(Bloomberg) — Germany is looking at closing restaurants and prohibiting large events as governments across Europe seek to tackle rising infections and fatalities while avoiding full-scale lockdowns. Italy reported a record number of new cases, while deaths in France were the highest since April.
In the U.S., Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen at least 10% in the past week in 32 states and the nation’s capital as the month-old viral surge increasingly weighs on America’s health-care system. Chicago and Denver tightened restrictions in an attempt to stem outbreaks.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company may know by the end of October whether or not its vaccine is effective. Cadila Healthcare Ltd., one of two Indian companies trying to develop a vaccine, is in talks with potential partners to ramp up production.
Global Tracker: Cases top 43.4 million; deaths exceed 1.15 millionSlow Covid recovery stalks health industry as new cases surgeAll-in push for vaccine in U.S. raises risk virus will lingerEuropean governments running out of options to avoid lockdownsVaccine Tracker: Vaccine trials restart, providing hope
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El Paso Hospitals Fill With Virus Patients (5:30 p.m. NY)
More than 40% of the hospital beds in El Paso, Texas, are occupied by virus patients as the worsening outbreak in the state’s biggest hot spot tested the region’s health-care infrastructure.
Just a week ago, the Covid-19 census in El Paso-area facilities was under 25%, state health department figures showed. Federal and state agencies have opened field hospitals and deployed 1,000 nurses and other personnel to aid locals. Outbreaks are also accelerating in Lubbock and Amarillo, where more than 20% of hospital beds are taken by virus victims.
Statewide, hospitalizations have risen in seven of the past eight days and are now at levels not seen since late August. Texas hospitals housed 5,512 virus patients as of Tuesday, a 65% increase since the start of the month.
California’s Theme Parks Staying Closed (5 p.m. NY)
California Governor Gavin Newsom said he is hesitant to allow theme parks, including Disneyland, to reopen as coronavirus cases surge again across the world.
Walt Disney Co. and other theme park operators have been pushing the state for permission to resume operations, particularly after Florida parks started operating again in June. But Newsom said Tuesday that other states and countries that have been more permissive about letting businesses reopen are now enduring another wave of infections.
“Self-evidently, we should be concerned about opening up a large theme park, where by definition people mix from every conceivable walk of life,” he said during an update with reporters.
Illinois Suspends Indoor Dining in Chicago (4:36 p.m. NY)
Illinois will suspend indoor restaurant and bar service in Chicago starting Friday amid a surge in cases, according to Governor J.B. Pritzker. The region that
OSLO (Reuters) – Norway will announce stricter measures next week to limit the spread of the coronavirus following a recent increase in the number of cases, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday.
“We see that the infection is spreading in many places,” Solberg said.
“This is worrying. Therefore we already now announce that there will be a tightening of national restrictions next week. The measures will be directed towards the areas where the infection is now spreading,” she said.
Though cases are rising and authorities are concerned, the situation in Norway is less dramatic than elsewhere in Europe. The Nordic country has currently the second-lowest level of new infections in Europe, after Estonia.
Its 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants was 36.6 as of Friday, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
There are wide disparities within the country though and authorities are most concerned with the situation in Oslo, where restrictions, such as compulsory wearing of face masks in public transport when social distancing cannot be maintained, are tougher than elsewhere in the country.
The government hopes to be able to start vaccinations in the first half of 2021, Solberg told a news conference.
“Vaccination against COVID-19 will be voluntary but the support for vaccines tends to be high in Norway,” she said.
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty and Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)
By John Revill
ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland announced tighter restrictions on Sunday to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus hitting the country, including a nation-wide obligation to wear masks and a ban on large scale public gatherings.
Gatherings of more than 15 people in public places will be banned from Monday and masks must be worn in all indoor public places, the government announced following an extraordinary meeting.
An order to wear masks on public transport has been extended to cover train stations, airports, bus and tram stops, the government said, replacing a patchwork of regulations which applied across Switzerland’s different regions.
The obligation to wear a mask will also apply to shops, banks, churches, and cinemas, the government said. It recommended people work from home if they can.
“The COVID-19 infection rate has increased at a very quick rate,” Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga told reporters at a press conference in Bern. “Unlike before it is affecting all cantons and all age groups.
“With winter coming it is very important to slow the spread of the virus now. Every day counts.”
Switzerland, a country of 8.6 million people, on Friday reported the highest daily number of infections since the COVID-19 crisis began, with 3,105 new cases.
So far 74,422 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and 1,823 people have died.
Sommaruga said the government was prepared to impose more drastic restrictions if the new ones did not work.
No time limit has been set for how long the measures – designed to safeguard both the population and the economy – will remain in place, she added.
Health Minister Alain Berset confirmed the second wave of the coronavirus had now materialised.
“I can say that over the last 10 days, the second wave is here… It has come rather earlier and stronger than we thought, but we are prepared for the situation.”
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)