Covid-19 wrap: Global cases near 36m, UK numbers rising and Silvio Berlusconi recovers from virus

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Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 35.78 million, death toll at 1 046 505

More than 35.78 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1 046 505 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.


UN refugee chief tests positive for Covid-19

Geneva – The UN refugee chief said on Wednesday that he had tested positive for Covid-19, after leading the first day of the agency's main annual meeting in person.

Filippo Grandi, who kicked off UNHCR's week-long Executive Committee meeting in Geneva on Monday, told participants via video-link that he would need to continue following the event from home.

"I am engaging with UNHCR's Executive Committee from home as I have to isolate after testing positive to #COVID19," he said in a tweet. "I only have mild symptoms and hope to recover soon."

Grandi had addressed delegates from the podium in the UN Assembly Hall in Geneva on the first day of the event, but participated remotely on Tuesday.

 - AFP

Rising Covid-19 numbers show UK has a serious problem - health minister

LONDON – Britain's rising numbers of Covid-19 infections and an increase in people being hospitalised with the disease demonstrate that there is a serious problem, health minister Matt Hancock said on Wednesday.

"It is a challenge, and everybody will have seen, from the rising case rates and unfortunately the rising hospitalisation rates which have risen really quite sharply in the last week or so, that we have got a very serious problem on our hands," Hancock said at a Confederation of British Industry webinar.

"The challenge is how to deal with this second peak in a way that has as little damage as possible. Thankfully we know far more about it than first time around."


Italy's former PM Berlusconi recovers from Covid-19 - source

ROME – Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has recovered from Covid-19, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The media tycoon, who spent the first half of September in a Milan hospital before being sent home under quarantine, has now tested negative for the virus and is waiting for the result of a second swab for final confirmation, the source said.

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures as he leaves the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan on 14 September 2020 after he tested positive for coronavirus and was hospitalised since 3 September.

Berlusconi, 84, developed double pneumonia and was in Milan's San Raffaele hospital for more than 10 days.

He will not attend the wedding on Wednesday of his youngest son Luigi, who also had the virus last month, but he is considering taking part in the family dinner organised for the evening, the source said.

Berlusconi is believed to have caught the coronavirus while on holiday on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, which saw a surge in infections during the summer.


Indonesian man caught after busting out of South Korean quarantine

SEOUL – An Indonesian seaman who bust out of a South Korean coronavirus quarantine facility by digging a hole under a wall a day before he was due to complete a mandatory two weeks in isolation was caught by police on Wednesday, local media reported.

The man made his escape on Sunday night from the makeshift facility attached to a hotel in Seoul, but his disappearance was not discovered until the next morning.

Police arrested him on Wednesday in the city of Cheongju, 112km south of the capital, Yonhap news agency reported.

"The person had tested negative for coronavirus and showed no symptoms during the isolation period," health ministry spokesperson Son Young-rae told reporters.

Authorities suspected the man, who had entered the country on a ship crew visa, intended to illegally stay in South Korea, as there had been several similar incidents involving Vietnamese nationals in recent month.


China's experimental Covid-19 vaccine appears safe - study

A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said.

In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group's experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said on Tuesday in a paper posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.

The most common adverse reactions reported by the trial participants were mild pain, slight fatigue and redness, itching and swelling at the injection site.

The candidate also induced immune response.

"All the data obtained in this trial support the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and are encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future," the paper said.


Brazil registers 41 906 new coronavirus cases, highest number in almost a month

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil on Tuesday registered 41 906 new cases of coronavirus, the highest number for a single day since 11 September, the Health Ministry said.

Deaths rose by 819 to 147 494.


India's coronavirus infections rise to 6.76 million

BENGALURU – India's tally of coronavirus infections stood at 6.76 million on Wednesday, rising by 72 049 cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, while the death toll was up 986 at 104 555.

India's death toll from the virus rose past 100 000 on Saturday, making it the third country to reach that bleak milestone after the United States and Brazil, and its epidemic shows no sign of abating.

Last week, India eased curbs further, permitting its states to open schools and movie theatres.


Mexico reports 4 828 new coronavirus cases, 471 more deaths

MEXICO CITY – Mexico's health ministry on Tuesday reported 4 828 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 471 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 794 608 cases and 82 348 deaths.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.


Czech Republic's daily Covid-19 cases climb above 4 000 for first time

PRAGUE – The Czech Republic reported 4 457 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, its highest one-day tally since the pandemic started, Health Ministry data showed on Wednesday.

The rise surpassed a previous record of 3 794, as the country has had one of Europe's fastest per-capita spikes in cases in the past month. In total, it has recorded 90 022 cases since March, along with 794 deaths.


Ukraine sees record daily high of 4 753 new coronavirus cases - security council

KYIV – Ukraine registered a record 4 753 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday, up from a previous record of 4 661 new cases reported on 3 October.

The council said a total of 239 337 cases had been registered in Ukraine as of 7 October, with 4 597 deaths, including 77 in the past 24 hours.

The daily tally of coronavirus infections spiked in late September and early October above 4 000, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of October.


Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 2 828 to 306 086 - RKI

BERLIN – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2 828 to 306 086, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

The reported death toll rose by 16 to 9 562, the tally showed.


Poland reports over 3 000 Covid-19 cases for first time

WARSAW – Poland on Wednesday reported a daily record of 3 003 new coronavirus cases and a record 75 deaths, as it imposes new restrictions to try to dodge a full lockdown.

Poland's surge in infections is accompanied by a regional spike in cases, with the Czech Republic reporting 4 457 new cases on Wednesday in the fastest rise in Europe recorded so far.

The region initially managed to record fewer cases than Western Europe during the first wave of the pandemic, but has struggled to keep cases down in recent weeks as it seeks to avoid lockdowns and the associated economic fallout.

"We are today in the phase where the number of cases is growing dramatically," the health ministry's spokesperson Wojciech Andrusiewicz told reporters on Wednesday.

Poland earlier this week announced it would more strictly impose existing curbs such as wearing masks. The health minister also said there would be a ban on using some venues for dancing and new distancing rules to prevent mass gatherings.


Russia reports 11 115 new coronavirus cases, 202 deaths

MOSCOW – Russia on Wednesday reported 11 115 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, pushing its nationwide tally to 1 248 619.

Russia's coronavirus crisis centre said 202 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 21 865.


Bulgaria's daily coronavirus cases hit record high of 436

SOFIA – Bulgaria registered a record high 436 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, data from the national information platform on the disease showed on Wednesday.

A total of 22 306 Covid-19 cases have been registered in the Balkan country of 7 million people, including 862 deaths. Eight people have died in the past 24 hours.

Daily coronavirus infections started to increase in late September.

Bulgarians have to wear protective face masks in closed public spaces and keep social distance and the government has said it does not plan to introduce any new restrictive measures for the time being.


Swiss report more than 1 000 new coronavirus cases in a day

ZURICH – The number of new coronavirus infections rose by 1 077 in a day, data from Switzerland's public health agency showed on Wednesday, the first daily increase of more than 1 000 since early April.

The agency reported a total of 57 709 confirmed cases, up from 56 632 on Tuesday. The death toll rose by two to 1 789.

The country reported its first confirmed case in late February. New daily cases peaked at 1 456 on 23 March and had dwindled to as few as three on 1 June.


Indonesia reports 4 538 new coronavirus cases, 98 deaths

JAKARTA – Indonesia reported 4 538 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing its infections total to 315 714, data from the country's health ministry showed.

There were also 98 new deaths in Indonesia, taking the total number to 11 472, the highest coronavirus death toll in Southeast Asia.


Philippines confirms 2 825 new coronavirus cases, 60 deaths

MANILA – The Philippines' health ministry on Wednesday recorded 2 825 new coronavirus infections and 60 additional deaths.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases in the Philippines had risen to 329 637, the highest number in Southeast Asia, while deaths had increased to 5 925.


Malaysia reports 489 new coronavirus cases

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia on Wednesday reported 489 new coronavirus cases, a slight dip in new daily cases detected as the Southeast Asian country grapples with a fresh surge in infections.

The new cases raise the cumulative tally to 13 993, according to Malaysia's health ministry. No new deaths were reported, keeping the toll at 141.


Mainland China reports 7 new Covid-19 cases vs 12 a day earlier

Mainland China reported seven new Covid-19 cases on 6 October, down from 12 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Wednesday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 24 from 31 a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 85 489, while the total death toll remained unchanged at 4 634.


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