Denmark to impose hard lockdown over Christmas; record daily cases in the Netherlands
Denmark will impose a hard lockdown over Christmas and the New Year to limit the spread the virus, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has confirmed.
Shopping malls will close starting tomorrow and other stores, with the exception of supermarkets and food shops, will close from 25 December. Students still in school will be sent home as of Monday.
“Our healthcare system is under pressure,” Frederiksen said. “We have to act now.”
Danish authorities expect the coming months to be the worst of the pandemic, she said.
Denmark reported a record 3,692 new coronavirus infections during the past 24 hours on Wednesday.
A record of 54 people have been hospitalised with Covid in Denmark in the last 24 hours, bringing to 493 the number of people currently in hospital.
Unicef has launched a domestic emergency response in the UK for the first time in its more than 70-year history to help feed children hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
The UN agency, which is responsible for providing humanitarian aid to children worldwide, said the coronavirus pandemic was the most urgent crisis affecting children since the second world war.
A YouGov poll in May commissioned by the charity Food Foundation found 2.4 million children (17%) were living in food insecure households. By October, an extra 900,000 children had been registered for free school meals.
Unicef has pledged a grant of £25,000 to the community project School Food Matters, which will use the money to supply 18,000 nutritious breakfasts to 25 schools over the two-week Christmas holidays and February half-term, feeding vulnerable children and families in Southwark, south London, who have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Read more here:
Unicef to feed hungry children in UK for first time in 70-year history
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Here’s a roundup of the latest developments:
- Officials in Italy and France have said they expect to begin vaccinations before the end of the year. The French prime minister, Jean Castex, announced that 200m doses have been ordered. The EU has suggested approval for the Pfizer vaccine could be given on 23 December. The president of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said suggested vaccinations across Europe would “start at the same day”.
- The global scheme to deliver vaccines to poorer countries faces a “very high” risk of failure, potentially leaving billions of people with no access to vaccines until as late as 2024, internal documents have revealed. The risk of failure of the Covax project is higher because the scheme was set up so quickly, operating in “uncharted territory”, one internal report says.
- Germany has announced a record 952 new coronavirus-related deaths, as shops, schools and nurseries across the country closed for an emergency Christmas lockdown. Germany’s disease control agency has recorded more than 400 deaths for 11 days in a row.
- Infections in the Netherlands have increased by a record 11,214 cases. Shopping malls are expected to be closed in Denmark from Thursday.
- An adviser to Italy’s health ministry has called for coronavirus restrictions to be drastically tightened to avoid a “national tragedy” after the national statistics bureau said deaths this year would be the highest since the second world war. “We are in a war situation, people don’t realise it but the last time we had this many deaths, bombs were dropping on our cities during the war,” said public health professor Walter Ricciardi.
- The World Health Organization in Europe has urged families to wear face masks during this year’s Christmas gatherings. In a statement it said that while some “fragile progress” had been made, “Covid-19 transmission across the European region remains widespread and intense.”
- Japan’s capital Tokyo has reported its highest one-day case total of the pandemic so far, with 678 infections. The figure is higher than last week Saturday’s record of 621 cases.
- A World Health Organization research mission to China is expected to arrive in Wuhan next month to investigate how the novel coronavirus jumped from animals to humans, and whether it emerged earlier or in a different place than originally thought.
- India recorded 26,355 new coronavirus cases, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday, making it the third straight day that daily infections in the country have stayed below 30,000. India has recorded 9.93m infections so far, the second highest in the world after the United States, but daily numbers have dipped steadily since hitting a peak of about 97,000 in mid-September.
- Swedish PM says officials misjudged power of Covid resurgence. Health officials in Sweden, which opted not to respond to the first wave of Covid-19 with a national lockdown, misjudged the power of the virus’s resurgence, the country’s prime minister has said, as an independent commission criticised the country’s strategy.