Here is quick Wednesday evening COVID-19 news summary.
Italy’s Lazio region, including the capital Rome, is set to introduce a curfew on Friday from midnight to 5am to try to curb its surging Covid-19 infections, a regional government source told Reuters. The source said the region will also introduce some restrictions on schools and universities. The northern region of Lombardy, around Milan, which was hit hardest in the first wave and recorded its highest daily tally on Wednesday since the beginning of the pandemic, announced a similar curfew from Thursday, from 11pm to 5am, and Campania in the south is seeking to follow suit on Friday.
It comes as Italy registered a record of 15,199 new Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
France recorded more than 25,000 new infections for the sixth time in 12 days, with the government likely to announce a geographical extension of the curfews currently in place in Paris and eight other major cities. Several more regions are to enter red-alert status, which means that they will have to impose curfews, the government said on Wednesday. It came as hospitals in several cities including Paris moved into emergency mode to cope with the influx of patients with the virus.
Greek authorities announced a regional lockdown of the northern region of Kastoria, after declaring the region an elevated risk, the highest of a four-tier risk assessment. Restrictions will be imposed from 23 October. It comes as the country reported 865 new cases of Covid-19, a new high since the outbreak began in late February.
Spain became the first western European country to surpass a million coronavirus cases. The unwelcome milestone comes as the government considers a curfew and as political bickering threaten to jeopardise efforts to control the second wave of the virus.
The UK reported a daily record of 26,688 coronavirus cases, bringing the tally of lab-confirmed infections to 789,229.
Russia is not planning to impose any blanket restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, the president Vladimir Putin said, even as the country reported a record new daily death toll from the respiratory disease. Russia needs keep on carrying out tests for Covid-19, observe safety measures and start vaccinations, Putin said.
The German health minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the coronavirus, the health ministry said. He took part in a cabinet meeting earlier in the day but other ministers do not need to go into quarantine, a government spokesman said.
Poland will announce fresh restrictions on Thursday after coronavirus infections doubled in less than three weeks, possibly including moving some primary school students to distance learning. On Wednesday, it reported a daily record of 10,040 new cases, taking its tally past 200,000.
The Netherlands hit a new record for daily coronavirus cases, with more than 8,500 infections in the 24 hours, nearly a week after the government imposed “partial lockdown” measures including the closure of bars and restaurants.
Scotland will introduce a five-tier system of coronavirus restrictions on Friday that will partly mirror England’s three-tier traffic light system of controls, as infections and fatalities climbed sharply to levels not seen since May.
Turkey is considering reimposing some measures to stem rising coronavirus cases, such as stay-home orders for younger and older people or even weekend lockdowns, but will avoid hurting the economic recovery.
Iran reported its highest daily number of cases since February, recording 5,616 new coronavirus cases for the previous 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 545,286 in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country. Authorities have urged people to avoid unnecessary trips and stay home, warning that hospitals in Tehran and some other major cities are overflowing with patients with coronavirus.
The Czech Republic shut most shops and services and sought to limit all movement to essential trips such as for work and medical visits to curb Europe’s fastest growth in new coronavirus infections. The country recorded a record daily rise of 11,984 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, amid a surge in recent weeks, and the health minister said the health system would soon reach the limits of its capacity and that hospitals would run short of beds in November without immediate action.
People who host house parties in Ireland can be fined up to €1,000 or jailed for up to one month to ensure compliance with a new Covid-19 lockdown. The government is fast-tracking legislation to give police new powers to levy on the spot fines for breaches of the new restrictions, which come into effect on Thursday.
Slovenia and Croatia both reported record daily highs in new infections. This week Slovenia introduced a curfew from 9pm to 6am and a 30-day state of emergency to cope with the coronavirus, while Croatia isn’t yet considering such measures.
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from New York City
The percentage of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in New York City is at 1.77%, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
That figure falls under the 5% threshold. The seven-day rolling average is 1.76%, he said.
The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 103, a jump from 76 yesterday. This is under the 200 threshold. The confirmed positivity rate for Covid-19 for those patients is 24.2%
With regard to new reported cases on a seven-day average, NYC reported 523 cases, also up from yesterday. The threshold is 550 cases.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Sunday he had a "general malaise" after testing positive for coronavirus and would stay at home for now for any treatment, as recommended by his doctors.
England will enter a second national lockdown in the coming days, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced. The decision came hours after the UK passed the grim milestone of one million coronavirus cases.
The month-long shutdown will come into effect from Thursday after a parliamentary vote early next week, Johnson said during a news conference on Saturday evening.
"We must act now to contain the autumn surge," he said.
Johnson was forced to make the announcement on Saturday after the government's plans were leaked to numerous national newspapers the previous evening. The plan had been initially to announce the measures on Monday.
The strict lockdown will see the closure of pubs, restaurants and non-essential businesses, including hair salons and gyms. Schools, universities and playgrounds will stay open.
People will only be able to leave their homes for specific reasons: education, work (if they are unable to work from home), to shop for food, for health reasons, or for exercise and recreation outdoors, either with that person's household or with one person from another household.
The government is discouraging all non-essential travel, though people will still be able to travel abroad for work, providing they follow England's quarantine rules upon their return. The measures will only apply to England, as healthcare is handled by the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The new shutdown will remain in place until December 2, at which point Johnson hopes the virus will be sufficiently under control to enable England to tackle the virus, once again, on a region-by-region basis.
Here’s a roundup of some of the key global coronavirus developments for Nov 4.
Poland has announced new restrictions after reporting a daily record of 24,692 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. From Saturday, all education will be conducted via remote learning, while cinemas, theatres, galleries and most non-essential shops will be among the venues forced to close.
Italy has recorded 30,550 new cases and 352 deaths on the eve of new restrictions being imposed. From Thursday, a national 10pm-5am curfew will come into force, while shopping centres will be closed at weekends. Other measures include the closure of museums.
Lithuania has announced a three-week national lockdown. The country has seen a surge in new infections in recent days, reporting 639 new cases on Wednesday, three times more than the 205 daily cases reported on 20 October.
Austria has reported a record daily tally of cases. Infections climbed above 6,000 for the first time in the country on Wednesday to a new record of 6,211, health ministry data showed.
Denmark is to cull up to 17m farmed mink over fears of a coronavirus mutation. Danish authorities said 12 people had recently contracted the mutated variant of the virus from mink in the north of the country.
Pfizer vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people get infected with COVID-19.
The first effective coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19, a preliminary analysis shows.
The developers - Pfizer and BioNTech - described it as a "great day for science and humanity".
Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.
The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
No vaccine has gone from the drawing board to being proven highly effective in such a short period of time.
There are still huge challenges ahead, but the announcement has been warmly welcomed with scientists describing themselves smiling "ear to ear" and some suggesting life could be back to normal by spring.
"I am probably the first guy to say that, but I will say that with some confidence," said Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University.