The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 43 million people and claimed over a million lives around the world. Here are updates for October 25:

A woman rides a scooter past a closed hotel at Barrio Gotico, after Catalonia's government imposed new Covid-19 restrictions in Barcelona, Spain, October 23, 2020.
A woman rides a scooter past a closed hotel at Barrio Gotico, after Catalonia's government imposed new Covid-19 restrictions in Barcelona, Spain, October 23, 2020. (Reuters)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

UK says 19,790 new infections

The UK has recorded 19,790 new Covid-19 infections and 151 deaths, official data showed.

New cases dipped from Saturday's 23,012, and the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test was also down slightly from 174 the previous day.

France sees new daily record of cases

France set a new daily record for coronavirus infections with 52,010 recorded in 24 hours, official data has showed, topping 50,000 for the first time.

The Public Health France (SPF) authority said on Sunday that 116 people had died over the same period, bringing the total number of fatalities since the start of the outbreak to 34,761.

Turkey registers 2,017 more patients

Turkey has registered 2,017 virus patients over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data.

The country’s overall tally now stands at 361,801, the ministry said.

Some 1,297 more patients recovered over the past day, raising the count to 314,390, while the death toll rose by 72 to reach 9,799.

Spain declares state of emergency

The Spanish government has declared a national state of emergency that includes an overnight curfew in hopes of not repeating the near-collapse of the country's hospitals.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the decision to restrict free movement on the streets of Spain between 11 pm (2200 GMT) -6 am (0500 GMT) allows exceptions for commuting to work, buying medicine, and caring for elderly and young family members. He said the curfew takes effect Sunday night and would likely remain in place for six months.

The move came after Spain became the first EU member state to pass the grim milestone of one million cases.

Italy to shutter restaurants early

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has tightened nationwide coronavirus restrictions after the country registered a record number of new cases, despite opposition from regional heads and street protests.

Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools must all close under the new rules, which come into force on Monday and run until November 24. Restaurants and bars will stop serving at 6:00 pm (1700GMT), Conte's office said.

Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 cases with 128 deaths, health ministry figures showed.

Bulgarian premier contracts virus

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has tested positive for coronavirus and would stay at home for any treatment for the time being, as recommended by his doctors.

Borissov, who met Keith Krach, US undersecretary of state for economic affairs on Friday, has informed the US Embassy in Sofia of the situation, the head of Sofia health inspectorate said.

The government press office said Borissov was able to carry out his duties and was in constant contact with his ministers.

Qatar signs deal to procure Moderna vaccine

Qatar has signed an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to buy its potential Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it is approved and released for global use, state news agency QNA quoted a health official as saying.

"Negotiating early and securing a number of agreements enhances our chances of getting sufficient quantities of the vaccine early," said Abdullatif al Khal, chair of a national Covid-19 health group and head of infectious diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation.

Global Covid-19 infections surge past 43M

The total number of confirmed cases has surged past the 43 million mark, according to a worldometer tally. 

Over a 1.1 million people have died from the virus, while almost 32 million people have recovered.

The US is the hardest-hit country, followed by India and Brazil.

Malaysia's king rejects PM Muhyiddin's request to impose emergency rule

Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah on Sunday rejected a proposal by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for a state of emergency to be imposed because of the virus crisis.

The king believes the government has handled the pandemic well and is capable of continuing to manage the crisis under Muhyiddin, the palace said in a statement.

Muhyiddin had made the request following a resurgence in coronavirus cases and amid a power struggle for the premiership post, sources have told Reuters. 

Italy tightens virus restrictions after record new cases

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tightened nationwide coronavirus restrictions after the country recorded a record number of new cases, despite opposition from regional heads and street protests over curfews.

Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools must all close under the new rules, which come into force on Monday, while restaurants and bars will have to stop serving at 6pm, the prime minister's office said.

Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by the pandemic and impose a nationwide lockdown, on Saturday clocked nearly 20,000 new cases in a 24-hour period.

Hungary's daily tally tops 3,000 for first time

Hungary reported 3,149 new cases, its highest single-day tally and jumping above 3,000 for the first time, the government said.

The total number of cases rose to 59,247 in the country of 10 million, with 35 new deaths taking the total to 1,425.

Although cases have been rising sharply since late August, Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seeking to avoid a repeat of the spring lockdown that sent the economy crashing by 13.6% in the second quarter.

Hungarian schools are operating as normal, and apart from closing borders to foreigners, the government has not imposed significant limitations on events.

Fauci says verdict on vaccine due soon

US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it would be clear whether a vaccine was safe and effective by early December, but that more widespread vaccination would not be likely until later in 2021.

"We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December," Fauci told the BBC.

"When you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak, that very likely will not be until the second or third quarter of the year." 

Spain works on new state of emergency

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called a Cabinet meeting to prepare a new state of emergency to stem surging infections, a move that could impose curfews and other restrictions across the country.

Sanchez’s government said Saturday night that a majority of Spain’s regional leaders have agreed to a new state of emergency and the meeting Sunday was to study its terms.

The state of emergency gives the national government extraordinary powers, including the ability to temporarily restrict basic freedoms guaranteed in Spain’s Constitution such as the right to free movement.

Spain’s government has already declared two state of emergencies during the pandemic. The first was declared in March to apply a strict home confinement across the nation, close stores and recruit private industry for the national public health fight. It was lifted in June after reigning in the contagion rate and saving hospitals from collapse.

Indonesia reports 3,732 new  infections, 94 deaths

Indonesia reported 3,732 new infections, official data from the health ministry showed, taking the country's total number of cases to 389,712.

The data showed that the country had 94 additional deaths from the virus, taking the total number of fatalities to 13,299.

The government of Indonesia's capital city Jakarta said in a statement that it will extend mass social restriction measures introduced to curb the spread of the virus until November 8. 

Czech Republic reports 12,472 new cases

The Czech Republic reported 12,472 new cases for October 24, its highest daily tally for a weekend day, when there are usually fewer tests, Health Ministry data showed.

The total number of cases rose to 250,797 in the country of 10.7 million, with 106 new deaths taking that total to 2,077. 

UK considers reducing quarantine period for contacts

Officials in the UK government's coronavirus task force are considering reducing to seven or 10 days from 14 days the period that people must quarantine if they have been in contact with people infected with the illness, Sky News reported.

Like many other European countries, the UK is facing a surge in infections. It has so far reported 884,457cases with 44,795 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

India's festive season spawns fears of renewed virus surge

Just weeks after India fully opened up from a harsh lockdown and began to modestly turn a corner by cutting new infections by near half, a Hindu festival season is raising fears that a fresh surge could spoil the hard-won gains.

The festivals draw tens and thousands of people, packed together shoulder-to-shoulder in temples, shopping districts and family gatherings, leading to concerns among health experts who warn of a whole new cascade of infections, further testing and straining India’s battered health care system.

Nearly 1 billion Indians will soon celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, and the country’s biggest. Socialising is key part of the most highly anticipated event of the year, with malls and markets buzzing with shoppers. It also traditionally brings in a massive increase in consumer spending across India.

Even though the government is expecting the festival to help resuscitate the ailing economy, it is also worried about people packing together, foregoing social distancing and masks.

India is second to the United States with the largest coronavirus outbreak. Last month, the country hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but since then daily infections have fallen by about half and deaths by about a third.

Russia's new cases rise by 16,710

Russia reported 16,710 new cases, including 4,455 in Moscow, bringing the national tally to 1,513,877 cases since the pandemic began.

Authorities said 229 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 26,050.

India reports over 50,000 new Covid-19 infections

India has reported over 50,000 new daily coronavirus infections.

The Health Ministry said 50,129 new cases have taken the overall tally to nearly 7.9 million. 

It also reported 578 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 118,534.

The ministry also said India’s active cases were below 700,000 across the country and almost 7.1 million people had recovered.

India is second to the US with the largest outbreak of the coronavirus. 

Last month, India hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but since then daily cases have fallen by about half and deaths by about a third.

Some experts say the decline in cases suggests that the virus may have finally reached a plateau, but others question the testing methods. 

India is relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 11,176 to 429,181

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 11,176 to 429,181, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 29 to 10,032, the tally showed. 

Pence's top aide tests positive for virus

A spokesman says Vice President Mike Pence will continue with his aggressive campaign schedule after his Chief of Staff, Marc Short, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley says Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, both tested negative for the virus and remain in good health.

Short is Pence’s closest aide and the vice president is considered a “close contact” under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 

O’Malley says that “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”

Those guidelines mandate that essential workers exposed to someone with the coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms and wear a mask whenever around other people.

After a day of campaigning Saturday, Pence was seen wearing a mask as he returned to Washington aboard Air Force Two once the news of Short’s diagnosis was made public.

Sri Lanka on partial shut down as cases surge

Sri Lankan authorities have terminated a number of passenger trains and widened the curfew as cases related to a new cluster at a garment factory continue to surge.

The Railway Department canceled at least 16 trains — mostly ran through busy office hours — after the number of commuters declined due to the curfew imposed in many parts of the country.

More than a dozen villages are isolated in densely populated Western province, which includes capital Colombo.

Authorities on Saturday closed at least two fishery harbours and many stalls after a surge of 609 cases linked to the country’s main fish market.

Last week the island’s main fish market on Colombo’s outskirts was closed after 49 traders tested positive.

By Sunday, the number of cases from the fish market went up to nearly 900.

Australia's epicentre delays lifting of lockdown restrictions 

Victoria state, Australia's virus hotspot, delayed an eagerly awaited announcement of the removal of lockdown restrictions for cafes, restaurants and pubs in the capital Melbourne because of an outbreak in the city's northern suburbs.

The restrictions have kept most retail businesses in Melbourne providing online services only since early August and 5 million people living under stay-at-home orders were hoping for an announcement on Sunday.

State premier Daniel Andrews told a media conference the outbreak would likely delay the reopening of retail and hospitality businesses by a few days, as officials preferred to wait for hundreds of test results.

He had planned to announce some restrictions would be lifted from mid-week but preferred to wait until there was more clarity about whether all known infections and expected positive cases from the tests were linked, Andrews said.

"We will get (the test results) today and tomorrow and hopefully we are able to make, not only announcements but to take the big steps safely around the middle of this week."

The 14-day moving average of new cases in Victoria fell to 4.6, below the threshold of five Andrews had previously set for the next band of restrictions to be lifted.

Australia has recorded nearly 27,500 infections and more than 900 deaths, a fraction of those in some other countries. Victoria accounts for over 90% of lives lost to the virus.

Colombia surpasses one million cases 

Colombia has surpassed the benchmark of one million cases of Covid-19 registered in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

The last 24 hours saw 8,769 new infections, bringing the total to 1,007,711 since the first case was detected on March 6, the health ministry said.

China reports 15 new cases vs 28 previous day

China has reported 15 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for October 23, down from 28 cases in the previous day, the health commission said.

All 15 of the new infections were imported, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.

It also reported 19 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 27 a day earlier.

According to a statement issued by the health commission in China's northwestern region Xinjiang on Saturday, one local asymptomatic case was detected in Kashgar city, China's first local detected case since October 14.

As of Saturday, mainland China had 85,790 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The Covid-19 death toll stands at 4,634. 

Mexico reports 6,025 new cases, 431 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry has reported 6,025 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 431 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 886,800 and the death toll to 88,743.

Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Beaches in Panama reopen after months of closure

After seven months of confinement in which it was prohibited to go to the beach in Panama for recreational purposes, small groups of people arrived on Saturday at beaches to bathe in the waters of the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Veracruz is one of the most popular beaches in Panama because of its proximity to the capital, only 18 kilometres to the west.

It attracts tourists and Panamanians throughout the year, but like all the beaches in the country, it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

In Veracruz there are about twenty restaurants and other attractions such as small boats or horse rides on the sand, sales of handicrafts.

Tourism is one of the main sectors of the Panamanian economy.

Panama announced this week the opening of its beaches to the public as of Saturday and the lifting of the absolute quarantine on Sundays, in effect since last March.

North Carolina church ordered to close

A North Carolina health official jas ordered a large church to close its doors temporarily because of concerns it is helping spread the coronavirus by disregarding social distancing measures.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris ordered the United House of Prayer for All People to close all of its buildings and said the church has not cooperated with efforts to stem the virus’s spread, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Harris said at least three deaths and more than 121 confirmed cases of the virus have been linked to the church, which held a weeklong church event earlier this month.

The county said the church has continued to hold large gatherings despite recommendations not to do so and has failed to implement social distancing measures. The church did not immediately return a request for comment.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies