The death toll from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, in Germany has passed 50,000, a number that has risen swiftly over recent weeks even as infection figures are finally declining.
The country’s disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said Friday that another 859 deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, taking the total so far to 50,642. Hundreds of deaths, sometimes more than 1,000, have been reported daily in the country of 83 million people over recent weeks. Germany hit the 40,000 mark on Jan. 10.
US Driving Falls 11.1 Percent in November as Cases Rise
Travel on U.S. roads fell 11.1 percent in November, a steeper decline over October road use as CCP virus cases increased, the U.S. Transportation Department said Friday.
The U.S. government said drivers logged 231.6 billion vehicle miles in November, down from 260.5 billion in the same month in 2019. By comparison, October driving fell by 8.8 percent. For the first 11 months of 2020, U.S. drivers logged 410 billion fewer miles, down 13.7 percent, to 2.58 trillion, the lowest figure for that period since 2001.
Japan, IOC Deny That Olympics Will Be Cancelled
Japan and the IOC stood firm on Friday on their commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied a report of a possible cancellation, although the pledge looks unlikely to ease public concern about holding the event during the pandemic.
Though much of Japan is under a state of emergency due to a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Tokyo Olympic organizers have vowed to press ahead with the re-scheduled Games, which are due to open on July 23 after being postponed for a year because of the CCP virus.
US to Require Quarantine for All International Air Travelers
President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 issued an executive order that would require international air travelers to quarantine upon arrival to the United States. It doesn’t elaborate on how the latest requirements will be enforced, but directs the secretary of Homeland Security to “promptly” develop a plan for a self-quarantine requirement.
The executive order, which is set to go into effect on Jan. 26, also states that people traveling to the United States should test negative before departure. Anyone traveling to the country by plane “will need to test before they get onto that plane before they depart and quarantine when they arrive in America,” Biden told reporters at a press conference.
Turkey’s Erdogan Says Extra 10 Million Doses of Chinese Vaccine Due
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that a further 10 million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine could arrive in Turkey by this weekend.
Speaking after prayers in Istanbul, Erdogan said delivery of a second batch of the vaccine had been approved by China. Turkey has so far received 3 million doses and has vaccinated nearly 2 million people, prioritizing health workers and the elderly, since its program started a week ago. Erdogan has said he expects a Turkish-developed vaccine to be available in May.
Fauci Says Mutations Far More Transmissible but Vaccines Can Slow Them Down
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a Jan. 21 press briefing that, while new mutations of the CCP virus are far more transmissible than the original variants, vaccines can reduce their spread and impact their ability to mutate.
Ramping up COVID-19 vaccinations will not only help stop the virus from spreading, but they will also reduce the disease’s ability to mutate into new variants, Fauci said. While the United States may be seeing a “plateauing” in its COVID-19 infection numbers, new virus mutations are a cause for concern, Fauci said.
UK Police Break up 400-Person Wedding Party
British police broke up a wedding party held at a Jewish school in London on Thursday evening, which was attended by around 400 people in breach of CCP virus restrictions.
The Metropolitan Police said it received a call at 21.14 GMT on Thursday, reporting a large gathering at a school in Egerton Road, Stamford Hill, north London. Officers found around 400 people inside the venue, many of whom left as police arrived, the Met said in a press release.
The police are considering issuing a £10,000 ($13,641) fine to the organizer of the event, in accordance with government rules on COVID-19 breaches. Five attendees of the wedding party were issued with £200 ($273) fixed penalty notices.
Alexander Zhang, Tom Ozimek, Zachary Stieber, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.