The novel coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 41.45 million people and taken more than 1.13 million lives worldwide. Here are the updates for October 22:

A woman wearing a face mask holds a smartphone showing the new
A woman wearing a face mask holds a smartphone showing the new "TousAntiCovid" application in Rennes, western France, October 22, 2020. (AFP)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

France reports all-time high new cases, at more than 40,000

French health authorities have reported 41,622 new confirmed cases over 24 hours, an all-time daily high that was published shortly after the government announced a broad extension of the curfew put in place a week ago in Paris and other major cities.

The number of people in France who have died from infections was up by 162, at 34,210, and the cumulative number of cases now totals 999,043.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex extended curfews to 38 regions to help lower the spread because “the second wave is here.”

Turkey’s daily symptomatic cases top 2,000

Turkey has confirmed 2,102 more patients over the past 24 hours, taking the country's overall count to 355,528, according to Health Ministry data. 

Turkey registered another 1,581 recoveries over the past day, raising the tally to 310,027. Meanwhile, the death toll reached 9,584 with 71 new fatalities reported.

The number of patients in critical condition now stands at 1,599.

UK records slight drop to 21,242 new cases 

A further 21,242 cases have been reported in Britain, down from a record 26,688 cases a day earlier, daily government statistics showed.

There were a further 189 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, down slightly from 191 the day before.

Morocco reports daily record of 4,151 new cases

Morocco’s Health Ministry has reported 4,151 new infections, the largest one-day rise on record, with nearly half of cases in economic powerhouse Casablanca.

The surge in cases came after Morocco eased some restrictive measures earlier this month, allowing children back to public schools in Casablanca and opening more mosques.

There are now 29,118 active cases in Morocco, which has a coronavirus fatality rate of 1.7 percent and a recovery rate of 82.7 percent, according to Health Ministry data.

US' CDC reports 221,438 total deaths from coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 8,312,667 cases, an increase of 63,656 from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,076 to 221,438.

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.

Iran grapples with third wave as cases surge

Iran has recorded the second-highest single-day cases as the country grapples with the third wave of virus that has led to a record number of hospitalisations.

Sima Sadat Lari, Iran’s Health Ministry spokesperson, announced 5,471 new infections and 304 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally of infections to 550,757 and death toll to 31,650.

She said 442,674 have recovered from the virus, while 4,897 continue to be in critical condition.

Italy sets new record in daily infections at over 16,000

Italy has reported a fresh record high in new infections, topping 16,000 daily cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

According to Health Ministry data, the national tally has now reached 465,726 confirmed cases.

The country also reported 136 new deaths in the last 24 hours, with the national death toll rising to 36,968.

Ireland plunges into second lockdown

A "cloud of sadness" has descended on the streets of central Dublin as Ireland became the first EU nation to return to a full lockdown.

Schools remain open but otherwise, for six weeks, all Irish citizens have been told to stay home, with a strict five-km (three-mile) travel limit for exercise.

Ireland has suffered 1,868 deaths and 53,422 confirmed cases so far, with cases rising in line with an upsurge across Europe and setting the stage for a winter of harsh restrictions.

Germany daily cases hit record high at 11,287

Germany has reported a huge jump in cases, with health experts warning of a "very serious" situation and regional disagreements hampering efforts to slow the contagion.

The country reported 11,287 new cases in the past 24 hours — a large increase from the previous record of 7,830 last Friday.

"The overall situation has become very serious," Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre, told a press conference.

Czech Republic heads into second lockdown

Czechs had been assured it wouldn't happen again but amid a record surge of infections that is threatening the entire health system with collapse, the Czech Republic is adopting the same massive restrictions it slapped on citizens in the spring. 

Prime Minister Andrej Babis had repeatedly said these measures would never return. He apologised for the huge impact the restrictions will have on everyday life.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Czech Republic has registered 208,915 confirmed infections, about one-third of them in the past seven days, and 1,739 people have died — with a record 100 deaths registered on Monday.

Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia report biggest daily rise in cases

Croatia has reported its biggest rise in daily new infections with 1,563 new cases, nearly half of which were in its capital Zagreb, where they more than doubled.

So far, Croatia, a country of some four million people, has recorded 29,850 cases with 406 deaths. There are currently 7,380 active cases.

Neighbouring Slovenia, with two million people, also reported a record-high number of daily cases, reaching 1,663 infections.

Croatia's southeastern neighbour, Bosnia, reported a record 999 new infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country of about 3.3 million to 37,314, with 1,051 deaths. 

Austria's daily cases jumps to new high

Austria's daily tally of cases has jumped past 2,000 to a new high of 2,435, data from the interior and health ministries showed.

The daily number of cases has been rising steadily, repeatedly setting new records since exceeding the first wave's peak of 1,050 this month. 

UK reports virus contacts under 60 percent in new record low

A record low 59.6 percent of contacts of positive cases were reached in the latest week, statistics for England's Test and Trace scheme showed, with turnaround times for people receiving their results also getting slower.

Between October 8 and October 14, 33.4 percent of in-person test results were received the day after the test was taken, compared with 67.9 percent the week before.

Russia's coronavirus death toll passes 25,000

Russia has recorded 290 new deaths from Covid-19, bringing its official death toll to 25,242.

Authorities reported 15,971 new virus infections in the previous 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 1,463,306, the fourth highest in the world. 

Former Belgian PM in intensive care 

Sophie Wilmes, who as Belgian's prime minister led the country's fight against the navirus, has been hospitalised in intensive care with Covid-19, her office said.

Wilmes, 45, who handed the reins over to Alexander de Croo earlier this month and is now Belgian's foreign minister, announced last week that she had tested positive. She was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Elke Pattyn told The Associated Press that Wilmes is in a stable condition and conscious. She said her condition “is not worrying”.

Wilmes was in charge when the first wave of infections hit the country this spring.

She said last week she thought she got infected within her family circle.

Austria's daily Covid-19 tally rises to new high of 2,435

Austria's daily tally of coronavirus cases rose to 2,435, a new high, newspapers Kronen Zeitung and Oesterreich reported before the figures were officially published.

The daily number of cases has been rising steadily, repeatedly setting new records since exceeding the first wave's peak of 1,050 this month. 

Ukraine reports daily record of 7,053 virus cases

Ukraine registered a daily record of 7,053 Covid-19 cases, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 6,719.

The total number of cases climbed to 322,879.

The council said 116 new virus-related deaths were registered in the past day. On Wednesday, the toll hit a record 141.

Ukraine has recorded over 5,000 new virus cases almost every day since the start of October. The spike in infections has prompted the government to extend lockdown measures until end-2020. 

Russian health minister self-isolates

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko will self-isolate after one of his family members tested positive for Covid-19, the RIA news agency reported, citing one of Murashko's aides.

Russia recorded 15,971 new coronavirus infections and 290 new deaths from the virus, bringing its official death toll to 25,242.

Hungary also looking to Russia, China for Covid-19 vaccine

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has asked local health experts to look into the efficiency of Covid-19 vaccines developed by Russia and China for possible later purchases, Orban's chief of staff said.

Gergely Gulyas told a press briefing that Hungary was ready to buy the vaccines if they provide efficient protection against coronavirus. He said Hungary had also committed to buy 6.5 million vaccines from AstraZeneca at a cost of $42.24 million (13 billion forints) under a wider European Union agreement.

Gulyas also said the government would keep schools open after the autumn break next week. 

Indonesia reports 4,432 new virus cases, 102 deaths

Indonesia reported 4,432 new virus infections, taking the total number of cases to 377,541, data from the country's Covid-19 task force showed.

The data also showed 102 new deaths, bringing the total to 12,959.

Indonesia has the highest number of virus cases and deaths in Southeast Asia. 

Poland reports record rise in daily virus cases and deaths

Poland's Health Ministry reported a record 12,107 new virus infections and 168 deaths in the space of 24 hours, hours before it is expected to announce more restrictions to stem the pandemic.

The new record of infected people happened just a day after the country recorded its previous one at 10,040.

The ruling Law and Justice party was initially successful in fighting the pandemic in spring but the country has struggled with a spike in the number of new infections in the past weeks, overloading the health system.

Germany issues warnings for ski regions in Austria, Switzerland, Italy

Germany issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland aiming to contain the spread of the virus after the country reported more than 10,000 new daily cases for the first time.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases public health institute said Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

"The situation has become very serious overall," Lothar Wieler, head of the RKI told a news conference. "We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic."

However, that required people to stick to the rules, he said. A change in strategy was not planned.

Under the warning, travellers returning from high-risk regions to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. They are allowed to get a coronavirus test from the fifth day. If the test is negative, they can leave the quarantine.

Philippines reports 1,664 new virus cases

The Philippines' Health Ministry confirmed 1,664 new virus infections, the third straight day of fewer than 2,000 additional daily cases, and 38 more deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections had risen to 363,888, while deaths have increased to 6,783. 

Malaysia reports 847 new virus cases

Malaysia's health ministry reported 847 new virus cases, raising the total to 23,804.

The Southeast Asian country, which imposed targeted lockdowns this month amid a spike in cases, also recorded five new deaths, raising total fatalities to 204. 

Drastic steps needed to tackle  pandemic – Spanish minister 

Spain needs drastic measures to combat an out-of-control new wave of the virus pandemic and is considering new restrictions including curfews, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

Illa will hold a video meeting with regional health chiefs to agree on new measures. On Wednesday Spain became the first country in Western Europe to have recorded more than one million cases of the virus.

Desperate to avoid a repeat of the first wave, when the virus ravaged Spain's elderly population and brought the health service to its knees, several regions have already taken steps, including telling restaurants to shut down earlier than usual.

But with a two-week lockdown of Madrid and surrounding cities coming to an end on Friday, and the contagion rates growing, more needs to be done, Illa said.

India's coronavirus tally crosses 7.7 million

India's coronavirus infections rose by 55,839, taking its tally to 7.71 million, health ministry data showed.

Cases in India have dipped since a peak in September, but experts warn that infections could surge as the peak festival season approaches.

The country has the world's second highest number of infections after the United States, which has a tally of 8.3 million.

Virus deaths in the south Asian nation rose by 702 in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 116,616, the ministry added.

Czech reports record daily cases as shops shut

The Czech Republic registered a record one-day tally of 14,968 new virus cases, the health ministry said, as the government ordered most shops to close and tightened restrictions to curb the virus's spread.

The country, which is seeing Europe's biggest surge in new Covid-19 cases, has recorded 208,915 infections since March. 

Deaths have risen to 1,739, the ministry said, up from 1,619 reported a day earlier, which includes 69 deaths on Wednesday along with revisions to previous days.

Japan researchers show masks do block coronavirus, but not perfectly

Japanese researchers showed that masks can offer protection from airborne coronavirus particles, but even professional-grade coverings can't eliminate contagion risk entirely.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a secure chamber with mannequin heads facing each other. One head, fitted with a nebuliser, simulated coughing and expelled actual coronavirus particles. The other mimicked natural breathing, with a collection chamber for viruses coming through the airway.

A cotton mask reduced viral uptake by the receiver head by up to 40 percent compared to no mask.

An N95 mask, used by medical professionals, blocked up to 90 percent. However, even when the N95 was fitted to the face with tape, some virus particles still sneaked in.

When a mask was attached to the coughing head, cotton and surgical masks blocked more than 50 percent of the virus transmission.

Britain partners with Oxford firm to assess coronavirus vaccine T cell responses

Britain said it would partner with an Oxford-based firm to provide testing for the T cell response of coronavirus vaccine candidates to try to assess their immune responses.

T cell immunity is thought to be essential to protection against infection from the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus, and could provide longer term immunity than antibodies.

The UK Vaccine Taskforce has chosen Oxford Immunotec to supply T cell testing for its assessment of different vaccine candidates.

Britain has signed supply deals for six different virus vaccine candidates, including those being made by AstraZeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech, seen as among the frontrunners in the race for a vaccine.

Australia scraps England, US games in London due to Covid-19

Football Federation Australia (FFA) said it has called off a training camp in Europe and scrapped plans for matches against England and the United States in London next month due to the worsening Covid-19 crisis on the continent.

The FFA had been close to confirming dates for the November friendlies but said the "ongoing and worsening Covid-19 landscape across Europe" had forced it to reconsider.

The decision means the Socceroos will not play a competitive match in 2020, with the next international window in March 2021.

England's FA said they would face Ireland in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on November 12 ahead of their last two UEFA Nations League group fixtures away to Belgium on November 15 and home to Iceland on November 18.

New German virus cases rise by more than 10,000 for first time  RKI

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany rose by more than 10,000 in a single day for the first time, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The institute recorded 11,287 new cases in its daily update for a total of 392,049. The previous day's increase was 7,830.

The reported death toll rose by 30 to 9,905, the tally showed.

While Germany's infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating rapidly since the onset of cooler weather, wit h politicians warning that stricter social distancing rules may be needed if the trend continues.

Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.

Diagnostics group Eurofins to expand Covid-19 testing

Laboratory testing and diagnostics company Eurofins said its new at-home Covid nasal testing product had received 'Emergency Use Approval' (EUA) status from the US Food & Drug Administration regulatory body.

Eurofins said the EUA authorised self-collection kit gives consumers a convenient and quick option to test from the comfort of their home, with results reviewed by a licensed physician and provided via email within 24 hours of sample receipt.

Worldwide virus cases crossed 40 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease. 

US hospitalisations hit two-month high

The number of Covid-19 patients in US hospitals has hit 40,000 for the first time since August, as the nation battles a surge in infections led by Midwest states.

Hospitals have seen a 36-percent rise in coronavirus patients over the past four weeks and Midwest hospitals are setting new records every day.

So far in October, 16 states have reported their highest daily numbers of hospitalised Covid-19 since the pandemic started, including the Midwest states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Hospitalisations of virus-stricken patients have set records in every region except the Northeast. Hospitalisations are a closely watched metric because they are not influenced by how much testing is done.

In addition to hospitalisations reaching 40,264, the seven-day average of new cases of Covid-19 have risen 45 percent in the past four weeks and is also approaching levels last seen during the summer peak, according to a Reuters analysis.

On Friday, the US recorded 69,478 new cases, the highest single-day total since July 24 and the fifth-highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

China reports 14 new cases

China has reported 14 new coronavirus cases in the mainland, compared with 11 cases a day earlier, the health commission said.

All 14 of the new infections were imported, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.

China reported 25 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 15 a day earlier.

As of October 21, mainland China had 85,729 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The death toll remained at 4,634.

Melbourne suburbs on alert as new case sparks outbreak fears

Residents in five suburbs in Australia's second-largest city have been put on alert and people living in a public housing block urged to self-isolate after a new coronavirus case in a school sparked fears of a fresh outbreak.

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, is just emerging from a second wave after a hard lockdown since July helped bring down daily cases to single digits in recent days from a peak of 700 in early August.
Authorities have asked people in the affected suburbs and 120 residents living in a public housing block to get tested if they experienced any flu-like symptoms.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, reported five new Covid-19 cases, the ninth straight day of single-digit rise in new cases.

Australia has recorded just over 27,400 Covid-19 infections, far fewer than many other developed countries. Victoria accounts for more than 90 percent of the 905 deaths nationally.

Mexico reports 522 more deaths 

Mexico's Health Ministry has reported 6,845 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 522 more deaths, bringing the official number of cases to 867,559 and the death toll to 87,415.

Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies