Covid-19 has infected more than 258M people and killed over 5M worldwide. Here are coronavirus-related developments for November 22:

Pfizer and BioNTech say their Covid-19 vaccine remained 100 percent effective in children 12 to 15 years old, after 4 months.
Pfizer and BioNTech say their Covid-19 vaccine remained 100 percent effective in children 12 to 15 years old, after 4 months. (AP)

Monday, November 22, 2021

Pfizer says its shot 100 percent effective in adolescents

Pfizer and BioNTech said their Covid-19 vaccine remained 100 percent effective in children 12 to 15 years old, four months after the second dose.

No serious safety concerns were observed in individuals with at least six months of follow-up after the second dose.

The companies said that the new data, which involved 2,228 trial participants, will help support their applications for full approval in the United States and worldwide.

Italy reports 70 deaths and 6,404 new cases

Italy reported 70 Covid deaths against 46 the day before, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 6,404 from 9,709.

Italy has registered 133,247 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.9 million cases to date.

UK reports 44,917 new cases, 45 further deaths

Britain reported 44,917 further cases and 45 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to official data.

On Sunday, 40,004 cases and 61 deaths were reported.

France reports 1,406 people in intensive care units, up by 67

France reported 1,406 patients in intensive care units due to Covid-19.

Two bodies set up to advise the French government on its handling of the Covid-19 crisis have recommended making booster shots available to all vaccinated adults.

France is currently only offering boosters to people over 65 or with chronic conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus, as well as health workers.

From December 1, they will be expanded to people over 50.

Austria begins 20-day lockdown as cases surge

Despite protests against restrictions, Austria implemented a 20-day national lockdown to stem a surge in coronavirus cases.

Thousands of Austrians took to the streets over the weekend against a new lockdown, and the government's plans to make vaccination compulsory from next year.

The new restrictions require everyone to stay at home except for essential services such as going to markets, pharmacies or visiting a doctor.

Slovakia considers three-week lockdown

Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger is intensively considering a possible three-week lockdown, like that imposed in Austria, amid a jump in Covid-19 cases, his office said.

The idea has been put forward by the Health Ministry, and Heger said expert opinion would be key in any decision.

EU wants calm amid virus protests

In the face of demonstrations across much of Europe protesting tough Covid-19 measures over the past days, authorities pleaded for patience, calm and a willingness to get a vaccine shot in the arm as infections spike upward again.

And for those who abused the protests to foment violence, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte just called them “idiots."

Protest marches from Zagreb to Rome and from Vienna to Brussels and Rotterdam, bringing tens of thousands out, all had one message from a coronavirus-weary crowd — we've had enough! 

“Not able to work where you want work, to be where you want to be.

That’s not what we stand for, that’s not freedom,” said Eveline Denayer, who was at Sunday's march in Brussels, which drew a crowd of over 35,000.

Labs in Belgium are unable to cope with surging demand for tests

Laboratories in Belgium are struggling to cope with the demand for Covid-19 tests amid a rapidly rising number of infections, local media reported.

According to daily De Morgen, the surge in the cases has pushed many private facilities in charge of processing PCR tests to seek help from the federal network of laboratories, especially in the Flanders region.

Guadeloupe closes schools after Covid rioting

Schools closed across the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and France's president warned of a “very explosive” situation in the territory, after protests against Covid-19 rules and vaccinations descended into days of rioting and looting.

France's central government sent in police special forces to try to restore order to the former colony, as emergency workers said they were unable to reach neighbourhoods barricaded by angry crowds. 

The prefect of Guadeloupe said in a statement that 11 people have been arrested by police overnight Sunday into Monday. 

Russia's coronavirus deaths still hover near all-time highs

Russia's coronavirus death toll was still hovering near all-time highs, but the number of new infections continued to decline. 

The state coronavirus task force reported 1,241 deaths, down from the pandemic's record of 1,254 recorded last week.

The task force also reported 35,681 new confirmed cases, reflecting a steady downward trend since early November when the daily numbers topped 41,000, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Singapore reports 1,461 new cases 

Singapore reported 1,461 further cases and 5 deaths versus 1,670 infections the previous day.

Hungarians rush to get shots as cases soar anew in Europe

People have been lining up for Covid-19 shots outside Budapest's main hospitals as Hungary for the first time offered vaccinations without prior registration amid a surge in new infections.

Hungary reported reported 27,209 new cases for Friday to Sunday and 392 deaths.

Hungary, with a population of 10 million, has reported 33,172 deaths in total.

Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for half of global cases and deaths.

Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead': minister

Most Germans will be "vaccinated, cured or dead" from Covid-19 in a few months, Health Minister Jens Spahn has warned as he urged more citizens to get jabbed.

"Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead," Spahn said, blaming "the very contagious Delta variant".

Macron: Guadeloupe 'very explosive' over virus curbs

French President Emmanuel Macron has called the situation on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe "very explosive" and said public order must be maintained in the overseas territory.

Violence erupted last week after walkouts organised by the territory's labour unions to challenge local Covid-19 restrictions, such as the mandatory vaccination of health workers, degenerated into civil unrest.

Speaking to journalists, Macron said that Guadeloupe must pursue its vaccination campaign. 

Kenya to seek proof of vaccination

Kenyans will have to prove they are fully vaccinated to gain access to government services, public transport and public places such as national parks, bars and restaurants under new health regulations.

Kenya will require people to show vaccination certificates from December 21, and is planning a 10-day mass inoculation campaign from November 26, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said in a statement.

India has 'no vaccine booster plan yet' 

India is not considering authorising booster doses yet as many in the country have been naturally infected, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The sources said the government believes two doses of a vaccine offers sufficient protection for now, and authorities will instead concentrate on having most of India's 944 million adults complete a two-dose vaccination by January.

India recorded 8,488 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest count in 538 days, the Health Ministry said.

South Korean schools resume full in-person classes

For the first time since South Korea has began battling its outbreak in early 2020, all schools across the country resumed full-time in-person classes.

The fully reopened schools come as part of South Korea's "living with Covid-19" plan, adopted after it reached its vaccination goals last month. 

Overall 78.8 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, though that number drops to 12.8 percent for those ages 12-1.

Austria begins national lockdown to fight surging infections

Austria has gone into a nationwide lockdown early on to combat soaring coronavirus infections, a step closely monitored by other European governments struggling with national outbreaks that are straining health care systems.

The measures are expected to last for a maximum of 20 days but will be re-evaluated after 10. They require people to stay home unless for basics reasons like getting groceries, going to the doctor and exercising. Restaurants and most shops must close and larger events will be canceled. Schools and day care centers can remain open, but parents are encouraged to keep their children home.

Austria hopes to lift the measures on December 13 but may keep a further lockdown on the unvaccinated.

Australia to further ease international border restrictions

Australia will allow foreign visa holders to enter the country from the start of December.

Australia shut its international border in May 2020 and allowed only restricted numbers of citizens and permanent residents to enter in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus.

The rules were relaxed in recent weeks to allow foreign family members of citizens to enter, and Morrison said this will be scaled up from December 1 to allow vaccinated students, business visa holders and refugees to arrive.

Ecuador and Colombia to open shared border on December 1

Ecuador and Colombia have agreed to the bilateral reopening of their shared border from the start of December after it was closed amid the pandemic, and pledged to work together to combat drug trafficking.

The shared border was shut in March 2020 as both governments looked to curb the spread of coronavirus. The controlled reopening, complete with epidemiological measures, will bring greater security and economic activity to the zone.

Brazil reports more than 5000 new cases

Brazil has reported 5,126 new  cases and 72 new deaths in the past 24 hours.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies