Covid-19 has infected nearly 253M people and killed over 5M worldwide. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for November 12.

Germany, France and the Netherlands are experiencing a surge in infections, showing the challenge even for governments with high acceptance rates.
Germany, France and the Netherlands are experiencing a surge in infections, showing the challenge even for governments with high acceptance rates. (AP)

Thursday, November 12, 2021

Europe epicentre of Covid-19 pandemic again

Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic again, prompting some governments to consider re-imposing unpopular lockdowns in the run-up to Christmas and stirring debate over whether vaccines alone are enough to tame Covid-19.

Europe accounts for more than half of the average 7-day infections globally and about half of latest deaths, according to a Reuters tally, the highest levels since April last year when the virus was at its initial peak in Italy.

Countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic are taking or planning measures to curb the spread.

In its latest weekly risk assessment, the European Centre for Disease Control agency listed 10 EU countries in its highest category of concern – Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

UK reports 40,375 more infections

Britain has reported 40,375 more cases of Covid-19 and 145 further deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to official data.

On a seven-day basis, cases are down 6.5 percent on the week before, while deaths are down 8.9 percent.

Turkey records 23,637 new cases

Turkey's Health Ministry has recorded 23,637 new coronavirus cases, 217 deaths and 25,164 recoveries over the past day.

Germany to bring back free Covid-19 tests

Germany will reintroduce free Covid-19 tests from Saturday, the country's acting health minister Jens Spahn said, as part of measures to hit the brakes on a wave of Covid-19 cases.

The free tests, which were first offered from March as a way to offset a slow vaccine rollout, are being reinstated one month after they were allowed to run out, as the infection rate hit a record for a fifth day running.

Figures from Germany's Robert Koch Institute public health authority earlier showed that 263.7 people out of 100,000 were infected over the last week.

China finds first cases among foreign athletes at Winter Olympics test events

China has reported the first Covid-19 cases among foreign athletes at preparatory events for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Games, as stringent measures being put in place to control any outbreaks are put to the test.

Two lugers of the same nationality tested positive, said Huang Chun, an official of the Games organising committee.

Turkic Council to donate 2.5M vaccines to Africa

The Turkic Council will be donating 2.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses to Africa, including 2 million from Turkey, the country's president said on Friday.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with the other leaders of the Turkic Council, held a press conference on Democracy and Freedom Island off Istanbul.

AstraZeneca makes over $1B in Q3 vaccine sales

AstraZeneca is counting on new orders to move its Covid-19 vaccine to "modest profitability" after the shot made a small contribution to earnings in the third quarter and achieved $1.05 billion in sales for the three-month period.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, which vowed not to make a profit from the vaccine during the pandemic, this week unveiled plans to set up a separate unit to focus on its coronavirus efforts.

Its vaccine will remain not-for-profit for low-income nations as it moves to earning modest profits from new orders from richer countries.

China administers 2.364B vaccine doses 

China has administered about 8.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines on November 11, bringing the total number of doses administered to 2.364 billion, data from the National Health Commission showed. 

Czechs report over 10,000 new daily cases for third time in week

The Czech Republic has reported 10,395 new cases, surpassing 10,000 for the third time this week, Health Ministry data showed.

The number of patients hospitalised with the illness dropped slightly to 3,557, with 542 in serious condition, in the country of 10.7 million.

Nigerian president: Commitments on vaccines must be fulfilled on time

Commitments to supply Covid-19 vaccinations to countries in need should be fulfilled on time, Nigeria’s president has stressed in Paris.

Speaking at the Paris Peace Forum Thursday, Muhammadu Buhari stated that the world faces a situation in which some countries give people third vaccine doses while elsewhere millions have yet to get even a single dose, especially in developing countries, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a written statement.

Expressing his gratitude for the vaccine donations from some countries to developing nations, he stressed however that commitments on vaccines should be fulfilled on time.

Buhari went on to say that export restrictions that encourage "vaccine hoarding" should also be removed.

Some 30 heads of state and government are taking part in the three-day in-person and online forum, which opened Thursday, and is discussing such issues as climate change and the pandemic.

Dutch face three-week, partial lockdown amid soaring cases

Bars and restaurants will close early and sporting events will be held without audiences under a three-week, partial lockdown that is expected to be announced in the Netherlands on Friday evening.

Dutch broadcaster NOS said the first such measures in Western Europe since the summer will go into effect on Saturday evening in a bid to stop a surge in cases, which hit a record on Thursday.

People will be urged to work from home as much as possible, and no audiences will be allowed at sporting events in the coming weeks, including top-level soccer matches.

Schools, theatres and cinemas would remain open.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte's cabinet will take a final decision during a cabinet meeting on Friday, and will announce the new measures during a televised news conference scheduled for 1800 GMT.

It was unclear whether the government would adopt a politically-sensitive recommendation by its leading pandemic advisory panel to limit access to public places to people who have been fully vaccinated or have had Covid-19 after the lockdown period.

Unvaccinated should reflect on their duty to society, Merkel says

People who are still not vaccinated as the fourth wave of the pandemic takes hold in Germany must understand they have a duty to the rest of society to protect others, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

Merkel, speaking at the invitation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at an Asia-Pacific business summit, said it was the task of politicians to make the case for serious interventions by being honest with the public.

Coronavirus case numbers have surged across Europe in recent weeks, with experts worrying that health systems risk once being overwhelmed again, in part because unvaccinated people are still spreading the disease to the older and more vulnerable.

Doctor says Detroit area seeing fourth virus surge

The contagious delta variant is driving up hospitalizations in the US West and fueling disruptive outbreaks in the North, a worrisome sign of what could be ahead this winter in the US.

While trends are improving in Florida, Texas and other Southern states that bore the worst of the summer surge, it’s clear that delta isn’t done with the United States.

The virus is moving north and west for the winter as people head indoors, close their windows and breathe stagnant air.

In Michigan, the three-county metro Detroit area is again becoming a hot spot for transmissions, with one hospital system reporting nearly 400 virus patients.

Mexico reports 256 new deaths

Mexico has reported 256 new confirmed deaths from the virus, bringing the country's official death toll from the pandemic to 290,630.

Officials have said the health ministry's figures likely represent a significant undercount of deaths.

Brazil records188 new fatalities 

Brazil has had 15,300 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, and 188 deaths .

The South American country has now registered 21,924,598 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 610,224, according to ministry data. This makes Brazil's outbreak, the world's third worst outside the United States and India.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies