The pandemic has killed over 963,000 people and infected over 31 million worldwide. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for September 20:

The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France now stands at 453,763, officials say.
The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France now stands at 453,763, officials say. (AFP)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

France reports 10,569 new daily cases

French health authorities have reported 10,569 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, down from the previous day's record increase of 13,498.

The number of French deaths from the disease rose by 12 over the preceding 24 hours to 31,585, the Health Ministry said. The cumulative number of confirmed cases now stands at 453,763.

The latest death toll amounts to a more sizeable increase of 311 over the 31,274 published on Saturday, a difference that may reflect late-arriving data for earlier fatalities.

Besides a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus since lockdown measures ended in May, epidemiologists say higher case numbers are also the result of a six-fold surge in testing since the process became available without charge or prescription.

The rolling seven-day count of Covid-19 hospital admissions rose to 3,894 from 3,853 on Saturday, according to the latest French data, with intensive care admissions stable at 593. 

Turkey reports 1,519 new coronavirus cases

Turkish health authorities have registered 1,519 more coronavirus cases and 1,116 recoveries in the past 24 hours.

The country's tally of Covid-19 infections reached 302,867, including 266,117 recoveries, according to the data released by the Health Ministry.

With 61 more fatalities, the virus-linked death toll in Turkey, which entered the "new normal" in June, climbed to 7,506.

Over 95,000 additional coronavirus tests were conducted by health professionals, bringing the total to 9.2 million.

US sets record with over 1 million tests in a day

The United States set a one-day record with over 1 million coronavirus diagnostic tests being performed, but the country needs 6 million to 10 million a day to bring outbreaks under control, according to various experts.

The country performed 1,061,411 tests on Saturday, according to data from The Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

The record comes after testing has fallen for several weeks.

The United States tested on average 650,000 people a day in the week ended September 13, down from a peak in late July of over 800,000 people a day.

Since the start of the pandemic, testing shortages have hampered efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Lebanon suffers another record in cases

Lebanon registered a record 1,006 cases of Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, the government has announced, amid a sharp increase in infections and deaths due to the new coronavirus.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan recommended a total lockdown for two weeks to stem the alarming rise in daily detected infections, but authorities will find it difficult to impose another lockdown amid an unprecedented economic collapse.

The new cases registered by the Health Ministry bring the overall number of confirmed cases in Lebanon to 29,303, while deaths have reached 297 since the first case was reported in the country in late February.

It was the third consecutive record-breaking day of confirmed virus cases.

The rise began after a lockdown was eased and the country’s only international airport was reopened in early July. The surge continued after the massive Aug. 4 explosion in Beirut’s port that killed 193 people, injured at least 6,500, and devastated much of the city.

The blast also overwhelmed Beirut’s hospitals and badly damaged two that had a key role in handling virus cases.

Britain reports 3,899 new cases

Britain has reported 3,899 new cases of Covid-19, compared to 4,422 on Saturday.

Overall, the number of cases has risen sharply in recent weeks, prompting tighter restrictions across the country and several local lockdowns.

Myanmar orders Yangon stay at home

Myanmar announced a stay-at-home order for its biggest city Yangon after reporting a record daily increase in new cases of Covid-19.

The order in Yangon, Myanmar's commercial capital, comes into effect on Monday and will force all employees to work from home. Schools were already closed under previous lockdown measures. 

The Health Ministry said it had recorded 671 new coronavirus cases, without saying where. Most of the recent new infections have been in Yangon.

Myanmar has so far reported a total of 5,541 Covid-19 cases and 92 deaths.

Infections have increased to hundreds of new cases per day over the past weeks after the coronavirus resurfaced in the western state of Rakhine, following weeks without a confirmed domestic case.

Domestic airlines announced that services have been suspended until the end of September. 

India records 92,605 new infections

India's coronavirus case tally has surged to 5.4 million as it added 92,605 new infections in the last 24 hours, data from the federal Health Ministry showed.

The country has posted the highest single-day caseload in the world since early August and lags behind only the United States, which has 6.7 million cases in terms of total infections.

A total of 1,113 people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said, taking mortalities to 86,752, which is a relatively low 1.6 percent of all cases.

Madrid braces for partial lockdown 

Nearly a million Madrid residents were bracing for a partial lockdown as Spanish authorities seek to put a brake on the second wave of Covid-19.

The restrictions, which kick off on Monday for two weeks, affect 850,000 people living mainly in densely-populated, low-income neighbourhoods in the south, or 13 percent of the population in and around the capital.

Like many countries in Europe, Spain is battling a coronavirus surge and, once again, Madrid is the worst-hit region.

Several districts of southern Madrid have counted more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, around five times the national average, which in itself is the highest in the European Union.

UK imposes hefty fines

People in England who refuse to self-isolate to stop the spread of the virus could face fines of up to $13,000 under tough new regulations to tackle a surge in cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that from September 28 people in England will be legally obliged to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to by the National Health Service tracing programme.

Belgium tops 100,000 cases

Belgium has passed the 100,000 milestone of infections following a sharp increase in cases in recent weeks, according to figures from the research institute Sciensano.

The trend accelerated markedly in the first half of September, reaching an average of 1,000 new daily infections during the week of September 9 to 15, according to the data.

Italy votes, cases rise

Italians have cast their ballots in a referendum and regional elections, despite warnings against opening polling stations while Covid-19 case numbers are on the rise. 

Italy currently has fewer new cases than Britain, France, or Spain but it is still recording more than 1,500 daily.

"The country is in a state of emergency; it is utterly contradictory to be massing people together at polling stations, particularly in light of the trend in Europe," Professor Massimo Galli, infectious diseases chief at Milan's Sacco hospital, tells AFP news agency.

Hollywood Covid-era awards

The first major Covid-era award show for Hollywood takes place on Sunday with the Emmys – the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars – looking radically different to previous editions, with no red carpet and a host broadcasting from an empty theatre in Los Angeles.

Russia records more than 6,000 cases for second day in a row

Russia has recorded 6,148 new coronavirus cases, the second straight day when the daily number of cases exceeded 6,000, taking the national tally of infections to 1,103,399.

The country's coronavirus crisis centre said 79 people had died of the disease in the last 24 hours, bringing the Russian death toll to 19,418.

Indonesia reports its biggest daily rise in virus infections

Indonesia has reported its biggest daily rise in virus infections, with 4,168 new cases, taking the total to 240,687.

The data from the country's health ministry showed 112 new deaths, taking the total to 9,448, the biggest death toll in Southeast Asia.

Second national lockdown possible - UK health minister

British Health Minister Matt Hancock has a second national lockdown is one possible step to curb the spread of the virus, but it was not what he wanted to happened.

"If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdowns, but we, of course, have to be prepared to take action if that's what's necessary," Hancock told the BBC.

S.Korea keeps social distancing rules ahead of major holiday

South Korea has extended level 2 social distancing for a week until September 27, which limits indoor gatherings to below 50 and outdoor to less than 100, and may tighten limits for the Chuseok holiday when people traditionally reunite with families.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the level 2 restrictions need to be kept ahead of Chuseok as "cases with untraceable origins are steadily increasing and fewer tests being carried out on weekends means we should be on high alert."
Social distancing policies for the Sept 30-Oct 2 holiday will be announced in the coming days.

South Korea reported 82 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Saturday, the lowest daily infections since mid August, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Germany's virus cases rise to 271,415

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany has increased by 1,345 to 271,415.

The reported death toll rose by two to 9,386, , the data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

Czech republic's daily count of new virus cases drops to 2,046

The Czech Republic's daily count of virus cases dropped to 2,046, still a record number for a weekend day when fewer tests are done.

The overall count of confirmed cases rose to 48,306 in the country of 10.7 million people, , the data from the Health Ministry showed. 

The Czechs have been reporting new cases of the infection at one of Europe's fastest paces in recent weeks and the authorities have returned to some of the measures used in spring when the pandemic first reached the country.

Australia heads for lowest virus count in three months

Australia looked set to record its lowest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in three months as a hard lockdown in the city of Melbourne brought the country's virus epicentre down sharply.

The second-most populous state Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, reported 14 new infections in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, down from 21 new virus cases the day prior and its lowest since June 19.

That put Victoria, which has spent months under lockdown to slow a second wave of infections, on track to meet a target of keeping average daily increases below 50 by September 28 when the authorities have said they may lift restrictions.

Australia's biggest state New South Wales, which has Sydney as the capital, reported two new cases, while the Queensland state also reported two, bringing the national total to 18, the lowest national tally since June 23. The five other states and territories had not reported daily case numbers by Sunday morning, but have reported no increases most days for weeks.

Mainland China reports 10 new virus cases

Mainland China reported 10 new virus cases on September 19, down from 14 cases reported a day earlier, the Chinese national health authority said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas.

It reported 21 new asymptomatic cases, down from 24 a day earlier. China does not classify these patients without symptoms as confirmed virus cases.

The total number of virus cases for mainland China now stands at 85,279, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

South Korea logs 82 cases

South Korea reported 82 virus cases as of midnight Saturday, the lowest daily infections since mid-August, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Of the total, 72 were locally transmitted, bringing the total tally to 22,975, with 383 deaths.

Mexico reports 5,167 cases

Mexico's health ministry reported 5,167 new confirmed cases of the virus in the country, bringing the total to 694,121 cases, and 455 new deaths, for a cumulative death toll of 73,258.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell has said the real number of cases in the country is significantly higher. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies