More than 2 million will die in Europe by March
The World Health Organisation has warned Europe is likely to experience more than two million COVID-19 deaths by March. It said the European region remains “in the firm grip” of the coronavirus pandemic, with reported daily deaths rising to almost 4,200 a day – double the 2,100 deaths a day at the end of September. Reported deaths from the virus have already passed the 1.5 million mark for the 53 countries that make up the WHO European region. Cumulative reported deaths are projected to reach more than 2.2 million by spring next year, based on current trends. In its assessment, the WHO warned COVID was the top cause of death in its Europe region. WHO said it expects there to be “high or extreme stress on hospital beds in 25 countries, and high or extreme stress in intensive care units in 49 out of 53 countries between now and March 2022”.
Need of ‘vaccine plus’ approach
Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said: “In order to live with this virus and continue our daily lives, we need to take a ‘vaccine plus’ approach. This means getting the standard doses of vaccine, taking a booster if offered, as well as incorporating preventive measures into our normal routines. Taken together, wearing a mask, washing hands, ventilating indoor spaces, keeping physical distance and sneezing into your elbow are simple, effective ways of gaining control over the virus and keeping societies going. All of us have the opportunity and responsibility to help avert unnecessary tragedy and loss of life, and limit further disruption to society and businesses over this winter season.”
Dutch move patients to Germany
The Netherlands has started moving some COVID patients to Germany to ease the pressure on its intensive care facilities. The first two patients were transferred from Rotterdam to Bochum. “We intend to create space so that intensive care capacities remain available for both COVID patients and regular care,” explained the National Coordination for Disease Distribution. In light of the growth in infections, the Dutch government has decided, as of today, on the obligation of social distancing.
‘US turning to China for help to cool inflation’
The United States is “turning to China for help” to cool inflation by releasing some of its oil reserves, the state-backed Global Times said in its editorial on Wednesday, adding that the move will benefit everyone, but China “has the upper hand”. Washington has asked some of the world’s largest oil consuming nations including Japan, South Korea, India and China to consider releasing millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in a coordinated effort to lower prices and stimulate the economic recovery. China’s state reserve bureau later said it was working on a release of crude oil reserves but declined to comment on the US request.
UN special envoy to Libya resigns
The resignation has been announced of the UN special envoy for Libya, the Slovak diplomat Jan Kubis, in office since January. The announcement comes less than a month before the date scheduled for presidential elections in the country, December 24. This was reported by UN diplomatic sources, underlining that at the moment no reasons have been given for the decision.
First authorisation for assisted suicide in Italy
An ethics committee in the central Italian region of the Marche has given its green light for what will be the country’s first assisted suicide. A quadriplegic has been unable to move for 10 years and has asked local health authorities to approve his assisted suicide. Local ethics committees have the power to authorise or block such requests. Right-to-die has been a highly contentious issue in Italy, where the Catholic Church, is more for palliative care.
Man charged as boy is sixth fatality in car-ramming
A man has appeared in court in the US state of Wisconsin, accused of ramming a car into a Christmas parade killing five people. Prosecutors said Darrell E. Brooks, a 39-year-old resident of Milwaukee, will face a sixth murder charge as an eight-year-old boy, who was injured, has since died.
Medvedev’s €200,000 watch found…but mystery remains
A precious €200k watch, which had disappeared from Daniil Medvedev’s locker room during the final of the ATP tournament, has been found. The very rare “Bovet86” watch had disappeared from the closely-guarded dressing room but the theft was solved only a few hours later – thanks to a mysterious discovery which then turned into a further mystery. The ATP executive in charge of returning the watch to the Russian tennis player in Monte Carlo was in fact stopped by the police at the airport shortly before boarding and then summoned to the police station to tell the details of the incident. He said he had received the watch from a person who in turn had received it from a third man who would have found it on a shelf of the locker room.