Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 pandemic from around the world - Friday, November 26

Here's the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the world.

Europe

European Union residents will need to have COVID-19 vaccine booster jabs if they want to travel to another country in the bloc next summer free of tests or quarantines, the European Commission proposed on Thursday.

The EU's drug regulator approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11 on Thursday, paving the way for them to be given a first shot as Europe struggles with a surge in cases.

Netherlands

The Dutch government plans a set of "heavy measures" to slow the current record wave of new COVID-19 cases the country is facing, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Thursday, but it has not made a final decision on what they will be.

"That heavy measures will be needed is beyond doubt," De Jonge told reporters in The Hague after health authorities reported more than 20,000 new cases in the past 24 hours. The government is expected to announce new restrictions on Friday.

Some Dutch hospitals have halted chemotherapy treatments and organ transplants to free up intensive care beds for surging COVID-19 patients.

Czechia

The Czech government on Thursday ordered bars and clubs to close at 10pm and banned Christmas markets in an attempt to stem one of the world's highest coronavirus infection rates.

Slovakia

Slovakia went into a two-week lockdown on Thursday, as the country with one of the EU's lowest vaccination rates reported a critical situation in hospitals and new infections that topped global tables.

Italy

Italy reported 71 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday against 85 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 13,764 from 12,448.

Germany

Germany is in a phase of exponential growth in numbers of coronavirus cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that every day counted when it came to enacting social distancing measures designed to slow its spread.

Germany crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday. Another 351 people have died. The number of new daily cases hit a new record of 75,961.

Hungary

Hungary is ready to inoculate five to 11-year-old children after the European Medicines Agency approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for the age group, the Government said in a statement on Thursday.

France

French Health Minister Olivier Veran confirmed on Thursday that COVID-19 booster shots will be made available to all adults starting this weekend, with the Government hoping that the move will help contain a new wave of the disease.

France reported 72 more deaths. 

UK

Britain reported 47,240 new cases of COVID-19, meaning cases reported between November 19 and November 25 were up by 9.5 percent compared with the previous seven days. A further 147 people were reported as having died.

British retailers reported the strongest pre-Christmas demand since 2015 this month but also the biggest price rises since 1990, as fears of shortages led shoppers to buy gifts early, figures from the Confederation of British Industry showed.

Americas

US

Millions of Americans got COVID-19 booster shots at a near record pace after the Biden administration expanded eligibility last week, but health officials concerned about climbing infections ahead of the winter holiday season urged more to get the additional protection.

Middle East and Africa

Many African nations are struggling with the logistics of accelerating their COVID-19 inoculation campaigns as deliveries of vaccines to the continent finally pick up, the head of Africa's disease control body said on Thursday. Only 6.6 percent of Africa's population of 1.2 billion is fully vaccinated.

South Africa

South African scientists have detected a new COVID-19 variant in small numbers and are working to understand its potential implications, they said on Thursday.

Namibia

Namibia has warned that more than 268,000 doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are at risk of being destroyed, some as early as next week, due to a slow uptake by citizens.

Vaccines and research

COVID-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women and not associated with higher rates of complications, data released by the UK Health Security Agency showed on Thursday, as officials urged pregnant women to take up the offer of shots.

Switzerland is open to compromise in talks on the intellectual property  rights of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs at the World Trade Organization, but remains opposed to a full waiver of those rights, a senior Swiss diplomat said on Thursday.

Reuters / Newshub.