The global coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 45 million people and claimed more than 1.1 million lives. Here are the updates for October 29:

People pass by the Eiffel Tower before the national lockdown introduced as part of the new Covid-19 measures to fight a second wave of the coronavirus disease, in Paris, France, October 29, 2020.
People pass by the Eiffel Tower before the national lockdown introduced as part of the new Covid-19 measures to fight a second wave of the coronavirus disease, in Paris, France, October 29, 2020. (Reuters)

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Global cases exceed 45 million

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 45 million, tracking website Worldometers and Corona Tracker showed. 

The death toll around the world stands at over 1,183,000 fatalities, with almost 33 million recoveries.

The United States has the highest number of total cases, followed by India and Brazil respectively.

France reports nearly 50,000 new cases

France has reported 47,637 new confirmed virus cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 36,437 on Wednesday and a record high of 52,010 on Sunday.

The total number of infections rose to over 1.28 million. The death tally went up by 235 to 36,020. 

Spain records over 23,500 cases 

Spain's virus tally climbed by 23,580 cases, marking a new one-day record as the hard-hit country struggles to control its second wave of infections, Health Ministry data showed.

While the cumulative tally rose to 1,160,083, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said the real total is likely above 3 million, as many infections aren't captured in the national statistics.

The death toll rose by 173 to 35,466, accelerating from the previous day but below Tuesday's figure of 267, which was the sharpest one-day rise of the second wave.

Sweden sets another daily case record

Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 2,820 new virus cases, the highest since the pandemic began and the third record number in a matter of days, Health Agency statistics showed.

A steady rise in new cases has appeared to be gaining momentum in Sweden in recent weeks though the resurgence of the disease has come later than in wide swaths of Europe and has not so far hit the kind of peaks recorded in countries such as France.

The increase compares with a record set only the previous day, a figure that was revised up to just over 2,400 cases on Thursday.

Austria prepares tighter restrictions

Austria will announce tighter restrictions to slow the spread of the virus on Saturday, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, as the daily tally of new cases surged past 4,000 to a new record.

The government has repeatedly said it wants to avoid an economically harmful second lockdown and currently has relatively loose restrictions in place – restaurants, bars and theatres remain open.

But new daily cases have kept rising, reaching 4,435 in the past 24 hours in a country of just under 9 million. Kurz said the point at which hospitals would be stretched beyond their capacity was roughly 6,000, which his health minister said could be close to being reached by the end of next week.

Italy logs 26,831 cases

Italy has registered 26,831 new virus infections over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said, the highest daily tally since the start of the health crisis and up from the previous record of 24,991 posted on Wednesday.

The ministry also reported 217 virus-related deaths compared with 205 the day before.

A total of 38,122 people have now died in Italy because of the virus, while 616,595 cases of the disease have been registered to date.

Turkey reports over 2,300 new patients

Turkey registered 2,319 new virus patients over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data.

The country’s overall tally now stands at 370,832, the ministry said.

Some 1,581 more patients recovered over the past day, raising the count to 320,762, while the death toll rose by 72 to reach 10,099.

A total of 134,416 more virus tests were carried out across the country, bringing the total to over 13.7 million.

Greece introduces regional lockdown in north 

Greece will impose regional lockdowns on its second-largest city of Thessaloniki and two other regions from Friday after a spike in cases of virus, the government said.

The country has recorded significantly lower numbers of the virus than other countries in Europe but cases have been rising rapidly since early October. Testing has also increased.

On Wednesday, Greece registered 1,547 new virus cases, its highest daily tally. There were 1,211 new cases reported on Thursday and 12 deaths, bringing the number of victims since the onset of the virus in late February to 615.

Iran reports 8,293 coronavirus cases, 399 deaths in one day 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran has risen by 8,293 to 596,941, the health ministry spokeswoman told state TV, as the country reported 399 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Sima Sadat Lari said the death toll from the Covid-19 in Iran stood at 34,113 in the Middle East's worst-hit country. 

Poland's total virus cases top 300,000 after new daily record

Poland has reported another daily record of coronavirus infections and deaths with new 20,156 cases and 301 deaths related to Covid-19.

The health ministry said the total number of confirmed virus infections has tripled in less than a month, exceeding 300,000.

Government officials have warned infections could rise fast due to massive protests sweeping Poland following a Constitutional Court ruling last Thursday that has introduced a near total ban on abortions.

Tens of thousands have gathered in towns and cities for several days, blaming the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki for the verdict.

Russia's daily virus cases and deaths surge to record highs

Russia's daily tally of virus cases have surged to a record high of 17,717 on Thursday, including 4,906 in Moscow, taking the national total to 1,581,693 since the pandemic began.

Authorities also reported a record high of 366 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 27,301. 

Indonesia reports 3,565 new coronavirus infections, 89 deaths

Indonesia has reported 3,565 new virus infections on, taking the total to 404,048, data from the country's health ministry showed.

The data also showed 89 additional deaths, bringing total fatalities to 13,701. Indonesia's cases and deaths from Covid-19 are the most in Southeast Asia. 

Merkel warns of dramatic coronavirus situation

German intensive care units risk being overwhelmed in a few weeks due to a surge in coronavirus cases, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

"We are in a dramatic situation," Merkel told the lower house of parliament a day after announcing a circuit-break lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. 

Philippines reports 1,761 new coronavirus cases, 33 more deaths

The Philippines' health ministry has recorded 1,761 new virus infections and 33 more deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections had risen to 376,935, while deaths had reached 7,147. New Covid-19 cases in the Philippines increased by fewer than 2,000 in seven of the last 10 days. 

UK doing everything it can to avoid national lockdown -minister 

The British government will do everything it can to avoid putting the country into a second national lockdown and believes it can control the virus with tough local measures.

Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said the government kept everything under review but it wanted to avoid a second full national shutdown because of the damage it creates to livelihoods and the economy.

"The very clear policy of the government is to do everything we can to avoid a full national lockdown," he told Sky News.

India's coronavirus cases cross 8 million

India’s confirmed coronavirus toll has crossed 8 million with daily cases dipping to the lowest level this week.

The Health Ministry reported another 49,881 infections during the past 24 hours. India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the US with more than 8.8 million infections.

Czech Republic reports 12,977 new cases, 128 deaths

The Czech Republic has reported 12,977 new coronavirus cases, health ministry data showed.

Total cases rose to 297,013 while deaths climbed by 128 to 2,675. The country has been struggling with one of Europe's fastest growing infection rates.

Overnight curfew to curb virus begins in Prague

Prague has marked the first night of an overnight curfew in the Czech Republic to try to stem the number of cases of Covid-19.

The government has imposed a nationwide curfew between 9 pm and 6 am, and the historic centre of the capital Prague was all but empty as the measure came into effect.

Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have again jumped to record levels amid new restrictive measures imposed by the government to curb the spread.

The Czech Republic has reported more than 284,000 confirmed cases, over half of them in the last two weeks. So far, 2,547 have died, with a record 139 deaths registered on Monday.

Previously, the government limited free movement, closed stores, schools and restaurants, banned sports events, and made it mandatory to wear face masks indoors, outdoors and in cars.

Despite all this, the number of infections continued to rise, trigger ing the decision to impose a night curfew.

Germany's confirmed cases rise to 481,013

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 16,774 to 481,013, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 89 to 10,272, the tally showed.

Australia's hotspot state reports one case after lockdown lifted

Australia's Covid-19 hotspot state Victoria reported only one new infection, a day after it lifted a four-month lockdown in the city of Melbourne.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said that while there were three positive cases detected during the past 24 hours, two may be old infections. 

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. Melbourne, a city of some five million people, earlier on Wednesday emerged from a stringent lockdown credited with ending a second wave, allowing restaurants, cafes and shops to reopen.

Australia's most populous state New South Wales said it detected three locally acquired infections in the past 24 hours.

Australia has recorded just over 27,500 novel coronavirus infections, far fewer than many other developed countries.

Global economic recovery could halt as infections surge

There is a high risk the resurgence in coronavirus cases will halt the global economic recovery by year-end, according to Reuters polls of around 500 economists, a majority of whom expected the rebound next year to be weaker than previously thought.

Governments and central banks around the world have pledged trillions of dollars of stimulus, helping most economies out of deep recessions. 

But the second wave of infections in places that eased lockdowns is now under way, leading to more restrictions.

That was a top risk repeatedly highlighted by Reuters surveys of economists, FX analysts, bond and equity strategists, as well as global fund managers since the start of the pandemic.

The October 6-27 Reuters polls of economists across Asia, Europe, and the Americas covering 46 economies showed scant sign of activity recovering to pre-Covid-19 levels anytime soon.

Nearly three-quarters of 150 analysts who responded to an additional question said the resurgence in coronavirus cases posed a high risk of halting the current global economic recovery as early as this year.

Mexico's coronavirus death toll passes 90,000 

Mexico's Health Ministry has reported 5,595 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 495 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 906,863 and the death toll to 90,309.

Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases. On Sunday, the ministry said the true death toll from Covid-19 may be around 50,000 higher. 

Pandemic prompts tumult in UK commercial property

Demand for British retail and office space has contracted sharply during the third quarter and the outlook for the year ahead has worsened as working and shopping patterns change during the pandemic.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said 78 percent of chartered surveyors viewed the commercial property market as being in a downturn, up a little from 76 percent in the second quarter.

While there were clear signs of a pick-up in the industrial sites such as warehouses for online stores, there was little cheer from the office and retail sectors which saw another sharp fall in demand - albeit less severe than in the second quarter.

Separate figures from insolvency practitioners Begbies Traynor Group showed more than half a million businesses were in "significant distress", up 6 percent over the past three months, though only a small fraction faced legal action, due partly to reduced court capacity.

RICS said expectations of a fall in rents for prime office and retail space were the most widespread since records started in 2014, and demand for hotels and student housing was also weak.

A quarter of people worked from home in the week to October 18, according to the latest official data.

Mainland China reports 47 new cases

Mainland China reported 47 new confirmed cases, up from 42 a day earlier and marking the highest daily increase in more than two months, the country's national health authority said.

Of the new cases, 23 were local infections in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region involving previously asymptomatic patients following a mass infection reported in Kashgar. The rest were imported infections originating from overseas.

The increase in confirmed infections marks the highest since 49 cases were reported for August 9, but still at a small fraction of what the country saw at the height of the epidemic in February.

The total number of new asymptomatic cases fell to 16 from 38 a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China now stands at 85,915, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634. 

UK expects verdict on Pfizer's vaccine before AstraZeneca's

Senior sources in the British government expect that a verdict on whether a Pfizer Inc-backed vaccine works will be available before the results are in on AstraZeneca Plc's competing vaccine, the Times reported.

Britain believes that the vaccine, which Pfizer is co-developing with Germany's BioNTech SE, could be ready to distribute before Christmas, the report said.

Pfizer's Chief Executive Albert Bourla had previously said the company could release data on whether or not the vaccine works as early as this month.

The US drug maker said this week if trials are successful the company expects to file for emergency authorisation of the vaccine candidate from US regulators shortly after it has enough safety data in late November.

Britain has agreed to supply deals for six vaccine candidates including frontrunners from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Colombia extends selective quarantine until the end of November

Colombia will extend a so-called selective quarantine until the end of November, President Ivan Duque has said in a nightly address.

Duque asked local authorities and citizens to exercise greater control in staying away from crowds to avoid outbreaks like those that are occurring in European countries.

The Andean country began more than five months of lockdown in March. It entered a much-looser "selective" quarantine phase, allowing dining at restaurants and international flights, at the start of September.

Colombia has reported over one million infections of the novel coronavirus, with 30,753 deaths. 

England's infections doubling every nine days Imperial College

The spread of the coronavirus continues to increase across all parts of England with cases doubling every nine days, according to a new study by Imperial College, putting pressure on the government to introduce more drastic lockdown restrictions.

The respiratory pandemic has killed more than 45,675 people in Britain, the highest death toll in Europe.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's strategy of local lockdowns to try to contain a second wave is failing to stem the number of infections. Anger is also rising over the economic, social, and health costs of the biggest curtailment of freedoms since World War ll.

The infection rate is rising in all age groups with the highest spread of the disease in the northwest of England and Yorkshire and the Humber region, Imperial found.

The researchers calculated the reproduction "R" number of infections in England, which measures how many people an infected person will pass the disease to, is at 1.6, indicating the epidemic is growing.

The study, which involved testing more than 85,000 volunteers, found 128 per 10,000 people were infected in England in the two weeks ending October 25, compared to 60 per 10,000 in the same period ending October 5.

EU leaders seek common ground on tests as virus spreads

EU leaders aim to make progress on common testing and vaccination strategies at a video conference and step up coordination in fighting the fast-expanding pandemic, officials have said.

The late-afternoon e-meeting is the first of a planned series of video conferences leaders will dedicate in the coming weeks to the health crisis, with one official saying two more may take place before an EU summit scheduled for mid-December.

Appeals for better coordination have become louder amid a resurgence of the epidemic in Europe after a relative lull in the summer months.

Leaders also want to avoid divisions which dogged the 27-nation bloc at the beginning of the pandemic, when countries vied with each other to buy scarce medical equipment.

Robust testing and tracing strategies have been a priority for the EU since the onset of the crisis as countries who did better on that, like Germany, recorded smaller death tolls than others.

But "at the European level, this plan of action has not achieved the desired results", the chair of the EU summit, Charles Michel, said in a note issued before the video conference.

A clear definition of priority groups is crucial as not enough vials of potential effective shots would be available to inoculate the entire EU population of 450 million before 2022, according to EU Commission estimates.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies