The coronavirus pandemic has killed over a million people and infected more than 34.1 million worldwide. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments for October 1:

People wear protective face masks as they walk in front the Eiffel tower, in Paris, on March 12, 2020.
People wear protective face masks as they walk in front the Eiffel tower, in Paris, on March 12, 2020. (AFP Archive)

Thursday, October 1, 2020

France warns Paris may go on maximum virus alert

French authorities may place Paris on maximum virus alert as soon as Monday, potentially requiring all bars to close as the number of Covid-19 cases surges, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.

The capital and its closest suburbs, comprising nearly seven million people, have already breached the maximum alert thresholds, Veran told a press conference.

"We need a few days to confirm the trends, but if they are confirmed we'll have no choice but to put it on maximum alert, from Monday," he said, adding that could require "a total closure of bars."

Italy tops 2,000 daily cases for first time since April 29

Italy has registered 2,548 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said, the first time the country has exceeded 2,000 cases in a single day since the end of April.

There were 24 Covid-related deaths on Thursday against 19 the day before – far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April.

Iran reports 211 more deaths, over 3,800 cases

At least 211 more coronavirus fatalities have raised the death toll in Iran to 26,380, the country's Health Ministry said.

Some 3,825 more people tested positive for Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, pushing the overall count up to 461,044, ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said.

She added that 383,368 patients have recovered so far, while 4,121 remain in critical condition.

Lari warned that 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces are currently red zones with high risk of coronavirus transmission.

Athens marathon cancelled because of pandemic

The Athens marathon, scheduled to take place in November, has fallen victim to the coronavirus with organisers announcing its cancellation.

Nearly 400 people have died in Greece from the virus since February, with the infection rate accelerating from August onwards.

Greek athletic federation SEGAS said it made "every possible effort" to save the marathon during discussions with the health authorities.

However, it could not "secure the absolute safety of runners’ health, which is and will be the top priority in our minds," the federation said.

The Athens marathon, which starts at Marathon – the town which gave its name to long-distance racing – and ends at the 1896 Olympic stadium in Athens, has grown over the last decade and now attracts tens of thousands of runners.

South Africa reopens to international flights

South Africa has reopened to international flights, ending a more than six-month ban on international travel that was part of its restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Travelers arriving on international flights must provide a negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before their departure.

South Africa still maintains restrictions on international travel. 

Tourists are not permitted from a list of more than 50 countries, including Russia, Britain and the US, which are deemed high risk because of their levels of Covid-19 cases. The list will be reviewed every two weeks.

Travelers must also have proof of travel insurance to cover a Covid-19 test and quarantine costs, should they have symptoms during their visit.

Indonesia to give out Remdesivir for treatment

Indonesian pharmaceutical company PT Kalbe Farma is collaborating with India's PT Amarox Pharma Global to launch antiviral drug Covifor (Remdesivir) for Covid-19 treatment in the Southeast Asian country.

Amarox Pharma Global is a subsidiary of Hetero, one of India’s leading generic pharmaceutical companies and the world’s largest producer of antiretroviral drugs. It is the first company to receive the Emergency Use Authorization approval for Remdesivir from the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority.

“The drugs are ready to be distributed across the country starting today,” said Vidjongtius, president director of Kalbe Farma, during a virtual press conference on Thursday.

The authorization is for treatment of Covid-19 in adults and adolescents (age 12 and older with body weight at least 40 kg) hospitalized with severe disease.

Covifor will be distributed to referral hospitals that treat virus patients as it is meant for emergency use only.

The price will be set at 3 million Rupiah ($202) per vial (small container to store liquid medication), and could be even cheaper if the volume of imports is increased.

Mexico says $456M put aside for vaccine advances

Mexican President AndresManuel Lopez Obrador has said that his country should in coming days have 10 billion pesos ($456.00 million) in funds available to pay for advances on Covid-19 vaccines.

"Today they're going to present us the proposals but we have the resources, and there are already offers from companies," Lopez Obrador said in his morning briefing. "We're just checking that there is seriousness in the agreements."

"We have resources available, we don't want to be left out,"he added.

Czech PM urges EU leaders to discuss pandemic shortfalls

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has said that EU leaders should be discussing shortfalls in cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic as his country faced a troubling second wave of infections.

Babis said EU leaders meeting for a summit from Thursday had forgotten to put the most important topic on its agenda-Covid-19 - saying that cooperation between epidemiologists and health ministers was not working.

"Now our country is facing the second wave. We were one of the best during the first wave, but now of course we are in a different situation and we don't want to close the economy anymore," he said on arrival for the summit in Brussels.

Not all Covid-19 cases are patients – Turkish official

Since most who test positive for the novel coronavirus in Turkey do not show symptoms, "not all cases are patients," the country's top health official said.

Explaining that all those who test positive for the virus are listed as "cases," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the vast majority infections were asymptomatic.

"The rest are those who show symptoms of the disease and are brought under treatment," said Koca, adding that these patients are either monitored in hospitals or their homes.

"We report those that we treat in hospitals separately as inpatients," he added.

Koca was responding to claims by a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Murat Emir, who earlier this week shared a document purportedly indicating that the number of positive cases in Turkey was 19 times higher than official figures.

Noting that Emir's document was undated, Koca said it showed 40,000 more tests than the roughly 112,000 that had been conducted on the day to which it is said to correspond, September 10.

The health minister underlined that officials traced the contacts of all cases without concealing any of those infected.

"If this was the case, why are our bed occupancy rates in hospitals still below 50 percent? in an environment where so many cases are claimed? Why are our occupancy rates in intensive care still at 66 percent?" he asked.

"I want our citizens to know this: All the figures in the tables we provide are true in their entirety."

UK seeks to avoid national lockdown to stop unemployment

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is seeking to avoid a full national lockdown to prevent unemployment soaring into the millions, Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

"I've not seen any projections of 4 million but certainly we know that there are some 700,000 extra people that are already unemployed as a result of this, and yes you know the projections are, that there are going to be economic impacts," Eustice told Sky.

"It's for precisely that reason that we are trying to avoid full lockdown," he said.

Britain's Office for Budget Responsibility's central economic scenario sees unemployment averaging 3.5 million next year, and rising to 4 million in a downside scenario.

Ukraine hits record daily high of 4,069 new cases

Ukraine has registered a record 4,069 cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 4,027 new cases reported on Wednesday.

The daily tally of coronavirus infections spiked in September above 3,000, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of October.

The council said a total of 213,028 cases were registered in Ukraine as of October 1, with 4,193 deaths.

Italy considers extending emergency until January 31

Italy is considering extending until January 31 next year its state of emergency over the Covid-19 crisis.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he will propose an extension to parliamant.

The emergency, set to expire in mid-October, gives the government greater powers, allowing officials to more easily bypass the bureaucracy that smothers much decision-making in Italy.

Dailies Il Messagero and Corriere della Sera said a cabinet meeting discussed the issue late on Wednesday.

"It is not official yet ... while at first (the government) talked about pushing it back to December 31, during the meeting (the government) considered going beyond the end of the year, given that the cohabitation with the virus is destined to go on for a long time still," Il Messaggero said. 

UAE records highest daily tally since outbreak

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seen its highest daily total infections since the start of the outbreak, with 1,100 new cases.

Infections in the Gulf Arab state have surged over the past two months from 164 on August 3, which authorities have blamed on people's poor adherence to social distancing measures.

The UAE's nationwide tally stands at 94,190 infections and 419 deaths, although the government does not disclose where in the seven emirates they happened.

India's infections rise to 6.31M

India's coronavirus case tally has increased by 86,821 in the last 24 hours to 6.31 million, data from the health ministry showed, as the country eased more restrictions to combat the economic hit from the pandemic.

Deaths from coronavirus infections rose by 1,181 to 98,678, the ministry said.

The South Asian nation on Wednesday permitted states to open schools and movie theatres. The country's richest state Maharashtra, home to financial hub Mumbai, said it would also allow bars and restaurants to operate fully.

India reported its worst economic contraction in decades for the quarter to June as the Covid-19 pandemic forced many businesses to close and the country to impose one of the strictest lockdowns to prevent the virus from spreading.

Millions of Chinese travel locally for holidays

Tens of millions of Chinese are travelling during the combined National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, amid continued masking and other safety requirements aimed at preventing new virus outbreaks in a country that has seen no cases of local transmission in more than a month.

Fewer trips are expected, however, out of concern restrictions could be reimposed if new outbreaks occurred.

In Beijing, students and teachers are advised not to leave the city to ensure classes resume smoothly after the break. Partly to compensate, movie theatres and tourist attractions in the capital are being allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity.

China has the world’s second-largest box office and movie-going is a major holiday activity.

Chinese usually travel abroad during the October holidays, but this year about 40 percent of the population is expected to make trips within the country.

US extends ban on cruise ships through October

Federal health officials are extending the US ban on cruise ships through the end of October amid reports of recent outbreaks of the new coronavirus on ships overseas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday that it was extending a no-sail order on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers.

The CDC said surveillance data from March 1 through September 29 shows at least 3,689 Covid-19 or Covid-like illnesses on cruise ships in US waters, in addition to at least 41 reported deaths. It said these numbers are likely an underestimate.

It cited recent outbreaks as evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread of the novel coronavirus, even when ships sail at reduced passenger capacities. It said it would likely spread the infection in the US communities if operations were to resume prematurely.

“Recent passenger voyages in foreign countries continue to have outbreaks, despite cruise ship operators having extensive health and safety protocols to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on board and spread to communities where passengers disembark,” the CDC said in a statement.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 2,503 to 291,722

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has increased by 2,503 to 291,722, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 12 to 9,500, the tally showed. 

Singapore to allow travellers from more countries

Singapore will allow entry to travellers from Vietnam and Australia, excluding its coronavirus hot spot Victoria state, beginning next week.

The tiny city-state last month welcomed visitors from Brunei and New Zealand, and is cautiously reopening its borders after a virus closure to help revive its airport, a key regional aviation hub.

The aviation authority has said there is a low risk of virus importation from the two countries. Travellers must undergo a virus swab test upon arrival, travel on direct flights without transit and download a mobile app for contact tracing. The Vietnam and Australia changes start from October 8.

Singapore’s move is unilateral and not reciprocated by the other four countries.

Singapore has managed to control the pandemic after an earlier upsurge due to infections among foreign workers living in packed dormitories. It has confirmed more than 57,000 cases of infection with 27 deaths from Covid-19.

UN needs 'immediate infusion' of $15 bn for vaccine fund

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an "immediate infusion" of $15 billion to a global pool for the procurement and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines at a virtual summit hosted by the world body.

The ACT-Accelerator, led by the World Health Organization, has received around $3 billion of the $38 billion needed to meet the goal of producing and delivering two billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million diagnostic tests over the next year.

Notable new pledges included an additional $117 million (100 million euros) by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, beyond the 675 million euros Germany has already committed.

Britain's foreign minister Dominic Raab said his country, which has committed $320 million (250 million pounds), would spend another pound for every four dollars committed by others, up to an additional 250 million pounds.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven pledged $10 million while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted $332 million (a Can$440 million) commitment made last week, half of which will go to low or middle-income countries.

The World Bank's president David Malpass said he had proposed "up to $12 billion of fast-track financing" to countries for the purchase and deployment of Covid-19 vaccine, also previously announced.

Global cases cross 34M mark

Worldwide count of the coronavirus cases crossed the 34 million-mark, according to a tracking portal.

The United States tops the list of countries with most cases followed by India and Brazil.

Brazil records over 1,000 deaths

Brazil registered 1,031 additional coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours and 33,413 new cases, the nation's health ministry has said.

The South American nation has now registered a total of 143,952 coronavirus deaths and 4,810,935 confirmed cases, according to the official data released on Wednesday.

Mexico sees over 480 more fatalities

Mexico's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 743,216 on Wednesday, according to updated data from the health ministry, along with a total reported death toll of 77,646.

Authorities reported 5,053 new cases along with 483 deaths on Wednesday, but the true figures are likely significantly higher due to little testing.

Trump administration not to accept Democrats' proposal

US Treasury Steven Mnuchin has said the Trump administration would not accept Democrats' proposal for a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package, and indicated he wanted a deal closer to $1.5 trillion. 

"We're not going to do a $2.2 trillion dollar deal," Mnuchin said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Wednesday. Asked if a compromise of $1.5 trillion would be acceptable, Mnuchin said: "It's in that neighbourhood."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies