Connect with us

News

Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Friday – CBC.ca

Published

 on


The latest:

Germany has entered a “nationwide state of emergency” because of surging coronavirus infections, the head of the country’s disease control agency said Friday.

Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, said regular medical care cannot be guaranteed anymore in some parts of the country because hospitals and intensive care wards are overstretched.

The German air force confirmed a report by daily Bild that it was preparing to help transfer patients to clinics with free beds.

“All of Germany is one big outbreak,” Wieler told reporters in Berlin. “This is a nationwide state of emergency. We need to pull the emergency brake.”

He called for urgent additional measures to tackle the rise in COVID-19 cases, which topped 50,000 for the third day running. The Robert Koch Institute also reported 201 further deaths, taking the toll to 98,739 since the start of the outbreak.

Wieler’s comments came as the upper house of parliament on Friday approved new measures to control the outbreak proposed by the centre-left alliance that emerged after the Sept. 26 national election. The measures include requirements for people to prove they are vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or have tested negative for the virus in order to access communal workplaces or public transport.

Separately, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with the governors of Germany’s 16 states to introduce a new threshold linked to the number of hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. Some states are also considering mandatory vaccinations for some professional groups such as medical staff and nursing home employees.

Austria extends restrictions

Austria announced a new national lockdown and a plan to mandate vaccinations as coronavirus infections hit a record high Friday, forcing the government to walk back promises that such blanket shutdowns were a thing of the past.

The latest lockdown comes as Austria has struggled without success to stop spiraling case numbers. On Friday, the country reported 15,809 new infections, an all-time high.

For the past seven days, the country has reported more than 10,000 new infection cases daily.

Imposing a mandate would give Austria one of the world’s most stringent vaccine requirements. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said those who didn’t comply would likely be fined but gave no other details.

The moves come as vaccinations in Austria have plateaued at one of the lowest rates in Western Europe and as hospitals in heavily hit states have warned that their intensive care units are reaching capacity.

But earlier this month, Schallenberg indicated a full lockdown would not be needed and instead imposed the restrictions only on those not vaccinated.

The lockdown will start Monday and initially will last for 10 days, when it will be re-evaluated, Schallenberg said. Starting Feb. 1, the country will also make vaccinations mandatory — though the chancellor gave few details about what that meant or how it would work.

The Silvrettabahn cable car stands closed on Friday in Ischgl, Austria. Austrian authorities announced a countrywide lockdown beginning this coming Monday in response to the current high levels of novel coronavirus infections. (Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images)

“Increasing the vaccination rate — and I think we’re all in agreement on this — is our only way to break out of this vicious cycle of viral waves and lockdown discussions for good,” Schallenberg said. “We don’t want a fifth wave, we don’t want a sixth and seventh wave.”

Not quite 66 per cent of Austria’s 8.9 million people are fully vaccinated, according to government figures. It has tried various measures to boost that further. This summer, Austria introduced a “green pass” — which shows proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test result and was required to enter restaurants and attend cultural events.

“For a long time the political consensus was that we don’t want a vaccine mandate in this country,” Schallenberg said. “But we have to look reality in the eye. For a long time, maybe too long, me and others thought that it must be possible to convince people in Austria, to convince them to get vaccinated voluntarily.”

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 12:05 p.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada


What’s happening around the world

A person walks past a white flag memorial installation outside the Griffith Observatory on Thursday that honours the nearly 27,000 Los Angeles County residents who have died from COVID-19. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As of early Friday afternoon, more than 256.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.1 million.

In the Americas, U.S. regulators on Friday moved to open up COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, expanding the government’s effort to get ahead of rising coronavirus cases that experts fear could snowball into a winter surge as millions of Americans travel for the holidays.

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision stands to simplify what has been a confusing list of who’s eligible by allowing anyone 18 or older to choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose — regardless of which vaccine they had first. The move came after about a dozen states had started offering boosters to all adults.

“We heard loud and clear that people needed something simpler — and this, I think, is simple,” FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks told The Associated Press.

There’s one more step before the approach becomes official: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must agree to expand Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults. Its scientific advisers were set to debate it later Friday. If the CDC agrees, tens of millions more Americans could have three doses of protection before the new year. Anyone who got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can already get a booster.

Health workers carry coolers of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a door-to-door vaccination campaign in the Villa Maria del Triunfo district on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, earlier this week. (Guadalupe Pardo/The Associated Press)

In Europe, Russian authorities have reported a record number of coronavirus deaths for a third day in a row. Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 1,254 virus deaths Friday, up from the previous record of 1,251 registered the day before. The task force also reported 37,156 new confirmed cases. The daily new infections in recent weeks appeared to have taken a downward trend but still remain higher than during previous surges of the virus. 

In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Thursday reported 585 new cases of COVID-19 and 40 additional deaths.

In the Middle East, Kuwait on Thursday reported 22 additional cases and one additional death.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines has approved a plan to allow entry soon to foreign tourists vaccinated against COVID-19, its tourism ministry said, following moves by other Southeast Asian countries to relax travel curbs.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

U.S. to revoke terrorist designation for Colombia’s FARC, add breakaway groups

Published

 on

The United States will revoke its designation of the Colombian group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as a foreign terrorist organization on Tuesday while designating two breakaway groups as such, a senior State Department official said on Friday.

A review of the terrorist listing – required every five years under U.S. law – found that the leftist organization known by the Spanish acronym FARC should no longer be listed, The official said.

But the two dissident groups that have formed out of FARC, La Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP, or People’s Army, would be designated as foreign terrorist organizations, the official said.

“It’s a realignment to address these current threats,” the official said. “The FARC that existed five years ago no longer exists.”

Founded in 1964, FARC was responsible for summary executions and kidnappings of thousands of people, including Americans.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the United States was preparing to remove FARC from the list five years after the group signed a peace agreement with Bogota.

The State Department notified the U.S. Congress on Tuesday of its planned delisting of FARC. The Colombian government was formally notified on Wednesday.

The government of Colombia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision will allow U.S. government agencies like the U.S. Agency for International Development to work on peace implementation in parts of Colombia where demobilized FARC soldiers are located, the official said.

“This is a priority for the Colombian government in the implementation of the peace agreement,” the official said.

 

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Simon Lewis in Washington; Additional reporting by Oliver Griffin in Bogota; Editing by Mark Porter and Leslie Adler)

Continue Reading

News

Tunisian police say they shot, wounded extremist trying to attack them

Published

 on

Tunisian police on Friday shot and wounded an extremist who sought to attack them with a knife and cleaver in the capital, authorities said.

The 31-year-old man, whose identity was not disclosed, shouted, “God is great. You are infidels,” as he ran toward police officers near the interior ministry, the ministry said in a statement.

Witnesses and local media said police shot the man in the leg and arrested him. The man, who was previously labelled an extremist by the government, was taken to hospital and is being investigated by an anti-terrorism unit, officials said.

Tunisian security forces have thwarted most militant plots in recent years and they have become more efficient at responding to those attacks that do occur, Western diplomats say.

The last major attacks in Tunisia took place in 2015 when militants killed scores of people in two separate assaults at a museum in Tunis and a beach resort in Sousse.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Frances Kerry and Cynthia Osterman)

Continue Reading

News

At least 19 killed in bus crash in central Mexico

Published

 on

At least 19 people were killed and 20 more injured on Friday when a passenger bus traveling on a highway in central Mexico crashed into a house, authorities said.

The brakes on the bus, which was heading to a local religious shrine in the state of Mexico, failed, according to local media reports. State authorities did not disclose the possible causes of the accident.

Assistant state interior secretary Ricardo de la Cruz Musalem said that the injured had been transferred to hospitals, including some by air.

The state Red Cross said 10 ambulances had rushed to the area.

 

(Reporting by Sharay Angulo; writing by Laura Gottesdiener)

Continue Reading

Trending