Covid-19

Health
Germany, US and UK could start Covid-19 vaccinations in December
Germany, US and UK could start Covid-19 vaccinations in December
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Schludi

The US and Europe may grant emergency authorisation for Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine in early December after final trial results showed a 95% success rate and no serious side effects. Moderna's vaccine has also shown a 94.5% effectiveness.

Spain has announced to begin a comprehensive vaccination programme in January and hope to cover a substantial part of the population within three months, so prime minister, Pedro Sanchez.

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 • Americas • United States
Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for Covid-19
Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for Covid-19
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Donald Trump Jr., President Donald Trump's eldest son, tested positive for the Covid-19 earlier this week and "has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result", said a spokesperson.

"He's been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines," the spokesperson said.

Health
Pfizer and BioNTech are submitting emergency use authorization request for their Covid-19 vaccine to the US FDA
Pfizer and BioNTech are submitting emergency use authorization request for their Covid-19 vaccine to the US FDA
Credit: Norbert Nagel, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech are submitting an emergency use authorization request for their Covid-19 vaccine to the US Food and Drug Administration. While it's unclear how long the process will take, the US government is expected to approve the vaccine until mid-December.

"The submission is based on a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% (p<0.0001) demonstrated in the companies’ Phase 3 clinical study in participants without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (first primary objective) and also in participants with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (second primary objective), in each case measured from 7 days after the second dose," Pfizer said in a statement posted on its website.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
IATA: Airlines would need another $80 billion in aid to survive
BER Airport
BER Airport Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to IATA, airlines would need an additional $80 billion to survive the Covid-19 crisis. Governments already injected $160 billion into the sector.

IATA has predicted a painfully slow recovery with a return to pre-crisis traffic levels only in 2024 and passenger numbers still down 30% next year.

Regional News • Asia • China
China has given almost a million people experimental Covid-19 vaccine, Sinopharm claims

In an interview with posted on WeChat, Sinopharm chairman Liu Jingzhen claimed an emergency Covid-19 vaccine has been given to almost a million people as part of an emergency-use program authorized by Beijing.

"In emergency use, we now have used it on nearly a million people. We have not received any reports of serious adverse reaction, and only a few have some mild symptoms," Liu said, who added that the vaccine was given to Chinese construction workers, diplomats, and students who have gone to more than 150 countries around the world during the pandemic – none of them have reported a Covid-19 infection so far.

Law
Lawsuit against US meat processing plant over managers betting money on Covid-19 cases amongst employees
Lawsuit against US meat processing plant over managers betting money on Covid-19 cases amongst employees
Credit: Corey Coyle / via Wikimedia Commons

Tyson Foods faces a wrongful death lawsuit after ordering employees to continue working during the pandemic while supervisors privately wagered money on the number of workers who would contract and test positive for Covid-19.

Dean Banks, Tyson Foods' president and chief executive officer, has stated that they "are extremely upset about the accusations involving some of the leadership at our Waterloo plant. The lawsuit alleges that despite the uncontrolled spread of the virus at the plant, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions without providing the appropriate personal protective equipment and without ensuring workplace-safety measures were followed".

The accused supervisors have been suspended according to Banks.

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
Italy reports 36,176 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, 653 deaths
Rome during the Covid-19 pandemic
Rome during the Covid-19 pandemic Credit: Camelia.boban (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Italy has registered 36,176 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday, up from 34,283 the day before.

Italy was the first Western country to be hit by the virus and has seen 47,870 Covid-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain's.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Thursday, reporting 7,453 new cases, down from 7,633 the day before.

Health
Ebola outbreak in Congo ended according to WHO

According to the World Health Organization the Congo has successfully ended an Ebola outbreak while fighting Covid-19 at the same time.

WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti has stated that "Overcoming one of the world's most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together," adding that "This constituted a major logistical challenge in terms of the implementation of response activities in a health system already weakened by previous epidemics and by a weak involvement of the community."

"Tackling Ebola in parallel with COVID-19 hasn't been easy, but much of the expertise we've built in one disease is transferable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity."

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Almost 200 arrests during anti Covid-19 measures protest in Berlin
Almost 200 arrests during anti Covid-19 measures protest in Berlin
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the police had declared a rally with several thousand participants to be over at noon after the protestors had not responded to calls to respect social distancing and mandatory mask rules.

In addition the police announced via Twitter that emergency personnel had been thrown at with "bottles, stones and firecrackers and attacked with pepper spray". Around 190 people were arrested. The police used five water cannon vehicles in order to disband the protest.

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 • Americas • South America
Breaking the overall record of cases, Uruguay exceeded 100 daily cases of coronavirus and 792 sick people.
Breaking the overall record of cases, Uruguay exceeded 100 daily cases of coronavirus and 792 sick people.
Credit: Adam Nieścioruk

Without a strict lockdown or any enforced measure, the Uruguayan government relies on citizens' common sense and suggests keeping social distances, reduce meetings as much as possible, permanent use of masks, and so on. Although, there are 792 currently infected cases and 12 ICU patients.

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 • Germany
Angela Merkel says she is very worried about pandemic in Berlin
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel Credit: European People's Party (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Covid-19 situation in Germany still concerns even with infection numbers not rising as fast as before, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday. The chancellor said she would have preferred to have agreed stricter rules at a meeting with federal and state leaders on Monday, adding she was apprehensive about the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in some places, including the capital Berlin.

Merkel had proposed additional measures including making it mandatory to wear masks in schools and shrink class sizes, and urging citizens, and children, to limit social contacts to one household or friend.

Federal and state leaders postponed until November 25 a decision on further lockdown measures

Business • Economy
easyJet reports £835 million loss in 2020, worst results in its 25-year history
easyJet reports £835 million loss in 2020, worst results in its 25-year history
Credit: unsplash/Jan Rosolino

British multinational budget airline easyJet has reported a £835 million loss in the year to 30 September 2020, compared to £427 million in profits in 2019. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both easyJet's revenue and passenger numbers declined by approx. 50%,

"I am immensely proud of the performance of the easyJet team in facing the challenges of 2020. We responded robustly and decisively, minimising losses, reducing cash burn and launching the largest cost out and restructuring programme in our history – all while raising more than £3.1 billion in liquidity to date," so chief executive, Johan Lundgren

Business • Farming & Agriculture
Major fur auctioneer to shut down following link between mink and Covid-19 in Demark
Major fur auctioneer to shut down following link between mink and Covid-19 in Demark
Credit: Kopenhagen Fur

Kopenhagen Fur, the cooperative of 1,500 breeders which was founded in 1930, said a government announcement earlier this month to kill 15 million mink - to minimize the risk of them transmitting COVID-19 to humans - "changes the basic platform of the company in the long term."

"As a company, we are in operation and are looking into a completely normal sales season, where we offer the world's finest mink skins, as we usually do. Our sorters are ready to receive the skins, and the auction team is already working deep into the detailed planning," said Jesper Lauge, CEO at Kopenhagen Fur, in a statement.