Covid-19 has infected more than 257M people and killed over 5M worldwide. Here are coronavirus-related developments for November 21.
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Germany debates compulsory vaccination
German politicians are debating making Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for citizens in light of soaring infections and low inoculation rates.
Several members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc said that federal and state governments should introduce compulsory vaccinations soon as other efforts to push up Germany's low inoculation rate of just 68 percent have failed.
Germany's seven-day coronavirus incidence rate rose to the highest level since the pandemic began for the 14th consecutive day, reaching 372.7 nationwide.
UK to probe racial bias in medical devices
The British government is investigating whether built-in racial bias in some medical devices led to Black and Asian people getting sick and dying disproportionately from Covid-19.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that the pandemic had highlighted health disparities along race and gender lines.
He said that a third of intensive care admissions in Britain at the height of the pandemic were people from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds, more than double their share of the population.
Britain’s statistics office has found that in the first year of the pandemic, up to March 2021, Black and South Asian people in the UK had higher death rates than their white compatriots, even after factors like occupation and underlying health conditions were taken into account.
UK reports 61 new Covid-19 deaths within 28 days of a positive test compared with 150 a day earlier.
Tens of thousands protest Belgium's tighter Covid-19 rules
Ten of thousands of people marched through central Brussels to protest reinforced Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter the latest spike in coronavirus cases.
Many among the police estimate of 35,000 at the rally were also against the government's strong advice to get vaccinated and any possible moves to impose mandatory shots.
Shouting “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” and singing the anti-fascist song “Bella Ciao,” protesters lined up behind a huge banner saying “Together for Freedom" and marched to the European Union headquarters.
The march began peacefully but police later fired water cannon and tear gas in response to a group of participants throwing projectiles.
Russia reports 1,252 deaths
Russia reports 36,970 new coronavirus cases and 1,252 deaths from Covid-19 in past 24 hours. There were 37,120 cases on previous day.
Fifth Covid wave hits France at 'lightning' speed
Fifth-wave coronavirus infections in France are rising at an alarming rate, the government reported, with new daily cases close to doubling over the past week.
The seven-day average of new cases reached 17,153 on Saturday, up from 9,458 a week earlier, an increase of 81 percent.
"The fifth wave is starting at lightning speed," government spokesman Gabrial Attal told media.
Covid restrictions spark protests in Europe and Australia
Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in cities across Europe and Australia as anger mounted over fresh restrictions imposed against a resurgent pandemic.
Dutch police faced a second night of rioting, this time in The Hague, after the previous night's violence in the port city of Rotterdam.
In Austria, around 40,000 came out to protest in central Vienna near the Chancellery, responding to a call from the far-right FPO party.
They held up banners decrying "Corona dictatorship" and slamming the "division of society".
From Monday, 8.9 million Austrians will not be allowed to leave home except to go to work, shop for essentials and exercise.
Thousands also marched in Croatia's capital Zagreb and in Denmark, around a thousand people protested against government plans to reinstate a Covid pass for civil servants going to work.
In Australia around 10,000 marched in Sydney and there were also protests in other major cities against vaccine mandates applied to certain occupations by state authorities.
French ski resorts reopen after 2020 write-off
French mountain resorts have started to open for the first time since Covid-19 made last season a write-off, with winter sport enthusiasts and sector professionals hoping that no fresh virus wave will spoil the fun.
Val Thorens, Europe's highest winter sport resort at 2,300 metres, was the first of France's Alpine resorts allowing skiers back on the lifts and slopes.
Others will follow over the coming weeks.
Bayern fine quarantined unvaccinated players
Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have docked the wages of unvaccinated players like star midfielder Joshua Kimmich who is in quarantine over contact with Covid-infected individuals.
Bayern bosses reportedly summoned Kimmich and four other unvaccinated teammates to inform them of the pay cut when they are in isolation because they have not taken the jab, Bild am Sonntag reported said, quoting unnamed sources from the team.
Ukraine pushed to limit by virus wave
Ukraine, with one of Europe's lowest vaccination rates and an underfunded medical system, has been struggling to contain the outbreak.
After setting nearly daily new records for infections and deaths earlier this month, many hospitals continue to run at near full capacity.
Many doctors are alarmed that Ukraine has been swept by a wave of fake news and conspiracy theories about vaccines, ranging from fears about the "implantation of chips" to concerns about the safety of vaccines.
US administers 449.5M doses of vaccines
The United States has administered 449,955,588 doses of vaccines in the country and distributed 567,081,775 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Those figures are up from the 448,155,906 vaccine doses the CDC said had been administered as of November 19 out of 562,868,095 doses delivered.
Disney World puts vaccination mandate policy on hold
Disney World near Orlando, Florida, operated by Walt Disney Co, has put its Covid-19 vaccination mandate on hold.
The move comes amid the Biden administration's workplace vaccine ruling which requires businesses with at least 100 employees to require their staff get vaccinated against the virus or be tested weekly and wear a face covering at work.
Mexico reports 3,306 new cases
Mexico have reported 3,306 new cases and 227 additional fatalities, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,862,137 and the death toll from the pandemic to 292,372.
Officials have said the ministry's figures likely represent a significant undercount of both cases and deaths.
Brazil reports lowest daily toll since April 2020
Brazil has reported 8,833 new cases of the virus and 217 deaths in the past 24 hours as vaccination reduces contagion and fatalities to levels not seen since the first weeks of the pandemic last year.
The ministry said 70 percent of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated and 90 percent has received a first dose. The ministry launched a campaign to reach 21 million Brazilians who have not returned for a second shot.
The South American country has now registered 22,012,150 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 612,587, according to official data, in the world's third-worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest after the United States.