November 24 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Kara Fox, Antonia Mortensen, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020
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4:29 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Germany's state leaders agree on a plan to limit Christmas and New Year's celebrations

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The Christmas illumination is switched on in the old town of Lübeck, Germany, on November 23.
The Christmas illumination is switched on in the old town of Lübeck, Germany, on November 23. Markus Scholz/picture alliance/Getty Images

Germany’s state premiers have agreed on a draft proposal to curb Christmas and New Year’s celebrations ahead of a crucial meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday, according to CNN affiliate n-tv.

The proposal includes the suggestion that up to 10 people can celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve together -- though children up to the age of 14 are excluded, n-tv reported. The proposed measures will be effective from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1. 

The state premiers are also set to ban fireworks in popular public areas on New Year’s Eve to avoid large crowds forming, according to n-tv.

2:34 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Qantas boss says passengers will need to be vaccinated for international flights

From CNN's Helen Regan and Angus Watson

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce speaks during an official farewell event for the Qantas 747 fleet at Sydney Airport in Sydney, on July 22.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce speaks during an official farewell event for the Qantas 747 fleet at Sydney Airport in Sydney, on July 22. Joel Carrett/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Australia's national carrier Qantas will require future international travelers to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before flying.

The airline's CEO Alan Joyce said in an interview with CNN affiliate Nine News on Monday that the move would be a "necessity" when coronavirus vaccines are readily available.

Joyce said the airline was looking at changing its terms and conditions to "ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft."

"Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with Covid-19 in the market. But certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that's a necessity," the Qantas chief said.

While Qantas is the first airline to indicate that Covid-19 vaccinations would be a must before travel, others could soon follow suit.

"I think it will be a common theme, talking to my colleagues in other airlines across the world," Joyce said.

A spokesperson for AirAsia told CNN Travel on Tuesday that once a vaccine is available the airline "will review the requirement for guests to be vaccinated against Covid-19 for international travel."

Air New Zealand said it was "really encouraged by the news around vaccines" and said in a statement that "ultimately, it's up to governments to determine when and how it is safe to reopen borders and we continue to work closely with authorities on this."

Read the full story:

1:56 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

US reports more than 169,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Joe Sutton

The United States reported 169,190 new coronavirus cases and 889 virus-related deaths on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

At least 12,420,868 Covid-19 cases and 257,701 deaths have now been reported in the US, according to the university's tally.

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 cases:

1:39 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

4 Vegas Golden Knights players test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Four Vegas Golden Knights players have tested positive for Covid-19, the National Hockey League (NHL) team confirmed to CNN. 

The infected players are self-isolating and recovering well, according to a statement from the team. 

As precaution, Vegas Golden Knights has closed all off-ice player areas -- from locker room, lounge, gym, training room to video room -- through the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as a precaution.

"City National Arena hockey programming, the Arsenal and MacKenzie River Pizza remain open at City National Arena and continue to operate under the guidelines set forth by the State of Nevada and local health officials," the statement said.
"We will continue to follow recommendations and guidance from the CDC, NHL and our local officials to ensure the health and safety of our community, players and staff."
12:19 p.m. ET, November 24, 2020

California church hosts conservative activist in packed services defying public health orders

From CNN’s Isaac Engelberg

Charlie Kirk speaks at Culture War Turning Point USA event at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, on October 29, 2019.
Charlie Kirk speaks at Culture War Turning Point USA event at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, on October 29, 2019. Megan Jelinger/AFP/Getty Images

A large Pentecostal church in Northern California defied public health orders Sunday by holding multiple packed indoor services with conservative activist Charlie Kirk, without wearing face masks.

Kirk, co-founder of the conservative group Turning Point USA, joined Pastor Greg Fairrington at Destiny Church in Rocklin for a 45-minute discussion over three sermons Sunday morning.

Both Kirk and Fairrington have been vocal opponents of public health orders, largely due to what they claim are attacks on religious institutions. 

“This is the greatest attack on religious liberty in American history,” Kirk said Sunday of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s health orders to reduce spread of the coronavirus, including the mandated use of masks in public settings.  

Few masks, little social distancing: In the service simultaneously streamed on the church’s Facebook page, neither Kirk nor Fairrington were seen wearing masks as required by state health orders. Instagram videos posted from the event also showed few masks being worn by audience members and little social distancing.

Destiny Church spokesperson Tanner Di Bella told CNN mask-wearing was not enforced at the event. 

“We do follow some of the guidelines including taking temperatures of every individual who comes to church,” Di Bella said. The spokesperson said the church also lowered the occupancy of the auditorium, but did not disclose the number of attendees.

Placer County, where the church is located, is in the most restrictive of California’s four-tier reopening system where coronavirus risk is considered widespread and church services are only allowed outdoors. To date, the county has reported 5,880 cases including 67 deaths.

Government response: A spokesperson for Placer County referred questions about the service to Rocklin officials. 

Michael Young, a spokesperson for the city of Rocklin, said it is “committed to partnering with local businesses and organizations to protect the health and safety of residents. The city continues to provide the latest information on state COVID-19 mandates and impress upon everyone the need for compliance.”

But the church official said it has not received orders to halt in-person services and Rocklin and Placer County officials are “all aware of what we have chosen to do.” 

This story has been updated to reflect the name of Destiny Church spokesperson Tanner Di Bella.

12:43 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

NFL players now must wear face coverings on the sideline during games

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Green Bay Packers' David Bakhtiari wears a face mask on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Nov. 15, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Green Bay Packers' David Bakhtiari wears a face mask on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Nov. 15, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mike Roemer/AP

The NFL now requires players to wear face coverings on the sideline during games, according to a memo on the league's updated Covid-19 protocols distributed on Monday and obtained by CNN Sports from a league source.

The new guidance requires “players who are not substituting or preparing to enter the field of play and are not wearing their helmets” to wear a “mask or a double-layered gaiter” on the sidelines.

Coaches who call plays, who were previously permitted to wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering, will also now be required to wear a mask or double-layered gaiter.

Other requirements: The NFL is also cracking down on postgame mingling between opposing teams. Players and team personnel will now only be permitted to “briefly” interact with the opposing team while wearing masks, before “promptly” returning to their locker rooms.

The league is also reducing the number of players that can travel to a game to 62, whether the player is eligible to play in the game or not.

The changes will take effect this week, beginning with the three games on Thanksgiving.

12:26 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Japan's Covid-19 death toll surpasses 2,000

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan reported eight coronavirus-related fatalities on Tuesday, bringing the country's Covid-19 death toll to 2,002.

The country also reported 1,522 new infections on Tuesday, with the total caseload now at 134,639, according to Japan's Health Ministry.

The number of seriously ill patients doubled in three weeks, from 160 cases on Nov. 1 to 330 on Monday.

Tourism scheme paused: Amid surging cases, the Japanese government is looking to partially suspend its subsided domestic travel campaign. The governors of Hokkaido and Osaka prefectures said Monday they agreed to the temporary suspension of discounted travel bookings in their capital cities of Sapporo and Osaka, where the infection rate is rapidly increasing.

Tokyo recorded 314 new cases on Monday while Osaka and Hokkaido reported 281 and 206 cases respectively.

12:02 a.m. ET, November 24, 2020

Belize prime minister tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias

Belize’s Prime Minister John Briceño has tested positive for coronavirus, the Belize Press Office said in a statement Monday.

“Prime Minister Briceño will remain in isolation for the next two weeks, after which he will be re-tested,” the statement said. 

Briceño took office as the head of state on Nov. 13. 

As of Monday, Belize has reported 5,249 cases of Covid-19 and 136 deaths, according to official data.

10:46 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020

The US could have 20 million coronavirus cases by Inauguration Day, new model predicts

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

The number of Covid-19 cases in the United States could reach 20 million by Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, according to a new coronavirus modeling forecast from Washington University in St. Louis.

The model, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports on Monday, looked at coronavirus case numbers and mobility data.

“We forecast rates of new cases for Covid-19 under different social distancing norms and find that if social distancing is eliminated, there will be a massive increase in the cases of Covid-19,” the team wrote.

The model projected that if current social distancing measures are at a 60% return to normalcy compared to pre-pandemic levels, the US will likely reach 20 million cases before the end of January.

The importance of social distancing: Greater social distancing efforts could reduce the number of new cases even further, although the efforts vary widely across the country, the researchers noted.

“Even small increases in social distancing can have a large effect on the number of cases we observe in the next two and a half months,” model co-developer Raphael Thomadsen said in a statement. “Going back to a 50% return to normalcy, which was the average level of distancing in early August, would likely result in 5 million fewer cases by the end of January. 

If the US returned to the level of social distancing in April, Thomadsen predicted the spread of Covid-19 could be “effectively squashed.”

But this is probably a conservative estimate, the team said, because their model assumes only 10% of coronavirus cases are ever diagnosed.

“However, more recently, testing has increased, and probably more like 25% of cases are diagnosed,” model co-developer Song Yao said in a statement. “In that case, total COVID cases would increase beyond 20 million in the next few months unless we, as a society, engage in more social distancing.”

The researchers also predicted the holiday season will create “a great deal of uncertainty” in the model because people will travel more at the end of the year.