Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
My name is Helen Sullivan, and this time last year I was in Beirut preparing to have my first ever thanksgiving. Where were you – and do you celebrate the turkey holiday?
Let me know on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
As the world reported its highest daily death toll of the pandemic so far, with 12,785 Covid deaths reported in 24 hours, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors on Wednesday agreed to extend a partial shutdown well into December in an effort to further reduce the rate of Covid-19 infections ahead of the Christmas period.
Germany embarked on a so-called “wave-breaker” shutdown on 2 November, closing restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities but leaving schools, shops and hair salons open. It was initially slated to last four weeks.
Merkel said the measures will now be extended until at least 20 December, with a goal of pushing the number of new coronavirus cases in each region below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants per week.
“We have to continue to pursue this goal,” she told reporters in Berlin.
- Global cases surpassed 60m, according to researchers at both Johns Hopkins University. According to Reuters, the pace of new infections is accelerating and the United States is reporting its worst numbers of hospitalisations.
- Authorities in Sicily asked Cuba’s government to send to the region about 60 health operators, including doctors and nurses, as hospitals are struggling with a shortage of medical personnel during the second wave. The request was filed this week to the Italian embassy in Cuba and consists of intensive care specialists, nurses, anaesthetists, resuscitators, virologists and pneumologists, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported.
- The Americas reported more than 1.5m cases in the last seven days; the highest weekly number since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization regional branch PAHO said. The rapid surge of infections in the US continued and cases accelerated in countries of North, Central and South America, PAHO said. In Canada, infections were rising particularly among the elderly and indigenous communities.
- The daily death toll in the US reached 2,157 – one person every 40 seconds. It was the first time since May that deaths had passed 2,000 in 24 hours.
- Germany reported 410 deaths in 24 hours; its worst such toll since the pandemic began. It came as the chancellor Angela Merkel met with 16 federal state leaders to discuss restrictions for the Christmas and new year holidays.
- Iran recorded its worst daily caseload, with the health ministry reporting 13,843 new infections. That pushed the national tally to 894,385 in the Middle East’s worst-hit country. The ministry’s spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari, told state TV the death toll rose by 469 in 24 hours to 46,207.