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Coronavirus latest: Lockdowns are avoidable, WHO says

Regeneron’s chief executive said US President Donald Trump ticked all the boxes to qualify for receiving the biotech’s antibody treatment on a compassionate use basis. Leonard Schleifer said Regeneron had a “principled approach” to allowing patients to be treated with the drug, which has not yet been approved, outside of clinical trials.

New York City will close public schools from Thursday after coronavirus test positivity rates in the city crossed a threshold level. The seven-day average of testing positivity in the country’s most populous city hit 3 per cent.

Every American state will receive a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines within 24 hours of the US drug regulator issuing an emergency use authorisation, according to plans drawn up by Operation Warp Speed. General Gustave Perna said vaccines will be sent to 64 jurisdictions, including all 50 states, six metropolitan areas, and territories, as soon as the Food and Drug Administration has given the go ahead.

US petroleum demand plunged last week amid surging cases. Petrol consumption fell 6 per cent in the seven days to November 13 compared with the previous week to 8.3m barrels a day, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is filing for protection from creditors under the Irish equivalent of Chapter 11 as the carrier becomes the largest casualty of the Covid-19 crisis in aviation. Norwegian, Europe’s third-largest low-cost airline, said that two of its main subsidiaries would file for examinership in Ireland, a reorganisation process akin to Chapter 11 in the US.

The Swiss government has said it will deploy 2,500 military personnel to help ease pressure on its health system as seeks to avoid a second lockdown. In October, Switzerland experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases that made the wealthy alpine country one of the worst-hit in Europe during the second wave of the pandemic.

The rate of US new home construction exceeded expectations last month as housing demand continues to be boosted during the coronavirus pandemic. US housing starts jumped 4.9 per cent month on month to an annualised pace of 1.53m in October.

Iran’s daily death toll could exceed 1,000 when mistestings and probable cases are included, the health ministry said. “It is possible the figure has passed four-digit figures on days when the fatalities are very high,” Sima Lari, Iran’s health ministry spokesperson, said.

German police used water cannon against anti-lockdown protesters in central Berlin after they ignored calls to disperse. Police stopped the demonstration after protesters failed to observe social-distancing rules and wear masks.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson rebutted criticism from the Labour opposition leader for the government’s lack of oversight and due diligence on multimillion pound contracts to procure personal protective equipment during the pandemic. Keir Starmer narrowed in on £21m paid to a go-between to fix £250m worth of contracts for a Miami jewellery designer to provide PPE to the NHS.

UK government advisers have urged people to “make every effort” to follow the stricter rules so as to enjoy a Christmas “as close to normal as possible”. People need “to make every effort over this national restriction period and even in early December”, said Susan Hopkins, an infectious diseases adviser at Public Health England.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they would submit their Covid-19 vaccine for US and EU emergency approval “within days”, after new data showed it was even more effective than previously reported. The jab was found to have an efficacy rate of 95 per cent, the companies said, matching results released this week by vaccine rival Moderna.

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