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An anti-lockdown demonstration in London's Trafalgar Square
Image: Hollie Adams/Getty Images
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WHO: Best lockdown protest is take other measures seriously

November 12, 2020

A World Health Organization official tells DW that the best way to protest lockdowns is to contribute towards minimizing the spread in other ways. DW rounds up the latest COVID-19 developments.

https://p.dw.com/p/3lAcw

The best way to protest a coronavirus-induced lockdown is to try to prevent the next one, World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris told DW.

Decisions by world governments to impose lockdown measures as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the disease have often been met with resistance. Opponents of the measures often argue they are a restriction on personal liberties.

"Nobody wants to go into lockdown," Harris told DW News. "But if the infection rates are high and the contract tracing teams and hospitals are overwhelmed, authorities don't have much else in the toolkit."

She urged those opposed locking down to "redouble their efforts to suppress the virus with the things we know work."

"Don't go into closed spaces, ventilate your homes, avoid crowds, be serious about washing your hands, wear a mask," Harris said. "That's how you protest against the lockdown — do things to make sure you don't have to go into another one."

Here's a roundup of the latest developments around the world.

Europe

France is now the worst coronavirus affected country in Europe, overtaking Russia. The country reported 35,879 new cases on Wednesday, taking the national total to 1,865,538 million. The country is almost two weeks into a new lockdown.

International aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it is recruiting emergency help for nursing homes in France to help with surging infections. Coordinator Olivia Gayraud said the emergency program is focused on relieving over-worked staff, adding that MSF has "expertise in crisis management" and experience helping "populations whose lives and health are threatened.''

Read more:Joe Biden's biggest task: Fighting COVID-19

Germany: Germany has recorded 21,866 new cases in 24 hours, while 215 people died in that time. Health Minister Jens Spahn said he expects restrictions to continue through winter and that he does not expect life to return to normal in December or January even if infections fall. "I don't see events with more than 10 or 15 people happening this winter," Spahn told RBB broadcaster.

Sweden: Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said his government is planning to present a law proposal that would ban nationwide the sale of alcohol after 10pm in bars, restaurants and night clubs. It is expected to take effect on November 20.

"We are facing a (COVID-19) situation that risks becoming pitch-black'' and added that Sweden "currently is risking a situation like the one we had last spring."

Earlier Wednesday, Stockholm reintroduced a ban on visiting elderly care homes after a coronavirus spike was reported in retirement homes in the capital.Sweden has recorded 166,707 COVID-19 casesand 6,082 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Spain: The COVID-19 death toll soared to over 40,000 with infections passing the 1.4 million mark, while the rate of new cases continued to grow.

With 349 people dying in the past 24 hours, the national death toll now stands at 40,105.

Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been hospitalized after contracting the virus earlier this week. Officials said he was not in a serious condition. Ukraine's finance minister, the defence minister and Zelenskiy's top aide have also been infected. The country recorded a record high of 11,057 cases on Thursday. 

Turkey: The Interior ministry has banned smoking in public places across the country help enforce the mask mandate. Smoking will be banned in busy streets, bus stops and public squares when necessary.

Asia

Japan: Olympic organizers have said that athletes who arrive in Japan to take part in the Tokyo Olympics will not have to isolate for the required 14 days after arrival. The 2020 Games were delayed by a year due to the pandemic. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach will fly to Tokyo on Sunday to reassure Japan that next year's games will take place under safe conditions.

India: Cases are climbing ahead of the Diwali — the Hindu festival of lights. Across the country there were 47,905 new cases, including a record 8,593 in the capital, New Delhi. Despite a ban, thousands of fireworks are expected to worsen air quality and lead to higher risk factors for patients as ICUs reach capacity.

New Zealand: New Zealand was hit with its first untraceable case of COVID-19 since August. An Auckland woman in her 20s tested positive and authorities could find no link to other cases.

Read more: Coronavirus in New Zealand: Auckland residents stay home after mystery infection

Americas

United States: US infections hit a new record for a second day running, nothing up 142,279 infections in 24 hours. The number of people hospitalized due to the virus hit at least 64,939 by late Wednesday, the highest ever during the pandemic. At least 1,464 people died in that time. New York is the latest state to impose new social distancing restrictions.

Argentina: President Alberto Fernandez has said he is self-isolating due to possible exposure to the coronavirus. The 61-year-old posted on Twitter that he was a "close contact" of Secretary for Strategic Affairs of the Presidency Gustavo Beliz, who tested positive for COVID-19. 

He said a first swab for the virus gave a negative result but that he would still self-isolate "in compliance with isolation protocols as recommended by my doctor and the health authorities."

Argentina has so far registered over 1.2 million cases with over 4,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Vaccines

Extra funding: States and private charities will pledge more than $500 million (€425 million) for coronavirus at the Paris Peace Forum, according to the organizers of the event. The annual meeting between government and civil society organisations and charitable
foundations will lead to a boost in funding for the ACT-Accelerator initiative, a program meant to help ensure global access to COVID-19 tests, therapeutics and vaccines.

India production: The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine producer, announced it has produced 40 million doses of AstraZeneca's potential vaccine and that it will soon start making Novavax's rival shot. Both are still seeking regulatory approval, with 1,600 participants enrolled in India for late-stage trials of AstraZeneca's candidate.

DW catch up

Minks: As fears rise that mutations could hamper efforts to create an effective coronavirus vaccine, Denmark prepared to cull millions of minks. But many won't be killed — until they're ready for a scarf or hat. Read more: Amid Danish mink cull, fur remains in fashion

German ICUs: The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds in Germany is growing dramatically. Hospitals are prepared for the new onslaught in terms of infrastructure — but not in terms of staff. Read more: SOS at German intensive care units

Joe Biden: President-elect Joe Biden has ambitious plans to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Experts look forward to a new leadership style that could make a crucial difference in the fight against COVID-19. Read more: Joe Biden's biggest task: Fighting COVID-19

EU vacine: The EU has greenlit a deal with the US and German firms to secure 300 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine for the bloc. Deliveries are expected to start by the end of this year. Read more: EU seals deal with BioNTech, Pfizer to secure doses

German research: Biontech and Pfizer have announced that they are on the brink of emergency-use approval for a coronavirus vaccine. The scientists responsible, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, are from Germany. Read more: German researchers advance coronavirus vaccine

dv, aw, mvb/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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