Record cases in Portugal, Russia and Sweden: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 02:45, 14-Nov-2020
Andy Murray


- Switzerland has begun a rolling review of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine candidate, so it can give it a speedy approval should it pass muster in clinical trials.

- Hospitals are under pressure in Portugal as confirmed coronavirus cases in pushed past the 200,000 mark on Friday and the number of new daily infections reached a record high.

- Restrictions aimed at slowing a surge in coronavirus cases will be extended in several Italian regions, with both Tuscany and Campania set to be designated as high-risk "red zones."

- Austria will announce the closure of schools and tighten contact restrictions on Saturday, though its retail sector is likely to remain open.

- Football star Mohamed Salah has tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Togo. The Egyptian plays his club football for Liverpool in the English Premier League.

- Sweden has registered 5,990 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest since the start of the pandemic, and 42 new deaths, according to its health ministry.

France will not lift its tough new COVID-19 measures for the next two weeks, despite a decline in cases for the fifth successive day. "It would be irresponsible to soften the lockdown now," Prime Minister Jean Castex said. Hospital admissions for the virus are at an all-time high in the country, which has 1.86 million coronavirus cases, the most in Europe.

- Italy has recorded 636 virus-related deaths over the past 24 hours – its highest daily figure since April 6. The total number of new infections also rose by more than 5,000 to 37,978.

- Portugal has announced an expansion of a nightly curfew and weekend lockdown already in place across more than 100 municipalities to a further 77 areas. Residents in affected areas must not leave the house except for work, school or shopping during the week, and must stay home between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m..

- COVID-19 cases in Czechia continue to fall after health ministry data reported 7,874 new daily infections in the past 24 hours, 5,358 fewer than the same time a week ago. The country is seeking to push down Europe's highest per-capita infection rate.

- Thursday was the deadliest day during the pandemic so far, with 11,617 fatalities worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was also a record, at more than 666,000 in a day.

- Russia has reported a record 21,983 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours. Moscow has ordered bars, restaurants and nightclubs to close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Friday until mid-January. 

- Restaurants, bars and shopping malls in Catalonia, Spain, will remain closed for at least another 10 days, with a gradual return to open-air activities on terraces planned from November 23. Meanwhile, the Spanish government is considering extending its scheme of state-backed credit beyond December to support the battered hospitality sector.

- People across Europe are being warned it is too early to plan for Christmas travel. Sweden has said it may introduce travel restrictions and Irish and French authorities said it was too soon to tell if people could make travel arrangements.


Bars in Catalonia, Spain, will remain shut for at least another 10 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus. /Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo

Bars in Catalonia, Spain, will remain shut for at least another 10 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus. /Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo



Lucy Hough in Brussels

The Belgian federal government is meeting on Friday to discuss the impact of measures in place to tackle the pandemic's second wave, but no major decisions are expected and the lockdown looks set to remain in place until at least December.

But while there have been warnings that Christmas will look very different this year for Belgians, one regional leader has conceded, "we're not going to celebrate Christmas over Skype."

A short-term relaxation of the measures could result in certain shops reopening during the festive period and the extension of social bubbles currently limited to one contact per person.

The number of new daily cases is continuing to decline, with an average 6,877 from November 3 to 9. Daily hospital admissions have fallen to their lowest since October 19, at 399.


Ross Cullen in Paris

Prime Minister Jean Castex says France faces a "very harsh second wave," with a quarter of all deaths in the country now due to COVID-19.

Speaking at a news conference marking two weeks since a new national lockdown was imposed, Castex said one coronavirus patient is hospitalized in France every 30 seconds and 40 percent of intensive care patients are under 65.

He says there have been more than half a million lockdown checks by police and around 70,000 fines issued for people breaking the regulations without a valid reason for doing so.

Castex says a national lockdown will remain in place at least until December 1. After that date, non-essential shops are likely to be able to reopen but bars and restaurants are set to remain closed until further notice.


France's Prime Minister Jean Castex says it would be 'irresponsible' for the country to relax its strict COVID-19 measures. /Christophe Archambault/AP Photo

France's Prime Minister Jean Castex says it would be 'irresponsible' for the country to relax its strict COVID-19 measures. /Christophe Archambault/AP Photo


Rahul Pathak in Madrid

Coronavirus infection rates in Spain are slowing, while the death toll continues rise, that's according to the latest figures from the country's health ministry. The data showed new cases at 17,395, the lowest number since October 21. However, the latest daily death toll was 411, the second-highest figure seen during the second wave.

It comes amid warnings that Spain is running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients.  

More than 32 percent of ICU beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, meaning staff are overloaded, which has a knock-on effect on those being treated for other illnesses.


It would be irresponsible to soften the lockdown now
 -  Jean Castex, France's prime minister


Trent Murray in Frankfurt

Germany's Robert Koch Institute's latest data show 23,542 new coronavirus cases, a new daily record for the country. But despite the increase, the RKI says the overall data indicate new lockdown restrictions are helping to slow the spread of the disease. The head of the RKI, Lothar Wieler, said the curve is flattening. We are not helpless against this virus."

Crucially, the reproduction, or R, rate for the virus has fallen below 1, to 0.89 – another promising sign the disease is not spreading as fast as before. Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with state leaders on Monday to discuss the current lockdown restrictions and has said they could either be increased or reduced, depending on Germany's infection rates.


Mark Webster in Budapest

The Hungarian prime minister's chief of staff has said the second wave of infections in the pandemic has proved more damaging than the first but that the country's health services were much better prepared.

Gergely Gulyas said Hungary had the highest number of ventilators per capita in Europe and that it was closely monitoring how neighboring countries including Austria were handling the coronavirus because they had far few cases.

Cecilia Muller, the chief medical officer, said daily new infections had peaked on November 4 at more than 5,000 and that the average age of those infected was 45.



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Source(s): Reuters ,AP ,AFP