Summary:

  • UK imposes new COVID restrictions in London, elsewhere
  • New curfew, other restrictions take effect in France
  • Wales, Northern Ireland adopt new restrictions
  • Czech Republic is Continent’s worst-hit country
  • China fires officials after local outbreak
  • Global cases near 38.5 million
  • Hong Kong, Singapore set up ‘travel bubble’
  • Chinese passenger flights pass peak
  • Indonesia passes Philippines

* * *

As EU members from Germany to Italy to the Czech Republic see COVID-19 cases surge, the global daily tally notched a new record on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins, which counted 380,426 new cases reported in the 24 hours to Wednesday. That’s a new global record, and the first since Sept. 24, when surging cases across Europe, the US, India, Brazil and Russia were driving daily cases higher.

Europe alone reported a daily record yesterday per Since then, the outbreak in India has finally started to cool (well, relatively speaking; India is still counting more than 60k new cases a day), but outbreaks in Western Europe have roared, with Spain becoming the first EU member to top 900k new cases, and France on track to pass that milestone as soon as today.

In the UK, Boris Johnson’s government announced Thursday morning that he would impose tighter restrictions in London beginning this weekend as the capital city’s infection rate nears 100 per 100,000.

European infections began a resurgence in the late summer, fueled by returning travelers and young party-goers. Local family, work and social gatherings have since spurred further contagion. And now that the resurgence is forcing leaders across the continent to figure out how to contain the virus without imposing economy destroying lockdowns, which the WHO recently rejected, and most European leaders – including Bojo, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – are struggling to find a strategy that will quell the outbreak without reimposing devastating lockdowns which have outsize impact on the poor, per the WHO.

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According to the BBC, which cited Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who briefed MPs on the plans Thursday morning, millions of people in London, Essex, York and other areas are facing tougher Tier 2 COVID restrictions beginning Saturday. It’s the middle of three alert levels, and imposes a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants. These decisions come as BoJo mulls the final decision about whether Greater Manchester will be elevated to the “very high” Tier 3 status.

Once Saturday arrives, more than half of England will be living under “high” or “very high” alert levels. Wales and Northern Ireland also impose new restrictions.

Pub and restaurants owners are concerned since the new restrictions will impact their business, however, the thousands of restaurants and pubs in the capital area won’t be eligible for government support, which is only available to businesses which have been ordered to close completely. The restrictions “without a proper package of support” would “decimate” the hospitality industry, a trade group said.

The following areas will enter “Tier 2”.

  • London
  • Essex
  • Elmbridge in Surrey
  • Barrow in Furness, Cumbria
  • York
  • North East Derbyshire
  • Chesterfield
  • Erewash, Derbyshire

Speaking to the Commons, the health secretary said “things will get worse before they get better”.

“Now, I know that these measures are not easy but I also know that they are vital. Responding to this unprecedented pandemic requires difficult choices, some of the most difficult choices any government has to make in peacetime.”

Meanwhile, in France, new restrictions, including curfew measures in hot spots across the country, were announced last night by President Emmanuel Macron: Macron said that the curfews would last for at least 4 weeks. It will apply to Paris and its suburbs, as well as Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier, as we reported last night.

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Already, Europe is on track to report another batch of record cases on Thursday. Germany reported 6,638 new cases early Thursday, beating its previous record of 6,300 set in late March.

The Czech Republic reported 9,544 new cases, its highest one-day tally since the pandemic started, Health Ministry data shows. The number of new cases detected since the outbreak has doubled in October alone, to 139,290, as the country of 10.7 million people faces one of the world’s largest surges in infections.

Source: Bloomberg

Here’s a roundup of other COVID-19 stories from overnight and Thursday morning.

Global cases are 38,416,443,per Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, while the worldwide death toll has hit 1,090,641 (Source: JHU).

Malaysia reports 589 new coronavirus cases, raising its cumulative tally to 18,129, the health ministry says. The country has imposed targeted lockdowns this month to rein in a new surge in infections. It has also recorded three deaths, bringing total fatalities to 170 (Source: Nikkei).

Indonesia reports 4,411 new infections, taking its tally to 349,160, surpassing the Philippines to become the country in Southeast Asia with the highest number of cases. Indonesia also reports 112 new COVID-19 deaths, with total fatalities reaching 12,268 (Source: Nikkei).

Hong Kong and Singapore will set up a travel bubble, the two cities announced, as they move to reestablish overseas travel links and lift the barrier of quarantines for visiting foreigners (Source: Nikkei).

The Chinese city of Qingdao says it has suspended the head of its health commission and fired a hospital director following an outbreak of coronavirus infections that ended China’s run of about two months without reporting a local case (Source: Nikkei).

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India reports 67,708 new cases in the past 24 hours, up from 63,509 the previous day, pushing the country total over 7.3 million. The death toll jumped by 680 to 111,266 (Source: Nikkei).

The number of passenger flights in China last month topped year-earlier levels, official data shows, with passenger numbers coming close to 2019 levels (Source: Nikkei).

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Via Zerohedge