The global coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 58.8 million people and killed over 1.3 million. Here are the updates for November 22:

In this file photo a lab technician sorts blood samples for Covid-19 vaccination study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida on August 13, 2020.
In this file photo a lab technician sorts blood samples for Covid-19 vaccination study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida on August 13, 2020. (AFP)

November 22, 2020

First Americans to receive vaccine on Dec 11 – official 

US Covid19 vaccine programme head Moncef Slaoui has said the first Americans to receive a coronavirus vaccine could get it as soon as December 11, CNN reported.

"Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December," he said.

Spain to begin vaccination programme in January

Spain will begin a comprehensive coronavirus vaccination programme in January and expects to have covered a substantial part of the population within six months, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said.

He said Spain and Germany were the first European Union countries to have a complete vaccination plan in place.

"The campaign will start in January and have 13,000 vaccination points," Sanchez told a news conference after a two-day online summit of G20 leaders.

"A very substantial part of the population will be able to be vaccinated, with all guarantees, in the first half of the year."

Spain will implement a single national strategy, starting with "priority groups", Sanchez said, adding that he would present the plan to the cabinet on Tuesday. He also said more health professionals would be recruited.

"We have a tough few months ahead of us but the road map has been drawn up," Sanchez said.

Spain has western Europe's second highest tally of confirmed coronavirus infections after France, with some 1.5 million cases and 46,619 deaths from Covid-19.

New French cases up by 13,157 

The number of new daily coronavirus infections in France have climbed by 13,157 to 2.14 million, and the number of deaths by 215, health ministry data showed.

On Saturday, France had reported 17,881 new infections.

The cumulative death toll stood at 48,732.

UK records 18,662 cases

The United Kingdom has recorded 18,662 new infections and 398 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for the virus, according to official data.

The number of deaths included 141 that were omitted from the total on Saturday due to a processing error, the government said.

Saturday's data had shown 19,875 new cases and 341 deaths.

Turkey reports over 6,000 more patients

Turkey has registered 6,017 more virus patients over the past 24 hours, according to data by the Health Ministry.

The new cases raised the overall count to 446,822.

As many as 3,812 patients also recovered over the past day, bringing the tally to 374,637, while the death toll rose by 139 to reach 12,358.

More than 155,000 virus tests were conducted across the country, taking the total to over 17 million.

The number of patients in critical condition now stands at 4,217.

Italy reports 28,337 cases

Italy has registered 28,337 new infections over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said, down from 34,767 the day before.

The ministry also reported 562 Covid-19-related deaths, down from 692 on Saturday and 699 on Friday.

There were 188,747 virus swabs carried out in the past day, the ministry said, against a previous 237,225.

G20 for fair global access to vaccine

Leaders of the 20 biggest economies have vowed to spare no effort to supply virus drugs, tests, and vaccines affordably and fairly to "all people", reflecting worries that the pandemic could deepen global divisions between rich and poor.

The coronavirus pandemic and prospects of an uneven and uncertain economic recovery have been at the centre of a two-day summit under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, which will hand the G20 presidency to Italy next month.

"The Covid-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact in terms of lives lost, livelihoods and economies affected, is an unparalleled shock that has revealed vulnerabilities in our preparedness and response and underscored our common challenges," the final communique said.

Germans protest against restrictions

Coronavirus sceptics have protested against the government’s restrictions, amid the virus disease outbreak in various German cities.

A video went viral in Germany of a confrontation at a virus protest, where a young woman compared herself to a famous Nazi resistance fighter and then was accused by a security guard of "trivalising" the Holocaust.

Several people protesting virus restrictions in Germany that seek to tamp down new infections have tried to depict themselves as victims of government persecution. 

Some have even put on Stars of David, symbols that the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Third Reich before they killed them.

UK to think about restoring public finances

Britain will think about restoring public finances once the virus crisis is over, and until then will focus on fighting the pandemic, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has said.

"Once we get through this crisis we need to think more about returning to a more normal path, but as of now we are able to do what we need to do and we are able to do that at an affordable cost and use those funds to support the economy and support businesses through this crisis," he told Times radio.

Surge in infections could overwhelm Gaza's health system

 A sharp rise in infections in Gaza could overwhelm the Palestinian enclave's meagre medical system by next week, public health advisers have said.

Gaza, where the dense and poor population of 2 million is vulnerable to contagions, has logged 14,000 virus cases and 65 deaths, mostly since August.

Seventy-nine of Gaza's 100 ventilators have been taken up by virus patients, said Abdelraouf Elmanama, a microbiologist who is part of the enclave's pandemic task force.

France culls minks after finding virus at farm

French authorities have ordered the culling of all minks in a farm after an analysis showed a mutated version of the virus was circulating among the animals.

The French government said in a statement that about 1,000 minks have been culled and all animal products have been eliminated in the farm located west of Paris.

France counts four mink farms on its territory. 

Authorities are still awaiting results for two of them. No virus has been found in the last one, the government said.

The move follows virus developments in mink farms in Denmark and other countries including the Netherlands, Sweden, and Greece.

WHO envoy warns of third Covid-19 wave in Europe

A World Health Organization (WHO) special Covid-19 envoy has predicted a third wave of the pandemic in Europe in early 2021, if governments repeat what he said was a failure to do what was needed to prevent the second wave of infections.

"They missed building up the necessary infrastructure during the summer months, after they brought the first wave under the control," the WHO's David Nabarro said in an interview with Swiss newspapers.

"Now we have the second wave. If they don't build the necessary infrastructure, we'll have a third wave early next year," said Nabarro, a Briton who campaigned unsuccessfully to become the WHO director general in 2017.

Europe briefly enjoyed sinking infection rates that are now surging again: Germany and France on Saturday saw cases rise by 33,000 combined, Switzerland and Austria have thousands of cases daily, while Turkey reported a record 5,532 new infections.

Nabarro lauded the response of Asian countries like South Korea, where infections are now relatively low. He also said Asia did not relax restrictions prematurely. 

"You must wait until case numbers are low and stay low," he said. "Europe's reaction was incomplete."

Russia reports 24,581 new cases

Russia has reported a daily increase of 24,581 new coronavirus infections, taking the national tally to 2,089,329.

Authorities also reported 401 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 36,179.

Pakistan's cases rise amid large gatherings

Amid defiance of the directive to wear masks and avoid large public gatherings, Pakistan has reported 59 more deaths and 2,665 new cases of Covid-19.

The country's tally reached 374,173 confirmed cases. Among those being treated for the virus, 1,653 are critical.

Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral of a cleric in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday, and on Sunday, an alliance of opposition parties is holding a rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Both events ignore directives of the military-backed National Command and Operation Center, a body assigned the task of controlling the spread of the virus, for people to wear masks, maintain physical distance and avoid large gatherings.

India reports more than 45,000 new cases

India has registered 45,209 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours amid a festival season surge in the country’s capital and many other parts.

At least three Indian states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat — have imposed night curfews in many cities. The Health Ministry on Sunday also registered 501 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 133,227. While the overall pace of new cases appears to be slowing, experts have cautioned that official figures may be offering false hope since many infections are undetected.

More mass testing in China after three new cases

Authorities are conducting mass testing and shutting down schools after China reported three new domestically transmitted cases in the past 24 hours — two in northern Inner Mongolia province and one in Shanghai.

The city of Manzhouli, in Inner Mongolia, is testing all its residents for Covid-19, a day after the two cases were discovered. The city has suspended classes and shut public venues, telling residents to not gather for dinner banquets.

Local authorities in Shanghai found one more case Saturday after testing 15,416 people following recent locally transmitted cases.

The city is not shutting down its schools, but has locked down specific facilities such as a hospital. It is also testing all residents in the Pudong New Area district.

China is already conducting mass testing for up to 3 million residents in the northern city of Tianjin after five cases were found there earlier in the week. The total number of confirmed cases in China is 86,431.

Australia eases some curbs

Australia moved a step closer to normal life on Sunday, opening some internal borders and easing restrictions in regions affected by Covid-19, as the vast majority of the country has seen no new community infections or deaths for weeks.

There were 12 new cases reported across Australia among travellers in hotel quarantine. The country, which closed its external borders early, limits international arrivals and requires a two-week hotel quarantine for arriving travellers.

With just over 27,800 cases, Australia has done better than most other developed nations in combating Covid-19, thanks to its aggressive response.

On Sunday, there were an estimated 88 cases active throughout the country.

Germany's cases rise to 918,269

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 15,741 to 918,269, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 138 to 14,022, the tally showed.

Japan's cases hit record for fourth day

The daily tally of reported Covid-19 cases in Japan has hit a record for the fourth day in a row, with 2,508 people confirmed infected, the health ministry said.

Japan has had fewer than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths so far, avoiding the toll of the harder hit nations. But fears are growing about another surge. A flurry of criticism has erupted, from opposition legislators and the public, slamming the government as having acted too slowly in halting its “GoTo” campaign, which encouraged travel and dining out with discounts.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the decision Saturday.

But many people had already made travel reservations for this three-day Thanksgiving weekend in Japan.

Airports and restaurants have been packed. Some said the government should have offered to pay for cancellations, or stepped up more on PCR testing instead, if the goal is to keep the economy going amid a pandemic. Tutorials are circulating online on the proper way to eat and drink at restaurants, while wearing masks.

South Korea reports more than 300 new cases for fifth straight day

South Korea has reported more than 300 new coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day, as officials warned that stricter rules could be imposed if the trend continues to threaten the highly populated capital of Seoul and surrounding areas.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 330 new cases as of midnight on Saturday, a drop from 386 reported the day before, a level not seen since August.

Officials warned that unless the number of infections drops substantially, they may raise the level of social distancing regulations.

South Korea has employed an aggressive tracing, testing, and quarantine effort to stamp down outbreaks without imposing lockdowns. But the country has been dogged by a persistent number of small infections, bringing the total number of cases to 30,733 with 505 deaths.

Mexico reports 6,719 new cases, 550 more deaths

Mexico's health ministry has reported 6,719 new coronavirus cases and 550 more deaths in the country, bringing the total confirmed cases to 1,032,688 and the death toll to 101,373.

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

Mainland China reports 17 new cases

Mainland China has reported 17 new virus cases, up from 16 the previous day, with three cases of local transmission and nine cases originating overseas, according to the National Health Commission.

The Commission said in its daily bulletin that two of the local transmissions took place in Inner Mongolia and one in Shanghai.

Mainland China reported another 11 asymptomatic cases, down from 18 on the previous day. It has so far reported an accumulated total of 86,431 cases, with the official death toll at 4,634. 

US grants Regeneron antibodies emergency approval

The United States has granted emergency approval for a synthetic antibody therapy against the virus that was notably used to treat President Donald Trump.

"Authorising these monoclonal antibody therapies may help outpatients avoid hospitalisation and alleviate the burden on our health care system," said Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Brazil registers 32,622 new cases, 376 deaths

Brazil has registered 32,622 additional virus cases over the last 24 hours and 376 deaths, according to the health ministry.

South America's largest country has recorded 6,052,786 total confirmed cases and 168,989 total deaths in the nine month-long pandemic.

Brazil's caseload and average daily death toll has been falling consistently since August. However, a modest uptick in cases in recent weeks has epidemiologists warning of the potential of another wave of infections.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies