International update: Global Covid infections near 39 million – case numbers rising across Europe

16th October 2020 (Last Updated October 16th, 2020 11:27)

16 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,098,434 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 38.9 million world wide.

US: Covid-19 infections exceed 7.9 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 217,700 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

A passenger on Joe Biden’s campaign plane tested positive for Covid-19, the Biden campaign announced Thursday.

North Dakota, hit another record, adding 705 new cases on Thursday, the state reported.

Midwest states from Illinois, Ohio to Michigan have seen a rise in cases. In Illinois, cases surged to a record 4,015 on Thursday, extending one of the nation’s most concerning weekly trends. Daily Covid-19 deaths in the state rose to 53, the highest since June 24.

Europe: At a press conference in Copenhagen, the WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters it was time to “step up the measures” as rising case numbers on the continent were of “great concern,” AFP reports.

Europe has recorded its highest ever weekly number of new Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization has said, warning that without effective countermeasures daily death rates could reach four or five times their April peak within months.

The president of the European Commission says she is going into self-isolation with immediate effect after a colleague tested positive for Covid-19.

Switzerland: after a record high Covid-19 infection numbers on a daily basis, the health minister warned Thursday that the situation is “deteriorating” at an alarming rate.

France: France reported a record 30,621 new infections on Thursday after the previous high last Saturday with 26,896 cases. Deaths increased by 88 to 33,125, according to the health agency.

Ireland: Ireland reported a record 1,205 new cases. The number of hospitalizations is increasing faster than predicted, health authorities said, a sign of “a rapidly deteriorating disease trajectory nationally.”

Netherlands: The Netherlands added a record 7,833 patients, Dutch news agency ANP said, citing health agency RIVM. The number of infections in the country doubled in less than a month.

Austria: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz urged the country’s provinces to tighten regional measures as new infections rose by a record 1,552 on Thursday.

Portugal: Portugal reported the biggest daily increase in cases since the start of the outbreak. There were 2,101 new infections in a day, bringing the total is now 93,294.

Argentina: Argentina passed Colombia as the most-infected country in Latin America after Brazil and is currently number five globally in overall cases. In total, 931,967 people have tested positive while 24,921 fatalities have been reported.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 7,334 to 348,557, the highest one-day tally recorded there over the course of the pandemic so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Virus outbreaks are increasing in German nursing homes, resulting in more cases and deaths, according to the country’s public health authority, Robert Koch Institute.

Spain: Spain’s cumulative tally of coronavirus infections rose by over 13,300 to 921,374 in a slight acceleration from the previous few days, as Catalonia prepared to shut down bars and restaurants in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

Italy: Italy’s coronavirus infections reached 8,804 on Thursday, up by almost 1,500 in a day, while deaths almost doubled to 83.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic will start building capacity for Covid-19 patients outside of hospitals, officials said on Thursday, as the country faces the fastest rate of infections in Europe.

Vaccine news

Russia: The Times reported that a Russian disinformation campaign has been set up in order to spread fear about the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous.

UK: The UK National Health Service is in talks with the British Medical Association and others around mobilising the rollout of a potential Covid-19 vaccine from December, Pulse website for health professionals reported on Thursday.

France: Sanofi Plans Human Trial of mRNA Vaccine. Two doses of the candidate induced neutralizing antibodies “significantly higher” than those observed in Covid-19 patients as well as a response in infection-fighting T-cells in non-human primates, Translate Bio and Sanofi said in a statement.

US: Eiger BioPharmaceuticals said its Lambda treatment decreased viral load for patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infections more than a placebo treatment during a study. Patients treated with Lambda, which stimulates immune responses, were below the infectivity threshold by day seven of the 14-day study.

ImmunityBio received authorization from the FDA to begin a Phase I clinical trial of vaccine candidate hAd5-Covid-19, which targets T cells and antibody immunity.

The antibody cocktail US President Donald Trump credited for his swift coronavirus recovery won’t become widely available because it’s impossible to make enough for everyone who might need it, according to Roche Holding AG, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant working on scaling up production.

Lockdown updates

EU: More than half of countries in the EU, plus the UK, were on Thursday labelled red in a new map issued by the bloc’s disease control agency aimed at guiding decisions on travel restrictions. The map was issued after EU member states decided on Tuesday to coordinate their approach to travel restrictions on other countries in response to Covid-19 outbreaks.

UK: The UK government’s flagship policy for tackling the coronavirus in England descended into chaos after mayors and MPs from the north-west of the country emphatically rejected being moved into the highest lockdown level and accused ministers of treating the region with contempt.

London prepares for Tier 2 lockdown. The capital city is bracing for Tier 2 restrictions from Saturday, which means a ban on separate households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

France: France imposed a curfew in Paris as Germany and Italy posted record increases in new infections, as Europe’s leaders intensified efforts to stem an unrelenting surge in coronavirus cases. President Emmanuel Macron will confine residents of nine of the country’s biggest cities to their homes between 9 pm and 6 am for four weeks starting on Saturday.

Australia: Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews has offered hope there will be a “significant” easing of restrictions soon, after only two new coronavirus cases and no deaths. The state capital city, Melbourne, has been under some form of stay-at-home orders for 99 days.

US: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he’ll challenge a judicial decision that temporarily blocked the governor’s order limiting capacity in bars, restaurants and other public places. He spoke as the state again hit a record number of daily cases, 3,747.

Germany: Germany’s foreign ministry has warned against non-essential travel to France, the Netherlands, Malta and Slovakia from Saturday due to high coronavirus infection rates.

Economy updates

US: President Donald Trump on Thursday said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8Tn for a Covid-19 relief package to get a deal with House of Representatives Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a move likely to raise concern among his fellow Republicans in the Senate.