England Lockdown Widens; N.Y. Orders Visitor Tests: Virus Update
The U.S. reported 99,325 new cases Friday, the most for any country in a single day as infections and hospitalizations surged in the lead-up to the presidential election.
Austria announced a second lockdown as countries across Europe stepped up restrictions to control the outbreak. Germany reported more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases Saturday before it began a partial shutdown Monday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel vowing to do “everything necessary” to cushion the blow to businesses.
- Global Tracker: Cases surpass 45.7 million; deaths top 1.19 million
- Hospitals are under strain across Europe and North America
- Cost-cutting at America’s nursing homes made Covid-19 even worse
- Operation Warp Speed could shape up to be an $18 billion bargain
- Lockdowns overshadow record growth in euro area’s big four
- How do people catch Covid-19?: QuickTake
- Vaccine Tracker: Clinical trials restart in hopeful sign
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Johnson Announces a Partial Lockdown for England (3:17 p.m. NY)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a partial lockdown for England in a bid to contain a resurgent coronavirus outbreak that’s spreading faster than the government’s worst-case projections.
The lockdown will start on Thursday, pending a vote in parliament, and last until at least early December, Johnson said on Saturday in a televised press conference. All but essential shops will close, as will restaurants and bars, though schools and universities will remain open.
The prime minister also announced that state payments will be made to furloughed workers of as much as 80% of their wages through the new lockdown period.
South Dakota’s Fatalities Double in October (3:06 p.m. NY)
South Dakota’s virus death toll almost doubled in October to 425, with another 10 fatalities reported Saturday. The state, which ranks among the worst hit per capita, reported 1,434 new infections, its second highest during the outbreak and fifth day this week over 1,000.
Arizona’s Spike Continues (2:41 p.m. NY)
Arizona’s cases spiked again, to 1,901 on Saturday, the most since August when the state was still battling its deadly summer surge. It was the sixth day this week with cases over 1,000, after roughly two months of cases in the hundreds.
Italy Still Studying Further Restrictions, Prime Minister Says (2:31 p.m. NY)
Italy has not yet decided whether to impose further restrictions to combat the virus’s renewed spread, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in an online forum on Saturday. He said expecting distribution of a vaccine before spring is unrealistic.
Conte will address parliament Monday, earlier than originally planned, on possible new measures against the spread of the coronavirus, Ansa news agency reported Saturday. The session will be followed by a meeting Monday evening to lay out a new decree to govern the restrictions.
The government could opt for lockdowns of some major cities that have been particularly hard hit, including Milan and Naples
Factions in the government have continued to battle over the fate of schools, which remain open except for high schools, where classes have moved online, Italian media reported.
Greece Breaks Record, Imposes New Curbs (1:23 p.m. NY)
Greece recorded 2,056 new cases Saturday, the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic and the first time the number has exceeded 2,000.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Saturday a partial lockdown for high-risk areas, including Athens, where restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums, theaters and gyms will now be closed. A curfew will start half an hour earlier, at midnight.
Slovakia Begins Testing Entire Nation (1:11 p.m. NY)
Slovakia embarked on its plan to test the entire nation of 5.5 million with cheap rapid antigen kits as new cases continued to break records. After five hours of the two-day operation run by the military, more than 99% of testing stations were operating and more than 800,000 citizens participated, with a 1% infection rate, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad told journalists on Saturday.
Ireland Infections Fall After Lockdown (1:07 p.m. NY)
Ireland reported the fewest new coronavirus cases in almost a month, even as cases rise elsewhere in Europe. The country reported 416 new cases Saturday, the lowest number since October 4. Ireland was among the first European nations to impose a second lockdown 10 days ago. At that stage, the country was reporting more than 1,000 cases per day.
New York Sets 3-Day Quarantine for Visitors (12:41 a.m. NY)
New York State will require visitors to test negative for Covid-19 before arrival and then quarantine for three days before taking a second test on the fourth day, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday in a call with reporters.
The rule, replacing the current quarantine list that includes most of the country, will apply to all states except for those neighboring New York, such as Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he said.
Visitors who choose not to get tested on the 4th day must stay in isolation for 14 days. The proof of negative tests, required upon arrival, must be obtained within three days of entering New York. The rule will be enforced by airports and local health departments in the state.
U.K. Surpasses 1 Million Virus Cases (12:12 p.m NY)
The U.K. passed more than a million confirmed cases of Covid-19 as Boris Johnson considers a month-long national lockdown across England starting next week.
There were 21,915 cases reported on Saturday, bringing the total to 1,011,660. About half of the cases have been reported this month as the expansion of testing and contact tracing fails to slow the pandemic’s spread.
There were 326 deaths reported Saturday, 100 more than the previous seven-day average and the third day this week the figure was over 300.
Austria Starts Second Lockdown (12:04 p.m. NY)
Austria imposed a second lockdown starting on Tuesday to curb the spread of the the coronavirus pandemic that had become “explosive” in the country last week, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Saturday.
Events, hotels and restaurants will have to close, except for takeaway food and business travel, Kurz said. Gyms, cinemas and theaters will be shuttered. However, schools for students younger than 14 years will stay open this time, as will shops and services like hair dressers. Restrictions on leaving the home apply only at night.
Companies shuttered by the lockdown will receive subsidies equivalent to 80% of their revenue a year earlier if they don’t fire their staff. The state wage subsidy program will be expanded again.
Women’s Tennis No. 2 Tests Positive (10:36 a.m. NY)
Simona Halep, the second-ranked women’s tennis player, said on Twitter she is in quarantine with Covid-19.
U.S. Midwest Leads Latest Virus Surge (8:40 a.m. NY)
With the U.S. reporting almost 100,000 new cases on Friday just days ahead of the election, North Dakota led the increase in infections with a 6.8% rise in cases to 43,916, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana and Missouri had the next-biggest increases, ranging from 4.2% to 3.1%. Colorado, Kansas and Wisconsin all showed 2.4% increases.
Texas reported the most new deaths at 109.
Iran New Cases Decline for Second Day (7:50 a.m. NY)
The number of new infections in Iran fell for a second day to 7,820 after reaching a record on Thursday. The Health Ministry reported 386 more deaths from Covid-19 overnight, taking the total to 34,864. The country’s national coronavirus taskforce announced a series of closures across Tehran and two dozen other major cities.
Greece Tightens Curbs to Slow Outbreak (7:33 a.m. NY)
Greece is taking further steps to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a surge this week saw daily cases surpass 1,000 for the first time since March. The country will be divided into two zones -- high risk and under surveillance -- with northern Greece and the capital, Athens, and its region in the first category. “We must act now before intensive care units bend under the weight of endangered lives,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
Belgium Intensive-Care Patients Rise to 1,105 (7:32 a.m. NY)
Belgium reported 1,105 patients in intensive care units on Saturday, up 48 from the previous day and near the peak reached during the first wave of the outbreak. The nation of 11 million people, which hosts the European Union’s main institutions and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, announced a lockdown Friday amid fears that its healthcare system could be overwhelmed.
Poland Sees Nearly 22,000 New Cases (5:31 p.m. HK)
Infections in Poland increased by 21,897 on Friday, and deaths rose by 280 to 5,631, according to the Health Ministry. More than 500,000 people are in quarantine in the country. The increases come after government employees were ordered to work from home for two weeks, with private companies also encouraged to send staff home.
England Considers Month-Long Clampdown (5:24 p.m. HK)
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is considering a one-month stay-at-home order for England from next week to check a dramatic surge in coronavirus infections, the BBC reported. Schools and universities would be exempted from the measures, which could be imposed from next week. The move would see the government abandon its plan to tackle localized hot spots rather than impose a nationwide lockdown.
Germany Adds More Than 20,000 Cases (5 p.m. HK)
Infections rose by 21,535 in the 24 hours through Saturday morning. The daily increase to 527,916 was less than Thursday’s record of 23,553, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But it confirms a trend that cases continue to rise at levels which German Chancellor Angela Merkel called a “dramatic situation.” The number of deaths rose by 129, the second time this month that Germany recorded more than 100 daily fatalities.
Merkel said in a podcast that the government would do “everything necessary” to cushion the blow to businesses from the restrictions. She will meet with business leaders on Wednesday.
Russia Infections Stand at 1.6 Million (3:45 p.m. HK)
Russia reported 18,140 new infections on Saturday, bringing the total to 1.6 million cases, according to data from the government’s National Virus Response Center.
Russia has so far resisted returning to a nationwide lockdown to battle a second wave of infections, with major cities across the country introducing their own restrictions. Authorities have issued a nationwide requirement to wear a mask when in public.
U.K. Pares Daily Test Target (1:48 p.m. HK)
The U.K. government has significantly pared its year-end coronavirus testing target to around one million a day from nearly two million, the Financial Times reported.
The government had planned to increase testing to about 1.9 million by end-December from 500,000 daily tests in October, the paper said, citing NHS Test and Trace documents it saw. However, the effort has been hampered by the slower-than-expected roll-out of tests due to delays in the process for validating new technology, according to two unidentified people familiar with the matter.
CVS, Walgreens Among Pharmacies Set to Give Vaccines (11:01 a.m. HK)
About a dozen pharmacy chains will partner with the U.S. federal government to administer Covid-19 vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
CVS Health Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Walmart Inc. are among those that have enrolled to receive vaccines directly from the CDC. They represent about 35,000 stores, and the CDC anticipates more chains will sign up. Participating pharmacies are expected to start administering vaccines during phase two, when more doses become available.
U.S. Reports Record Infections for Second Day (9:50 a.m. HK)
The U.S. reported 99,325 cases Friday, the most since the start of the outbreak for a second day in a row. The record came in the final days of a presidential race in which Trump’s management of the virus is a central issue, and infections and hospitalizations are rising especially fast in several key states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
It was the fourth time in the last week that a national record was broken. The first Covid-19 case in the U.S. was reported in January in Washington State.
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