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Coronavirus live news: former French president dies of Covid complications; global deaths near 1.5m | World news


New Zealand confirms nine new cases in managed isolation facilities

NewsHub reports that New Zealand has confirmed nine new cases, all in managed isolation and quarantine facilities, and four of which are active.

The other five are historical.

Two of the historical cases are Pakistan cricket team members.

“The four active cases are made up of a person who arrived in the country from the UK on November 29, two people who flew in on November 21 from Qatar and one other November 30 arrival from the US,” NewsHub reports.

The devastation caused by Covid-19 presents an opportunity for countries to rebuild their economies in a way that is environmentally responsible, researchers say.

“The only way you can meet the Paris agreement is by taking advantage of this moment … by combining the recovery from Covid-19 with the response to climate change,” said Dr Nick Watts, the chief sustainability officer for the NHS.

Watts is one of the authors of the annual Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, which tracks the impacts of global heating on health. The series has been running since 2015, when the Paris agreement was signed with the goal of holding global temperatures to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels:

Lilly to supply 650,000 more doses of bamlanivimab to US government

Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday the US government has purchased 650,000 additional doses of its Covid-19 antibody drug for $812.5 million.

The doses will be delivered through 31 January, with at least 350,000 delivered in December, the company said.

The drug has been authorised by the UUS Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, and the government bought 300,000 doses in October.

On Monday, 9 November, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration cleared emergency use of Bamlanivimab, the first antibody drug to help the immune system fight Covid-19. On Monday, 9 November, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration cleared emergency use of Bamlanivimab, the first antibody drug to help the immune system fight Covid-19. Photograph: AP

The new purchase is part of a US government deal to secure nearly 1 million doses of Lilly’s bamlanivimab, a treatment similar to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Covid-19 antibody therapy that US President Donald Trump received in October during his illness.

The treatments belong to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies that are manufactured copies of antibodies created by the body to fight against an infection.
Lilly anticipates manufacturing up to one million doses of bamlanivimab by the end of 2020 for use around the world through early next year.

Global death toll nears 1.5m

The global Covid death toll is nearing 1.5m, with 1,488,992, according to Johns Hopkins University. There are 64.3m cases worldwide.

In recent weeks, the global daily toll has regularly been above 11,000, with two days over 12,000 seen in the last seven days.

Former French president dies of Covid complications

The former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing has died from complications linked to Covid-19, his foundation said on Wednesday.

Giscard, who was 94 and served as France’s leader from 1974 to 1981, had recently been hospitalised in Tours with respiratory problems. He recovered but was re-admitted in mid-November.

“His state of health had worsened and he died as a consequence of Covid-19,” his family said in a statement to AFP.

The Foundation Valery Giscard d’Estaing said on Twitter that: “In accordance with his wishes, his funeral will take place in the strictest family intimacy.”

He was known for steering the modernisation of French society during his presidency, including allowing divorce by mutual consent and legalising abortion, and was one of the architects of European integration:


Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.

You can find me on Twitter (singing praises and yelling are both options) @helenrsullivan.

Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing died on Wednesday from complications linked to Covid-19, his foundation said. Giscard was admitted to hospital in September with respiratory problems. He recovered but was re-admitted in mid-November. He was 94.

Meanwhile the global Covid death toll is nearing 1.5m, with 1,488,992. Currently, the world is regularly suffering more than 10,000 deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. There are 64.3m cases worldwide.

Here are the other key developments from the last few hours.

  • Germany will extend restrictive measures designed to stem a tide of new Covid-19 infections until 10 January, the chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday after talks with German state leaders. The measures, which had been due to expire on 20 December, include keeping restaurants and hotels shut and limiting private gatherings to five people from two households.
  • Spain caps end-of-year parties to 10 and restricts domestic travel. The Spanish government agreed with regional authorities on Wednesday that a maximum of 10 people per household will be allowed to gather for the Christmas and New Year holidays to avoid spreading the coronavirus, the health minister Salvador Illa said.
  • Vaccines won’t prevent short-term coronavirus surge – WHO expert. The World Health Organization does not believe there will be enough supplies of coronavirus vaccines in the next three to six months to prevent a surge in the number of infections, its top emergency expert said.
  • UK put speed before public confidence in vaccine, says EU agency. The European Medicines Agency has suggested British regulators prioritised speed over winning public confidence to enable the UK to become the first western country to license a coronavirus vaccine.
  • France to carry out border checks to stop skiers spreading Covid. France will carry out random border checks over the holiday season targeting French skiers on their way to and from foreign resorts – particularly Switzerland and Spain – where slopes stay open, the prime minister, Jean Castex, said.
  • Beware fake coronavirus vaccines, says Interpol. Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies around the world warning them that organised crime networks may try to sell fake Covid-19 vaccines or steal real supplies.
  • Putin orders Russia to begin mass Covid-19 vaccinations. President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian authorities to begin mass voluntary vaccinations against Covid-19 next week, as Russia recorded 589 new daily deaths from the coronavirus.
  • North America seeing record-setting daily Covid-19 cases. Covid-19 deaths in the Americas have increased nearly 30% in November compared to the end of October, while North America is seeing record-setting daily cases registered, the WHO regional director, Carissa Etienne, said.

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