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South Korea to boost testing as coronavirus cases surge.

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DECEMBER 7, 2020

Reuters News Now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

South Korea virus surge threatens ‘medical collapse’
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for expanded testing and more thorough tracing as the country struggles to control its latest and largest wave of infections.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 615 new cases as of midnight Sunday, capping a month of triple-digit daily increases that have led to 8,311 confirmed patients in quarantine, the most ever.

“This crisis is the most critical yet,” KDCA deputy director Na Seong-woong told a briefing, warning that the outbreak could lead to a “medical collapse” if the numbers aren’t contained.

COVID clusters break out in Japan’s coldest city
The emergence of Japan’s coldest city as a COVID-19 hotspot has raised fears among health experts that it could be a sign of what the rest of the nation may face as winter sets in and more people stay indoors, raising airborne transmission risks.

The city of Asahikawa, about 140km (87 miles) north of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido, is reeling from infection clusters at two hospitals and a care home. By Sunday, the number of cases recorded on the island was more than 10,000, and Asahikawa had accounted for 16% of the 256 deaths.

Giuliani tests positive
President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for COVID-19, Trump said on Sunday, prompting one state legislature to close for a week after Giuliani visited to try to persuade lawmakers to help reverse Trump’s election defeat.

The 76-year-old former New York mayor is the latest of a number of people close to the White House to test positive, including Trump himself.

Giuliani tweeted his thanks to “friends and followers” on Sunday evening for their concern. “I’m getting great care and feeling good. Recovering quickly and keeping up with everything,” he wrote on Twitter.

Worries over vaccine skepticism

A sizeable minority of people believe conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, experts have warned.

Britain begins its vaccine program this week and others are likely to follow soon, so governments are seeking to reassure people of vaccines’ safety and efficacy in order to get a critical mass to take them.

“What we’re finding is, in the wake of the pandemic, that conspiracy beliefs may have gone mainstream, that they’re no longer confined to the fringes,” Daniel Freeman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, told Reuters.

“Around a quarter (of Britain’s population) are entertaining such thoughts. Another quarter are consistently thinking in terms of conspiracy beliefs, and around one in 10 people seem to have a very high rate of endorsement of conspiracy beliefs.”

Melbourne welcomes first international flight in 5 months
Australia’s second-largest city welcomed its first international passenger flight in five months, an arrival that will test the state of Victoria’s revamped hotel quarantine system.

Australia has since March closed its borders to non-citizens, but airports serving Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, stopped accepting any arrivals in late June after an outbreak of COVID-19 that begun at two hotels where arrivals were quarantining.

More than 20,000 infections were recorded in Victoria when hotel staff contracted the virus from people returning from overseas.

Track the global spread with our live interactive graphic here.

From Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Xmas trees, Moncler, EQT deal Moncler tries out its mini-LVMH impression by snapping up Stone Island and Hong Kongers go fir-crazy as a Christmas tree shortage bites. Catch up with the latest financial insights.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

Are you a government employee or contractor involved in coronavirus testing or the wider public health response? Are you a doctor, nurse or health worker caring for patients? Have you worked on similar outbreaks in the past? Has the disease known as COVID-19 personally affected you or your family? Are you aware of new problems that are about to emerge, such as critical supply shortages?

We need your tips, firsthand accounts, relevant documents or expert knowledge. Please contact us at coronavirus@reuters.com.

We prefer tips from named sources, but if you’d rather remain anonymous, you can submit a confidential news tip. Here’s how.

U.S.

President-elect Joe Biden has made his selections for two key public health positions, sources said. Biden plans to nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of health and human services and Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, to run the CDC, according to sources.

Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler danced around questions about whether President Donald Trump lost the Nov. 3 election in a debate with her Democratic challenger before two Georgia runoffs that will decide control of the U.S. Senate. Facing off with the Rev. Raphael Warnock on a debate stage in Atlanta, Loeffler repeatedly called the political newcomer a “radical liberal,” while Warnock criticized Loeffler’s stock trades

Members of Congress are expected to unveil bipartisan legislation to send a long-awaited infusion of federal aid to American families and businesses reeling from the resurgent coronavirus pandemic. A group from the Democratic-led House of Representatives and Republican-run Senate is expected to roll out the formal text of a $908 billion COVID-19 relief bill to blunt the health and economic impact of the virus into the early days of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

The United States is preparing to impose sanctions on at least a dozen Chinese officials over their alleged role in Beijing’s disqualification of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong, according to three sources, including a U.S. official familiar with the matter. The move will target officials from the Chinese Communist Party as President Donald Trump’s administration keeps up pressure on Beijing in his final weeks in office.

BUSINESS

Pandemic's uneven march across U.S. paved way for wider outbreak

Nine months after the U.S. government declared a state of emergency to fight the coronavirus pandemic, daily deaths and new infections are breaking records, hospital capacity is more stretched than ever, and debate over the economic response has devolved into a battle over who deserves help and who doesn’t.

5 MIN READ

Airbnb plans to raise price target range for IPO

Airbnb has plans to raise the target price range for its initial public offering to between $56 and $60 per share, underscoring demand for new U.S. stocks, a person familiar with the matter said. The U.S. home rental firm had set a price range for its IPO to sell shares at $44 and $50 apiece.

2 MIN READ

Rolls-Royce kicks off disposal plan with nuclear instrument sale

Britain’s Rolls-Royce signed a deal to sell its civil nuclear instrumentation and control business for an undisclosed sum, kicking off a plan to raise $2.65 billion from disposals to recover from the pandemic.

2 MIN READ

Brexit crunch time - stand-off puts EU-UK trade deal on a knife edge

Post-Brexit trade talks hung in the balance as Britain and the European Union made a last-ditch attempt to bridge significant differences and reach a deal that would avoid a disorderly exit in just 24 days.

4 MIN READ

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