Here’s a summary of the most recent developments:
- The world suffered the worst day of the pandemic so far. According to Johns Hopkins University, 11,617 people died and more than 666,000 new cases were recorded in 24 hours; the largest such figures on record.
- A series of nations recorded their worst daily infection totals.
- Italy registered more than 40,000 new infections and 550 more deaths. Lombardy remains the worst hit region, accounting for 10,634 of the total 40,902 reported in the last 24 hours, followed by Piedmont and Campania.
- The German chancellor Angela Merkel prepared to hold talks with state governors after the country saw the greatest daily increase in its caseload. The Robert Koch Institute said Germany’s states had recorded 23,542 daily cases; slightly more than the previous worst; the 23,399 seen on Saturday.
- Moscow confirmed 21,983 people in Russia had become infected. Restaurants and bars in the capital were preparing to close down overnight.
- Sweden said it had registered 5,990 new cases. The Scandinavian nation’s unorthodox virus-fighting strategy has garnered global attention. The latest increase compared with a high of 4,697 daily cases recorded earlier this month.
- The Premier League footballer Mohamed Salah tested positive. The Liverpool striker, who was away on international duty with Egypt, was not suffering from any symptoms, the national football association said.
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In Greece, health authorities have announced more than 3,000 cases and another 38 Covid-related deaths, amid mounting concern over the ability of the country’s health system to deal with the surge.
As the nation braced for tighter restrictions, including a 9pm curfew that begins today, officials confirmed that the total number of known cases was now 69,697. Of that number, almost 1,000 are intubated in intensive care.
Doctors have expressed particular alarm over the dramatic rise in infections in Greece’s northern metropolis, Thessaloniki, where 725 new cases were reported today and the hospital system is stretched to its limits. Infection rates are such that almost every family now has a member who has contracted the virus in the city.
By contrast, officials say the greater Athens region, which is home to roughly twice Thessaloniki’s population, is registering fewer new cases with a further 697 virus contractions being reported on Friday.
Greece, like Portugal, had fared comparatively well during the first wave of the pandemic but since the autumn has witnessed a surge in transmissions that is clearly causing growing consternation. Civil protection authorities have stepped up curbs on movement. As of tonight any form of circulation will be banned between 9pm and 5am with the centre-right government calling the coming weeks “especially critical.”
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Italy registers 40,000 new cases and 550 more deaths
Italy has registered more than 40,000 new infections and 550 more deaths. Lombardy remains the worst hit region, accounting for 10,634 of the total 40,902 reported in the last 24 hours, followed by Piedmont and Campania.
Campania, in the south, and Tuscany are expected to be upgraded to high-risk red zones from Sunday, meaning people won’t be able to leave their homes apart from for work, health or emergency reasons.
Hospitals across the country are reaching breaking point. However, the government is trying to avoid a national lockdown while it waits to see if recent measures succeed in slowing infections.
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