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COVID-19

Sharp spike in infections sees COVID-19 tally hit 50 million mark

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(Last Updated On: November 9, 2020)

As a second wave sweeps across Europe, the global tally of COVID-19 infections topped the 50 million mark on Sunday. 

According to a Reuters tally, the second wave of the virus in the past 30 days has accounted for a quarter of the total. 

The United States has been particularly hard hit with over 100,000 new cases reported each day. A surge in infections in Europe also contributed to the spike in overall numbers. 

Reuters reported that the latest seven-day average shows global daily infections are rising by more than 540,000.

More than 1.25 million people have died from the disease.

However, as Reuters states, the pandemic’s recent acceleration has been ferocious. It took 32 days for the number of cases to rise from 30 million to 40 million. It took just 21 days to add another 10 million.

The global second wave is testing healthcare systems across Europe, prompting Germany, France and Britain to order many citizens back to their homes again.

Denmark, which imposed a new lockdown on its population in several northern areas, ordered the culling of its 17 million minks after a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread to humans.

The latest US surge coincided with the last month of election campaigning in which President Donald Trump minimized the severity of the pandemic and his successful challenger, Joe Biden, urged a more science-based approach.

Trump’s rallies, some open-air and with few masks and little social distancing, led to 30,000 additional confirmed cases and likely led to more than 700 deaths, Stanford University economists estimated in a research paper.

Reuters reported that in Asia, India has the world’s second-highest caseload but has seen a steady slowdown since September. Total cases exceeded 8.5 million cases on Friday. 

COVID-19

State Department spokesperson Ned Price tests positive for COVID

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2021)

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday (September 27) after experiencing symptoms and is isolating for 10 days, Reuters reported.

Price had been in close contact last week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Price announced the positive test result in a Twitter post.

The State Department said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had tested negative for COVID-19 after Price had tested positive.

According to the report Price joined more than half a dozen meetings with Blinken last week in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

In a call with reporters, Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said Blinken had tested negative as recently as Monday morning and none of the other members of the traveling party were currently exhibiting symptoms, Reuters said.

Price also spent a good part of last week within the close circle of Blinken, including Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman and Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who have held their own separate meetings with a number of foreign delegations.

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COVID-19

UK records 31,348 new COVID-19 cases, 122 deaths

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2021)

Britain reported 31,348 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and 122 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.

The figures compared to 35,623 new cases and 180 deaths reported on Friday.

The cumulative total of global COVID-19 cases increased to more than 226.8 million, with the death toll exceeding 4.66 million as of Friday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

There had been 226,844,344 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,666,334 deaths as of Friday, the WHO’s COVID-19 dashboard revealed.

A total of 5,634,533,040 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide as of Tuesday, the WHO reported.

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COVID-19

COVID-19 sends northern Chinese city into semi-shutdown

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2021)

China’s northeastern city of Harbin, with a population of 10 million, went into semi-shutdown after reporting new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the first time since early February.

Three of 16 new local cases reported in China for September 21 were in Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Wednesday. The last reported locally transmitted cases in the city were on February 4.

Harbin on Wednesday vowed to complete an initial round of city-wide testing by Thursday, and told its residents to refrain from stepping outside their homes, unless necessary, before their test results are out.

The city has already told its residents to avoid leaving town unless for essential reasons, and those who do leave must produce proof of negative test results within 48 hours from departure.

Indoors venues such as cinemas, gyms and mah-jong parlours were also shut, and tourist sites were ordered to limit visitor traffic at half of their capacity, state television reported on Tuesday.

The city would also suspend offline classes at all kindergartens, primary schools and high schools for a week from Wednesday, state television said late on Tuesday.

It was unclear if the three new Harbin cases were linked to the current outbreak in the eastern province of Fujian.

According to state television, one of the cases was found when the person went to a local hospital for testing.

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