Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
More than 1.2 million deaths
The virus has claimed at least 1,275,113 lives worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally on Wednesday at 1100 GMT based on official sources.
More than 51,531,660 cases have been registered across the globe.
The United States is the worst-affected country with 239,695 deaths, followed by Brazil with 162,829, India with 127,571, Mexico with 95,842 and the United Kingdom with 49,770 deaths.
Spain’s death toll has passed the 40,000 mark, while Italy has passed the milestone of one million cases recorded since the beginning of the epidemic, becoming the 10th country to cross that threshold, according to a count by AFP.
Hope for vaccinations
The European Union could “optimistically” begin vaccinations against Covid-19 in the first quarter of 2021, the director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says.
US pharma giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech have lifted hopes by reporting on Monday that their coronavirus vaccine has shown 90 percent effectiveness in preliminary results of a trial still underway.
The European Commission says it has approved a contract with the two groups to purchase up to 300 million doses of their vaccine.
The US, which has pre-ordered 100 million doses, says vaccinations there could begin before the end of the year.
Vaccine competition rages
Russia, determined to lead the race, claims its own vaccine Sputnik V is 92 percent effective.
In Brazil, clinical trials of the Chinese-developed CoronaVac vaccine, suspended Monday after the death of a volunteer, are authorised to resume.
CoronaVac has been caught up in a messy political battle in the country, where its most visible backer has been a leading opponent of President Jair Bolsonaro.
All non-essential businesses in Ukraine will be shuttered for three weekends in November, the government says, despite protests in the capital Kiev against the new restrictions.
Partial lockdown in Hungary
Hungary imposes a partial lockdown for at least 30 days.
Gatherings are now forbidden, restaurants closed, cultural events cancelled and the curfew extended to 8:00 pm until 5:00 am.
Home for Christmas
University students in England will be allowed to travel home in early December after a four-week lockdown is eased to spend Christmas with their families, the government says.
Universities will switch to online tuition by December 9 while students will be encouraged to return home during a “travel window” through the preceding week.
First death in Gibraltar
An elderly woman living in a care home has become the first person to die of Covid-19 in Gibraltar.
The tiny British enclave on the southernmost tip of Spain has managed to keep its numbers under control by adopting an aggressive track-and-trace policy.
South Africa’s second wave
South Africa’s president again warns of the threat of a second wave, as the most affected country in Africa surpasses 20,000 dead.
Mongolia reports its first domestic transmissions, from a truck driver who infected his wife and two other relatives after three weeks of quarantine.
The landlocked country bordering Russia and China had so far reported 376 cases — all imported — and enforced strict arrival controls.
The Pacific island nation reports its first case, ending its status as one of the few remaining virus-free countries in the world.
Health officials say a 23-year-old man who recently returned from the US had tested positive while in quarantine.
The “travel bubble” between Hong Kong and Singapore will open on November 22, their governments say, allowing a quota of 200 residents from each city to travel on one daily flight to the other.
Only those who have been in Hong Kong or Singapore for two weeks and tested negative will be allowed to board.
Cuba’s Havana’s airport will resume commercial flights from Sunday, nearly eight months after authorities shut the island nation’s main international gateway.
Hungary football coach positive
Marco Rossi has tested positive for the virus, the Hungarian football association (MLSZ) reports, a day ahead of the team’s Euro 2020 play-off final with Iceland.