'Not a good sign': Covid cases spike to new high in hard-hit country

Associated Press
·3-min read

A senior health official has expressed fears for the future after Italy recorded a new daily high of 34,505 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The health ministry also reported 428 deaths on Thursday, the highest since May.

Dr Giovanni Rezza, of Italy’s Superior Institute of Health, called it “not a good sign.”

Italy announced on Wednesday four “red zone” regional lockdowns for two weeks to curb the coronavirus resurgence.

The aim is to lessen pressure on hospitals and provide more effective contact tracing.

People leave a shopping centre in Italy. Source: EPA
Shoppers leave a store in Italy as coronavirus cases continue to spike in the hard-hit nation. Source: EPA

Italy, the former European epicentre for the coronavirus, has watched infections soar beyond 20,000 cases and 300 deaths a day for several weeks.

Italy has more than 790,000 confirmed cases and more than 39,000 deaths, the sixth highest worldwide.

UN votes to hold coronavirus summit

The United Nations has voted to hold a summit on the COVID-19 pandemic on December 3 to 4 to respond to the spread of the coronavirus around the globe and its “unprecedented” effects on societies, economies, jobs, global trade and travel.

Women sit at a cafe table wearing masks in Italy. Source: AP
Italy has introduced new coronavirus restrictions. Source: AP

The General Assembly voted 150-0 on Thursday, with the United States, Israel and Armenia abstaining, on a resolution authorising the meeting.

It will include pre-recorded speeches by world leaders and a presentation and discussion led by World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Assembly President Volkan Bozkir called the high-level special session “a historic moment and a test for multilateralism” that “will be defined by our collective action on one of the most critical issues of our time.”

Infections rise in Spain and Switzerland

Spain reported nearly 22,000 new coronavirus infections and 368 deaths on Thursday.

The Health Ministry says coronavirus patients occupy 16 per cent of hospital beds, including 29 per cent of ICU beds.

Spain has a 14-day average of 527 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, one of the highest in Europe.

The ministry reports a total of nearly 1.3 million confirmed cases and almost 38,500 deaths.

Meanwhile, Switzerland has surpassed 10,000 new coronavirus cases in the last day, putting the total to more than 200,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Swiss health system officials have expressed concerns about hospitals filling up, saying the impact of higher case counts generally takes about 10 days to translate into higher hospitalisations.

The Federal Office of Public Health announced 62 more deaths, bringing the confirmed total to 2,337.

Hospitals almost at capacity as death rate spikes in France

In Paris, 84 people with the coronavirus died Wednesday in hospitals, which are at 92 per cent capacity.

There are 1,050 Covid-19 patients in intensive care and another 600 patients in ICU with other ailments, Aurelien Rousseau, head of the Paris region health service, told public broadcaster France-Info on Thursday.

France is in a month-long partial lockdown to lessen rising coronavirus hospitalisations and deaths.

Restaurants and non-essential stores are closed, but schools remain open.

The infection rate per 100,000 people remains extremely high at around 480.

With more than 27,000 people hospitalised across France, the Covid-19 patients occupy more than 80 per cent of the nation’s ICU beds, according to the public health agency. That’s the highest level since April.

Overall, France has 1.5 million confirmed cases and 38,674 deaths, the seventh-highest toll worldwide.

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