Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
UK's Johnson considering new national lockdown for England: media
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering imposing a new month-long national lockdown in England next week after scientists warned the coronavirus was spreading faster than their worst predictions, local media reported. The pandemic is spreading in most parts of Britain, where the official death toll of 46,299 is the highest in Europe.
Australia's Labor Party on track to win Queensland vote in COVID-dominated race
The Labor Party in Australia's Queensland state was on track on Saturday to retain power in an election overshadowed by COVID-19, with voters approving the strict measures that put the state at odds with the national government. Final results were expected late into Saturday night, but a partial count showed Labor was polling well at a primary vote of 40.8% with the Liberal National Party on 34.2%, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
Slovakia mobilises as bid to COVID-test most of country in two days begins
Long queues formed outside coronavirus testing centres in Slovakia on Saturday, as the country embarked on a bid to test most of the country's 5.5 million inhabitants over a single weekend. Up to 20,000 medics plus support teams including soldiers staffed around 5,000 sites to administer the antigen swab tests.
With election looming, U.S. faces record surge of coronavirus cases
A record surge of coronavirus cases in the United States pushed hospitals closer to the brink of capacity and drove the number of infections reported on Friday to an ominous new daily world record of 100,000, four days before the U.S. presidential election. The United States also documented its 9 millionth case to date on Friday, representing nearly 3% of the population, with almost 229,000 dead since the outbreak of the pandemic early this year, according to a Reuters tally of publicly reported data.
China local authority warns of coronavirus on packaging of imported Brazilian pork
Packaging on a batch of frozen pork imported from Brazil which had entered a district in Eastern China's Shandong province has tested positive for the coronavirus, the local government said. Residents of the Wendeng district in Weihai city who may have come into contact with the pork should report to authorities, the local government said in a notice.
Austria readies new COVID curbs as daily infections stay above 5,000
Austria's daily tally of new coronavirus cases stood at 5,349, data from the government showed on Saturday, as it prepares to announce new measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who has said hospitals would be stretched beyond capacity at around 6,000 daily infections, has said an economically damaging second lockdown would be a last resort, but Austrian media reported tough measures were in the works.
U.S. reports world record of more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases in single day
The United States set a new all-time high for coronavirus cases confirmed in a single 24-hour period on Friday, reporting just over 100,000 new infections to surpass the record total of 91,000 posted a day earlier, according to a Reuters tally. The daily caseload of 100,233 is also a world record for the global pandemic, surpassing the 97,894 cases reported by India on a single day in September.
Greece to shut most bars, restaurants in country for month from Tuesday
Greece will expand a night-time curfew on movement and shut restaurants and bars in the most populous areas of the country for one month from Nov. 3 to contain a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. The country has reported less cases of the novel coronavirus than most in Europe, but has seen a gradual increase in infections since early October.
More than 150 evacuated from Russian coronavirus hospital after fire
More than 150 patients were evacuated on Saturday from a makeshift coronavirus hospital in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in the southern Urals following an oxygen explosion and fire, the Emergency Ministry said. The ministry said the fire broke out following an explosion in an "oxygen booth" in a dormitory that was being used as a temporary hospital. It said 158 people had been evacuated and admitted to other hospitals in the city.
Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread: Rouhani
Weddings, wakes and conferences will be banned in the Iranian capital until further notice as the Middle East's hardest-hit nation battles a third wave of COVID-19, police said on Saturday. President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran's 31 provinces for 10 days.