Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Medical staff members carry a person on a stretcher at the COVID-19 infected patients’ section at the Kommunarka Hospital outside Moscow on 15 October, 2021. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Russia Daily Deaths Pass 1,000

Russia records 1,000 deaths over 24 hours for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – a new record for a third day running – with less than a third of Russians vaccinated and few restrictions in place. 

The Kremlin, which says authorities have to ensure "the economy continues working", has avoided re-introducing major measures despite calling the vaccination rate unacceptably low. It also insists Russia's medical system is not overwhelmed and could take in the rising number of patients.

One Hurt In French Nightclub Shooting Over Covid Pass 

Two men who were refused entry to a French nightclub for producing a fake COVID health pass have been arrested over a shooting at the venue that left one partygoer injured, prosecutors said Sunday. The incident took place on Thursday night in the outskirts of the eastern town of Montbeliard.

"It has been confirmed that one of the men tried to present a health pass that did not match his identity," the public prosecutor for the area, Ariane Combarel said. 

Chicago Mayor Battles Police Over COVID Policy

A Chicago judge bans a police union president from making public statements encouraging members not to report their vaccination status in a legal battle over vaccine policy. 

The dispute between mayor Lori Lightfoot and police union head John Catanzara has made the city the latest flashpoint in a deeply polarised debate over vaccines and whether governments have the right to mandate them.

WTO Fails To Agree Vaccine Patent Waiver

The World Trade Organization (WTO) says member nations have again failed to agree to suspend intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, fiercely opposed by pharmaceutical giants. Pressure is mounting for an accord with just weeks left before the WTO's 12th ministerial conference, which runs from 30 November to 3 December in Geneva.

The council of the WTO agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) met on Wednesday and Thursday to try to make progress on the issue.

US Opens Borders To Vaccinated 

The United States (US) announces that it will allow entry to fully vaccinated foreign travellers from 8 November, ending a more than 18-month ban on travel from much of the globe. The decision to ease restrictions was "guided by public health, stringent and consistent," said White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz in a tweet on Friday announcing the new policy.

He said the "announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel."

Over 4.8 Million Dead  

The coronavirus has killed at least 4,888,121 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Friday. 

The US has suffered the most COVID-related deaths at 723,764, followed by Brazil with 602,669, India 451,980, Mexico 284,008 and Russia 222,315.

Taking into account excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher. – AFP