November 25 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:59 a.m. ET, November 27, 2020
20 Posts
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8:14 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Belgium risks becoming “an island of bankrupt shops”

 From CNN's James Frater in London

Shops are closed in Brussels, Belgium, on November 2.
Shops are closed in Brussels, Belgium, on November 2. Zheng Huansong/Xinhua/Getty Images

As Belgium’s neighbors begin opening up their stores, the Belgian federation of commerce and services Comeos has warned the country “will not become an island of closed shops but rather an island of bankrupt shops, while Belgian money is spent abroad.” 

“Figures show that 1 in 3 Belgian families cross the border no less than nine times a year to make purchases. It is a billion euros less each year and this, without coronavirus,” said Dominique Michel, CEO of Comeos in a statement. “If everything remains closed with us, everyone will go across the border also for their Christmas shopping,” he said.

According to Comeos, which represents 18 business sectors in Belgium and over 400,000 employees, half of all Belgians live within 50km of an international border.

Earlier this week, the Belgian National Crisis Centre urged Belgians not to travel abroad over Christmas and New Year, warning trips to neighboring countries would “cancel out our efforts” in reducing the spread of the coronavirus.

Belgium’s Consultative Committee -- made up of leaders from the three regional governments and federal government -- is due to meet Friday to assess the coronavirus measures currently in place and discuss ways the country would be able to celebrate Christmas. 

All non-essential retail has been closed since the end of October, when the national lockdown was announced; it is scheduled to end on December 13. When announcing the lockdown, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said a decision would be made by December 1 regarding a possible re-opening of shops and services.   

There have been 561,083 Covid-19 infections in Belgium so far and 15,938 deaths. The country’s head virologist, Steven van Gucht, says Belgium is "on the right track" in reducing coronavirus infections.

After the exponential rise with a peak around the end of October, we have seen an equally rapid decline since then...So, we are on the right track. But, still a long way from the safe harbour."  Deaths have continued to decline and are now 15% lower than the week before. On average, there were 162 deaths per day in the past week.
5:58 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

A poodle in Hong Kong tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Chandler Thorton

A poodle in Hong Kong has tested positive for Covid-19, Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said Wednesday.

The dog was sent to quarantine on November 20 after its owner had been in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case, the AFCD said.

"Samples collected from the dog by the department tested positive for the COVID-19 virus," AFCD added.

The poodle, who lives in Hong Kong's Tsuen Wan district, is not showing any symptoms at the moment.

The AFCD said that it would continue to "closely monitor the dog and conduct repeat testing."

The department added that it was urging pet owners to adopt good hygiene practices and avoid kissing their animals, but emphasized that there is currently "no evidence to show that pets are playing a role in the spread of infection with the COVID-19 virus among humans."

But scientists say continued testing is one way to remain vigilant in the face of a previously unknown pathogen.

In the US, the vast majority of the tests have been in household cats and dogs with suspicious respiratory symptoms. In June, the United States Drug Administration reported that a pooch in New York was the first pet dog to test positive for the coronavirus after falling ill and struggling to breathe. The dog, a 7-year-old German Shepherd named Buddy, later died.

Officials determined he'd contracted the virus from his owner.

5:14 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Hong Kong sees another rise in Covid-19 cases as new restrictions set to begin

From CNN’s Jadyn Sham in Hong Kong

Workers wearing Personal Protection Equipment(PPE) are seen attending to people waiting for a test at a Covid-19 testing center  in Hong Kong, on November 24.
Workers wearing Personal Protection Equipment(PPE) are seen attending to people waiting for a test at a Covid-19 testing center in Hong Kong, on November 24. Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Hong Kong reported 85 Covid-19 cases from Tuesday, another highest single-day increase in cases since August 7, health authorities said on Wednesday.

  • Among the new cases, 68 were locally transmitted, of which 63 were related to a recent dance studio cluster, while 16 cases were untraceable, according to Dr Chuang Shuk Kwan of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP).
  • To date, a total of 250 cases are related to the dance studio cluster.
  • The total number of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong is at 5,867.  

Starting on Thursday, all bars, karaoke centers, public bathhouses, night clubs and party rooms will have to be closed for a week after the recent spike in cases, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said during a press conference on Tuesday.  

Earlier Wednesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam ruled out the possibility of a citywide lockdown as it will likely take at least four weeks to test 7 million people based on the last timeline when the city carried out the universal community testing scheme. During the city's last universal testing scheme, 1.3 million people were tested within two weeks. She added that

"as a financial hub, it's not possible for [Hong Kong] to not do businesses and for the public to stay home for that long."

Lam said in her policy address on Wednesday that a certain amount of vaccines developed or produced in China will be reserved for use by Hong Kong people when necessary.

Covid-19 cases in Asia are rising but compared to the West they are still much lower.


5:40 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Europe is still the largest contributor to new Covid-19 cases and deaths, WHO says

From Sharon Braithwaite in Pisa, Italy

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

As the global acceleration in Covid-19 cases slowed down over the past week -- with around four million new cases reported -- death rates continue to increase, with over 67,000 new deaths reported across the world, the World Health Organization reported on Tuesday.

Europe is still the largest contributor to those cases and deaths. Here's the breakdown of those numbers from the European Region over the past week:

  • Europe accounted for 44% of global new cases and 49% of global deaths (32,684 new deaths)
  • The number of new cases reported in Europe declined by 6% to 1.77 million, after a decline of 10% in the previous week
  • Italy reported the highest number (235,979) of new cases in Europe, and the third-highest globally -- but still saw a slight decline of 3%
  • The number of new deaths in Italy increased by 26% to 4578 new deaths
  • In the UK, there’s been a 13% decrease of new cases (149,027) from last week, while the number of new deaths remained similar
  • This decrease in new cases in the UK is the first weekly decline since late August

The WHO said on Tuesday that the data indicates “that the re-introduction of stricter public health and social measures in a number of countries over the last few weeks is beginning to slow down transmission.”

In Africa, while cases numbers remain relatively low, the continent reported the highest increase in new cases (15%) and deaths (30%) this week, according to the WHO's COVID-19 weekly report.

The highest new case and death counts were reported in South Africa, Algeria and Kenya. 

4:03 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

South Korea reports more than 380 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Gawon Bae in Seoul

South Korea reported 382 new Covid-19 cases for Tuesday, 363 of which were locally transmitted.

Some 255 of the local cases were found in the Seoul metropolitan area. The South Korean capital declared an "emergency period" on Monday and raised its social distancing measures to Level 2 restrictions, including limiting gatherings to 100 people for weddings and funerals.

Mask wearing is mandated in all indoor facilities under Level 2 restrictions, with takeout only at cafes and for restaurants after 9 p.m.

Other areas of South Korea, including North Jeolla and South Jeolla provinces, and parts of Gangwon province, have moved into Level 1.5 measures.

Under Level 1.5 restrictions, restaurants are required to use dividers or distance tables, and entertainment venues are limited to one person per 4 square meters. 

South Korea has reported 31,735 Covid-19 cases in total, with 513 deaths, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

3:27 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Tennis' Australian Open could be delayed next year -- but officials are confident it will go ahead

From Angus Watson in Sydney, Australia

Victoria's Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade, Martin Pakula speaks to the media during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept. 14.
Victoria's Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade, Martin Pakula speaks to the media during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept. 14. Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

The 2021 Australian Open tennis tournament scheduled to begin on January 18 will "likely" be postponed for up to two weeks, according to the Victoria state government on Wednesday.

“I'm still confident we'll have an Australian Open, and we'll have one in the early part of the year,” Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula told reporters in Melbourne.
“It'll be delayed by a week or two. I think that's still most likely. But it's not the only option,” he said.

The annual Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tennis event of the year, is traditionally held in the last two weeks of January at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, capital of Victoria state.

Tennis Australia says it has been in "urgent talks" with the state government regarding the quarantining and biosecurity arrangements needed for the tournament to go ahead.

Pakula on Wednesday flagged an “extremely rigorous testing regime, that will apply to the tennis players, both before they leave the port that they're coming from and when they arrive. And then I imagine consistently through the time they're in the bubble.”

While a second wave of Covid-19 forced Melbourne into a strict 112-day lockdown over the southern hemisphere winter, the majority of restrictions have now been eased. 

There has not been a new case of Covid-19 in Victoria since Oct. 29. 

3:03 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Germany reports new daily high for coronavirus deaths 

From CNN's Fred Pletigen in Berlin 

Germany recorded 410 deaths related to coronavirus in the past 24 hours -- the highest one-day jump in fatalities since the outbreak began, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country's disease and control agency, said on Wednesday. 

It was the first time more than 400 Covid-19 deaths were recorded in Germany in a single day, as the country grapples with a recent surge in new coronavirus cases. A total of 18,633 new infections were registered in the past 24 hours, according to RKI. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to meet state governors on Wednesday to decide on new measures to try and get the surge of infections under control.

Among the measures up for debate is an extension of the current lighter restrictions until the end of December, additional mask mandates for schools, and further limits on the amount of contacts people are allowed to have both in public and private.

2:44 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Hong Kong leader warns city is on brink of new wave

From CNN's Kristie Lu Stout and Pauline Lockwood in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivers her annual policy address at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, on Nov. 25.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivers her annual policy address at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, on Nov. 25. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that the city is on “is on the brink of another wave of outbreak,” during her policy address on Wednesday. 

The city has seen a steady rise in cases over the past few days with clusters originating from dance halls. Hong Kong has already experienced three waves of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lam further announced that China’s central government “will reserve a certain amount of vaccines developed or produced in the mainland for use by Hong Kong people when necessary". 

2:05 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Mexico reports highest daily jump in Covid-19 cases 

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Mexico recorded its highest daily increase of new coronavirus cases Tuesday, with 10,794 infections reported in the past 24 hours, the country's health ministry said.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country now stands at 1,060,152. 

The ministry also reported 813 new fatalities related to the virus, bringing the death toll to 102,739.  

Tuesday’s new infections surpassed a previous high reported on Aug. 1 of 9,556 cases.

Note: On Oct. 5, Mexico reported 28,115 new daily coronavirus cases, but according to the Mexican health authorities, the spike was due to an adjustment in the counting methodology that included lagged data reporting.