November 11 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jenni Marsh, Nectar Gan, Stephanie Halasz, Kara Fox, Ed Upright, Emma Reynolds and Roya Wolverson, CNN

Updated 12:15 AM ET, Thu November 12, 2020
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4:45 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Vanuatu reports first Covid-19 case since outbreak began

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

The small South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has reported its first coronavirus infection since the pandemic began.

The asymptomatic case was a 23-year-old man who returned to the island on November 4 after traveling to the US, Vanuatu's health ministry said Tuesday.

He tested positive during a routine screening on the fifth day of his quarantine.

"Physical distancing and personal protection measures were applied and maintained during the flight, throughout the arrival process, during transport to and during registration at the quarantine facility," the ministry said in a press release. 

The patient will remain in isolation until health clearance is given, the ministry added. 

4:04 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh tests positive for Covid-19 after prison release

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran 

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is photographed in the garden of her office on December 9, 2014 in Tehran, Iran.
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is photographed in the garden of her office on December 9, 2014 in Tehran, Iran. Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has tested positive for Covid-19 after being released from jail, according to her husband Reza Khandan.

Khandan said in a Facebook post Tuesday that the couple were screened for coronavirus when they went to the hospital for Nasrin's cardiological test.

"Today, it has been announced Nasrin's test was positive and my result has not come yet," the post read.

Sotoudeh is well known for representing human rights defenders, dissidents and women who protested against the compulsory wearing of a headscarf in Iran. 

The human rights lawyer was temporarily released from Gharchak Prison on Saturday in the city of Varamin, south of Tehran, due to deteriorating health, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 

Sotoudeh is serving a 38-year sentence, 12 years of which she must fulfill before becoming eligible for parole, according to previous CNN reporting citing her family.

3:29 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

More US state leaders are urging residents to stay home as Covid-19 infections skyrocket

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak during a press briefing on November 11.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak during a press briefing on November 11. Pool/KRNV

Following weeks of devastating records and rapid climbs in Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations, more state leaders have begun asking residents to stay at home in hopes of helping curb an already rampant spread of the virus.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is asking people to commit to a voluntary plan he calls "Stay at Home 2.0" in the next two weeks, in efforts to push a "significant reversal of the current trends" in the state.

"We have to go back to the basics," the governor said, encouraging businesses to return to telecommuting as much as possible and asking residents to avoid hosting groups of people over for dinners, parties and other gatherings.

Wisconsin's governor announced Tuesday he's signed a new order advising people to "stay home to save lives."

"It's not safe to go out, it's not safe to have others over," he said. "Please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers, and playdates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead."

The governors join a chorus of other officials across the country who have moved to encourage more residents to stay home and limit socializing. A stay-at-home advisory went into effect last week in Massachusetts, where residents are advised to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. A stay-at-home advisory also took effect Sunday in Rhode Island, where the governor warned last week there'd be an upcoming shutdown if large house parties that were helping to fuel the spread didn't stop.

Read more:

3:29 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

More than 136,000 cases of Covid-19 were reported in the US on Tuesday -- another single-day record

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

Another 136,325 Covid-19 cases and 1,420 virus-related deaths were reported in the United States on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

That marked a new single-day record for the number of new cases identified in the US -- and the eighth day in a row that more than 100,000 people were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Since the pandemic began, there have been at least 10,252,129 Covid-19 cases in the US. At least 239,671 people have died.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN is tracking US cases here: 

 

3:56 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Australia says it’s on track to deliver Covid-19 vaccines in March

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong

Minister for Health Greg Hunt during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House on August 26, in Canberra, Australia.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House on August 26, in Canberra, Australia. Sam Mooy/Getty Images

Australia is on track to deliver vaccines in March 2021, its health minister, Greg Hunt, said on Wednesday. Hunt said Australia has secured 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and a national cold chain distribution program as part of its agreement with the drug maker. 

“We are well ahead of schedule," Hunt said.

John Skerritt, the head of of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, said he hopes Australia will be in a position to approve the vaccines for public consumption in January.

Australia has confirmed 27,678 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to government figures. At least 907 people have died.

As of Monday evening, Australia has 27,678 total confirmed Covid-19 cases and 907 deaths from the virus.

Three days of no cases: After a winter spike, authorities throughout the country now appear to have the pandemic under control. Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted Tuesday that the country went three days in a row without recording a case of Covid-19.

2:21 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Texas just became the first US state to hit 1 million cases of Covid-19

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

Vehicles travel along Interstate 10 highway in El Paso, Texas on November 9.
Vehicles travel along Interstate 10 highway in El Paso, Texas on November 9. Joel Angel Juarez/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Texas has become the first state in the United States to record 1 million coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The Lone Star State has now identified 1,010,364 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. At least 19,337 people there have died, according to the university.

California has the second-highest number of cases in the US, with 989,432.

If Texas, which has a population of about 29 million people, were its own country, it would now be ranked 10th in terms of total identified cases of Covid-19.

These are the countries that have identified more than 1 million cases of Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins' data:

  1. United States
  2. India
  3. Brazil
  4. France
  5. Russia
  6. Spain
  7. Argentina
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Colombia

1:14 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Havana to reopen its international airport to all commercial flights

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann in Havana

The international terminal of Havanas airport Jose Marti is seen with passengers of two flights, one to Paris and one to Ghana, waiting to be able to board, on July 31, in Havana, Cuba.
The international terminal of Havanas airport Jose Marti is seen with passengers of two flights, one to Paris and one to Ghana, waiting to be able to board, on July 31, in Havana, Cuba. Sven Creutzmann/Mambo photo/Getty Images

Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport will reopen November 15, more than seven months after the airport was closed to all commercial flights because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cuban Civil Aviation Institute announced Tuesday.

Travelers will be required to submit a health declaration and take a PCR test upon arrival, Cuban state media reported.

Cuba has reported 7,392 Covid-19 cases and at least 130 virus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. However, the near-total ban on tourism greatly impacted the already struggling Cuban economy. 

12:43 a.m. ET, November 11, 2020

Pfizer's ultra-cold vaccine, a "very complex" distribution plan and an exploding head emoji

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Sierra Jenkins

Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk past Pfizer Inc. headquarters on July 22 in New York City, New York.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk past Pfizer Inc. headquarters on July 22 in New York City, New York. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

As Molly Howell, a state health official in North Dakota, watched a webinar on how to distribute what's expected to be the US's first Covid-19 vaccine, her head began to spin.

"How are we going to do this?" she texted a colleague who was also on the webinar.

Her colleague responded with an exploding head emoji.

On Monday, Pfizer announced that initial Phase 3 clinical trial results show its vaccine is more than 90% effective. If approved, Pfizer's vaccine will also be the most fragile vaccine used in the United States, and the state health officials charged with its distribution worry the process will not go smoothly.

Pfizer's vaccine needs to be stored at about minus 75 degrees Celsius, which is about 50 degrees colder than any vaccine currently used in the United States. Doctors' offices, pharmacies and state labs don't have freezers that go nearly that low.

The solution is a set of handling and storage requirements that a doctor at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described as "very complex."

The CDC has asked states to be ready to receive Pfizer's vaccine by November 15, but state officials say the first time they heard the specific requirements was on October 15, giving them weeks to prepare.

State health officials were "shocked" when they heard the storage requirements for the new vaccine, according to Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of the Immunization Action Coalition, which is supporting the frontline workers who will administer the coronavirus vaccine. Those requirements include procuring and handling large amounts of dry ice, which is in short supply in many parts of the country.

"We all are going into this expecting that there are going to be major glitches," she said.

Read more:

11:58 p.m. ET, November 10, 2020

Flights for the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble will begin November 22

People are silhouetted against Singapore Airlines Airbus planes at Changi International Airport in Singapore on October 24.
People are silhouetted against Singapore Airlines Airbus planes at Changi International Airport in Singapore on October 24. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

The first flights transporting passengers between Hong Kong and Singapore as part of the two cities' travel bubble will begin on November 22, authorities in Hong Kong said.

The bubble will allow residents of both places to travel back and forth without undergoing quarantine or restrictive control measures.

"This is as close as it gets to cross-border travel pre-Covid-19," Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said.

Open travel in both the Chinese city and the Southeast Asian country has been suspended for months. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, both governments shut borders and denied entry to most non-residents and short-term visitors. Currently, those who are allowed to enter either city must quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

 "Hong Kong and Singapore are similar in terms of epidemic control. Both are regional aviation hubs and international cities, enjoying strong trade, investment, finance, tourism and people-to-people ties," Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said in a statement.
"The revival of cross-border air travel between the two places is of utmost importance. We hope that aviation, tourism, hotel, retail and catering businesses can benefit from it, thereby enabling Hong Kong's economy to recover gradually."

The bubble was announced last month.

Read more about the travel bubble here: