The coronavirus pandemic has killed over a million people and infected more than 34.5 million worldwide. Here are the developments for October 2:

Medical workers of the Medical Emergency Services of Madrid run rapid tests for Covid-19 at the Lope de Vega Cultural Center in Madrid, Spain, October 2, 2020.
Medical workers of the Medical Emergency Services of Madrid run rapid tests for Covid-19 at the Lope de Vega Cultural Center in Madrid, Spain, October 2, 2020. (AFP)

Friday, October 2, 2020

Covid-19 epidemic in Europe worrying – EU Commission

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said the Covid-19 epidemic in Europe was again worrying and it remained necessary to remain focused on tackling it.

"The epidemiological situation is worrying. So we must stay very focused to avoid a return to the dire situation we experienced last spring," von der Leyen told a news conference after a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. 

She said the EU was making progress in acquiring potential vaccines against the new virus. 

"Progress on vaccines is the key to a long-term solution to this crisis," she said.

France sees over 12,000 cases

The French Health Ministry has reported 12,148 new confirmed coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, lower than Thursday's 13,970 and well below highs of over 16,000 seen last week.

The total number of infections since the start of the epidemic rose to 589,653. France also reported 136 new deaths from coronavirus - the highest daily toll since mid-May - for a cumulative total of 32,155. 

Last Friday it had already reported a death toll of 150 in one day.

Hospital admissions for Covid-19 rose by 106 to 6,758 and intensive care admissions by 11 to 1,276, continuing an uptrend from recent weeks.

Turkey reports over 1,400 new infections

Turkey has reported 1,442 new coronavirus patients and 1,506 recoveries in the last 24 hours. 

Overall infections now stand at 321,512, including 282,657 recoveries. 

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter the rate of patients with pneumonia dropped, adding that the number of recoveries today is higher than the number of new patients. 

Koca also urged the nation for unity in fighting the disease. 

Biden tests negative for coronavirus

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has tested negative for coronavirus, three days after his debate with Donald Trump, who has contracted the illness.

"I'm happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for Covid," Biden said. 

"I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands."

Minutes before, his doctor Kevin O'Connor issued a statement via the former vice president's campaign about the negative result.

"Vice President Joe Biden and Dr Jill Biden underwent PCR testing for Covid-19 today and Covid-19 was not detected," O'Connor said.

Madrid readies for partial lockdown

Madrid was set to go into partial lockdown on Friday night, complying with an order from the Spanish government but determined to fight it in the courts.

Measures that ban all nonessential trips in and out of the capital and nine of its suburbs, covering around 4.8 million people, were set to be enacted at 10 pm (2000 GMT).

Spain's Socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, said there was a “critical” need to take the new steps in the European coronavirus hot spot.

But officials in Madrid, whose regional government is managed by the conservative Popular Party, balked at the order, saying it would bring chaos and further the sap the economy's health.

It filed an appeal at the National Court against the new measures.

Under the national order, travellers will need to prove that they are going to or from work, to see a doctor or to conduct essential administrative or legal errands in order to leave Madrid or the town where they live.

Restaurants must close at 11 pm and shops at 10 pm, with a restriction of 50 percent capacity.

Similar measures already apply to more than 1 million residents, and the region has limited social gatherings to a maximum of six people.

Madrid's legal challenge argues that restrictions violate regional self-rule laws.

Madrid is leading the resurgence of the virus in Spain, which has Europe's highest cumulative caseload, 770,000 since the onset of the pandemic.

Russia to begin Phase III trials of second vaccine in Nov-Dec

Russia will begin Phase III trials of a second potential vaccine against Covid-19, developed by Siberia's Vector Institute, in November-December, the TASS news agency cited Russian consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

Early-stage clinical trials for the vaccine were completed on Wednesday. 

British coronavirus cases rise by 6,968

Britain reported 6,968 new Covid-19 cases, up from Thursday's figure of 6,914 but below the peak of 7,143 given on Tuesday.

There were 66 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, up from Thursday's level of 59 but lower than numbers earlier in the week. 

Poland reports over 2,000 daily cases for first time

Poland reported a new record of 2,292 daily coronavirus cases, according to the health ministry's Twitter account.

The country reported 27 deaths related to Covid-19 on Friday. In total, the country of 38 million has reported 95,773 cases of the coronavirus and 2,570 deaths. 

Ukraine reports record daily high of 4,633 new coronavirus cases

Ukraine registered a record 4,633 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 4,069 new cases reported on Thursday and the biggest daily jump since the start of the epidemic.

The daily tally of coronavirus infections spiked in late September and early October above 4,000, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of October.

The council said a total of 217,661 cases had been registered in Ukraine as of October 2, with 4,261 deaths.

Indonesia reports 4,317 new infections, 116 deaths

Indonesia reported 4,317 new coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the country's total number of cases to 295,499, official data from the health ministry showed.

The Southeast Asian nation also reported 116 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 10,972. 

Malaysia reports 287 new cases, biggest daily jump

Malaysia reported 287 new coronavirus cases, according to the health ministry, the highest daily increase since the country started tracking the spread of the pandemic.

The Southeast Asian country has reported a total of 11,771 cases of the virus so far, including 136 deaths.

US Senator Mike Lee tested positive for coronavirus

Republican US Senator Mike Lee said he had tested positive for Covid-19 and would remain isolated for 10 days, but said he would be back to work in time to consider the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

"Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday's test came back positive," Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter. 

India's death toll nears to 100,000

India’s fatalities are closing on 100,000 with another 1,095 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

The update by the Health Ministry raised India’s death toll to 99,773.

Its reported deaths are low for a country with nearly 1.4 billion people and more than 6.3 million confirmed cases, but experts say it may not be counting many fatalities.

The ministry also reported 81,484 new cases.

Total cases jumped from 1 million in mid-July to more than 6 million in less than 2 1/2 months.

Indonesia reports 4,317 new coronavirus infections

Indonesia reported 4,317 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country's total number of cases to 295,499, official data from the health ministry showed.

The Southeast Asian nation also reported 116 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 10,972. 

Irish High Court rules government virus travel advice is legal

Ireland's High Court ruled that the government's advice against non-essential travel to most countries due to the risk of Covid-19 infection was legal, dismissing a case brought by low-cost airline Ryanair.

Philippines reports 2,611 novel coronavirus cases

The Philippines' health ministry confirmed 2,611 new virus infections and 56 additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections in the country had reached 316,678, the highest number in Southeast Asia, while deaths had increased to 5,616. 

Travel reopens between Australia, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have announced a partial opening of their borders to international travel between the neighbouring countries.

Australian Transport Minister Michael McCormack says passengers will be able to fly to Sydney and Darwin without going into quarantine from October 16 if they have spent at least two weeks in parts of New Zealand that are not considered Covid-19 hot spots.

But New Zealand will continue to insist on travellers from Australia going into hotel quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

India’s contracting economy rebooting from blow 

Millions of distressed Indian manufacturers and traders are counting on the eagerly-awaited October-December festive season to rescue them from their virus catastrophe.

But spending may be the last thing on the minds of many Indians who have lost their jobs or businesses in the pandemic downturn, and pressure is building for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do more to regain the momentum of growth that, at 8.2 percent in 2016-17, made India one of the fastest-growing major economies.

This year will likely lack the customary pomp and show, given the need for masks and social distancing with the pandemic still raging and no vaccine yet available.

Australia's Victoria state says daily cases near 4-month low

New daily infections in Australia's hotspot state Victoria have fallen to a near four-month low, authorities said, as other states recorded only imported cases raising the prospect of more domestic borders reopening.

The state of Queensland flagged it may open its border with the country's most populous state New South Wales (NSW) from November 1, if NSW records no local cases for 28 days. NSW has posted six straight days of no local cases.

The second most populous state Victoria said seven people have been diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours, down from 15 on Thursday and near the four-month low of five cases reported on September 28.

Mainland China reports 10 cases 

Mainland China reported 10 new virus cases, down from 11 a day earlier, the country's health authority reported.

The National Health Commission said in a statement all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not count as confirmed virus cases, rose to 33 from 10 a day earlier.

The total number of infections in the mainland now stands at 85,424, while the total number of deaths remained unchanged at 4,634. 

Germany's cases rise by 2,673 to 294,395 

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany increased by 2,673 to 294,395, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 8 to 9,508, the tally showed.

President Trump and first lady test positive

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the virus. 

The positive test comes a month until the election and after the president has spent the year largely downplaying the threat of the virus.

Trump’s positive test comes just hours after the White House announced that senior aide Hope Hicks had come down with the virus after travelling with the president several times this week. 

Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and looked to be in good health. Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has now killed more than 205,000 people nationwide.

Philippine's Manila Boracay beach reopens 

Two of the most popular Philippine tourist destinations, including the Boracay beach, have partially reopened with only a fraction of their usual crowds showing up given continuing virus restrictions.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that 35 local tourists, including seven from Manila, came on the first day of the reopening of Boracay, a central island famous for its powdery white sands, azure waters and stunning sunsets. 

Only local tourists from regions with low-level quarantine designations could go, subject to safeguards, including tests showing a visitor is virus-free.

British MP apologises for travelling to London to attend a virus debate

A British lawmaker has apologised for travelling to London to attend a virus debate in Parliament despite having the virus symptoms. She also took a train home to Scotland after getting a positive test.

The Scottish National Party suspended Margaret Ferrier after she said that “there is no excuse for my actions” and that she had reported herself to police.

People in Britain are told they must self-isolate if they have virus symptoms and while they are waiting for a test result.

Czech Republic reports 3,493 cases

The Czech Republic recorded 3,493 new virus cases the highest daily count since the global pandemic reached the country in March, data by the Health Ministry showed.

The overall number of confirmed cases grew to 74,255 in the country of 10.7 million, where 678 people have died in connection with the illness. 

Mexico's cases up to 748,315

Mexico's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 748,315, according to updated data from the health ministry, along with a total reported death toll of 78,078.

Authorities reported 5,099 new cases and 432 deaths, but the true figures are likely significantly higher due to little testing.

Nearly 20,000 Amazon workers test positive for Covid-19

Amazon says that nearly 20,000 of its front-line US workers tested positive or been presumed positive for the coronavirus.

But the online retail behemoth, revealing the data for the first time, said the infection rate of its employees is well below that seen in the general US population. The disclosure comes after months of pressure from Amazon workers and labour groups calling for the company to divulge the virus numbers.

Amazon said in a corporate blog that it provided the data as part of its effort to keep employees informed, and to share details and best practices with governments and other companies.

Trump's adviser Hope Hicks tests positive

Hope Hicks, a top adviser to President Donald Trump, tested positive for the virus and is experiencing symptoms, a source familiar with the matter says. 

Hicks travels regularly with the president on Air Force One and accompanied him to Cleveland for the presidential debate earlier this week along with other senior aides.

The White House said in a statement that Trump "takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously" and that it followed guidelines for limiting the virus exposure to the greatest extent possible.

Covid-19 test caused brain fluid leak in US patient

A Covid-19 nasal swab test punctured a US woman's brain lining, causing fluid to leak from her nose and putting her at risk of life-threatening infection, doctors reported in a medical journal.

The patient, who is in her 40s, has an undiagnosed rare condition and the test she received may have been carried out improperly, a sequence of improbable events that means the risk from nasal tests remains very low.

But her case shows health care professionals should take care to follow testing protocols closely, Jarrett Walsh, senior author of the paper that appeared in the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, said.

Damascus airport resumes commercial flights after suspension

Syria reopened its Damascus airport for regular international commercial traffic after a six-month halt due to the pandemic, saying it has imposed strict health measures inside the facility.

Airport officials said national flag carrier Syrian Airlines would initially resume scheduled flights to regional destinations including Cairo and Beirut, with a weekly flight to Khartoum and flights to Kuwait as needed.

The first scheduled flight took off for Cairo, state media said.

Commercial flights were suspended on March 25, just a few days after Syria reported its first infection, which medics and UN officials said was linked to Shia pilgrims who travelled by air from Iran.

South Africa reports 132 deaths in 24 hours

South Africa reported 132 new virus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 16,866. 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that 1,745 new virus cases were recorded on the same day, pushing the nationwide figure to 676,084.

The number of new infections and deaths in the country began declining in the past three weeks but are again starting to pick up.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies