Ukraine registered a record 14,575 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, health minister Maksym Stepanov said on Friday. It breaks the previous daily record of 13,357.
The country now has 598,085 cases, with 10,598 deaths, he added.
Almost a million people in China have taken an emergency Covid-19 vaccine that is still in its testing phase, the company Sinopharm has said.
Chinese authorities released the vaccine, developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), to select groups of people in July including Chinese government officials, students, and workers travelling overseas, before the vaccines had been proven to work.
Helen Davidson has the full story here:
One benefit of the slightly farcical early ending of the South Australia lockdown is that the first cricket Test between Australia and India scheduled for 17 December in Adelaide is looking more likely to go ahead.
The first test of the Australian summer was under threat after the state went into a six-day lockdown this week. But it is now set to be lifted three days early, giving a huge boost for cricket fans.
Here’s the full story:
EU to pay $10bn for vaccines – report
The European Union has agreed to pay more than $10bn to secure hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine being developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and CureVac, an EU official involved in the talks told Reuters.
The bloc has agreed to pay €15.50 euros ($18.34) per dose for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, according to the official.
That would mean an overall price of up to €3.1bn ($3.7 billion) for 200 million doses, rising to €4.65bn euros if another optional 100 million doses are purchased under the deal, the official said.
The EU has separately agreed to pay €10 ($11.84) per dose for an initial supply of 225 million doses of the vaccine candidate from CureVac, a discount from the €12 the company set as the price for the shot, the official said.
The six-day lockdown imposed on South Australia will end three days early at midnight on Saturday after it emerged that a man infected with Covid-19 had lied to contact trace investigators.
To the fury of the state premier, Steven Marshall, and probably most South Australians, the man told investigators he had been a customer at Woodville pizza bar where a Covid-positive security guard from a quarantine hotel worked.
The investigators thought the man’s case meant many other customers could have picked up the disease in an outbreak that was one of Australia’s most serious for weeks. But it turned out the man worked at the pizza bar and therefore was deemed a close contact of the security guard, lessening the risk to the wider community.
“To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement,” Marshall said.
“The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation. His actions have affected businesses, individuals, family groups and is completely and utterly unacceptable.”
You can read more about the whole farrago here:
Germany added another 23,648 confirmed cases on Thursday, taking its total to 879,564, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.
The reported death toll rose by 260 to 13,630, the tally showed.
As India passes the grim 9 million-case milestone, concerns about the coronavirus are particularly acute in the capital, New Delhi, Agence France-Presse reports.
The city is facing the dual scourge of winter pollution and Covid-19 and has seen infections soar past half a million with a record rise in daily cases.
On Thursday, the city’s government quadrupled fines for not wearing a mask from 500 rupees ($US6.74) to 2,000 in an effort to get a grip on the outbreak.
Hospital beds are also running short. A government mobile app showed on Thursday that more than 90% of intensive care beds with ventilators were occupied in the city.
Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, responded by announcing the addition of 1,400 intensive care beds.
The western city of Ahmedabad, home to six million people, has also seen an uptick in cases and the authorities have imposed an indefinite nighttime curfew.
Asian stock markets have struggled again overnight after US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin called for an end to coronavirus pandemic relief for struggling businesses.
He has written to the US Federal Reserve saying that the $450bn allocated to treasury for assistance should be handed back to Congress to reallocate.
That sent the Nikkei down 0.5% in Tokyo, although they’re flat in Sydney and Seoul and up 0.45% in Hong Kong. Chinese mainland shares are also up slightly.
The S&P500 on Wall Street will open 0.5% lower later as a result but the FTSE100 is on course for a 0.2% rise at the opening.
India passes 9 million cases
India has recorded more than 9 million coronavirus cases, with 45,882 new infections confirmed in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday.
The country now has 9,004,365 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker site, and 132,162 deaths.
India is only the second country to cross 9 million coronavirus infections, after the United States, but cases have slowed down in the country after hitting a peak in September.
Government officials and experts have warned that the country could still see a spike after the festival of Diwali was celebrated this month.
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thanks for following a long – and stay tuned for more updates from the inimitable Martin Farrer.
As a parting gift, I offer you this beautiful fashion editorial produced by my colleagues in Australia:
Leaders from Japan and New Zealand on Friday warned countries against the temptation of retreating into trade protectionism, saying that keeping markets open is the way to restore a global economy battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking by video link from Tokyo to a meeting of Asia-Pacific CEOs, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said a “free and open Indo-Pacific will be the cornerstone for the prosperity of this region.”
Japan and 14 other Asian neighbours on Sunday signed the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Suga, who took office in September, said Japan will next push for a wider free trade pact among the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
“Amidst a risk of inward-looking temptations in the face of the slump of the global economy, making rules for a free and fair global economy is critically important,” he said. “While continuing to promote WTO reform, Japan will aspire for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.”
The event came ahead of a meeting late Friday of APEC leaders hosted by Malaysia that will be conducted via video conference due to the pandemic. Malaysian officials said US President Donald Trump, who is busy challenging the outcome of the recent presidential election, will participate.
Trump last participated in the APEC forum in 2017 and last weekend skipped the East Asia Summits, also held online. Trump, or his representative, was initially due to speak to the CEOs Friday morning but that was canceled, with no reasons given.