Global coronavirus pandemic has infected over 48 million people and claimed more than a million lives. Here are the updates for November 4:

A woman wearing a protective face mask is seen, after new nationwide restrictions were announced during the coronavirus disease outbreak in London, Britain, November 4, 2020.
A woman wearing a protective face mask is seen, after new nationwide restrictions were announced during the coronavirus disease outbreak in London, Britain, November 4, 2020. (Reuters)

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

British lawmakers approve month-long lockdown plan for England

British lawmakers approved a month-long lockdown in England, voting in favour of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to try to prevent the spread of virus running out of control and overwhelming health services.

The 516-38 vote had been in little doubt after the opposition Labour Party said it would support the move, even though they criticised Johnson for acting too slowly. He also faced criticism from some in his own party for going too far.

Meanwhile, Britain recorded 492 new deaths, the biggest toll since May 13 and up from 397 on Tuesday, government data showed.

The cumulative toll for those who died within 28 days of a first positive test now stands at 47,742.

The daily figures also showed 25,177 new cases of virus.

Greek government prepares more curbs to contain the pandemic

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to announce new restrictions to curb a resurgence in virus cases, government officials said.

Greece has reported fewer cases than most European countries but the number of infections has been gradually increasing since early October, prompting it to reimpose restrictions.

It registered 2,646 cases of the novel virus, the highest daily tally since its first case emerged in February, health ministry data showed.

Chelsea's Havertz tests positive

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says midfielder Kai Havertz has tested positive for the virus and will miss Wednesday’s Champions League match against Rennes.

Lampard says the Germany international is undergoing a period of self-isolation.

Havertz is also likely to miss Germany’s three upcoming games during the international break. The Germans play the Czech Republic in a friendly next week, followed by Nations League group games against Ukraine and Spain.

Jordan records 62 deaths

Jordan reported 62 new deaths from the virus, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic surfaced in the Middle Eastern kingdom nearly eight months ago.

The health ministry also reported 4,658 new confirmed virus cases in the past 24 hours - from 4,833 on Tuesday and a record 5,877 on Sunday - taking the cumulative total to 91,234 cases.

Italy reports 30,550 cases

Italy has registered 30,550 infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, up from 28,244 on Tuesday.

The ministry also reported 352 virus-related deaths compared with 353 the day before.

A total of 39,764 people have now died in Italy because of virus, while 790,377 cases of the disease have been registered to date.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area, reporting 7,758 new cases on Wednesday against 6,804 on Tuesday.

Some 1,841 more patients recovered in Turkey

Turkey registered 2,391 more novel virus patients over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data released.

The country's overall tally now stands at 384,509, the ministry said.

Some 1,841 more patients recovered over the past day, raising the tally to 330,665, while the death toll rose by 77 to reach 10,558.

A total of 144,416 more virus tests were carried out across the country, bringing the total to over 14.55 million.

UK's Johnson insists new lockdown will end on Dec 2

Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that a looming new virus lockdown for England would end "automatically" in four weeks, as he tried to placate party critics over the spiralling economic fallout.

Following a first lockdown in March, the second round of restrictions will come into effect at 0001 GMT Thursday, but Johnson told parliament the measures would be lifted in time to give England the chance of a more normal Christmas.

Small football clubs in Germany report cases

Four football clubs in Germany’s third division have reported new virus cases.

Dynamo Dresden, Zwickau, Verl and Meppen say they have 13 cases combined.

Dynamo, Verl and Meppen say they have canceled training ahead of more virus tests or rulings from local health authorities. Zwickau says it has only one positive test from a staff member and it won’t affect the team’s ability to play. Verl had two virus cases last week.

Two games in the league have previously been rescheduled because of virus testing results.

Denmark to cull entire herd of mink due to risk of virus mutation

Denmark plans top cull its entire herd of mink due to the risk of virus mutations, broadcaster TV2 reported citing unnamed sources ahead of a government news conference at 1500 GMT. 

Swiss drafts army as cases spike

The Swiss government said it will deploy troops in cantons where under-pressure health services require support as virus cases spike.

The Federal Council, the country's highest executive authority, said it had "decided to support the public health sector by mobilising up to 2,500 troops as backup."

It said authorities would consider requests from individual cantons as the virus' second wave hits the country hard.

Kenya extends night curfew to January 3

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the country's nightly curfew to January 3 as part of measures to contain the spread of virus after numbers surged in October.

Kenyatta said that in October alone, the number of new confirmed virus cases had risen by 15,000 and the East African nation reported about 300 deaths.

"October has gone down as the most tragic month in our fight against virus," Kenyatta said, adding that the rate of infections from tests carried out had shot up to 16 percent in the month, four times what it was a month earlier.

Polish PM says national quarantine possible 

As daily infections and deaths hit new records, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said most shops in shopping malls, theatres, museums, galleries and cinemas would close.

All school pupils who are not already working remotely will start to do so, while hotels will remain open only for business guests.

"If this plan fails, then in a week or 10 days we will have a national quarantine, which will be very severe," Morawiecki told a news conference.

Britain to evaluate data for potential vaccines

The chair of Britain’s coronavirus vaccine task force says data evaluating the efficacy and safety of the two most advanced candidates should be available in early December.

Kate Bingham told a Parliamentary committee that data on the two vaccine candidates — developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech — should be available by then.

After that, the vaccine candidates will need regulatory approval, Bingham says.

WHO says Covid-19 spread in Europe accelerating

The World Health Organization says there has been a “further acceleration” in the speed of virus' spread in Europe, which was responsible for about half of the globe’s new cases reported last week.

The UN health agency said in a weekly report published late Tuesday that European countries also recorded a 46 percent increase in deaths compared with the previous week. Although deaths also rose in the Americas, the rate of increase there was only 2 percent.

In Europe, France, Italy and the UK reported the highest numbers of new cases while Andorra, the Czech Republic and Belgium reported the highest rate per capita.

Slovak PM Matovic says will go into quarantine

Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic will go into quarantine after meeting a person who tested positive for virus, the prime minister said.

"Rules must apply to everyone ... as I was in contact with a positively tested person, I am reporting departure into quarantine at home," Matovic said on Facebook.

Lithuania to enter three-week lockdown on Saturday

Lithuania's government declared a three-week lockdown starting on November 7, to slow the spread of the novel virus which has accelerated in recent weeks in the Baltic nation.

Lithuania, which imposed a two-month lockdown in March, reported 639 new cases, three times more than the 205 daily cases reported on October 20, bringing the total number of cases to 18,092 with 182 deaths.

Europe has seen a second wave of infections with many countries, including France, Britain and Germany opting for new lockdowns.

Czechs use rapid tests to protect nursing homes

The Czech Republic is launching a regular testing program in all its nursing and pensioner homes amid a surge in infections among the elderly.

The program that involves testing up to 100,000 residents and over 80,000 staff members will used rapid antigen tests. It starts today and the tests will be repeated every week.

The measure comes as the number of people aged 65 and older has been higher than 20 percent of all tested positive.

Russia virus infections hit new record

Russia announced a record daily number of infections, with 19,768 new cases adding to pressure on the government only days after President Vladimir Putin said there were no plans for a lockdown.

The number of deaths also ticked up by a record 389, meaning that 29,217 people have been killed by virus since it reached Russia earlier this year.

Russia has listed a total of 1,693,454 cases of infection.

New Delhi reports a record high 6,725 cases

India’s capital reported a record 6,725 new virus cases in the past 24 hours, hit by its worst wave of infections since March.

New Delhi had previously reported a high of 5,891 cases on October 30, averaging more than 5,200 cases a day this past week. It now has 403,096 confirmed cases and 6,604 deaths reported.

India’s overall positive caseload rose by 46,253 in the past 24 hours after dipping to 38,310 on Tuesday. The Health Ministry reported another 514 fatalities in the past 24 hours across the country, raising the overall death toll to 123,611.

The ministry has attributed the surge in New Delhi to the festival season and warned that the situation can worsen due to people crowding markets for festival shopping.

South Korea approves single test for virus and flu

South Korea approved a new test that’s designed to detect both virus and seasonal influenza from the same samples, which they say would help prevent disruption at hospitals as the pandemic stretches into the flu season.

The country has struggled to stem the spread of the virus, which some experts say could spread more broadly during cold weather when people spend longer times indoors.

“It’s not easy to distinguish between virus and seasonal influenza as they share similar symptoms, but this test could diagnose them both in three to six hours,” senior Health Ministry official Yoon Taeho said during a briefing.

Hungary's FM tests positive after arriving in Thailand

Hungary’s foreign minister tested positive for the virus after arriving in Thailand for an official visit, officials said.

Peter Szijjarto and his 12-member delegation were tested after their arrival Tuesday from Cambodia, but only the foreign minister was found to be infected, Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

He said Szijjarto, who was tested twice, was sent to Thailand’s Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute for treatment pending his planned evacuation later Wednesday by plane back to Hungary. The 42-year-old foreign minister will return on one plane and the other members of his party in a separate aircraft, Anutin said.

Denmark's PM to be tested for virus

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will be tested for the virus because she attended a meeting with Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup, among others, who later tested positive.

She attended a meeting Friday “where all guidelines for distance, etc. were followed,” the prime minister’s office said.

Frederiksen, who will be tested as soon as possible, “is currently showing no symptoms of virus and will, as far as possible, continue her work with virtual meetings,” her office said.

Oxford vaccine trial results due this year, trial chief says

The virus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford could present late-stage trial results before the year end but it is unclear if it will be rolled out before Christmas, the chief trial investigator for the vaccine said.

"I'm optimistic that we could reach that point before the end of this year," Andrew Pollard said of presenting trial results this year.

Poland reports record rise in cases and deaths

Poland reported a record 24,692 new infections and 373 deaths, the health ministry said, amid expectations that the government would announce more restrictions to curb the pandemic.

The health ministry said that, as of Wednesday, virus patients occupied 18,654 hospital beds and were using 1,625 ventilators, out of available 27,143 and 2,094 respectively.

Spanish unemployment rises in October as second wave bites

Spain reported a 1.31 percent rise in unemployed people in October from the previous month as fresh restrictions to contain a second wave of infections hobbled the job market, official data showed.

Registered job seekers increased by 49,558 from September, leaving 3.83 million people out of work, Labour Ministry data showed.

Some 600,000 people are being supported by a government furlough scheme, preventing a steeper rise in jobless figures.

Indonesia reports 3,356 infections

Indonesia reported 3,356 new infections, taking its total number of cases to 421,731, data from the country's virus task force showed.

There were 113 more deaths reported, taking total fatalities to 14,259. As of Wednesday, 353,282 people had recovered from the virus in Indonesia, it said.

English health service preparing for pre-Christmas vaccine roll-out

The National Health Service (NHS) in England is getting prepared to start distributing possible virus vaccines before Christmas in case one of the candidates is ready by the end of the year, the head of the state-run health service said.

"There are over two hundred vaccines in development... we should hopefully get one or more of those available, certainly from the first part of next year," Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, told BBC radio.

"But in anticipation of that, we're also gearing the NHS up to be ready to make a start on administering virus vaccines before Christmas if they become available."

Philippines reports 987 cases

The Philippines' health ministry reported 987 new infections, the lowest daily increase in infections in more than 16 weeks, and 49 additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had increased to 388,137, while deaths had reached 7,367. The Philippines has the second-highest number of virus cases and deaths in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia.

Poland to announce new restrictions 

Poland will announce more restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, the prime minister's chief of staff Michal Dworczyk said.

Poland has faced a spike in infections, with the latest record in daily cases - 21,897 - reported on Saturday. The country is running out of hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen and medics.

"The situation is serious and today the prime minister will announce further restrictions, decisions that would limit our functioning, the number of social contacts," Dworczyk told a catholic radio Siodma9.

Bulgaria registers record-high daily cases

Bulgaria reported 4,041 new virus cases in the past 24 hours, its highest one-day tally since the pandemic started, official health data showed on Wednesday.

The new cases were up from 2,427 reported on Tuesday in the country of 7 million people. In total, it has recorded 60,537 cases since March, along with 1,412 deaths.

Ukraine again registers record daily cases

Ukraine registered a record 9,524 new virus cases in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, up from the high of 8,899 reported a day earlier.

Total infections stood at 420,617 by Wednesday.

Denmark's Justice Minister Haekkerup tests positive 

Danish Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup has tested positive for virus, he said in a statement on Facebook.

China's Fosun to end BioNTech's vaccine trial

BioNTech's Chinese partner Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group does not plan to run further clinical trials of the German firm's virus vaccine candidate that has completed early-stage trials in China, an executive said.

Fosun will focus instead on seeking Chinese approval for BioNTech's other experimental vaccine which is in final-stage human trials in the United States, Fosun's Chief Medical Officer Hui Aimin told Reuters in an interview.

The vaccine candidate developed by BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer Inc is under real-time regulatory review in Europe and could seek emergency use authorisation in the United States shortly after enough safety data is provided as early as this month.

Brazil sees over 240 more deaths

Brazil reported 11,843 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 243 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry has said.

The South American country has now registered 5,566,049 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 160,496, according to ministry data on Tuesday, in the world's most fatal outbreak outside the United States.

Mexico reports 5,250 new cases

Mexico's health ministry has reported 5,250 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 493 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 938,405 and the death toll to 92,593.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases. 

Australia's Victoria reports no cases for fifth day

Australia's coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state on Wednesday reported zero Covid-19 cases for the fifth straight day as states began easing regional border restrictions, raising prospects of a faster return to normal.

South Australia on Tuesday said it would reopen its border with Victoria in two weeks, while the country's most populous state of New South Wales is expected to take a decision on border restrictions later in the day.

Australia has recorded just over 27,600 novel coronavirus infections, far fewer than many other developed countries.

Victoria, the second-most populous state, has accounted for more than 90 percent of the country's 907 deaths. No deaths have been reported in the state in the last week. 

Coronavirus, economy top concerns for US voters

The coronavirus and the economy were top of mind for about half of US voters as they headed to the ballot box, according to an Edison Research exit poll on Tuesday.

Two out of 10 said Covid-19, which has infected more than 9.4 million people in the United States this year and killed more than 230,000, was the most important issue to them when deciding their choice for president.

Edison, which compiles exit polls and live election results for the National Election Pool media consortium, found that four in 10 think that the country's efforts to contain the coronavirus are going "very badly."

Germany readies exhibition halls, mobile teams

Germany is scouting trade fair halls and airport terminals to use as potential mass vaccination centres, as it draws up plans to inoculate the nation as soon as the first coronavirus shot gains European approval, state health officials told Reuters.

Berlin expects the first Covid-19 vaccines to be available in early 2021 and has given the country's 16 states a Nov. 10 deadline to detail the addresses of 60 facilities that could serve as delivery centres for manufacturers.

Under the national vaccine strategy, approved by its cabinet last week, Germany has asked the states to identify central vaccination centres which will be supplemented by mobile teams who go into care homes.

Italy imposing night curfew, other restrictions

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has signed off on new pandemic rules that include a nationwide overnight curfew and tighter restrictions on the country’s regions where infections are surging and hospitals risk running out of beds for Covid-19 patients.

The decree is to take effect Thursday. Regions to be hit with the strictest limits are to be announced Wednesday. Those restrictions include at least a two-week ban on entering or leaving the region's territory and closure of all shops except essential ones like food stores.

One of those areas is expected to be the northern region of Lombardy. It bore the brunt of the pandemic earlier this year, and it is reeling again under a new surge, especially in its financial capital, Milan.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies