Coronavirus: latest global developments

An employee of an aid organisation takes a sample of a woman at a newly established coronavirus testing station in Dortmund, western Germany, on August 1, 2020.

Photo credit: Ina Fassbender | AFP

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

- France locks down -France began a new month-long lockdown to try to slow a second wave of the virus.

Unlike the previous national shutdown, schools and childcare facilities will remain open alongside essential shops and markets.

Factories and building sites will also still be allowed to operate although homeworking has been made "obligatory" for all jobs where it is possible.

- Belgium too -In Belgium where the virus is most prevalent per 100,000 inhabitants, the authorities have decided on a "more severe lockdown" with "non-essential" shops to close from Monday and working from home to be insisted upon wherever feasible. 

- Half of UK under orders -More than 11 million people in England are now effectively under lockdown, with a toughening of local restrictions across several regions likely in coming days.

More than half the United Kingdom's population is now under some kind of virus restriction as the death toll from the second wave rises.

- Nearly 45 million infections - The virus has infected more than 45.1 million people and claimed at least 1.18 million lives worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally on Friday at 1100 GMT based on official sources.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 228,675 deaths, with a record 90,000 new infections Thursday.

It is followed by Brazil with 158,969 deaths, India with 121,090, Mexico with 90,773 and Britain with 45,955.

- Europe surpasses ten million mark -Europe has listed more than ten million cases to date since the virus first appeared according to latest health authority data analysed by AFP. In terms of cases, the continent lags Latin America and the Caribbean (11.2 million) and Asia (10.5 million). In terms of deaths Europe's tally of some 275,000 puts it second only to around 399,000 for Latin America and the Caribbean.

- Britain restricts flu vaccine exports - Britain said it will restrict the exports of flu vaccines as it embarks on a mass vaccination programme to ease pressure on a health system battling the novel coronavirus outbreak. The restrictions will stop the export of medicines "placed on the market to be used in the UK", said the government.

- EU hospital aid -The EU is stumping up 220 million euros ($256 million) to help transfer Covid-19 patients from one country to another and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed after 14 European states unveiled record admissions. Latest data from 35 states across the continent showed admissions have risen inside a week from below 100,000 to some 135,000. 

- First international, Chinese expert meeting -The WHO said international experts had held their first meeting, albeit virtually, with Chinese counterparts in order to investigate the animal origins of the pandemic. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news briefing the UN agency was continuing "to establish the origins of the virus to prevent future outbreaks".

- Regeneron suspends antibody trial-US biotech firm Regeneron said it was suspending enrolment for a study of its Covid-19 antibody treatment among the sickest patients who require high-flow oxygen or are on ventilators. The move follows a recommendation from an independent data monitoring committee (IDMC).

- Euro economies suffer -France is likely go into a deeper virus-sparked recession this year than previously thought despite a strong surge in the third quarter, with gross domestic product (GDP) likely to drop by 11 percent overall, the government said.

Germany and Italy face similar worries despite Italy recording a 16.1 bounce-back in the third quarter and Germany recording growth that was just under half that level.

Overall eurozone GDP was up by 12.7 percent in the third quarter -- an historic comeback after an 11.8 percent fall in the previous three-month period owing to the first wave of lockdowns. 

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