Coronavirus live news: France sees record new cases; WHO warns it's 'not too late' to take critical actio

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How the Vienna shooting unfolded: final hours of freedom puncture..... suggests.

How the Vienna shooting unfolded: final hours of freedom punctured by terror

Ben Doherty and Helen Sullivan

Monday night in Vienna was supposed to be a last chance at freedom.

The weather was mild, and as the hours ticked down before a nationwide coronavirus curfew largely shut down the city for a month, the bars and restaurants of the “Bermuda triangle” – a network of narrow, fashionable lanes in the old city’s 1st district – were busy.

Diners and drinkers sat at tables outside, enjoying a last moment of revelry before another pandemic lockdown amid the full blast of winter.

Without warning, at 8pm on Seitenstettengasse street, a winding cobbled boulevard a block back from the Danube Canal, the shooting started:

Updated

Having kept Covid-19 from its shores for more than 10 months - remaining coronavirus-free until October - Solomon Islands has just recorded another five cases, bringing the national total to 13.

The prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, said all five cases were detected in passengers on a repatriation flight, four had ultimately come from the UK, the other case from Korea.

“All five new cases have been transferred to the national referral hospital isolation units. These five new cases bring the total number of cases from the flight from Auckland to nine. The total number of cases registered in Solomon Islands now is 13,” he said.

Sogavare also sought to reassure the Solomons public that all cases had been contained within the isolation stations in Honiara and the threat of community transmission was low.

The Pacific remains the least Covid-infected region on the planet, aided by remote geography and early and strict border closures. But Pacific economies, already fragile and having been cut off from the outside world for months, are suffering acutely.

Globally, only the small and remote island nations and territories of Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Island, Tokelau and Vanuatu are believed to be still free of the virus.

US election 2020: what kind of president would Joe Biden be?

If Joe Biden is elected president this week – as the US nears 9.3m coronavirus cases – it will be the culmination of a career in politics that has seen successes as well as controversies. Journalist and biographer Evan Osnos examines what his past can tell us about the kind of president he could become:

Mexico’s health ministry reported on Monday 3,763 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 205 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 933,155 and the death toll to 92,100.

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

One of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions has reopened, eight months after it was forced to close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Just 18 people, selected by lottery, watched the early-morning tuna auction at Toyosu market, which replacedthe fabled, but ageing, Tsukiji market two years ago.

The visitors had their temperatures taken, and were required to wear masks and provide contact information, before watching the 30-minute auction unfold from a viewing deck on Monday. Traders at the market were also wearing masks.
The daily auctions drew 120 people a time before the pandemic, but capacity has been cut to 27.

Wholesalers check the quality of fresh tuna displayed during the tuna auctions, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Toyosu fish market in Tokyo, Japan August 25, 2020.
Wholesalers check the quality of fresh tuna displayed during the tuna auctions, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Toyosu fish market in Tokyo, Japan August 25, 2020. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

“There weren’t so many people watching, so I could enjoy it without worrying too much about the virus,” a Tokyo woman who had taken her two young sons to the auction told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

The auctions of enormous tuna were a must-see for many foreign tourists before the pandemic prompted Japanto impose sweeping travel restrictions, reducing visitor numbers to practically zero.

While domestic tourism has been boosted by the heavily subsidised Go To Travel campaign, Japan’s government is still pinning its hopes on a resumption of mass inbound tourism to promote economic growth. The prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, said this month he had not abandoned the country’s target of attracting 60 million visitors by 2030.

China reports 49 new cases

China reported 49 new Covid-19 cases for 2 November, up from 24 a day earlier, the national health authority reported on Tuesday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement 44 of the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas.

People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus ride on a subway train in Beijing, Thursday, 29 October, 2020.
People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus ride on a subway train in Beijing, Thursday, 29 October, 2020. Photograph: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

The commission also reported 61 new asymptomatic cases, compared with 30 a day earlier. Of the total new asymptomatic cases, 13 came from the northwestern Xinjiang region. Authorities in the region conducted large scale testing after a recent outbreak.

China does not classify symptomless patients as confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The total number of confirmed cases in China now stands at 86,070, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has dealt with 194 coronavirus-related incidents involving hostile states and criminal gangs, which led to the overall number of serious hacker attacks reaching an all time record of 723 over the past year.

The intelligence unit said that while Russia and other states – such as China – had targeted British vaccine research, it was criminal gangs who frequently targeted other parts of the NHS, often to attempt online fraud.

A frequent method of attack used by both groups was spear phishing, creating plausible emails targeted at key individuals designed to encourage them to click on a link to malware or to obtain more information by deception.

“Nation state actors are using Covid as a theme, sending what appear to be news articles from popular media outlets in an attempt to encourage targets to click on what are dangerous links,” warned Paul Chichester, director of operations:

Panama president self-isolating

Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has began self-isolating after a close coworker tested positive for the coronavirus, the presidency said on Monday, without revealing the name or position of the person who was infected.

Cortizo has taken two coronavirus tests, which were both negative, but will continue isolating “until he repeats the tests in a few days”, the presidency said on Twitter.

Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo attends a ceremony at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City on 12 October 2020.
Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo attends a ceremony at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City on 12 October 2020. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Canada announces new requirements for travellers

The Canadian government has announced hat travellers must comply with new regulations when entering the country, Reuters reports. These include:

  • Travellers to provide information upon and after entry into Canada, including quarantine plan and contact and travel information
  • As of Nov 21, air travellers whose final destination is Canada to submit information electronically via “ArriveCan” before boarding flight
  • Travellers must be ready to show their ArriveCan receipt when seeking entry into Canada
  • Travellers who don’t submit information digitally before boarding flight may be subject to action from verbal warnings to $1,000 fine
  • Travellers entering Canada by land or marine modes encouraged to continue ArriveCan by downloading mobile app or signing in online
  • Travellers can show their arrive can receipt to a border services officer when seeking entry into Canada
  • Within 48 hours of entering Canada, travellers must confirm they have arrived at their place of quarantine or isolation

Universities in England still grappling with the impact of Covid-19 are facing “significant” financial risks from high drop-out rates and soaring pension costs, according to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The IFS annual report on education spending says there will be funding shortfalls in colleges and universities, where the pension deficit has increased from £3.6bn in March 2018 to an estimated £21.5bn last August.

Researchers say there will be mounting long-term costs for the government, with a predicted £12bn shortfall in student loan repayments as graduates struggle to find work in a labour market devastated by the pandemic. For universities, there are likely to be additional losses from accommodation, conferences and catering.

New Zealanders coming home for Christmas warned quarantine hotels may be full

New Zealand’s quarantine hotels are approaching capacity as the military warns there may not be room to house Kiwis planning to return home for Christmas.

Some 65,000 people have passed through New Zealand’s quarantine hotels since the borders closed in mid-March. Despite the facilities generally being four- and five-star establishments, there have been multiple escape attempts from them, and they have been denounced by a conservative US television host as “Covid camps”.

Now seven weeks out from Christmas, Air Commodore Darryn Webb, who is charged with overseeing the management of the hotels, has warned that many Kiwis will be disappointed if they haven’t prebooked their Christmas travels as the quarantine accommodation available for that period is nearly at capacity.

This comes as a new system beginning Tuesday requires returning New Zealanders to have booked a place in a managed isolation facility in advance of boarding a flight home:

Diego Maradona has been admitted to hospital in Argentina with undisclosed “health problems” although it is not related to Covid-19 and his condition is not thought to be serious, his personal doctor and local media reported on Monday:

Before we continue, a moment of joy:

As in other big European countries grappling with a resurgence of the disease, the French government ordered a four-week second national lockdown on Friday, as earlier curfew measures failed to have an impact, Reuters reports.

Experts say restrictive moves to contain the disease generally take two weeks to start showing an effect.

During France’s first lockdown, from March 17 to May 11, Covid-19 hospitalisations kept increasing until April 14, reaching an all-time high of 32,292.

At 25,784, a total that has more than doubled in 12 days, the current number of hospitalisations, at a four-months high, is rapidly closing in on that record.
The number of people in intensive care units (ICUs) has increased by 152, to 3,730, which is also a fourth-month high.

The Covid-19 death toll rose by 416 to 37,435, compared with an increase of 231 on Sunday and a months-high seven-day moving average of 345.

France sees record number of new Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations spike

France’s reported a record 52,518 new Covid-19 on Monday and the number of people hospitalised with the disease rose by more than a 1,000 for the fourth time in eight days, as the pandemic showing no signs of abating despite a new lockdown.

The timing of the latest daily record could be seen as particularly worrisome as Mondays have, until now, seen a dip in new cases reported due to fewer tests being carried out on a Sunday.

The cumulative number of cases now totals 1,466,433 in France, the fifth-highest total in the world behind the United States, India, Brasil and Russia.

The WHO chief spoke from his first day in quarantine Monday after coming in contact with someone with Covid-19. But, the organisation said, he does not need to be tested for now.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced late Sunday on Twitter that he would be self-quarantining for the next two weeks, after someone he had been in contact with tested positive for the deadly virus.

“I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine in the coming days, in line with WHO protocols,” he told a virtual press briefing, speaking from his home.

“At this time, it is critically important that we all comply with health guidance,” he said.

“This is how we will break chains of transmission, suppress the virus, and protect health systems.”

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photograph: Christopher Black/World Health Organization/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking from Tedros’s usual perch in the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, emergencies director Michael Ryan told reporters there was no requirement for the UN agency’s leader to get tested unless he started feeling sick.

“His testing will depend on the arrival of symptoms or otherwise and he may be tested in the days to come,” he said, stressing though that WHO’s “current protocol doesn’t require that he be tested.”

“He is at home, in quarantine and as you can see very well, working away and continuing to do his job in supporting the world.”

Ryan stressed that WHO’s internal procedures to reduce the risk of infection were good.

WHO warns it's 'not too late' to take critical action

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in some countries in Europe and North America presented leaders with a “critical moment for action”.

“This is another critical moment for action,” he said. “Another critical moment for leaders to step up. And another critical moment for people to come together for a common purpose. Seize the opportunity, it’s not too late.”

Tedros was addressing a regular WHO news briefing in Geneva from self-isolation at home after announcing on Twitter that he had been in contact with a person infected with Covid-19.

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coronavirus coverage with me, Helen Sullivan. As always, I am on Twitter @helenrsullivan should you wish to say Hello.

Speaking from quarantine after being confirmed as a contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in some countries in Europe and North America presented leaders with a “critical moment for action”.

France’s reported a record 52,518 new Covid-19 on Monday and the number of people hospitalised with the disease rose by more than a 1,000 for the fourth time in eight days, as the pandemic showing no signs of abating despite a new lockdown.

Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:

  • Portugal considering state of emergency to tackle Covid-19. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he is pondering declaring a state of emergency as a preventive measure to fight the spread of the coronavirus at a time when infections are soaring.Hours after Prime Minister Antonio Costa asked the president to declare the state of emergency, Rebelo de Sousa said in an interview with RTP Television he was considering the request, explaining it would include specific measures to combat the pandemic but not a “total or nearly total” lockdown.
  • Italy’s coronavirus strategy is ‘wasting time’, says scientific advisor. Italy is working towards measures that could include a national 9pm curfew, a ban on inter-regional travel and the closure of shopping malls at weekends. But scientists have for weeks been urging the government to take tougher action, such as imposing local lockdowns, as infections escalate and hospitals come under strain.
  • Slovakia carries out Covid mass testing of two-thirds of population. Two-thirds of Slovakia’s population of 5.4 million people were tested for coronavirus over the weekend as part of a programme aimed at making it one of the first countries to test its entire population.
  • Germany begins ‘light lockdown’. Germany goes into “lockdown light” mode today, as the country’s disease control agency recorded 12,097 new confirmed Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours. Bars, cinemas, theatres, museums, fitness studios and swimming pools will remain closed from today, while cafes and restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway food only. Meetings in public are restricted to two households and no more than 10 people. Unlike during the first lockdown in the spring, schools and nurseries will stay open.
  • Coronavirus infections fall for third day straight in the Netherlands. The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by nearly 8,300 over the past 24 hours, the slowest pace in roughly two weeks.
  • Iran reports record high Covid death toll as travel bans go into force. Iran reported a record 440 Covid deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing the country’s death toll to 35,738 as a ban on travel in and out of major cities came into force.
  • Donald Trump tries to stoke fears of Covid lockdown under Joe Biden. In the final hours before election day, one of Trump’s closing messages to Americans was an exaggerated threat: that a Joe Biden presidency will result in a national Covid-19 lockdown. Speaking in Iowa on Sunday, the president said the election was a “choice between a deadly Biden lockdown … or a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.
  • The European Union (EU) has agreed to provide Mozambique with 100 million euros ($116.30 million) in coronavirus-related aid. The EU cut off direct budget support to Mozambique in 2016 after the country revealed the existence of hefty state-guaranteed loans that it had not previously disclosed.
  • T-cell Covid immunity ‘present in adults six months after first infection’. Cellular (T-cell) immunity against the virus that causes Covid-19 is likely to be present within most adults six months after primary infection, with levels considerably higher in patients with symptoms, a study suggests.
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