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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Key points

  • Covid-19 emerges in China's Wuhan in Dec '19, declared a pandemic on March 11
  • Over 40 million infected globally; more than 1.1 million dead, over 27.6 million recovered
  • 323,452 cases reported in Pakistan; 6,659 dead, 307,409 recovered
  • Click here for Dawn's coronavirus coverage
Oct 20, 2020
10:23 PM

UK reports over 21,000 cases in last 24 hours

7:46 PM

Iran daily virus cases exceed 5,000 in new record

5:26 PM

214 new cases, 4 deaths reported in Sindh

4:47 PM

VIDEO: How investment in health and emergency preparedness helped Rwanda curb Covid-19

3:59 PM

UK researchers aim to infect volunteers to study Covid exposure

3:37 PM

Russia's daily coronavirus cases hit record high of 16,319

2:50 PM

WATCH: Virus, what virus? India gets back to work

2:21 PM

Turkey's daily Covid-19 patients top 2,000 — at early-May levels

2:00 PM

First results of Russian vaccine trial may include data from 5,000-10,000 people

1:44 PM

Australia evacuates crew from coronavirus-infected livestock vessel

11:05 AM

Italy's govt agrees on Covid-19 hard-hit Lombardy region new curbs request

9:30 AM

Daily Covid-19 mortality increased by 140pc last week: Asad Umar

9:00 AM

Ireland imposes some of Europe's toughest Covid-19 curbs

8:03 AM

Argentina becomes 5th country to exceed 1 million Covid-19 cases

Oct 19, 2020
11:00 PM

Britain records 18,804 new coronavirus cases

10:30 PM

Spain's regions tighten Covid-19 measures as 1 million case milestone looms

9:50 PM

SAPM Sania Nishtar tests positive for Covid-19

9:35 PM

Belgium says Covid-19 situation serious as infections reach new highs

9:30 PM

4 teachers among 7 test positive at various schools in Hyderabad

8:50 PM

PHOTO: Venezuelan students struggle to join online classes with shaky internet connections

8:15 PM

Sindh reports 293 new cases, 2 deaths

7:55 PM

Doctors probe whether Covid-19 is causing diabetes

6:49 PM

Portugal's Covid-19 cases pass 100,000

6:30 PM

It would take more than 4 years for remittances to Pakistan to return to pre-Covid levels: IMF

6:00 PM

Covid-19 may inflict a decade of economic pain to Mideast, Central Asia, IMF says

5:35 PM

New British Airways CEO urges end to UK quarantine

3:14 PM

Tunisian PM orders nationwide curfew over pandemic

2:07 PM

PLO's Erekat on ventilator with Covid-19, Israeli hospital says

12:44 PM

Poland to open temporary hospital at national stadium in Warsaw

12:31 PM

India reports lowest daily virus deaths in 3 months

12:01 PM

Panama offers Covid-19 tests to international travelers

11:36 AM

Pakistan records 340 recoveries from coronavirus

11:31 AM

Punjab reports 93 new Covid-19 infections

11:26 AM

Islamabad's case tally crosses 18,000

10:59 AM

President Alvi asks people to observe SOPs for some more months

9:47 AM

Global coronavirus cases surpass the 40 million milestone

8:17 AM

Australia's Covid-19 hotspot reports 4 new cases as restrictions ease

Oct 18, 2020
10:30 PM

Europe's Covid-19 death toll tops 250,000

10:00 PM

Covid-19 cases on the rise in 29 states in the US

9:30 PM

Czechs to wait two weeks before considering Covid lockdown

9:00 PM

Italy daily coronavirus cases hit new record high at 11,705: Health ministry

7:00 PM

Ireland to impose nationwide Covid-19 curbs starting Monday

6:57 PM

Philippines reports 2,379 new coronavirus infections, 50 more deaths

6:20 PM

Israel takes 'cautious' steps out of second virus lockdown

5:38 PM

Italy honours 179 doctors who died in pandemic

4:50 PM

End of the party: Paris empties under curfew

4:12 PM

Saudi Arabia allows citizens, residents to perform prayers in Masjid Al Haram after 7 months

3:28 PM

Russia reports 15,099 new coronavirus cases, 185 deaths

2:14 PM

READ: Pandemic biggest hurdle for New Zealand's Ardern after 'tectonic' election

1:04 PM

Pakistan records 429 recoveries from coronavirus

Oct 20, 2020 07:46pm

Iran daily virus cases exceed 5,000 in new record

Iran's daily novel coronavirus caseload surpassed 5,000 infections — a new record — according to official figures announced Tuesday, as death rates remain high, AFP reports.

Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said the country had registered a record 5,039 new infections in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number to 539,670.

There were also 322 new deaths, as the worst-hit country in the Middle East counted 31,034 fatalities since February.

Government spokesman Ali Rabii told a press conference that “the spread of the virus is rising in 12 provinces including Tehran, and nine provinces are on alert”, urging “cooperation” to curb its transmission.

Iran announced a record 377 deaths on Monday, and has made several grim announcements of record-high virus cases and fatalities in recent weeks.

Oct 20, 2020 05:26pm

214 new cases, 4 deaths reported in Sindh

Sindh has reported 214 new cases of the novel coronavirus and four deaths, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said.

The total number of confirmed cases in the province is 142,348 while the death toll is 2,587.

So far, 135,494 patients have recovered from the virus, CM Shah said.

Oct 20, 2020 03:59pm

UK researchers aim to infect volunteers to study Covid exposure

British researchers have said they hope to expose healthy volunteers to the virus that causes Covid-19 in a groundbreaking study to discover the amount needed for people to become infected.

The Human Challenge Programme — a partnership that includes Imperial College London — hopes the work will ultimately help to “reduce the spread of the coronavirus, mitigate its impact and reduce deaths”. In what researchers called a world first, the opening stage of the project will examine the possibility of exposing healthy volunteers to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

According to AFP, they aim to recruit volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 with no underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or obesity.

“In this initial phase, the aim will be to discover the smallest amount of virus it takes to cause a person to develop Covid-19,” Imperial College said in a statement.

Oct 20, 2020 03:37pm

Russia's daily coronavirus cases hit record high of 16,319

Russia has reported a record high 16,319 new cases of coronavirus, including 4,999 in the capital Moscow, to take the national total to 1,431,635.

According to Reuters, authorities reported 269 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking Russia's official death toll to 24,635.

Oct 20, 2020 02:21pm

Turkey's daily Covid-19 patients top 2,000 — at early-May levels

Turkey's daily number of new coronavirus cases has surpassed 2,000, reaching levels last seen in early May when restrictions on businesses and households were in place.

Data from the Health Ministry showed another 2,026 people with Covid19 symptoms were diagnosed, as Ankara continues to report only symptomatic cases. The ministry changed the wording on its daily reports from “cases” to “patients” on July 29.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the daily number includes only those who show symptoms. The total number of patients stood at 349,519 as of Monday, the data showed.

Data also showed 75 people had died in the last 24 hours, also the highest daily level since early May, raising the total death toll to 9,371.

Oct 20, 2020 02:00pm

First results of Russian vaccine trial may include data from 5,000-10,000 people

Preliminary results from the late-stage human trial of Russia’s main coronavirus vaccine candidate could include data from 5,000-10,000 participants, Denis Logunov, a director at the Gamaleya Institute that developed the vaccine, has said.

Russia’s plan to publish preliminary data about the Sputnik V jab as early as November is likely to make it one of the first vaccine developers to share any data from a final stage trial, known as phase 3, but also puts it at odds with competitors.

The Sputnik V trial, involving 40,000 volunteers, has been underway in Moscow since the beginning of September.

Oct 20, 2020 01:44pm

Australia evacuates crew from coronavirus-infected livestock vessel

Australian officials are evacuating workers from a Kuwaiti-flagged livestock ship docked off the country’s west coast after at least half the 52 crew tested positive for Covid-19.

The West Australian government said 24 of the crew had tested positive since the ship arrived in Australia last week. The remainder have been tested and are awaiting results. Two Australian crew members left the ship before the outbreak was detected, but had since tested negative, officials said.

“It is becoming clear that ships arriving with Covid-19 on board is one of the weakest links and the biggest risk to our way of life in Western Australia,” state Premier Mark McGowan told reporters in Perth.

Oct 20, 2020 11:05am

Italy's govt agrees on Covid-19 hard-hit Lombardy region new curbs request

Italy’s government has agreed on a request from the Lombardy region, hard hit by Covid-19, to impose further restrictions to curb a new surge in infections, a health ministry spokesman told Reuters.

Lombardy, centred around Italy’s financial capital Milan, accounts for some 128,400 of the over 423,500 coronavirus cases detected in Italy since the outbreak was discovered in February.

The Lombardy region said in a statement it would propose the government stop from Oct 22 non-essential economic activities and people’s movements between 11pm and 5am, adding they would also be asked to shut down all large shops on Saturday and Sunday.

Oct 20, 2020 09:00am

Ireland imposes some of Europe's toughest Covid-19 curbs

Ireland has announced some of Europe’s toughest Covid-19 constraints, shutting non-essential retail, limiting restaurants and pubs to take away service and telling people not to travel more than five kilometres from their home.

Ireland imposed one of Europe’s longest lockdowns during the first surge in coronavirus cases and eased restrictions at such a cautious pace that pubs that only serve drinks in Dublin had not reopened by the time a rise in infections prompted a tightening of curbs.

This time, schools will stay open and essential services such as construction are allowed to continue, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said, as he moved the country to the highest level of restrictions, Level five, for six weeks from midnight Wednesday. Hotels may remain open, but only if their rooms are needed by essential workers.

Oct 20, 2020 08:03am

Argentina becomes 5th country to exceed 1 million Covid-19 cases

Argentina has become the fifth country in the world to exceed one million coronavirus cases, its health ministry has said, making it the smallest nation by far to reach the grim milestone after infections accelerated in recent weeks.

There were 1,002,662 confirmed cases of the virus in the South American country by Monday night, the ministry said in a statement.

In the past 24 hours, there were 12,982 new cases reported and 451 more deaths, it added.

19th Oct, 11:00 PM

Britain records 18,804 new coronavirus cases

Britain recorded 18,804 new cases of Covid-19, daily government statistics showed on Monday, up from the 16,982 reported the previous day, according to Reuters.

There were 80 deaths within 28 days of positive test, compared to 67 reported on Sunday.

19th Oct, 10:30 PM

Spain's regions tighten Covid-19 measures as 1 million case milestone looms

Several Spanish regions toughened their coronavirus restrictions on Monday, seeking to curb a second wave of contagion that looks set to drive the country with Western Europe's highest case load above one million infections this week, Reuters reports.

Authorities in the northern region of Castile and Leon announced they would seal off the city of Burgos and nearby Aranda de Duero to all but essential travel from Tuesday night after infection rates in the area surpassed 500 cases per 100,000 people.

“We are in circumstances similar to those of March or April,” Burgos Mayor Daniel de la Rosa told state broadcaster TVE, recalling the beginning of the pandemic, when many Spaniards were confined to their homes to stop the spread.

Aragon, which was at the centre of several outbreaks linked to migrant agricultural workers over summer, introduced capacity limits at bars and restaurants and banned the sale of alcohol in shops between 10pm and 8am.

19th Oct, 9:30 PM

4 teachers among 7 test positive at various schools in Hyderabad

Four teachers and three non-teaching staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus at different schools in Hyderabad, according to health officials.

A male and a female teacher tested positive at two government schools in Hussainabad, while two female teachers from as many private schools in Latifabad were also confirmed to have the virus.

The three other staff members who tested positive include an administration official, a gatekeeper and a sanitary worker. The staff members have been quarantined at their homes since they were asymptomatic, according to District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Lala Jaffar.

He said one of these schools where four cases were confirmed would be closed, in accordance with guidelines mandating closure of a school where four or more infections are reported.

19th Oct, 8:15 PM

Sindh reports 293 new cases, 2 deaths

Sindh has reported 293 new cases of the novel coronavirus and two deaths, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said.

The total number of cases in the province has now risen to 142,134, while the death toll is 2,583.

According to the provincial government, 135,296 people have recovered from the virus, while 169 patients were in critical condition.

19th Oct, 7:55 PM

Doctors probe whether Covid-19 is causing diabetes

Many experts are convinced that Covid-19 can trigger the onset of diabetes — even in some adults and children who do not have the traditional risk factors, Reuters reported.

Its already been well-documented that people with diabetes face much higher risks of severe illness or death if they contract Covid-19. In July, US health officials found that nearly 40 per cent of people who have died with Covid-19 had diabetes. Now, cases suggest the connection between the diseases runs both ways.

Covid could be causing diabetes from scratch, said Dr Francesco Rubino, a diabetes researcher and chair of metabolic and bariatric surgery at Kings College London.

19th Oct, 6:49 PM

Portugal's Covid-19 cases pass 100,000

Portugal's coronavirus cases have passed 100,000 mark, with nearly 2,000 new infections in the past 24 hours, days after tough new measures to contain the disease came into force, Reuters reported.

“Everyone's tiredness is legitimate but it cannot legitimise failure,” the secretary of state for health, Antonio Sales, told a news conference. “We continue to depend on each other — and our success is the success of Portugal.”

The nation of just over 10 million people initially won praise for its quick response to the pandemic.

19th Oct, 6:30 PM

It would take more than 4 years for remittances to Pakistan to return to pre-Covid levels: IMF

It would take more than four years for remittances to Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan oil importers to return to pre-Covid levels, Reuters reported while quoting IMF.

The Covid-19 crisis has brought to light the region's dependence on expatriate labour, particularly in the Gulf, where hundreds of thousands of workers left after losing their jobs.

“The toll on employment could be much more severe than after the global financial crisis,” the IMF said.

Inequality is likely to widen as informal jobs are hit harder and social safety nets remain weak, it said. Countries relying on remittances from the Gulf will also see a significant drop in inflows.

19th Oct, 6:00 PM

Covid-19 may inflict a decade of economic pain to Mideast, Central Asia, IMF says

It might take countries in the Middle East and Central Asia a decade to return to the economic growth seen before the coronavirus crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, as long-standing regional vulnerabilities weigh on their recovery.

According to a Reuters report, lack of diversification among oil-exporting countries and the reliance of oil importers on sectors like tourism, as well as their dependence on remittances, are likely to curb growth, the IMF said in its outlook for the region, which spans around 30 countries from Mauritania to Kazakhstan.

Economic “scarring” — which includes long-term losses to growth, income and employment — is likely to be deeper and longer-lasting than after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, it said.

19th Oct, 5:35 PM

New British Airways CEO urges end to UK quarantine

New British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle has urged the UK government to end the quarantining of passengers arriving from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic, AFP reported.

“We need to get the economy moving again and this just isn't possible when you're asking people to quarantine for 14 days,” Doyle told an online aviation conference, a week after he replaced Alex Cruz as the CEO of British Airways.

“If we look abroad to our near neighbours, we see that business travel and indeed tourism is being prioritised by some countries,” Doyle added.

19th Oct, 3:14 PM

Tunisian PM orders nationwide curfew over pandemic

Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has ordered a curfew starting from Tuesday in all regions of the country, according to AFP.

Coronavirus cases have been surging in Tunisia, which had managed to contain the virus earlier in the year, and have now reached more than 40,000.

19th Oct, 2:07 PM

PLO's Erekat on ventilator with Covid-19, Israeli hospital says

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, hospitalised in Israel with Covid-19, has been placed on a ventilator after his condition deteriorated, a spokeswoman for the facility said.

“Mr Erekat had a quiet night but this morning his condition deteriorated, and it is now defined as critical,” a statement from Hadassah spokeswoman Hadar Elboim said.

Erekat was rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center on Sunday from his home in the occupied West Bank. He contracted the coronavirus on Oct 8.

Erekat, 65, is considered especially vulnerable to the illness because he underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017, which suppressed his immune system.

19th Oct, 12:44 PM

Poland to open temporary hospital at national stadium in Warsaw

Poland plans to open a temporary hospital at the national stadium in Warsaw as it faces a spike in coronavirus cases and a health system overload, the government has said.

Poland has recorded new records in daily cases and deaths in the past weeks, with doctors reporting shortages of personnel, hospital beds and equipment.

“On Saturday, the prime minister ordered the preparation of the first temporary hospital, which will be located at the national stadium,” Michal Dworczyk, the prime minister's chief of staff, who is responsible for the project, told radio Zet.

The hospital, set up in the stadium's conference rooms, will have beds for 500 Covid-19 patients, with the option to expand to 1,000 beds.

19th Oct, 12:31 PM

India reports lowest daily virus deaths in 3 months

India has reported 579 fatalities from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the lowest increase in three months, driving its death toll to 114,610.

The Health Ministry also reported 55,722 new cases of coronavirus infection, raising India’s total to more than 7.5 million, second in the world behind the US.

A government-appointed committee of scientists said on Sunday the epidemic may have peaked in India and the disease was likely to “run its course” by February 2021 if people used masks and adhered to physical distancing measures.

The number of new infections confirmed each day has declined for a month. The committee said even if active cases increased during the upcoming festive season and cold weather, they were unlikely to surpass India’s record daily high of 97,894 cases.

19th Oct, 12:01 PM

Panama offers Covid-19 tests to international travelers

Panama is the latest country to offer travellers a Covid-19 test when they arrive at its main airport, a little less than a week after resuming international flights following a seven-month suspension due to the pandemic.

International flights to and from Panama, a regional transportation hub, resumed on Monday, October 12.

Since then, some 1,000 people were tested, said Yelitza Campos, an adviser at Jers Medical, the distributor of the tests in Panama.

19th Oct, 11:36 AM

Pakistan records 340 recoveries from coronavirus

Another 340 people have recovered from coronavirus in the country, taking the total number of recovered people to 307,409.

According to the government's Covid-19 portal, 526 virus patients are in critical condition.

19th Oct, 11:31 AM

Punjab reports 93 new Covid-19 infections

Punjab has reported 93 new Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, according to the government's database for tracking the spread of the coronavirus. The provincial total has risen to 101,652.

It has not reported any additional fatalities from the virus. The provincial death toll stands at 2,298. According to the database, 97,238 people have recovered in the province so far.

19th Oct, 11:26 AM

Islamabad's case tally crosses 18,000

Islamabad's coronavirus case tally has risen to 18,069 with 73 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to the government's Covid-19 portal.

Gilgit Baltistan has reported 12 new cases in the last 24 hours while Azad Jammu and Kashmir has recorded 61, taking their tallies to 4,059 and 3,498, respectively.

Islamabad and AJK have confirmed one more fatality each from the virus, taking their death tolls to 195 and 82, respectively.

19th Oct, 10:59 AM

President Alvi asks people to observe SOPs for some more months

President Dr Arif Alvi has urged the nation to strictly adhere to health protocols for the next few months and continue wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently.

In a video message, President Alvi said the country had contained the virus to a great extent but had not eliminated it completely. That was why constant observance of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) was required.

Read full story here.

19th Oct, 9:47 AM

Global coronavirus cases surpass the 40 million milestone

Worldwide coronavirus cases crossed 40 million, according to a Reuters tally, as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease.

The Reuters tally is based on official reporting by individual countries. Experts believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential underreporting by some countries.

The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic continues to pick up. It took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 to 30 million, the 44 days between 10 and 20 million, and the three months it took to reach 10 million cases from when the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in early January.

Record one-day increases in new infections were seen at the end of last week, with global coronavirus cases rising above 400,000 for the first time.

19th Oct, 8:17 AM

Australia's Covid-19 hotspot reports 4 new cases as restrictions ease

The Australian state of Victoria has reported four new Covid-19 cases as people in Melbourne were granted more freedom to move about after a months-long lockdown, buoying hopes an outbreak in the city was nearing an end.

After more than 100 days in a strict lockdown that allowed only for two hours of outdoor activity a day, the 5 million people living in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, will be able to spend as much time exercising outdoors as they wish, according to Reuters.

However, people must stay within 25 kilometres of their homes, public gatherings will remain tightly limited, and retailers and restaurants must operate only on take-away or delivery orders.

18th Oct, 10:30 PM

Europe's Covid-19 death toll tops 250,000

More than 250,000 people have died from the new coronavirus across Europe according to an AFP tally based on official sources.

A total of 250,030 deaths have now been recorded out of 7,366,028 registered cases in Europe. The five worst-hit countries account for more than two thirds of the deaths.

Britain has suffered 43,646 fatalities from 722,409 infections. After Britain, the worst-hit European countries are Italy with 36,543 deaths, Spain with 33,775, France with 33,392 and Russia with 24,187.

Over the last seven days, 8,342 deaths have been recorded in Europe, the highest weekly toll in the region since mid-May.

The latest figures come as several European countries tighten restrictions in the worst-hit cities and regions in response to a surge in cases.

18th Oct, 9:30 PM

Czechs to wait two weeks before considering Covid lockdown

The Czech Republic, which has the highest coronavirus infection rate in Europe, will wait at least two weeks before deciding whether to order a full lockdown to stem its epidemic, Reuters reported Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlicek as saying on Sunday.

In the past week, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close except for takeout orders, and schools have moved to distance learning. Sport and fitness clubs, theatres and cinemas had already shut, but shops have remained open.

On Saturday, the Czech Republic reported 8,713 new cases. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said it had registered 828 cases per 100,000 population in the last two weeks, more than 10 times the rate in neighbouring Germany.

Since schools reopened in September, the cumulative number of cases has risen almost seven times.

18th Oct, 9:00 PM

Italy daily coronavirus cases hit new record high at 11,705: Health ministry

Italy registered 11,705 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Sunday, up from the previous record of 10,925 posted on Saturday, according to Reuters.

There were also 69 Covid-related deaths, up from 47 the day before, the ministry said — far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April, when daily fatalities peaked at more than 900.

Italy was the first country in Europe to be hit hard by Covid-19 and has the second-highest death toll in the region after Britain, with 36,543 fatalities since the outbreak flared in February, according to official figures.

18th Oct, 6:57 PM

Philippines reports 2,379 new coronavirus infections, 50 more deaths

The total number of cases in the country has risen to 356,618 cases while the death toll is 6,652.

18th Oct, 6:20 PM

Israel takes 'cautious' steps out of second virus lockdown

Israel started “cautiously” emerging from a second coronavirus lockdown Sunday after a month of tight restrictions, re-opening preschools, kindergartens, beaches and national parks, with numbers of new infections falling, AFP reports.

Public radio said about a million young children would return to kindergartens and other facilities Sunday.

Talia Zinkin, 40, said she “hesitated a lot” before sending her two-year-old son to daycare.

“But I felt he would enjoy being with other children,” she told AFP. “We have to try to live normally.” Zinkin, playing with her younger child in a Jerusalem park, said it had been full of children last week — but had emptied with the reopening of kindergartens.

Businesses not involving face-to-face contact with the public were allowed back to work, and a contentious ban on individuals moving more than one kilometre from their homes was lifted.

18th Oct, 5:38 PM

Italy honours 179 doctors who died in pandemic

As the Italian government considers yet more restrictions to try to curb the resurgence of coronavirus, the 179 Italian doctors who have died in the Covid-19 crisis were remembered Sunday in a ceremony in the northern Italian town of Duno, north of Milan, AP reports.

Their names were inscribed in marble at a sanctuary in the Lombardy region, which has been the hardest-hit area in the country. The names include Dr. Roberto Stella, the first-known Italian physician to die of Covid-19. His death at 67 on March 11 death shocked the Italian medical establishment and underlined the risk that the coronavirus pandemic posed to family doctors.

Italy, the first country outside of Asia to detect local transmission of the virus, has seen new confirmed positive cases surge above 10,000 a day in recent days. That is higher than the virus' most lethal peak in March and April, when only the most seriously ill were being tested in Italy.

18th Oct, 4:50 PM

End of the party: Paris empties under curfew

Shortly before the clock struck 9pm on Saturday, restaurant shutters in Paris came down and people dashed home to beat a strict new curfew to battle the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.

Police patrolled streets which would ordinarily be bustling with party-goers to enforce the new anti-mingling measure as the country notched up a record of more than 32,000 positive Covid-19 tests in 24 hours, with 1,868 people in intensive care.

Densely-populated Paris has been an infection hotspot, with bars already shuttered since October 6 although restaurants and other establishments that serve food were allowed to stay open.

Alcohol sales are prohibited from 10 pm and face masks are compulsory in public both indoors and outside.

But there has been concern over people, especially youngsters, flouting face coverings and social distancing rules to gather in groups on restaurant terraces and in other public places.

18th Oct, 4:12 PM

Saudi Arabia allows citizens, residents to perform prayers in Masjid Al Haram after 7 months

Saudi Arabia has allowed its citizens and residents inside the kingdom to perform prayers in one of the most holy religious sites in Islam, Masjid Al Haram, for the first time in seven months, state television reported.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia allowed citizens and residents to perform the Umrah after a seven-month pause due to coronavirus concerns.

Muslims pray in the Grand Mosque for the first time in months since the coronavirus restrictions were imposed, after they were allowed by the Saudi authorities, in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia on October 18. — Reuters
Muslims pray in the Grand Mosque for the first time in months since the coronavirus restrictions were imposed, after they were allowed by the Saudi authorities, in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia on October 18. — Reuters

18th Oct, 2:14 PM

READ: Pandemic biggest hurdle for New Zealand's Ardern after 'tectonic' election

Jacinda Ardern’s landslide election win gives her a mandate for the transformational change she has been promising New Zealand for three years, but the Covid-19 pandemic may limit what she can actually do.

The prime minister’s signature achievement in all but eliminating the new coronavirus from the Pacific island nation through strict lockdowns propelled her to victory on Saturday. But this approach may also hinder the recovery New Zealanders are hoping for and the progressive policies Ardern champions.

New Zealand had been free of community cases for more than 100 days until new infections emerged in Auckland in August.

Up early on Sunday, hours after delivering the biggest win in half a century for her centre-left Labour Party, Ardern was dealing with the pandemic again as a new infection sprang up, ending a two-week coronavirus-free run.

Read the full analysis by Reuters here.

18th Oct, 1:04 PM

Pakistan records 429 recoveries from coronavirus

Another 429 people have recovered from the coronavirus in Pakistan, taking the country's total recoveries to 307,069.

According to the government's Covid-19 portal, 534 virus patients are in critical condition.