(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
United States celebrates scaled-back Thanksgiving
Americans awoke on Thursday to celebrate a Thanksgiving Day transformed by the pandemic, with the Macy’s parade limited to a television-only event and many families resigned to meeting on video for turkey dinner.
The parade in New York has been scaled back significantly. The route is a block long, rather than 2.5 miles; balloon handlers have been replaced by specially rigged vehicles; and spectators will not be allowed to line the streets as before.
U.S. hospitalisations for COVID-19 reached a record 88,000 on Wednesday, and experts warn that Thanksgiving could significantly boost a death toll that has exceeded 260,000 nationwide.
German restrictions set to last into 2021
Germany will probably have to stick with measures to dampen the pandemic into January, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, while her chief of staff suggested that restrictions might be needed until March.
“Given the high number of infections, we assume that the restrictions which are in place before Christmas will continue to be valid until the start of January, certainly for most parts of Germany,” Merkel told parliament.
Merkel agreed with leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states late on Wednesday to extend and tighten the lockdown until Dec. 20, but ease rules over the Christmas holidays to let families and friends celebrate together.
South Korea reports biggest COVID-19 spike since March
South Korea reported 583 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest since March, as it grapples with a third wave of infections that appears to be worsening despite tough new social distancing measures.
The government reimposed strict distancing rules on Seoul and surrounding regions this week, only a month after they had been eased following a second wave of infections.
Some experts say the government moved too early to relax those rules, as the daily tally exceeds 500 for the first time since March 6, with young people at the centre of the surge.
Beijing market suspends sales of aquatic and frozen products
Beijing’s Xinfadi market, which was linked to a coronavirus outbreak in June, has suspended sales and storage of cold-chain and aquatic products, state-backed Beijing News reported.
Several infections in recent months in Qingdao and Tianjin cities involved handlers of imported frozen food.
Refrigerated meat, seafood and frozen products in the market were disposed of, and the market has disinfected over a hundred cold storages and shut down their power.
Thailand sees first trickle of tourists
Thailand recorded its first 1,201 foreign tourists in October since a ban in April, as the country gradually opens up to a select number of visitors to help its struggling, tourism-reliant economy.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy contracted by 6.4% in the third quarter from a year earlier after the second quarter’s 12.1% slump as most virus restrictions were eased, but an absence of tourists limited the recovery.
The 1,201 foreign visitors in October compares with 3.07 million arrivals in the same month last year.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; editing by Barbara Lewis)