Coronavirus live: UK reports 193 deaths; Austria announces new Covid measures as cases
Wall Street’s main indexes scored record closing highs on Friday and booked solid gains for the week following a strong U.S. jobs report and positive data for Pfizer’s experimental pill against Covid-19, Reuters reports.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq notched record high closes for their seventh straight sessions, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed at a record. All three indexes posted weekly gains for their fifth straight weeks. The Labor Department report showed U.S. employment increased more than expected in October as the headwind from the surge in Covid-19 infections over the summer subsided. A trial of Pfizer Inc’s experimental antiviral pill for coronavirus was stopped early after the drug was shown to cut by 89% the chances of hospitalisation or death for adults at risk of developing severe disease. Pfizer shares jumped about 11%.
Austria said only those vaccinated or recovered from coronavirus would be allowed to frequent restaurants, hotels and cultural venues.
The new rule takes effect on Monday with a four-week transition phase to incentivise people to get jabbed, chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said.
“No one wants to split the society, but it is our responsibility to protect the people in our country,” he told a news conference.
The EU member of almost nine million people recorded more than 9,300 new daily cases Friday, a fresh record for this year, AFP reports.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Friday he sought alternative treatments instead of the NFL-endorsed Covid-19 vaccinations because of an allergy he has to ingredients in two of the FDA-approved jabs.
Speaking on SiriusXM’s Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers said: “I’m not an anti-vax, flat-earther. I have an allergy to an ingredient that’s in the mRNA vaccines.
“I found a long-term immunisation protocol to protect myself and I’m very proud of the research that went into that.”
Pfizer Inc is in discussions with 90 countries over supply contracts for its experimental Covid-19 pill, which was shown to reduce by 89% the risk of hospitalisation or death in patients at high risk of severe illness.
Chief executive officer Albert Bourla said Pfizer expects to price its treatment, called Paxlovid, close to where rival Merck & Co Inc has priced its oral antiviral drug candidate. Merck’s U.S. contract price for its pill molnupiriavr is around $700 for a five-day course of therapy, Reuters reports.
New data shows Aboriginal people in NSW and the ACT have been heavily and disproportionately affected by Covid-19, amid concerns that even after two months of “surge” efforts in 30 Indigenous communities, vaccination rates will not be high enough to withstand further outbreaks.
Ten per cent of all Covid cases in NSW and the ACT are Aboriginal and Islander people, meaning they have been affected at twice the rate of other Australians.
In the past three months, there have been 7,000 cases, 700 hospitalisations, 80 people in ICU and 14 deaths among Aboriginal people, according to data from the National Aboriginal community controlled health organisation (NACCHO).
France reported 8,998 new coronavirus cases on Friday, Reuters reports.
The country has had more than 7.1 million cases overall.
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has said he will convene a virtual meeting of foreign ministers from around the globe to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic.
The meeting will take place on 10 November, Reuters reports.
The Covid death toll in Romania passed 50,000 on Friday, after a further 483 deaths from the disease were reported as a fourth wave of pandemic sweeps the country.
According to the official figures, reported by Romania-Insider.com, 433 of the 483 patients who died in the past 24 hours had not been vaccinated against the virus.
In total, 8,268 new infections were reported, out of 57,801 tests. Almost 1,000 of those were reported in the capital, Bucharest, where the 14-day incidence rate is now 11.61 cases per thousand people.
France’s prime minister Jean Castex said the national incidence rate – the number of new infections per week per 100,000 inhabitants – was now well above the alert level of 50.
“This is not an explosion, but it requires the greatest vigilance. Now is not the time to let our guard down,” he said. The average weekly incidence rate set a 2021 high of 438 in April and then fell below 20 at the end of June following a series of confinement measures, Reuters reports. It rose again to 247 at the peak of the fourth wave in mid-August. After briefly falling below the alert level of 50 in early October, the trend turned again on October 21 and the incidence rate stood at 65 on Thursday.
The German state of Saxony has announced sweeping new curbs for people who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the disease, AFP reports.
From Monday, access to indoor dining and other indoor events will be limited to those who are fully vaccinated or can show proof of recovery, local government minister Petra Koepping told a news conference in Dresden.
“We have not managed to build a protective wall of vaccinated people over the past few weeks and months,” Koepping said.
The new rules would mark the toughest state-wide restrictions in Germany against non-inoculated people. Only children as well as those who cannot receive jabs for medical reasons will be exempt.