The Covid-19 pandemic has infected at least 38.6 million people and claimed more than 1.09 million lives around the world. Here are updates for October 14.

A man undergoes a swab test for coronavirus at a drive-through testing site of the Santa Maria della Pieta hospital in Rome on October 12, 2020.
A man undergoes a swab test for coronavirus at a drive-through testing site of the Santa Maria della Pieta hospital in Rome on October 12, 2020. (AFP)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

France's Macron announces nightly curfews in major cities

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that nightly curfews will be imposed in Paris and other major cities to try to curb the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The curfews will take effect from Saturday, and will run daily from 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) until 6:00 am the following morning, Macron said in an interview broadcast on national television.

The curfews will remain in force for four weeks, he said.

His announcement came as the country reported 22,591 new confirmed coronavirus cases. France's daily tally crossed the 20,000 threshold for the third time in six days, while hospitalisations and deaths linked to the disease also keep ramping up.

The cumulative number of confirmed cases rose to 779,063 and the seven-day moving average of new cases per day increased more than a record 17,000 figure for the third day running.

Turkey reports 1,671 more patients

Turkey registered 1,671 more coronavirus patients and 1,396 new recoveries over the past 24 hours, the country’s health minister has said.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Fahrettin Koca said that Turkey’s patient count to date now stands at 340,450, with recoveries totalling 298,368.

He added that 115,328 more coronavirus tests were conducted over the past day, raising the total to over 11.96 million.

The death toll from the virus reached 9,014, with 57 more fatalities, the minister added.

US CDC reports 215,194 deaths from virus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 7.8 million cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, an increase of 47,459 from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 748 to 215,194.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as Covid-19, caused by the new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on October 13 versus its previous report a day earlier.

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

WHO fears spike in global cases 

The World Health Organization's (WHO) chief scientist on Wednesday raised concern that the recent global increase in new Covid-19 infections will be followed by rising deaths that currently number around 5,000 every day.

Cases are surging, with nearly 20,000 infections reported in Britain and Italy, Switzerland and Russia among nations reporting record new cases. More than 38 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and nearly 1.1 million have died, according to a Reuters tally.

"Mortality increases always lag behind increasing cases by a couple of weeks," Dr Soumya Swaminathan said during a WHO social media event. "We are still losing approximately 5,000 people a day...so we shouldn't be complacent that death rates are coming down."

Italy cases surge to new daily record above 7,000

Italy has registered 7,332 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday, the country's highest ever daily tally and steeply up from 5,901 on Tuesday.

There were also 43 Covid-related deaths on Wednesday against 41 the day before - far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April when a daily peak of more than 900 deaths was reached.

Before Wednesday, the highest daily tally of new cases had been reported on March 21, in the middle of a nationwide lockdown, with 6,557 cases.

On that same day 793 people died.

Spanish Catalonia region orders bars, restaurants shutdown for 15 days

The Spanish region of Catalonia ordered on Wednesday the closure of bars and restaurants for 15 days from Thursday and limited the opening of shops and parks to try to curb a surge of diagnosed coronavirus cases, the regional acting chief Pere Aragones said.

Restaurants will be allowed to offer take-away services and delivery, he said.

With close to 900,000 registered cases and more than 33,000 deaths, Spain has become the pandemic's hotspot in Western Europe. The capital Madrid and nearby suburbs were put on partial lockdown last week.

Iran reports 279 deaths, highest daily toll since Feb

Iran's health ministry on Wednesday reported 279 deaths from the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily tally recorded since February, bringing total fatalities to 29,349 in the hardest-hit Middle Eastern country.

Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 4,830 new cases, also a record high, were identified in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number of cases to 513,219.

More masks, less play: Europe tightens rules as virus surges

Governments across Europe are ratcheting up restrictions to try to beat back a resurgence of the coronavirus that has sent new confirmed infections on the continent to their highest weekly level since the start of the pandemic.

The WHO said there were more than 700,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34 percent from the previous week. Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of the new infections.

The increasing caseload is partly the result of more testing but the UN health agency noted that deaths were also up 16 percent last week from the week before.

Doctors are warning that while many of the new cases are in younger people, who tend to have milder symptoms, the virus could again start spreading widely among older people, resulting in more serious illnesses.

Czech Republic reports more than 8,000 daily cases for second time

The Czech Republic recorded 8,325 new virus cases, its second-highest daily tally since the pandemic started, Health Ministry data showed.

The country of 10.7 million has seen a five-fold rise in cases since the start of September. Since March, it has reported 129,747 cases, of which 59,901 have recovered.

Deaths have climbed to 1,106, from 696 on October 1. 

Bulgaria hits daily record for new cases

Bulgaria reported 785 new virus cases, setting a daily record for a fourth time in a week as infections keep rising, official data showed.

The Balkan country now has 25,774 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 923 deaths. A total of 1,307 people are hospitalised and 63 are in intensive care, data from the coronavirus information platform showed.

Romania to extend state of alert to curb new cases

Romania's centrist minority government introduced new progressive restrictions to stem a rise in new coronavirus infections and will extend a state of alert until mid-November, authorities said.

Romania has been reporting daily infection rates of over 3,000 for the past few days, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 160,461 since the pandemic reached the country in late February.

While 120,515 people have recovered, 5,535 have died, the highest fatality rate in the European Union's eastern wing.

The government will ban all indoor and outdoor private events such as weddings and baptisms from October 15 and will make wearing protective masks in all public spaces mandatory in towns where the two-week average rate of infections exceeds 3 cases per 1,000 people.

India's virus infections rise to 7.24 million

India's tally of coronavirus infections rose by 63,509 in the last 24 hours to stand at 7.24 million, health ministry data showed.

Deaths from Covid-19 infections rose by 730 to 110,586, the ministry said.

India crossed the 7 million mark on Sunday, adding a million cases in just 13 days. It has the world's second-highest tally after the United States, where the figure is nearing 8 million.

Mozambique's health minister tests positive for coronavirus

Mozambique Health Minister Armindo Tiago has tested positive for Covid-19, he said in a statement, adding that he was well, however, showing no symptoms, and in isolation at home.

"I am infected, but not sick," Tiago said. "No one in this world can say that they are immune to the new coronavirus."

The southeast African nation has reported 10,258 infections, with 73 deaths. 

Virus spikes in two Australian states

Several coronavirus clusters have emerged in Australia's two most populous states, officials said, prompting the biggest, New South Wales (NSW), to delay easing some restrictions.

Australia is one of the most successful countries to combat the virus, recording 904 deaths and around 245 active cases according to official tallies.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was concerned the state was on the cusp of another major community transmission after 11 new cases were locally acquired and a cluster appeared in the southwest Sydney suburb of Lakemba.

She said the easing of some social restrictions involving restaurants and weddings would now be put on hold.

Ronaldo, Johnson test positive as surge hits sport

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and men's golf world number one Dustin Johnson both tested positive for the virus as a surge in cases cast a shadow over the return of professional sport.

Ronaldo, the 35-year-old five-time Ballon d'Or winner who is due in court over a rape case, is asymptomatic but has withdrawn from Portugal's Nations League game against Sweden on Wednesday. He played in Sunday's 0-0 draw against France.

America's Johnson, 36, was forced out of this week's CJ Cup in Las Vegas as he became the highest-profile golfer to test positive for Covid-19. Johnson said he was "very disappointed".

Canada can still celebrate Halloween: health authorities

The virus pandemic has upended life around the world but there's no reason Canada can't still get some treats on Halloween, as long as measures to stop the virus's spread are upheld, health authorities said.

But trick-or-treating on October 31 must be done outside houses, said Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer.

She suggested creative methods for respecting health and safety measures, such as incorporating face masks into costumes, handing out candy with a hockey stick or using a "pool noodle" to keep distance between children.

Second Covid-19 trial paused within 24 hours over safety concerns

Two late-stage Covid-19 medical trials have been paused in the space of 24 hours over potential safety concerns, the latest setbacks to scientists in the long fight against the pandemic.

US pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly suspended its Phase 3 trial of its lab-produced antibody treatment in hospitalised patients over an unspecified incident.

A day earlier, the American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson temporarily halted its Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

J&J's research head Mathai Mammen told investors it was a "temporary pause" that could be unrelated to their drug.

China carries out 4.2 million tests in Qingdao

China has said it carried out more than 4.2 million tests in the northern port city of Qingdao, with no new cases of the virus found among the almost 2 million sets of results received.

The city has reported a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.

China reported 27 new cases of coronavirus, including 13 new cases of local transmission and 14 cases brought from outside the country. The local cases included seven that had been shifted to confirmed from asymptomatic.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of those involved cases reported in Qingdao.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 85,611 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Mexico's death tally rises to 84,420

Mexico's health ministry has reported 4,295 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 475 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 825,340 cases and 84,420 deaths.

The government says the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

WB approves $12B for vaccines, treatments in developing countries

The World Bank has said its executive board $12 billion in new funding for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments for their citizens.

The financing plan approved on Tuesday, part of $160 billion in total resources that the multilateral development lender has pledged to provide to developing countries through June 2021 to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic, was first reported by Reuters in late September.

The World Bank said the financing program will include technical support to recipient countries so they can prepare for deploying vaccines at scale, and will signal to drug companies that there will be strong demand and ample financing for Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries.

Brazil reports 10,220 new cases

Brazil has registered 10,220 additional cases of Covid-19 during the past 24 hours and 309 deaths, the nation's health ministry said.

The South American country has now registered 5,113,628 total confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 150,998 total deaths.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies