- India reports another record daily spike of new coronavirus infections.
- France extends virus-related unemployment benefits until next summer.
- South Korea’s new coronavirus cases stay below 200 for an 8th straight day.
- 1st COVID-19 outbreaks at 2 Alberta schools confirmed in Calgary and Lethbridge.
India reported another record spike of new coronavirus infections with 95,735 in the past 24 hours as the virus spreads beyond its major cities.
According to the Health Ministry, the number of people known to be infected in India reached 4,465,863 on Thursday. It has the second-highest caseload in the world behind the United States, where more than 6.3 million people are known to be infected.
The Health Ministry also reported 1,172 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 75,062. Its death toll is third-highest in the world behind the U.S. and Brazil.
The ministry said the surge in new infections is due to ramping up of daily testing, which now exceeds one million. However, experts caution that India’s outbreak is entering a more dangerous phase as the virus spreads to smaller towns and villages.
The Indian capital saw a record surge of 4,618 new cases in the past 24 hours, with 19 deaths. New Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Chennai are the worst-hit cities in the country.
With the economy contracting by a record 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter, leaving millions jobless, Indian authorities have said they have little choice but to continue reopening the economy.
Meanwhile, the Serum Institute of India maintained that the temporary halt to late-stage studies of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate would not impact the timeline for vaccine trials in India. The studies in multiple countries were halted because of “potentially unexplained” illness in a British recipient.
Indian authorities said they would review the illness report and assess the information from the initial human clinical trials in India.
Serum, the world’s largest maker of vaccines by volume, is mass-producing the vaccine for low- and middle-income countries.
What is happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 5:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 134,294 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 118,257 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,197.
Alberta has reported its first COVID-19 outbreaks at two public high schools in Calgary and Lethbridge.
WATCH | How back to school changes social bubbles:
In south Calgary, parents and staff at Henry Wise Wood High School received a letter from Alberta Health Services Wednesday evening confirming that two or more people with COVID-19 had attended the school while infectious.
“Public Health staff are investigating to determine who may have been exposed at your school to cases of COVID-19 during their infectious period,” AHS wrote in the letter.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, AHS said an outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed cases at the same school within 14 days.
“Any individual considered exposed to this case will be contacted directly by Alberta Health Services, per standard contact tracing procedures,” said AHS. “Infection prevention control measures (physical distancing, masking, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning) have also been reviewed with the school.”
In Lethbridge, parents and staff at Chinook High School received a similar letter on Wednesday, stating an outbreak has been confirmed at the school.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 27.6 million. More than 900,000 people have died, while over 18.6 million have recovered.
France is extending temporary virus-related unemployment benefits until next summer, amid prolonged economic fallout from lockdown.
Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said Thursday on BFM television that the government will continue paying up to 84 per cent of salaries for workers at struggling companies.
France’s government has already spent tens of billions of euros on this temporary unemployment system since the country’s strict lockdown in spring to try to avoid mass joblessness.
The Czech Republic is returning to mandatory mask wearing in interior spaces amid a steep rise in new coronavirus cases.
Starting Thursday, people across the country need to cover their face in all public places, including stores, shopping malls, post offices and others, but also in private companies where employees cannot keep physical distance from one another.
South Korea‘s new coronavirus cases have stayed below 200 for an eighth straight day, suggesting the recent viral resurgence is slowing amid stringent physical distancing rules.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it recorded 155 additional cases over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of recorded cases to 21,743, with 346 deaths since the pandemic began.
South Korea had seen a spike in new infections since early August, mostly in the greater Seoul area. Authorities in the Seoul region have subsequently ordered the shutdown of churches, nightspots and fitness centres, and restricted dining at restaurants.