November 4 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Steve George, Zamira Rahim, Lauren Kent, Ed Upright, Rob Picheta and Hira Humayun, CNN

Updated 0601 GMT (1401 HKT) November 5, 2020
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12:58 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Denmark to cull its entire mink population over coronavirus mutation fears

A mink is photographed in a farm in Hjoerring, in North Jutland, Denmark, on October 8, 2020.
A mink is photographed in a farm in Hjoerring, in North Jutland, Denmark, on October 8, 2020. Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

All mink in Denmark are to be culled, because of concerns that the animals are spreading a mutated form of coronavirus, the country’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says.

Frederiksen revealed that the Statens Serum Institut found five examples in mink farms and 12 examples in humans that showed reduced sensitivity to antibodies.

"The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans," Frederiksen said. "In other words: The mutated virus -- via mink -- can carry the risk that the upcoming vaccine will not work as it should,"

"It is necessary to kill all mink in Denmark. This also applies to breeding animals," she said.

"It is… a decision the government is making with a heavy heart," the Prime Minister said. "But, given the clear recommendation of the health authorities, it is the necessary decision."

Frederiksen added that new restrictions will need to be introduced in certain areas to contain the spread of the mutated virus.

“Unfortunately, the residents of those municipalities have to prepare for further restrictions in the near future,” she said.

The decision was hailed by animal rights groups, who have long opposed the use of mink for fur.

"Although not a ban on fur farming, this move signals the end of suffering for millions of animals confined to small wire cages on Danish fur farms solely for the purposes of a trivial fur fashion that no-one needs," Joanna Swabe, the international senior director of public affairs for the Humane Society, said in a statement.

"We commend the Danish Prime Minister on her decision to take such an essential and science-led step to protect Danish citizens from the deadly coronavirus."

1:33 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

New York City's coronavirus case metrics are a "concern" as hospitalizations rise, says mayor

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

An election official offers hand sanitizer to a voter at a polling location for the 2020 presidential election in Brooklyn, NY, on Nov. 3, 2020. 
An election official offers hand sanitizer to a voter at a polling location for the 2020 presidential election in Brooklyn, NY, on Nov. 3, 2020.  Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New York City's coronavirus case metrics are "cause for concern," Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday, as the city reported 628 new cases on a seven-day average.

"Again, this case number is going up and that’s a concern," de Blasio said. "Some of that explained by the hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens, some of that explained by greatly expanded testing."

Mayor de Blasio said 114 people with Covid 19 had been admitted to hospitals in the city -- a "much higher number than we’ve seen typically."

"That’s cause for concern," he said, adding: "We’re keeping a close eye on that."

The percentage of people who tested positive for Covid-19 city-wide is at 1.54%, according to de Blasio, with the 7-day rolling average at 1.74%.

"To the extent we stabilize around that level, that's something we can handle for now, but again that's not where we want to be for the long term," he said of the 7-day rolling average.

New York City has recorded a total of 257,613 coronavirus cases, 19,363 confirmed deaths and 4,658 "probable deaths" related to Covid-19, according to the latest data published Tuesday by the city's public health agency.

12:34 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Switzerland will deploy the army to help manage its Covid-19 crisis, as hospitalizations rise

From Sharon Braithwaite

A woman walks past Swiss flags wearing a protective face mask ahead of the announcement by Swiss government of new restrictions to fight the Covid-19 outbreak in Bern, on October 27, 2020. 
A woman walks past Swiss flags wearing a protective face mask ahead of the announcement by Swiss government of new restrictions to fight the Covid-19 outbreak in Bern, on October 27, 2020.  Stefan Wermuth/AFP/Getty Images

Switzerland is to deploy its army to help manage the growing number of coronavirus hospitalizations and patients admitted to intensive care units.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the government announced that 2,500 soldiers would be available to support hospitals in treating or transporting coronavirus patients in places where local resources have been "exhausted."

"With the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of cases is rising sharply and with it — with a delay of one to two weeks — the number of hospitalizations and patients in intensive care units," the Swiss government said. "Since Tuesday, 27 October 2020, several cantons have submitted requests for military support."

The statement added that in order to meet the criteria for an army deployment, Swiss regions "must demonstrate that all civilian means and tools at their disposal have been exhausted."

As of Wednesday, Switzerland and the principality of Liechtenstein had registered 10,073 new daily Covid-19 cases, 247 hospitalizations and 73 new deaths.

Switzerland has recorded a total of 192,376 confirmed cases and 2,275 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the latest government data.

12:08 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Egypt will exercise a "zero tolerance" policy towards people who break Covid-19 rules

From CNN's Kareem Khadder in Jerusalem 

A man wearing a face mask is seen riding a moped along a street in Cairo, Egypt, on Oct. 14, 2020. 
A man wearing a face mask is seen riding a moped along a street in Cairo, Egypt, on Oct. 14, 2020.  Wu Huiwo/Xinhua/Getty Images

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly says the country will exercise a "zero tolerance" policy towards anyone who breaks its coronavirus prevention rules, according to state media.

"Egypt will not tolerate violations of coronavirus preventive measures," Madbouly said Wednesday, according to a cabinet statement cited by the state-run al-Ahram newspaper.

Madbouly ordered Egyptian authorities to fine those who do not wear masks and do not adhere to the rules, which have been in place since May, the statement added.

Egypt's health officials say the country is seeing an increase in coronavirus infections. In the past 24 hours there have been 197 cases and 16 deaths in the north African nation, taking the country's figures to 108,122 infections and 6,305 deaths overall, according to the Ministry of Health.  

"Infections are on an upward curve, [so we are] urging citizens to adhere to the restrictions to avoid unnecessary difficult scenarios," Madbouly said, according to al-Ahram. "Commercial, sports and tourism facilities that fail to commit to the coronavirus preventive measures will be shut down." 

Egypt ordered its people to wear face masks in public in May and has said violators will be fined up to $250 if caught. 

12:22 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

British lawmakers approve England's second national lockdown, set to begin overnight

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

A passenger on a ferry on November 04, 2020 in Liverpool, England.
A passenger on a ferry on November 04, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

UK lawmakers have approved a plan for England to enter a new national lockdown from midnight tonight.

A total of 516 MPs voted for the coronavirus restrictions, tabled by the government, and just 38 voted against them.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had faced some opposition from backbenchers in his own Conservative party over the plans, but the opposition Labour Party backed the restrictions -- having called for a "circuit breaker" lockdown for weeks.

The restrictions will be in place until December 2.

An earlier version of this post misstated the number of MPs who voted in favor of England’s new lockdown measures. This has been corrected.

11:36 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Poland imposes new rules on schools and businesses

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen

Medical personnel in the ICU of Krakow University Hospital, Poland, on November 3.
Medical personnel in the ICU of Krakow University Hospital, Poland, on November 3. Omar Marques/Getty Images

Poland will implement a range of new restrictions on schools and businesses to curb the spread of coronavirus, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski announced Wednesday.

The country will move to remote learning for children in primary school grades 1 through 3, will close cultural institutions and prohibit hotels from accepting guests who are not business travelers.

Poland reported a record rise on Wednesday with almost 25,000 new coronavirus infections and 373 deaths, according to government data.

With the pandemic as a backdrop, hundreds of thousands of people across Poland have been protesting for nearly two weeks against a court decision to ban nearly all abortions in the country. Protests have been happening in defiance of restrictions that ban gatherings of more than five people. At the weekend there were more than 100,000 people protesting on the streets of Warsaw alone.

More restrictions are necessary. I urge you to stay at home," said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. "According to researchers from the University of Warsaw, each day the increase in the number of infections due to street protests may amount to approximately 5,000 people,” he said.

Read more on the protests against Poland's abortion ban here.

11:26 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

British Prime Minister says UK health service could "collapse" under Covid-19 strain

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London

Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on Wednesday.
Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on Wednesday. Frank Augstein/AP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the country's lawmakers Wednesday that he has been "confronted" with data which projects that the National Health Service (NHS) could "collapse" without further measures.

Johnson urged the British parliament to vote on Wednesday to approve new time-limited coronavirus restrictions that would see England enter a new national lockdown from midnight on Thursday.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the British leader said deaths in this second wave could potentially exceed those of the first. The UK was badly hit by the pandemic in the spring wave and has reported more than 47,000 deaths.

When I look at what is happening now amongst some of our continental friends and see doctors who have tested positive being ordered alas to work on Covid wards, and patients airlifted to hospitals in some other countries simply to make space, I can reach only one conclusion: I am not prepared to take the risk with the lives of the British people,” Johnson said in his statement.

He added: “I am sorry to say that the number of Covid patients in some hospitals is already higher than at the peak of the first wave.”

Johnson told lawmakers Wednesday that if the virus' reproductive rate was not reduced to below one, England faces “a bleak and an uncertain future of steadily rising infections and admissions until as I say the capacity of the NHS is breached."

The new period of restriction is expected to last until December 2. Johnson's decision follows similar measures imposed in France and Germany.

“We are moving to these national measures here when the rate both of deaths and infections is lower than they were for instance in France, when President Macron took similar steps," Johnson said.
“If we act now and act decisively we can stem the rising waters before our defences are breached."

The British PM said he hoped the country could return to a tiered system on a local and a regional basis after the lockdown period.

11:47 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Seven out of 10 Swedes are now covered by tighter restrictions

From CNN's Henrik Pettersson and Duarte Mendonca in London

Travelers are seen at a public transport station in Stockholm, Sweden on November 4, 2020.
Travelers are seen at a public transport station in Stockholm, Sweden on November 4, 2020.  Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images)

Sweden is tightening restrictions and enforcing local measures in another three regions, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced on his Facebook page Tuesday. 

“Starting today, a restriction on the number of people who are allowed as a party in restaurants, pubs and bars is also introduced. No more than eight people are allowed to sit at the same table”, he said of the new measures.

The three regions added onto the watchlist are Halland, Jönköping and Örebro. They were added to a list of areas already under the measures which includes Stockholm, Skåne, Uppsala, Western Götaland and Östergötland. 

“This means that seven out of ten Swedes are covered by the stricter recommendations”, the PM said. 

The restrictions also bar Swedish people from physical contact with people they don't live with and from staying in indoor environments where congestion can arise. The new measures also require residents to avoid events such as parties, weddings and large funerals. Employers have also been asked to ensure that their employees can work from home if possible.

“What we do now, it will make a difference. For how and whether we are going to celebrate Lucia, for what kind of Christmas celebrations we can have and for who can join us in celebrating Christmas,” Löfven said.

“It is important that everyone understands the seriousness now. None of us has forgotten what spring looked like. We know what's at stake. And we know what to do. Now we have to do it too. Then we can do this -- together,” he concluded. 

Sweden's coronavirus strategy has been deeply controversial. The country was one of the few European nations that did not fully lockdown in the spring, and it has reported at least 5,969 deaths -- with a death rate much higher than some of its closest neighbors,

11:07 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Europe saw 43% increase of Covid-19 deaths in past week, says WHO

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

A medical worker waits for a patient's arrival outside a hospital in Lorient, western France, on Wednesday, the sixth day of the country's coronavirus lockdown.
A medical worker waits for a patient's arrival outside a hospital in Lorient, western France, on Wednesday, the sixth day of the country's coronavirus lockdown. Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images

Europe has seen a 22% increase in new coronavirus cases and a 43% increase in deaths in the past seven days compared with the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday in their latest weekly Covid-19 update.

France, Italy and the UK reported the highest numbers of new cases in that time, although Andorra, Czech Republic and Belgium reported the highest per population incidence. 

"France accounted for the third-highest number of new cases globally, with over 275,000 cases reported in the past week... that is a 27% increase from the previous week," the WHO said.

The report also highlights that while cases in France rose in line with much of Europe since August, the country saw a significant surge in infection during October.

The WHO added that the number of Covid-19 patients in ICU beds was "rising rapidly" in the country.

The report is based on the data received from national authorities, as of 5:00 a.m. ET on Sunday.