Total Active Cases
By Gabriela Baczynska BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's executive has warned this month that national plans so far for spending a record 1.8 trillion euros from the bloc's joint coffers to revive economies mauled by the COVID-19 pandemic were too poor to fly, sources told Reuters. The chilling assessment, shared with EU envoys at a Jan.7, closed-door meeting the content of which was described to Reuters by three diplomatic sources, highlights the uphill battle the 27-nation bloc faces in spending so much money. Red tape, political wrangling and a track record of fraud risk undermining the goal of ensuring equal economic recovery to put EU countries on a more even footing after the pandemic that has exacerbated the wealth gap across the bloc. The plans lack structural reforms, strategic vision, concrete targets, and cost-effectiveness. A lot of work remains to be done, said one Brussels diplomat, relaying criticism by the European Commission at the meeting. A second diplomat said the Commission stressed some plans were not concrete enough and lacked measurable targets. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska)
Two hotels were quarantined with ski schools located in the post resort of St. Moritz in Switzerland being shut down on Monday to control a new variant of the novel coronavirus. The eastern Swiss canton of Grisons in a statement said that about a dozen cases in two hotels have been reported, leading to a quarantine. Watch |
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's health minister said new measures would be needed to slow the spread of new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus, including more health checks for cross-border commuters and intensified gene sequencing of virus samples. In future, health labs will have to sequence 5% of the samples they collect when screening for the coronavirus to check if they match more virulent strains first identified in Britain and South Africa, or if new strains were emerging in Germany. National and regional leaders are due to meet on Tuesday to decide on new measures designed to contain the pandemic, which has devastated Europe's largest economy. The (infection) numbers seem to be decreasing, which is good, but we are still a long way from where we want to be, health minister Jens Spahn told broadcaster ARD. New coronavirus infections have been decreasing in recent days and the occupancy of intensive care beds by COVID-19 patients has declined by 10-15%, according to Spahn, who said intensified testing of cross-border commuters should be introduced to help prevent new strains entering Germany. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told public broadcaster RBB on Monday he could imagine extending the current lockdown by two weeks until mid-February. Stricter requirements for companies to allow staff to work from home, compulsory wearing of heavy duty FFP2 masks in certain areas, restrictions on public transport and the introduction of curfews are being debated. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 7,141 to 2,040,659, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. That was more than 5,000 down from the week before. The reported death toll rose by 214 to 46,633. (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Giles Elgood)
LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal's public health system is on the verge of collapsing as hospitals in the areas worst-affected by a worrying surge in coronavirus cases are quickly running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients. Our health system is under a situation of extreme pressure, Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters on Sunday afternoon after a visit to a struggling hospital. There is a limit and we are very close to it. The health system, which prior to the pandemic had the lowest number of critical care beds per 100,000 inhabitants in Europe, can accommodate a maximum of 672 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, or ICUs, according to health ministry data. The number of people in ICUs with COVID-19 reached 647 on Sunday, according to health authority DGS. The Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators said the number of coronavirus patients needing hospitalisation was likely to dramatically increase over the next week. Three days into a nationwide lockdown, the country of just 10 million people reported 10,385 new cases and 152 fatalities on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 549,801, with the death toll increasing to 8,861. According to ourworldindata.org website supported by Oxford University, Portugal had the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe per capita over the last seven days. Most new cases were concentrated in Lisbon, where many patients at the city's public hospitals have already been transferred elsewhere, including to health units in the country's second biggest city Porto. We are already treating patients beyond our installed capacity, said Daniel Ferro, director of Lisbon's biggest hospital Santa Maria. And we are not the only hospital where this is happening. The Garcia de Orta Hospital, across the River Tagus from Lisbon, said in a statement the hospital could soon enter a pre-catastrophe phase as it no longer has beds for coronavirus patients. (Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) - Tina Hermann of Germany won a World Cup skeleton race on the historic St. Moritz track Friday, and Katie Uhlaender posted the best finish of any U.S. sliding athlete so far this season. Hermann prevailed with Austria's Janine Flock finishing second and Germany's Jacqueline Loelling taking third. Hannah Neise of Germany was fourth, followed by Uhlaender - the four-time Olympian who placed fifth. Americans did not compete in the first half of the World Cup skeleton, bobsled and luge seasons, remaining home in the U.S. because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and issues with international travel. Kaillie Humphries was sixth in women's bobsled last weekend, which had been the top U.S. result this winter before Uhlaender's showing Friday. The fifth-place finish was Uhlaender's top World Cup result in nearly eight years, since a silver-medal performance in a World Cup at Sochi, Russia, in 2013. "Last season I wasn't sure I wanted to come back fully, but I decided to finish out my career on my own terms," Uhlaender said. "I felt like myself on my sled this week and got some confidence back." In the men's race, Germany's Alexander Gassner rallied in the second heat to win by just one-hundredth of a second over Latvia's Martins Dukurs. Olympic champion Yun Sungbin of South Korea was third, and Austin Florian was 10th to lead the U.S.
C5 inhibition isn’t the answer to the search for treatments for severe Covid-19 after all. Alexion is pausing enrollment to a Phase III study testing Ultomiris, the long-acting follow-on to Soliris, among patients requiring mechanical ventilation after the independent data monitoring committee raised a lack of efficacy in an interim
Geberit became the latest Swiss company to be hit by the surge in value of the Swiss franc during 2020, with the plumbing supplies maker reporting on Thursday how the rise in the safe-haven currency during the COVID-19 crisis cancelled out higher sales in other currencies.
MADRID (Reuters) - Faced with new record infection rates, Spain has begun giving second shots of coronavirus vaccines to elderly nursing home residents, while a court in Seville ruled on Monday that one home could inoculate a resident against her family's wishes. Like many other countries, Spain is racing to vaccinate in care homes to prevent a repeat of the epidemic's first wave, which killed some 20,000 residents between March and May, according to preliminary data reported by El Pais newspaper. In the central city of Guadalajara, 96-year old Araceli Hidalgo Sanchez, Spain's earliest recipient of a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, said she was delighted to have received the second and encouraged others to do the same. Smiling from behind her mask as she walked through the grounds of the Los Olmos nursing home using a walking frame, she said that more than anything she wanted to see her family. I haven't done that since the bug got here. New infections have soared in the wake of the Christmas holidays. Nearly 84,300 new cases were reported on Monday, a record rise over the two days since Friday that brought the country's cumulative total to 2,336,451, government data showed. [L8N2JT3KM] By Monday morning, eight of Spain's 17 regions had got underway with the second round of jabs, the health ministry said. Although vaccination is voluntary in Spain, a court in the southern city of Seville authorised a nursing home to vaccinate a severely incapacitated 86-year-old woman, despite her son's objections, in the second such ruling in a week. The judge presiding over the case said protecting public health must take precedence over the family's concerns. It appears to be the only effective option to adequately safeguard her life against the real risk of developing a serious COVID-19 infection, the ruling read. Despite rising infections, the Health Ministry has ruled out a return to nationwide confinement despite calls from regional administrations for tougher measures. The national government has taken the northern region of Castile and Leon to court over its imposition of an 8 p.m. curfew, which is two hours earlier than permitted under nationwide rules. (Reporting by Nathan Allen and Emma Pinedo, additional reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Andrei Khalip and Mike Collett-White)
Citizens of Liechtenstein and Switzerland remain subject to the requirement of ten-day mandatory quarantine rules upon entering Lithuania, as the latter’s updated list of COVID-19 affected areas remains unchanged and valid until at least another week. Lithuania’s Ministry of Health has announced through a statement that besides these two countries mentioned above, all third countries […]
DUBLIN (Reuters) - France is considering requiring rapid COVID-19 tests from Irish truck drivers operating on a logistics route that has become key since Britain's exit from the European Union, Ireland's transport minister said on Sunday. Large numbers of Irish trucks have begun transporting goods via ferries to France in recent weeks to avoid delays in the more traditional route to continental Europe via Britain, which withdrew from EU trading rules on Jan. 1. The new measures would be targeted at a more infectious variant of the coronavirus first discovered in England but that has become widespread in Ireland. Transport Minister Eamon Ryan told RTE that France was considering demanding a PCR COVID-19 test, which can take several days, from most Irish travellers. Ireland is demanding similar tests from all arriving passengers. France is also considering demanding a much quicker antigen test, which can give results in minutes, from Irish truck drivers. If the French government comes back with that requirement, we would have to manage that and make sure we can do it in a way that doesn't disrupt supply chains, Ryan told RTE radio. That would be demanding but I am confident we will be able to do it. A demand from France for COVID-19 tests from British drivers caused significant delays and trade disruption in December. France on Friday announced that people travelling from non-EU countries to France would be required to present negative PCR COVID-19 test, but that an antigen test would be sufficient from British truck drivers. Ireland is a member of the European Union, but not of the Schengen free travel area. France's European Affairs minister Clement Beaune said on Sunday that Paris would be holding consultations this week to strengthen control measures within the European area. But he warned it may be difficult to accept rapid antigen tests from Irish drivers. Between France and Ireland, PCR tests work because we have the same ones; antigenic tests do not work because Ireland does not yet recognise them, he said. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Additional reporting by John Irish; Editing by Toby Chopra and Susan Fenton)
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A cluster of new coronavirus cases has emerged in Australia's New South Wales State, health officials said on Sunday, just as the country appeared on the verge of snuffing out all community transmission. Health authorities were still investigating a mystery case in a man who tested positive on Friday in the western Sydney suburb of Berala. All six locally acquired cases registered on Sunday were close contacts of the man. Australia, which has managed the coronavirus better than many other nations through targeted lockdowns and high rates of testing and contact tracing, last week recorded a day of zero locally acquired cases, raising hopes that outbreaks in three states over the summer holidays had been brought under control. The latest outbreak shows how easily the virus can spread, New South Wales state leader Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney as she called for more people to come forward for testing. What is really important is to make sure that, given we are towards the tail end of this particular outbreak, that there have not been other superseding events and we want to keep it that way, Berejiklian said. Australia has a strict policy of two weeks in hotel quarantine for returned international travellers. The country has tightened procedures since the virus seeped into the community from a hotel security worker last May, sparking a second wave and a four month lockdown in the second biggest city of Melbourne. On Friday, three people on two charter flights tested positive on arrival in Melbourne, which will host the Australian Open tennis tournament next month, and among the people placed in hard hotel quarantine were 47 players, who are barred from leaving their rooms to practise. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley on Sunday confirmed the year's first Grand Slam will go ahead from Feb. 8 despite anger from some of the players over the quarantine rule. Australia's new infections rose to 18, of which 12 involved returned travellers, health officials said, bringing the country's total to just over 28,700 cases and 909 deaths. (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
A social media post shared widely suggests that either masks don’t work or COVID-19 case counts in the United Kingdom are “fake”. This is misleading. Face coverings were not promoted as the solution to preventing all coronavirus transmission and there is no evidence that...
PARIS (AP) — As the wan winter sun sets over France's Champagne region, the countdown clock kicks in. Laborers stop pruning the vines as the light fades at about 4:30 p. m. , leaving them 90 minutes to come in from the cold, change out of their work clothes, hop in their cars and zoom home before a 6 p. m. coronavirus curfew. Forget about any after-work socializing with friends, after-school clubs for children or doing any evening shopping beyond quick trips for essentials.
Geneva– Switzerland’s health regulator Swissmedic has warned of the danger of buying vaccines online, saying that fake coronavirus vaccines are already being offered on the internet. In a statement on Tuesday, Swissmedic said that as the demand for coronavirus vaccines being on the rise, criminal individuals and organisations are exploiting people’s fears by offering fake […]
BEIJING (Reuters) - China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day, with rising infections in the northeast fuelling concerns of another national wave when hundreds of millions travel for the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday. Tough new controls in the city of Gongzhuling in Jilin province, which has a population of around 1 million people, brings the total number of people under lockdown to more than 29 million. According to the Global Times newspaper, at least 11 regions in the three provinces of Hebei, Heilongjiang and Jilin have now imposed de facto lockdowns and rolled out extensive testing programmes. The National Health Commission reported 109 new COVID-19 cases for Jan. 17, unchanged from a day earlier. Of the 93 local infections, 54 were reported in Hebei, which surrounds Beijing. Northeastern Jilin province also reported a record 30 new cases, underscoring the risk of new clusters emerging. Daily increases still remain a fraction of what the country saw at the height of the outbreak in early 2020, but officials are concerned infections could spread rapidly nationwide during China's Lunar New Year holiday in less than a month. Despite travel restrictions, the China Railway Corporation expects around 296 million railway passenger trips during the Lunar New Year break, compared with 410 million in 2019. Shanghai is one of many cities providing financial incentives for migrant workers not to travel home. China's statistics bureau chief Ning Jizhe said on Monday that the overall impact of the current COVID-19 resurgence on the country's economy remained controllable. But though the official Xinhua news agency warned in a commentary that local governments should not cry wolf , many have been introducing a series of fresh curbs. Beijing, which reported two new local infections, will begin requiring travellers from abroad to undergo health monitoring for seven additional days following 21 days of medical observation, Xinhua reported on Saturday. The city of Gongzhuling said on Monday that it is strictly forbidden for anyone to go out unless they are scheduled to get a COVID-19 test at a designated site. The outbreak in Jilin is believed to have been caused by an infected salesman travelling to and from the neighbouring province of Heilongjiang, the site of a previous cluster of cases. Xinhua said in a commentary piece on Monday that the new clusters of infection were caused by social activities in rural areas and a lack of awareness at the grassroots level, creating hotbeds for the virus's rapid spread. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China is 89,336, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635. The data excludes cases from Macau and Hong Kong, which are Chinese cities but report new cases independently, and self-ruled Taiwan which China claims as its own. World Health Organization (WHO) representatives said on Friday that its investigation team in China have begun discussions with their Chinese counterparts via video conference as they remain in quarantine. (Reporting by Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms; additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Se Young Lee and David Stanway; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Michael Perry and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
(Reuters) - China locked down the central city of Wuhan a year ago at the start of the Lunar New Year, the country's biggest holiday, as it battled to contain the spread of a novel coronavirus. Following is a timeline of key events since the first cases of the virus were detected in the city of 11 million residents in Hubei province. Dec. 31, 2019: China alerts the World Health Organization (WHO) of 27 cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan. Authorities shut down a wet market in the city the next day, after discovering some patients were vendors or dealers. Jan. 11, 2020: China reports 61-year-old man dies of the viral illness. Preliminary lab tests cited by Chinese state media point to a new type of coronavirus. Jan. 20: China confirms person-to-person spread after medical staff are infected. Jan. 23: China locks down millions of people in Wuhan city and Hubei province as the death toll rises to 18. Jan. 24-25: More medical professionals are sent to Wuhan to help treat patients as fatalities rise to 56. Jan. 25: China bans wildlife trade after the virus was traced to a Wuhan animal market. The Lunar New Year holiday is extended for workers and schools. Feb. 4: The city's first makeshift hospital, Huoshenshan - built from scratch in just eight days - starts to receive patients. Feb. 7: Chinese ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who had been reprimanded for issuing an early warning about the Wuhan outbreak, dies, triggering wide public mourning and rare expressions of anger against the government. Feb. 16: 25-member China-WHO team begins nine-day field tripin China. Feb. 22: Team arrives in Wuhan and learn about epidemic control measures and medical treatments. March 10: Chinese President Xi Jinping makes first visit to Wuhan since the outbreak. Wuhan shuts last of 14 makeshift hospitals. March 18: Wuhan registers zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases and authorities begin to gradually withdraw medical workers from Hubei province. April 8: Wuhan begins allowing people to leave the city for the first time since the crisis, officially ending the lockdown. May 13: Authorities in Wuhan launch campaign to test all of its residents after a cluster of new cases raises fears of a second wave of infections. Dec. 18: WHO says it will send a team of 10 scientists toWuhan next month. Jan. 14, 2021: The WHO team arrives in Wuhan, as China ramps up efforts to contain a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in its northeast. (Compiled by Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Kim Coghill)
BEIJING (Reuters) - Worries simmered in mainland China about a potential fresh wave of coronavirus cases ahead of the Lunar New Year next month as authorities on Sunday reported 109 new COVID-19 cases, most of them in Hebei province surrounding Beijing. Though the Jan. 16 tally of new cases was less than the previous day's 130, China has in the past week seen the number of daily cases jump to an over 10-month high. The unsettling trend has emerged while a World Health Organization-led (WHO) team of investigators remained in quarantine in the city of Wuhan, where the disease was first detected in late 2019. The team aims to investigate the origins of the pandemic that has now killed over 2 million people worldwide. Giving details of the latest daily caseload, the National Health Commission (NHC) said 96 were local infections, 72 of them in Hebei, 12 in northeastern Heilongjiang province, 10 in northeastern Jilin province and two in Beijing. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 119 on Saturday from 79 on Friday. The numbers remain well below levels seen at the height of the outbreak in China in early 2020, but authorities remain on guard, and as a result of the outbreak in recent weeks a handful of cities have been put under lockdown. NHC Minister Ma Xiaowei said on Saturday that outbreaks in the northeast have come from travellers entering the country or contaminated frozen food imports. China is the only country to claim COVID-19 can be transmitted via cold chain imports, even though the WHO has downplayed the risks. Beijing city will begin requiring travellers from abroad to undergo health monitoring for seven additional days following 21 days of medical observation, state run news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday. Shijiazhuang, Hebei's capital and the hardest-hit spot in the latest surge of infections, reported 65 new locally transmitted confirmed cases on Jan. 16, the provincial health commission said. Zhang Yan, a provincial health official in Jilin, told a news conference that the outbreak there had been caused by infected people arriving in the province from Heilongjiang. Zhang said 102 recent infections were linked to one person who had traveled between the two provinces multiple times for marketing activities targeting old people. The total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China stands at 88,227, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,635. (Reporting by Shivani Singh and Roxanne Liu; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Dan Grebler, William Mallard & Simon Cameron-Moore)
By Bruno Kelly and Jamie McGeever MANAUS/BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian jungle state of Amazonas received more emergency supplies of oxygen and respirators on Saturday, as the military and neighboring Venezuela scrambled to alleviate an unfolding humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Air Force also said it had evacuated 12 patients from hospitals in the state capital Manaus to the northern city of Sao Luis overnight, with hospitals at breaking point with no oxygen supplies and overflowing intensive care wards. Mass graves were dug in Manaus during the first wave of the pandemic last year. Harrowing scenes are again emerging in the second wave, of doctors and relatives running out of supplies and equipment while trying desperately to keep patients alive. Brazil's Air Force said on Saturday a second flight had landed in Manaus with eight tanks of liquid oxygen, following an earlier emergency delivery of five tanks, and the Navy said in a statement that it is sending 40 respirators. Venezuela, meanwhile, said it has sent the first batch of oxygen supplies on the 1,500-km (930-mile) road trip to Amazonas, which should arrive in Manaus on Sunday. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the Venezuelan government will supply oxygen for the duration of the emergency situation in the state of Amazonas . As well as the snowballing second wave of the virus, Brazil is now also dealing with a new, potentially more contagious, coronavirus variant that originated in Amazonas and prompted Britain on Thursday to bar entry to Brazilians. The government of President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain and COVID skeptic, has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the crisis and its failure so far to roll out a vaccination program. Brazil on Saturday reported over 1,000 virus-related deaths for the fifth day in a row. Bolsonaro and his government have called for early treatment of COVID-19 symptoms as part of a campaign to promote the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, despite studies discrediting such a treatment. Social media platform Twitter on Saturday warned the health ministry that a tweet last week advising people worried about symptoms to start early treatment violated its rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful misinformation about the virus. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible, the warning said. (Reporting by Bruno Kelly in Manaus, Ricardo Brito and Jamie McGeever in Brasilia, and Luc Cohen in Caracas; Editing by Alistair Bell and Sonya Hepinstall)
Coming out of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Switzerland County has seen another dramatic jump in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Switzerland County Health Officer Dr. Scott Frede, in his weekly update, announced that as of Tuesday morning, January 12, Switzerland County now has a total number of positive COVID cases since […]
Switzerland’s government has obliged Irish citizens to undergo ten days of mandatory quarantine upon entering the country. The decision has been announced by Switzerland’s Ministry of Health, after evaluating that there has been a surge in the number of infections in Ireland, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports. “People who have stayed in a state or area with an […]