open their wallets again.
Qingdao Tests Entire City
China’s eastern port city of Qingdao said over the weekend it conducted 10.9 million coronavirus tests in five days, managing to test its entire population after a cluster of 13 infections surfaced. All of the tests came out negative.It’s another demonstration of China’s ambitious approach in mass testing whenever infections are reported. Qingdao’s campaign was completed roughly three times faster than a similar experiment by Wuhan in May. The Chinese cities have adopted a batch testing method that enables as many as 10 samples to be assessed simultaneously. The strategy is rarely used in western countries, and has been questioned by experts over its credibility and accuracy.
China Finds Active Virus on Frozen Food Packaging (8:56 a.m. HK)
China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention said it found active Covid-19 virus on the outer component of refrigerated food packaging, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The virus was found on food packaging in the coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong province, the report said, without specifying the origin of the product. Qingdao has reported a dozen new virus cases this month, most linked to a hospital where infected travelers from overseas are being treated.
China has said several times in recent months that imported refrigerated goods are risks for re-introducing the coronavirus into the country. World Health Organization experts have suggested there’s no evidence the virus can be transported via food packaging.
Conte Bets Italy Can Slow Virus With Targeted Restrictions
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte held off pressure to impose radical restrictions on Italy, betting his government can slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect the economy with more targeted measures.
The premier signed a new decree Sunday night -- only five days after a previous package -- urging mayors to close piazzas and streets at 9 p.m. to stop crowds gathering, and imposing a maximum of six people per table at restaurants which must close at midnight. Amateur and school competitions for contact sports are banned.
South African Health Minister Tests Positive
South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said he and his wife, May, had tested positive for Covid-19.
The two went for a test on Saturday after the minister, who has drawn widespread praise for his proactive approach to combating the pandemic, began showing mild symptoms.
“I was feeling abnormally exhausted and as the day progressed, I started losing appetite. My wife had a cough, was dizzy and extremely exhausted," Mkhize said in a statement on Sunday. “I am now in quarantine at home and both my wife and I remain optimistic that we will fully recover from this virus."
Gottlieb Says U.S. Strategy is Just to Wait for Vaccine (2:32 p.m. NY)
Scott Gottlieb said the Trump administration’s current coronavirus strategy “is just to endure the spread until we get a vaccine."
The former FDA commissioner spoke on CBS on Sunday as total U.S. Covid-19 cases have surpassed 8 million and many states are seeing a rising rate of infection, including more severe cases.
Gottlieb said it could be February or March before the first tranche of people receive a vaccine and are actually protected from the virus.
France Reports Almost 30,000 Cases
France reported 29,837 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, according to statistics on the website of France’s national health agency.
The government is counting on a curfew that went into effect this weekend in nine cities to brake the spread of the virus without the need for a generalized national lockdown.
“The challenge is to face up to it without resorting to a broad lockdown, across the whole country and for a long time," Prime Minister Jean Castex said in an interview in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
U.K. Needs National Lockdown, Scientist Says (1:41 p.m. NY)
Britain needs an immediate three-week national lockdown as opposed to more limited regional restrictions, said Jeremy Farrar, a scientific adviser to the government.
“The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus," he told Sky News on Sunday.
Prague Protest Turns Violent
Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in Prague in a protest against social distancing rules and measures such as wearing face masks imposed by the government to stem the most acute spread of the coronavirus in Europe.
The police used tear gas, water cannon and an armored personnel carrier to disperse the crowd of some 2,000 protesters, which assembled at the city’s Old Town Square.
Some people, mostly hockey and football fans, refused to leave after the authorities ended the demonstration and used small explosive devices against the officers. Some 100 people were arrested after the protests and 20 people were injured, according to CTK newswire.
Slovakia Plans to Test Entire Nation
The Slovak army will carry out mass testing in November, aiming to test all of the nation’s 5.4 million people, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad told reporters. He said Slovakia would be the first country ever to do so.
“We aren’t able to handle the pandemic, let’s be honest. This is way out of hell which we are heading for," said Premier Igor Matovic, adding that the only other possibility would be a complete lockdown.
The nation reported 1,567 new Covid-19 cases and six deaths on Saturday.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.