The novel coronavirus has infected more than 61 million people and killed over 1.4 million. Here are the updates for November 27:

A pharmacist wears protective gear as he waits outside a tent set up for Covid-19 rapid antigen detection testing in Rome's Trestevere neighbourhood, on November 27, 2020.
A pharmacist wears protective gear as he waits outside a tent set up for Covid-19 rapid antigen detection testing in Rome's Trestevere neighbourhood, on November 27, 2020. (AFP)

Friday, November 27, 2020

US CDC reports 262,673 deaths

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 12,823,092 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 324,358 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 3,668 to 262,673.

France logs daily infections at 12,459

The number of daily new infections fell in France to 12,459, compared to 13,563 on Thursday and 22,882 last Friday, health ministry data showed. The cumulative reported total now stands at over 2.19 million.

The slow down in the rate of infections comes a day before shops can resume selling non-essential goods.

The number of people in hospital fell by 662 to 28,648 and the number of people in intensive care by 135 to 3,883, continuing a downtrend of the past two weeks.

President Emmanuel Macron said this week that a nationwide virus lockdown in place since October 30 could be lifted on December 15 if by then the number of new infections per day fell to 5,000 and the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care declined to between 2,500 and 3,000.

The health ministry also reported 957 deaths from the virus on Friday, including a three-day batch of 564 deaths in retirement homes and a 24-hour tally of 393 in hospitals.

More than 28,000 new cases, over 800 deaths in Italy

Italy has reported 827 deaths according to the country's latest data. 

The country reported 28,352 new cases over the past 24 hours, down 2 percent from a day before, bringing the total to more than 1.53 million since the start of the outbreak.

With Friday's daily deaths, the national death toll rose to 53,677, still the second-highest in Europe after the UK.

Turkey sees 29,800 new cases

Turkey has registered 29,845 more cases, including 6,592 symptomatic cases, over the past 24 hours, according to the latest coronavirus data.

The new cases raised the overall count to 481,198, while the death toll rose by 177 to reach 13,191.

Erdogan: Turkey to ramp up virus measures if needed

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the country could take further measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus amid rising cases.

“We have to and will take measures in line with the steps taken by the Health Ministry,” Erdogan said in Istanbul.

He stressed the importance of wearing masks, maintaining social distance and paying attention to hygiene.

"As long as these measures are not followed, the spread of the virus is inevitable especially in larger cities,” Erdogan said.

He added that Turkey’s efforts to develop the Covid-19 vaccine were ongoing, while the country is also in talks with Russia, China and Germany to import the vaccine.

UK reports 521 more deaths

UK health authorities have reported 521 more deaths, a slight increase from Thursday when the fatalities were 498, according to official data.

There were 16,022 new cases over the past 24 hours bringing the national total to 1,589,301.

The UK currently holds the worst death toll in Europe as more than 57,000 people have perished since the start of the pandemic.

'Highly speculative' to say Covid didn't emerge in China – WHO

The World Health Organization's top emergency expert has said it would be "highly speculative" for the WHO to say the coronavirus did not emerge in China, where it was first identified in a food market in December last year.

China is pushing a narrative via state media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in the central city of Wuhan, citing the presence of coronavirus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers claiming it had been circulating in Europe last year.

"I think it's highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China," Mike Ryan said at a virtual briefing in Geneva after being asked if Covid-19 could have first emerged outside China.

"It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged," he added, saying that evidence might then lead to other places.

WHO wants to see data on Russia's Sputnik vaccine

The World Health Organization has said it needs to see clinical data and information on good manufacturing practices to be able to evaluate Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.

WHO assistant director-general Mariangela Simao made the statement on Friday.

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is more than 90 percent effective, a representative of the health ministry said this month, citing data collated from vaccinations of the public rather than from an ongoing trial.

AstraZeneca targeted by suspected NK hackers – Reuters

Suspected North Korean hackers have tried to break into the systems of British drugmaker AstraZeneca in recent weeks, two people with knowledge of the matter have told Reuters news agency, as the company races to deploy its vaccine for the virus.

The hackers posed as recruiters on networking sites LinkedIn and WhatsApp to approach AstraZeneca staff with fake job offers, Reuters said, citing sources.

They then sent documents purporting to be job descriptions that were laced with malicious code designed to gain access to a victim's computer.

Colchicine to be investigated as possible virus treatment

Colchicine, a commonly used anti-inflammatory drug, will be investigated as a possible treatment for the new novel coronavirus in the Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial, the study website posted.

The RECOVERY trial, which is the world's largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalised with the virus, will randomly allocate at least 2,500 patients recruited to receive colchicine.

Pakistan reports over 3,000 cases for 3rd straight day

Pakistan has reported over 3,000 new virus cases for the third straight day as the virus keeps spreading across the country, official data showed.

According to the Health Ministry, the country recorded 3,113 new cases during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 389,311.

Malaysia to receive 12.8 million doses of Pfizer vaccine 

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has said the country had signed a deal for 12.8 million doses of Pfizer's virus vaccine, the Bernama state news agency reported.

The first delivery of one million doses is expected in the first quarter of 2021, Muhyiddin said, according to Bernama.

Indonesia reports record high infections and deaths

Indonesia has reported a new daily record high of 5,828 new virus infections and 169 deaths, data from its Covid-19 task force showed.

The latest figures brought total case numbers to 522,581 and virus-related deaths to 16,521, both the highest in Southeast Asia.

Thailand to see more visitors, 'signal' for reopening 

Thailand expects to receive 1,200 foreign visitors in both November and December, after a slight easing of travel curbs aimed at generating some income until a ban on mass tourism is lifted, its tourism authority chief said.

The country is gradually opening up to a limited numbers of visitors during the coronavirus pandemic to give some support to a tourism-dependent economy that the government expects to shrink by 6 percent this year.

The new arrivals, however, would be a fraction of the number in 2019, a record year.

South Korea foils North's attempt to hack vaccine makers

South Korea's intelligence agency has foiled North Korean attempts to hack into South Korean companies developing coronavirus vaccines, lawmakers said.

Ha Tae-keung, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee, said after being briefed by the National Intelligence Service that the agency did not specify how many and which drugmakers were targeted but said there was no damage from the hacking attempts.

The revelation came after Microsoft said early this month that hackers working for the Russian and North Korean governments have tried to break into the networks of seven pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States.

Russia reports daily record high of 27,543 new cases

Russia has reported a record high of 27,543 new coronavirus infections, including 7,918 in the capital Moscow, bringing the national tally to 2,215,533.

Authorities also reported 496 deaths related to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 38,558.

Philippines to get 2.6M doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine

The Philippines will get 2.6 million shots of a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca under the country's first supply deal for a coronavirus vaccine, senior officials said.

This supply, to be paid for by the private sector, will inoculate over 1 million Filipinos as the British drug maker's vaccine requires two doses, said Jose Concepcion, a government business adviser representing the private sector.

Carlito Galvez, a top coronavirus task force official, said authorities were also negotiating with AstraZeneca a possible purchase of a further 1 million doses of the vaccine

Germany's coronavirus infections pass one million

Germany has seen its total number of virus infections pass one million, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said.

The institute recorded more than 22,000 new daily cases, pushing the country's total beyond the one-million mark.

The number of infections increased by 22,806 to 1,006,394.

The reported death toll rose by 426 to 15,586, the tally showed.

Ukraine reports record high for daily coronavirus cases 

Ukraine has registered a record 16,218 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, health minister Maksym Stepanov said, surpassing the previous day's record of 15,331.

Total infections climbed to 693,407 cases, with 11,909 deaths, he said. 

Japan cancels Emperor's New Year event due to coronavirus

Japan's Imperial Household Agency has cancelled an annual New Year's event set for January 2, at which Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members were to greet well-wishers, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have decided not to hold (the event) from the viewpoint of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus," the agency said on its website.

Russia agrees to produce virus vaccine Sputnik V in India

Russia's sovereign wealth fund and Indian pharmaceutical company Hetero have agreed to produce over 100 million doses per year in India of the Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19, according to a statement on the Sputnik V Twitter account.

Hetero and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has been backing the vaccine and marketing it globally, plan to start production of Sputnik V in India at the beginning of 2021, the statement said.

Phase II-III trials are ongoing in India, the statement said. 

Drugmaker Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd has said it expects late-stage trials to be completed by as early as March 2021.

Victoria to almost beat virus

From nearly 8,000 active cases in August and more than 800 deaths in the Australian state of Victoria to the elimination of the coronavirus: it’s an achievement that one Melbourne doctor says he thought was unthinkable only three months ago.

Friday marked four weeks without a new case of Covid-19 and 9,828 Victorians were tested in the past 24 hours.

Health authorities say 28 days with no new cases means the virus has been eliminated from the community, given that the time represents two 14-day incubation periods.

South Korean urged to stay indoors as cases surge

South Korea’s daily virus tally is above 500 for a second straight day and the country’s prime minister is urging the public to stay at home this weekend to contain a viral resurgence.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said that people should avoid social gatherings and refrain from going out in public this weekend. South Korea has seen a spike in fresh infections since it eased tough social distancing rules last month.

Authorities reported 569 newly confirmed infections over the past 24 hours, raising the country’s total to 32,887 for the pandemic, with 516 deaths. The 583 new cases reported Thursday was the first time that South Korea’s daily tally had exceeded 500 since March.

Mexico's virus death toll rises above 104,000

Mexico's health ministry has reported 8,107 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 645 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of infections to 1,078,594 and the death toll to 104,242.

Health officials have said the real number of infections is likely to be significantly higher.

Vaccine deliveries to begin next week in US

US President Donald Trump has said that delivery of the coronavirus vaccine would begin next week and the week after.

Speaking to US troops overseas via video link to mark the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said the vaccine would initially be send to front-line workers, medical personnel and senior citizens.

UK asks regulator to study AstraZeneca vaccine

The British government has asked its independent medicines regulator to assess AstraZeneca's virus vaccine as part of the formal approval process for the drug to be rolled out by the end of the year.

AstraZeneca has completed Phase III clinical trials of its vaccine, the last stage before regulatory approval.

But under British rules, the government must also ask the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to green light the drug.

Russia's Sputnik V developers call on AstraZeneca to try combining vaccines

Developers of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine have said that AstraZeneca should try combining its experimental shot with the Russian one to boost efficacy.

Russia said its Sputnik V vaccine is 92 percent effective at protecting people from Covid-19, according to interim trial results, while AstraZeneca said its vaccine was 70 percent effective in pivotal trials and could be up to 90 percent effective.

"If they go for a new clinical trial, we suggest trying a regimen of combining the AZ shot with the #SputnikV human adenoviral vector shot to boost efficacy," the developers of the Russian vaccine said on their Twitter account.

"Combining vaccines may prove important for revaccinations."

Volunteer gets second dose of Turkish vaccine

The second dose of a potential Turkey-made Covid-19 vaccine has been administered to a volunteer.

The vaccine is being developed at the Erciyes University in the central Kayseri province with support from Turkey's Institutes of Health Administration.

The university said in a statement that Phase-1 trials are ongoing. The first dose was administered to a volunteer on November 5 and the second shot was given to the same volunteer 21 days later.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies