The Latest: Canada reaches vaccine agreement with companies
LONDON — Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi have agreed to provide Canada with up to 72 million doses of their potential COVID-19 vaccine as governments buy up supplies of unproven treatments in hopes of ensuring supplies of whatever works.
On Tuesday, the companies reiterated their commitment to make the vaccine affordable and available globally.
“Both companies have significant R&D and manufacturing capability worldwide and are already working hard to scale up production,” Roger Conner, president of GSK’s vaccine unit, said in a statement. “This announcement from the Government of Canada supports our ongoing efforts.”
The agreement with Canada follows earlier deals with the U.S., European Union and U.K. governments.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— US death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000
— India confirms 75,000 coronavirus cases, 1,000 deaths in one day
— Madrid may extend virus measures despite outcry
— Mobile apps for tracing coronavirus cases get mixed reviews
— England will order pubs and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. People who can work from home will be encouraged to do so.
— Virus infections and deaths in French nursing homes are on the rise again. Nearly half of the 31,000 people confirmed to have died in France with the virus were nursing home residents.
— The only thing more difficult than staging next year’s Tokyo Olympics in a pandemic might be convincing sponsors to keep their billions of dollars on board. Tokyo needs to convince sponsors the Olympics will really happen.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PRAGUE — The new Czech health minister says all bars and restaurants will have to close sooner as part of new restrictions to contain a new wave of coronavirus pandemic in his country.
A day after he was appointed, Roman Prymula said Tuesday that bars and restaurants will have a new closing hour at 10 p.m. (2000 GMT).
The new measure will become effective on Thursday. So far, the closing hour was set at midnight.
Prymula told the Czech public television further measures to limit the number of spectators at sport events will be announced on Wednesday. He says he expects up to 2,000 fans still be allowed at the stadiums to watch soccer games.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he has “done an amazing” and “incredible job” handling the coronavirus, even as the country surpasses 200,000 virus deaths.
Trump boasted of his administration’s efforts in an interview with WJBK FOX 2 Detroit at the White House Tuesday just before Johns Hopkins University announced the confirmed U.S. death toll now tops 200,000 people — the highest in the world.
He claims, “We’ve done an incredible job between the ventilators and now the vaccines and everything else and the therapeutics” and insisted, “The only thing we’ve done a bad job in is public relations because we haven’t been able to convince people – which is basically the fake news – what a great job we’ve done.”
Trump claimed the country could have had two to three million deaths had his administration taken no action, while brushing off suggestions – backed by models – that if he had shut down the country sooner, thousands of lives could have been saved.
And he appeared to be trying to rewrite history as he insisted that when he recommended certain lockdown measures, “everybody said there’s no reason to shut down,” including the nation’s top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. That is not the case.
ROME — Italy added another 1,392 coronavirus cases to its confirmed toll, holding steady in its daily increases as other European countries impose new restrictions amid a surge in infections.
Another 14 people died, bringing Italy’s official death toll to 35,738, the highest in Europe after Britain.
Every Italian region reported new cases Tuesday, bringing Italy’s official count over 300,000. The Lazio region around Rome leading the country with the most at 238. Hard-hit Lombardy, which was the onetime epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, reported 182.
While hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are ticking up nationwide, Italy has so far managed to keep its infections per 100,000 people far lower than France, Spain or Britain, which on Tuesday imposed new restrictions including closing pubs early and urging people to work from home.
Italy, which imposed a strict, three-month lockdown in spring that largely tamed the virus, can only process around 100,000 tests per day. Individual regions are authorizing rapid tests in a bid to broaden the number of people who can be screened at least with a preliminary test.
HOLYOKE, Mass. — A judge has ruled that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration wrongfully fired the head of a home for aging veterans where nearly 80 people sickened with the coronavirus have died.
The Hampden Superior Court judge’s ruling on Monday invalidates the firing of former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh, Masslive.com reported.
Walsh was fired in June after investigators released a report outlining “utterly baffling” decisions made by the superintendent and his leadership team that helped the disease run rampant at the home.
BERLIN — A lobby group representing major airlines is calling for the development of a rapid coronavirus test that can be used to systematically screen all passengers before departure and avoid quarantining on arrival.
The International Air Transport Association said Tuesday that creating such a test could help “re-establish global air connectivity.”
Airlines have begged governments for billions in bailouts after being hit hard by travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.
IATA said that while some governments have re-opened their borders, demand for flights is still limited “because either quarantine measures make travel impractical or the frequent changes in COVID-19 measures make planning impossible.”
It said that systematic testing of all travelers before departure would “give governments the confidence to open their borders without complicated risk models that see constant changes in the rules imposed on travel.
LONDON — The U.K. has recorded nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases, in the latest spike of the epidemic that has seen restrictions tightened across the country.
Figures from the Department for Health and Social Care show a daily increase of 4,926 new cases, up from Monday’s figure of 4,368. The U.K. has not recorded 5,000 daily cases since early May.
Though more testing is taking place now, the government’s scientific advisers say the proportion of the tests turning out positive for the virus is much higher than it was earlier this month, when around 1,500 new daily cases were reported.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s new coronavirus exposure-notification app is now available on app stores.
The release of the app Tuesday is part of Pennsylvania’s effort to more quickly break chains of transmission by using the new technology to notify people who may have been exposed.
The state has a $1.9 million contract, using federal grant dollars, to deploy and maintain the app with software developer NearForm Ltd, an Ireland-based company whose app there has been downloaded by more than one-fourth of that country’s residents.
The app is based on smartphone technology developed by Apple and Google. A handful of other states have also launched apps using the Apple and Google technology.
The app will work with the state of Delaware’s app, which released last week, and it will also be compatible with those of other states when they launch on the NearForm platform, state officials say.
NEW YORK — The death toll in the U.S. from the coronavirus has topped 200,000, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation.
That’s according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University, based on figures from state health authorities. The real number of dead is thought be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths, especially early on, were probably ascribed to other causes.
The number of dead in the U.S. is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 67 days. It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama.
DENVER — Health officials in Colorado say confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased for the third consecutive week and have reached levels last registered at the end of July.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 3,439 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the week ending Sunday, according to The Denver Post. That was an increase of about 1,100 cases compared to the previous week.
The state has not reported more cases than that since the week of July 27. More than 65,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 statewide since March and more than 7,300 have been hospitalized. About 1,900 people died directly from the virus. Two thousand people have died with it in their systems.
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has extended the state’s mask mandate scheduled to expire next week until Nov. 21.
Evers announced the extension on Tuesday, citing soaring cases in the state, particularly on college campuses.
Conservatives have a pending lawsuit challenging his legal authority to issue such a mandate. The mask order has been in place since August.
Evers says the growth in cases in Wisconsin, especially on college campuses, is “alarming.” He called on young people to “please stay home as much as you are able, skip heading to the bars, and wear a mask whenever you go out.”
Despite the surge of cases on University of Wisconsin campuses, Evers has stood by university leaders’ decision to open dorms and allow in-person instruction. But as the virus spread quickly among students, campuses across the state have had to quarantine dorms, fraternity and sorority houses, and temporarily shift to online-only classes.
NEW DELHI, India — Health officials says citizens of India should celebrate the upcoming festive season without large gatherings.
Autumn is the festival season in many parts of India — a nation where religion, celebrations, rituals are paramount. The month of October has many festivals celebrated in the Indian subcontinent, including Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others.
Dr. V.K Paul, who heads a COVID-19 taskforce in India, says people need to exercise physical distancing and ensure they wear masks while celebrating. He says large gatherings provide the perfect circumstances for the virus to spread.
India confirmed 75,000 coronavirus cases and 1,000 deaths in the last 24 hours. India ranks No. 2 in the world with 5.5 million cases and No. 3 with nearly 89,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
ATHENS, Greece — Judicial authorities in Greece have been instructed to pursue the prosecution of anti-mask activists, who will face fast-track trials and up to a year in prison.
A Supreme Court prosecutor issued instructions distributed to prosecuting authorities Tuesday, describing the activists as a threat to public health and public order.
While its infection rate remains lower than most other European Union countries, Greece has had a sharp increase in cases since early August. The total number of confirmed infections is more than 15,000 and 344 confirmed deaths.
Anti-mask groups have recently stepped up activity online and staged small street protests, concentrating criticism on schools, which reopened on Sept. 14. Students are obliged to wear face masks in class.
Supreme Court prosecutor Vassilis Pliotas says actions by anti-mask campaigners had caused “understandable concern among law-abiding citizens.” He described the groups as “minor but persistent.”
Anti-mask groups argue medical advice on the effectiveness of masks has been inconsistent and public health measures introduced by the government are broadly undemocratic. The government says it is relying on the advice of leading Greek and international experts and the framework of coronavirus-related restrictions were approved by parliament.
BERLIN — Authorities in Vienna say they’re putting together mobile response teams to visit schools with coronavirus cases to conduct rapid tests on students and staff.
Medical staff will collect gargle samples from people who have had close contact with a confirmed case and provide results within 24 hours
The Austrian capital has led in the use of gargle tests, with officials saying they are less invasive than swabs but equally reliable.