Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Thursday, November 18

Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world overnight. 


Germans and Austrians are rushing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as infections soar across Europe and governments impose restrictions on the unvaccinated, figures showed on Wednesday. About 65 percent of Austria's population is fully vaccinated and about 68 percent of Germany's, well behind the Netherlands and countries like Italy and Spain.


Britain recorded 38,263 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and a further 201 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.


Germany reported 52,826 new infections on Wednesday - a jump of a third compared with a week ago and another daily record, and 294 people died, bringing the total to 98,274, as the pandemic's fourth wave tightened its grip on Europe.


Hungary reported 10,265 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, its highest daily tally since the end of March, prompting the country's Medical Chamber to call for a ban on mass events and mandatory mask wearing in closed spaces.


Sweden's Public Health Agency will introduce COVID-19 vaccine passes for events held indoors where more than 100 people attend, public broadcaster Swedish Radio said on Wednesday, referring to sources.

Sweden will also reverse a widely-criticised decision to stop recommending testing for people who are fully vaccinated but show symptoms of COVID-19.


Czech authorities will ban people who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from coronavirus infection from access to public events and services from Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday.


Dutch health authorities said on Wednesday they were running short of COVID-19 tests, as the Netherlands registered more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, the highest since the pandemic began. The strongest rise was among children aged four to 12.


France reported 50 more deaths.


Italy reported another 72 deaths.


Austrian coronavirus infections hit a new daily record on Wednesday, the third day of a lockdown for those not fully vaccinated aimed at halting the surge.


Slovakia reported 8,342 new cases for Tuesday, the highest daily tally to date in the central European country of 5.5 million people, health ministry data showed.


Poland reported 24,239 new daily COVID-19 infections, health ministry data showed on Wednesday, the highest total since April. There were also 463 COVID-related deaths reported on Wednesday. 


South Korea

South Korea plans to cut to four months from six the gap for coronavirus booster doses given to senior citizens as it looks to dampen a spike in serious cases, authorities said on Wednesday. More than 90 percent of South Korean adults have been vaccinated, but breakthrough infections have been growing among elderly people, straining the medical system.


Singapore reported 3474 new cases and seven deaths. 


Indian states are sitting on more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines due to a reluctance among people to get inoculated, the chief executive of top vaccine maker the Serum Institute of India said on Wednesday. Only 41 percent of India's 944 million adults have been fully vaccinated as many skip their second dose amid a decrease in infections.


COVID-19 deaths have decreased 17 percent in the Americas over the past week, but the most populous countries like the United States, Brazil and Colombia are seeing a leveling of new infections after weeks of declining trends, the Pan American Health Organization said on Wednesday.


Eighty percent of Americans 12 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday, highlighting a promising milestone in efforts to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Zients also said 2.6 million kids aged five to 11 will have gotten their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by end of Wednesday.

The United States has signed contracts worth about US$1 billion for doses of the antibody-based COVID-19 treatment from Britain's GSK and US-based Vir Biotechnology, as countries seek to secure promising options beyond vaccines.

Vaccines and treatments

Pfizer said on Wednesday chief financial officer Frank D'Amelio, 63, would retire after nearly 15 years at the company. The drugmaker has started an external search for the successor of D'Amelio, who also served as executive vice president of global supply.

The European Union's drug regulator said on Wednesday it could decide on Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid approval "within weeks" if the data it has received from the drugmaker was sufficient to prove the shot's effectiveness.

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has demonstrated 96.3 percent efficacy against COVID-19 during the vaccination campaign in Belarus, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday, down from 97.2 percent efficacy reported in September.

Reuters / Newshub.