- Macron reinstates state of emergency, curfews
- Spain first EU nation to top 900,000 COVID-19 cases
- Catalonia moves to close bars, restaurants for 15 days
- NY hospitalizations near 1,000
- Italy reports record jump in new cases
- Wisconsin judge blocks Gov Tony Evers restrictions on number of people indoors
- Boris Johnson says will consider 2-week 'circuit breaker' lockdown
- France's Macron expected to announce new measures in Wednesday night interview
- Iran's cases, deaths continue to climb despite new restrictions
- Philippines records nearly 2k new cases
- Indonesia nears 350k
- India outbreak continues to slow
- South Korea sees new daily cases drop back below 100
- Global cases: 38.2 million; deaths: 1.1 million
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Update (1400ET): Macron has, as expected, announced new curfews for cities and towns facing the highest COVID-19 alert levels.
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Macron said that the curfews would last for at least 4 weeks. It will apply to Paris and its suburbs, as well as Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier.
The president's speech comes after France reported 22,951 new cases on Wednesday, raising its total to 820,017.
That's compared with 52,000 cases reported in the US yesterday. However, France's population is roughly one-fifth of the American population, meaning the per-capita rate of infection is much higher in France and Spain right now than in the US.
Elsewhere in Europe, a partial lockdown announced by the Netherlands yesterday will come into force at 2200 local time. Earlier on Wednesday, Spain's restive Catalonia region said that bars and restaurants would close for 15 days beginning Thursday.
The Czech Republic, which has the highest rate of infection in Europe with 581.3 cases per 100,000 people, has shut schools and bars.
Meanwhile, Spain on Wednesday became the first EU nation to top 900,000 COVID-19 cases. The latest official figures released by the Spanish Health Ministry on Wednesday showed the countrywide total is now 908,056, an increase of 11,979 against the figure released on Tuesday. Although, the ministry claims that only 5,104 of these infections occurred in the past 24 hours; figures released yesterday excluded an update from Andalusia for ‘technical reasons’.
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Update (1340ET): The French government has just revived its public health state of emergency, which will resume at midnight on Friday.
The report comes ahead of an evening address by President Emmanuel Macron where he is expected to announce a "night confinement" from 9pm to 6am, according to media reports. The curfew will apply to towns and cities on the highest level of alert.
The move comes as the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in France has risen to more than 9,100 for the first time since the end of June.
Like much of Western Europe, cases in France have soared in recent weeks...
....and deaths have followed hospitalizations higher.
The news follows a wave of tightenng restrictions in countries across Europe after the Continent reported more than 700,000 cases in a single week, its highest weekly tally yet.
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Update (1230ET): Total hospitalizations in New York are nearing 1,000, another milestone as the second wave of infections continues to rise, particularly in the state's hot spots.
Cuomo also announced 'punitive measures' against the organizers of the Chainsmokers' concert in the Hamptons that drew public ire over the summer.
NEW: Following an investigation into the Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons this summer, the promoters will be fined $20,000 for violating public health law.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 14, 2020
Further, the Town of Southampton cannot approve permits for group gatherings without State approval.
Today's update on the numbers:— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 14, 2020
Of the 111,744 tests reported yesterday, 1,232 were positive (1.10% of total)
Total hospitalizations are at 938.
Sadly, there were 7 COVID fatalities yesterday. pic.twitter.com/cHc29yuOOq
The test positivity rate in the “Red Zone” focus areas is 6.2%.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 14, 2020
The statewide positivity rate excluding Red Zones is 0.95%.
We continue to take strong action to respond to these outbreaks and to stop the spread. Mask Up.
Cuomo added that he expects "microclusters" of the virus to continue surfacing around the city for at least the next year, and plans to withold state funding to any schools that stay open despite being in one of the state's "red zones".
The positivity rate in these "red zones" is 6.2%, while the statewide positivity rate excluding the hot spots is .95%.
Earlier, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said city health officials are making progress in reducing infection rates in the 'hot spots' identified in Brooklyn and Queens.
"We’re seeing some leveling off in the city, some leveling off in the communities that are affected," de Blasio said. “We need to see more progress obviously, but what we’re seeing overall in the indicators is that we are making some progress. We have to stop a second wave."
The mayor didn’t give any data on the specific areas of elevated infection, but the number of new reported cases on a seven-day average fell to with 512 from 520, the daily percentage or residents testing positive dropped to 1.13% from 1.90% and the seven-day rolling average of positive tests decreased slightly to 1.46% from 1.48%.
At a separate briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo said microclusters like the ones in the city are expected to continue for at least a year. And they could continue to go on for years unless 100% of the population is vaccinated, he said. Cuomo also threatened to withhold funding to schools and local governments in hot zones that don’t comply with the state’s shutdown orders.
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Update (1120ET): Not long after Italy imposed new national restrictions to try and beat back the country's rapidly worsening COVID-19 second wave, the country on Wednesday reported a new record jump in new cases, signaling that the new wave has officially surpassed the first in terms of size, even if it has also been far less lethal.
The record number: 7,332 new cases on Wednesday, out of 152,196 tests. The number beat out the previous high, reached on March 21, when 6,557 new cases were reported (though there were only 26k tests done on that day, making the positivity rate significantly higher). Health officials also reported 43 new deaths. On March 21, when the last record was reported, the country also reported 793 deaths.
But the death numbers weren't the only concerning figures: the number of admitted patients is up 13.7% in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, Italy's Civil Protection Agency reported 5,901 new cases.
Italy's cumulative totals now stand at 365,467 cases and 36,246 deaths.
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Update (1030ET): A Wisconsin judge has blocked - at leasat temporarily - an order from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers limiting the number of people who can gather in bars, restaurants or other indoor places, in a major win for small business owners opposing continued restricitons on business.
The rulings comes two days after a judge upheld the state's mask mandate.
Yesterday, the state set new records for cases, hospitalizations and deaths, though the numbers remain small compared to the hardest-hit states.
The lawsuit was filed by the 'tavern league', a group of bar and restaurant owners who banded together to try and block more restrictions, which many say are leaving their businesses and livelihoods in a perilous place.
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As pressure mounts, UK PM Boris Johnson acknowledged on Wednesday that his government will consider imposing the two-week lockdown that proponents have marketed as a "circuit-breaker" - even as the WHO warns that lockdowns (like the virus itself) imposes the biggest burdens on the poor.
More European countries announced plans to tighten social distancing restrictions yesterday, with the Netherlands imposing a partial lockdown that will endure for at least a couple of weeks, and hard-hit Ukraine closing schools and colleges.
Despite the punishing lockdowns implemented from Italy, to Britain, to Spain - and beyond - Europe reported more than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases last week, a record number and a jump of 34% compared with the week prior. Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of the new infections.
Meanwhile, the FT reports that the UK government is looking at a single coronavirus test to try and cut the amount of time travelers spend waiting for their results in half. MPs launched a "travel taskforce" last week to explore different ways to adopt "COVID-19" testing in a way that will help heal the country's battered tourism industry.
Across the channel, French President Emmanuel Macron is set to make a television appearance on Wednesday night amid predictions that he will unveil further restrictions to curb a recent surge in coronavirus infections and hospital admissions.
It comes as parts of France saw ICU units at 95% capacity, dangerous levels threatening to unleash higher mortality rates if the virus isn't contained. The FT reported that Macron could use Wednesday night's TV interview to announce curfews in the hardest hit areas (presently, that's in and around Paris and Lyon) while announcing additional restrictions on public gatherings. The PM has said he will try and avoid another lockdown.
As China confronts its first confirmed outbreak in 2 months, more than 4.2 million tests in the northern port city of Qingdao have been completed, with no new cases among the almost 2 million results received. Nearly 9,000 coronavirus victims are in hospital in France, 1,642 of them in the ICU.
Here's more COVID-19 news from overnight and Wednesday morning.
Iran's coronavirus-related daily cases and deaths rose to a record as the government imposed restrictions on travelling to and from five big cities that are most infected by the virus. The latest 24-hour death tally increased to 279 on Wednesday, up from the 254 reported on Tuesday, while 4,830 people tested positive. Both those figures were the highest records since the pandemic began. The total number of deaths rose to 29,349, of 513,219 people who tested positive (Source: FT).
Shortly after trials of an Eli Lilly antibody therapeutic that had been submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization were paused, the company's CEO said during an interview at a virtual health conference that COVID-19 is likely to become "endemic" in the human population.
Global cases have reached 38,172,523, according to Johns Hopkins data, surmounting 38 million as the world remains on track to top 40 million cases by the end of October. Meanwhile, the worldwide death toll has hit 1,086,918 (Source: Nikkei).
Moscow says Russia will resume flights to Japan, Cuba and Serbia. The government has authorized three flights a week to Tokyo (Source: Nikkei).
Malaysia reports 660 new coronavirus cases and four more deaths, as the capital poses imposed tighter restrictions on movement for two weeks. More than half the new infections are in Sabah, a state under lockdown (Source: Nikkei).
Indonesia reports 4,127 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing its total number of cases to 344,749, data from its COVID-19 task force show. The country has also recorded 129 new deaths, the highest daily increase since Sept. 30 (Source: Nikkei).
The Philippines records 1,910 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the lowest number in more than three weeks, and 78 more fatalities. In a bulletin, the health ministry said the country's confirmed infections had climbed to 346,536, while its death toll had risen to 6,449 (Source: Nikkei).
India's official coronavirus infection count rose by 63,509 in the last 24 hours, reaching 7.24 million on Wednesday, according to the health ministry. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 730 to 110,586, the ministry said (Source: Nikkei).
South Korea confirms 84 new coronavirus cases, down from 102 a day earlier. The country's total infections have reached 24,889, with 438 deaths (Source: Nikkei).
The World Bank says its executive board approved on Tuesday $12 billion in new funding for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. The financing plan is a part of $160 billion in total funding that the multilateral development lender has pledged to developing countries through June 2021 to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic (Source: Nikkei).