Germany’s total coronavirus pandemic death toll crossed the 50,000-mark on Friday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s public health agency for disease control and prevention.
The country reached the grim milestone when health authorities recorded 859 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours.
In Germany, authorities count all deaths of people who died directly from COVID-19 as coronavirus deaths.
Additionally, anyone recorded as infected with COVID-19 alongside pre-existing illnesses, but whose deaths cannot be conclusively attributed to their condition, is also counted as a COVID-19 death.
The country has been under lockdown since mid-December 2020. Sweeping restrictions that have seen most areas of public life shuttered are set to remain in place until February 14.
It appears to be having an effect. Germany has recorded a consistent drop in cases, according to its 7-day cases incidence metric.
Authorities hope to bring the seven-day incidence rate back down to below 50, to allow the resumption of contact tracing.
In China, Beijing is launching mass COVID-19 testing in some areas, while Shanghai has imposed lockdowns on two well-known hospitals in the city. China is currently fighting against an upsurge in cases that have emerged largely in the country’s north.
South Korea has reported its smallest daily increase in coronavirus infections in two months. Infections in the country totaled just 346 bringing the total caseload up to over 74,000.
Officials say they think the country is coming out of a second infection wave.
Japan says there is “no truth”to claims published in newspaper that the Tokyo Olympics would be canceled this year amid the pandemic. The report in the Times said the government had privately concluded the games would not go ahead.
The 2020 Summer Olympics is scheduled to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.
Mexico has posted new daily highs for pandemic cases and deaths. There were 22,339 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,803 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Mexico City is the epicenter of the pandemic in the country. Its hospitals are at 89% capacity.
Brazil is awaiting 2 million AstraZeneca and University of Oxford vaccine doses from India.
Brazilian public health experts are concerned even with the shipment there will not be sufficient doses. The Brazilian city of Manaus has temporarily halted its vaccine program due to a shortfall.
Denmark is halting all arriving flights from Dubai for five days due to potential problems with fake coronavirus tests in Dubai, the country’s Transport Ministry said.
Universities, schools and daycare centers in Portugal could shut from early on Friday, local press reported.
Calls are also being made to postpone the presidential elections that are currently set for Sunday.
Portugal recorded what it called “particularly dramatic” figures this week. Authorities think this is driven in part by the arrival of the highly contagious COVID-19 British variant.
kmm/sms (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)
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