(Reuters) - The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States has jumped nearly 50% in the last two weeks, forcing states to impose new restrictions as Americans face a potentially grim winter and holiday season.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open here in an external browser.
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.
* The number of new COVID-19 infections in Germany remains far too high but there are signs the country’s “lockdown lite” is working and could reduce numbers soon, health officials said.
* Chief Brexit negotiators suspended direct talks after a member of the EU team tested positive for COVID-19.
* Hungary’s plans to import and possibly use Russia’s touted Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine raise safety concerns and could damage trust in potential shots, the European Commission said.
* Sweden should rethink its decision not to recommend the use of face masks amid a second wave of infections, the Royal Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel prizes, said.
* Russia’s health minister urged regional leaders to take further steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as the country’s COVID-19 case tally passed 2 million.
* Greece will shut one border crossing with Albania and conduct rapid COVID-19 tests on all visitors at its land borders.
* Portugal’s president asked parliament to back an extension of a state of emergency imposed to fight the coronavirus for an additional 15 days from next week.
* Tens of thousands of Hondurans are cramming into overcrowded storm shelters, aid workers and officials say, raising concerns that the chaotic set-up will trigger a new spike in coronavirus infections.
* U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico are expected to remain closed to non-essential travel until Dec. 21 at the earliest amid a rising number of U.S. cases.
* Tokyo raised its coronavirus alert to the highest level as its daily tally of new infections rose to a record 534 and its governor called for maximum caution.
* India’s total COVID-19 infections neared 9 million after the country reported 45,576 new cases.
* One of Australia’s strictest lockdowns kicked off in the country’s south with outdoor gatherings, weddings, funerals and takeaway food all coming to a standstill.
* Azerbaijan has extended lockdown restrictions until Dec. 28.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Turkey will sign a contract within days to buy at least 20 million doses of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech.
* Jordan is racing to increase hospital bed capacity as its healthcare system struggles to cope with a surge in new coronavirus cases.
* AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s potential COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response in older adults, data showed, with researchers expecting to release late-stage trial results by Christmas.
* Russia has resumed the vaccination of new volunteers in its trial for its flagship COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccine after a short pause.
* Stocks and oil rallied on reports that U.S. congressional leaders may be willing to restart negotiations on stimulus for beleaguered businesses.
* Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to resume COVID-19 relief talks as cases surge across the country, CNBC reported.
* The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits rose last week, likely as new business restrictions to control spiralling COVID-19 infections unleashed a fresh wave of layoffs.
Compiled by Aditya Soni, Anita Kobylinska and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Giles Elgood and Arun Koyyur
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