International update: Global Covid cases pass 57 million – India exceeds nine million

20 November 2020 (Last Updated November 20th, 2020 13:01)

20 November

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed 57 million, meanwhile, the global coronavirus death toll exceeds 1.36 million according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US: US Covid-19 infections have passed 11.7 million. The US coronavirus death toll is 252,564 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, urged Americans to be vigilant as the pandemic surges across the US. But Vice President Mike Pence said President Donald Trump opposes lockdowns and closing schools to curb the spread. The task force briefed reporters Thursday for the first time since April, after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended earlier that Americans cancel Thanksgiving travel plans. The events showed that the administration is coming to grips with the pandemic’s rising toll after Trump downplayed the outbreak.

Texas had a record 12,293 new coronavirus cases, smashing its old peak from mid-July, when the second most-populous US state saw its first major wave of Covid-19. The new cases-count surged 45% in 24 hours, according to state health department figures Thursday.

Coronavirus infections continue to rise in the greater Washington region, with more than 5,000 new cases reported on Thursday, a daily record. The Capital itself had 213 new cases and and two additional deaths, according to figures from the mayor’s office, pushing the seven-day average to 167.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis has tested positive for Covid-19 and Anthony Tata, one of several senior US defence officials who met him at the Pentagon last week, also tested positive on Thursday, the Pentagon said.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 14,575 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, health minister Maksym Stepanov said on Friday. It breaks the previous daily record of 13,357.

Germany: Germany added another 23,648 confirmed Covid cases on Thursday, taking its total to 879,564, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

Thailand: Mask-wearing and hand-washing routines introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have also led to far fewer cases of other respiratory diseases in Thailand this year, according to medical experts.

Mexico: Mexico passed the 100,000 mark in Covid-19 deaths Thursday, becoming only the fourth country — behind the United States, Brazil and India to do so.

China: Mainland China reported 17 new Covid-19 cases on 19 November, up from 12 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Friday.

Japan: Tokyo found 522 cases of Covid-19 on Friday - topping 500 infections for the second day - Japanese broadcaster FNN reports, without attributing the information. Takaji Wakita, the head of an expert panel advising the Japanese health ministry, said the current situation was “very severe” and warned that if nothing was done, the chances of the coronavirus spreading more rapidly were “very high,” Kyodo reported on Thursday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong recorded 26 new coronavirus cases, 21 of which are locally transmitted, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said at a briefing. She didn’t provide a breakdown of untraceable cases.

Vaccine news

China: Almost a million people in China have taken an emergency Covid-19 vaccine that is still in its testing phase, the company Sinopharm has said.

EU: The European Union has agreed to pay more than $10bn to secure hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine being developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and CureVac, an EU official involved in the talks told Reuters. BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. could receive conditional European Union marketing authorization for their Covid-19 vaccines in the second half of next month, according to the head of the bloc’s executive arm.

US: Remdesivir, one of the drugs Donald Trump took when he developed Covid-19, should not be used in hospitals because there is no evidence it works, the World Health Organization has advised. Gilead Sciences said it was “disappointed the WHO guidelines appear to ignore” evidence with regard to the organization’s recommendation not to use the company’s remdesivir drug as a treatment for Covid-19.

UK: The NHS is preparing to open dozens of mass vaccination centres across England to vaccinate people against Covid-19.

Lockdown Updates

US: California will impose a temporary overnight curfew affecting nearly the entire population beginning this weekend, as the state battles to get a surge in coronavirus cases under control.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised Americans not to travel for next week’s Thanksgiving holiday, due to the nationwide surge in new coronavirus cases.

South Korea: South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged citizens to stay home and cancel gatherings, as the country’s confirmed cases exceeded 300 for a third day. The government will minimize face-to-face meetings from next week, he said in a nationwide address.

Philippines: Churches in the Philippine capital Manila have been told not to hold any Christmas carol activities this season as part of measures to limit the transmission of Covid-19.

Economy updates

Asia: Asian stock markets have struggled again overnight after US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin called for an end to coronavirus pandemic relief for struggling businesses.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that as the Asia-Pacific region turns to economic recovery following the pandemic, countries will need to focus on those most harshly affected - including indigenous communities and women.