World agonises over new COVID curbs as infections approach 60 million

PARIS/BERLIN: Countries around the world agonised over new coronavirus curbs ahead of Christmas and other holidays as global infections approached 60 million on Wednesday and U.S. officials pleaded with Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving.

The holiday weekend is expected to fuel a surge of infections in the United States, which leads the world with soaring COVID-19 infections and the daily toll on Tuesday climbing above 2,000, the highest 24-hour tally since early May.

“All the Thanksgiving travel ensures no one will catch us, either,” said Dr. Tatiana Prowell of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“The U.S. ‘each person for himself’ mindset is killing hundreds of thousands of us. Devastating to watch,” Prowell said on Twitter.

Hopes for a successful vaccine, boosted by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna, have given world stock markets a lift.

But an approved vaccine is unlikely to be widely available for months while scientists insist on the continued need for vigilance and politicians consider curbs for Christmas amid a second wave of the pandemic.

Germany on Wednesday reported a record 410 COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, before its 16 federal state leaders and Chancellor Angela Merkel were due to discuss an extension of restrictions into December and for Christmas and New Year.

Italy reported 853 deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday, soaring from 630 the day before and the highest daily toll since March 28.

But new infections and the number of people in hospital with the virus in France dropped sharply as a national lockdown went into its fourth week. - Reuters �S��n