Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- US records record daily virus case numbers -
The United States passes nine million reported coronavirus cases, breaking its own record for daily new infections for the second day in a row, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.
The US has seen a resurgence of its outbreak since mid-October, with numbers soaring just days before the presidential election.
- Latin America, Caribbean surpass 400,000 Covid deaths -
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The Latin America and the Carribean, the region with the most cases, surpasses 400,000 deaths from the virus, according to an AFP tally based on official figures late Friday.
At 0200 GMT, the region has reported 400,524 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic, led by Brazil with 159,477.
- Belgium tightens lockdown restrictions –
Belgium, the country with the world's worst coronavirus outbreak in terms of per capita cases, will impose tighter lockdown rules from Monday, closing non-essential businesses and restricting household visits.
Prime Minister Alexander de Croo describes the new restrictions as "last-chance measures", warning that the new rules will stay in place for at least a month and a half.
Belgium has the most Covid-19 cases per capita in the world and has as many hospital cases now as at the peak of the pandemic's first wave in April.
- More than 10 million cases in Europe -
More than 10 million cases of the new coronavirus have been reported in Europe since it first hit the continent at the beginning of the year, according to an AFP tally based on health authority figures.
The region, with 52 countries, is now the third most affected in the world after Latin America and the Caribbean with 11.2 million cases and Asia with 10.5 million.
Europe has suffered 275,000 fatalities.
- Britain may resume national lockdown: report –
The Times reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering a return to a national lockdown to battle a surge in infections.
Officials are already planning tighter restrictions in West Yorkshire, northern England next week, including closing bars and pubs not serving "substantial meals".
- Clashes in Barcelona over restrictions-
Protesters clashed with police in central Barcelona Friday evening after hundreds demonstrated against new coronavirus restrictions, including a curfew and a ban on leaving the city over the holiday weekend.
- Experts discuss virus's origin: WHO -The World Health Organization says international experts held their first meeting with their Chinese counterparts Friday to investigate the animal origins of the pandemic.