The coronavirus pandemic has infected at least 43.5 million people and claimed over 1.1 million lives around the world. Here are updates for October 26:

Doctor Henri Faure and medical colleagues treat a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease in the Intensive Care Unit at the Robert Ballanger hospital in Aulnay-sous-Bois near Paris, France, October 26, 2020.
Doctor Henri Faure and medical colleagues treat a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease in the Intensive Care Unit at the Robert Ballanger hospital in Aulnay-sous-Bois near Paris, France, October 26, 2020. (Reuters)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Europe needs 'serious acceleration' in fight against coronavirus: WHO

Europe needs some "serious acceleration" in the fight against the coronavirus but the WHO is still optimistic European countries will not need to need to go into national lockdowns, WHO officials said on Monday,

"We are still hopeful that countries will not have to go into so-called national lockdowns," Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical head for Covid-19, told an online briefing, when asked about Europe's rising case numbers.

"Right now we are well behind this virus in Europe, so getting ahead of it is going to take some serious acceleration in measures," added Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergency expert. 

Spain adds more than 50,000 cases over weekend

Spain's cumulative tally of coronavirus cases rose by 52,188 over the weekend, bringing the total to 1,098,320, health ministry data showed on Monday.

The overall death toll from the virus jumped by 279 to 35,031, the data showed.

Spain entered a second state of emergency on Sunday, enabling a night-time quarantine to be enforced across the whole country except the Canary Islands.

Lack of contact-tracing capacity driving coronavirus into 'darkness' - WHO

A lack of contact-tracing capacity in Europe, despite very high rates of positive tests, will drive the coronavirus further into the "darkness", the World Health Organization's top emergency expert told an online briefing on Monday.

"We are seeing very, very high positivity rates and an increasing lack of capacity to do any effective form of contact-tracing, which is going to further drive the disease into darkness," Mike Ryan said.

US CDC reports 224,601 deaths 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported 8,617,022 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 63,195 from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 380 to 224,601.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as Covid-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on October 25 compared with its previous report a day earlier.

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.

UK's new cases rise above 20,000 

Britain recorded 20,890 new Covid-19 infections and 102 deaths on Monday, official data showed.

New cases rose from Sunday's six-day low of 19,790, while the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test fell from 151 the previous day.

Italy reports 17K new cases, 141 deaths

Italy registered slightly more than 17,000 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Monday. That’s fewer than daily increases of the last few days, but tens of thousands fewer swab tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, as often happens over a weekend.

Italy’s total of known coronavirus infections during the pandemic now stands at 542,789.

Hospitalisations and ICU admissions continued their steady increase. Italy’s death toll rose to 37,479, after 141 more deaths.

Turkey reports almost 2,200 new patients

Turkey registered 2,198 new coronavirus patients over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data released on Monday.

The country’s overall tally now stands at 363,999, the ministry said.

Some 1,618 more patients recovered over the past day, raising the count to 316,008, while the death toll rose by 75 to reach 9,874.

Germany cancels Nuremberg Christmas market over virus

The German city of Nuremberg has cancelled its world-renowned Christmas market over soaring coronavirus cases, officials said on Monday.

The worsening pandemic has already forced a slew of other German cities, including Berlin, Duesseldorf and Cologne, to announce they are scrapping or severely curtailing their Christmas markets.

"After much deliberation and in order to protect the population, we have come to the conclusion that the Christmas market will not take place this year," Nuremberg mayor Marcus Koenig said in a statement.

Norway tightens rules 

Norway will impose tougher measures to combat the coronavirus following a recent rise in the number of infections, including stricter rules on private gatherings, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Monday.

The government also said it would stop exceptions to quarantine rules that foreign workers coming to work in Norway enjoyed until now. From October 31, all foreign workers arriving in the Nordic country must undergo a ten-day quarantine, Solberg said.

New French cases could be 100,000 per day - govt medical advisor

France may be experiencing 100,000 new cases per day, twice the latest official figure, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the pandemic, has told RTL radio.

"There is probably more than 50,000 cases per day. We estimate, on the scientific committee, that we are more in the region of 100,000 cases per day," said Delfraissy.

France, the euro zone's second-biggest economy, is currently examining whether to tighten lockdown measures further to curb the resurgence of the virus, having already imposed night-time curfews on major cities including Paris.

Iran reports death every five minutes, hospitals struggle

Hospitals in many Iranian provinces are running out of capacity to handle cases, health authorities say, now killing around 300 people a day or one person every five minutes.

Authorities have complained of poor social distancing, and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said the pandemic could cause 600 daily deaths in coming weeks if Iranians failed to respect health protocols in the Middle East's hardest-affected country.

A caption that ran on state television news said an Iranian died of novel coronavirus every five minutes, a rate that corresponds to daily death tallies reported by the authorities of just above or below 300 over the past 20 days.

Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV on Sunday that 32,616 people had died of the disease and the number of confirmed cases had reached 568,896.

Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran’s official coronavirus tolls. A report by the Iranian parliament’s research centre in April suggested that the coronavirus tolls might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.

Anderlecht player, staff member test positive

A player and a member of the medical staff at Belgian soccer club Anderlecht have tested positive.

The club says the unnamed people have both been placed in self-isolation. Residents in Belgium who test positive for the virus are asked to quarantine for seven days.

Anderlecht is the most successful club in Belgium with 34 league titles.

Several Anderlecht players had already tested positive for the virus in September. More than 10,500 people have died from coronavirus-related complications in Belgium.

Philippines reports 1,607 new cases, 62 more deaths

The Philippines' health ministry has recorded 1,607 new coronavirus infections and 62 more deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had increased to 371,630, while deaths had reached 7,039. The Philippines has the second-highest number of infections and deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. 

Malaysia reports 1,240 new cases with seven new deaths

Malaysia’s health ministry reported 1,240 new cases, the biggest daily jump since the start of the pandemic, taking the total to 27,805 infections.

The Southeast Asian country also recorded seven new deaths, raising its total number of fatalities to 236.

UK on vaccine: We're not there yet, eyes first half of 2021

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that a vaccine was "not there yet" but the government was getting ready to roll out it, with a central expectation for the first half of 2021.

"On my central expectation, I would expect the bulk of the roll out to be in the first half of next year," he said. Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year he replied: "I don't rule that out but that is not my central expectation."

"We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly but it's not my central expectation that we'll be doing that this year but the programme is progressing well, we're not there yet."

Russia's new cases hit new record high of 17,347

Russia's daily tally of new cases surged to a record high of 17,347, including 5,224 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 1,531,224.

Authorities said 219 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 26,269.

Oxford vaccine trials produce robust immune response in elderly

Early results from tests for a coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford, in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc, show it produces a robust immune response in elderly people, the group at highest risk, the Financial Times reported.

It has been discovered that the vaccine triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups, the newspaper said, citing two people familiar with the finding, encouraging researchers as they seek evidence that it will spare those in later life from serious illness or death from the virus.

The findings echo data released in July which showed the vaccine generated "robust immune responses" in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, the newspaper reported, citing people aware of the results from so-called immunogenicity blood tests.

But the FT cautioned that positive immunogenicity tests do not guarantee that the vaccine will ultimately prove safe and effective in older people.

India's infections rise by 45,148

India reported fewer than 46,000 new coronavirus cases, continuing a downward trend, though rising air pollution and the Hindu festival season continue to raise fears of a fresh surge in infections. 

The Health Ministry said that 45,148 new cases raised the country's overall toll to over 7.9 million. The ministry also reported 480 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 119,014. 

India is second in the world behind the US in total cases. Last month, the country hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but since then daily infections have fallen by about half and deaths by about a third.

Sri Lanka shuts Parliament after case detected

Sri Lanka’s Parliament was closed in order to disinfect the premises after a police officer at the complex tested positive for the coronavirus amid a new surge of the virus in the country.

Parliament was closed for two days as a precautionary measure so the premises can be disinfected, said Narendra Fernando, the Parliament's sergeant of arms. Close associates of the officer were also tested, with the results expected later today. An additional 22 Parliament staffers will be tested on Tuesday, Fernando said.

Sri Lanka has seen a fresh outbreak of the virus since early this month, when a new cluster emerged centred at a garment factory near Colombo, the capital.

On Monday, 351 new cases were confirmed in the Indian Ocean island nation. Most of the new infections are related to the garment factory cluster, which has grown to 4,400 cases, more than half the country’s total of 7,872. One fatality was reported on Sunday, raising Sri Lanka's death toll to 16.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 8,685 to 437,866 - RKI

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has increased by 8,685 to 437,866, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 24 to 10,056, the tally showed.

South Korea urges people to get flu vaccinations

South Korea has urged its citizens to get vaccinated against influenza and reduce the chances of an outbreak that coincides with the battle on the coronavirus, as it kicked off free inoculations for the last eligible group.

Authorities have said they found no direct link between the deaths and the flu shots and have sought to reassure South Koreans about the safety of the vaccines against flu, a disease that kills at least 3,000 each year.

"Vaccination offers far greater benefits compared to side effects, and both the WHO and domestic and overseas experts agree," Health Minister Park Neung-hoo told a briefing on Sunday, in a reference to the WHO.

Last year, more than 1,500 elderly people died within seven days of receiving flu vaccines, but those deaths were not linked to the vaccinations, the government said.

Brazil reports 231 deaths

Brazil has registered 231 additional coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours and 13,493 new cases, the nation's health ministry said.

The South American country has now registered 157,134 total coronavirus deaths and 5,394,128 total confirmed cases.

Brazil's coronavirus death toll is second only to the United States, though new daily deaths and cases are down significantly from the worst period in May, June and July.

Mexico reports 4,360 new cases, 181 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry has reported 4,360 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 181 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 891,160 and the death toll to 88,924.

Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

China reports 20 new confirmed, 161 asymptomatic cases

China has reported 20 new confirmed and 161 new asymptomatic Covid-19 cases for October 25, following a surge in symptomless infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new confirmed cases were imported infections originating from overseas. Of the 161 new symptomless infections, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, 137 were locally transmitted.

Kashgar in Xinjiang region on Saturday started testing its 4.75 million people after detecting an asymptomatic patient at a garment factory. Another 137 asymptomatic cases have been reported on Oct. 25 due to the tests being conducted.

A total of 85,810 confirmed Covid-19 cases have been reported in mainland China to date, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

Australia's virus hot spot reports zero cases

Australia's coronavirus hot spot of Victoria has reported zero cases of the new coronavirus for the first time since June, a day after the state delayed the easing of restrictions because of a fresh outbreak in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

The five million residents of Melbourne, Victoria's state capital, have been placed under a hard lockdown since July to contain the spread of the virus, shutting down businesses and restricting people's movements.

The city was just emerging from a second wave after the lockdown helped bring down daily cases to single digits in recent days from a peak of 700 in early August.

But clusters in five suburbs had sparked fears of a new outbreak.

Australia has so far recorded just over 27,500 Covid-19 infections, far fewer than many other developed countries.

Victoria, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the 905 deaths nationally, did not record any new deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours. 

Slovakia's mass coronavirus testing attracts tens of thousands

Slovakia's pilot testing in coronavirus hotspots attracted tens of thousands people over the weekend, showing an infection rate of 3.87 percent, government data showed.

The government plans to widen the scope to the whole country next weekend and hopes the antigen tests, along with a partial lockdown, can help curbing a sharp rise in infections.

The tests were administered between Friday and Sunday at around 235 sites in four northern regions that are home to about 180,000 people.

In the regular tests done since the pandemic started, Slovakia reported a record 3,042 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 43,843. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies