Covid-19 Wrap: Germans brace for longer lockdown measures, Mexico hits 1 million cases

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  • Germans have been warned to brace for another 4-5 months of severe lockdown measures.
  • Brazilians start voting amid pandemic.
  • Mexico surpassed one million Covid-19 cases.

Germans should brace for 4-5 months of severe Covid-19 measures

Germans should brace for another 4-5 months of severe measures to halt the rise in coronavirus infections and should not expect the current rules to be eased quickly, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told weekly Bild am Sonntag.

Germany has imposed a set of measures dubbed a "lockdown light" to rein in the second wave of the pandemic that the country is seeing in common with much of the rest of Europe. While restaurants are closed, schools and shops so far remain open.

Data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday that the number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 16,947 to 790,503. Weekend figures tend to be lower as not all data is reported by local authorities.

Altmaier said Germany should be wary of relaxing restrictions too quickly.

German police fired water cannon during an anti-lockdown rally in Frankfurt on Saturday and eventually broke up the gathering as rules like wearing masks and socially distancing were not observed.

Brazil votes in local polls marked by virus

Brazilians began voting Sunday in municipal elections that will test the strength of the country's rightward shift under President Jair Bolsonaro, with the coronavirus pandemic looming large -- and likely denting turnout.

These are the first elections since Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain often compared to US President Donald Trump, surged to victory in 2018, upending the political gameboard in Latin America's biggest economy.

Postponed six weeks because of the pandemic, the vote already bears the imprint of Covid-19, which has killed more than 165,000 people in Brazil, the second-highest death toll worldwide, after the United States.

The authorities are urging Brazil's 148 million voters to bring their own pens, respect social distancing guidelines and disinfect their hands multiple times at their polling stations.

Czech Republic sees further decline in Covid cases, still among highest in Europe

The Czech Republic reported on Sunday a further decline in the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths from daily highs seen in early November, but the country remains among the hardest hit in Europe during this second wave of the pandemic.

The total number of cases in the country of 10.7 million since the start of the pandemic now stands at 458,229. The death toll stands at 6,058, a tenfold increase since late September.

The Czech Republic, like many other countries in central and eastern Europe, weathered the first wave of the pandemic in the spring relatively well but it has suffered badly in this second wave. Despite the current dip in cases, it still has the highest per capita number of deaths in Europe at 26.7 per 100,000.

Czech authorities have shut schools, non-essential shops, theatres, cinemas and gyms, while restaurants have been limited to takeaway service only. Gatherings are limited and there is a nighttime curfew.

Mexico surpasses 1 million cases

Mexico surpassed one million Covid-19 cases on Saturday, registering 5,860 new infections over the previous day in a country with one of the world's highest death tolls from the virus, the government said.

A total of 1,003,253 people have now tested positive for the virus in Mexico, said health ministry official Ricardo Cortes.

The death toll meanwhile reached 98,259, including 635 registered over the past day, he added.

Mexico has the world's fourth-highest death toll from the virus behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

It also has the 11th highest number of infections.

- additional reporting by AFP

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