The global coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 55 million people and killed over 1.3 million. Here are the updates for November 16:

People wearing protective masks walk along the principal shopping street of Via del Corso, as the number of people infected by coronavirus continues to rise, in Rome, Italy, November 14, 2020.
People wearing protective masks walk along the principal shopping street of Via del Corso, as the number of people infected by coronavirus continues to rise, in Rome, Italy, November 14, 2020. (Reuters)

November 16, 2020:

Italy reports 27,354 new infections and 504 deaths

Italy has registered 27,354 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry has said, down from 33,979 the day before, with the fall reflecting the usual drop in the number of swabs conducted on Sundays.

The ministry also reported 504 Covid-19 deaths, down from 546 the previous day.

There were 152,663 coronavirus swabs carried out in the past day, the ministry said, against a previous 195,275.

WHO on Moderna news: no time for complacency

The World Health Organization chief has hailed "encouraging" news about Covid-19 vaccines but voiced serious concern about surging cases in many countries and insisted that complacency was not an option.

"This is no time for complacency," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press briefing.

"This is a dangerous virus, which can attack every system in the body. Those countries that are letting the virus run unchecked are playing with fire," he said.

Turkey reports 3,316 more patients

Turkey has registered 3,316 more Covid-19 patients over the past 24 hours, according to figures by the Health Ministry.

The country's overall coronavirus count now stands at 417,594 patients.

As many as 2,712 patients also recovered during this period, pushing the tally to 356,375, while the death toll rose by 94 to reach 11,601.

Some 151,516 Covid-19 tests were conducted across the country, taking the total to over 16.3 million.

A total of 3,610 patients are in critical condition.

Israel in talks with Russia over Sputnik V vaccine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is talking with Russian President Vladimir Putin about buying Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for Covid-19.

"An hour ago I spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the possibility of purchasing an option on the vaccine Sputnik-V," Netanyahu told reporters. 

"We will discuss this in the coming days." 

Thousands suffering from long Covid – UK minister

Many thousands of people in Britain are suffering from "long Covid", ongoing illness after contracting the coronavirus, Health Minister Matt Hancock has said.

"We've already seen the serious impact that long Covid can have on people's quality of life, even the fit and the young, symptoms like fatigue and breathlessness, muscle pain and neurological problems, long after they first had the virus," Hancock told a media conference.

"And we know that long Covid affects thousands of people, many thousands of people," he added, saying England would have a network of 40 clinics to deal with long Covid by the end of the month

Second vaccine shows early success in US tests

Moderna has announced its experimental vaccine against Covid-19 was shown to be 94.5 percent effective according to early results from a clinical trial with more than 30,000 participants.

"This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent Covid-19 disease, including severe disease," said Stephane Bancel, Moderna's CEO.

Dr Stephen Hoge, Moderna's president, welcomed the "really important milestone" but said having similar results from two different companies is what's most reassuring.

"That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives," Hoge told The Associated Press. 

It won't be Moderna alone that solves this problem, he said. "It's going to require many vaccines," to meet the global demand, he added.

Pakistan's second wave of infections gathers momentum

Pakistan has recorded its highest number of daily Covid-19 infections since July on each of the last four days as a second wave of the epidemic gathered momentum, data has showed.

There were 2,128 new cases registered, the fourth day that the daily increase has been above 2,000.

More than 7 percent of people tested on Sunday were found to have contracted the virus, compared with between 2 percent and 3 percent during most of the last four months.

After a peak of over 6,800 daily infections in June, the number fell to a low of 213 in August, and remained below 700 for most of the last three months.

The country has registered 359,032 cases in total and 7,160 deaths from the respiratory disease.

Malaysia reports 1,103 new cases, four deaths

Malaysia has reported 1,103 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number of infections to 48,520.

The health ministry also recorded four new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities due to Covid-19 to 313.

UK's Johnson in quarantine but declares himself fit, working

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said is as “fit as a butcher’s dog” after being instructed to self-isolate for 14 days because he recently came in contact with someone who has since contracted coronavirus.

In a video message posted Monday on Twitter from his London apartment at Downing Street, Johnson said it didn’t matter that he has already endured Covid-19 and is “bursting with antibodies.”

The quarantine requirement comes at the start of a crucial week for Johnson’s Conservative government that includes discussions over a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

Johnson, who contracted the virus in April and spent three days in intensive care as his symptoms worsened, met with a small group of lawmakers for about a half-hour on Thursday, including one, Lee Anderson, who subsequently developed symptoms and tested positive.

Johnson was notified by the National Health Service’s Test and Trace system on Sunday and told he should self-isolate because of factors including the length of the meeting.

Indonesia reports 3,535 new infections, 85 deaths

Indonesia has reported 3,535 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number to 470,648, data from the country's health ministry website showed.

The data showed 85 new deaths, bringing the total to 15,296.

Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths from Covid-19 in Southeast Asia.

Russia reports record high of 22,778 virus cases

Russia has reported a record high of 22,778 new infections, including 6,360 in the capital Moscow, bringing the national tally to 1,948,603.

Authorities also reported 303 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 33,489.

Philippines records 1,738 new cases, seven deaths

The Philippines' health ministry has reported 1,738 new infections and seven additional deaths, the lowest daily increase in casualties in nearly three months.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had increased to 409,574, while deaths had reached 7,839.

India records over 30,000 new cases

India has registered 30,548 new confirmed coronaviruses cases during the past 24 hours, the lowest in the last four months but amid growing concerns of the latest surge in the capital New Delhi.

The Health Ministry raised India’s tally to more than 8.84 million. It said the country was showing a trend of declining average daily cases over the last two months. The ministry also reported 435 deaths in the same period, driving total fatalities to 130,070.

India’s daily cases have seen a steady decline since the middle of September, but its capital New Delhi is battling the latest surge, recording more new cases than any other Indian state.

Germany's confirmed cases rise to 801,327

The number of virus cases in Germany has increased by 10,824 to 801,327.

The reported death toll rose by 62 to 12,547, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

South Korea mulls stricter distancing

South Korea has reported more than 200 new cases for the third consecutive day as the government mulls tightening social distancing to curb persistent outbreaks from offices, medical facilities and small gatherings.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) posted 223 cases as of Sunday midnight, marking the eighth straight day of triple-digit increases and the highest since early September.

Health authorities warned of re-strengthening distancing curbs which were relaxed about a month ago to the lowest levels, as small cluster infections continue to break out while the pandemic is raging around the globe.

The daily tally brought the country's total infections to 28,769, with 494 deaths.

New Zealand imposes new mask rules as precaution

New Zealanders will be legally required to wear masks on public transport in Auckland and on planes nationwide.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Virus Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the new rules after meeting with senior lawmakers.

The country has been largely successful in eliminating the virus but has experienced several small outbreaks in Auckland, the latest one after a military worker at a hotel where travellers returning from abroad are being quarantined got infected.

Mexico reports 3,269 new cases

Mexico's health ministry has reported 3,269 new cases of in the country and 283 deaths, bringing the official totals to 1,006,522 cases and 98,542 dead.

Health officials have previously said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher than the reported figures.

Mainland China reports 8 new cases 

Mainland China has reported eight new cases on November 15, down from 13 a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Monday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed infections, rose to 14 from six a day earlier.

China's total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases now stands at 86,346, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

Cases in US hit 11M

More than 11 million cases of the virus have now been reported in the US, with the most recent million coming in less than a week.

Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker reached 11 million on Sunday. It had topped 10 million cases on November 9.

It took 300 days for the US to hit the 11 million mark since the first case was diagnosed in Washington state on January 20.

The virus is spreading more rapidly across the US than it has at any time since the pandemic started. 

Deaths are also on the rise, though not at the record high numbers reached in the spring.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths was more than 1,080 as of Saturday, more than 30% higher than it was two weeks earlier.

Covid-19 has now killed more than 246,000 people in the US, according to Johns Hopkins.

Worldwide, more than 54 million coronavirus cases have been reported with more than 1.3 million deaths. The US has about 4% of the world’s population, but about a fifth of all reported cases.

Australia back on outbreak alert as state reports jump in cases

The Australian state of South Australia reported 14 new cases on Monday from three cases the previous day, which prompted a neighbouring state to reimpose border controls and the federal government to offer help.

South Australia ended a months-long streak of no Covid-19 infections on Sunday, reporting three locally-acquired coronavirus cases after a worker from a quarantine hotel infected family members, the authorities said.

The cases raised concerns of a new outbreak.

Western Australia, which borders South Australia, said it was introducing mandatory virus testing and a 14-day quarantine for interstate arrivals, tightening its border control soon after letting in people from elsewhere in the country.

Joe Biden's science advisors to meet soon with vaccine makers

Joe Biden’s scientific advisers will meet with vaccine makers in coming days as the presidential transition remains stalled because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost the election.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, says the delayed handoff is especially problematic during a public health crisis.

Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been through multiple presidential transitions during 36 years of government service.

He likens the process to runners passing on the baton in a relay race, saying, “You don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody. You want to just essentially keep going.”

Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, says the consultations with pharmaceutical companies will begin this week.

Argentina talks hit as IMF delegate tests positive for Covid

Economy Minister Martin Guzman and other Argentine officials were placed in preventive isolation on Sunday after a member of a visiting IMF mission tested positive for Covid-19, the government said.

The International Monetary Fund team has been in Buenos Aires since Tuesday for talks on a new rescue package for the crisis-ravaged South American country.

"All of those who had meetings with the IMF team are isolated and will be tested according to established protocols," the government said in a statement, adding that none of the Argentine officials had shown symptoms of the disease.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said earlier in New York that one of the eight members of the IMF mission had tested positive during routine tests on Saturday. He said the member would be tested again on Sunday to confirm the initial finding.

"Upon learning the results," Rice said, "the team immediately informed the Argentine authorities and went into self-isolation."

"The IMF team in coordination with the authorities also initiated contact tracing protocols to advise all persons with whom the IMF team met over the past week about the positive test," he said.

"The team will continue its work and will hold any further meetings virtually."

India to fly in medical staff, ramp up testing amid rising cases in Delhi

India will fly doctors in from other regions, double the quantity of tests carried out and ensure people wear masks in efforts to contain the coronavirus spread in the capital New Delhi, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.

"Amit Shah also directed that the hospital capacity and availability of other medical infrastructure should be ramped up considerably," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

While India's daily increase in cases has been under the 50,000 mark for eight straight days, around half it s record peak, the city state of Delhi has recorded over 7,000 cases a day over the last five days - a record level.

"Delhi has witnessed a huge surge in daily active cases which is likely to worsen over next few weeks," India's Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a tweet on Sunday.

India will also employ retired doctors, conduct door-to-door surveys and employ increased tracking to fight the spread of the virus in Delhi, Vardhan said.

British PM self-isolating after contact with Covid-positive person

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating after someone he was in contact with tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, a spokesman said Sunday.

"He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic," the Downing Street spokesman added.

Johnson was hospitalised with coronavirus in April. This time round "the PM is well and does not have any symptoms of Covid-19", the spokesman said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies