28 October

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed 44 million, reaching 44,000,315. The global coronavirus death toll is 1,167,634 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 8.7 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 226,722 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

A news release accompanying a 62-page report from the White House office of science and technology policy includes, among the “highlights” to be found in the report, the phrase “Ending the pandemic”.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night acknowledged that coronavirus cases are rising in “certain areas” of the Midwest, a rare admission during the final week of the presidential campaign. Trump has routinely downplayed the virus while making his closing argument to voters, who have rated his pandemic response poorly, according to opinion polls. The president said again on Tuesday that the country is “turning that corner.”

More than 70 million Americans have cast ballots in the US presidential election, over half the total turnout of the 2016 election with one week to go until Election Day, according to a Tuesday tally from the US Elections Project. The figure highlights voters’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to Covid-19 as the pandemic re-gathers strength heading into winter.

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France: Prime minister Jean Castex, told MPs on Tuesday that hospital intensive care units will be saturated with Covid-19 patients by 11 November if nothing is done to stop the epidemic in the country.

India: India’s tally of coronavirus cases stood less than 10,000 away from 8 million, as 43,893 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, data from the federal health ministry showed. India’s total coronavirus infections stood at 7.99 million on Tuesday.

China: China confirmed 42 new infections, the highest daily toll in more than two months, due to a rise in infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region, the country’s health authority said on Wednesday. The daily toll marks the highest since 44 confirmed infections were reported on 10 August.

Iran: Iran’s parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently in self-isolation, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa has begun a period of self-quarantine following the positive Covid-19 diagnosis of a guest at a dinner he attended on 24 October, according to an emailed statement. Ramaphosa is showing no symptoms at this time and will be tested should symptoms manifest.

Vaccine news

Global: Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline Plc said they’ve agreed to make available 200 million doses of the experimental Covid vaccine they’re jointly developing to Covax, a global effort to provide shots for developing nations. The drugmakers signed the supply arrangement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, according to a statement. Gavi is among the groups working with the World Health Organization to ensure access to immunization for people around the world.

Novartis AG and Molecular Partners AG unveiled a partnership for Molecular Partners’ Covid-19 program which consists of two experimental therapies, according to a statement. The potential medicines aim to both prevent and treat Covid-19, with the possibility to manufacture at scale and the potential to bypass cold storage.

Japan: The Japanese government approved a bill on Tuesday that would make any potential coronavirus vaccine free for residents and compensate for the cost of any serious side effect, according to Kyodo.

Lockdown updates

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to push for a “lockdown light” in crisis talks with regional leaders on Wednesday. The proposed new restrictions would include closing restaurants and bars and putting strict limits on private and public gatherings while keeping schools, daycares and shops open, according to the best-selling Bild daily.

US: The United Nations has canceled all in-person meetings for this week after a member nation reported five cases among its staff, the AP reported.

Turkey: Turkey has barred doctors, nurses and other health workers in the public sector from taking leave, resigning or retiring to ensure uninterrupted fight against Covid-19, Hurriyet newspaper reported Wednesday, citing an order from the health ministry. The measure comes as coronavirus cases surge across Turkey.

Pakistan: Pakistan is evaluating some actions and restrictions for hotspots to contain a second wave of the virus, Faisal Sultan, the special assistant on health to the prime minister, said in a televised briefing on 28 October.

Economy updates

Europe: Nearly 200 airports in UK and Europe could go bust due to collapse in air travel. Airports Council International Europe, which represents airport operators, said it estimated that 193 out of Europe’s 740 commercial airports face “insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start to recover by the year-end”.

Denmark: Denmark’s government is offering 8.3 billion kroner ($1.3 billion) in additional support to businesses after imposing new restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.

South Korea: President Moon Jae-in said his country has contained the coronavirus as he sought a budget increase in order help the pandemic-hit economy recover. Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Moon called for strengthening the government’s fiscal role next year by increasing the budget by 8.5%.

US: California Governor Gavin Newsom said he is hesitant to allow theme parks, including Disneyland, to reopen as coronavirus cases surge again across the world. Walt Disney Co. and other theme park operators have been pushing the state for permission to resume operations, particularly after Florida parks started operating again in June.