The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
7:07 a.m.: Madrid’s ancient and emblematic Rastro flea market reopened Sunday after a contentious eight-month closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has walloped the Spanish capital.
With many major European flea markets still shut down, the Rastro’s return seems to be another example of Madrid’s bid to show that heavy coronavirus restrictions may not be necessary even among the latest surge of the virus and some sort of normality can resume with precautions.
6:58 a.m.: South Korea is imposing stricter social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area to fight a coronavirus resurgence, as the country registered more than 300 new cases for the fifth straight day.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Sunday that authorities have found 62 virus clusters in the past two weeks. He said the toughened distancing guidelines in the Seoul area will be enforced for two weeks starting Tuesday.
Under the rules, nightclubs and other high-risk entertainment facilities must shut down and late-night dining at restaurants will be banned. Customers won’t be allowed to drink or eat inside coffee shops, internet cafes or fitness centres, while audiences at sports events will be limited to 10% of the stadium’s capacity.
6:28 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end an England-wide lockdown as scheduled on Dec. 2 and will announce a return to regional restrictions as statistics show that coronavirus infections have stabilized.
Johnson’s office also confirmed plans to begin a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program next month, assuming regulators approve a vaccine against the virus. The government also will increase mass testing in an effort to suppress the virus until vaccines can be rolled out.
Johnson’s office said late Saturday that the government plans to return to using a three-tiered system of localized restrictions in England, with areas facing different lockdown measures based on the severity of their outbreaks. More communities are expected to be placed in the two highest virus alert categories, it said.
The government put England under a four-week lockdown that started Nov. 5. The Cabinet is to discuss the plans Sunday, and the prime minister aims to give Parliament the details on Monday, according to the statement.
6:05 a.m.: U.S. health officials Saturday agreed to allow emergency use of a second antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, an experimental medicine that President Donald Trump was given when he was sickened last month.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. drug to try to prevent hospitalization and worsening disease from developing in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.
The drug is given as a one-time treatment through an IV. The FDA allowed its use in adults and children 12 and over who weigh at least 88 pounds (40 kilograms) and who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of age or certain other medical conditions.
4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. EST on Nov. 22, 2020:
There are 325,711 confirmed cases in Canada.
_ Quebec: 130,888 confirmed (including 6,806 deaths, 112,734 resolved)
_ Ontario: 102,378 confirmed (including 3,472 deaths, 86,079 resolved)
_ Alberta: 45,288 confirmed (including 471 deaths, 33,543 resolved)
_ British Columbia: 25,474 confirmed (including 331 deaths, 17,477 resolved)
_ Manitoba: 13,304 confirmed (including 217 deaths, 5,075 resolved)
_ Saskatchewan: 6,237 confirmed (including 33 deaths, 3,667 resolved)
_ Nova Scotia: 1,168 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,070 resolved)
_ New Brunswick: 424 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 347 resolved)
_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 316 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 294 resolved)
_ Nunavut: 109 confirmed (including 2 resolved)
_ Prince Edward Island: 68 confirmed (including 64 resolved)
_ Yukon: 29 confirmed (including 1 death, 22 resolved)
_ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed (including 10 resolved)
_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
_ Total: 325,711 (0 presumptive, 325,711 confirmed including 11,406 deaths, 260,397 resolved)
2:56 a.m.: Russia’s health care system, vast yet underfunded, has been under significant strains in recent weeks, as the pandemic surges again and daily infections and virus death regularly break records.
Across the country, 81% of hospital beds that have been set aside for coronavirus patients were full as of Wednesday. Three times last week, the Russian government reported a record number of daily deaths, and the number of daily new infections per 100,000 people has more than doubled since Oct. 1, from 6 to over 15. Overall, Russia has recorded over 2 million cases and over 35,000 deaths, but experts say all numbers worldwide understate the true toll of the pandemic.
Reports in Russian media have painted a bleak picture in recent weeks. Hospital corridors are filled with patients on gurneys and even the floor. Bodies in black plastic bags were seen piling up on the floors of a morgue. Long lines of ambulances wait at hospitals while pharmacies put up signs listing the drugs they no longer have in stock.
Russian authorities have acknowledged problems in the health system. President Vladimir Putin even urged regional officials not to paper over the situation, saying that “feigning the impression that everything is perfectly normal is absolutely unacceptable.”
Read about Thursday’s developments here.