The global coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 54.6 million people and killed over 1.3 million. Here are the updates for November 15:

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

November 15, 2020: 

Coronavirus emerged in Italy earlier than thought – study

The new coronavirus was circulating in Italy since September 2019, a study by the National Cancer Institute (INT) of the Italian city of Milan has shown, signalling that Covid-19 might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought.

The World Health Organization has said the new coronavirus and Covid-19, the respiratory disease it causes, were unknown before the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, in central China, in December.

Italy's first Covid-19 patient was detected on February 21 in a little town near Milan, in the northern region of Lombardy.

But the Italian researchers' findings, published by the INT's scientific magazine Tumori Journal, show that 11,6 percent of 959 healthy volunteers enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020, had developed coronavirus antibodies well before February.

A further specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies test was carried out by the University of Siena for the same research titled "Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the pre-pandemic period in Italy".

It showed that four cases dated back to the first week of October were also positive for antibodies neutralising the virus, meaning they had got infected in September, Giovanni Apolone, a co-author of the study, told Reuters.

"This is the main finding: people with no symptoms not only were positive after the serological tests but had also antibodies able to kill the virus," Apolone said.

"It means that the new coronavirus can circulate among the population for long and with a low rate of lethality not because it is disappearing but only to surge again," he added.

France records 27,228 new cases, 302 more deaths

France has registered 27,228 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and a further 302 deaths from the disease in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed, although there were signs of a fall in the rate of new cases.

France has now recorded 1,981,827 confirmed Covid-19 cases in all, while 44,548 people have died from the virus - the seventh-highest death toll in the world.

Nevertheless, the data marked a slight decrease compared with the previous day's Covid-19 figures in terms of new confirmed cases and deaths.

France is in the middle of its second, national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, following its March-May shutdown.

President Emmanuel Macron's government has set a December 1 deadline for this lockdown, although the government has said it could extend it beyond that if it feels the numbers are not falling fast enough.

With banners reading “Let us Pray” and “We Want Mass,” Catholic protesters held scattered demonstrations around France to demand that authorities relax virus lockdown measures to allow religious services.

In the western city of Nantes, hundreds gathered in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary, some kneeling on the rain-soaked pavement, according to local broadcaster France Bleu. Similar gatherings were reported or planned in the eastern city of Strasbourg, in Bordeaux in the southwest, and outside the Saint-Louis Cathedral in Versailles.

Turkey reports 3,223 more patients

Turkey has registered 3,223 more Covid-19 patients over the past 24 hours, according to figures by the Health Ministry.
The country's overall Covid-19 count now stands at 414,278 cases, the data showed.

As many as 2,561 more patients also recovered during this period, bringing the tally to 353,663, while the death toll rose by 89 to reach 11,507.

Nearly 142,500 Covid-19 tests were conducted across the country, pushing the total to over 16.1 million.

The number of patients in critical condition is 3,439.

UK reports 24,962 new cases, 168 deaths

Britain has reported 24,962 new cases of coronavirus.

The daily number of new deaths reported within 28 days of a positive test fell to 168 from 462 on Saturday, taking the cumulative total to 51,934.

Italy reports 33,979 new cases, 546 deaths

Italy has registered 33,979 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry has said, down from 37,255 on Saturday.

The ministry also reported 546 Covid-related deaths, from 544 the day before.

There were 195,275 coronavirus swabs carried out in the past day, the ministry said, against a previous 227,695.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Sunday, reporting 8,060 new cases against 8,129 on Saturday.

Iran reports record single-day rise of 12,543 new cases

New coronavirus infections in Iran have risen by 12,543 during the past 24 hours, a record high, taking the cumulative total to 762,068, the health ministry said.

Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 459 people had died in the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll in the Middle East's worst-hit country to 41,493.

Malaysia reports 1,208 new cases with three new deaths

Malaysia has reported 1,208 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 47,417 infections.

The health ministry also recorded three new fatalities, raising the total number of deaths from the pandemic to 309.

Indonesia reports 4,106 new cases, 63 new deaths

Indonesia reports 4,106 new coronavirus infections, taking country's  total caseload to 467,113, data from the country's Covid-19 task force showed.

It also recorded 63 more deaths, taking the number of fatalities to 15,211. As of Sunday, 391,991 people have recovered from the virus in Indonesia. 

Russia reports 22,572 new cases
Russia has reported a daily increase of 22,572 new coronavirus infections, taking the national tally to 1,925,825.

Authorities also reported 352 coronavirus-related deaths during the past 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 33,186.

India reports 41,100 coronavirus cases

India has reported 41,100 new cases of coronavirus during the past 24 hours, taking the country’s overall tally since the pandemic began to 8.79 million.

The Health Ministry also reported 447 deaths in the same period, driving total fatalities to 129,635.

India is second in the world in total reported cases behind the US, but daily infections have been on the decline since the middle of September. There has been, however, a resurgence of infections in New Delhi, which has seen a renewed surge in recent weeks, recording more new cases than any other Indian state.

On Sunday, New Delhi registered 7,340 new coronavirus cases, including 96 deaths.

Pakistan sees four-month high in daily new cases

Pakistan has seen the highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases since mid-July, recording more than 2,400 new cases, according to official data.

With 2,443 fresh infections, the country's total caseload rose to 356,904, including 323,225 recoveries.

Another 32 people died from the disease during the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 7,141.

The country has recorded over 22,000 cases this month, following health experts' warning about a second wave of Covid-19 along with the looming flu season.

Pakistan was among countries where coronavirus cases started to significantly drop in mid-July.

The single-day tally that once hit nearly 7,000 plunged to only 264 on August 30, prompting the government to completely ease the months-long lockdown. The daily death toll also fell to a single digit.

South Korea reports 208 new cases, eighth day of triple-digit rises

South Korea has reported 208 new coronavirus cases, marking the eight straight day of triple-digit increases, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

That was slightly higher than the previous day's 205 new infections and the highest since early September.

Of the cases, 176 were domestically transmitted and 32 imported. Nearly 70 percent of the locally transmitted cases were from Seoul and Gyeonggi province, a densely populated area near the capital.

President Moon Jae-in earlier on Saturday urged authorities and local governments to raise their awareness of the spread of the coronavirus, reinforcing thorough supervision of safety guidelines such as mandatory mask wearing.

South Korea began fining people who fail to wear masks in public on Friday, as the nation's daily infections continued to creep higher.

The latest tally takes the country's total infections to 28,546, with 493 deaths, according to the KDCA.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 16,947

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 16,947 to 790,503, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 107 to 12,485.

Mexico surpasses 1 million confirmed cases 

Mexico's health ministry has reported 5,860 new infections in the country and 635 deaths, bringing the official totals to 1,003,253 cases and 98,259 deaths.

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

Australia 'victim' of own success as more locals want to return 

Australia's triumph in reining in the virus while infections spiral up in many parts of the world had made the country a "victim of our own success," as Australians overseas want to come home, a cabinet minister said.

Australia closed its borders in March to all but citizens and residents, and the government has kept entries capped and put those allowed into the country in a two-week mandatory quarantine.

Australia has recorded about 27,700 infections and 907 deaths, a fraction of what many other developed nations have seen, thanks to an impressive early response and strict measures that included sending Melbourne, the country's second-largest city, into months-long lockdown.

Elon Musk says 'most likely' has a moderate case of virus

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has said he "most likely" has a moderate case of the virus, as he continued to question the accuracy of the tests.

"Am getting wildly different results from different labs, but most likely, I have a moderate case of Covid. My symptoms are that of a minor cold, which is no surprise since a coronavirus is a type of cold," Musk wrote in a tweet.

Brazil registers 38,307 new cases 

Brazil has reported 38,307 new virus cases of the infection, the Health Ministry said, bringing the total to 5,848,959.

Deaths rose by 921 to 165,658. 

US North Dakota becomes 35th state to require masks

North Dakota has become the 35th US state to require face coverings be worn in public, as governors across the country grapple with a surge in infections that threatens to swamp their healthcare systems.

North Dakota's Republican Governor Doug Burgum also ordered restaurants and bars to limit diners to 50 percent of capacity and to close by 10 pm local (04:00 GMT).

New cases nationwide rose on Friday to a daily record of over 177,000, the fourth straight day an all-time high was set, with 68,141 patients in hospital, according to Reuters tally.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies