News Watch

As of Dec. 7, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 191 countries and territories, with more than 67 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 1.5 million deaths. The country with the most confirmed cases was the US, with 14.8 million. It was followed by India (9.7 million), Brazil (6.6 million) and Russia (2.5 million). At least 14 countries had recorded more than 1 million cases each at press time.

Also at press time, three vaccines had been shown to be effective...


A man armed with a rifle attacked people in multiple locations in Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 2, killing four and injuring 22. Police killed the gunman in a shootout.

The shooter was identified as a 20-year-old from North Macedonia who had been released from prison in December 2019 after being jailed that April on charges of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamist militant group Daesh.

A suicide bomber targeted an ice cream parlor in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Nov. 27, killing six people and wounding eight. No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab is believed to have been involved.

In northern Ethiopia, a local militia took control of the Tigray region in October, leading to an ongoing violent civil war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of people, many of them civilians. Thousands of people have been displaced. Both sides accused the other of war crimes.

On Nov. 29, the Ethiopian government said that it had taken control of the city of Mekelle, capital of Tigray. Fighting around the city continued at press time.

The war began...


Hurricane Eta made landfall on the east coast of Central America Nov. 3. It first struck Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of over 140 mph, weakening to a tropical storm before hitting Guatemala, where torrential rains caused a landslide that killed at least 50 people. Throughout the region, nearly 200 people were believed to have been killed, most in Guatemala.

Typhoon Goni made landfall with the strength of a super typhoon at Catanduanes island, northeast Philippines, on Nov. 1, killing at least 16 people and damaging upwards of 90% of the city of Virac, home to more than 70,000 people. As the storm approached, more than 370,000 people evacuated the region.

The northern regions of the Philippines are more sparsely populated than the south. The capital, Manila, was unaffected by the storm.

The US Department of State posts up-to-date travel advisories on every country and many territories, ranking each 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions), 2 (Exercise Increased Caution), 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel). Note: A country’s regions are also ranked and may have different rankings than the country as a whole. Visit and click on “Travel Advisories” at the top of the page.

At press time, COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 189 countries and territories to date, with more than 44 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 1.17 million deaths.

On Oct. 29, the Marshall Islands reported the first cases of COVID detected in that country. The infections were not the result of community transmission; they were detected in two workers at a US military base who were in quarantine after arriving from Hawaii.

With daily cases having reached...