What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Japan

(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

New curbs prompt wave of resistance across Europe

A wave of COVID curbs has prompted resistance across Europe, with the right-wing British politician who helped force a referendum on Brexit harnessing popular anger at a new lockdown by recasting his Brexit Party under a new banner.

Nigel Farage said Prime Minister Boris Johnson had terrified the UK into submission with a second lockdown.

“The single most pressing issue is the government’s woeful response to coronavirus,” Farage and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said in a joint article in The Daily Telegraph, announcing his Reform UK party.

France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries have announced new curbs on movement and gatherings as infections surge and hospitals and intensive care units fill up.

Small shopkeepers in France have complained about being forced to close while supermarkets are allowed to sell “non-essential goods” such as shoes, clothes, beauty products and flowers because they also sell food.

U.S. cases keep rising

Coronavirus cases continued their grim climb in the United States on Sunday with Midwestern states experiencing record hospitalizations.

Nearly 87,000 cases were reported on Saturday, with 909 deaths and record hospitalizations for the sixth straight day in the Midwest, according to a Reuters tally. In October, 31 states set records for increases in new cases, 21 for hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 14 for record increases in deaths.

Iran reports record high death toll

Iran on Monday reported a record 440 COVID deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll in the Middle East’s worst-hit country to 35,738 as a ban on travel in and out of major cities came into force.

The government has shut schools, mosques, shops and restaurants in most of the country since early October.

Iranian state media said that the government will make a decision on a complete, two-week lockdown in the capital Tehran. It did not give details.

CureVac’s vaccine triggers immune response

CureVac’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine triggered an immune response in humans, it said on Monday, putting the German biotech company on track to start mass testing this year as the race to end the pandemic heats up.

“We are very encouraged by the interim Phase I data,” Chief Executive Officer Franz-Werner Haas said.

The biotech firm is using the so-called messenger RNA approach, the same as Moderna as well as BioNTech and its partner Pfizer, although they started mass testing on humans in late July.

Prince William caught COVID-19 in April

Britain’s Prince William contracted COVID-19 in April at a similar time to his father, the heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, a source close to his Kensington Palace office said.

William, 38, grandson of Queen Elizabeth and second-in-line to the British throne, kept his diagnosis a secret because he did not want to alarm the country, said The Sun newspaper, which first reported the news.

“There were important things going on and I didn’t want to worry anyone,” William was quoted by the newspaper as having told an observer at an engagement.

(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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