South Africa

News24.com | LIVE | Tranche of leaked documents reveal China severely underreported Covid-19 cases

Leaked documents reveal China severely underreported coronavirus cases as the pandemic spread

A tranche of leaked documents has revealed that China's government significantly underreported the number of coronavirus cases in the early stages of the pandemic.

An extensive set of health data from Chinese health authorities leaked to CNN shows that health officials in the Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have originated, failed to report thousands of new daily cases in the early stages of the pandemic.

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Covid-19: Pfizer, BioNTech have asked EU to approve vaccine — but first shots might not come until 2021

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said Tuesday they have asked the European Union to approve their Covid-19 vaccine, but that distribution is unlikely to start until January.

After submitting an application on Monday to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the drugmakers said the EU regulator accepted the application on Tuesday, per the Wall Street Journal.

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Covid-19 wrap: Over 63.06m global cases, China gives Kim Jong Un vaccine and Trump adviser quits

Dr Scott Atlas has resigned as special adviser to President Donald Trump, a White House official said on Monday, after a controversial four months during which he clashed repeatedly with other members of the coronavirus task force.

Voters' unhappiness with Trump's response to the global pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands helped propel his challenger, Democrat Joe Biden, to victory in the 3 November election.

Latest Covid-19 news from around the world

New booze, curfew rules for Covid hot spots: Govt to take decision today

South Africa is experiencing a resurgence of coronavirus infections, leading government to discuss district-based restrictions which could impact regions regarded as Covid-19 hot spots. With the busy festive period looming, concerns around increased activity in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape have emboldened calls for local lockdowns.

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Lewis Hamilton to miss Sakhir Grand Prix following positive Covid-19 test

A Mercedes statement said: "Lewis is now isolating in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.

"Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery."

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Covid-19: NCCC meets to decide on alcohol, curfews and hot spot restrictions

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will meet virtually on Tuesday to consider restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol in areas that are deemed hot spots across the country, News24 has confirmed. 

Two reliable sources, close to the discussions, confirmed bars and taverns were first in the firing line, but the meeting was expected to debate whether it would first impose area-specific restrictions instead of countrywide measures. 

pstrongCovid-19: NCCC meets to decide on alcohol, curfews and hot spot restrictions/strong/ppThe National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will meet virtually on Tuesday to consider restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol in areas that are deemed hot spots across the country, News24 has confirmed. /ppTwo reliable sources, close to the discussions, confirmed bars and taverns were first in the firing line, but the meeting was expected to debate whether it would first impose area-specific restrictions instead of countrywide measures. /p
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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 62.84 million, death toll at 1 464 200  

More than 62.84 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1 464 200 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

 - REUTERS

Latest Covid-19 numbers

The cumulative number of cases is now at 790 004, after 2 302 new cases were confirmed, while the death toll has risen to 21 535, after 58 more deaths.

Crackdown on hotspots – what’s being done to avoid local lockdowns

South Africa is recording an increase in Covid-19 infections, signalling the start of the virus’ dreaded second wave. Two provinces, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, account for almost 80% of new registered cases, with residents blamed for failing to comply with current safety regulations.

In an attempt to avoid debilitating localised lockdowns, both provincial and municipal structures have instituted firm coronavirus crackdowns.

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Covid-19: Winde investigating 'mini-lockdowns' for Western Cape, but it's the 'last thing we want'

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is investigating whether the "blunt instrument" of mini-lockdowns in the province might be needed to stop the rising numbers of new Covid-19 cases.

He warned that growth week-on-week of new Covid-19 cases was too high, and so the province was investigating options to bring it under control.

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No, booze sales are not being banned from 15 December – but you may want to stock up

There has been no announcement on an alcohol sales ban in South Africa, despite what you may have seen. But province-level discussions are real, and so are concerns about the ability of delivery services to keep up if new in-person retail restrictions are imposed.

No, booze sales are not being banned from 15 December

Covid-19 wrap: Global cases cross 62.47m, fourth wave hits Hong Kong and Sri Lankan prisoners riot

- Hong Kong reimposes strict social distancing as fourth wave strikes

- Covid-19 surge triggers deadly prison riot in Sri Lanka

- New York City to reopen primary schools despite virus surge

Latest Covid-19 news from around the world

Covid-19: Experts fear Eastern Cape surge could lead to second wave in SA in new year - report

South Africa could face a second wave of Covid-19 cases if outbreaks in the Eastern Cape are not contained, experts have warned.

Should the outbreaks continue unabated, the country could face a second wave early in the new year, Sunday media reports say.

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Covid-19: 7 132 KZN public healthcare workers infected since the start of the pandemic

A total of 7 132 public healthcare workers in KwaZulu-Natal have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, while 88 have succumbed to the virus.

The majority of the infected healthcare workers were nurses.

pstrongCovid-19: 7 132 KZN public healthcare workers infected since the start of the pandemic/strong/ppA total of 7 132 public healthcare workers in KwaZulu-Natal have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, while 88 have succumbed to the virus. /ppThe majority of the infected healthcare workers were nurses./p
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Cyril Rampahosa | We can learn from Covid-19 pandemic to help strengthen fight against HIV/Aids

Dear Fellow South African,

As we continue our efforts to manage the devastating coronavirus pandemic, we cannot ignore the other public health challenges that our country faces.

For more than three decades, our country has been engaged in an ongoing struggle against HIV and Aids, which has cost many lives and caused great hardship and suffering.

pstrongCyril Rampahosa | We can learn from Covid-19 pandemic to help strengthen fight against HIV/Aids/strong/ppDear Fellow South African,/ppAs we continue our efforts to manage the devastating coronavirus pandemic, we cannot ignore the other public health challenges that our country faces./ppFor more than three decades, our country has been engaged in an ongoing struggle against HIV and Aids, which has cost many lives and caused great hardship and suffering./p
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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 62.27 million, death toll at 1 454 628

More than 62.27 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1 454 628 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

 - REUTERS

Covid-19 stats in SA

The number of cases is now at 787 702.

The death toll has hit 21 477, after 38 more deaths were registered.


The cumulative total of COVID-19 cases is 785 139 with 3 198 new cases identified since the last report.

There have been 61 more COVID-19 related deaths: Eastern Cape 26, Gauteng 1, Kwa-Zulu Natal 12, Limpopo 7 and Western Cape 15.

This brings the total deaths to 21 439.

Europe coronavirus death toll passes 400 000: AFP tally          

More than 400 000 deaths from the novel coronavirus have been registered in Europe, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources around 0800 GMT Saturday.

The second-worst hit global region after Latin America and the Caribbean, 400 649 people have died of Covid-19 in Europe among 17 606 370 confirmed cases.

Of these, 36,147 occurred in the past week alone - the continent's worst seven-day total since the pandemic began.

Britain accounted for almost two-thirds of the European deaths at 57,551 from almost 1.6 million infections, followed by Italy with 53,677 deaths and 1.5 million infections, France (51,914 deaths, 2.2 million cases), Spain (44 668 deaths, 1.6 million cases) and Russia (39 068 deaths, 2.2 million cases).

-AFP

South Africa records 89 more coronavirus deaths, 3 370 cases

South Africa recorded 3 370 more Covid-19 cases by Friday, bringing the recorded total number of cases in the country to 781 941.

An additional 89 deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 21 378.

The majority of the 89 deaths were reported in the Eastern Cape, where an additional 55 deaths bring the province's death toll to 4 563, out of 124 067 total cases.

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Covid-19 hospitalisations surge across the US, worrying officials

The number of Covid-19 patients being treated in hospitals across the United States reached 90,000 on Friday, Reuters News Agency reported, as people travelled to attend Thanksgiving holiday gatherings this week.

The rate of hospitalisations is now at the highest since the pandemic began, the news agency said, pushing some medical facilities beyond their capacity and drawing alarm from public health experts and state officials.

Rural regions in New Mexico, which has put a lockdown in place to try to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, are among the hardest-hit areas of the country. On Friday, 880 people were hospitalised across the US state.

A hospital in Curry County, which borders the sparsely populated Texas Panhandle, was the latest to reach capacity in its intensive care unit earlier this week, according to the county’s Facebook page.

“This is the reality we face when Covid-19 is allowed to spread unchecked,” New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted on Friday, referencing the situation in Curry County and urging people to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.

“ICUs at capacity, not enough health care workers available,” she wrote. Covid-19 infection rates have been going up for weeks across the US, and public health officials have warned the situation could worsen as people who mingled with friends and relatives during Thanksgiving gradually develop symptoms.

The country has reported more than 13.04 million cases of Covid-19 to date, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, as well as more than 264 000 deaths linked to the virus.

Many health experts and politicians pleaded with Americans to refrain from gathering for Thanksgiving this year, as socialising between households could accelerate the rate of community transmission and push an already strained healthcare system to the brink.

Some abided by the public health guidance, but a day before the holiday, typically one of the busiest travel days of the year in the US, more than 1.07 million people passed through US airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said.

That was the most of any single day since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly six million Americans travelled by air from Friday to Wednesday, the TSA also said – less than half what was reported during the same period last year.

-Aljazeera

Peru secures 23.1 million future coronavirus vaccine doses from Pfizer, COVAX

Peru has secured enough coronavirus vaccine to give nearly three-quarters of its population at least one dose when the immunization is available, a hopeful development for a nation with one of the highest Covid-19 death rates in the world.

The agreements announced on Friday with Pfizer Inc and global vaccine distribution program COVAX will provide 23.1 million doses for a population of 31.9 million. Some vaccine regimes will require two doses.

The Peruvian Ministry of Health said it had signed a binding agreement with Pfizer for the purchase of 9.9 million doses of its vaccine which is in testing. Another 13.2 million doses will be bought through COVAX, which is led by the GAVI vaccines alliance and the World Health Organization and aimed at promoting equitable access.

COVAX has signed agreements to buy vaccines from French drugmaker Sanofi, Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Novavax.

The ministry added in a statement that it was negotiating with other vaccine laboratories. These include China's Sinopharm Group Co Ltd and Sinovac Biotech Inc, Moderna Inc, Novovax, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and COVAXX, a unit of United Biomedical Inc and Gamaleya, the institute that developing Russia’s main coronavirus vaccine candidate Sputnik V.

So far, the Peruvian government has signed confidential agreements with 13 pharmaceutical companies and non-binding agreements with 10 of those, the ministry added.

Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti said this week that she expects vaccines to arrive in Peru in the first quarter of 2021 before general elections on 11 April, and vaccines will likely be administered in voting centres.

China's Sinopharm and the United States' Johnson & Johnson are conducting trials of their vaccines in the country, potentially allowing Peru to buy doses at a discount, the ministry of health said.

Peru has seen 111.55 deaths per 100 000 of its population, ranking third in the world for per capita mortality, according to a Reuters tally.

-Reuters

As of 26 November, 3 069 new Covid-19 cases were identified, bringing the total confirmed infections to 778 571.

There have been 88 deaths reported, bringing the total deaths to 21 289. 

The cumulative number of tests conducted to date is 5 383 078, with 28 010 new tests conducted since the last report.

As of 25 November, 3 250 new Covid-19 cases were identified, bringing the total confirmed infections to 775 502.

There have been 118 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total deaths to 21 201.

The cumulative number of tests conducted to date is 5 355 068, with 29 437 new tests conducted since the last report.

READ | Latest Covid-19 numbers: 21 201 deaths, 775 502 cases

Global coronavirus cases surpass 60 million infections – Reuters tally

The global tally of confirmed coronavirus cases hit 60 million on Wednesday, with the pace of new infections accelerating and the United States reporting record numbers of hospitalisations, according to a Reuters tally.

Officials in the United States, the worst-affected country in the world, urged Americans to stay home for the imminent Thanksgiving holiday as soaring numbers of Covid-19 patients pushed medical professionals to the brink.

The United States has reported 1 million new Covid-19 cases in less than a week, taking its total reported infections to over 12.5 million and its death toll to 260 000, according to the Reuters data based on official statements.

Globally, infections stood at 60.005 million and deaths at 1.4 million. An analysis of the Reuters data showed the rate of new infections picking up globally. It took just 17 days to go from 50 million cases to 60 million, compared with the 21 days it took to go from 40 million to 50 million.

Around 580 000 cases have been reported each day over the past week and around half of all cases since the start of the pandemic were reported over the past 70 days.

In Europe, 1 million new cases were recorded over just five days, for a total of more than 16 million cases, including 365 000 deaths.

Governments across Europe are struggling to impose restrictions on public life while allowing families to celebrate Christmas without further fuelling outbreaks.

-REUTERS

pstrongGlobal coronavirus cases surpass 60 million infections – Reuters tally/strong/ppThe global tally of confirmed coronavirus cases hit 60 million on Wednesday, with the pace of new infections accelerating and the United States reporting record numbers of hospitalisations, according to a Reuters tally./ppOfficials in the United States, the worst-affected country in the world, urged Americans to stay home for the imminent Thanksgiving holiday as soaring numbers of Covid-19 patients pushed medical professionals to the brink./ppThe United States has reported 1 million new Covid-19 cases in less than a week, taking its total reported infections to over 12.5 million and its death toll to 260 000, according to the Reuters data based on official statements./ppGlobally, infections stood at 60.005 million and deaths at 1.4 million. An analysis of the Reuters data showed the rate of new infections picking up globally. It took just 17 days to go from 50 million cases to 60 million, compared with the 21 days it took to go from 40 million to 50 million. /ppAround 580 000 cases have been reported each day over the past week and around half of all cases since the start of the pandemic were reported over the past 70 days./ppIn Europe, 1 million new cases were recorded over just five days, for a total of more than 16 million cases, including 365 000 deaths./ppGovernments across Europe are struggling to impose restrictions on public life while allowing families to celebrate Christmas without further fuelling outbreaks./ppstrong-REUTERS/strong/p

Americas region sees record 1.5 mln Covid-19 cases in 7 days - WHO regional branch

The Americas reported more than 1.5 million cases of Covid-19 in the last 7 days, the highest weekly number since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization regional branch PAHO said on Wednesday.

The rapid surge of infections in the United States continues and cases have accelerated in countries of North, Central and South America, PAHO said.

In Canada, infections are rising particularly among the elderly and indigenous communities, PAHO Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said.

-REUTERS

Covid-19: Eastern Cape responsible for half of new daily infections - Mkhize

"More significantly, the Eastern Cape is now on a daily basis responsible for between 50 and 55% of new positive cases recorded."

According to Mkhize it is too early to call it a second wave.

"It’s a cluster outbreak that’s beginning to respond to what we define as a resurgence - whether that’s already the next whole wave or not depends on how successful we are in containing that area".

Mkhize is also concerned about the Garden Route in the Western Cape.

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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 59.43 million, death toll at 1 403 065

More than 59.43 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1 403 065 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

 - REUTERS

As of today, the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases is 772 252 with 2 493 new cases identified since the last report.

115 more Covid-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 45, Free State 20, Gauteng 19, Kwa-Zulu Natal 10, Northern Cape 5 and Western Cape 16. This brings the total to 21 083 deaths.

Our recoveries now stand at 716 444 which translates to a recovery rate of 92,8%.

Colombia's first lady tests positive for coronavirus

Colombian first lady Maria Juliana Ruiz has tested positive for coronavirus, the government said on Tuesday, but is asymptomatic.

President Ivan Duque and the first lady have regular coronavirus tests due to their high levels of exposure and busy schedules, the president's office said in a statement.

Ruiz, who along with her husband was tested on Monday, is following quarantine rules as established by the health ministry, the statement added. Duque received a negative result.

Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez tested positive for coronavirus a month ago and was also asymptomatic.

The Andean country has reported more than 1.2 million cases of coronavirus, as well as 35 479 deaths due to Covid-19, the disease it causes.

-REUTERS

Austria plans to start virus vaccination in January

Austria plans to start its Covid-19 vaccination campaign in January, the health minister said Tuesday, with the elderly, at-risk groups and health professionals being first in line.

The country will acquire more than 16 million doses of the vaccine through the European Union which has signed six contracts for supplies, according to Clemens Martin Auer, who coordinates the health ministry's pandemic response.

"In all likelihood we can start in January," Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said.

"Our goal is to vaccinate at least 50 percent of the population," he told a news conference, adding that the campaign would cost around 200 million euros ($237 million).

Auer, who is also vice-president of the EU's steering committee for purchasing vaccines, told the same press conference: "We will of course be beginning with older people, the over-65s, in particular the residents of old people's homes, as well as those who work there.

"The second target group is workers in the healthcare sector... and at-risk groups."

The campaign could therefore cover almost the entire population of 8.8 million, given that the most prominent vaccines in development are expected to require more than one dose. For non-priority groups, vaccines will be available beginning around April, the ministry said.

Currently in its second coronavirus lockdown, Austria will also begin large-scale testing in early December. The country's second lockdown has led to a slight drop in new cases, Anschober said.

On Tuesday, 4 377 people tested positive, down from 5 984 seven days ago, when the country had one of the highest per capita infection rates in the world.

The number of new deaths also remains high at 118.Under restrictions imposed in early November, restaurants and bars, hotels, sports and entertainment venues and all cultural institutions were shut but the number of new infections continued to soar.

-AFP

EU secures 160 mln doses of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine

The European Union has struck a deal for up to 160 million doses of US firm Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine candidate, the head of the European Commission said on Tuesday, taking the EU's potential stock of Covid-19 shots to nearly 2 billion.

Last week, Moderna said its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing Covid-19, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial.

"I am happy to announce that tomorrow we will approve a new contract to secure another Covid-19 vaccine," Ursula von der Leyen said, adding the deal "allows us to buy up to 160 million doses of a vaccine produced by Moderna".

Actual purchases will be carried out by EU governments if the vaccine is approved by the EU's drug regulator. The delivery timeline is unknown. The doses would be enough to vaccinate 80 million people as the vaccine is expected to be administered in two doses.

In August the EU's executive Commission, which co-leads talks with vaccine makers on behalf of member states, said it had held preliminary talks with Moderna over a deal for 80 million doses and an option for 80 million more. The terms of the contract have not been disclosed.

An EU official involved in the talks told Reuters last week the EU was seeking a price below $25 per dose for Moderna's vaccine. But Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said on Sunday the company would charge governments between $25 and $37 per dose, depending on the amount ordered. A spokesman for the Commission declined to comment on pricing.

It is the sixth supply deal the EU has negotiated with Covid-19 vaccine makers and takes the total number of doses secured by the bloc to 1.96 billion for its population of around 450 million.

Brussels has already struck deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac. It is also in talks to buy US firm Novavax's potential Covid-19 vaccine.

-REUTERS

PM Conte tells Italians to avoid skiing at Christmas due to Covid-19 risk

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned Italians not to ski during the Christmas holidays to help curb a second wave of the new coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50 000.

Italy's ski resorts earn annual revenues of about €11 billion ($13.06 billion), one third of which comes from the days Italians usually spend on the Alps and Dolomites at Christmas and New Year.

But Conte said this year it would not be possible "to allow holidays on the snow. We cannot afford it."

Italy reported 630 Covid-19-related deaths on Monday, becoming the sixth nation in the world to surpass 50 000 deaths, and the second in Europe after Britain.

- Reuters

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to be cheaper than rivals, says fund head

Russia will charge less for its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine than rivals as Moscow aims to produce more than one billion doses at home and abroad next year, the head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday.

Details of the exact pricing are expected later on Tuesday, but Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund, told Reuters that Sputnik V would be priced significantly lower than other rivals with similar efficacy levels.

Moscow has been criticised by some scientists in the West who have accused it of cutting corners in an effort to try to rush out the Sputnik V vaccine, something that Russia has denied.

Pricing the vaccine at a lower level than competitors could help Moscow grab more market share.

- Reuters

Finnish capital to shut high schools, ban public events

Finland's capital will introduce tough new coronavirus restrictions, the city's mayor said on Tuesday, after a sharp uptick in coronavirus cases.

High schools, libraries and swimming pools will be closed and public events banned outright in Helsinki due to the "worrying" situation, Mayor Jan Vapaavuori told a press conference.

"We propose to use the full range of measures within the city's powers," Vapaavuori said, warning that healthcare and contact-tracing services were at risk of being overwhelmed.

He said further details of the restrictions, such as the date they will take effect, would be announced at the end of the week.

- AFP

Russia says Sputnik V virus vaccine 95% effective

Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective according to a second interim analysis of clinical trial data, its developers said on Tuesday.

The calculations were based on preliminary data obtained 42 days after the first dose, Russia's health ministry, the state-run Gamaleya research centre and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement.

They did not note the number of cases used to make the calculation, however.

- AFP

European shares rise on possible easing of Covid-19 curbs, vaccine progress

European shares gained on Tuesday as a possible easing of lockdowns in France added to a brighter mood from encouraging developments related to coronavirus vaccines.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.8% at 08:05 GMT, supported by gains in travel stocks and the oil and gas sector after global crude prices hit their highest levels since March.

France reported its lowest daily tally of Covid-19 infections since 28 September on Monday, with investors now focused on a speech by President Emmanuel Macron later in the day when he may announce a relaxation of lockdown rules.

- Reuters

Covid-19 vaccines offer hope as world leaders plan for future

France is expected to loosen its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday as the boss of a major airline said proof of vaccination will likely become the only way people can fly in a post-pandemic world.

Hopes over Covid-19 vaccines have given a boost to virus-weary citizens across the globe, but the disease remains rampant and world leaders are urging people to be patient.

French President Emmanuel Macron will address the country - currently under lockdown - to announce a reworking of the rules following a drop in nationwide infections.

- AFP

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