World COVID-19 News Roundup 10/22 07:25
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Belgian Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Sophie
Wilmes has been hospitalized in intensive care with the coronavirus.
Wilmes, who was in charge when the first wave of infections hit the country
this spring, now serves in the new government led by Alexander De Croo.
Elke Pattyn, a spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry, told The Associated
Press that Wilmes is in a stable condition and conscious. She said her
condition "is not worrying."
The 45-year-old Wilmes, who was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday
evening, said last week she thought she got infected within her family circle.
Belgium, a country of 11.5 million inhabitants, has been severely hit by the
coronavirus and is currently seeing a sharp rise in new cases. More than 10,000
people have died from coronavirus-related complications in Belgium
LONDON -- U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak is expected to announce increased
help for bars, pubs and restaurants that have seen business collapse because of
Hospitality businesses are under pressure because the measures severely
limit social gatherings, even under the lower levels of restrictions imposed on
areas with less severe outbreaks. That reduces the number of people who go out
for dinner or to meet up with friends, reducing income and forcing employers to
lay off workers.
But most can't take advantage of current government aid programs, which are
focused on businesses that are ordered to close under the highest level of
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street told the BBC that the support programs were
designed with the assumption that the pandemic would ease, reducing the need
for government assistance. That didn't happen and infection rates are now
rising across the country.
The government "didn't expect us to be in a position through the autumn
where we were having a rising level of the virus to this extent, so if you look
at the design of the winter economy package, at the time that seemed rational
but clearly events have moved very quickly."
BUDAPEST -- The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Hungary has
risen above 2,000 for the first time as health authorities increase testing
Hungary recorded 2,032 new infections, pushing the total number of active
cases to 35,653. There were 16,361 tests carried out over the past 24 hours,
which is also a record. The rate of identified infections stands at 12.4% of
all tests, well above the 5% threshold recommended by the World Health
Organization. The relatively high rate indicates that the testing capacity of
the Hungarian health care system is still insufficient.
Over the Past day, 46 patients have died, slightly below the daily record of
48. A total of 1,305 Hungarians have died since the outbreak of the pandemic.
WARSAW, Poland -- Poland has broken another record for recorded daily
infections, with over 12,100 reported by the Health Ministry Thursday and
almost 170 deaths, in the nation of 30 million.
The government is expected to extend Poland's highly restrictive local red
zones to cover the whole nation, in a move just short of a lockdown. Prime
Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has suggested he would like all Poland to be in a
red zone starting Saturday.
The regulation means, among other things, wearing masks in all open public
spaces, a ban on ceremonies and wedding parties, limits on number of customers
in shops and passengers on public transport, shorter restaurant hours and
closed gyms and swimming pools.
BERLIN -- Germany's disease control center is reporting a new daily record
increase in coronavirus infections, which rocketed past the 10,000 mark for the
first time as the pandemic continues to spread.
The Robert Koch Institute said Thursday that it had recorded 11,287 new
cases over the past 24 hours, shattering the previous record figure of 7,830
daily infections set on Saturday.
The news comes the day after Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for
He has been quarantined at home and told Bild newspaper that so far he's
just suffering from "cold-like symptoms."
The government says Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet members have always
followed distancing, hygiene and mask rules, so there is no reason for other
ministers to quarantine.
NEW DELHI -- Indian authorities are worried elections in the third-largest
state and a religious congregation could spread the coronavirus.
India added fewer than 60,000 new cases for a third day. The Health Ministry
reported 55,839 new cases, taking the total past 7.7 million. The 702 deaths
recorded in the past 24 hours brought its total fatalities to 116,616 on
The Election Commission issued a warning after political campaigning drew
large crowds without masks and social distancing in eastern Bihar state where
voting for state elections is due to begin next week.
Bihar is India's third largest state with a population of about 122 million
Health officials also are concerned about the potential spread during
religious festivals. In West Bengal state, a court limited the size of
congregations during the Hindu Durga Puja festival.
PRAGUE -- Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic are on a steep rise,
setting a new record for the second straight day.
The Health Ministry says the daily increase soared to almost 15,000 on
Wednesday. That's almost 3,000 more than the previous record a day earlier.
The country has been facing a surge for the last two months. It has had a
total of 208,915 confirmed cases while 1,739 have died. About a third of all
the new cases have been recorded in last seven days.
About 4,500 COVID-19 patients have filled up hospitals with the government
expecting the health system will be overwhelmed by Nov. 11 if the surge doesn't
Further strict regulations are being imposed on Thursday, including limits
on movement and the closure of many stores, shopping malls and hotels.
Since Wednesday, it's mandatory again to wear masks outdoors and in cars.
The seven-day rolling average in the Czech Republic has risen over the past
two weeks from 29.59 per 100,000 people on Oct. 6 to 85.64 on Tuesday.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Authorities in Sri Lanka have closed the country's
main fish market and widened the curfew in many parts of the island nation
following a surge of coronavirus infections related to a new cluster centered
on a garment factory.
The government imposed a curfew Thursday in parts of Colombo and some areas
outside the capital. Officials already isolated at least six villages elsewhere
in the same province, where the new cluster was discovered early this month.
Authorities also suspended operations at Sri Lanka's main fish market after
49 traders tested positive. Health workers are conducting tests on hundreds of
other traders at the market on the outskirts of Colombo.
Schools and key public offices are also closed, public gatherings banned and
restrictions imposed on public transport.
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has 121 new confirmed cases of the
coronavirus, its first triple-digit daily jump in a week amid concerns about
the country easing social distancing restrictions just last week to cope with a
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Thursday that South
Korea's caseload is now at 25,543 for the pandemic, including 453 deaths.
Hundreds of recent infections have been tied to hospitals in major cities
such as Seoul and Busan. Officials are testing 130,000 workers at hospitals,
nursing homes and senior facilities in the Seoul metropolitan area hoping to
South Korea has enforced its lowest level of social distancing measures
since Oct. 13, allowing high-risk businesses and karaoke bars to reopen and
fans to return to professional sports.
MEXICO CITY -- Mexican health officials estimated Wednesday that the country
has risen above 1 million coronavirus cases, though the figure includes both
confirmed infections as well as suspected cases.
Officials put the country's apparent deaths from COVID-19 at 102,293, again
including cases in which patients were not tested for the virus.
The Health Department says its pandemic caseload tally has reached
1,005,938. That includes people who have displayed symptoms of COVID-19 but
were not given tests or whose samples could not be processed. Test-confirmed
cases total 867,559.
The agency attributes 102,293 deaths to the pandemic, adding in deceased
patients who weren't tested but had symptoms judged to be caused by COVID-19.
Test-confirmed deaths stand at 87,415.
Mexico has an extremely low testing rate.
LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the state has more
confirmed daily cases of the coronavirus than ever, and notes there has been a
sharp increase since the state Supreme Court invalidated her sweeping
restrictions earlier this month.
Confirmed infections had been gradually rising for months prior to the Oct.
2 ruling -- from a seven-day average of 119 in June to 984 -- as the governor
loosened economic restrictions and allowed schools to reopen. Since the court
decision, the seven-day average has nearly doubled to 1,818, although
surrounding states without legal rulings have also seen similarly big spikes.
Whitmer said Wednesday that "these numbers are moving in the wrong
direction" and are putting Michigan "in a dangerous moment," though she did not
indicate whether another lockdown might be necessary.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- Health officials in Idaho say people with COVID-19
in the northern part of the state soon may have to be sent for treatment in
Seattle or Portland, Oregon, because the region's hospitals are nearing
Kootenai Health said in a statement Wednesday that its hospital is at 99%
capacity for patients that need medical or surgical care. Chief Physician
Executive Karen Cabell told KREM that the hospital nearing capacity is
Idaho is seeing its largest spike in confirmed coronavirus infections since
the pandemic began. Newly reported cases have increased statewide by 46.5% over
the past two weeks.