'The pandemic is not over,' global deaths pass 1.5m: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 01:58, 05-Dec-2020
Aden-Jay Wood



- Global deaths attributed to COVID-19 have surpassed 1.5 million, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Institute. 

- Slovenia is to begin mass testing on its population this month in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, after the previous restrictions imposed did not have the desired effect. 

- Cyprus's government has approved plans to allow visitors who have proof they have been vaccinated for the virus to enter the country without testing negative. 

- England has announced new quarantine exemptions for "high-value" business travelers, performing arts professionals, journalists and certain others, meaning they will no longer have to self-isolate on arrival into the country from 4 a.m. on December 5. 

- Dutch airline KLM said it would begin offering a COVID-19-tested flight in conjunction with fellow airline Delta from Atlanta in the U.S. to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, four times a week from December 14. 

- Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has come under fire after footage emerged showing him and his wife on a mountain bike trip 45 kilometres from his home in Athens and therefore breaking lockdown rules stating people are only allowed to exercise near their homes. 

- World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has admitted he is concerned about the "growing perception that the COVID-19 pandemic is over," adding that it still had a long way to run. 

- Between December 21 and January 6, people in Italy will only be allowed to move between the country's 20 regions for work, medical or emergency reasons, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urging people not to invite guests to their homes during the Christmas period.

- Biotechnology firm Moderna says it expects to have between 100m and 125m doses of its potential vaccine available globally in the first quarter of 2021.

- Support for Sweden's government has dropped by nearly 5 percent amid a surge in new infections, according to a six-monthly poll by Sweden's statistics institute.

- Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn has called for further restrictions to halt the spread of the virus in parts of the country where infection numbers are high.

- Bulgaria's health minister Kostandin Angelov has announced the country's vaccination distribution plans, starting with doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists. "Every Bulgarian who would like to get a vaccine shot will get one for free," he added. 


Rahul Pathak on Madrid

Authorities in Madrid are closing the main perimeter roads leading in and out of the capital in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus ahead of a big bank holiday weekend. 

The restrictions will continue until December 14. They're aimed at stopping the huge movements of people associated with the two major bank holidays in December.  

It comes a few days after Spain's health minister, Silvia Calzón, called on the public to show "responsibility and prudence" after crowds flooded the streets at the weekend to go Christmas shopping and see the traditional festive season lights.

Toni Waterman in Brussels

More than 17,000 people in Belgium have now died with the coronavirus since the pandemic began. The country, which has recorded a total of 584,857 cases, has one of the highest death rates in the world. 

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about Belgium's vacation strategy. The country expects to receive 600,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the beginning of January, which is enough to inoculate 300,000 people. 

Staff and residents at care homes for the elderly and front-line health workers will be first in line to receive the jab. Over-65s and high-risk patients will be included in the second phase, while a third phase will target the general public. 

The Federal Medicines Agency hopes that by the spring, enough of the vaccine will be available for all three phases to run simultaneously.


Business travelers, performing arts professionals, journalists and certain others will no longer have to quarantine on arrival into England from December 5. /AP

Business travelers, performing arts professionals, journalists and certain others will no longer have to quarantine on arrival into England from December 5. /AP


Stefan de Vries in Amsterdam

Consumers are abandoning physical stores in city centers and shopping malls. At the end of this year, the vacancy rate in city centers will have risen to a fifth of all stores on average. Cities that attract many tourists will be hit even harder. 

Meanwhile, several members of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), the group of scientists advising the government on which measures to take, have received severe threats.




Alex Fraser in Milan

Italy has imposed restrictions on all travel outside people's home municipality on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Announcing the new rules to the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said it was vital Italians limited Christmas celebrations with their families to avoid a third wave of COVID-19. 

There will be a ban on travel between regions during the whole festive period between December 21 and January 6 with exceptions only for health, work or emergency reasons.

Other measures introduced include a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering Italy during those dates to try to deter people traveling abroad for Christmas.


Ross Cullen in Paris

France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, says more than $1bn will be made available to support the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Prime Minister Jean Castex says the vaccine will be "free to all" and that the government aims to dispense 200 million doses across France. 

Castex laid out the three-stage vaccination program that the government is envisaging: first inoculating people in care homes and the vulnerable; then calling on health workers to have the jab; and finally the general public. 

The prime minister says he hopes that 1m people can be vaccinated in January, then rising rapidly to aim to have 14m people vaccinated by the end of March. In the spring, health authorities will open up the vaccine to the wider population. 

The government says the circulation of the coronavirus continues to reduce and the health situation in the country continues to get progressively better. Castex confirmed that at the current projected rate of decline in the number of new daily infections, France can come out of lockdown as planned on December 15.


Linda Kennedy in Budapest

A tax cap has been placed on local authorities by the Hungarian government to help families struggling to cope financially during the pandemic, while raising local taxes or introducing new ones has been banned by the Ministry of Finance. 

An alarm system is being introduced to indicate the number of patients and staff in Hungary's hospitals on a daily basis. Seventy eight hospitals are treating coronavirus patients and the alarm system aims to show where, each day, there are staff shortages. 

Free coronavirus tests have been offered to educators in Hungary, but fewer than expected took a test - 74 percent of pre-schoolers and 73 percent of teachers and educators were tested, according to the education minister.


Italy has imposed restrictions on all travel outside people's home municipality on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. /AP

Italy has imposed restrictions on all travel outside people's home municipality on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. /AP



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