Neighbors Germany, Poland, Czech Republic fuel Europe COVID-19 surge

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Nov. 14 (UPI) — Three neighboring European nations — Germany, Poland and Czech Republic — are leading a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths on the continent while Russia has been breaking the daily fatality record.

Europe posted a weekly 7% increase in deaths and 13% rise in cases, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. Europe’s death toll stands at 1,352,574, the most of the continents, and cases were 68,164,203, second behind Asia.

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“The message has always been: do it all,” Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, said one week ago. “Vaccines are doing what was promised: preventing severe forms of the disease, and especially mortality. But they are our most powerful asset only if used alongside preventive measures.”

The world overall is in better shape as cases went up 6% for a 253,947,853 total so far Sunday and deaths were only 0.9% with the toll of 5,114,415. The U.S. leads in deaths at 783,481 and cases at 47,896,749.

On Sunday, Russia reported 1,219 deaths, which was 22 behind the record one day earlier, for a total of 255,386 in fifth place. And the nation added 38,823 cases for 9,070,674, also in fifth place, including a record 41,335 on Nov. 6. Russia deaths increased 3% for a total of 8,532, which is the most in the world, and a 3% drop in cases to 275,921, which is second behind the United States.

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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.

The weekly increase are more pronounced in Germany, Poland and Czech Republic.

In Germany, deaths rose 45% to 1,140 with 12 reported Sunday ad 109 Saturday for a total of 98,167 in 14th in the world. And cases went up 50% at 249,520 which is fourth, behind Britain. The nation added 9,839 cases and 35,206,276 for a total of 5,016,317 in 12th.

Poland’s deaths increased 46% to 1,088 with 46 reported Sunday for a total of 78,867 in 17th. Cases were up 34% for a total of 98,340, and 14,448 added Sunday for 3,204,515 in 17th.

And Czech Republic gained 357 deaths in the past week for a 34% rise with 50 reported Sunday for 31,481 in 25th. And cases were 70,689 for a 35% increase with 9,199 most recently and 1,890,405 total in 25th.

Germany set the record for most cases on Thursday with 50,377. Cases had not surpassed 33,000 until the past week. The previous high was 32,546 on April 14. The biggest increase for death: 244 on Wednesday, the most since 319 on May 26.

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On Thursday, which was Veterans Day in the United States, Germany had the most cases in the world.

Starting Monday, Germany’s capital Berlin will ban unvaccinated people from restaurants, bars, cinemas and other entertainment venues.

Germany is encountering vaccine hesitancy but its 70.1% percent of the population with at least one dose is more than the United States at 68.1%.

“We have two viruses in the country,” Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soder told a German talk show last week. “We have coronavirus and we have this poison [of vaccine skepticism], which is being spread on a massive scale by the Querdenker and by parties like the [far-right] Alternative for Germany.”

Worldwide, vaccination doses grew by 220 million in one week to 7.47 billion with the world’s population of 7.9 billion, according to tracking by Bloomberg. Mainland China is at 82.5%.

China has administered the most doses at 2.4 billion, ahead of India at 1.1 billion and the United States at 439 million.

Russia is lagging the world in vaccination with 41% 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 30.2% and Romania at 37.9%. Poland’s rate is 56.5% and Czech Republic 60.2%.

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Russia will introduce health passes for entry into public places, restaurants and intercity trains and planes.

Elsewhere in Europe, Britain’s situation is stabilizing after spiking a few weeks ago. Deaths decreased 8% at 1,092, with cases up 0.7% to 253,703.

Overall, Britain is eighth in the world with 142,898, including 63 Sunday. And cases are fourth at 9,561,099, with 36,517 most recently.

On Saturday, Dr. Neil Ferguson, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Emergencies, said he doesn’t expect a lockdown on Christmas similar to last year.

“I think it is unlikely we will get anything close to what we had last year, that catastrophic winter wave,” Ferguson told BBC Radio 4’s “Today Program.”

On July 19’s “freedom day,” virtually all of England’s restrictions were lifted, including required mask-wearing. Other European nations have instituted passes that require proof of vaccination or a negative test to visit bars and restaurants or work in several fields, including healthcare.

Britain has vaccinated 75.6% of its population with at least one dose. Boosters are now allowed five months after the second dose.

In the European Union, the one-shot vaccination rate is 70.3%, including 82.1% in Spain, 77.7% in France, 77.6% in Italy.

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In deaths, Italy is ninth with 132,775, including 36 Sunday. In the top 20: France is 12th with 118,154, an increase of 17; Spain 16th with 87,673 and no data on weekends.

Ukraine added 403 deaths for a total of 76,705 in 18th place with a 10% weekly gain. Romania rose 233 Sunday for a total of 153,069 in 20th but a 26% seven-day decline.

Austria’s deaths are up 45% weekly for a total of 11,706 in 38th and cases rose 45%.

Starting Monday, Austria will implement lockdowns for all those aged 12 and older who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from Monday, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced Sunday.

Unvaccinated Austrians face a stay-at-home order once 30% of intensive-care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Unvaccinated people have been excluded from entertainment venues, restaurants, hairdressers and other public places.

Austria’s vaccine rate for the entire population is 68.9%.

On Saturday, 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 42%, including 12,024 on Sunday one day after a record 16,204, and deaths went up 42% with six Sunday for a total of 18,734 in 21st. Netherlands has vaccinated 76.1% of its population.

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Croatia’s deaths rose 55% in one week for a total of 9,811 in 58th and cases were up 24%. Croatia’s vaccination rate is 49.8%.

In Asia over the past week, deaths decreased 2% with a current 1,191,099 and cases were down 5% with 80,682,536, the most of the continents.

India’s deaths rose 7% to 2,568 two weeks after a surge of 83%. Cases were up 0.1%.

On Sunday, India reported 285 deaths for a total of 463,530, third in the world. Cases were 11,271, one week after 10,853, the lowest in nine months, for a total of 34,437,307 in second worldwide.

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

The nation’s cases have been under 20,000 for 37 days in a row and below 50,000 for 140 consecutive days.

India, which is the prime manufacturer of vaccines for the world, has a one-shot rate for the entire population of 54.8% in a ramped-up effort.

But more than 120 million people are due for their second dose, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said Friday. The nation is the second largest in the world at 1.4 billion people behind China’s 1.5 billion.

“Let us reach each corner and household and motivate people to take both the doses,” Mandaviya said in urging door-to-door vaccine administration. “Let us start COVID vaccination centers at bus stations, railway stations etc., especially in large metros.”

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A ban on international commercial passenger flights to and from India goes through Nov. 30.

Indonesia ranks seventh in the world at 143,659 with an increase of 15, way down from a record 2,069 on July 27. The Asian nation’s cases are 14th at 4,250,855, including 339 Sunday, also a fraction of the record 54,000 in July. Indonesia has vaccinated 48.4% of its population with at least one dose.

In the past week, Iran moved past Colombia into 10th at 128,167, including 125 Sunday. Iran’s one-shot vaccination rate is 66.5%, up from 43.6% five weeks ago.

Turkey is sixth in the world for cases at 8,408,166, including 21,624 reported Sunday and 18th in deaths at 73,531, including 189 most recently. Turkey has a 67.1% vaccination rate.

Japan reported two deaths Sunday, seven days after none for the first time in 15 months, with the total 18,339.

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 13,697 infections per million and 145 deaths per million. Worldwide, it’s 32,543 cases per million and 655.6 per million deaths. The United States’ figures are 2,348 fatalities per million and 143,538 infections per million.

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Japan, which didn’t administer its first vaccine doses until February, has vaccinated 78.5% of the 129.4 million population.

In preparation for a potential sixth wave of the virus, the Japanese government decided Friday to secure COVID-19 oral medication for 1.6 million, including in home. Merck & Co. produced the medicine and it is seeking approval in the United States.

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 4,685. China added 75 cases Sunday.

After an outbreak, at least 10,000 students in a city in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning have been quarantined.

South Korea’s cases rose 2,323 Sunday after a record 3,273 on Sept. 25. The nation has 3,083 deaths, including 32 more Sunday.

The nation has had a record high COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units. A total of 475 coronavirus patients were undergoing intensive care treatment as of Thursday night.

South Korea’s vaccination rate is 81%, after getting off to a late start like Japan.

Israel has a death toll of 8,140 with none reported Sunday, and 259 cases most recently with the record 20,523 Sept. 1. Israel has among the world’s worst infection rates: 143,367 per million.

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The nation’s one-shot vaccination rate is 69.1%. And booster shots are required for travelers and entry to public spaces for those 12 and older. On Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the Health Ministry was expected to approve the 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.

On Monday, the United States began 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 prior to departure. Travel for U.S. residents was allowed earlier.

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 1,169,987 with an 18% weekly drop, and cases are 57,451,113, decreasing 8%.

The United States’ deaths increased 0.9% and cases dropped 11%. On Saturday, the United States reported 506 deaths and 41,107 cases though most states don’t report data on weekends.

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Mexico is fourth in the world in deaths at 291,189 with no weekly increase and 217 recorded Saturday. The nation’s cases rose 1% with 3,130 most recently for 15th at 3,844,791.

Canada ranks 27th worldwide in deaths with 29,324, including 15 on Saturday, and 26th in cases with 1,730,509, including 1,567 most recently. Canada’s deaths record is 257 on Dec. 29 and the cases mark is 11,383 on Jan. 3.

Canada’s cases rose 3% and deaths went up 2%.

“Currently, severe illness trends are stable, but we need to keep infection rates down to prevent increases,” Dr. Theresa Tam, who is Canada’s chief public health officer, said at a briefing last week.

Canada has around one-third the rates per million than the United States with deaths 7,683 and cases 45,738.

Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 79.2%. The United States is at 68.1% for one shot. Mexico’s percentage is 59%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people.

All but three of Mexico’s 32 states are listed as green on the traffic light risk system. Aguascalientes and Guanajuato are operating under yellow and Baja California is under high-risk orange.

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In South America, cases increased 15% with a total of 38,679,882 and deaths were up 9% to 1,175,692. South American and Europe are the only continents to increase in both categories.

Brazil’s deaths increased 13% to 611,255, which is second in the world, and 11% in cases to 21,953,838, which ranks third. Brazil reported 320 deaths and 12,888 cases Saturday.

Also in the top 10 for deaths, Peru is sixth at 200,605. Colombia is 11th at 127,766, Argentina is 13th with 116,228 deaths and Chile 22nd with 37,951.

On Sunday, Chile reported 24 more deaths. On Saturday: Peru 32, Colombia 45 and Argentina 6. These numbers are way down from records: Peru with 1,154, Colombia with 754, Argentina with 791, Chile with 316.

Chile has the highest vaccination rate on the continent at 87.3% with Brazil at 77%, Argentina 79.3%, Colombia at 64.3% and Peru 62.5%.

Latin America is at 66% with at least one shot, according to New York Times tracking. The United States and Canada are at 69% with Europe at 61%, Asia-Pacific 61%, Middle East 44% and Africa 9.2%.

Africa has 16.72% of the world’s population but its share of vaccinations is 2.8% at 209.79 million doses, according to Our World in Data.

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Specifically, South Africa has vaccinated just 26.8% of its population with at least one shot.

WHO is warning diabetics are especially vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, including in Africa. World Diabetes Day is Sunday

“This shows that fighting the diabetes epidemic in Africa is in many ways as critical as the battle against the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Benido Impouma, director of the communicable and noncommunicable diseases cluster at the WHO regional office for Africa, said. “COVID-19 will eventually subside, but Africa is projected, in the coming years, to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally.”

In the U.N. health agency’s survey in 13 African countries, there was more than 10% fatality rate among cases for people with diabetes, compared to 2.5% for COVID-19 patients.

In the continent, deaths dropped 2% for the week with a total of 221,108 and cases also were down 21% at 8,633,633.

South Africa is 15th in the world with 89,476 deaths, including seven Saturday. And cases rose 306 most recently.

Tunisia has the second-most deaths with 25,308 ahead of Egypt with 19,435.

Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 3,940 deaths with a decrease of 17% in seven days and cases are 335,765 with a drop of 9%.

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New Zealand’s deaths rose by two in one week to 33 with none Sunday. Australia’s toll increased to 1,882, with five reported Sunday and 72 in a week.

New Zealand added a record 210 cases Sunday. Australia was up 1,113 with a record 2,688 reached Oct. 14.

Australia has a vaccination rate of 76.5% with New Zealand at 76.9% among the entire population.

Children from 5-11 won’t receive their first COVID-19 vaccination shot until early next year, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said Sunday.

Dr. Chris Perry, Australia’s health chief, warned what life will be like not being vaccinated.

“Oh they’re crazy not to get vaccinated. Life will be miserable without being vaccinated,” Perry said on Channel 9 television network in Australia. “You won’t be able to hide. You won’t be to get a doctor to sign off that you got an exclusion because there’s quite set rules on that and doctors will be audited to see every one of their exclusions will be looked at very carefully. They’ll get fined, they could get struck off. The patients who tell lies can be charged with fraud. There’s a whole pile of issues, a whole pile of problems if you try and get around the system.”

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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.

Starting last Monday, Australian citizens and permanent residents could leave the country without needing an exemption. Foreign visitors were allowed one week earlier.

Fiji, with a 70.4% vaccinated rate, has 679 deaths, five in one week. On May 3, there were four fatalities. Cases have climbed from 121 on May 3 to 52,397. Fiji has 903,457 residents.

Guam, a territory of the United States with fewer than 200,000 residents, has 258 deaths, 10 in a week, and 18,891 cases, including 28 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.