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Coronavirus live news: US sees muted Thanksgiving day as hospitalisations soar | World news


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday evening that he will not take a coronavirus vaccine, the latest in a series of statements he has made expressing skepticism toward coronavirus vaccination programs.

In statements broadcast live over multiple social media platforms, the right-wing leader added that Congress was unlikely to require Brazilians to take a vaccine.

Brazil has the second highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, and Bolsonaro has for months played down the seriousness of the pandemic despite being infected with the virus in July.

“I’m telling you, I’m not going to take it. It’s my right,” he said.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. Photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters

Bolsonaro also expressed skepticism over the effectiveness of mask wearing in the broadcast, implying there was little conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of masks in stemming the transmission of the virus.

The president has repeatedly said Brazilians will not be required to be vaccinated when a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available.

In October, he joked on Twitter that vaccination would be required only for his dog.

China on Friday reported five new coronavirus cases in the mainland for 26 November compared with 21 cases a day earlier, the health authority said.

All of the new infections were imported cases, the National Health Commission said in a statement. There were no new deaths.

China also reported eight new asymptomatic patients, compared with 25 a day earlier.

Mainland China had a total of 86,495 confirmed coronavirus cases, it said.

China’s death toll from the coronavirus remained unchanged at 4,634.

Mexico’s health ministry on Thursday reported 8,107 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 645 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of infections to 1,078,594 and the death toll to 104,242.

Health officials have said the real number of infections is likely to be significantly higher.

Healthcare workers disinfect the balls before a football match between Guadalajara and America in Jalisco state, Mexico. Healthcare workers disinfect the balls before a football match between Guadalajara and America in Jalisco state, Mexico. Photograph: Ulises Ruiz/AFP/Getty Images

A tale of two cities:

As Matt Hancock put the final touches to England’s new lockdown regime on Wednesday night, the mood of leaders in Manchester and Liverpool could not have been more different.

On Merseyside the leaders felt they had done all they could to have become the first English region to leave the strictest coronavirus measures introduced six weeks ago. The Liverpool city region has now been moved down to tier 2.

Meanwhile, the Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, grimly expected yet another dose of punishment for 2.8 million people who have been unable to see loved ones indoors for a period of four months. Manchester was put back into tier 3.

Sadiq al-Mahdi, Sudan’s last democratically elected leader and the great-grandson of the messianic figure who fought the British in the 19th century, has died from the coronavirus, Reuters reports.

Mahdi, who was a central figure in Sudan’s political and spiritual life for more than half a century, was being treated in the United Arab Emirates.

Sadiq al-Mahdi pictured in February. Sadiq al-Mahdi pictured in February. Photograph: Marwan Ali/AP

The current premier, Abdalla Hamdok, said the 84-year-old was “one of the most important men of thought, politics, literature and wisdom in our country,” as the government declared three days of mourning.

Mahdi was last voted into office in 1986, then overthrown three years later in a military coup.

Abdelwahid Ibrahim, a UK-based Sudanese analyst, said: “Over his long years in politics, he expressed his commitment to democracy, human rights, social justice, and the quest for liberation, and in this he succeeded a lot and failed a lot, which made him a controversial figure.”

Mahdi’s family said last month he had tested positive for Covid-19. He was transferred to the UAE for treatment a few days later following a brief hospitalisation in Sudan.

Amazon has announced plans to spend more than $500m on one-time bonuses for its front-line employees in the United States who are working the holiday season amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Full-time operations staff in the United States who are employed by Amazon for the month of Decembe will receive a bonus of $300, while those in part-time roles will get $150, the online retailer said in a blog post.

Several retailers, including Walmart and Home Depot, have spent millions in bonuses to compensate staff for catering to a surge in online shopping during the pandemic.

Morning/afternoon/evening everyone. Welcome to our new blog covering the developments in the coronavirus pandemic.

  • AstraZeneca may begin another trial of its vaccine. The company, which is developing a tretment with Oxford University, is working with regulators to investigate a lower dosage of its vaccine that performed better than a full dosage.
  • Almost all of England’s 55 million population faces tough post-lockdown restrictions. Tough new tier-based curbs will affect 99% of people in England when the national lockdown ends next week, prompting a furious backlash from MPs.
  • Thanksgiving celebrations in the US have been muted. As people travelled to see families, the US reported 181,490 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a third daily rise in a row, as hospitalisations hit a record for a 16th day in succession, at 89,959.
  • US president Donald Trump claims deliveries of a vaccine would begin next week. Speaking to US troops overseas via video link to mark the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said the vaccine would initially be sent to frontline workers, medical personnel and senior citizens.
  • The Australian state of Victoria has achieved “Covid” elimination. The state had an almost three-month lockdown to contain a second-wave outbreak but has now had 28 days without one new case.
  • Mass vaccination against Covid-19 is unlikely to start in Africa until midway through next year and keeping vaccines cold could be a big challenge, the continent’s disease control group said on Thursday.
  • France reported 13,563 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, compared with 16,282 on Wednesday and 21,150 a week ago, suggesting the spread of the virus continued to slow in the fourth week of a national lockdown. Italy reported 822 Covid 19-related deaths on Thursday, up from 722 the day before.
  • Croatia will close cafes and restaurants and ban weddings until Christmas as the number of coronavirus cases hit a record high for the second day in a row, the government said. The country of 4 million reported 4,009 new cases and 51 deaths on Thursday, with 21,725 active cases.

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