Covid-19 Second Wave

Regional News • Europe
Sweden faces criticism over its handling of the virus; report says it failed to protect the nation's elderly
Sweden faces criticism over its handling of the virus; report says it failed to protect the nation's elderly
Credit: Kremlin.ru, via Wikimedia Commons

Sweden's independent Covid-19 commission states that the nation has partly failed to protect its elderly citizens as elderly care has major structural shortcomings. Mats Melin, the commission president, said Sweden was ill-equipped to handle the pandemic and measures were taken too late and were insufficient.

Sweden has reported a total of 341,029 infections so far and has seen a surge in new cases over the past few weeks. Prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said that health officials misjudged the virus's resurgence and " that most people in the profession didn’t see such a wave in front of them; they talked about different clusters."

Regional News • Europe • France
France will delay lockdown easing if necessary
France will delay lockdown easing if necessary
Credit: unsplash.com / Kevin Dellandrea

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal has said that France will delay lockdown easing if necessary to avoid the further spread of the Coronavirus. France is due to ease many restrictions on December 15th.

“If we consider that ... we must modify this second phase (of lifting lockdown measures), then of course we will do it,” Attal told CNews television.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Los Angeles issues stay-at-home order, bans all gatherings
Los Angeles issues stay-at-home order, bans all gatherings
Credit: unsplash/Joel Muniz

Los Angeles County has issued a new stay-at-home order as Covid-19 infections surge, reporting 4,544 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Friday. Starting Monday, the county prohibits all private and public gatherings with people outside a household for three weeks.

Indoor retail businesses are allowed to remain open at 20% of capacity, and exceptions are made for churches protests as they "are constitutionally protected rights".

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany reports record number of Covid-19 deaths
Germany reports record number of Covid-19 deaths
Credit: unsplash.com / bennett tobias

The number of patients treated in intensive care units in Germany for Covid-19 has reached the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic. In Germany, health authorities have reported 410 new coronavirus-related deaths to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within 24 hours. The total number of deaths rose to 14,771, with the highest level ever reached in mid-April with 315 reported deaths within one day.

Regional News • Europe
WHO envoy warns of third Coronaivurs wave in Europe if governments don't build necessary infrastructure

David Nabarro, a World Health Organization special Coronavirus envoy, has told the Swiss newspaper Solothurner Zeitung that Europe could face a third wave next year if governments "don’t build the necessary infrastructure."

He praised Asian countries such as South Korea: “People are fully engaged, they take on behaviors that make it difficult for the virus. They keep their distance, wear masks, isolate when they’re sick, wash hands and surfaces. They protect the most endangered groups.”

“Another element that is very clear in East Asia is that once you have brought down the case numbers … you don’t relax the measures,” he said. “You wait until the case numbers are low and stay low. You have to prepare the necessary measures to stop future outbreaks.”

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria to start Covid-19 mass testing on Dec 5th
Austria to start Covid-19 mass testing on Dec 5th
Credit: unsplash/Mufid Majnun

Austria is planning to begin Covid-19 mass testing on December 5th, starting with teachers, police forces and communities with high infection rates. Seven million tests have been ordered so far and the government has mobilized both armed forces and forces to help with testing.

According to health minister Rudolf Anschober, the decisive factor is "that the tests do not create a false sense of security, but that they are accepted not as a substitute but as an additional measure to social distancing, masks and proper hygiene.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US reported 195,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, over 2.7m cases since the beginning of November
US reported 195,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, over 2.7m cases since the beginning of November
Credit: unsplash/Jakayla Toney

The United States have reported 195,000 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the country's highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic. Since the start of November, there have been over 2.7 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US, with White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr Deborah Birx warning that the current spread is "faster" and "broader" than before.

Health officials have urged people not to travel or visit friends and family during Thanksgiving week to not further fuel the spread of the virus.

Regional News • Europe
WHO says Europe is facing 'six tough months' of pandemic
WHO says Europe is facing 'six tough months' of pandemic
Credit: unsplash/Isaac Quesada

As Europe has recorded over 29,000 Covid-19 deaths in the past week, meaning that "one person is dying every 17 seconds", WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warns that Europe is facing "six tough months".

"There is light at the end of the tunnel but it will be a tough six months," so Kluge at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. "Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with the United States."

Regional News • Americas • United States
CDC recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving
CDC recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Public Domain)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against travel for Thanksgiving and has posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.

"The reason that we made the update is that the fact that over the week we've seen over a million new cases in the country," Dr Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC's lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, told reporters in a conference call.

Regional News • Europe
Switzerland reaches the maximum capacity of ICU beds, switches to triage
Switzerland reaches the maximum capacity of ICU beds, switches to triage
Credit: Courtesy of SAMW

All 876 beds certified by the Swiss Society for Intensive Medicine (SGI) for adults and thus recognized as intensive care beds in Switzerland are now occupied in the course of Covid-19 treatment - with this statement, the Society appealed on Tuesday to the public's sense of responsibility

Patients should consider whether they would like to have life-prolonging measures in the event of a serious illness as "this will help their own relatives as well as the teams of intensive care units in the decision-making process, so that treatment can take place in the best possible way and according to the individual patient's will,".

Switzerland has also updated its triage guidelines in order to assist medical professionals with the decision which patients to treat.

Regional News • Oceania
South Australia to enter "circuit breaker" lockdown after coronavirus cluster grows
South Australia to enter "circuit breaker" lockdown after coronavirus cluster grows
Credit: unsplash.com / Marcus Wallis

South Australia will begin a six-day lockdown from midnight on Wednesday night to prevent the further spread of a coronavirus cluster.

It's set to be the harshest lockdown implemented anywhere in Australia, with the closure of schools, universities, cafes, pubs, takeaway shops and restaurants.

The cluster originated at a hotel quarantine, with a worker spreading the virus to family members.

There have been 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state after Australia had recorded over a week with no local cases.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austrian government announces hard lockdown starting on Nov 17th, hopes for "mood of solidarity"
Closed café during lockdown in Vienna
Closed café during lockdown in Vienna Credit: Herzi Pinki, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government has announced a "hard lockdown" starting November 17th to contain rising numbers of Covid-19 infections. The country has seen an increase in cases in recent weeks, averaging over 7000 daily cases in the past seven days. Aa partial lockdown was introduced two weeks ago but was deemed ineffective in stopping the spread of the virus.

The new and stricter measures, which will be in effect until at least December 6th, include the closing of schools and all non-essential businesses as well as a 24-hour curfew. People are urged to stay inside their homes except for a few exceptions, e.g. for emergencies, job-related purposes, "necessary basic needs of daily life", help and care of family members and "physical and mental recovery". Restaurants, gyms and museums have already been closed since early November. 

Regional News • Europe • Austria
9,262 new Covid-19 infections in Austria

Austria has recorded 9,262 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, including late reports of new infections from the last few days due to technical problems in the reporting system.

Health Minister Rudolf Anschober appeals to operators and customers of shopping centers to adhere to Covid-19 regulations, after pictures of people crowded together in shopping centers surfaced.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units nears peak in Germany
Number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units nears peak in Germany
Credit: unsplash.com / Martha Dominguez de Gouveia

Germany reports almost as many corona patients are again in intensive care units as in spring. According to reports, the situation is even more critical than in April as Germany reports record numbers in new cases. On Saturday, an absolute peak of 23,399 was recorded.

The German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) reported that 2904 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Boris Johnson: England will enter national lockdown as coronavirus surges
Boris Johnson: England will enter national lockdown as coronavirus surges
(Open Government Licence v3.0)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new month-long stay-at-home order for England will come into effect next week. "From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home," Boris Johnson said.

Johnson was forced to make the announcement on Saturday after the government's plans were leaked to numerous national newspapers the previous evening. The plan had been initially to announce the measures on Monday.

The rules apply only to England. Wales and Northern Ireland are already effectively in lockdown and Scotland has implemented a set of tough regional restrictions.

Regional News • Europe • France
Macron orders France into second national Covid-19 lockdown
French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron Credit: Twitter Reproduction

"Hospitals won’t manage if we don’t take drastic measures,” said French President Emmanuel Macron in a prime-time televised address Wednesday, when he announced new lockdown measures for France.

Macron said that under the new measures, starting on Friday, people would only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons, that EU borders would still be open. Still, travel between regions in the country is banned.

The French government had been loath to impose a new lockdown that will pummel the economy even harder, and business chiefs have warned a total shutdown will force another wave of layoffs and bankruptcies.

Governments across Europe have been under fire for lack of coordination and for failing to use a lull in cases over the summer to bolster defences, leaving hospitals unprepared and forcing people on to packed public transport to get to work.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany decides on extended restrictions from Monday on due to rising Covid-19 numbers
Germany decides on extended restrictions from Monday on due to rising Covid-19 numbers
Credit: Screenshot live stream Bundespressekonferenz

The German federal and state governments agreed on extended restrictions following a rise in Covid-19 cases. The restrictions will take effect in all of Germany from next Monday on and last for four weeks.

Only members of two households - a maximum of ten people - will be allowed to meet in public. "Groups of people celebrating in public places, homes and private institutions are unacceptable in view of the seriousness of the situation in our country", the decision states. Schools and shops will remain open, restaurants and other activities for personal entertainment or leisure will be forced to close.

Regional News • Europe
Poland: 18,820 new Coronavirus cases, daily record
Poland: 18,820 new Coronavirus cases, daily record
Credit: Silar, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Poland reported 18,820 new Coronavirus cases. This is the country's highest daily case count. 236 people died in the past 24 hours. 13,931 hospital beds are occupied by Coronavirus patients and 1,150 ventilators are in use.

Regional News • Europe • France
PM Castex: French hospitals at capacity by Nov 11th
André Chassaigne
André Chassaigne Credit: André Chassaigne

The ICU of French hospitals will be at capacity levels with Coronavirus patients by November 11th, assuming the current surge in cases can't be contained.

Lawmaker André Chassaigne told reporters: "He [PM Jean Castex] told us that on 11 November, our hospitals will be at a saturation level equivalent to that of the first wave, so a level of extreme saturation. So the situation is particularly serious. If we can’t flatten the curve, in the next 15 days, our hospitals won’t be able to treat patients."

No measures were discussed.

Regional News • Europe
Italy: Protests against Coronavirus measures

Following new Coronavirus restrictions, protests broke out across Italy on Monday. Clashes involving petrol bombs happened in both Milan and Turin. In Naples, protestors called for the resignation of its governor. Italy has imposed a curfew in many Italian regions and has ordered the closure of eateries, gyms and cinemas after 6pm.