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November 1, 2021

International update: Global Covid death toll passes 5 million

By Paul Dennis

1 November

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim milestone of 5 million, with a figure of 5,000,425 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 246 million world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 45.9 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 745,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Tens of thousands of New York City employees – including police, fire and sanitation workers – could face unpaid leave Monday as a contentious vaccine mandate goes into effect. The consequences could be dramatic on the essential services the city depends on: Some 24,200 employees subject to the mandate hadn’t received a shot as of Friday, and already firefighters are calling in sick in higher numbers and trash has been reported piling up on sidewalks. Tensions are high, with Mayor Bill de Blasio saying he won’t back down and city workers protesting in front of his home at Gracie Mansion. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigiro on Saturday said that some firefighters were already engaged in a work slowdown.

Delaying President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates until after Christmas would be “a big mistake,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. She cited United Airlines, which in August became the first US carrier to mandate vaccines for employees . She said job applications to the company are “through the roof.”

The state of Colorado, where the Covid-19 vaccination rate is one of the highest in the US, will allow overwhelmed hospitals to turn away new patients, the governor’s office announced Sunday.

India: India reported 12,830 new infections on Sunday as the total tally for the world’s second-worst-hit nation touched 34.3 million cases. Covid-related deaths rose by 446 to exceed 458,000, while 6.8 million vaccine doses were administered in a day to push the total to 1.06 billion shots.

UK: The UK recorded 38,009 new infections, but the rise in weekly cases is down 13.5%. A further 74 deaths saw the weekly average Covid deaths a day climb 15.8% on last week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is adamant that the UK will have a Christmas without restrictions despite an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases. “I see no evidence whatever to think that any kind of lockdown is on the cards,” Johnson told reporters en route to the Group of 20 summit in Rome. “Yes it’s true that cases are high, but they do not currently constitute any reason to go to Plan B.” The promise of a lockdown-free Christmas this year is one Johnson will want to keep after he dramatically changed course last December and canceled plans to allow families to see each other over the holidays.

Italy: Italy saw 26 more Covid-related deaths, taking the country’s death toll to 132,100 – the highest tally in Europe behind the UK.

New Zealand: New Zealand will extend coronavirus curbs for another week in its largest city of Auckland after another day of record new infections.

Russia: Russia reported 40,993 new Covid-19 infections, its highest single-day case tally since the start of the pandemic.

Poland: Poland reported 7,145 new Covid cases as the Eastern European epidemic continued to grow.

France: France saw new infections surge by 26.5% on the previous week.

Singapore: Singapore recorded 3,163 Covid-19 cases, a high tally for the city state during the pandemic which until recently pursued a zero-Covid strategy.

Australia: NSW recorded its lowest local Covid case numbers in three months, a day before intrastate regional travel is set to recommence, and quarantine-free international travel for returning Australians begins in NSW and Victoria.

Vaccine news

India: Prime Minister Modi told the G-20 leaders in Rome that India was ready to manufacture more than 5 billion vaccine doses by 2022, which will boost the global fight against the pandemic. He also said it’s important for the World Health Organization to “quickly” recognize Indian vaccines in its emergency-use authorization list.

UK: Covid booster jabs are being offered at NHS walk-in clinics in England for people who have had their second dose at least six months ago.

US: The US jabbed the most vaccine doses into arms in 5 months, delivering 1,412,416 doses of Covid vaccines in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, US regulators are delaying their decision on Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for 12- to 17-year-olds while they study the rare risk of heart inflammation, the company said on Sunday. The FDA is looking into a rare heart inflammation called myocarditis after vaccination.

Egypt: Egypt said it had used just over half its available vaccine supply, 38 million of 72 million doses. The nation is expecting another 26 million doses, from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Almost 17% of the nation has been administered a first dose, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Germany: German Health Minister Jens Spahn called for a summit with state and federal leaders to discuss a uniform strategy on Covid-19 boosters, saying in a newspaper interview that the country must move quickly to halt another wave of infections. “The current pace of boosters in German doctors’ practices isn’t quick enough,” Spahn was cited as saying in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Germany’s infection rate reached its highest since April on Sunday.

Lockdown updates

Thailand: Thailand has reopened to fully vaccinated tourists from more than 60 “low-risk” countries as the nation reboots its tourism industry after 18 months of Covid restrictions.

China: Shanghai Disneyland and Disneytown have temporarily suspended visitor entries to cooperate with a coronavirus investigation. Current guests will be required to undergo nucleic-acid testing when leaving the resort and a second test is required after 24 hours, Shanghai Disney Resort said in a statement on Weibo on Sunday.

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