Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Friday

The latest:

German state leaders said on Friday that hospitals could soon become swamped by COVID-19 patients and a new lockdown might be needed unless urgent action is taken to reverse a surge in cases.

“If we take too much time now, it will end in a lockdown like last year,” the leader of the eastern state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, told Deutschlandfunk radio.

The premier of Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow, said it was a matter of days until the coronavirus situation would mean that there were not enough intensive care beds at hospitals.

As of Thursday, there were 2,503 free beds in German intensive care units, down from around 3,100 at the start of October, according to data from the DIVI association for intensive and emergency medicine.

Germany reported 37,120 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the second day in a row that it marked the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic last year.

State health ministers will conclude a two-day meeting on Friday and issue a statement outlining their strategy for winter, including whether to expand booster shots and which restrictions could be placed on the unvaccinated.

Germany’s total death toll from the pandemic is 96,346 and the total number of cases stands at 4,709,488. Current restrictions include having to prove vaccination, recovery or a negative test, and wearing masks indoors in public.

-From Reuters, last updated at 6:50 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Ontario widens COVID-19 booster shot rollout: 

Ontario widens COVID-19 booster shot rollout

Ontario has announced more people will be immediately eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, including those 70 and up and some health-care workers. The province says it will roll out boosters to the rest of the population in the new year. 2:38


What’s happening around the world

WATCH | After the world passed the tragic milestone of five million deaths from the coronavirus, a top WHO official urged leaders to do more to fight the pandemic worldwide, asking: ‘How many more people need to die?’ 

WHO challenges world leaders to end COVID-19 pandemic

After the world passed the ‘tragic milestone’ of five million deaths from the coronavirus, the World Health Organization warned that the trajectory for the pandemic’s path in 2022 is in people’s hands but says they must make the right choices.( Fabrice Coffrini/Reuters) 2:22

As of early Friday morning, more than 248.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than five million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Indonesia’s economic growth slowed more than expected in the third quarter as restrictions to control COVID-19 weighed on activity, although recent data suggests growth may be getting back on track in the current quarter. 

Australia’s Victoria state removed entry restrictions to citizens of neighbouring New South Wales on Friday, allowing almost blanket reciprocal travel between the country’s two biggest states ahead of the busy Christmas period.

In Africa, Kenya’s health ministry on Thursday reported 149 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 additional deaths.

In Europe, Russia reported 40,735 new COVID-19 cases and 1,192 deaths related to the virus on Friday as authorities fight a surge that has forced them to re-impose a partial lockdown nationwide.

WATCH | Inside a Russian hospital struggling with COVID-19 cases:

Inside a Russian hospital struggling with COVID-19 cases

A CBC News crew goes inside one of Russia’s biggest hospitals as it struggles to keep up with COVID-19 cases. 4:17

In the Americas, American Airlines delayed the rollout of a mandate that requires its U.S.-based employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus until Jan. 4, CEO Doug Parker said in a letter to employees.

Chile’s presidential candidates had to host news conferences from home and cancel travel plans as five out of seven candidates were forced to isolate for a week after left-wing hopeful Gabriel Boric tested positive for COVID-19.

In the Middle East, Israel on Thursday reported 554 new cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker, as well as three additional deaths.

In Iran, there were 9,862 new cases reported Thursday according to the tracker, along with 158 additional deaths.

-From Reuters, CBC News and The Associated Press, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

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