More than 58.61mn people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally, and 1,389,031 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
The coronavirus causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
Yesterday Italy, the first European country to be hit by the global coronavirus pandemic, passed the threshold of 50,000 deaths from Covid-19.
The health ministry recorded 630 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 50,453.
There were 22,930 new cases, to total more than 1.4mn.
Italy joins the United States, Brazil, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom in passing the symbolic 50,000-death mark, AFP figures show.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said last week that Italians should expect a “more sober Christmas, without Christmas Eve gatherings, hugs and kisses”.
“Otherwise we’ll pay for it in January with more deaths.”
Russia meanwhile reported a record 25,173 new coronavirus infections yesterday as the Kremlin said it was up to regional authorities to decide what measures needed to be imposed in their regions to curb its spread.
Russian authorities have said they will not impose nationwide lockdowns as they did earlier in the pandemic, stressing the importance of hygiene and targeted measures in certain regions instead.
Last week authorities in Buryatia, which borders Mongolia, closed restaurants, shopping malls, nightspots and public facilities for two weeks in a bid to stem the spread of the virus, making it the first and only Russian region to impose harsh restrictions in response to the pandemic’s second wave.
Yesterday the country’s coronavirus task-force reported 361 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 36,540.
Athens hospitals are monitoring a surge in virus cases in Greece’s second city Thessaloniki, and preparing “for the worst” as they expect an overflow of cases, director of a top Athens hospital told AFP.
In Thessaloniki, only 4% of beds remain vacant in intensive care units (ICUs) and that figure is just over 20% in Athens, according to the Greek health ministry on Friday.
Greece has 588 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients in total, and on Sunday severe cases requiring emergency intubation had reached 540 patients.
“We have not reached the peak of the pandemic in Greece yet, the situation can become worse and the pressure will be worse, too,” said Andreas Plemmenos, head of Voula Hospital, one of the biggest in Athens.
One month ago, Greece had only 87 patients with coronavirus in its intensive care units but new cases have risen from 667 in late October to 2,500 and 3,000 daily.
The death toll was around eight daily but is now surpassing 100 on some days.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in February in Greece, around 1,630 people have died with more than 91,600 infected.
“Initially, we only had three or four cases. Now it’s full,” Plemmenos said.
Last week, ten more beds were added to the unit. “We are preparing for the worst.”
Hungary’s government has limited retail store visits in an effort to separate elderly shoppers and contain the coronavirus pandemic in the most vulnerable over-65 age group.
“This government decree serves the protection of the elderly,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a Facebook video. “The pandemic’s statistics clearly show that the most endangered age group is that of our parents and grandparents. Let’s take care of them.”
Hungary has tried for months to avoid a second lockdown and prevent further harm to the economy but was forced to close secondary schools and impose an 8pm-5am curfew.
As of yesterday, 3,891 Hungarians have died of Covid-19, 177,952 people have been infected since the start of the pandemic in the country of 10mn people.
On weekdays, only people over the age of 65 may enter shops between 9am-11am, and at the weekend that time is set from 8am-10am.
Coronavirus infections rose by 9,751 since Friday, data from Switzerland’s health authorities showed yesterday.
The number of confirmed cases in Switzerland and neighbouring principality Liechtenstein increased to 300,352 and the death toll rose by 213 to 3,788, while 410 new hospitalisations kept pressure on the health care system.
Germany is heading towards an extension of its “lockdown lite” for another three weeks to slow the spread of the pandemic and make family gatherings over Christmas possible, state premiers of the two governing parties said yesterday.
Germany closed nightspots, restaurants and entertainment venues on November 2 for a month.
Schools and shops remain open while private gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households.
Saxony-Anhalt state premier Reiner Haseloff, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, told a news conference there was a general agreement that current restrictions should be extended for about three weeks.
His conservative Hesse counterpart Volker Bouffier said he expects measures to remain in place until around December 20.
The premier of the northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Manuela Schwesig from the co-governing Social Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk (DLF) radio that “many states believe that the November shutdown must continue, especially in the risk areas”.
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