Coronavirus updates, November 30: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide confirmed coronavirus cases jump past 398,024; death toll crosses 8,000; global death toll tops 1,458,000

Web Desk

Pakistan's COVID-19 tally rose to 398,024 on Monday after 2,839 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours across the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 9:00 am, November 30, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 398,024

• Sindh: 173,014

• Punjab: 119,035

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 47,190

• Balochistan: 17,158

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 30,123

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 4,649

• AJK: 6,855

Deaths: 8,025

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 1,368

• Punjab: 2,991

• Sindh: 2,924

• Balochistan: 166

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 97

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 314

• AJK: 165

More than 62,677,879 infections have been confirmed globally with over 1,458,587 deaths, according to the John Hopkins University tally.

11:58pm — Geneva, Switzerland — WHO urges Brazil to be 'very, very serious' about rising COVID-19 cases

The World Health Organization urged Brazil to be "very, very serious" about its rising coronavirus infection numbers, a trend that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described as "very, very worrisome".

Brazil has the world's worst COVID-19 death toll outside the United States. More than 6.3 million people have been infected and nearly 173,000 have died there from the virus, according to its health ministry data. 

11:49pm — UK has coronavirus back under control, says health minister

Britain has got COVID-19 back under control, health minister Matt Hancock said as England prepares to exit a national lockdown this week and enter a tiered system of restrictions subject to a parliamentary vote.

"We've got this virus back under control," Hancock said at a news conference.

10:26pm — Ankara, Turkey — Govt announces weekday, weekend lockdown against coronavirus

Turkey will impose curfews on weekdays and full lockdowns over weekends to combat the spread of the coronavirus, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, after new cases and deaths hit records highs in recent weeks.

Citizens will not be allowed to leave home between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays, and over the whole weekend from 9 p.m. on Fridays to 5 a.m. on Mondays, Erdogan said.

Some sectors, including supply chain and production, will be exempt from the measures which will begin on Tuesday, he added.

9:52pm — Geneva, Switzerland — WHO urges countries to 'look very, very carefully' at ski season plans

The World Health Organisation urged countries on Monday to consider carefully any plans for the coming ski season to manage the risks associated with people converging on small areas where the new coronavirus could be spread.

But the global health agency declined to offer a specific recommendation to governments wrestling with the question of whether to allow snow sports this winter.

"We would ask that all countries look at the ski season and other reasons for mass gatherings and look very, very carefully at the associated risks," said Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergency expert.

9:31pm — Rome, Italy — 16,377 new coronavirus cases, 672 deaths reported

Italy reported 672 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday, against 541 on Sunday, and 16,377 new infections, down from 20,648 the day before, the health ministry said, with the fall in cases reflecting the usual drop in the number of swabs conducted on Sundays.

The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has seen 55,576 COVID-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain's. It has also registered 1.6 million cases to date.

There were 130,524 swabs carried out in the past day, down from a previous 176,934.

8:29pm — London, UK — No COVID-19 vaccine, no normal life, minister suggests

People who refuse a vaccine for COVID-19 could find normal life curtailed as restaurants, bars, cinemas and sports venues could block entry to those who don't have proof they are inoculated, Britain's new vaccine minister said.

Several major COVID-19 vaccines have been announced in recent weeks, raising hopes that the world could soon return to some semblance of normality after the coronavirus killed 1.46 million people and wiped out a chunk of the global economy.

The British minister responsible for the vaccine rollout, Nadhim Zahawi, said getting vaccinated should be voluntary but that Google, Facebook and Twitter should do more to fact-check opposing views of vaccines.

Asked by the BBC if there would be an immunity passport, Zahawi said a person's COVID-19 vaccine status might be included in a phone app that would inform local doctors of a person's status.

"But also I think you'd probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system as they've done with the app," Zahawi told the BBC.

7:08pm — Berlin, Germany — Merkel says don't undermine COVID-19 measures with early ski season

European Union member states should not undermine contact restrictions meant to slow the spread of the pandemic by letting the ski season start early, a spokesman of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.

"It doesn't make sense to undermine national contact restrictions ... by starting the ski season too early," Steffen Seibert said at a regular news conference.

Merkel last week said Germany wants Alpine countries to keep ski resorts closed to help fight the pandemic, but reaching an agreement with neighbouring Austria is proving difficult.

6:30pm — Moscow, Russia — Hospital says it began civilian coronavirus vaccinations last week

Russia has delivered the first known batch of Sputnik V vaccines for civilian use to a hospital just south of Moscow, which said on Monday it began vaccinating the local population last week.

Russia, which is rushing to keep up with Western drugmakers in the race for a coronavirus shot, has said interim trial results show its Sputnik V vaccine to be 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19.

Domodedovo's Central City Hospital said on its website that residents wanting for inoculation had to register on a government website in advance and bring along a negative COVID-19 test result and ID documents on the day.

5:33pm — Moderna to seek US, EU emergency authorization Monday after COVID-19 vaccine 94.1% effective

Moderna said it will apply for US and European emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine on Monday based on full results from a late-stage study showing its vaccine was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns.

It also reported a 100% success rate in preventing severe cases. The filing sets Moderna's product up to be the second vaccine likely to receive US emergency use authorization this year.

"We believe that we have a vaccine that is very highly efficacious. We now have the data to prove it," Moderna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tal Zaks said in a telephone interview. "We expect to be playing a major part in turning around this pandemic."

WATCH: WHO answers questions on COVID-19

3:30pm — Paris, France — French health body says nursing homes should get COVID-19 vaccine first

France’s top health advisory body said on Monday it had recommended COVID-19 vaccinations should target retirement homes residents and their staff first when doses reach the country.

Haute Autorite de la Sante (HAS) suggested rolling out the campaign in stages and on a voluntary basis, like in many other countries.

President Emmanuel Macron said last week that vaccines could start to be administered as soon as the end of the year in France, if approved by regulators, after hopes were raised of a quick roll-out following promising results from trials of several candidates.

After those in nursing homes, amounting to around 840,000 people in France, a second phase would target those aged 65 and over, as well as some health workers, the HAS said.

Three other stages would follow, aimed at people with underlying conditions such as diabetes, other exposed professionals and then adults with no known other conditions.

“These recommendations will evolve other time as we get more data. We call for vaccination on a voluntary basis,” the head of HAS Dominique Le Guludec told reporters.

The French government is due to detail in the coming days how it will handle its vaccines campaign.

3:00pm — Lahore, Pakistan — National boxing championship called off due to coronavirus

The National Boxing Championship was called off on Monday due to the coronavirus, reported Geo News.

The championship was expected to be held in Lahore at the end of December.

2:45pm — Islamabad reports 5 new deaths due to coronavirus 

2:30pm — Mirpur, Hyderabad, Karachi and Peshawar record highest coronavirus positive rate

Four cities in Pakistan recorded the highest test percent positive in the last one week, after the "second wave" of the coronavirus infections have been on the upward trend in the country.

The test positive rate — the number of COVID-19 laboratory tests which came back positive — reached as high 24.8% in Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, on November 29. This past week, the city has continued to record a positivity rate of over 8%, as per daily reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO recommends the positivity rate to remain below 5%, before a country can begin to open up its economy.

Read more here.

2:00pm — Seoul, South Korea — South Korea considers more vaccine buys as coronavirus cases spike

South Korea’s ruling party has called for the country to buy millions of additional coronavirus vaccine doses after a spike in infection numbers raised concerns about the government’s existing plans.

South Korea already plans to secure enough doses to vaccinate 30 million people, or about 60% of the population, but Democratic Party lawmakers said they would appropriate funds to buy doses for at least 44 million people.

“The party plans to allocate an additional 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) to next year’s budget,” an official with Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Nak-yon’s office told Reuters.

South Korea is battling one of its largest waves of coronavirus infections yet, fuelled by small outbreaks in the densely populated capital city of Seoul and surrounding areas.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 438 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 34,201 cases and 526 deaths.

The government’s current vaccine purchase plan puts it well ahead of a World Health Organization (WHO) goal for the early purchase of supplies for 20% of most vulnerable people, and the minimum of 40% agreed by European Union nations, Britain and EU partners for their populations.

1:30pm — Moscow, Russia — Russia reports 26,338 new coronavirus cases, 368 deaths

Russia reported 26,338 new coronavirus cases on Monday, including 6,511 in Moscow and 3,691 in St Petersburg, taking the national total to 2,295,654 cases since the pandemic began.

Authorities also reported 368 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 39,895.

1:15pm — Karachi, Pakistan — List of facilities with vacant beds in Sindh 

1:00pm — Bangkok, Thailand — Thailand tracking 200 people as infected returnees skip COVID-19 quarantine

Thailand was racing to track down about 200 people in its northern provinces on Monday to stop a potential coronavirus outbreak, after three Thai nationals entered the country illegally from Myanmar and tested positive days later.

Three women bypassed immigration checks and entered via natural border crossings last Tuesday and Friday, skipping the mandatory quarantine for new arrivals, Chiang Rai provincial governor Prachon Pratsakul said.

There were 356 people in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces potentially exposed, among them staff and customers of a hotel, shopping mall, cinema, restaurants and passengers in a van and taxi, Prachon told a news conference.

Thailand has strict measures and border controls to keep the coronavirus at bay having kept its cases to less than 4,000 and deaths at 60, although its tourism-reliant economy has suffered badly.

Most infections in recent months have been imported and found in government quarantine, with only a handful of community-transmitted cases reported, which each saw massive contact-tracing efforts launched.

So far more than 150 people in the northern provinces have been found and tested negative, senior health official Sopon Iamsirithaworn said in a separate news conference.

The first of the three new cases arrived on Nov. 24 in Chiang Rai and travelled to Chiang Mai, where she later showed coronavirus symptoms and went to hospital.

12:30am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Asad Umar announce that NCOC has finalised vaccine plan

Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar announced on Monday that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had finalised its recommendations to procure the coronavirus vaccine. 

The minister stated that the recommendations will be presented to the cabinet on Tuesday for approval. 

"The taskforce of experts headed by SAPM health Dr. Faisal Sultan had developed the recommendations which were discussed and finalized today," said Umar.

12:15pm — New York, USA — New York City public schools will begin to reopen with weekly COVID-19 testing

New York City’s public schools will begin to reopen for in-person learning on December 7, starting with elementary schools for students whose parents agree to a weekly testing regimen for the novel coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday.

The schools, which make up the country’s largest school system, were closed less than two weeks ago after the citywide rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive exceeded a 3% benchmark agreed to by the mayor and the teachers’ union.

“It’s a new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be,” de Blasio told reporters, saying the 3% benchmark was being scrapped and pointing to research that shows young children appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19. On Sunday, the city’s seven-day rolling average of positive tests was 3.9%, de Blasio said.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, who joined the mayor at a news conference, said with the new measures he believed the city could “safely and successfully keep our schools open for the duration of this pandemic.”

Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that the labor union was supportive of the mayor’s phased reopening so long as “stringent testing was in place.”

12:00pm — Berlin, Germany — Germans must do more to reduce contacts to curb pandemic, minister says

The number of COVID-19 infections is still much too high in most German regions and people must do more to reduce their contacts to slow the spread of the disease, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Monday.

Altmaier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, added that pandemic relief aid for companies cannot be extended indefinitely and taxes will not be raised in this parliamentary term, which will likely last until late next year. 

11:45am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Highest positivity ratio observed in Mirpur

The NCOC was informed that the national positivity ratio has increased to 8.53% with Mirpur having the highest positivity ratio.

“Highest positivity ratio observed in Mirpur 27.75% followed by Muzaffarabad 23.44% and Hyderabad 18.21%,” said the NCOC statement.

The body also shared that 2,046 coronavirus patients are in critical condition across Pakistan and the number was rising fast.

On the other hand, the positivity ratio in various federating units showed that AJK had a positivity ratio of 21.3 %, Balochistan is at 11.95 %, GB is at 3.43%, Islamabad is at 6.62.30%, KP is at 5.57%, Punjab is at 4.84% and Sindh stands at 14.04%.

11:30am — Islamabad, Pakistan — More than 5,000 smart lockdowns imposed across Pakistan

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) was informed on Monday that more than 5,000 smart lockdowns have been placed across the country.

NCOC was told that 5,082 smart lockdowns have been imposed across Pakistan with 2,058,746 people under these lockdowns. The breakdown showed that 1,459 smart lockdowns are in Punjab, 206 in Sindh, 182 in KP, 3,205 in ICT, 30 in GB

The forum was also told that Azad Jammu and Kashmir is in complete lockdown.

11:15am — Mumbai, India — India COVID-19 cases top 9.4 million

India's novel coronavirus cases rose by 38,772, the health ministry said on Monday, making it the 23rd straight day that daily cases have stayed below the 50,000 mark.

The country now has 9.43 million cases, the second-highest in the world after the United States, but daily cases have been dipping since hitting a peak in September.

Deaths rose by 443 in the last 24 hours, and now total 137,139.

11:00am — Newcastle, UK — Football club Newcastle United's COVID-19 positives increase to five: reports

Two more individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 at Newcastle United, taking the total number of cases within the Premier League club to five, British media reported on Sunday.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce had said on the eve of Friday's 2-0 league win at Crystal Palace that three unnamed individuals at the club were self-isolating after testing positive.

Sky Sports reported that two more individuals had joined that group ahead of Newcastle's next league meeting at Aston Villa on Friday.

"It's a concern and difficult to manage. We're trying our utmost to make sure we try and stay as safe as we can," Sky Sports quoted Bruce as saying after the Palace match.

"Of course my concern isn't just the welfare of the players, which is vitally important, but my members of staff too. We'll do our best but it's difficult at the moment."

10:45am — Paris, France — French COVID-19 infection rate slows further

The spread of the coronavirus slowed again in France, with 9,784 new cases recorded on Sunday compared with 12,580 on Saturday and 13,157 last Sunday.

The number of people in intensive care fell by another 21 to 3,756 and the number of new deaths fell to 198 from 213 on Sunday, health ministry data showed. 

10:30am — Ghizer Gilgit Baltistan — Karakoram International University sealed after students test positive 

Karakoram International University in Ghizer was sealed after 15 students tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said on Monday.

The university administration said that the hostel has also been sealed following the positive results. They added that the students have been quarantined in their homes.

10:15am — London, UK — England's COVID-19 infections down 30% during national lockdown: survey

COVID-19 infections have fallen by 30% during England's month-long national lockdown and the virus is now in retreat, a large-scale study of more than 100,000 volunteers showed on Monday.

England began its second national lockdown on November 5 to curb rapidly rising infections and protect its health system. The country is due to return to a regional approach to restrictions from December 2.

Levels of infection fell 30%, with 96 people per 10,000 infected between November 13 and November 24, according to interim results of the study by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI.

The last iteration of the research, carried out between Oct. 16 and Nov. 2, showed 130 infections per 10,000 people.

"The findings show cases were rising as the country entered lockdown, but this was followed by a decrease as national measures successfully lowered infection rates across the country," a statement issued by the health department said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced criticism over the decision to lock down from within his own party where some said it was an unnecessary infringement on civil liberties. The opposition Labour Party said he had been too slow to react.

The reproductive number of the virus was estimated at 0.88, reinforcing data released on Friday which showed infection numbers were shrinking by between 0% and 2% every day.

While the statement said the prevalence of the disease was still high, it showed a sharp decrease in several areas of northern England which are due to enter the toughest tier of restrictions next week.

10:00am — Shanghai, China — China reports 18 new COVID-19 cases vs 11 a day earlier

China reported 18 new COVID-19 cases on November 29, up from 11 a day earlier, the national health authority said on Monday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement 15 of the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas. It also reported three local infections in the Inner Mongolia region.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 17 from 10 a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 86,530, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

9:45am — Mexico City, Mexico — Mexico reports more than 6,000 new coronavirus cases

Mexico reported 6,388 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 196 additional deaths on Sunday, health ministry data showed.

The latest tally brought the official number of cases to 1,107,071 with a total death toll of 105,655.

Health officials have said the real number of both is likely to be significantly higher due to little testing.

9:30am — Berlin, Germany — Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 11,169

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 11,169 to 1,053,869, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. 

The reported death toll rose by 125 to 16,248, the tally showed. 

9:15am — Karachi, Pakistan — MQM leader Adil Siddiqui loses life to coronavirus

MQM leader and former provincial minister Adil Siddiqui lost his life to the coronavirus, reported a spokesman for a private hospital where he was being treated.

The spokesman said that Siddiqui was admitted to the hospital a few days ago, adding that the MQM leader was suffering from a lung-related illness as well.

9:00am — Washington DC, USA — CDC reports 265,166 deaths from coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported a total 13,142,997 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 143,333 from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,210 to 265,166.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on November 28 compared with its previous report a day earlier. 

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, at the Memorial Medical Center, a family, like many across America, watches and waits while a loved one struggles with COVID in an intensive care ward.

Jose Garcia, 67, has been in the ICU there since Nov. 6 and doesn’t appear to be getting better, said his daughter, Carolina Garcia, a nurse for 12 years at the hospital.

She, like her eight brothers and sisters, are praying their father will recover, she said.

“I feel as a nurses, we’re seeing a type of nursing we’ve never seen,” she said. “Usually they (patients) come in they come in and get better and go home. This is a whole different ballgame. The virus - it’s not getting better.”