November 23 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020
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9:32 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

“When they tell me I can get a vaccine, I will get it,” US Surgeon General says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams attends a hearing on September 9 in Washington, DC.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams attends a hearing on September 9 in Washington, DC. Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images

“The most reassuring thing I can say to you, America, is that when they tell me that I can get the vaccine, I will get it, because I know that’s the best way to protect myself and to protect my family and my community,” US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on “Good Morning America” Monday.

Adams said that he has been traveling around and talking to people, including presidents from historically black colleges and universities, trying to help people understand that Covid-19 vaccines were developed safely.

“Tony Fauci said it, Moncef Slaoui said it,” Adams said. “We have not cut any safety corners.”

When asked how to be sure there won’t be any future prolonged side effects from the vaccine, which is the first of its kind, Adams said that he speaks every day to Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.

“Here’s what they tell me. Normal studies only have about 5,000 people in them before a vaccine is approved. These studies have 30 to 60,000,” he said. “These vaccines, at the point of being administered to the American public, will have more data than any other vaccine developed in history.”

Adams reiterated he would get a vaccine as soon as he was able, saying, “Again, I will be in line to get it when they tell me that I can get it. That’s how much confidence I have this will be safe – 95% plus effectiveness.”

Adams said he would hate for there to be a vaccine that could end the pandemic and that people don’t trust it, saying he would continue to work with any organization out there “to help people understand the safety that went into this process, not just the speed.”

9:22 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Covid-19 in Asia at a glance: Mass testing in China as Hong Kong battles fourth wave

From CNN's Angus Watson

People undergo Covid-19 tests at a makeshift testing center in Tianjin, China, on November 21.
People undergo Covid-19 tests at a makeshift testing center in Tianjin, China, on November 21. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Here are the latest coronavirus headlines in Asia, as countries continue to battle the pandemic: 

In China, the northeastern city of Tianjin has gone about testing 2.25 million people as health authorities attempt to get on top of a new cluster of the coronavirus.

Authorities set themselves three days to test 2.6 million residents after five new cases were reported in a residential compound in the east of the city. 

In Shanghai, chaotic scenes at the airport as all cargo workers have been forced to get tested, another cluster of 5 broke out among that workforce last week.

“All personnel of cargo areas participated [in testing] overnight, professional testing personnel set up a temporary testing site on the second floor of the long-term parking lot of the Pudong Airport to collect testing samples,” the Shanghai government said in a statement. 

Pictures posted to social media showed authorities at Shanghai Pudong International Airport working to contain crowds after the decision to test all the staff in the cargo areas.

In the semi-autonomous Chinese region of Hong Kong, a fourth wave has been declared, after a cluster emerged around 21 different dance studios in the city.

At least 73 new cases were detected on Friday, 50 linked to the dance studio cluster and just 10 considered "imported cases." Worryingly for officials, at least 8 cases still cannot be traced. 

Meanwhile in Pakistan, all schools have been shuttered as the country battles a second wave of Covid-19.

All education institutions will be closed from Nov. 26 through Jan. 11 as Covid-19 cases mount in the country, according to the education minister Shafqat Mahmood.

Health authorities in Pakistan have recorded at least 2,756 new cases of the virus over the past 24 hours. Pakistan currently has approximately 46,044 active cases of Covid-19 with 7,696 deaths recorded since March.

9:20 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Lockdown looms for Luxembourg after tiny nation reports 1,000 new cases

From CNN's James Frater

Luxembourg, one of Europe's smallest nations, is set to enter lockdown after being hit hard by Covid-19.

The country reported over 1,000 new cases this weekend and still has the worst rate of infections per population in Europe. Six deaths were reported over the weekend.

Local media is reporting that the proposed measures are:

  • Existing curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time will be extended
  • Lockdown will be three weeks, but could be extended
  • Closure of bars, restaurants, cinemas and fitness centers
  • Shops, museums and art galleries remain open

The aim is to get below 500 new cases per day in order for the healthcare system to be in a better position.

9:14 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Air travel surges in the US ahead of Thanksgiving holiday despite CDC warning

From CNN's Pete Muntean 

Travelers walk in Florida's Miami International Airport on November 22.
Travelers walk in Florida's Miami International Airport on November 22. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Passengers just broke a pandemic air travel record, in spite of the CDC’s warning to not travel for Thanksgiving. 

TSA says 1,047,934 people passed through security at America’s airports on Sunday— the second time since Friday that more than a million people flew. 

The previous pandemic record was set back on Oct.18, the Sunday of the long Columbus Day weekend.

Last week, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said that he expected travel levels to be on par with that record, noting that he expected the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after to be the busiest for air travel.

In spite of the CDC urging people to not travel for Thanksgiving, airlines insist that flying is safe.

On Friday, airline industry groups told reporters that the industry is not encouraging people to travel, but they are not discouraging them either. 

8:23 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Chile to allow foreign visitors to fly into Santiago after eight-month shutdown

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey

Travelers in the check-in area of Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago, Chile, on November 13.
Travelers in the check-in area of Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago, Chile, on November 13. Esteban Felix/AP

Chile will allow foreign visitors to enter the country through Santiago's international airport from Monday after an eight-month shutdown, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced Sunday.

The reopening is the first phase in a plan to gradually reopen the country and will eventually extend to land and sea entry points, Pinera said.

"These important advancements that improve the quality of life of all Chileans should not in any way mean a weakening in the personal care that we should adopt, such as frequent hand washing, the use of masks and social distancing, nor a weakening in the strict compliance with the sanitary regulations established by the authorities,” Pinera said in a news conference at the Chilean capital's Arturo Merino Benítez Airport.

Visitors must provide three documents in order to enter:

  • Negative result from a Covid-19 test taken 72 hours prior to departure
  • Health insurance policy with coverage for Covid-19 and related health issues
  • “Affidavit of Travelers” electronic form, providing personal and health information

From Monday until December 7, visitors to Chile from countries classified high-risk by the World Health Organization, including the United States, will have to quarantine for 14 days. After December 7, they will only have to provide the required documents in order to enter.

Chile currently has 540,640 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 15,069 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The country has set a daily nationwide curfew from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

8:09 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Two Kansas City Fire employees die of coronavirus, in "worst-case scenario" for first responders

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

The fire department in Kansas City, Missouri, lost two employees to Covid-19 in two days, a devastating development its chief called "the worst-case scenario."

Captain Robert "Bobby" Rocha and Scott Davidson, a communication specialist and paramedic, had been in the hospital "for a while" before succumbing to the virus, Fire Chief Donna Lake said.

"All of us standing here ... were close personal friends with the people we lost," the chief said Sunday during a news conference. "They're all tenured employees, so we grew up together on this department. We work together, we fight together, we live together, we eat together, we do everything like families do at work."

Lake joined health experts and officials who called for the public to follow distancing measures, mask requirements and hand washing practices as the US grapples with the most intense spread of the virus to date. 

With first responders interacting daily with people who may be infected, following those measures helps protect professionals on the front lines, Lake said.

"When September 11 happened, first responders were on the front line then," she said. "In this pandemic, we're on the front line."

Read the full story here:

7:58 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Man wearing Trump gear seen deliberately exhaling on women outside President's golf club is charged

From CNN's Mary Kay Mallonee and Jason Hoffman

A man wearing a Trump shirt and an inflatable Trump inner-tube around his belly who was seen on video deliberately exhaling on two women outside the President's golf course in Virginia has been charged with simple assault.

Raymond Deskins, 61, of Sterling, Virginia, was charged with misdemeanor simple assault, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The background: One of the women shot cellphone video of Saturday's incident outside Donald Trump's club in Sterling and posted it on social media.

Michele Bowman, public information officer for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, confirmed to CNN that Deskins is the man seen in the video.

CNN has been unable to reach Deskins despite multiple attempts.

In the 24-second video, Deskins -- who was not wearing a mask -- can be seen in a verbal confrontation with the women who were there protesting Trump. It is not apparent what happened before the video began.

Read the full story here:

8:06 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

Qantas to require vaccinations for international flights

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

A Qantas plane takes off at Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport in Australia on November 16.
A Qantas plane takes off at Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport in Australia on November 16. James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Australia’s national carrier Qantas will require international travelers to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before flying, Alan Joyce, the airline's CEO, said Monday.

Speaking to CNN affiliate Channel 9, Joyce said the carrier’s terms and conditions would be updated to advise of the necessity to be vaccinated. 

“We will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft," Joyce said. "Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that's a necessity."

Joyce said that he expected other airlines to follow suit. “I think it will be a common theme, talking to my colleagues in other airlines across the world,” he said.

“What we’re looking at is how you can have a vaccination passport, an electronic version of it that certifies what the vaccine is and whether it’s acceptable to the country you’re traveling to.”

7:30 a.m. ET, November 23, 2020

UNICEF organizing "mammoth operation" to deliver vaccines

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is planning a "mammoth operation" to deliver coronavirus vaccines to more than 90 low- and middle-income countries as soon as doses are available, it said on Monday.

UNICEF is working with more than 350 logistics partners, including major airlines, shipping lines and freight operators globally "to deliver life-saving vaccines as quickly and safely as possible," said Etleva Kadilli, director of the agency's supply division.

“This invaluable collaboration will go a long way to ensure that enough transport capacity is in place for this historic and mammoth operation. We need all hands on deck as we get ready to deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses, syringes and more personal protective equipment to protect front line workers around the globe,” she added.

UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week briefed airlines last week on the expected requirements and how almost 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine will be transported next year. A further 1 billion syringes will be transported by sea. 

“The procurement, delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken,” it said. 

The agency is the biggest single vaccine buyer in the world, obtaining more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response in almost 100 countries. It said it has vital expertise in supply chain management of temperature-controlled products like the coronavirus vaccines.

It is leading efforts to procure and deliver vaccines from manufacturers that have agreements with the COVAX Facility, it said.

UNICEF has worked with logistics operators to transport supplies during the pandemic, delivering more than $190 million worth of supplies such as masks, gowns, oxygen concentrators and diagnostic test kits.