9 November

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 5 million, with a figure of 5,056,034 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University . Meanwhile, infections exceed 250 million world wide.

France: Covid hospitalisations in France saw their highest daily rise since August. French health authorities said he number of people hospitalised because of Covid went up by 156 over the past 24 hours, the highest daily rise since 23 August, to reach a one-month peak of 6,865. The president Emmanuel Macron will address the nation on Tuesday about the resurgence of Covid infections.

Schoolchildren in large parts of France were ordered to again wear face masks in class, less than a month after being allowed to remove them, as the country tries to tamp down a surge in Covid cases. Primary schools in 40 of France’s 101 departments, which had been mask-free for weeks, are affected by the order, when the incidence rate rises above 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over five consecutive days.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 46.6 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 755,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Almost 6% of hospital beds in US hospitals were occupied by Covid-19 patients on 7 November, the least since 28 July, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services. The hospitalization rate fell to 5.9% from 6.0% the day before, and hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients totaled 45,121. Idaho has the greatest percentage of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients at 13.0% followed by Montana at 12.1%

About 11,000 Boeing Co. employees have asked to be exempted from Covid-19 vaccines the planemaker has mandated, according to a person briefed on the matter, a sign of backlash among some rank-and-file workers to the Biden administration’s rules for government contractors.

China: China reported more infections in people who exhibited no symptoms of Covid-19 on Tuesday than in those who were actively suffering from the virus, indicating the challenge it faces in eliminating the highly infectious and insidious pathogen. Among the 89 people who learned they were harboring the virus, 46 had no outward signs of disease. It is the first time those with covert infections outnumbered those with symptoms during the broadest outbreak that China has experienced since the virus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.

UK: The UK reported a further 57 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, and another 32,322 Covid cases, according to the latest data on the government’s dashboard. This represents a drop in infections by 16.6% in the past week, while deaths are up by 8.2%.

The UK is “a long way away” from thinking about a winter lockdown, a leading scientist advising the government has said, but it is vital that anyone eligible gets their booster vaccine. Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), said “we are not out of the woods yet” as he urged people to have their flu and Covid booster vaccines. Asked about the prospect of a winter lockdown, he told Sky News that if the NHS were under severe pressure and the number of deaths started to increase “there may be discussions around whether more restrictions need to come in”. On the importance of booster take-up, he added: “It is certainly true that, if we don’t get good immunity across the population, there may need to be perhaps further measures taken.”

Greece: Greece reported a new high of daily cases with 7,335 infections. It’s the sixth record in the past nine days, while the government took extra measures last week to contain spread of the virus by reaching out to unvaccinated people. Bookings for the first dose of the vaccine has been rising since then.

Vaccine news

Russia: Russia’s one-dose Sputnik Light vaccine had a good safety profile and induced strong immune responses especially in people who had already encountered Covid, according to the results of phase 1 and 2 trials published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe medical journal.

US: Texas warned residents that the unvaccinated are about 20 times more likely to die from the virus than fully vaccinated people and 13 times more likely to test positive. The data was the result of a four-week, in-state study that compared electronic lab reports, death certificates and state immunization records, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement. The risk of death was 48 times higher for unvaccinated people in their 30s and 63 times higher for those in their 40s, the study found.

Regeneron ’s antibody cocktail cut the risk of contracting Covid-19 by 82% for up to eight months, according to a company-sponsored study that could pave the way for its broader use.  The company has asked the US Food and Drug Administration to expand the authorization so the drug can be used to prevent infections, even when it’s given before a person has been exposed.

Nigeria: It will be “impossible” for Nigeria to meet its target of vaccinating 40% of its population by the end of the year because Covid is not being taken seriously, health experts have warned. Fewer than 1.5% of the country’s 206 million population has been fully vaccinated. But with more people killed in conflict last year and substantially more recorded deaths from malaria than Covid in Nigeria, experts believe it is further down the list of concerns for many in the country.

Vietnam: Australia pledged more than 3m Covid vaccine doses to Cambodia, the prime minister Hun Sen said, which would help the country give booster shots to its people.

Singapore: Singapore will require those who chose not to get the vaccines to pay for their own medical bills if they get Covid. To date, 85% of the population is fully vaccinated, and 18% have received boosters.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: Thousands of people gathered in front of New Zealand’s parliament to protest vaccine mandates and lockdowns, Reuters reported. Security measures at the building were bulked up after the protesters gathered following a march through central Wellington, the report said.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong could open up to global travel in roughly six months, after officials have successfully navigated the introduction of quarantine-free borders with mainland China and boosted the local vaccination rate, a government adviser said. “We maybe need half a year or so to develop an adequate vaccination rate, especially among the older people,” Lam Ching-choi, a member of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s advisory Executive Council, said in an interview on Monday. “Hopefully by then, we have opened up the border with China and we might have conditions favorable to open up the border to other places.”

Denmark: Denmark, which has one of Europe’s highest vaccination rates, plans to reintroduce some restrictions to halt a recent spike in cases. Danes will have to again present so-called corona passports to attend public events, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference late on Monday. The move follows a recommendation from health authorities that the country reclassify the virus as a disease that poses a critical threat to society.

UK: The UK government said beginning 22 November, travelers coming to England who received Covid vaccines on the World Health Organization ’s Emergency Use Listing will be treated as fully vaccinated. Sinovac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin will be added to the list of approved vaccines for inbound travel, according to the UK government website.