November 16 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton and Sebastian Shukla, CNN

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET, November 16, 2020
15 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:11 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

France has passed the peak of coronavirus epidemic, health minister says

From CNN’s Saskya Vandoorne in Paris

French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a press conference at the French Health Ministry in Paris, on November 12.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a press conference at the French Health Ministry in Paris, on November 12. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

France has passed the peak of its coronavirus outbreak, the country's Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Sunday.

“Over the past 10 days, there’s been a decrease in the number of new Covid-19 cases, and the positivity rate has been declining, so everything suggests that we have passed a peak of the epidemic,” Veran said in an interview with regional press group Ebra.
"We are once again getting this epidemic under control,” he said. 

Veran said the decrease in cases was due to lockdown measures. "But we have not defeated the virus yet," he said. 

On Sunday, France reported 27,228 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours. The country's total caseload is surging close to 2 million, according to its health agency.

Intensive Care Unit admissions and hospitalization rates increased on Sunday, after a small dip on Friday and Saturday.

3:19 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

South Australia reinstates Covid-19 restrictions, halts international flights

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

The Australian state of South Australia has reinstated some social distancing restrictions and halted international flights into its capital, in an attempt to curb a new coronavirus outbreak.

Announced by the state's Premier Steven Marshall on Monday, the new measures include the closing of gyms, canceling community sport and capping funerals at 50 people. Masks will be mandatory for aged care facilities, with visitors capped at two per day.

South Australia reported four cases of coronavirus on Sunday -- its first local infections since April. The cluster grew to 17 on Monday, according to health authorities. 

One of the coronavirus cases works at a hotel quarantine facility, where international arrivals into Adelaide must quarantine for 14 days.

“Time is now of the essence, and we must act swiftly and decisively on the health advice to stay ahead of the game,” Marshall said. “We cannot wait to see how bad this gets.”

The state of Western Australia, which received flights from Adelaide on Sunday, designated South Australia as a "medium risk" jurisdiction on Monday and enforced a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from the state.

Victoria and New South Wales, the two states which previously saw large coronavirus outbreaks, will not subject arrivals from South Australia to quarantine.

3:03 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Olympic chief hopeful that spectators will attend Tokyo Games in a "post-coronavirus world"

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and Angus Watson in Sydney 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach speaks to the media after his meeting with Japan's prime minister in Tokyo, on November 16.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach speaks to the media after his meeting with Japan's prime minister in Tokyo, on November 16. Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool/AP

The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Monday he is hopeful that spectators will be able to attend the Tokyo Olympics next year in a “post-coronavirus world.”

"We can and will make these Olympic Games as a great symbol of solidarity and unity of humanity in this world, which by then will hopefully be a post-coronavirus world," IOC President Thomas Bach said in Tokyo.

Bach said he hopes a vaccine could make the games safer, if one is available by the time the Tokyo Olympics are due to begin on July 23, 2021. 

"In order to protect the Japanese people, and out of respect for the Japanese people, the IOC will undertake a great effort so that as many as possible of the Olympic participants and visitors will arrive here vaccinated if by then a vaccine is available,” Bach said. 

Bach arrived in Japan on Sunday for meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday.

“We are determined that we will realize the Tokyo Olympics," Suga said alongside Bach on Monday. “We will work closely with the IOC president and make our best efforts to carry out a safe Olympics."

2:33 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

India sees lowest single day rise in coronavirus cases since July

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

India reported 30,548 new coronavirus cases for the past 24 hours on Monday, the lowest single day rise since July 15, according to a CNN tally of data from the Indian Ministry of Health. 

Monday also marks the ninth consecutive day that new infections have fallen below 50,000. That's despite the celebrations and gatherings for Diwali -- the festival of lights that fell on November 14 this year.

The Health Ministry attributed the declining new cases to the "successful dissemination of Covid Appropriate Behaviour among the varied population groups".

However, as people gathered to shop ahead of Diwali, experts warned India may see an uptick in cases in the following weeks. 

"I won't be surprised if cases rise across India," Dr. Arvind Kumar, founder and managing trustee of the non-profit Lung Care Foundation, told CNN on Thursday, adding that the effects of the festive gatherings may be felt a week or two after the festivities. 

As of Monday, India's total caseload stands at 8,845,127, with 130,070 deaths.

2:08 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

New Zealand makes masks compulsory on domestic flights and Auckland public transport

From CNN’s Julia Hollingsworth in Hong Kong and Angus Watson in Sydney

Mask-wearing will be compulsory for passengers aboard domestic flights in New Zealand and on public transport in the country’s most populous city, Auckland, according to Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins.

Previously, passengers were only required to wear masks on planes and public transport when the country was at Covid alert level 2. New Zealand has four alert levels to respond to the severity of outbreaks, with level 4 being the highest.  

The rule will come into effect at 11.59 p.m. local time on Wednesday. 

There are currently 58 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, according to the Health Ministry. Five of them are cases from people within the community, and the remaining 53 were detected at the border. 

“The new move is in line with the measures already taken and fits with New Zealand’s overall focus on keeping the virus out and stamping it out when cases appear,” Hipkins said.  

Research from earlier this year found that close to 90% of public transport users in Auckland believe masks should be compulsory when riding, according to Auckland Transport.

1:50 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

British researchers consider mixing coronavirus vaccines in future trials

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

British vaccine researchers say they are considering putting together trials that would mix two different coronavirus vaccines to see if the combination works better than one vaccine formulation alone.

Vaccine makers are taking several different approaches in making immunizations to protect people against coronavirus.

What are the methods: Some vaccines -- such as those made by Pfizer and Moderna -- use pieces of genetic material called messenger RNA or mRNA to prompt the body to make synthetic pieces of the coronavirus and stimulate an immune response.

Others, such as Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, use a different type of virus called an adenovirus to carry genetic fragments of the coronavirus into the body. Biotech company Novavax is testing a vaccine using nanoparticles that look like pieces of the coronavirus paired with a plant-based adjuvant to boost the immune response. 

Most of the vaccines require two doses to provide full immunity. Even though Johnson & Johnson started testing its coronavirus vaccine as a single dose, it has begun a new trial that gives two doses.

Different doses: One worry is that if more than one brand of formulation of vaccine gets approved or authorized for public use that it will be difficult for people to keep track of which vaccine they got for their first shot. Careful record-keeping will be needed to ensure that people get two doses of the same vaccine, not of two different vaccines.

But British vaccine researchers say they’ll consider trials in which people get two different shots, to see how well that works.

“It could be that the combination of two different vaccines gives better protection,” Dr. Adam Finn, director of the Bristol Children's Vaccine Center at Bristol Medical School, told reporters.

Finn said he and other researchers were drawing up protocols for a potential clinical trial testing the combination of one type of vaccine for the first shot and a second type for the follow-up dose.

A combination of two vaccine types might generate wider immunity -- not just the production of antibodies, but stronger production of immune cells called T-cells, said Kate Bingham, who chairs the UK government’s Coronavirus Vaccine Taskforce.

1:36 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

US reports more than 133,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells

The United States reported 133,045 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the 13th consecutive day it has recorded more than 100,000 new infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

An additional 616 coronavirus-related deaths were also reported Sunday.

The US has now recorded at least 11,036,935 Covid-19 cases, including 246,214 fatalities.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN is tracking US Covid-19 cases:

2:18 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Johnson & Johnson starts new two-dose Covid vaccine trial in Britain

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

A logo sign outside of facility occupied by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Somerville, New Jersey on May 31, 2015.
A logo sign outside of facility occupied by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Somerville, New Jersey on May 31, 2015. Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine arm Janssen Pharmaceuticals is starting a new, advanced Phase 3 trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in Britain, which uses two doses instead of just one to see if that protects people better against infection.

Most of the coronavirus vaccines in late-stage clinical trials around the world require two doses for full protection, including leading candidates being developed by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Novavax. Janssen’s was the lone single-dose vaccine in Phase 3 trials in the US and Britain.

“They realized now that two doses give you slightly better immunity,” Kate Bingham, a biotechnology expert who is head of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, told reporters in a briefing.

Where will the trial be rolled out: Up to 30,000 people will be enrolled in the new global trial, with participants in Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, the company said in a statement.

“In order to evaluate the efficacy of Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, clinical trial sites in countries and areas with high incidence of Covid-19 and the ability to achieve a rapid initiation were selected.”

Two doses: Volunteers will get two shots, 57 days apart, or placebos. The first volunteer was scheduled to be vaccinated in Britain Monday.

“While a potentially effective single-dose preventive Covid-19 vaccine with a good safety profile would have significant benefits, particularly in a pandemic setting, Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine program has been designed to be extremely thorough and driven by science. As such, we are investigating multiple doses and dosing regimens to evaluate their long-term efficacy,” the company said.

Janssen’s Phase 3 trial paused for two weeks in the US over safety concerns but resumed in October.

12:02 a.m. ET, November 16, 2020

Oregon reports 868 new cases as 2-week "social freeze" is set to begin Wednesday

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Gov. Kate Brown speaks in Portland, Oregon, on November 10.
Gov. Kate Brown speaks in Portland, Oregon, on November 10. Cathy Cheney/Pool/AP

Oregon reported 868 new cases of coronavirus Sunday as the state prepares for a two-week "social freeze" starting this Wednesday.

The new cases reported by the Oregon Health Authority come after the state saw more than 1,000 new daily cases the previous three days.

On Sunday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took to Twitter to praise Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee for announcing new restrictions in the neighboring state.

"COVID-19 does not stop at the I-5 bridge," Brown tweeted. "Thanks to Governor Inslee for taking bold action today. Now we need Congress to step up to provide relief. If we all work together, we can save thousands of lives."

Oregon has reported a total of 56,880 cases since the pandemic began.

Tightening restrictions: Brown announced the statewide "social freeze" on Saturday amid surging cases. The measures will limit social gatherings to a maximum of six people and two households, ban in-person dining in restaurants and bars, and limit faith-based events to a maximum of 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

Retail locations and grocery stores will have to operate at 75% capacity, while gyms and recreation facilities will be closed. However, the new measures do not apply to businesses like barber shops and salons, or childcare and K-12 schools.