The latest on the virus: US hit daily record high for COVID cases Wednesday, UN to hold summit on COVID-19 in December, lockdowns across Europe as cases surge

By The Associated Press

The United Nations has voted to hold a summit on the COVID-19 pandemic on Dec. 3-4 to respond to the spread of the coronavirus around the globe and its “unprecedented” effects on societies, economies, jobs, global trade and travel.

The General Assembly voted 150-0 on Thursday, with the United States, Israel and Armenia abstaining, on a resolution authorizing the meeting. It will include prerecorded speeches by world leaders and a presentation and discussion led by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Assembly President Volkan Bozkir called the high-level special session “a historic moment and a test for multilateralism” that “will be defined by our collective action on one of the most critical issues of our time.”

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— United Nations to hold summit on COVID-19 on Dec. 3-4
— Britain extends salary support for unemployed because of virus restrictions
— Germany hits record of nearly 20,000 daily coronavirus cases
— Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven self-isolating even after a person close to him tested negative for coronavirus amid surge of coronavirus cases.
— Greece announces 3-week, nationwide lockdown in the hopes of stemming the increase in hospitalized patients from coronavirus.

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

In this Nov. 3, 2020 photo, two women, wearing protective masks due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, cast their ballots at a polling station at Windham, N.H. High School. But regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, Public health experts fear the U.S. will not be able to tame a perilous pandemic that is surging as holidays, winter and other challenges approach. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

NEW YORK — The United States has set another record for daily confirmed coronavirus cases as several states posted all-time highs Wednesday, underscoring the vexing issue confronting the winner of the presidential race.

Daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged 45% over the past two weeks, to a record seven-day average of 86,352, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Deaths are also on the rise, up 15% to an average of 846 deaths every day.

The total U.S. death toll has reached more than 232,000, and confirmed U.S. cases have surpassed 9 million. Those are the highest totals in the world, and new infections are increasing in nearly every state.
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World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivered a prerecorded address for the Wednesday opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. The expo, one of China’s largest annual trade fairs, kicks off on Thursday as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has largely been controlled within China. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING — China is suspending entry for most foreign passport holders who reside in Britain, reacting to a new surge of coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom.

The suspension covers those holding visas or residence permits issued prior to Nov. 3, with exceptions for diplomats and some others. Foreign nationals wishing to visit China for emergency needs may apply for special case visas.

The Chinese Embassy in London says the suspension will be “assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be announced accordingly.”

China has largely contained the spread of coronavirus within the country but continues to record imported cases, including another 20 reported Thursday. Chinese officials require all people arriving in China to undergo two weeks of quarantine.

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French Junior Transports Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari poses in front of a Covid-19 test centre “MobilTest”, located in front of the Gare de Lyon, railway station, in Paris, France. In France, which is in a monthlong partial lockdown to stop fast-rising virus hospitalizations and deaths, the health minister may announce tighter measures at a weekly press conference later Thursday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS – In Paris, 84 people with the coronavirus died Wednesday in region hospitals, which are at 92% capacity.

There are 1,050 COVID-19 patients in intensive care and another 600 patients in ICU with other ailments, Aurelien Rousseau, head of the Paris region health service, told public broadcaster France-Info on Thursday.

France is in a monthlong partial lockdown to lessen rising coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths. Restaurants and non-essential stores are closed, but schools remain open.
The infection rate per 100,000 people remains extremely high at around 480.

With more than 27,000 people hospitalized across France, the COVID-19 patients occupy more than 80% of the nation’s ICU beds, according to the public health agency. That’s the highest level since April.

Overall, France has 1.5 million confirmed cases and 38,674 deaths, the seventh-highest toll worldwide.
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People walk past a cinema that has temporarily closed on the first day of Britain’s second lockdown, designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed by people with coronavirus. Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON — The British government extended for five months a salary support program paying 80% of wages for those unemployed because of coronavirus restrictions.

Treasury chief Rishi Sunak told lawmakers the program, which ended Oct. 31, will be extended until the end of March. The program includes all U.K. nations.

Last week, the government put England into lockdown from Thursday until Dec. 2 because of surging coronavirus infections. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items will be closed, starting today.

Sunak says the economic effects of lockdown “are much longer lasting for businesses and areas than the duration of any restrictions.”
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A medical staff member from the National Health Organization (EODY) conducts a rapid COVID test on a man, wearing a face mask with the Greek flag, in Athens.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s prime minister has announced a nationwide three-week lockdown starting Saturday, saying the increase in coronavirus infections must be stopped before the country’s health care system comes under “unbearable” pressure.

The main difference between this lockdown and the one Greece imposed in the spring is that kindergartens and primary schools will remain open. High schools will operate by remote learning. The lockdown goes until Nov. 30.

Residents will only be able to leave their homes for specific reasons such as work, medical appointments or exercise, and after informing authorities by text message.

Retail businesses will be shut down but not supermarkets and food stores. Restaurants will operate on a delivery-only basis.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he “chose once again to take drastic measures sooner rather than later” after seeing an “aggressive increase in cases” over the last five days.

On Wednesday, Greece announced a record 18 daily deaths and 2,646 new cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to just under 47,000 and the deaths to 673.
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Policemen wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus detain a Russian nationalist during an unsanctioned action to mark National Unity Day in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. The Moscow authorities banned their traditional “Russian March” in Moscow celebrating People’s Unity Day due to the coronavirus epidemic. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW — Moscow authorities on Thursday extended online studies for middle and high school students for two more weeks amid a rapid resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered school students from 6th to 11th grade to continue online classes until Nov. 22. “Lots of kids want to return to classes. This is understandable. But in the current situation … it is obvious that it is too early to relax,” Sobyanin said.

Russia’s number of new infections has gone from over 5,000 a day in early September to over 19,000 a day this week. On Thursday, Russian officials reported 19,404 new cases, bringing the country’s total to over 1.7 million. Russian authorities have also reported over 29,000 deaths in the pandemic.

Despite the rapid surge of infections, the authorities have insisted there was no need to impose a second lockdown or shut down businesses.

Moscow, which accounts for roughly 1/4 of Russia’s daily new infections, has ordered its elderly residents to self-isolate at home and employers to have at least 30% of their staff work from home.
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A Centogene employee in a white protective suit takes a sample from a man at the private Covid 19 test centre at Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER) in Schoenefeld, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The new test center in Terminal 1 is operated in cooperation with the airport company and the Malteser Hilfsdienst. (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)

BERLIN — Germany has recorded nearly 20,000 new coronavirus cases in one day, its highest level yet.

The national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, on Thursday said 19,990 infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours. That tops the previous record of 19,059 set on Saturday.

It brought the total case tally in Germany, a nation of 83 million people, since the pandemic began to 597,583. Another 118 deaths raised the total to 10,930.

Like other European countries, Germany has seen a sharp rise in infections in recent weeks. A four-week partial shutdown took effect on Monday, with bars, restaurants, leisure and sports facilities being closed and new contact restrictions imposed. Shops and schools remain open.

Although Germany’s situation is alarming officials, many other European countries are in worse shape. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Wednesday that Germany has 237 new cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days — some seven times lower than in Belgium.