Covid-19 wrap | Coronavirus record in the US, lockdown in Italy, Austria looks to spend billions

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Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis.

FOLLOW THE LIVE UPDATE | All the latest coronavirus and lockdown updates

US reports record increase in daily Covid-19 cases

The United States on Thursday reported a record increase in new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row with at least 109 658 new infections, according to a Reuters tally.

The tally is expected to push higher still when California's county-by-county data is added.

US cases have risen by more than 100 000 for three out of the last seven days, putting pressure on hospitals in several states and causing families to rethink their plans for Thanksgiving dinner on 26 November.

The outbreak is spreading in every region with 19 out of 50 states reporting record one-day increases on Thursday. Previously, the most states that reported records for new cases in a single day was 16 on 30 October, according to Reuters data.

- Reuters

Covid-19 surge creates new headache for beleaguered PM Muhyiddin

As Malaysia celebrated its national day at the end of August, it appeared to have brought Covid-19 to heel.

But two months later, the Southeast Asian nation of 30 million people finds itself confronted with a brutal resurgence of the virus centred mostly on Sabah on the Malaysian part of Borneo.

Malaysia's poorest state, like the rest of the country, has been shaken by political manoeuvring since a power grab within the ruling coalition led to the collapse of the federal government and the emergence of a new political alliance under Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

After politicians linked to Muhyiddin tried to topple Sabah's state government, an election was called for 26 September. But as politicians and their entourages travelled across the mountainous state canvassing for votes, Covid-19 was also spreading.

Daily cases across Malaysia have topped 1 000 for the past three days, more than three times higher than the peaks during the second wave of the outbreak in June.

 More than half the cases have been in Sabah, where people have been dying from the disease on an almost daily basis.

- Al Jazeera

Hungary to reschedule some hospital operations as pandemic spreads - PM Orban

Hungary will try to avoid closing schools as long as possible but some medical operations will have to be rescheduled as hospital beds are filling up with coronavirus patients, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Based on current predictions, Orban said, Hungary will need 2 240 intensive beds with ventilators for patients by 21 November, and 4 480 intensive beds by 10 December.

"This is around the limit of our capacities... as this implies 30 000 to 32 000 coronavirus patients on hospital beds," Orban told state radio.

"We could still manage that but we have made decisions today... that if infections go beyond this limit there should be designated places... outside hospitals if needed, where patients can get appropriate care."

Orban said a decision about rescheduling some operations will come "within days or within hours" to free up hospital beds.

- Reuters

Italian regions latest to enter lockdown as virus grips Europe

Swathes of Italy return to coronavirus lockdown on Friday as the resurgent pandemic continued its march through Europe and reached record levels in the United States.

Five coronavirus "red zones" in Italy's north - plus Calabria in the country's "toe" - will shutter non-essential businesses, affecting 16 million people.

America recorded a third day in a row with deaths above 1 000, while more than 120 000 infections were uncovered - smashing a daily record set the day before, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Italy had been badly hit by a first wave, with images of swamped hospitals, makeshift morgues and intubated patients shocking the world.

Experts say the country is now in the grip of a second wave after a sharp uptick in contagion numbers, and regions are again warning that intensive care units are filling rapidly.

Another 445 new coronavirus deaths were recorded across the country on Thursday, along with 34 505 new cases.

In Italy's financial and fashion capital of Milan, streets have already fallen quiet.

"My customers are very scared, very scared," hairdresser Francesco Puccio told AFP.

"Last week I only had two clients per day, sometimes even just one, so there's no real advantage for me in staying open. There's nobody out and about anymore, the offices are empty," he said.


Mexico's health ministry confirms 544 new coronavirus deaths

Mexico's health ministry reported on Thursday 5 567 additional coronavirus cases and 544 more deaths, bringing the official number of cases to 949 197 and the death toll to 93 772.

Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

- Reuters

Austrian expects to spend €1.5 billion - €2 billion to help firms in Covid shutdown

Austria expects to spend up to about €2 billion ($2.4 billion) in aid to replace much of the turnover of companies forced to close during a coronavirus shutdown this month, Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel said on Friday.

"The costs will be roughly between €1.5 and €2 billion," Bluemel told a news conference on the aid, which will provide firms with up to 80% of their sales a year earlier.

Restaurants, bars and cafes are closed to all but take-away service until the end of the month. Theatres, gyms and museums are also closed.

- Reuters

Romania imposes curfew and closes schools to slow coronavirus

Romania will impose a nationwide night-time curfew and close all schools for 30 days from Monday after seeing the number of daily coronavirus infections double in two weeks, the government said on Friday.

Romania has some of the European Union's least developed healthcare infrastructure, and is witnessing one of the highest fatality rates in the bloc's eastern wing.

A record 9 714 infections were confirmed in the space of 24 hours, and about 1 000 patients are in intensive care, twice as many as a month ago.

More than 7 500 people have died since the beginning of the outbreak in late February, in a country of 20 million people.

"We have to be very realistic. Tougher and tougher measures are needed to control the spread of the pandemic," President Klaus Iohannis told cabinet ministers late on Thursday.

- Reuters

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