Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) will debate how to deal with the pandemic this weekend and how to manage the recovery once the virus is under control.
To prepare for future pandemics, the EU will propose a treaty on illnesses that spread around the world.
“An international treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner,” said Charles Michel, the president of the European Council.
The International Monetary Fund said in a report for the G20 summit that the economic recovery will be uneven and the pandemic will likely leave deep scars.
Germany reported 22,964 new COVID cases, according to data released Saturday by the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s disease monitoring agency. That is a slight decrease from the record 23,648 cases announced a day earlier. The country also reported 254 more deaths.
The RKI said the total number of confirmed cases in the country is now 902,528 with 13,884 deaths.
Portugal extended its state of emergency on Friday as the coronavirus continued to spread throughout the country. The country’s current state of emergency was set to expire on Monday but has been extended until December 8.
“The state of emergency will last as long as is necessary to fight against the pandemic,” said Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
More than 80% of the country has been under a partial lockdown. New measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus starting from Tuesday will be announced Saturday.
Doctors in Switzerland have urged people vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19 to record their wishes for end-of-life care to ease pressure on intensive care units. The Swiss Society for Intensive Care Medicine (SGI) called this week for the “especially imperiled” including people over 60 or with health conditions such as heart disease to put their wishes on paper in case they might not be able to communicate while ill.
Read more: German doctor arrested on suspicion of killing coronavirus patients
South Korea’s medical associates called for stricter social distancing, and the government warned tougher measures would be needed if infections were not contained.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 386 new COVID cases on Friday, topping 300 for the fourth day in a row.
The Korean Society of Infectious Diseases and eight other medical societies warned the country could reach 1,000 daily cases in the next two weeks if the illness is not contained.
Japan has also seen a recent jump in COVID cases. The country reported three straight days of record daily cases, with 2,418 confirmed cases on Friday. While the country has been relatively successful with less than 2,000 deaths related to the virus, there are concerns that there could be a surge following the Labor Thanksgiving holiday on Monday.
Mexico became the fourth country to pass 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. The country’s number includes only test-confirmed deaths, meaning the actual toll is likely higher. A government study into excess mortality in October determined that about 140,000 deaths this year could likely be attributed to COVID-19.
Less than a week ago, Mexico reached 1 million confirmed infections. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador suggested Friday that criticism of the country’s approach to the pandemic were political attacks.
“Why change?” asked Obrador. “Just because the ones who used to steal and loot don’t like what we are doing, or don’t like seeing us in power?”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Canada’s hospitals could be overwhelmed by a potential spike in COVID-19 cases as Toronto prepared to impose a lockdown.
“A normal Christmas is quite frankly right out of the question,” said Trudeau.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that Canada’s largest city would enter a lockdown on Monday. All social gatherings will be banned, restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery services and most retail stores are permitted curbside pickup only. The measures will last for at least 28 days.
“The situation is extremely serious and further action is required to avoid the worst-case scenario,” Ford said.
Trudeau said he would not reintroduce a national shutdown like one that was imposed earlier this year. “I’m not looking to bring in a federal hammer to try and do things,” he added.
US President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr., tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and has entered quarantine.
“Don tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result,” said his spokesman, who added that he was asymptomatic.
Trump Jr. has downplayed the pandemic, similar to his father, and told Fox News last months that deaths from COVID-19 had fallen to “almost nothing.”
Andrew Giuliani, a White House aide and son of the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, also tested positive.
Read more: Coronavirus vaccine: Pfizer, BioNTech seek emergency use in US
kbd/sms (AFP, Reuters)