24 November

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed 59.1 million. Meanwhile, the global coronavirus death toll exceeds 1.38 million according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization said on Monday that it had received reassurances from Beijing that international experts would soon be able to travel to China to help investigate the animal origins of Covid-19.

US: US Covid-19 infections have passed 12.4 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 257,701 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Wyoming registered the largest increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations from 19 to 23 November, according to Department of Health and Human Services data analyzed by Bloomberg News. It was followed by California, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Los Angeles County reported a record 6,124 new cases on Monday and warned that its infection trajectory is putting it on the brink of another lockdown. The nation’s most populous county said it now has a five-day average of more than 4,500 cases a day – a threshold that it said last week would trigger a stay-at-home order.

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Texas passed 1.1 million coronavirus cases just three days ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Texas Department of State Health Services figures show.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria reported record-high 189 daily coronavirus deaths, bringing the total death toll to beyond 3,000. The number of weekly deaths in the Balkan country more than doubled in the past two weeks. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has repeatedly rejected the option of a lockdown.

France: France reported 4,452 new Covid-19 infections on Monday, the lowest daily tally since 28 September, suggesting a second national lockdown is having an impact.

Turkey: Turkey announced a record number of deaths from the coronavirus. The Ministry of Health on Monday reported 153 deaths due to the virus over the past 24 hours and announced 6,713 symptomatic “patients,” bringing the total number of reported cases to over 453,000 since the outbreak began nine months ago.

India: India reported 37,975 new virus cases Tuesday, lower than the 44,059 reported yesterday, according to government data. The numbers are the lowest in about a week. Four hundred and eighty more people died in the past 24 hours, taking the total deaths to 134,218.

Malaysia: Malaysia will temporarily close 28 factories of Top Glove Corp. located in the Selangor state after a spike in infections there pushed up the nation’s daily cases to a record 1,884 new infections on Monday.

Vaccine news

US: The leader of the US government’s coronavirus vaccine program said AstraZeneca Plc found that 16 participants who received a placebo in its clinical trial contracted severe Covid-19, a sign that the shot could block the worst cases of disease. The British drugmaker and its partner, the University of Oxford, said earlier Monday that none of the trial participants who received the vaccine had become severely ill, and that none of the patients in that group were hospitalized. WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said AstraZeneca’s shot’s advantage is that it can be stored at normal refrigerated temperatures, making it easier to deliver the vaccine around the world.

UK: Prime minister, Boris Johnson, said he hoped almost all Britons at high risk from Covid-19 would be vaccinated against the disease by Easter. He also said people will not be forced to have vaccinations against Covid-19.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Hong Kong will close bars, night clubs and karaoke lounges as the city had about 83 new cases of Covid, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing people it didn’t identify. Another local media HK01 also reported the closures. Neither report mentioned when the measures will take effect.

Australia: The border between NSW and Victoria (the worst affected state in the country) opened earlier this week, and Queensland has announced its barrier to NSW will come down on 1 December.

Japan: Osaka city will ask some restaurants in its nightlife districts to close at 9pm for 15 days starting on Friday, Kyodo reported.

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed England’s national lockdown will end next week, to be replaced by a tougher three-tier system of regional restrictions designed to last until spring next year. Under the new rules for England, from 2 December shops, hairdressers and gyms will reopen across the country, but bars and restaurants will be takeaway only in areas under the tightest restrictions. The government will announce which tiers regions are being placed into on Thursday after looking at the latest data on infection levels.

Travellers arriving in England from abroad face a shorter spell in quarantine from mid-December if they test negative for coronavirus five days after their arrival, the UK government announced on Tuesday. It hopes the new rules will revive the ailing travel industry.

Economy updates

Global: Airline lobby IATA is working on a mobile app that will help travelers demonstrate their coronavirus-free status, joining a push to introduce so-called Covid passports. The Travel Pass will display test results together with proof of inoculation, as well as listing national entry rules and details on the nearest labs, the International Air Transport Association said Monday. The app will also link to an electronic copy of the holder’s passport to prove their identity.

US: New York City residents received $40 billion in stimulus benefits that have been critical to the city’s recovery from the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The city must now close a $3.8 billion fiscal 2022 budget gap with federal stimulus, the mayor said. It is in “dire, dire shape” and layoffs are a possibility without action from Washington, he said.

South Africa: South Africa’s Employment and Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi has warned that the state-run Unemployment Insurance Fund could collapse if it is forced to again extend special benefits to workers who’ve lost income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan: Japan’s government needs to prepare to inject capital into the country’s struggling airlines and demand that they restructure to survive the slump in business, an influential government adviser said. Heizo Takenaka, an economist who served as a minister and is an adviser on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Growth Strategy Council, said in an interview that ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co. will eventually need more support and that they should “become one.”