- Judge reinstates Wis. Gov’s restaurant and bar closure order
- WHO blames poor quarantine enforcement for COVID-19 resurgence
- UK reports 18k+ new cases, 80 deaths
- World tops 40 million COVID-19 cases
- Wales imposes 2 week “firebreak” lockdown
- Bar, restaurant closures in Belgium begin Monday
- Italy announces new restrictions
- Moscow Mayor resists return to lockdown
- Bavaria imposes localized lockdown
- Iran sees new record daily deaths
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Update (1300ET): After being stymied by state courts over his attempts to tighten restrictions on businesses and movement, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers finally won a court decision, as a Wisconsin judge on Monday reimposed Evers’ order limiting the number of people who can gather in bars, restaurants and other indoor places to 25% of capacity, per the AP.
The initial state order to limit capacity was handed down on Oct. 6 by Andrea Palm, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, as cases in the state surged. A judge on Oct. 14 blocked the order after it was challenged by the Tavern League of Wisconsin, which argued it amounted to a “de facto closure” order. That finding has now been reversed.
Wisconsin has been one of the leaders of the outbreak in the Midwest, which is at least the third major wave in the US since the start of the pandemic. It ranks among states where hospitalizations are on the rise and new case numbers have climbed to record daily highs.
However, even after rising sharply over the past two weeks, Wisconsin’s rate for COVID-19 is still just 9.4% occupancy.
While much ink is spilled about rising case numbers in the Midwest, Florida is reporting its smallest daily increase in a week on Monday. A further 1,707 people tested positive over the past 24 hours, the state health department revealed this morning, down from 2,539 on Sunday, while compared with 1,533 on Monday last week.
The WHO on Monday reiterated the importance of those who are sick with COVID-19 to abide by the quarantine rules, which it cited as a key driver of infection rates around the world.
“One thing that could really change the game here, it’s making sure each and every contact of a confirmed case is in quarantine for the appropriate period of time so as to break chains of transmission,” Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program, said at a media briefing. “I do not believe that has occurred systematically anywhere, and in particular in countries that are experiencing large increases now.”
The UK, meanwhile, reported another 18,804 new cases on Monday, along with 80 more deaths.
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New COVID-19 cases reported Sunday shrank from the prior day, with just 284,957 cases reported, coming in below the 300k mark for the first time since Oct. 11. Nevertheless, it was enough to push the global total north of 40 million, the latest milestone for COVID-19 cases, as outbreaks flare in Europe and the American Midwest.
As daily case tallies continue to climb across Europe, yesterday reaching the 200k cases/day mark, new restrictions and closures are being imposed across the continent as leaders do everything in their power to try and avoid reimposing a full-on lockdown.
Just minutes ago on during a late-morning press briefing, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that the UK constituent nation would be entering a two-week “firebreak” lockdown lasting from Oct. 23 to Nov. 9. The decision was made despite the WHO’s landmark advice against further lockdowns, saying the pain from such activities is disproportionately borne by the poor.
It is a “short sharp shock” to stop the clock in the fight against the virus, Drakeford said, following a meeting of the Welsh Government cabinet this morning.
Wales has recorded fewer than 2,000 deaths and just over 35k new cases, and many locals grumbled about the decision to return to lockdown. David in Flintshire said he has “a different take on things.” He is due to get married later this month and says a prospect of another lockdown “is just devastating to me.”
“This is a 20 people wedding, it’s an intimate affair with family members,” he said. After his April wedding was cancelled, his partner’s dad passed away. “So we re-booked for October and now just to hear this, it’s absolutely devastating,” per the BBC.
Elsewhere in the UK, schools in Northern Ireland were shut Monday as a two-week shut down, part of new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, took effect.
On the other side of the world, lockdown restrictions in the Australian state of Victoria, including in the state’s biggest city, Melbourne, have finally been eased after more than 100 days. Though restrictions on bars and restaurants remain in effect, limiting hours of operation and the number of indoor diners, people can undertake more social activities, include meetings with friends in larger groups.
Last night, Italy announced a raft of new measures after it recorded a new record on Sunday. Mayors will be able to close public areas after 2100 local time every evening, and the opening hours of restaurants will be further restricted. Nine major French cities, including the capital, Paris, are facing a curfew from 2100 to 0600 for at least a month. The country saw a record number of new cases on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, the country with the highest infection rates in Europe right now, said Monday that it will wait two more weeks before deciding whether to impose a full option, or take some other more moderate action.
Here’s other news from overnight and Monday morning:
Iran reported its highest number of daily deaths, with 337 fatalities. That’s fifth time in two weeks that Iran has reported a record number of deaths. The number of cases rose to 534,631 with 4,251 new infections, the Health Ministry said (Source: Bloomberg).
Slovenia will impose a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, while also limiting public gatherings to a maximum of 6 people to try to halt the spread of the virus. The Alpine state reported 537 new cases with a record positivity rate of 20.4% (Source: Bloomberg).
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin resisted returning to a lockdown even as he warned the city is on track to filling its 15,000 beds devoted to treating Covid-19. A curfew, banning movement around the city or closing most businesses would be “absolutely unacceptable and impossible,” Sobyanin wrote on his blog Monday. The mayor’s stance mirrors the Russian government, which has shied away from harsh restrictions during the pandemic’s second wave despite record numbers of new cases (Source: Bloomberg).
The authorities in the southern state of Bavaria have imposed a lockdown on the town of Berchtesgaden, amid soaring coronavirus infections in the area. The decision underscores that Germany is now clearly experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s main public health authority said on Monday that there had been 4,325 new infections over the previous 24 hours (Source: FT).
Fresh restrictions in Belgium that will close bars and restaurants came into force on Monday, as the nation experiences the continent’s highest infection rate after the Czech Republic. “We are really very close to a tsunami,” said health minister Frank Vandenbroucke. “We no longer control what is happening” (Source: FT).
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Russia’s sovereign wealth fund received approval to conduct human clinical trials of their coronavirus vaccine in India, according to an emailed statement from one of the vaccine developers. WHO Chief Scientist said there was “very good” dialogue with developers of the second Russian COVID-19 vaccine candidate and are awaiting data from Phase 3 trials (Source: Ransquawk/Newswires).
France reported 29,837 (Prev. 32,427) new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with a positivity rate of 13.2%, vs 13.1% previously (Source: Ransquawk/Newswires).
Germany reported 4,325 – vs 5,587 the day before – new COVID-19 cases and 12 – previously, 10 – additional deaths (Source: Ransquawk/Newswires).
UK COVID-19 cases +16,982 on Sunday, vs +16,171 a day earlier; it also reported 67 new deaths, down from 150 (Source: Ransquawk/Newswires).