16 Nov 2020. Samoa is one of 7 Pacific Island Countries to remain COVID-19 free with Palau, Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Tonga.
North Korea and Turkmenistan also claim to be COVID-19 free, however, the censorship of media and secretive nature of the regimes in those countries casts some doubt on the truthfulness of reports.
Latest Global Numbers
As of this morning, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 1.3 million lives around the globe. Of the 54,706,907 cases, the growing number in the United States remains a concern with no border restrictions or shut down measures taken to contain the spread of the virus.
Vaccine Clinical Trials
Meantime, Uğur Şahin, the chief executive of BioNTech and scientist behind the first potential Covid-19 vaccine to clear interim clinical trials says he is “very confident” the jab will reduce transmission of the disease, perhaps by 50%, resulting in a “dramatic” reduction in cases.
The German company BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced to worldwide acclaim last week that their jointly developed vaccine candidate appeared to be 90% effective in stopping people from falling ill.
Uğur Şahin, the chief executive of BioNTech, said he expected that further analysis would show that the jab is also effective in stopping spread of the disease, but probably not by as much as 90%. Certainty around its impact will not come until next year, he added.
World Distribution of Cases
United States yesterday reported more than 177,000 new coronavirus cases, a record high for the third straight day. USA continues to lead the world tally with more than 11 million people with confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 250,000 have died of COVID-19.
New Zealand recorded another 3 new cases yesterday 15th November, taking its total active cases to 58. The country continues in Alert Level 1 in a three-tiered approach developed to help the nation follow various degrees of restrictions set by Government from time to time.
New Zealand continues to have the best methods in place compared to the rest of the world. The NZ Ministry of Health developed an effective app, “NZ COVID Tracer” that allows to create a digital diary of places people visit by scanning the official QR codes.
“This gives contact tracers a headstart with identifying anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so we can quickly break the chain of transmission”
New Zealanders are also responsibly coming forth to be tested.
“Yesterday our laboratories completed 10,525 tests for COVID-19, bringing our total number of tests completed to date to 1,179,587. This is the highest number of tests in one day at a weekend since Sunday 16 August. Nearly 70% of the testing done yesterday was in the Auckland region, with another 10% in the Wellington region”.
Austria will enter a second national lockdown on Tuesday for at least two and a half weeks, after its target infection rate of Covid-19 exploded to 10 times higher than expected.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the measures in a press conference in Vienna on Saturday, admitting the government is failing on trace new infections. “The truth is that the authorities are now no longer able to trace 77% of new infections, which means that the authorities no longer know where these infections take place,” he said.
Greece will close all primary schools and nurseries on Monday for two weeks, in light of an increase in Covid-19 cases, the Greek Minister of Education said Saturday. Niki Kerameus called it a “precautionary measure” aimed to reduce adult mobility more widely and take the pressure off hospitals. Greece had 3,038 new cases in its latest data on Friday, marking the second-highest tally of daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
Poland reported a record high 548 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, the health ministry said on Twitter. There have been 10,045 deaths in the country, the highest in eastern Europe, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Russia on Saturday reported 22,702 new cases of coronavirus, the highest number of infections it has ever reported in a single day since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the country’s coronavirus response center. The total number of coronavirus cases in Russia as of November 14 is 1,903,253 with 32,834 officially reported deaths.
Italy reported 37,255 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 1,144,552, according to officials. The Italian Health Ministry also confirmed on Twitter 544 deaths in the last 24 hours. While the numbers are slightly lower than previous days, it’s still too early to call it a downward trend.
Iran will impose stricter Covid-19 restrictions in more than 100 towns and cities in the country from next Saturday for two weeks, after seeing a recent surge of coronavirus infections, deputy health minister Alireza Raisi said on Saturday on state TV after a meeting led by President Hasan Rouhani.
The new measures — classified as “red” — include non-essential businesses and services to be shut, according to Raisi. The mandatory wearing of masks in public will continue in the capital Tehran, he added.