International update: Global Covid infections pass 58.7 million – hundreds of unclaimed bodies in NYC

23 November 2020 (Last Updated November 23rd, 2020 10:48)

23 November

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed 58.7 million. With daily totals averaging at around 600,000, the global infections total is likely to pass 60 million this week, just under three weeks after it passed 50 million. Meanwhile, the global coronavirus death toll exceeds 1.38 million according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US: US Covid-19 infections have passed 12.2 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 256,783 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Hundreds of bodies remain unclaimed in freezer trucks in New York City from the first deadly wave of Covid-19, the Wall Street Journal reported. The paper reported that 650 bodies are being stored near the waterfront in Brooklyn, many of whom are people whose families couldn’t be located or couldn’t afford a funeral.

In the US, 1,448 people died on Friday according to Johns Hopkins University – the equivalent of a person every minute, as Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis pointed out on Twitter on Sunday.

Covid-19 hospitalizations accelerated in the US, with coronavirus cases now accounting for almost a quarter of patients in South Dakota and New Mexico, government data shows.

The Greater Los Angeles area added 2,718 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the five-day average exceeding the 4,000 threshold that triggered additional measures where restaurants, breweries and bars will once again limit their businesses to just pick-up and delivery. The new curbs will start at 10 pm on Wednesday.

South Korea: South Korea reported another daily rise of over 200 new coronavirus cases on Monday, a day before tighter social distancing rules aimed at blunting a third wave of infections take effect.

China: The Global Times reports that Shanghai Pudong airport has started testing thousands of staff and passengers after several cargo handlers tested positive for coronavirus. Hundreds of flights have also been cancelled, and videos posted online appear to show people panicking as they are told they will all be tested for the virus.

France: France’s confirmed cases rose by 13,157 on Sunday to 2.14 million. The seven-day average of new cases continued to drop, as the country’s second lockdown is starting to slow the virus’s spread.

Italy: Italy reported 28,337 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, down from 34,767 a day earlier – in line with the normal weekend pattern as fewer tests are carried out. Daily deaths fell to 562 from 692 on Saturday.

Vaccine news

US: US Covid-19 vaccine programme head Moncef Slaoui, said the first Americans to receive a coronavirus vaccine could get it as soon as 11 December, CNN reported on Sunday.

Germany: Germany could start administering shots of Covid-19 vaccines as soon as next month, health minister Jens Spahn was quoted as saying. “There is reason to be optimistic that there will be approval for a vaccine in Europe this year,” Spahn said in an interview with publishing group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland.

UK: Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine this week, even before the US authorises it, the Telegraph news site reported on Sunday, citing government sources.

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

Lockdown updates

Asia: The Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble has been postponed, one day before the first flights were set to depart. The bubble was postponed after Hong Kong health authorities reported a rise in new cases, including 43 on Saturday alone, 13 of which were untraced local infections.

Sweden: Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, warned of the growing threat the coronavirus poses, amid fears the strategy used so far may not be enough to fight an increasingly deadly pandemic. Sweden famously avoided a lockdown, relying instead on voluntary measures. But with a death rate considerably higher than elsewhere in the Nordic region, and intensive care beds rapidly filling up, authorities in the country are now recalibrating their approach.

Italy: The government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is considering temporarily easing a soft lockdown in the run-up to Christmas, to allow shops to open for longer hours in worst-hit regions, Italian newspapers reported on Sunday.

UK: The government will announce on Monday that self-isolation will no longer be required for those who have come into contact with people who have tested positive for Covid-19, the Telegraph reported.

Indonesia: Indonesia is planning to shorten the duration of the year-end holiday to avoid mass gatherings suspected of triggering a recent spike in cases in Southeast Asia’s coronavirus hotspot.

Japan: Japan is set to temporarily remove the Hokkaido from a domestic travel promotion campaign, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Monday, as the worst-yet wave of coronavirus cases spread across the country.

Economy updates

Singapore: Singapore’s economy will probably expand 4% to 6% next year as it rebounds from the coronavirus slump and global growth recovers. The city-state also narrowed its forecast for this year’s contraction to 6%-6.5%, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement Monday.