COVID-19: Germany faces record cases, Austrian lockdowns begin Monday

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Nov. 21 (UPI) — Germany is facing a “national emergency” with record coronavirus infections while neighbor Austria will become the first western European nation on Monday to enter a nationwide lockdown also because of a surge in cases and deaths.

The two nations are contributing to Europe’s 15% weekly surge in cases and 4% deaths — the only continent to rise in both categories. Europe’s death toll stands at 1,379,768, the most of the continents, and cases were 70,412,910, second behind Asia, so far Sunday, according to tracking by Worldometers.info.

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Other European nations experiencing surges include Russia, which has been breaking its daily deaths records, as well as other nations in the eastern region: Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Czech Republic.

The world’s infections went up 8% for a 257,708,422 total and deaths went down 0.5% for a toll of 5,167,033. The United States leads in deaths at 793,549 and cases at 48,559,955.

Germany reported 331,944 cases in the past week, which is second to the United States’ 601,415, for a 33% gain. Deaths rose 22% with 1,394 added, ninth in the world.

Austria’s cases were up 30% to 94,471 and deaths increased 47% with 304.

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Germany shattered its record for most cases, 64,164 on Thursday, which was the second most in the world behind the United States with the previous mark 50,377 one week earlier. Until Nov. 4, the record was 32,546 on April 14. So far Sunday, Germany reported 13,077 for a total of 5,354,409, which is ninth in the world. Saturday’s rise was 49,245.

Deaths are nowhere near the record of 1,249 on Dec. 29. On Tuesday there were 299, the most since May 26 with 248 Wednesday. Germany added 15 deaths for 99,568 in 14th place.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn noted the “national emergency” may lead to new lockdowns for everyone.

“We are in a position where nothing should be ruled out,” the minister, Jens Spahn, told a news conference Friday.

Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, and the lower house passed new restrictions. They are based on the hospitalization rate. Access to restaurants and hotels will only be allowed to those who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.

The seven-day incidence rate is above 500 new infections per 100,000 people with many hospitals are at breaking point.

”The current pandemic situation in Germany is dramatic, I can’t say it any other way,” outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel told mayors from across Germany on Wednesday.

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Germany is encountering vaccine hesitancy but its 70.5% percent of the population with at least one dose is more than the United States at 69.2%.

But the surge is mainly affecting the southern and eastern parts of the nation, with a lower vaccination rate.

Germany’s rate is lower than other European cities. Britain has vaccinated 76.0% of its population with at least one dose.

In the European Union, the one-shot vaccination rate is 70.5%, including 82.2% in Spain, 77.8% in France, 77.8% in Italy.

Russia is lagging the world in vaccination with 43.1% of its population with at least one dose of a domestic-produced vaccine, including Sputnik 5.

Two other Eastern European nations have low vaccination rates: Ukraine at 30.6% and Romania at 38.7%. Poland’s rate is 54.2% and Czech Republic’s is 61%.

Worldwide, vaccination doses grew by 140 million in one week to 7.61 billion with the world’s population of 7.9 billion, according to tracking by Bloomberg. Mainland China is at 87.5%.

China, which has the world’s largest population at 1.5 billion, has administered the most doses at 2.4 billion, ahead of India at 1.2 billion and the United States at 450 million.

Austria had a 70.1% rate but starting Monday will close non-essential retail, restaurants and recreation service for everyone in the country for 20 days at which point they will remain closed for the unvaccinated.

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“There are too many among us who haven’t shown solidarity,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said Friday in Tyrol after meeting with provincial governors. “Raising the vaccination rate is the only way to break this vicious circle.”

Compulsory vaccination will be required under Austrian administrative rules rather than criminal law, according to Schallenberg.

On Saturday, people marched through the capital Vienna to protest government restrictions.

On Sunday, Russia reported 1,252 deaths, which was two behind the record one day earlier, for a total of 264,095 in fifth place. And the nation added 36,970 cases for 9,331,158, also in fifth place, including a record 41,335 on Nov. 6. Russia deaths increased 2% for a total of 8,676, which is the most in the world, and a 5% drop in cases to 262,337, which is fourth behind the United States, Germany and Britain.

Russia has exceeded 1,000 deaths every day since Oct. 16. Also, Russia hasn’t been below 700 since July. Last year, deaths reached 635 on Dec. 24.

On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there is “no end in sight” to the pandemic in the nation.

The Far East Russian region has become the first to require vaccine passports for internal flights.

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Other European nations also had big gains.

Poland’s deaths increased 80% with 41 reported Sunday for a total of 80,822 in 18th. Cases were up 39% with 18,883 added Sunday for 3,345,388, also in 17th.

And Czech Republic’s deaths rose 40% rise with 35 reported Sunday for 32,079 in 25th. And cases were up 41% increase with 14,402 most recently, one day after record 22,945, and 1,995,291 total in 25th.

Two Eastern European nations’ deaths declined. Ukraine added 377 deaths for a total of 76,705 in 17th place with a 2% weekly drop though the national set a record with 838 Tuesday. Romania rose 105 Sunday for a total of 54,959 in 20th but a 24% seven-day decline.

Britain’s situation is stabilizing after spiking a few weeks ago. Deaths decreased 6% at 1,031, with cases up 11% to 252,884.

Overall, Britain is eighth in the world with 143,927, including 61 Sunday. And cases are fourth at 9,845,492, with 40,004 most recently.

Britain is unlikely to get into another lockdown because the situation is “fairly stable,” according to Dr. John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

“I don’t think things will happen quite in the same way as they have done there,” he told Sky News but said the surge in Europe should serve as a “warning” to get booster shots.

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In deaths, Italy is ninth with 132,775, including 46 Sunday. In the top 20: France is 12th with 118,446, an increase of 23; Spain 16th with 87,810 and no data on weekends.

Ten days ago, the Netherlands became the first western European country to impose a partial lockdown since the summer. The three-week restrictions include the closure of bars, restaurants and essential shops at 8p.m., and non-essential services to close at 6 p.m.

In the past week, Netherlands’ cases rose 48%, including 20,643 on Sunday, three days after a record 23,591, in 21st at 2,442,286, and deaths went up 30% with 11 on Sunday for a total of 18,966 in 39th. The Netherlands has vaccinated 76.4% of its population.

In Asia over the past week, deaths increased 0.5% with a current 1,200,952 and cases were down 6% with 81,304,454, the most of the continents.

India’s deaths decreased 22% to 2,132 three weeks after a surge of 83%. Cases were down 11%.

On Sunday, India reported 313 deaths for a total of 465,662, third in the world. Cases were 10,488, after 8,864 Tuesday, the least since Feb. 3 when it was 2,992 for a total of 34,510,413, in second worldwide.

India holds world daily records: 6,148 deaths in June and 414,188 cases in May.

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The nation’s cases have been under 20,000 for 44 days in a row and below 50,000 for 147 consecutive days.

India, which is the prime manufacturer of vaccines for the world, has a one-shot rate for the entire population of 55.7% in a ramped-up effort.

India, with the second-largest population in the world at 1.4 billion, is lagging behind other big nations.

India now ranks 16th in doses per 100 people and 19th in terms of percentage of the population fully vaccinated among the 29 most populous nations.

India has reopened its borders to 99 reciprocating nations, ending a 20-month shutdown.

The government requires tourists to monitor their health for 14 days after arrival.

The outright ban on commercial international flights last through Nov. 30.

Indonesia ranks seventh in the world at 143,739 with an increase of 11 Sunday, way down from a record 2,069 on July 27. The Asian nation’s cases are 14th at 4,253,412, including 314 Sunday, also a fraction of the record 54,000 in July. Indonesia has vaccinated 50.0% of its population with at least one dose.

Iran is 10th at 128,956 deaths, including 125 Sunday. Iran’s one-shot vaccination rate is 66.8%, up from 43.6% six weeks ago.

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Turkey is sixth in the world for cases at 8,571,554, including 21,177 reported Saturday and 18th in deaths at 75,042, including 195 most recently. Turkey has a 67.4% vaccination rate.

Japan reported no deaths again Sunday after none Friday and two weeks ago for the first time in 15 months, with a total of 18,359.

And there were 134 cases Sunday compared with the record of 25,492 on Aug. 21 after the Summer Olympics ended on Aug. 8.

Japan, which ended its state of emergency on Oct. 1, has a relatively low 13,707 infections per million and 146 deaths per million. Worldwide, it’s 33,024 cases per million and 662.4 per million deaths. The United States’ figures are 2,378 fatalities per million and 145,518 infections per million.

Japan, which didn’t administer its first vaccine doses until February, has vaccinated 78.8% of the 129.4 million population. Only France and Canada have slightly higher percentages among the Group of Seven nations at 79.7%.

The pandemic began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation’s death toll has stood at 4,636 for several months and 81st behind Zimbabwe at 4,699. China added 23 cases Sunday.

In early December, quarantine travel will be allowed from Hong Kong, which has a 62.5% vaccination rate.

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South Korea’s cases rose 3,212 Sunday after a record 3,290 on Thursday. The nation has 3,103 deaths, including 20 on Sunday.

South Korea’s vaccination rate is 81.1%, after getting off to a late start like Japan.

Israel has a death toll of 8,154 with none reported Sunday, and 103 cases most recently with the record 20,523 on Sept. 1. Israel has among the world’s worst infection rates: 143,712 per million.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett plans to review plans for national celebrations of the Hanukkah holiday in early December. The Green Pass allows individuals to enter venues.

The nation’s one-shot vaccination rate is 69.2%. Last Sunday, Israel approved vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old.

Israel and Turkey are among 18 non-European Union nations that participate in the 27-nation EU vaccine certificate program, meaning people who have been fully vaccinated can visit other member countries, including England, without needing to quarantine. Each nation can implement restrictions.

The United States has begun allowing entry to fully vaccinated foreign travelers from 33 nations, including by air and land, if they’d spent any of the previous 14 days in several countries. They also must have a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days before departure. Travel for U.S. residents was allowed earlier.

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Canada earlier ended its advisory against non-essential travel for vaccinated citizens. Canada reopened its border to vaccinated Americans in August.

In North America, the deaths are 1,181,982 with a 4% weekly increase, and cases are 58,176,233, decreasing 7%.

The United States’ deaths dropped 4% and cases increased 4%. On Saturday, the United States reported 404 deaths and 36,633 cases though most states don’t report data on weekends.

Mexico is fourth in the world in deaths at 292,145 with a 13% weekly decrease and 227 recorded Saturday. The nation’s cases also dropped 13% with 3,306 most recently for 15th at 3,862,137.

Canada ranks 27th worldwide in deaths with 29,337, including 10 Saturday, and 26th in cases with 1,748,391, including 1,871 most recently. Canada’s deaths record is 257 on Dec. 29 and the cases mark is 11,383 on Jan. 3.

Canada’s cases dropped 7% and deaths went down 8%.

Canada has around one-third the rates per million than the United States with deaths 772 and cases 46,185.

Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 79.7% with children 5-11 now able to get the Pfizer vaccine. The United States is at 69.2% for one shot. Mexico’s percentage is 59.2%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people.

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Only one of Mexico’s 32 states, Baja California, is not listed as green on the traffic light risk system. The state remains high-risk orange.

In South America, cases decreased 14% in one week with a total of 38,808,907 and deaths were down 17% to 1,178,168.

Brazil’s deaths decreased 25% to 612,625, which is second in the world, and 14 % in cases to 22,012,150, which ranks third. Brazil reported 214 deaths and 8,833 cases Saturday. On Tuesday, Brazil reported 4,918 cases, the fewest since Oct. 11 one year ago when it was 3,157.

Also in the top 10 for deaths, Peru is sixth at 200,833. Colombia is 11th at 128,054, Argentina is 13th with 116,374 deaths and Chile 22nd with 38,117.

On Sunday, Chile reported 23 more deaths. Saturday: Peru 32, Colombia 41 and Argentina 14. These numbers are way down from records: Peru with 1,154, Colombia with 754, Argentina with 791, Chile with 316.

In Brazil, deaths from COVID-19 ceased to be the leading cause of disease-related deaths. Sepsis was the leading cause of death in the second half of October, according to data from civil registry offices.

Chile has the highest vaccination rate on the continent at 87.7% with Brazil at 75.2%, Argentina 80.2%, Colombia at 67.6% and Peru 64.4%.

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Latin America is at 66% with at least one shot, according to New York Times tracking. The United States and Canada are at 70% with Asia-Pacific 64%, Europe at 62%, Middle East 45% and Africa 9.7%.

Africa has 16.72% of the world’s population but its share of vaccinations is 2.9% at 222.89 million doses, according to Our World in Data.

Specifically, South Africa has vaccinated just 28.2% of its population with at least one shot.

In the continent, deaths dropped 18% for the week with a total of 222,066 and cases also were down 9% at 8,657,769.

South Africa is 15th in the world with 89,572 deaths, including seven Saturday. And cases rose 902 most recently.

South Africa will likely encounter a fourth wave of infections but it won’t be as severe as earlier surges, according to new modeling for the government shows.

“It’s going to be a bumpy ride,” Harry Moultrie, a senior epidemiologist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, which coordinated the modeling, said in a report by Bloomberg. “We don’t know where this virus is going to take us. We will still be seeing hospital admissions and deaths related to Covid for years to come.”

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Tunisia has the second-most deaths with 25,340 ahead of Egypt with 19,872.

Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 4,082 deaths with a decrease of 14% in seven days and cases are 347,428 with a drop of 10%.

New Zealand’s deaths rose by six in one week to 39 with none Sunday. Australia’s toll increased to 1,944, with six reported Sunday and 61 in a week.

New Zealand added 149 cases Sunday after a record 222 Tuesday. Australia was up 1,466 with a record 2,688 reached Oct. 14.

Australia has a vaccination rate of 77.5% with New Zealand at 77.9% among the entire population.

New Zealand has been in a nationwide lockdown since August after a single case, the country’s first in six months. Restrictions are set to end once 90% of those 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, which is projected for later this month.

In Australia, Victoria and New South Wales are no longer in lockdowns after months-long ones.

Tennis players in the Australian Open in January will be required to be fully vaccinated.

Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic has not said whether he is vaccinated and has expressed a hesitation concerning vaccine mandates.

Fiji, with a 70.7% vaccinated rate, has 695 deaths, with 16 in one week. On May 3, there were four fatalities. Cases have climbed from 121 on May 3 to 52,453. Fiji has 903,457 residents.

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Guam, a territory of the United States with fewer than 200,000 residents, has 262 deaths, 4 in a week, and 19,065 cases, including 4 daily most recently. Its vaccination rate is 79% for the entire population, including 99.9% of those eligible, which is 12 and older, and also 99.9% 18 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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