US deaths nearing 300,000 after another record day
The United States hit a record 16 million Covid-19 cases on Saturday afternoon, with deaths closing in on the 300,000 mark, after reporting another daily toll of over 3,000. even as millions of doses of a new vaccine were expected to start rolling out across the nation on Sunday.
Reuters: The first vaccine was approved late on Friday by the US Food and Drug Administration and is expected to touch off a mass-inoculation campaign of unparalleled dimension to end the pandemic that has upended daily life and devastated the US economy.
“FDA APPROVES PFIZER VACCINE FOR EMERGENCY USE!!!” President Donald Trump announced on Friday night on Twitter. He promised Americans the vaccinations would begin in less than 24 hours.
But US Army General Gustave Perna said on a Saturday news call that the first shipments will begin on Sunday and will be delivered to 145 locations around the country on Monday.
The remainder of the 636 delivery locations selected by states and US territories will receive doses on Tuesday and Wednesday, he said, adding that Pfizer will have more doses ready every week for distribution and administration.
The first batch of shots is expected to be aimed largely at health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
South Korea reports record daily case rise of 1,030 infections in 24 hours
South Korea reported a record daily increase in novel coronavirus cases for a second straight day with 1,030 new infections, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Sunday.
Of the new cases, 1,002 were locally transmitted, which bring the total tally to 42,766 infections, with 580 deaths.
On Saturday, South Korea reported 950 new infections, and the authorities warned they may tighten social-distancing restrictions to their strictest level.
Australian state of New South Wales marks nine days with no new cases
The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded a ninth straight day without a local Covid-19 case and removed the final restrictions for South Australians entering the state.
The zero locally-acquired infections in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday were accompanied by three cases found in returned travellers in NSW hotel quarantine.
NSW Health on Sunday said in a statement that orders barring entry to those connected to SA’s Parafield cluster were now lifted. NSW is now open to all people in Australia and New Zealand.
However authorities say they remain concerned with falling Covid-19 test numbers, with 9133 tests conducted in the 24-hour reporting period.
They again encouraged NSW residents to seek Covid-19 testing with even the mildest of respiratory symptoms.
“With restrictions eased, borders having reopened and Christmas just two weeks away, it is important we do not drop our guard against the virus,” NSW Health’s Dr Chatu Yapa said on Sunday.
“Don’t wait until Monday to see if your runny nose or sore throat goes away.”
NSW has now marked nine consecutive days of zero locally-acquired cases since a hotel quarantine cleaner last week picked up the virus.
Prior to that diagnosis, NSW went 26 days without a local case, which prompted the opening of the Queensland and WA borders for NSW residents.
NSW Health also on Sunday again implored those in Batemans Bay and southwest Sydney to come forward for testing with even the mildest of symptoms after fragments of the coronavirus were found in sewage.
No Covid-19 patients in NSW are currently in intensive care.
Australian state of Victoria records 1 new case in hotel quarantine
In Australia, the state of Victoria has recorded one new case of Covid-19 in its revamped hotel quarantine system but no new cases in the community. The case in quarantine, which was acquired overseas, is a boy under the age of five whose parents have also been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Victoria has now reached hit 44 days without local Covid-19 transmission.
The hotel quarantine case is the sixth recorded Covid-19 case since the Victorian government resumed its hotel quarantine programme earlier this week. Five of those Covid-19 cases were reported on Saturday, from a total of 6,233 tests.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
I’ll be bringing you the latest developments from around the world.
As usual, you can get in touch with me on Twitter @helenrsullivan with questions, comments, or something that might make our readers smile during what is likely to be a very dark day of news.
Germany will close shops from the middle of next week in a tightening of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
The decision came ahead of a meeting planned for Sunday between German chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders.
Meanwhile the US has again broken its daily death toll record, confirming 3,309 dead and more than 231,000 cases in 24 hours.
- Italy on Saturday became the European country with the highest official number of Covid fatalities, as its new total of 64,036 deaths overtook the UK toll of currently 64,026 reported deaths.
- The United States reported 244,011 new cases on Saturday, the highest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic, while the number of deaths rose by 3,013 to 294,535.
- The share of Brazilians unwilling to take any Covid-19 vaccine grew to 22% this week, from 9% in August, and most said they would not accept one made in China, as president Jair Bolsonaro’s comments stoked wider scepticism in the badly hit country with, as of Saturday, 179,765 deaths, the second-highest in the world.
- France recorded 13,947 new coronavirus infections in the 24 hours to Saturday, while the Covid-19 death toll rose by 199, compared with Friday’s 304 deaths. France currently has the third-highest overall death toll in Europe.
- The US Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday that most Americans with allergies should be safe to receive the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, which will have been distributed to 145 locations across the country by Monday morning.
- The UK recorded 21,502 new Covid-19 infections on Saturday and 519 deaths, compared with Friday’s 21,672 new cases and 424 deaths.