The total number of coronavirus cases worldwide has risen to over 50 million, with 1.25 million deaths reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Europe is again the epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 12.5 million cases and 305,700 deaths. In the USA, almost 10 million people tested positive. More than 125,000 cases per day were recorded for three consecutive days. The states of North and South Dakota have the highest per capita death rates.
President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to deal with the pandemic much more aggressively than Donald Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed its severity. In his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday night, Biden said the “fight to control the virus” would be a priority when he took office.
He vowed to appoint a group of top scientists to his coronavirus task force as early as Monday, with plans to intensify testing and to make masks mandatory for Americans when they are near people outside their own homes. Biden’s 12-member Task Force will be led by three co-chairs – former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith of Yale University, Axios first reported.
Several countries have reported record numbers of new cases in recent days, including Hungary, the last EU country to impose a second nationwide ban. Secondary schools, universities and restaurants will be closed and a night-time curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. will begin at midnight on Tuesday to curb the rapid rise in infections, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced on Facebook.
During the curfew, people will only be allowed to leave their homes to drive to and from work. Sporting events will take place behind closed doors and all gatherings are banned, Orban said. He said the new curfew measures, which will last 30 days but can be extended, are necessary because “if coronavirus infections increase at the current rate. … Hungarian hospitals will not be able to cope with the burden”.
In France, 38,619 new cases were recorded on Sunday, far less than the record increase of 86,852 cases on Saturday. The Ministry of Health attributed the discrepancy to problems in data collection and warned that there could be a correction on Monday. The country has only been in a second lockdown for just over a week, with 271 deaths, bringing the total to 40,439.
In the UK – which has the highest death toll in Europe – there were 20,572 new cases and 156 new deaths, bringing the official death toll to 49,044. The latest data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics suggest that the rise in infections may be stabilizing, although the increase is slower than in recent weeks.
Russia confirmed 21,798 new coronavirus cases on November 9, a new daily record, and for the fourth day in a row, infections exceeded 20,000, the Moscow Times reports. The country is approaching 2 million cases and has so far confirmed 30,793 deaths.
Switzerland, which according to the JHU has recorded 211,913 cases and 2,772 deaths, has not followed its European neighbors into a national lockdown. Instead, it is sending 200 army reservists, who have completed four months of training, to its hospitals to help with the growing number of admissions.
While in Japan, gymnasts from four nations participated in a competition in Tokyo that was considered a trial run for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed next year. The competitors were tested daily for the virus and wore masks when they entered the arena, while the spectators were measured for temperature when entering the arena and fogged with disinfectant.