Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
European cities announce new restrictions as COVID-19 cases soar
European countries from Denmark to Greece announced new restrictions on Friday to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities, while Britain was reported to be considering a new national lockdown. Cases in the United Kingdom almost doubled to 6,000 per day in the latest reporting week, hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.
Madrid residents facing localised lockdown doubt curbs will work
A partial lockdown aimed at stemming a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases is set to begin in some of Madrid's poorer districts next week, but resident's of one of the worst-hit neighbourhood's said on Saturday they doubted the new measures would work. Vallecas, a southern district with a lower average income and higher immigrant population, has one of the highest infection rates in the Spanish capital - almost six times higher than in Chamberi, a wealthier, northern district.
Indonesia reports its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections
Indonesia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 4,168 new cases on Saturday, taking the total to 240,687, data from the country's health ministry showed. The data added 112 new deaths, taking the total to 9,448, the biggest death toll in Southeast Asia.
Iran's coronavirus death toll exceeds 24,000 - health ministry
Around half of all coronavirus patients being treated in Iran's intensive care units are dying, a government health specialist said on Saturday. The death toll among those on ventilators is 90%. "In all, 10% to 12% of hospitalised patients are losing their lives," Masoud Mardani, a specialist of infectious diseases and a member of the government coronavirus task force, told the semi-official ISNA news agency.
Bristol Myers' Opdivo with Exelixis drug cuts kidney cancer death risk: study
Bristol Myers Squibb Co's cancer immunotherapy Opdivo in combination with Exelixis Inc's Cabometyx reduced the risk of death by 40% in previously untreated patients with advanced kidney cancer, according to data from a late-stage study to be presented on Saturday. The drug combination also doubled patients' median length of time before their cancer began to worsen to 16.6 months compared to progression-free survival of 8.3 months for patients treated with the chemotherapy sunitinib, an older Pfizer Inc drug sold under the brand name Sutent.
Explainer: When will COVID-19 vaccines be generally available in the U.S.?
U.S. President Donald Trump and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week disagreed about when a COVID-19 vaccine would become widely available. Trump said on Friday that enough vaccine would be available for every American by April, while the CDC director said vaccines were likely to reach the general public around mid-2021, an assessment more in line with most experts. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A VACCINE TO BE GENERALLY AVAILABLE?
Jump in France's daily COVID death toll tied to unreported hospital cases
A sudden jump in France's daily death toll from COVID-19 stems from previously unreported cases in one hospital near Paris, according to statements by health authorities. The health ministry reported on Friday that the total number of deaths from COVID-19 increased by 154 to 31,249, a four-month high in the daily death toll and triple the levels of the past week.
Philippines confirms 3,962 new coronavirus cases, 100 more deaths
The Philippines' health ministry on Saturday reported 3,962 new coronavirus infections and 100 additional deaths, with both numbers the highest in five days. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases have risen to 283,460, the highest in Southeast Asia, while deaths have reached 4,930.
New UK lockdown likely sooner rather than later, ex-advisor warns
Britain is likely to need to reintroduce some national coronavirus lockdown measures sooner rather than later, a leading epidemiologist and former senior government health advisor said on Saturday. Neil Ferguson, a professor of epidemiology at London's Imperial College, told the BBC the country was facing a "perfect storm" of rising infections as people return to work and school.
U.S. reverses COVID-19 testing guidance again: exposed without symptoms need tests
The Trump administration reversed guidance Friday on COVID-19 testing for a second time, urging those exposed to people with the virus to get tested even if they are not displaying symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sparked widespread outcry among state public health officials and experts in late August when it said that people who do not have symptoms may not need to get tested.