November 24, 2020

Coronavirus live news: next two weeks in UK may be ‘challenging’; Lebanon starts two-week lockdown

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304 further Covid-linked deaths registered in English hospitals

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The US set yet another daily record for new coronavirus cases on Friday, with more than 184,000, while Donald Trump promised imminent distribution of a vaccine – except to New York, which he threatened to leave out for political reasons – and the president-elect, Joe Biden, pleaded with Americans to follow basic mitigation measures.

According to Johns Hopkins University, 184,514 new cases were recorded on Friday, up from 153,496 on Thursday. More than 10.7 million cases have been recorded in total and more than 244,000 people have died. Deaths are also increasing: 1,431 were reported on Friday, the highest toll in 10 days, though more than a thousand less than the highest such toll, from April.

At the White House, in his first remarks since losing the election to Biden, Trump said he expected a vaccine developed by Pfizer to receive emergency use authorisation “extremely soon”, and to be available to the general population by April.

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Disinfection work at Syntagma Square as Greece extends its coronavirus curfew

Disinfection work at Syntagma Square as Greece extends its coronavirus curfew Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The death toll from Covid-19 has surpassed 1,000 in Greece after a further 20 people succumbed to the virus.

Most of the victims are believed to be in northern Greece, which soaring infection rates have made the country’s hardest hit area.

In its daily briefing on Friday, the public health organisation, EODY, announced that 38 more people had died from the disease, bringing the total number of fatalities to 997. Most had underlying illnesses and were aged over 70, it said.

The death toll climbed as Greece edged closer to comprehensive lockdown after the education minister announced that nurseries and elementary schools would join other educational institutions in remaining closed until the end of November. “It’s important to emphasise that the measures are of a purely precautionary nature,” Niki Kerameus told a press conference earlier on Saturday.

To date a total of 69,675 coronavirus cases have been registered in Greece. The vast majority have been confirmed since the summer, when epidemiologists announced the arrival of the pandemic’s second wave.

Amid the surge, growing numbers of doctors have expressed concern over the ability of the nation’s fragile health system to deal with coronavirus patients. In Thessaloniki, Greece’s northern metropolis, fears of overstretched intensive care wards buckling under pressure have mounted in recent days.

In a bid to stem the spread of transmissions, the government has tightened restrictions (see earlier).

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