Covid-19: Czech Republic to declare state of emergency as Dutch cases reach new record daily high

World round-up: New York to impose fines on people who refuse to wear face covering

Students complete a temperature check before entering their first day of the school year for elementary classrooms at Public School 102 in Queens. New York City. Photograph: Sarah Blesener/The New York Times

Students complete a temperature check before entering their first day of the school year for elementary classrooms at Public School 102 in Queens. New York City. Photograph: Sarah Blesener/The New York Times

 

More than 33.6 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded worldwide with more than 1 million deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

The following is a summary of the latest developments on the virus around the world:

Europe

The Czech Republic’s government plans to declare a state of emergency from Monday, allowing it to put stricter limits on public gatherings and shut schools to stop the spread of the new coronavirus from overwhelming the health system. The country of 10.7 million reported 1,965 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the fourth straight day below 2,000 after a recent surge, health ministry data showed on Wednesday. The country has seen Europe’s second largest jump in cases of the novel coronavirus, behind Spain. The state of emergency itself does not mean any draconic steps but gives the government more power to limit activities including businesses.

Norway will allow most amateur team sports to resume in mid-October and permit larger crowds at matches, as the government looks to ease nationwide restrictions enforced to contain the coronavirus epidemic. The changes will take effect on October 12th, prime minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday, while warning that localised spikes in Covid-19 infections might require tighter restrictions on movement in some parts of the country. Norway went into a national lockdown in mid-March and quickly saw a sharp fall in new cases that led to a gradual easing of restrictions from May. But cases have risen again, notably in Oslo and some other regions, in the past two months. As of Tuesday, Norway has recorded 13,788 cases and 274 coronavirus-linked deaths.

New coronavirus infections in the Netherlands reached a new record daily high of 3,294 on Wednesday, data released by health authorities showed. The number of new coronavirus cases has reached record heights almost every day since mid-September, and passed the 3,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday. The Dutch government on Monday imposed a raft of new measures to stem the rise in infections.

Britain’s parliamentary speaker reprimanded the government for disregarding the House of Commons with its Covid-19 measures. British prime minister Boris Johnson was reprimanded on Wednesday for treating lawmakers with contempt by rushing through far-reaching Covid-19 restrictions without proper scrutiny.

Romania’s spike exceeded 2,000 new daily cases and Belgium’s death toll crossed 10,000.

Italy is likely to extend a state of emergency to help keep the health crisis under control, a senior official said.

Finland and Poland slapped new curfews on bars and restaurants, while German chancellor Angela Merkel said the country would restrict the size of gatherings and fine people who flout tracking rules.

Hundreds of junior Spanish doctors took to the streets of Barcelona to demand better working conditions as they struggle against a second wave of infections.

Americas

New York City will impose fines on people who refuse to wear a face covering as the rate of positive tests for the novel coronavirus climbed above 3 per cent for the first time in months, mayor Bill de Blasio said. New York City officials announced Tuesday a significant uptick in the citywide daily rate of positive virus tests, which was in part attributable to a rise in cases in nine ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens, some in predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities that have largely ignored public health guidance, like wearing masks. In a news conference, Mr de Blasio announced a daily rate of 3.25 per cent, the highest daily rate since June. On Monday, the daily rate was 1.93 per cent and for weeks it had generally held between 1 per cent and 2 per cent on most days.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday she hoped to have a coronavirus aid deal with the White House this week, after speaking with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Walt Disney said on Tuesday it will lay off roughly 28,000 employees, mostly at its US theme parks, where attendance has been crushed by the pandemic, especially in California where Disneyland remains closed.

Canada’s federal authorities and its two biggest provinces promised new measures to combat a second wave that is notching up as many cases as during the pandemic’s peak in April.

Colombia will extend a selective quarantine for the duration of October.

Asia-Pacific

India’s coronavirus case tally surged to 6.23 million after it reported 80,472 new infections in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday.

Japanese health workers are snubbing the government’s real-time COVID-19 database, with just 40 per cent of medical institutions using it.

Australia’s hotspot of Victoria state maintained its steady downward trend in new infections as states began easing internal border closures.

Middle East

Israel’s parliament approved a government-backed edict on Wednesday likely to stifle protests against prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged corruption and his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The physician heading a Phase III clinical trial in Pakistan for a Chinese vaccine candidate has urged people to volunteer.

Russia has clinched a deal with Egypt to supply it with 25 million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine.

World Bank

World Bank president David Malpass said on Tuesday he is seeking board approval for a $12 billion coronavirus vaccine financing plan to help poor and developing countries secure a sufficient share of vaccine doses when they become available in the coming months. Mr Malpass told Reuters that the initiative, part of $160 billion in coronavirus aid financing pledged by the multilateral lender, is aimed at helping countries procure and distribute vaccines early to healthcare and other essential workers and expand global production. He said the board was expected to consider the plan in early October.

Medical developments

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said its experimental two-antibody cocktail reduced viral levels and improved symptoms in non-hospitalised patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19.

Results from an early safety study showed Moderna Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate appeared safe and showed signs of working in older adults, researchers said.

Germany’s CureVac NV said it has started a mid-stage study testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine and plans to begin a decisive global trial with about 30,000 volunteers in the fourth quarter.–Reuters