Coronavirus Updates

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Welcome to the Finance Magnates live Coronavirus blog updates page. Keep up-to-date with the latest coronavirus news, focusing on the impact upon the financial, fintech, and crypto worlds.

The French PM, Jean Castex Warns Govt Will Impose New Cover Measures

The Most Diverse Audience to Date at FMLS 2020 – Where Finance Meets Innovation

08:05 The French prime minister, Jean Castex, has warned the government will impose new Covid measures, including weekend lockdowns in Paris and 19 other regions, from the start of March if signs of the coronavirus accelerating persist. France has also agreed with Germany to require coronavirus tests for workers commuting across their shared border.

South Korea Has Launched Its Vaccination Campaign

The first injections of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine were given to nursing home workers and patients across the country.

Japan to Decide If It Will Relax State of Emergency

Japan will decide on whether to relax its state of emergency in five prefectures on Friday, a week ahead of schedule, after a dramatic fall in new cases across the country.

The Queen Stated Her Vaccine “Didn’t Hurt at All”

The Queen has said her Covid vaccine “didn’t hurt at all” and urged those wary of receiving the vaccine to “think about other people”. The 94-year-old was vaccinated along with her husband Prince Philip in January, telling health officials leading the rollout in a video call that she now felt “protected”.

The European Commission President Warns against Fatigue in the Member States

The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has warned against virus fatigue in member states. At a virtual summit, she reassured EU leaders over vaccine distribution, saying she would ban vaccines from leaving the EU if suppliers filed to deliver again.

Biden Announced 50 Million Vaccine Shots in 37 Days

In the US, Joe Biden has hailed the 50m coronavirus vaccine doses given since he took office, but warned that the country must not relax. “We’re halfway there: 50 million shots in 37 days,” Biden said, referring to his ambition of 100m doses in his first 100 days as president. “That’s weeks ahead of schedule.”

New Zealand Reports One New Community Covid Case

New Zealand has reported one new community case of Covid-19, though the infected person has been in quarantine since February 23. The latest Auckland outbreak, now a dozen people strong, has seen Australia declare the city a “hotspot” and close its borders to New Zealand citizens. Air New Zealand has halted all flights to Australia until Sunday, pending review.

Friday 26th February

Toronto Cancels All Large Outdoor Events in July

07:55 Canada’s largest city Toronto is cancelling all large in-person, city-permitted outdoor events through July as the country seeks to stave off a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Covid Variant Hits the Streets of New York

A new coronavirus variant is on the rise in New York City, researchers said on Wednesday. The new variant, known as B.1.526, was first identified in samples collected in New York in November, and by mid-February represented about 12% of cases, researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said on Wednesday.

Highest Corona Cases Reported in India in Almost a Month

India reported 16,738 new coronavirus infections, health ministry data showed on Thursday, for the highest daily jump since January 29, according to a Reuters tally. More than half came from the western state of Maharashtra, India’s richest and home to its financial capital of Mumbai, which reported a record high of 8,807 cases on Wednesday.

Care Home Firm Has Introduced New Work Policy ‘No Jab, No Job’

One of the UK’s largest care home firms introduced a ‘no jab, no job’ policy. One of the UK’s largest care home operators has instituted a no jab, no job policy for new staff amid ongoing concern about vaccine take-up among care workers.

California Vaccine Sites Witness Priority Abuse

California vaccine sites are seeing misuse of codes meant to prioritise Black and Latino residents. Access codes meant to give Californians of colour priority access to Covid-19 vaccine slots have been getting passed around among other residents in the state, allowing some to cut the line and get appointments otherwise meant for Black and Latino residents.

Sinopharm Vaccine Is Reportedly 72.5% Effective

China’s Sinopharm vaccine 72.5% effective, company says. China is moving ahead with two more Covid vaccines in the regulatory process, one from state-owned company Sinopharm and another from a private company CanSino.

Pfizer Vaccine Is 94% Effective

Pfizer vaccine found 94% effective in landmark real-world study. The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing Covid-19.

Split over Vaccine Passports in EU States

EU states split over vaccine passports, to debate the issue on Thursday. EU leaders will on Thursday debate the issue of certificates of vaccination for EU citizens who have been vaccinated against Covid.

Qantas Will Resume International Flights from October

Australian airline Qantas to resume international flights from October. Australian airline Qantas is preparing to resume regular international flights from late October, in line with Australia’s projected vaccine rollout.

Olympians from Australia Are Being Encouraged to Take Vaccine

Australia’s Olympians to be encouraged to take vaccine but Games will be ‘safe’. Australia’s Olympics athletes will not be required to have a Covid-19 vaccination but will be encouraged to do so as planning ramps up for July’s delayed Tokyo Games.

Thursday 25th February

EU to Receive Only 50% of Promised Doses from AstraZeneca

07:20 AstraZeneca to deliver less than half promised doses to EU in second-quarter – report. AstraZeneca Plc has told the European Union it expects to deliver less than half the Covid vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday. Contacted by Reuters, AstraZeneca did not deny what the official said, but a statement late in the day said the company was striving to increase productivity to deliver the promised 180 million doses.

WHO States Corona Virus Deaths Have Dropped 20% in the Last Week

The World Health Organization said global deaths from coronavirus-related complications have declined by 20% in the last week, with cases dropping for the sixth consecutive week worldwide. Deaths have been falling for three consecutive weeks.

Japanese Regions Are Looking to End the State of Emergency

Japan regions are pushing to end the state of emergency as virus infections fall. Regional authorities in Japan have urged that emergency pandemic measures be lifted before the scheduled date of 7 March, as new coronavirus cases trend lower, the economy minister said, adding that the government would consult experts before it agreed.

Australian Doctor Fails to Give Correct Vaccine Dosage Due to Lack of Training

An Australian doctor has been stood down after an 88-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman were each given four times the recommended dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

A New Zealand High School Closed After Another Case of Covid

One of New Zealand’s largest high schools has closed again after another student and two siblings tested positive for Covid. Health authorities have been trying to test and contact-trace all 1,500 students, but were unable to find and test a small number of pupils and their families.

Thailand Has Received Its First Batch of Covid Vaccines

Thailand received its first 200,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, the country’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines, with inoculations set to begin in a few days.

The US to Vote on Covid Relief Bill on Friday

The US House of Representatives will vote on Friday on legislation to provide $1.9 trillion in new coronavirus relief, Representative Steny Hoyer, the chamber’s No 2 Democrat, said.

Singapore Discusses Vaccine Certificates to Resume Global Travel

Singapore is discussing the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates with other countries, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, calling it a necessary step towards resuming global travel.

Ireland Opens Schools Despite Lockdown Extension

Ireland is to start reopening some schools next week but is extending other lockdown restrictions until April to prevent another explosion in Covid-19 cases.

Wednesday 24th February

Over 500,000 People Have Died of Coronavirus in the US

07:45 More than half a million people have died of Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country had recorded more than 28 million cases and 500,071 lives have been lost as of Monday afternoon. In a sombre address to the nation as the US surpassed half a million coronavirus deaths on Monday, Joe Biden urged the country to unify in its battle against the virus. Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said political divisiveness contributed significantly to the stunning US coronavirus death toll.

Italy May Have Misled the WHO on Readiness to Face Pandemic

Italy allegedly misled the World Health Organization on its readiness to face a pandemic less than three weeks before the country’s first locally transmitted coronavirus case was confirmed.

Syria Authorises Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine

Syria has authorised the use of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its embassy in Moscow said Monday. The country is the latest to approve the Russian vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite. Sputnik V was registered in August before clinical trials were underway, which left experts wary.

Boris Johnson Expresses Hope to Return to Normal by End of June 

British Prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out a four-step plan to ease coronavirus restrictions, expressing hope that life could get back to normal by the end of June.

Austria Is Betting on Millions of Tests to Contain Covid-19

While Austria has struggled to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, it is fast emerging as a world leader in testing as a way to reopen schools and businesses.

The Who Agreed to No-Fault Compensation for Covid Side Effects

The World Health Organization has agreed to a no-fault compensation plan for claims of serious side effects in people in 92 poorer countries due to get Covid vaccines via the Covax sharing scheme, resolving a big concern among recipient governments.

Guinea to Launch Ebola Vaccination Drive

Guinea will launch an Ebola vaccination drive Tuesday after a flight delayed by a Saharan dust storm arrived carrying thousands of jabs, as the West African country fights to stamp out a resurgence of the deadly virus.

Tuesday 23rd February

Corona Death Toll in Africa Surpasses 100,000

07:40 Africa’s reported Covid death toll surpassed 100,000 on Friday, which is a fraction of those reported on other continents but is rising fast as the second wave of infections overwhelms hospitals. The continent’s reported deaths, at 100,354, compare favourably with North America, which has registered more than half a million, and Europe, which is approaching 900,000, a Reuters tally shows.

Japan Confirms Another New Strain from Overseas, Immigration Centre Reports Infections

Japan confirmed a new variant of Covid, and an infection cluster emerged at a Tokyo immigration facility, presenting new challenges as the country tries to overcome a third wave of the pandemic. The new strain appears to have originated overseas but is different from other types that have been found sporadically in Japan, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Richer Nations Stockpile Extra Vaccines with Poorer Countries Fighting over Supplies

Rich nations stockpiling a billion more shots than needed. Rich countries are on course to have over a billion more doses of Covid vaccines than they need, leaving poorer nations scrambling for leftover supplies as the world seeks to curb the coronavirus pandemic, a report by anti-poverty campaigners found on Friday.

Worldwide Infections Dropped to the Lowest Numbers since October

Reported daily coronavirus infections have been falling across the world for a month and on Tuesday hit their lowest since mid-October, figures that suggest the seasonality of the virus show. Reuters: But, optimism over a way out of the crisis has been tempered by new variants of the virus, raising fears about the efficacy of vaccines.

Hong Kong Vaccinations Begin Next Week

Hong Kong will start its public free vaccination program next week, after authorising emergency use of the Chinese vaccine, Sinovac. Online reservation for the voluntary vaccinations will open on 23 February, with vaccination starting from 26 February.

One New Local Covid-19 Case Confirmed in New Zealand

New Zealand confirmed one new locally transmitted case of coronavirus on Friday, which was linked to the existing cluster in its biggest city Auckland. The new case was a household contact of some of the previously reported cases, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. Additionally, it said there were three new cases in managed isolation facilities at the border.

Fauci Hopes for Post-Pandemic Normal by Christmas

TopUS infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci on Thursday said that a post-pandemic return to ‘normal’ could come by the end of the year, aligning his forecast with a Christmas target US President Joe Biden set earlier this week. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), had guided Americans to the long-sought return to something approaching normal life in early Autumn.

Algeria Receives Donation of 200,000 Chinese Covid jabs

Beijing will gift Algeria 200,000 Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines, the Chinese Ambassador to Algiers said Thursday, boosting supplies in the North African nation, AFP reports. Ambassador Li Lianhe told the official APS news agency that Beijing will “continue to provide the support and necessary backing” Algeria needs.

Israel Extends Its Border Closure to 6 March

Israel said Thursday it will extend the closure of its airports and land borders for 14 more days in a bid to stem the coronavirus pandemic. A joint statement from the Prime Minister’s office and the Health Minister said the country’s borders will remain closed until March 6, except for urgent reasons. Israel had suspended international flights on January 24 before closing the border crossings with Jordan and Egypt.

Israeli Study Finds First Shot of Pfizer Vaccine to Be 85% Effective

An Israeli study found the Pfizer vaccine 85% effective after the first shot. The first dose of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine is 85% effective, a study of healthcare workers at an Israeli hospital has found, potentially fuelling a debate over the recommended two-dose schedule as governments try to stretch out supplies, Reuters reports.

20% of Australians Unlikely to Get Vaccine

More than one in five Australians say they will ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ not be vaccinated against coronavirus, with the spike in vaccine hesitancy potentially spelling trouble for the rollout.

Friday 19th February

US Agents Seized 10m Fake N95 Masks

07:40 US federal agents have seized more than 10 million fake 3M brand N95 masks in recent weeks, the result of an ongoing investigation into counterfeits sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies.

China’s Sinovac Vaccine Has Been Fast-Tracked for Approval in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s government on Thursday approved the Chinese-made Sinovac coronavirus vaccine for emergency use after a panel of experts fast-tracked its recommendation despite the drug’s comparatively low efficacy.

India to Make Covid Tests Mandatory for Passengers from the UK, South Africa or Brazil

India will make Covid molecular tests mandatory for people arriving directly or indirectly from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil in a bid to contain the spread of more infectious virus variants found in those countries.

The UN Has Urged for a Global Effort for Corona Vaccination with 130 Countries Waiting to Receive Doses

The United Nations on Wednesday led calls for a coordinated global effort to vaccinate against Covid-19, warning that gaping inequities in initial efforts put the whole planet at risk. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced alarm that just 10 nations have administered 75 percent of doses so far – and 130 countries have received no doses.

Demand for UK nursing degrees has risen by a third

The Covid pandemic has inspired a new generation of students to become nurses, with a third more applying to study the subject at university than last year, though professional leaders say the rise only brings numbers back to the level of five years ago.

Australia to Begin First Vaccinations from Monday at Elderly Care Homes

Australia will begin its first coronavirus vaccinations from Monday in about 240 aged care homes across more than 190 locations around the country. The rollout will begin with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine due to join the rollout from early March.

Corona Infection in England Has Fallen by Two-Thirds

Covid infections in England fall by two-thirds but spreading fastest among young, a study suggests. The React 1 study from Imperial College London points to the third national lockdown having significantly curbed the spread of the coronavirus despite the emergence of new variants.

Winter Storms in the US Causes Delays and Cancellations for Covid Vaccinations

Devastating winter storms sweeping the US have injected confusion and frustration into the Covid-19 vaccination drive, snarling deliveries and forcing the cancellation of thousands of shots around the country. Across a large swath of the US, including deep south states such as Georgia and Alabama, the snowy and slippery weather either led to the closing of vaccination sites outright or held up necessary shipments, with delays expected to continue for days.

BioNTech Says It Will Provide Vaccines to Taiwan

Germany’s BioNTech SE plans to provide Covid vaccine to Taiwan, the company said, after the island complained the firm in December pulled out of a deal to buy 5 million doses at the last minute, possibly due to Chinese pressure.

Thursday 18th February

The WHO Said New Covid-19 Cases Globally Fell 16% Last Week

The number of new cases of Covid-19 reported worldwide fell by 16% last week to 2.7 million, the World Health Organization said. “The number of new deaths reported also fell 10% week-on-week, to 81,000,” the WHO said late Tuesday in its weekly epidemiological update, using figures up to Sunday.

The Who Expects the First Covax Deliveries in Late February

The Covax facility, the global Covid-19 vaccine procurement and distribution effort which aims to ensure poorer countries are also able to access doses, said its final shipment list for the first deliveries would be issued next week, following the WHO giving the green light to the AstraZeneca jabs.

Biden Has Laid out Plans for Addressing Next Stage of Pandemic

Joe Biden laid out his plans for fighting the next stage of the coronavirus pandemic in a primetime town hall on Tuesday, pledging to make 600m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine available by the end of July, saying teachers should be moved “up the hierarchy” of the vaccine queue, and predicting most elementary schools would reopen by the end of his first 100 days in office.

South Africa Stated on Tuesday It Will Offer Doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine to African Union

South Africa said Tuesday it would offer its doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to the African Union after scrapping their use due to efficacy concerns. The country suspended its vaccine rollout – meant to begin with the AstraZeneca shots earlier this month – after a study found the jab failed to prevent mild and moderate illness caused by a variant found in South Africa.

S. Korean MP Claims That N. Korea Has Attempted to Steal Corona Information

A South Korean MP claimed that North Korea attempted to steal information about coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Ha Tae-keung said he had been told during a closed-door briefing by the National Intelligence Service this week that “North Korea tried to obtain technology involving the Covid vaccine and treatment by using cyberwarfare to hack into Pfizer”.

Authorities Unable to Explain New Covid Variant Detected in Australia

Australian health departments have failed to publicly explain the presence of a “worrying” variant of Covid-19 in Australia identified by UK researchers from a global genomic database of samples.

In 2020 US Airline Traffic Dropped to Its Lowest Level Since 1984

US passenger airline traffic fell 60% in 2020 to the lowest number since 1984, the US transportation department said. In total, there were 368 million passengers in 2020, down from 922.6 million in 2019. The previous yearly low was 351.6 million in 1984, the department said.

Snowstorm halts Greek Vaccination Drive

A snowstorm of rare vigour and durability has forced the Greek government to delay the country’s Covid-19 vaccination drive after citizens were advised to remain at home. Inoculation centres, including mega facilities capable of vaccinating up to 20,000 people a day, were ordered to close as the unusually cold front swept across Greece.

Brazil’s Environment Minister Tests Positive for Covid

Brazil’s environment minister has tested positive for Covid-19, the ministry announced in a statement. Ricardo Salles is, at least, the 15th member of the Bolsonaro administration to be diagnosed with the illness so far.

Wednesday 17th February

The UK Is Considering Distributing Excess Vaccine to Other Countries

The UK will look at making excess doses of coronavirus vaccinations available to other nations after it has vaccinated its adult population, vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday. “My priority is to make sure I vaccinate the UK adult population as quickly as we can and then if there are any excess doses, we will look at how we make those excess doses available to other countries,” Zahawi told LBC radio.

UK Bars and Pubs Continue to Pose Risks

Bars and pubs in the UK continue to pose a risk for the spread of Covid despite best efforts to make premises safe, researchers have said. Hospitality venues were told to shut up shop in March 2020 as the first UK lockdown was announced. However, as restrictions were eased venues were once again allowed to trade.

South Africa Asks Serum Institute of India to Take Back 1m Vaccine Doses

South Africa has asked the Serum Institute of India to take back 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine that the company had sent in early February, The Economic Times reported on Tuesday. Last week, South Africa’s Health Minister said the government may sell doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after the country paused its rollout following a small clinical trial that showed it offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the 501Y.V2 coronavirus variant dominant in the country.

Andrew Cuomo Insists There Was No Cover-up of Covid-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes

Andrew Cuomo insisted New York did not cover up nursing home Covid-19 deaths. Under fire over his management of the coronavirus’ lethal path through New York’s nursing homes, Andrew Cuomo insisted Monday the state did not cover up deaths – but the governor acknowledged that officials should have moved faster to release some information sought by lawmakers, the public and the press.

Three Sailors on USS Theodore Roosevelt Have Tested Positive for Covid

Three sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for Covid, the Navy said Monday, less than a year after a massive outbreak on the ship sidelined it in Guam for nearly two months.

Syringe Shortage Hampers Japan’s Vaccination Roll-Out

Fears are growing in Japan, where an inoculation drive against Covid-19 will begin on Wednesday, that millions of doses of Pfizer vaccine could be wasted due to a shortage of special syringes that maximise the number of shots used from each vial.

Mexico Has Begun Vaccinating Senior Citizens

Mexico began vaccinating senior citizens in more than 300 municipalities across the country Monday after receiving some 860,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Most of the effort was concentrated in remote rural communities, but in a few far-flung corners of the sprawling capital, hundreds of Mexicans over age 60 lined up before dawn for the chance to get vaccinated.

Major Land Borders Are Reopened in South Africa

South Africa reopens major land borders. South Africa has reopened its major land borders with neighbouring countries after closing them last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus, AP reports. At least 20 border posts reopened Monday, with officials saying steps will be taken to avoid tightly-packed crowds of travellers gathering at the immigration posts which would spread the virus.

New Zealand Reported Zero New Cases Overnight

New Zealand has recorded no new cases of Covid-19 overnight, either in the community or in managed isolation. It follows a testing blitz after three people tested positive for the UK variant on the weekend. Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, is current at level 3 restrictions, requiring people to stay at home. The rest of the country remains on level 2, which includes the return of social distancing rules, caps on gathering and increased mask-wearing.

WHO Has Approved the AstraZeneca Vaccine for Emergency Use

The World Health Organization has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab for emergency use, meaning the vaccine can be rolled out globally and participate in the Covax programme that aims to bring vaccines to poorer countries.

Tuesday 16th February

New Zealand Is Hit by UK Covid Strain

07:20 Aucklanders awoke on Monday to a new lockdown, hoping the short and sharp three-day restrictions ordered by Jacinda Ardern arrest the spread of Covid-19. The prime minister said genomic testing had shown that the three community cases were the UK variant of Covid-19, the first to be detected in the country.

Daily US Covid Cases Fall Below 100,000

Average daily new coronavirus cases in the US have dipped below 100,000 for the first time in months, but experts cautioned on Sunday that infections remain high and precautions to slow the pandemic must remain in place.

Australia Receives First Vaccine Doses

Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout will begin next week after the first doses of the Pfizer jab arrived in Sydney, AAP reports. More than 142,000 doses are being taken to a secure location and batches will be assessed for damage and quality in the coming days.

First Vaccine Doses Arrive in New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern said the first vaccine doses arrived in the country on Monday morning. After being checked for quality assurance, inoculations will begin on Saturday, starting with border workers.

South Korea Excludes People Aged 65 and over from AstraZeneca Vaccine

South Korea to exclude people over 65 from AstraZeneca vaccines. South Korea will initially exclude people aged 65 years and older from inoculation with AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine because of a lack of data proving its efficacy in the elderly, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday.

Israeli Study Suggests Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Provides 94% Protection

An Israeli study of more than half a million fully vaccinated people indicated the Pfizer/BioNTech jab offered 94% protection against Covid-19, according to the country’s largest healthcare provider.

Suspension of Quarantine Free Travel with New Zealand

Australia suspended quarantine-free travel with New Zealand after it locked down Auckland following the detection of three new community cases.

1,000 People Flout Restriction in Belgrade Nightclub

Around 1,000 people have been caught flouting restrictions in a Belgrade nightclub, Serbia’s interior ministry said on Sunday. The country’s coronavirus restrictions allow gatherings of up to five.

Brazil Reports Two Confirmed Cases of UK Covid Strain

Brazil has confirmed two cases of the UK variant in the state of Goiás after sequencing test samples taken on 31 December, Reuters reports, citing the state’s health department. It did not say if these are the first cases of the variant detected in Brazil.

Controversy over WHO investigation

There is growing controversy over a World Health Organization investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic after one of its members said China had refused to hand over key data, and the US national security adviser said he had “deep concerns” about the initial findings.

Monday 15th February

Joe Biden Has Confirmed Ordering 200 Million Additional Corona Vaccine Doses

US President Joe Biden has confirmed the US has ordered 200m more doses of coronavirus vaccine. He said, “my predecessor did not do his job” in scaling up the country’s vaccine rollout and urged Americans to “mask up.”

The Brazilian Amazon Covid Strain Is Potentially Three Times More Contagious

The Brazilian Amazon variant of the coronavirus disease may be ‘three times’ as contagious as other strains, the country’s Health Minister has said.

Germany Will Ban Travel from Czech Border Regions

Germany will ban travel from Czech border regions as well as Austria’s Tyrol over a troubling surge in infections of more contagious coronavirus variants.

WHO Director-General Rejects Comments by Expert Team

The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, appears to have rejected comments made on Tuesday by the team of experts studying the origins of the Covid-19 virus after they said it was “extremely unlikely” that it leaked from a Wuhan virology laboratory and “isn’t a hypothesis we suggest implies further study.” Tedros said, “I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study.”

Portugal Is Extending Lockdown until March

Portugal has extended a lockdown until 1 March or perhaps later to tackle its worst surge of Covid-19 infections since the pandemic began.

Ireland Will Extend Lockdown until April

Ireland, which, according to the latest official figures, has recorded 3,794 Covid related deaths, is set to extend its lockdown until April, prime minister Micheal Martin has said.

Angela Merkel Defends Germany’s Lockdown Extension Decision

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has defended her government’s decision to extend Germany’s lockdown into March by highlighting the ‘very real danger’ of a third wave driven by Covid mutations.

The Philippines Will Receive 600,000 Vaccine Doses Donated by China

The Philippines is poised to receive 600,000 doses this month of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine donated by China, a portion of which will be used to inoculate military personnel.

Friday 12th February

The US Could Have Prevented 40% of Covid Deaths

08:05 The US could have averted 40% of deaths from Covid-19, had the country’s death rates corresponded with the rates in other high-income G7 countries, according to a Lancet commission tasked with assessing Donald Trump’s health policy record. The commission condemned Trump’s response to Covid, but emphasised that the country entered the pandemic with a degraded public health infrastructure.

US CDC Study Reveals Two Masks Are More Effective against Corona

A study by the US CDC has shown wearing two masks can ‘substantially reduce’ exposure to Covid-19. The report found that in the lab tests with dummies, “exposure to infectious aerosols decreased by about 95% when they both wore tightly fitted masks.”

Asthma Drug Can Significantly Reduce Risk of Covid

A cheap and widely available asthma drug called budesonide appears to significantly reduce the risk of people getting seriously ill with Covid-19 if it is taken within the first week of developing symptoms.

Ski Resorts in Lombardy, Italy Are Being Reopened

Italy is reopening its ski resorts in Lombardy, the region worst hit by the coronavirus. Lifts will resume operating from 15 February, which will mark the return of skiing for the first time this year.

WHO States Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine for All Ages

The WHO says that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be given to adults of all ages after some countries decided not to give the dose to those aged over 65 over doubts about its effectiveness.

Malaysia Is Extending Free Vaccines to All Foreigners Residing There

Malaysia will extend its free vaccination programme to all foreigners residing in the country, including students, refugees and undocumented migrants, the government said on Thursday.

Mexico Has Inked Emergency Authorisation of China’s Sinovac Vaccine

Mexico has signed an emergency use authorisation for China’s Sinovac vaccine, according to the country’s Deputy Health Minister.

Thursday 11th February

WHO Member Tweets “Please Don’t Rely Too Much on US Intel”

07:15 A member of the WHO mission to China exploring the origins of the coronavirus pandemic took a swipe Wednesday at US intelligence on the issue, after the State Department cast doubt on the transparency of their probe. Briton Peter Daszak said in a tweet as the mission ended: “Please don’t rely too much on US intel: increasingly disengaged under Trump & frankly wrong on many aspects.”

Estonia Coordinating on Pilot Project with WHO on Vaccine Passports

Estonia is working on a pilot project with the World Health Organisation on how globally recognised electronic vaccine certificates – so-called ‘vaccine passports’, might work.

New Zealand Plan to Administer Pfizer and BioNTech Corona Vaccines

New Zealand will administer the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines to quarantine personnel, frontline health workers and airline staff after the government formally approved its use on Wednesday.

Annual Covid Vaccinations Are Likely Ahead

People may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually for the next several years, Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive, Alex Gorsky told CNBC on Tuesday, due to mutations to the virus.

Russia Sends 100,000 Doses of Sputnik V Vaccine to Venezuela

Venezuela will receive the first 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine next week, President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday.

Lambeth Council in London Requests Residents to Take Cover Test

In London, Lambeth council is asking some residents to take a coronavirus test after the variant first identified in South Africa was detected in the local area.

Increase on Curbs in Athens Region

The Athens region will enter a stricter coronavirus lockdown from Thursday, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said, with schools and non-essential shops closed.

Spain Reaches Highest Daily Death Toll to Date

Spain has now recorded more than 3 million Covid cases, while also registering 766 deaths over the past 24 hours – the highest daily death toll of the current third wave.

94% Rollout of Vaccine for the Navajo Nation So Far

The Navajo Nation’s vaccination rollout continues to surpass the broader United States, Al Jazeera reports, having distributed 94 per cent of the doses it has received.

Wednesday 10th February

WHO Announces Not to Dismiss AstraZeneca Vaccine

07:15 The World Health Organization insisted Monday that the AstraZeneca vaccine was still a vital tool in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic after South Africa delayed the start of its inoculation programme over concerns about its efficacy against a virus variant.

Higher Covid Mortality in Ethnic Minorities in England

A new sweeping analysis in England shows that between the first and second waves of the pandemic in 2020, death rates in black communities improved, but continued to remain high in people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds.

Russia’s Official Covid Death Toll Is Less Than Half Actual Number

Russia has recorded a dramatic increase in mortality in 2020 fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data published by the Rosstat agency. The figures showed that between April, when the pandemic hit Russia, and December the country saw 162,429 coronavirus-related fatalities. However, as of Monday, the official total released by Russia’s health officials stood at only 77,068 virus deaths on the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the figure is listed as 75,828.

Five Jailed in China for Dereliction of Duty over Covid Outbreak in Shandong Prison

Five people including three officials have been jailed in China for dereliction of duty over an outbreak in a Shandong prison which saw more than 200 inmates infected in February 2020.

UK Scientists and MPs Push for Border Curbs

Scientists and senior MPs have renewed calls for sweeping border curbs to protect the UK’s vaccination programme against new variants as Boris Johnson prepared to introduce tougher measures and Britain saw internal infections fall.

Facebook Bans Vaccine Misinformation Following Years of Unfounded Health Claims on Its Site

Facebook has banned misinformation about all vaccines following years of harmful, unfounded health claims proliferating on its platform. As part of its policy on Covid-19-related misinformation, Facebook will now remove posts with false claims about all vaccines, the company announced in a blogpost on Monday.

Easter Island Began Vaccinating on Monday after More Than 300 Days and No Infections

Authorities on Easter Island began vaccinating residents on Monday, distributing 1,200 doses on the first day, AFP reports. Situated 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles) off Chile’s coast, the island – renowned for its ancient, giant humanoid monoliths – has not reported a single coronavirus case in more than 300 days.

Israel and Greece Have Agreed Tourism Deal on Vaccinated Citizens

Israel and Greece agreed a tourism deal Monday that will allow coronavirus-vaccinated citizens of the two countries to travel between them without limitations once flights resume.

EU Chief Urges States to Donate Vaccines to Ukraine

The European Commission Chief said on Monday she had called on EU member states to donate some of their coronavirus jabs to Ukraine, as it prepares to launch its vaccination campaign.

Tuesday 9th February

The US Has Surpassed 27 Million Covid Cases

07:25 The US has passed 27m cases of coronavirus, as Joe Biden warned that it would be ‘very difficult’ for the country to achieve heard immunity by the end of the summer.

WHO Panel to Discuss Efficacy of AstraZeneca Vaccine

A World Health Organization panel is due to meet to discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, the use of which has been suspended in South Africa over concern over its efficacy in over-65s.

The Majority of Japanese Are Opposed to Olympics This Summer

A majority of Japanese remain opposed to holding the Olympics this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic but the ratio lowered significantly from recent polls, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed on Monday. A combined 61% want the Games to be postponed or cancelled altogether. However, that is around 20% points lower than recent opinion polls.

South Korea Has Reported the Lowest Daily Infections since Late November

South Korea reported the lowest daily number of new coronavirus cases since late November as the government slightly eased social distancing restrictions in the face of growing criticism from businesses impacted by the rules.

Panama Intends to Acquire 8 Million More Vaccine Doses

Panama has sought to acquire more than 8 million coronavirus vaccine doses to inoculate about 80% of the Central American nation’s residents, Health Minister Luis Sucre said on Sunday.

China Reported 14 New Covid-19 Infections

China reported 14 new mainland Covid-19 cases on 7 February, official data showed on Monday, which is up slightly from a day earlier. All new cases originated from overseas.

Monday 8th February

With Only 66% Effectiveness, Johnson & Johnson Has Applied for Approval in the US for Its Vaccine

07:50 Johnson & Johnson has applied in the US for emergency use authorisation for its single-dose vaccine. The drugmaker’s application to the Food and Drug Administration follows its 29 January report in which it said the vaccine had a 66% rate of preventing infections in its large global trial.

British Ministers Accused of Dragging Their Heels on New Coronavirus Quarantine Hotels

British ministers have been accused of being too slow to act after it was disclosed new coronavirus quarantine hotels will not come into force until mid-February. From 15 February, travellers returning to the UK from ‘red list’ countries will have to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days. Labour said it was “beyond comprehension” that it was taking so long to get the scheme up and running.

South Korea Surpasses 80,000 Infections

South Korea has passed 80,000 infections as the government weighs whether to tighten coronavirus restrictions ahead of next week’s lunar new year celebrations.

Above 40,000 Covid Deaths Recorded in the US in Last Two Weeks

The US has recorded more than 40,000 deaths from Covid in the past two weeks, with concerns growing that parties linked to this Sunday’s culmination of the football season, the Super Bowl, may lead to another spike in infections.

Mexico Is Running Out of Vaccines

Mexico is reported to be running out of vaccines, as the government vaccine registration website crashed for the third day in a row. Mexico has received only about 760,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and has only about 89,000 of those left, many of which are earmarked for second shots. It expects to get more Pfizer doses by mid-month, and as many as 400,000 Sputnik shots by the end of February, but they will not be enough to vaccinate even the country’s 750,000 frontline health workers and represent a drop in the bucket for Mexico’s population of 126 million.

New Zealand Stated on Friday It Will Begin Receiving Refugees Again

New Zealand said on Friday it will start receiving refugees again this month, nearly a year after it shut its borders to stop the spread of Covid-19. A group of 35 refugees will arrive in February, with about 210 refugees expected to enter the country by 30 June, Immigration New Zealand officials said.

China Is Donating 100,000 Corona Vaccine Doses to the Congo Republic

China will donate 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to the Congo Republic and forgive $13m in public debt, its ambassador to the country said. The ambassador, Ma Fulin, announced the measures after a meeting with Congo’s President, Denis Sassou Nguesso. He did not say which Chinese-developed vaccine would be provided, but the doses are enough to vaccinate 50,000 of Congo’s 5.1 million people. Ma said the Chinese government would also forgive all public Congolese debt that came due before the end of 2020, an estimated $13m.

Friday 5th February

Canada Will Receive A Huge Haul of Vaccines for Poor Countries

07:05 Canada is set to receive a significant haul of vaccines over the next months through a platform designed to maximise supply to poor countries, according to a new forecast, despite reserving the most doses-per-person in the world through direct deals with pharmaceutical companies. The Globe and Mail report that Canada will be the only G7 country worldwide to accept vaccines from the scheme.

Oxford Trial to Test Efficacy of Mix of Covid Vaccines

Volunteers are being sought for a world-first trial to establish the efficacy of giving people a first dose of one vaccine and a second dose of a different vaccine. The trial, which is being run by Oxford University and is funded by the government’s vaccine taskforce, has been described by ministers as “hugely important.”

Care Homes Continue to Break Corona Rules

Care homes still breaking Covid rules despite fatal outbreaks, inspectors say. Care homes in England operated by profitable chains have been branded unsafe by inspectors, who found serious failures in efforts to control the spread of coronavirus in its latest wave.

Total US Corona Deaths Surpass 450,000

The United States – the worst-affected country worldwide in terms of both the number of coronavirus cases and the number of people who have died in the pandemic, has passed a death toll of 450,000, according to Johns Hopkins University as it approaches a staggering half a million lives lost. The Biden administration has warned that the US toll could pass 600,000 before the virus is under control.

500 Tennis Players in Australia Are Put in Covid Isolation

Australia puts 500 tennis player staff into coronavirus isolation. More than 500 tennis players and officials were ordered into isolation in the Australian city of Melbourne on Thursday as authorities reintroduced coronavirus restrictions after a worker at a quarantine hotel tested positive for the virus.

New Community Corona Case Identified in New Zealand

New Zealand identifies new community case. A new community case of Covid-19 has been identified in New Zealand: a close contact of two recent cases, who has been self-isolating. The new case is the mother of the toddler (known as Person C) who tested positive for Covid-19 after quarantining at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland. Person B, her partner, also tested positive.

Mexican President in ‘Excellent Health’ after Covid Diagnosis

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is in ‘excellent’ health and is virtually free of Covid-19 symptoms, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Wednesday. Lopez Obrador has been recovering from the virus since announcing on 20 January he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Brazil Plans to Purchase 30 Million Sputnik V, Covaxin Shots

The Brazilian government announced Wednesday it was negotiating the purchase of 30 million coronavirus vaccine doses from Russia and India after regulators made it easier for the treatments to win emergency-use authorisations.

US CDC Announces Schools Can Reopen

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserted on Wednesday that US schools can safely reopen even if teachers have not received the coronavirus vaccine, while the top US infections expert supported the idea of wearing two face masks.

A Pfizer/BioNTech Jab Gives ‘90% Immunity’ from Covid after 21 Days

One dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine gives people about 90% protection from Covid by 21 days, according to an analysis of Israel’s mass vaccination programme.

South Korea PM Orders Revamp of Social Distancing Rules

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Thursday ordered a revamp of social distancing guidelines in a bid to win greater public support for efforts to stop local transmission of the new coronavirus.

The UK plans Announcement on Quarantine for Travellers

Britain’s health minister will make an announcement on further plans to order hotel quarantine for some travellers on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Thursday 4th February

The Majority of Covid Patients Develop Antibodies Providing Protection for at Least Six Months

07:35 Majority of Covid patients develop antibodies that protect from reinfection for at least six months. The vast majority of people who contract coronavirus develop antibodies that may help protect them against reinfection for at least six months, researchers say. Blood samples collected from more than 20,000 UK residents between June and November 2020 revealed that 99% of those who tested positive had antibodies for at least three months, with 88% having them for the full six months studied.

WHO Team Visits Chinese Virus Lab in Wuhan

World Health Organization inspectors visited a laboratory in China’s Wuhan city on Wednesday that American officials suggested could have been the source of the coronavirus. The inspection of the Wuhan virology institute, which conducts research on the world’s most dangerous diseases, will be one of the most-watched stops on the team’s probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid Vaccine Nationalism is Harmful to the World

Covid-19 vaccine nationalism is harmful to all, the World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. He said weak cooperation between nations is a major barrier to achieving worldwide vaccination at the scale needed to end the pandemic.

Australia’s Economy Is Predicted to Recover by Middle of the Year

Australia’s economy is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic size by the middle of this year – six to 12 months early – the Reserve Bank governor has revealed. On Wednesday, Philip Lowe released the bank’s revised projections showing a faster than expected recovery during the Covid-19 recession is expected to translate to the growth of 3.5% this year and next, with unemployment set to fall to 6% in 2021.

New Zealand Has Given Provisional Approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been provisionally approved for use in New Zealand, where the government will begin vaccinating frontline healthcare and border workers in the coming months. Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, said the approval was a positive step in the country’s fight against Covid-19, of which there have been fewer than 2,000 cases nationally:

Emmanuel Macron Makes Vaccine Pledge ‘End of Summer’

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that all of his countrymen who want a vaccine will be offered one “by the end of the summer”. He told the TF1 channel that 80% of care-home residents – some 500,000 people – would be vaccinated by early March. The number of patients in hospital with coronavirus in France is at its highest since November. The health ministry reported 28,029 people were in hospital with the virus and 3,270 in intensive care. Both numbers set new 2021 highs.

Angela Merkel Welcomes Russian and Chinese Vaccines

Merkel said all approved vaccines welcome after Russian Sputnik posted strong data. Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has said: “all vaccines” approved by the EU’s medicines regulator are welcome, including Russian and Chinese shots, Reuters reports. In a TV interview, she said Germany welcomed the strong data from trials of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Mexico Has Approved the Russian Sputnik V Coronavirus

Mexico on Tuesday approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the country, one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, following the release of positive trial results. The move is a boost to the Latin American nation’s efforts to keep its immunisation program on track in the face of limited supplies from other manufacturers.

US Treasury Secretary and The World Bank Stress Poorer Countries Need Access to the Vaccine Improved

Treasury, World Bank stress need to improve vaccine access for poorest countries. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and World Bank President David Malpass on Tuesday stressed the need to coordinate in responding the global pandemic, improving vaccine access for the poorest countries, and combating climate change.

Wednesday 3rd February

Varied Locations in China Will Suspend Religions Gatherings for Chinese New Year

07:15 Many places in China plan to suspend religious gatherings during the upcoming Spring Festival holidays to control the coronavirus outbreak, the Global Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Only 5.4% of Vaccine Recipients in The US Are Black Americans

Black Americans make up only 5.4% of Covid-19 vaccine recipients, CDC finds. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found only 5.4% of coronavirus vaccine recipients were black, in its first analysis of how vaccines were given out among different demographic groups in the first month of US distribution.

Division Remains Between Biden and Republicans over Covid Relief

Biden and Republicans agreed to further Covid relief talks but deep divisions remain. Ten Republican senators have agreed to carry on talks with the White House in an attempt to negotiate a bi-partisan coronavirus relief package, after a two-hour meeting with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Monday night ended short of a breakthrough.

China Reports Lowest Cases in a Month

China reported the fewest new coronavirus cases in a month as imported cases overtook local infections, official data showed on Tuesday, suggesting the country’s worst wave since March 2020 is being stamped out ahead of a key holiday. Thirty cases were reported in the mainland on 1 February, the National Health Commission said in a statement, down from 42 cases a day earlier and marking the lowest total since 24 cases were reported on 2 January.

Chinese Police Bust Fake Vaccine Ring

Chinese police arrested more than 80 people and confiscated over 3,000 fake doses of Covid-19 vaccine as part of a campaign to combat vaccine-related crimes, state news agency Xinhua reports.

Vaccine Doses Arrive in South Africa

The first vaccine doses have arrived in South African, where President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed their arrival on Monday as a chance to ‘turn the tide’ on a disease that has devastated the country.

The EU Has Curbed Rules on Visitors

The European Union tightened its rules for visitors from outside the bloc, specifying that they would only be allowed in freely from countries with very few coronavirus cases and almost none of the more transmissible variants.

Tuesday 2nd February

Expert Warns the US of Virulent UK Strains

08:40 An expert warned the US to brace for virulent Covid strain. A leading infectious disease expert predicted on Sunday that the deadlier British variant of Covid-19 will become the dominant strain of the virus in the US and could hit the country like a hurricane.

Chicago Schools Postpone Classes over Covid Safety Plan

Chicago Public Schools on Sunday delayed the resumption of in-person classes for thousands of elementary and middle school students by at least a day as the district and teachers failed to reach an agreement on a Covid safety plan.

Japan Expects Extension of State of Emergency in Tokyo

Japan is expected to extend a state of emergency this week for Tokyo and other areas as hospitals remain under pressure despite a decline in cases from their peaks, local media reported on Monday.

Health Authorities in Taiwan Battle Corona Outbreak around a Taoyuan Hospital

Taiwan health authorities are still battling an outbreak centred around a Taoyuan hospital, which claimed the first Covid-related death almost nine months on Friday. The woman in her eighties was a relative of another confirmed case. Authorities said she presented with Covid-like symptoms on Thursday and was taken to hospital. A test returned a negative result for Covid, but she passed away on Friday night. She had chronic kidney disease and other underlying health issues.

Hong Kong Continues ‘Ambush Lockdowns’ on Housing Blocks

As Hong Kong continues to fight its widespread outbreak, authorities have employed a new tactic in response to clusters of infection in residential housing blocks. Since last week, police have launched four ambush-style lockdowns, arriving unannounced at buildings to immediately prevent anyone from leaving and to run mandatory testing.

NHS Is offering Covid jab to Older Residents in England

The NHS has said official figures are expected to confirm on Monday that it has offered a coronavirus vaccine to every older care home resident across England. In another milestone for the vaccine programme, coming after it set a new daily record of almost 600,000 people being inoculated against Covid-19 on Saturday, nurses, GPs and other NHS staff have offered the jab to people living at more than 10,000 care homes with older residents.

Pakistan Receives First Batch of Vaccine Doses

Pakistan received its first batch of Covid vaccine doses, 500,000 from China’s Sinopharm, on Monday, Health Adviser Faisal Sultan said in a statement released on Twitter. “Thank God, the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine has arrived! Grateful to China and everyone who made this happen,” he said. “I salute our frontline healthcare workers for their efforts and they’ll be first to get vaccinated.”

Ghana Tightens Restrictions as Cases Climb

Ghana has reimposed a ban on social gatherings as the number of Covid-19 cases spiral in the West African nation, the president announced Sunday. Schools reopened in January after a 10-month closure, but President Nana Akufo-Addo said a return to stricter measures was needed. “Our hospitals have become full, and we have had to reactivate our isolation centres,” he said.

Israel Extends Lockdown as Corona Variants Offset Vaccination Drive

Israel extended a national lockdown on Sunday as Covid variants offset its vaccination drive and officials predicted a delay in a turnaround from the ongoing crisis.

EU Intends to Vaccinate 70% of Adults by End of Summer

AstraZeneca will increase its coronavirus vaccine deliveries to the EU by 30%, European Commission Chief, Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday as the bloc sought to claw back time lost rolling out the jabs. The aim was still to vaccinate 70% of adults in the EU by the end of summer, she added.

WHO Due to Visit Hubei CDC

A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic was due on Monday to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Hubei province, the central Chinese region where the outbreak emerged in late 2019. The team has already visited the Huanan food market in Wuhan.

Perth Enforces Lockdown over One Case

About 2 million Australians begun their first full day of a strict coronavirus lockdown on Monday following the discovery of one case in the community in Perth, capital of Western Australia state, but no new cases have since been found.

Monday 1st February

Binding Orders Hold-Up Delivery of AstraZeneca Vaccine in Europe

08:05 The European Union’s contract with AstraZeneca for its Covid-19 vaccine contains binding orders, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, demanding a plausible explanation from the drugmaker for delivery hold-ups. “There are binding orders and the contract is crystal clear,” she said.

Fire Kills Four Patients in Romanian Covid Hospital

A fire has killed four patients in a Covid-19 hospital in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, the second such tragedy of the pandemic.

The Novavax Vaccine, 89.3% Effective

Novavax Inc has said its coronavirus vaccine is 89.3% effective in preventing Covid-19 in a trial conducted in the United Kingdom, and was nearly as effective in protecting against the more highly contagious variant first discovered in the UK, according to a preliminary analysis. A mid-stage trial of the vaccine in South Africa, where a troubling new variant of the virus is common, showed 60% effectiveness among people who did not have HIV.

The French Health Ministry Said Supplies of the Moderna Vaccine Reduced by 25%

France’s health ministry has announced supplies of the Moderna vaccine expected during February will be reduced by 25%. Elsewhere, a shortage of vaccines has forced Paris and two other regions, that together account for a third of the French population, to postpone giving out some first doses.

Daily Corona Infections in France Have Dropped Considerably in 24 Hours

French health authorities reported 23,770 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours on Thursday, down from 26,916 on Wednesday. The country’s Covid-19 death toll rose by 344 to 74,800, the world’s seventh-highest, after an increase of 350 on Wednesday.

Global Tourism Cost in Excess of a Trillion Dollars

The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $1.3tn in lost revenue in 2020 as the number of people travelling plunged, the United Nations has said, calling it “the worst year in tourism history”.

Friday 29th January

England’s Covid Cases Must Fall to Ease NHS Pressure

08:05 Cases of coronavirus have started to decline in England but must fall faster to relieve pressure on the NHS, scientists behind a Covid infection survey have warned.

Pfizer’s Vaccine Almost as Effective against South African Mutations

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine appeared to lose only a small bit of effectiveness against an engineered virus with three key mutations from the new coronavirus variant found in South Africa, according to a laboratory study conducted by the US drugmaker, Reuters reports.

The White House States: ‘Great Concern’ over ‘Misinformation’ of COVID Origin from China. 

The US wants a “robust and clear” international probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in China, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, has said. Speaking to reporters, she said it was “imperative we get to the bottom” of how the virus appeared and spread. She highlighted “great concern” over “misinformation” from “some sources in China”.

Swimming Qualification Event for Tokyo Olympics Postponed until May

The artistic swimming Olympics qualification event, due to be held in Tokyo in March, has been postponed until May because of novel coronavirus restrictions in Japan, Reuters reports. Tokyo 2020 organisers and Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) announced on Thursday that the tournament, which also doubles as a test event for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, will now take place 1-4 May.

Mexico Announces Its Highest Daily New Corona Infections on Wednesday

Mexico posted its highest one-day total of newly confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, with 27,944 infections, and a near-record 1,623 confirmed deaths. That brings the country’s total so far to just over 1.8 million cases and 153,639 deaths. However, Mexico has an extremely low rate of testing, and estimates of excess deaths suggest the real toll is over 195,000.

Vietnam Reports Its First Cases in Months

Vietnam has reported its first cases of community transmission in months after two infections were detected in the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh, just weeks before the Lunar New Year holiday. While the new case numbers are very small, they have caused concern in Vietnam, which had gone 55 days without any local infections.

Health Leaders Say Covid Deniers Are Putting Lives at Risk

Hospital incursions by Covid deniers are putting lives at risk said health leaders. Lives are being put at risk and the care of patients disrupted by a spate of hospital incursions from Covid-19 deniers whose online activity is channelling hatred against NHS staff, say healthcare and police chiefs. In the latest example of a growing trend, a group of people were ejected by security from a Covid-19 ward last week as one of them filmed staff, claimed that the virus was a hoax and demanded that a seriously ill patient be sent home

WHO Says Covid ‘War’ Can Be Won

Humanity is not losing the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and will eventually conquer the virus, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Madrid Health Authorities Halt Vaccinations Due to Supply Issues

Authorities in the Madrid region of Spain said Wednesday they have suspended new vaccinations against the coronavirus for at least two weeks because of a shortage of jabs, while another region, Catalonia, warned its supply was running out.

New Zealand Is Increasing Covid Test Centres as Quarantine Hotel Closes

Extra Covid testing centres have been set up overnight in Auckland as health officials raced to trace contacts of two fresh cases in New Zealand and closed down the quarantine hotel believed to be at the centre of this week’s outbreak.

Serena Williams Praises Australia’s Strict Quarantine Procedures

Former tennis world No 1 Serena Williams has praised Australia’s ‘insane’ quarantine procedures ahead of the Australia Open. In an interview with late-night US TV host, Stephen Colbert the 23-time grand slam champion said Australia was “doing it right” when it came to border controls.“Yeah, it’s super, super strict but it’s really good. So Australia right now has, the last I heard, they had zero cases of Covid,” she said, eliciting a “wow” from Colbert.“Unbelievable, right? The whole country. So that is really amazing.

Thursday 28th January

UK Hotel Quarantine System to Target Travellers from High-Risk Locations

07:50 A hotel quarantine system targeted at arrivals from high-risk countries will be announced by the home secretary, Priti Patel, on Wednesday, after ministers met to sign off the more targeted approach.

Australia Recorded 10 Days with No Local Covid Cases

Australia recorded a 10th straight day of no new local cases on Wednesday, allowing its most populous state of New South Wales to relax coronavirus restrictions after controlling a fast-spreading cluster.

Returnees Test Positive after Finishing Quarantine in Same New Zealand Hotel

Two more returnees who stayed at the same New Zealand hotel at the same time as Sunday’s coronavirus case have tested positive after finishing their quarantine. The two people are asymptomatic and had already completed their managed isolation at Auckland’s Pullman hotel and returned two negative tests, the Department of Health said. It is yet to be confirmed if they are recent or historic infections and further testing is urgently being carried out.

Germany Considering Stopping Most Flights

The German government is discussing reducing to almost zero the number of flights into Germany in an effort to prevent more virulent mutant Covid variants gaining a foothold in Germany, the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, told Bild newspaper.

100 Million Corona Cases Worldwide

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world on Tuesday passed 100 million since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, at least 2,153,477 people have lost their lives to Covid-19. The official number of cases represents just a fraction of the real number of infections around the world. Many countries were late to implement systematic testing, and some continue to test only the most seriously ill.

Total Lockdown Ordered in 10 States across Peru

Peru orders total lockdown across 10 states as second wave bites. President Francisco Sagasti of Peru on Tuesday night announced a total lockdown of the capital and nine other regions following a significant increase in Covid cases, which he said had pushed hospitals close to collapse.

Most Poorer Countries Are Unlikely to Gain Mass Immunisation until 2024

Most poor countries will not achieve mass Covid-19 immunisation until at least 2024 and some may never get there, according to a new forecast, which maps a starkly divided world over the next few years in which a handful of developed countries are fully vaccinated while others race to catch up.

WHO Experts Should Meet Wuhan Families Stifled by Chinese Government

Let WHO experts meet Wuhan families, says coronavirus victim’s son. A relative of a coronavirus victim in China is demanding to meet a visiting World Health Organization team, saying it should speak to affected families who say their voices are being stifled by the Chinese government.

Germany Is Deliberating Cancelling Most Inbound Flights

The German government is discussing reducing to almost zero the number of flights into Germany in an effort to prevent more virulent mutant Covid variants gaining a foothold in Germany, the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, told Bild newspaper.

Biden Vows to Vaccinate 300 Million Citizens in the US by Early Fall

Biden vows to vaccinate 300m people in the US by end of summer or early fall. The administration’s immediate plan is to accelerate vaccine distribution to deliver roughly 1.4m shots a day and 10m doses a week for the next three weeks, as part of the White House’s earlier-stated ambition to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days.

Wednesday 27th January

Joe Biden Warns of 600k Deaths before the US Turns the Corner

07:15 US President Joe Biden warned the nation was going to be “in this for a while” and could see between “600,000 and 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner in a major way.” The US toll is currently just over 420,000.

Indonesia Surpasses 1 Million Milestone of Covid Infections

Indonesia is set to officially surpass one million coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a grim milestone for the Southeast Asian nation that has struggled since last March to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

Australia Expects the Astrazeneca Doses in March despite EU Threats

The Australian government expects doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be rolled out in March and that there will be no shortfalls, despite threats by the European Union to block exports of the vaccine due to a lack of supply.

California Eases Restrictions by Allowing Restaurants Outdoor Dining

California eased strict stay-at-home orders on Monday, allowing restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining and greater social mixing as state public health officials cited slowing rates of coronavirus infections and hospitalisations.

Minnesota Lab Confirmed the First US Corona Case Associated with Brazil Variant

Laboratory testing by the Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed the first known coronavirus case in the United States associated with a more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus originally seen in Brazil, the agency said on Monday.

China Authorities Stopped Wuhan Doctor from Sounding Alarm on Covid

A doctor from the Wuhan hospital hit hardest by the Covid-19 epidemic has said he and colleagues suspected the virus was highly transmissible in early January last year, weeks before Chinese authorities admitted it, but were prevented from warning anyone.

Mexico’s Death Toll Has Surpassed 150,000

Mexico’s official death toll from the coronavirus passed 150,000 on Monday following a surge in infections in recent weeks that has stretched the health system in the capital to the limit and led to the president contracting Covid.

WHO Warns the Distribution of Vaccine between Rich and Poor Nations Could Cost the Global Economy Trillions

The Covid-19 vaccine divide between rich and poor nations is worsening by the day, the World Health Organization warned on Monday, insisting the failure to distribute doses fairly could cost the global economy trillions of dollars.

Moderna Believes Its Vaccine Protects against British and South African Strains

Moderna said on Monday it believes its coronavirus vaccine protects against the British and South African variants, although it will test a new booster shot aimed at the South Africa variant after concluding the antibody response could be diminished. Britain’s health minister and health officials have said they believe the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines being rolled out in the country work against the UK variant.

Tuesday 26th January

Mexico’s President Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

07:10 Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has become the latest world leader to contract Covid-19. “I’m sorry to inform you that I’ve been infected,” the 67-year-old politician announced on Twitter on Sunday evening.

Turkey Receives 6.5 Million Additional Vaccine Doses

Turkey received 6.5 million further doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech on Monday, CNN Turk and other media reported, allowing its nationwide rollout to continue. An initial consignment of 3 million doses previously arrived in Turkey and it has so far vaccinated 1.245 million people, mostly health workers and elderly people, according to health ministry data.

China Reported a Spike in Infections

China reported a climb in new Coronavirus cases driven by a spike in infections among previously symptomless patients in northeastern Jilin province, official data showed on Monday. The total number of confirmed cases in the mainland rose to 124 on Jan. 24 from 80 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said in a statement, amid the worst wave of new infections China has seen since March 2020.

Hong Kong Lifted Lockdown in Kowloon after Testing about 7,000 People

The Hong Kong government lifted a lockdown in an area of Kowloon district in the early hours of Monday after testing about 7,000 people for coronavirus to curb an outbreak in the densely populated area.

New Zealand Authorities Identify New Case of South African Variant of Covid-19

New Zealand authorities have said a new case of Covid-19 that emerged outside quarantine appeared to be the South African variant. Health officials said on Monday that they believed the infected woman, aged 56, contracted the virus from an infected person on the same floor of the Pullman hotel in Auckland where they were both quarantining.

Travel Bubble between Australia and New Zealand Has Been Suspended for 72 Hours

Amid concern the single case of community transmission in New Zealand is of the South African variant, Australia’s federal health minister, Greg Hunt, has announced the Australian government will suspend the travel bubble with New Zealand for 72 hours.

Pfizer COVID Vaccine Approved for Australia Rollout

In Australia, the Pfizer vaccine has met strict standards for safety, quality and efficacy, a statement from the prime minister’s office said on Monday, and the vaccine has been approved for rollout in Australia for people age 16 years and older.

Biden Will Formally Reinstate Cover Travel Restrictions

US president Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate Covid travel restrictions on non-US travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the order, also confirmed Sunday that South Africa would be added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation.

Israel ‘Closes Skies’ to Air Travel to Prevent Virus Spread

Israel on Sunday announced a week-long ban on most incoming and outgoing flights in a bid to slow the spread of new coronavirus variants. The measure will begin at midnight from Monday into Tuesday and remain in effect until Sunday, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

World Nears 100m Milestone in Corona Infections

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 99 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, as the total moves rapidly towards a shocking 100 million people infected with Covid-19 in just over a year. The current total is 99,105,389 infections. At least 2,127,206 people have died. On average, around 650,000 coronavirus cases have been reported daily in the last week.

Netherlands Anti-curfew Protests Spark Clashes with Police

Protests against a curfew to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the Netherlands degenerated into clashes with police and looting in cities across the country Sunday, authorities and reports said.

Monday 25th January

South Africa Will Pay 2.5 Times More Than Europe for Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Vaccine

07:10 South Africa will buy doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine at a price 2.5 times higher than most European countries, the health ministry said Thursday. The continent’s worst virus-hit country has ordered at least 1.5 million shots of the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India, expected in January and February.

PCR Tests Mandatory for Arrivals in France

French President Emmanuel Macron told his European Union counterparts France would make PCR tests compulsory for all travellers into France from Sunday, including from fellow EU countries, his office said on Thursday.

EU Introduces ‘Dark Red’ Travel Zones for Hotspot Areas

Covid hotspots the European Union will be labelled ‘dark red’ zones, and travellers from those areas will be required to take a test before departure and undergo quarantine, citing the chief of the bloc’s executive.

First South African cabinet minister dies from corona

South Africa’s president announced on Thursday that Jackson Mthembu had died from the coronavirus, becoming the first cabinet minister to succumb to the disease.

Beijing Conducts Mass Corona Testing as Cases Drop

Beijing launched mass coronavirus testing in parts of the city on Friday, while Shanghai was testing all hospital staff, as China battles the worst outbreak since March 2020. China reported a slight decline in new daily cases on Friday: 103 from 144 cases a day earlier.

Mexico Announces New Pandemic Daily High

Mexico posted new one-day highs for the pandemic Thursday, with 22,339 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,803 deaths from Covid recorded for the previous 24 hours. The recent surge in cases has swamped hospitals. Mexico City is the country’s epicentre of the pandemic, and its hospitals are at 89% capacity, while nationwide 61% of hospital beds are filled.

Japan Is Under ‘Real Pressure’ Affecting Tokyo Olympics

The pandemic is placing ‘real pressure’ on preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the Australian prime minister has said after a report claimed the Japanese government had privately concluded this summer’s Games will have to be cancelled.

ICU Admissions in Spain Rise 60% in Two Weeks

Spain ICU admissions rise by 60% in a fortnight. Over the past fortnight, the number of people going to hospital rose by 82% while intensive care admissions increased by 60%, prompting some regions, such as Valencia to set up field hospitals.

Supply Delay Threatening Australia’s Rollout of Vaccine

Supply delays could threaten the start of Australia’s Covid vaccine rollout. The Australian government has left states and territories in the dark about how many Pfizer vaccines Australia will receive by mid-February, as other countries face supply issues.

New James Bond Film ‘No Time to Die’ Is Being Delayed Again

James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ has been delayed again as Hollywood grapples with the continued disruption caused by the pandemic. Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 will now arrive on 8 October, the official Bond Twitter account announced. It had been set to be released in April following multiple pandemic-enforced delays.

Friday 22nd January

Biden Retracts Trump’s Letter to Leave WHO

07:35 US President Joe Biden has signed a letter retracting Donald Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization, which would have been effective in July this year. On 6 July 2020, the Trump formally notified the WHO of the country’s withdrawal, despite widespread criticism and an almost complete lack of international support for the move in the midst of a pandemic.

Dr Rochelle Walensky Is the New US CDC Chief

A new US CDC chief was sworn in. Dr Rochelle Walensky, 51, an infectious-diseases specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, was sworn in Wednesday as the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She takes the helm at a time when the country’s death toll has eclipsed 400,000 and continues to accelerate.

London Buses Are Being Converted into Ambulances

London buses are being turned into ambulances to ease Covid strain. NHS staff are preparing to transport patients using two London buses that have been converted into makeshift ambulances, in another sign of the strain Covid is putting on the capital’s health services.

Corona Cases Are No Longer Falling in England

Covid cases may have stopped falling, major English survey shows. Cases of coronavirus may no longer be falling across England, according to a major survey that raises concerns over whether lockdown measures can contain the new variant, as the UK reported a record daily number of deaths. Boris Johnson described the 1,820 deaths reported on Wednesday as “appalling”, as he warned: “There will be more to come.”

Australia Records Fourth Day of Zero Covid Cases

Australia recorded a fourth day of zero coronavirus cases on Thursday, prompting the chief of the country’s most populous state to call for a special travel ‘bubble’ with Pacific island nations.

Covid Vaccines May Need Redesigning Due to New Variants

Coronavirus vaccines may need to be redesigned this year to boost protection against a new variant that emerged rapidly in South Africa, research suggests, while past Covid sufferers may not be protected against reinfection.

Indonesia Will Begin Distributing Vaccines from Late April

Indonesia plans to start giving the general public Covid-19 vaccinations sometime between late April to May, health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Thursday.

Thursday 21st January

The New UK Covid Strain Found in 60 Countries

The UK coronavirus strain has been detected in at least 60 countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, 10 more than a week ago. With the global death toll now well past two million, and new variants of the virus causing deep concern, countries across the world are grappling with how to slow infections until vaccines become widely available.

London Missed out on Early Share of Vaccine

Sadiq Khan: London missed out on an early share of the vaccine. A simplistic formula used to distribute coronavirus vaccines that did not take into account the size of GP practices has meant fewer people receiving one in London, according to the mayor, Sadiq Khan.

The New South African Corona Strain Reported in 23 Countries

The new South African strain has now been reported in 23 countries and territories, the WHO also announced in its weekly update. Like the UK strain, it is believed to be more infectious.

Beijing Steps Up Covid Measures

China’s capital Beijing said on Wednesday it will investigate all individuals who entered the city from abroad from 10 December and shut down a subway station after reporting the biggest daily jump in new cases in more than three weeks.

Biden Held Vigil for 400,000 American Corona Victims

Joe Biden memorialised the more than 400,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19 during a vigil in Washington DC late Tuesday afternoon, as many Americans took to social media in collective mourning.

Mexico Reports New Highest Daily Covid Infections

Mexico reported its highest daily death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began, with 1,584 deaths confirmed Tuesday. There was also a near-record one-day rise in new virus cases of 18,894. Mexico has seen almost 1.67 million confirmed coronavirus infections and almost 143,000 test-confirmed deaths related to Covid-19. With the country’s extremely low testing rate, official estimates suggest the real death toll is closer to 195,000.

Wednesday 20th January

COVID Deaths Rise as Winter Surge Drags the US Toll toward 400,000

08:25 Coronavirus deaths are rising in nearly two-thirds of American states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000 amid warnings that a new, highly contagious variant is taking hold.

California Records More Than 3M Infections

California has become the first US state to record more than 3 million known infections, as it grapples with an unprecedented surge of cases that have left hospitals overwhelmed.

China and WHO Made Mistakes in Containing COVID Outbreak, Says Panel

 An independent panel has said that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January 2020 to curb the initial Covid-19 outbreak and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until 30 January.

US Calls China for WHO Investigators to Have Better Access in China

The US called on China to grant greater access to the WHO team of investigators in China. The United States said China should allow the WHO team to interview “caregivers, former patients and lab workers” in the central city of Wuhan. The team of WHO-led independent experts is holding teleconferences with Chinese counterparts during a two-week quarantine before starting work on the ground.

Political Row Brewing Regarding Travel Bans Rescinded by Trump

A political row is brewing after Donald Trump announced he would rescind Covid travel bans on most non-US citizens arriving from Brazil and much of Europe, including the UK, effective 26 January. A spokesperson for Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated as the new US president on Wednesday, said the new administration “does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26”. “In fact,” wrote Jen Psaki on Twitter, “we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”

All Passengers Entering New Zealand Require Negative Cover Test Result

New Zealand has imposed a blanket testing regime for all flights arriving internationally, with passengers now required to return a negative Covid test result before departure.

25% of UK Youth Feel ‘Unable to Cope’ in Pandemic

One in four UK young people have felt ‘unable to cope’ in the pandemic. Young people are in danger of giving up on their futures and on themselves, with a quarter saying they feel unable to cope with life, one of the UK’s leading charities has said. The Prince’s Trust long-running annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence returned the worst findings in its 12-year history.

Nightly Curfews Imposed in Bogota for Almost Two Weeks

Colombia’s capital Bogota will impose nightly curfews for almost two weeks, Mayor Claudia Lopez said on Monday, while the whole city will enter yet another full quarantine this weekend. Nightly curfews first started last week and continued until Sunday. However, they will begin again from Tuesday and will run until 28 January. During this time citizens must remain in their homes from 8 pm until 4 am, Lopez said.

Kazakhstan Plans to Vaccinate about 6 Million People This Year

Kazakhstan plans to vaccinate about 6 million people, or almost a third of its population, against the coronavirus this year, healthcare minister Alexei Tsoy said on Tuesday. Vaccinations will begin on 1 February, with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine being offered to medical workers, he told a government meeting. Kazakhstan also aims to produce Sputnik V at home.

Tuesday 19th January

The UK Prepares to Vaccinate the Elderly Aged over 70

Coronavirus vaccines will be offered to millions of over-70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable from this week as the government expands the rollout amid a border crackdown to keep out new strains. More than 3.8 million people in the UK – including over-80s, care home residents, and NHS and social care staff – have already received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, but from Monday it will be rolled out to the next two priority groups.

Chinese Health Authorities Report a ’Superspreader’ Traced to 102 Infections

Chinese health authorities say they have traced 102 infections to a ‘superspreader’ case, a 45-year-old man who travelled around the north-east of the country giving lectures on health.

Brazil’s Health Regulator Has Approved Use of Sinovac and AstraZeneca Covid Vaccines

Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin America’s largest nation to begin an immunisation program that has been subject to delay and political disputes.

The Us Is Nearing a New Milestone of 400,000 Deaths

According to Johns Hopkins University, by Sunday evening 23,923,062 cases and 397,494 deaths had been recorded in the country. Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff, told CNN on Sunday that Biden’s team projected another 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the first five weeks of the administration.

Florida Analyst Clashed with the Governor over Covid Data Manipulation

Florida analyst who clashed with the governor over Covid data faces arrest. Rebekah Jones, the founder of Florida’s coronavirus database who has clashed publicly with Governor Ron DeSantis in a dispute over data manipulation, said she would surrender on Sunday after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

UK Firms Urge Government to Help Struggling Eurostar

British business leaders called on the government to rescue Eurostar, reports said after the firm said it was close to collapse following border closures to contain new Covid-19 strains.

Monday 18th January

Global Deaths Close to 2 Million Milestone

07:30 The global coronavirus death toll currently stands at 1,993,699, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. With daily death tolls at around 16,000 per day in recent days, the world will likely pass the devastating milestone of 2 million dead from coronavirus in just over a year within the next few hours.

The UK to South America Flight Ban Comes into Force

Travellers from across South America have been banned from entering the UK amid growing concerns about a mutant coronavirus strain which has emerged in Brazil. The ban which, also covers the Central American state of Panama and Portugal – due to its strong travel links with Brazil – and the former Portuguese colony of Cape Verde, came into force at 4 am on Friday.

China’s Outbreak Is Increasingly Worse

China’s worsening outbreak in Hebei does not appear to be slowing down, with yet another rise in case numbers on Thursday. After consecutive days above 100 confirmed cases, health authorities announced 144 new Covid-19 infections, including 135 local transmissions yesterday. It is the highest increase in 10 months since 202 cases were reported on 1 March 2020. 90 of the 135 cases were found in Hebei province, and 43 in northeastern Heilongjiang province.

Overstretched London Hospitals Send Covid Patients to Newcastle

Struggling London hospitals sending Covid patients to Newcastle. Seriously ill Covid patients are being transferred from overstretched London hospitals to intensive care units almost 300 miles away in Newcastle, the Guardian can reveal.

Full Resurgence of Covid in Major Population Centers in the US

US officials warned ‘full resurgence’ of Covid in major population centers, saying the country could see an additional 92,000 deaths in less than a month. White House coronavirus taskforce reports from 10 January, obtained by CNN, said they were seeing a ‘full resurgence’ of the virus in ‘nearly all metro areas’ and advocated for ‘aggressive action’.

The US Government Executed an Inmate with Covid Causing Excruciating Pain

The US government executed an inmate with Covid. The US government has executed an inmate for his involvement in a series of killings in Virginia’s capital city in 1992, despite claims by his lawyers that the lethal injection would cause excruciating pain due to lung damage from his recent Covid-19 infection. Corey Johnson, 52, was the 12th inmate put to death at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana since the Trump administration restarted federal executions following a 17-year hiatus. He was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m.

Biden Unveils a $1.9 Trillion Corona Stimulus Package Proposal

Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9tn stimulus package proposal that aims to bring new urgency to the nation’s coronavirus vaccination campaign and usher in another round of economic relief for struggling Americans. The US is facing its deadliest period of the pandemic so far. Detailing the plan in a speech on Thursday evening, Biden described the moment as “a crisis of deep human suffering.” “There’s no time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act and we have to act now.”

Denmark Leads the EU in Corona Vaccinations

Denmark leads the EU in vaccinations against the novel coronavirus thanks to a swift and smooth roll-out, and even more people would have got the jab if it had more available doses. So far, 2.2% of Denmark’s population of 5.8 million has been vaccinated since the campaign began on 27 December.

China’s Economy Grew Slowly Last Year

China’s economy grew last year at its slowest pace since the 1970s, according to an AFP poll of economists, but finished the year strongly on an accelerating coronavirus recovery. The average forecast of analysts from 13 financial institutions was a 2.0% expansion for the world’s second-largest economy, down sharply from 6.1% in 2019, itself a three-decade low.

Hospitals in Brazil’s Largest State Are Short of Oxygen Supplies

Health workers in Brazil’s largest state are begging for help and oxygen supplies after an explosion of Covid deaths and infections that one official compared to a tsunami and said could be linked to a new variant.

France Imposes 6 PM Nationwide Virus Curfew

The French government will impose a daily nationwide curfew at 6 pm starting Saturday to combat a worrying increase in Covid-19 cases, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday. Up to now, most of France has been under an 8 pm curfew, with some parts of the country, especially in the hard-hit east, already under the stricter 6 pm curfew that Castex said had resulted in an infection rate two or three times lower than in the rest of the country.

WHO Convenes Emergency Committee Early over Coronavirus Variants

The World Health Organization’s emergency committee will meet two weeks early on Thursday to discuss the new coronavirus variants from South Africa and Britain that have rapidly spread to at least 50 countries and sparked widespread alarm.

Friday 15th January

China Reach Highest Corona Cases in 10 Months

07:45 China records first local coronavirus death in eight months, highest cases in 10 months. China reported its biggest jump in cases in more than 10 months as infections in north-eastern Heilongjiang province nearly tripled, underscoring the growing threat ahead of a major national holiday when hundreds of millions of people usually travel. The national health commission said in a statement that 138 new Covid-19 cases were reported on 13 January, up from 115 cases a day earlier and marking the highest jump since 5 March. China also reported one new death, the first increase in the death toll since mid-May.

WHO Research Team Are in Wuhan

The WHO’s global team of researchers are in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected, to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.

Pharmacies in England Begin Vaccine Rollout

England’s high street pharmacies will begin rolling out Covid vaccines, as the virus death toll across the UK climbed above 100,000. Boots and Superdrug branches will be among the six stores across England which will be able to administer the jabs from Thursday while the government aims to hit its target of vaccinating all people in the four most vulnerable groups by the middle of next month.

Brazil Plans to Import 2m of AstraZeneca’s Covishield jab from India

Brazil said Wednesday it would import 2m doses of AstraZeneca’s Covishield jab from India. The inventory would add to some 10m doses of China’s CoronaVac as Brazil gears to start its vaccination campaign this month. The biggest country in Latin America is the second-hardest hit globally by the pandemic, as the novel coronavirus has killed more than 204,000 people out of Brazil’s population of 212 million.

New York Requests More Vaccines

New York called for more Covid vaccine. New York mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said the city would fall short of its inoculation goals unless it could get more vaccine. The mayor said short supplies were hampering New York City’s efforts to increase its immunisation campaign. His appeal comes as the country as a whole struggles to meet an overall goal, with vaccinations now running far behind a target of 20 million people by now.

Japan to Expand Its State of Emergency in Tokyo

Japan is set to expand its state of emergency in greater Tokyo from Thursday to seven more regions including major cities Osaka and Kyoto and also to tighten border restrictions as cases surge. “We continue to see a serious situation,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said, adding the measures were “indispensable”. “We must overcome this challenge that we face.”

Colombia Will Extend Quarantine

Colombia will extend a so-called selective quarantine until the end of February, President Ivan Duque said in a nightly address on Wednesday. The Andean country began more than five months of lockdown in March to control the spread of coronavirus. It moved to a much-looser ‘selective’ quarantine at the start of September, allowing dining at restaurants and international flights.

The Phillipines Authorises Emergency Use of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 Vaccine

The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration has authorised the emergency use of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine, its head said on Thursday. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has shown a 95% success rate, is the first vaccine the Philippines has approved. FDA head, Rolando Enrique Domingo told a media briefing China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd on Wednesday submitted to regulators its emergency use authorisation application.

Thursday 14th January

The African Union Has Obtained 300 Million Vaccine Doses

07:40 The African Union has secured close to 300 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in the largest such agreement yet for Africa, an official said on Tuesday. The 300m doses are being secured independently of the global Covax effort aimed at distributing Covid-19 vaccines to lower-income countries, the official said.

China’s CoronaVac Vaccine Only 50% Effective

New data shows 50.4% efficacy for China’s CoronaVac vaccine in Brazil. A coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech was just 50.4% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in a Brazilian trial, researchers said on Tuesday, barely enough for regulatory approval and well below the rate announced last week.

The US CDC Has Expanded Pre-flight COVID Testing

Anyone flying to the US will soon need to show proof of a negative test for Covid-19, health officials announced on Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement expands on a similar one announced late last month for passengers coming from the UK. The order takes effect in two weeks.

England’s Covid Rules Have Changed 64 Times since March

English Covid rules have changed 64 times since March, says barrister. Lockdown rules in England have been changed at least 64 times by the government since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a human rights barrister has calculated, amid growing calls for clearer guidance for the public.

WHO Will Fly Directly for the Investigative Mission to Wuhan

WHO mission will fly directly to Wuhan. The World Health Organization’s investigative mission will fly directly to Wuhan, China’s foreign ministry has confirmed. In a regular press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, spokesman for China’s ministry, Zhao Lijian, said the team would fly directly from Singapore into Wuhan. Zhao did not answer questions about whether the team would quarantine, and gave no further details.

China Sees Highest Daily Case Rise in Five Months

China has recorded the biggest daily jump in Covid cases in more than five months, despite three cities in lockdown, increased testing and other measures aimed at preventing another wave of infections in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Micronesia President Announces First Covid Case Not a Threat

Micronesia president said first Covid case not a threat to the country. The president of the Federated States of Micronesia has said the country’s first case of Covid-19 – detected in a sailor onboard a ship held in an island lagoon – does not pose a threat to the wider community.

California Stay-Home Order for Sacramento Region Is Lifted

California lifted a stay-at-home order in the 13-county Sacramento region on Tuesday as hospital conditions improved, a rare turn of good news as the state pushes through what Governor Gavin Newsom called “its most intense surge” of the coronavirus.

Head of Olympics for Tokyo 2020 States Impossible to Delay the Event

Tokyo 2020 head says ‘impossible’ to delay Olympics as public opposition grows. The president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, has said preparations for the summer Olympics will continue, despite growing doubts that the Games can be held while the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

Wednesday 13th January

England’s Head of NHS Said the Virus Was Spreading Out of Control

07:30 A quarter of coronavirus admissions to hospital are people under the age of 55, the Head of NHS England has said. Sir Simon Stevens told MPs on Monday the virus was spreading out of control across much of the country, with worrying consequences for hospitals. “In London, perhaps one in 30 people has the coronavirus, in parts of London it may be twice that number. In Merseyside in just the last week there has been a further 50% increase in the number of Covid hospitalisations,” he said.

Additional Curbs in China and More Lockdowns

China locked down Langfang city. Authorities in China introduced new Covid-19 curbs in areas surrounding Beijing on Tuesday, putting 4.9 million residents under lockdown as new infections raised worries about a second wave in a nation that has mostly contained the diseases. The city of Langfang in Hebei on Tuesday said residents will be put under home quarantine for seven days and be subject to mass Covid-19 testing in the latest attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Herd Immunity Not Achievable in 2021

Despite vaccines, no Covid herd immunity in 2021: WHO. The WHO’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan warned that it will take time to produce and administer enough doses to halt the spread of the virus and that herd immunity is not achievable in 2021.

The US CDC Announces Nearly 9 Million Americans Vaccinated

The 8,987,322 people who have been given the first of two shots, according to the CDC, represent less than one-third of the total doses distributed to states by the US government.

Moderna’s Covid Vaccine Should Last a Year

Immunity from Moderna Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine should last at least a year, the company said on Monday at the JP Morgan Healthcare conference. The drugmaker said it was confident that the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology it used was well suited to deploy a vaccine based on the new variant of the coronavirus which has emerged in a handful of countries.

At San Diego Zoo Gorillas Test Positive for Covid

Gorillas at San Diego Zoo test positive for Covid in apparent first. Several gorillas at the San Diego zoo safari park have tested positive for coronavirus, with some experiencing symptoms, in what is believed to be the first outbreak among such primates in captivity.

New Zealand Will Request International Travellers for Negative Covid-19 Result

New Zealand will ask international travellers from most countries to show negative Covid-19 test results before boarding flights to the country as new contagious variants of Covid-19 spread across globally.

Australian Open Halted Due to Covid

Australian Open qualifiers halted mid-match to tell players he had Covid. Denis Kudla has been rushed into quarantine at the Australian Open qualifying event in Doha after testing positive for Covid-19.

Tuesday 12th January

WHO Corona Investigation Delayed

08:15 China says WHO Covid-19 origins probe team to arrive 14 January. A World Health Organization team of international experts tasked with investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic will arrive in China on 14 January, China’s national health authority said on Monday. The team was initially aiming to enter China in early January for the investigation but their arrival was delayed due to lack of authorisation from Beijing for their entry.

Seven New Mass Vaccination Locations Open Monday in England

The new centres – including at a football stadium and a tennis club – will be joined later this week by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites, taking the total to around 1,200, NHS England said. The locations – Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre where London’s Nightingale hospital is based, Newcastle’s Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham’s Millennium Point – will offer jabs to people aged 80 and above, along with health and care staff.

Two Mass Vaccination Sites Have Opened in New York

Two mass vaccination locations opened in New York City on Sunday. The mass sites were open for part of the day on Sunday before they start operating round the clock, seven days a week on Monday as part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to set up 250 vaccination locations to meet the ambitious goal of inoculating 1 million New Yorkers by the end of the month. Three other smaller sites also opened on Sunday.

India Prepares for Mass Vaccine Rollout

India is preparing for a mass coronavirus vaccine rollout. India aims to begin vaccinating its 1.3 billion people against coronavirus from Saturday, a colossal and complex task compounded by safety worries, shaky infrastructure and public scepticism. In one of the world’s biggest rollouts, the planet’s second-most populous nation hopes to inoculate 300 million people – equal almost to the entire US population – by July.

China Saw Its Greatest Daily Infection Rate Increase in Five Months

Mainland China saw its biggest daily increase in Covid-19 cases in more than five months, the country’s national health authority said on Monday, as new infections in Hebei province surrounding Beijing continued to rise. Hebei accounted for 82 of the 85 new local infections reported on 10 January, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement, with Liaoning Province also reporting two new cases and Beijing reporting one new case. The country also saw 18 new imported infections from overseas.

Monday Marks One Year since First Corona Death Announced in Wuhan

Monday marks a year since the first coronavirus death was announced in Wuhan. China announced the first death from a new virus in Wuhan on 11 January 2020. Twelve months later, Covid-19 has claimed 1.9 million lives worldwide.

Corona Infections Have Reached 90 Million Worldwide

Coronavirus infections have now surpassed 90 million confirmed cases around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, as more countries brace for a wider spread of more virulent strains of a disease that has now killed1.9 million people worldwide.

Headteachers in England Forced to Ration on-Site Lockdown Learning

Nearly half of England’s headteachers are being forced to prioritise class places among vulnerable students and the children of key workers because of a huge increase in demand, according to a survey of school leaders.

Roughly 80% of Japanese Citizens Are against Holding the Olympics This Summer

About 80% of people in Japan are against holding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the host city and other parts of Japan. A weekend poll by the Kyodo news agency found that 35.3% wanted the Games to be cancelled, while 44.8% favoured another delay. Local organisers and the International Olympic Committee have said that it will not be possible to postpone a second time. The Games, which are due to open on 23 July, were delayed by a year due to the Covid pandemic.

Monday 11th January

WHO Said Poorer Countries Can Expect Vaccine Doses by January

08:05 The world’s poorest countries can expect to start receiving their first Covid-19 vaccine doses between the end of January and mid-February, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. Vaccination is already underway in some of the world’s wealthiest nations, including the US, Britain, European Union countries and Canada.

Brazil Surpassed 200,000 Corona Deaths

Brazil passed 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic Thursday. That is the second-highest total in the world. The health ministry said the country had 1,524 deaths in the previous 24 hours, rising to a total of 200,498 for the pandemic.

UK Corona Strain Detected, Thus, Australian City Enters Lockdown

Australia’s Queensland state enforced a three-day lockdown in the city of Brisbane from Friday evening, after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for the more contagious variant of Covid-19 that emerged in Britain last month.

Sinovac Vaccine 78% Effective in Brazil Trial

A coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech was 78% effective in a late-stage Brazilian trial with no severe Covid-19 cases, researchers said on Thursday, although a lack of data details stirred calls for more transparency.

UK Arrivals Need to Show Negative Covid Result

Arrivals to the UK will need to show a negative Covid test before entry. International travellers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the UK, the government has announced, in a significant toughening of border controls to try to stem the spread of new coronavirus variants.

China Seals City to Curb the Spread of Corona

China reports 53 cases, down from the day before as it seals city. The number of new Covid-19 cases reported in China’s Hebei province surrounding Beijing fell slightly from a day earlier, as authorities barred people in the provincial capital from leaving in order to curb the spread of the disease. China has sealed off Hebei’s Shijiazhuang, a city of several million in Hebei province whose surrounding areas take the total population to 11 million.

Record Death Figures Continue as the US Faces Its Deadliest Pandemic Month

The US faces a deadly post-holiday phase of the pandemic: Fauci. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, has warned the country faces the prospect of continued mass deaths from the Covid-19 crisis, predicting the situation there will worsen before it gets better. The US faced its deadliest month of the pandemic in December and continues to post record death figures, including a record 3,854 deaths on 6 January alone.

Pfizer Vaccine Said to Protect against New Corona Strains

Pfizer vaccine protects against the new UK and South African strains – research. Research suggests that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine can protect against a mutation found in two contagious variants of the coronavirus that erupted in Britain and South Africa.

Friday 8th January

The US Reports Record Daily Deaths at 3,865

07:30 The Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data, has just posted the data for 6 January, the same day as the Capitol attack, which shows the US again suffering a record daily death toll, with 3,865 Americans dying in 24 hours. This is the first time the toll has passed 3,800. 145,000 cases were reported on 6 January. Additionally, Arizona has become the Covid ‘hot spot of the world’, public health experts warned, as the US state saw a triple-digit number of new virus-related deaths for the second day in a row.

Soon London Hospitals May Be Overwhelmed by Covid-19

Hospitals in London could soon be overwhelmed by Covid-19 and left short of almost 5,500 beds they need to cope with the explosion in cases, NHS leaders have revealed. The health service’s lead doctor for the capital shared the worrying analysis with the most senior medics in the city’s NHS hospital trusts on a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon.

Mexico Reports Highest Daily Increase in Corona Cases

Mexico has reported a new high for a daily increase in coronavirus cases, with 13,345 newly confirmed infections reported Wednesday for the previous 24 hours. Officials also reported a near-record of 1,165 deaths related to Covid-19.

China Reports Highest Daily Corona Cases since July

China reports highest local cases since July as travel to Hebei province blocked. China reported 63 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, the highest single-day tally since July, as authorities try to stamp out an outbreak of the virus in a city of 11 million near Beijing.

WHO Experts Warn of More Troubled Times Ahead

World Health Organization experts warned Wednesday there could be six months of ‘hard, hard road ahead’ in 2021 before vaccines turn the tide against the coronavirus pandemic. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said that in many countries, the situation was very worrying – and would get worse.

Pandemic Stress May Cause People to Lose Hair

Pandemic stress may be causing people to lose their hair, according to a new study. By mid-summer, rates of a hair-shedding condition called telogen effluvium (TE) had surged more than 400% in a racially diverse neighbourhood in New York City, researchers report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Thursday 7th January

China Blocks Entry to WHO Investigating Corona Origins

07:15 The WHO chief was ‘very disappointed’ after China blocked the Wuhan visit. China has blocked the arrival of a team from the World Health Organization investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that their visas had not yet been approved even as some members of the group were on their way.

One in 50 People in England Had Covid Last Week

One in 50 people in private households in England – more than 1.1 million – are estimated to have had the coronavirus in the week ending 2 January.

The UK November Lockdown Leak Is Linked to Corona Surge

In England, the November lockdown plan leak has been linked to a ‘surge in new infections’. The leak of plans for a November lockdown in England to the media approximately a week before restrictions came into force has been linked by researchers to a jump in Covid-19 cases caused by people rushing to socialise before the deadline.

South Korea Conducts Mass Corona Testing on Prisoners and Staff

South Korea rolls out mass testing for 70,000 prisoners and staff. South Korea rolled out mass testing for 52 prisons in the country after a massive prison outbreak and may extend flight suspensions from Britain in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus cases, the health minister said on Wednesday.

China Increases Covid Restrictions

China stepped up Covid measures. The northeastern Hebei province surrounding Beijing on Tuesday entered a ‘wartime mode’ after reporting its first local infections in more than six months. The province will set up investigation teams to trace the close contacts of those who have tested positive.

Tokyo Corona Infections Surge to 1,500 on Wednesday

Tokyo’s new daily coronavirus cases topped 1,500 on Wednesday – a fresh record, local media reported, as Japan braces for a renewed state of emergency for the Greater metropolitan area. The previous record for the capital was 1,337, set on 31 December.

Brazil’s Syringe Manufacturers Will Supply 30 Million Syringes

Brazil’s syringe manufacturers said they will supply 30 million syringes and needles for the country’s Covid-19 vaccination program after the government said it would requisition surplus supplies.

Wednesday 6th January

Patients Unlikely to Survive Will Not Be Transported by LA County Emergency Medical Services

07:10 The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency has told ambulance crews not to transport coronavirus patients who are unlikely to survive, in order to conserve oxygen supplies and ICU beds.

Toughest Lockdown in England

England has entered its toughest nationwide lockdown since March, with schools closed and people allowed to leave home once a day for exercise for at least six weeks, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced as the numbers of people in hospital reach new highs.

New Corona Strain Found in New York

New York governor, Andrew Cuomo said his state has found its first case of the more contagious strain of the coronavirus first detected in the UK, raising concerns about threats to hospital capacity should it spread rapidly.

Airlines Back Approval of Global Corona Travel Testing Programme

Airlines to back approval for global travel testing programme – reports. A group representing major US airlines on Monday backed a proposal by public health officials to implement a global testing program requiring negative tests before most international air passengers return to the United States, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Mexico Approved Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine

Mexico approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for emergency use Monday, hoping to spur a halting vaccination effort that has only given about 44,000 shots since the third week of December, about 82% of the doses the country has received, AP reports.

Germany Extends Lockdown

Germany to prolong lockdown as virus deaths surge. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders are expected Tuesday to extend a lockdown in Europe’s top economy as coronavirus deaths continue to mount despite tough restrictions in the run-up to the holidays.

Tuesday 5th January

UK Schools Cause More Disruption due to Rising Corona Infections

07:45 In England, parents face more disruption and uncertainty as local authorities across the country scramble to delay schools reopening in the face of rising coronavirus infection rates and the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, admitted that more could be shut in the coming weeks.

Britain Will Roll Out the Astrazeneca and Oxford University Vaccine Today

Britain will become the first country to roll out the low-cost and easily transportable AstraZeneca and Oxford University Covid vaccine on Monday. Six hospitals in England will administer the first of about 530,000 doses Britain has ready. The programme will be expanded to hundreds of other British sites in coming days and the government hopes it will deliver tens of millions of doses within months.

Japan’s Government Considers Declaring State of Emergency in Tokyo

Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has said the government is considering declaring a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo region amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in and around the capital. Suga, whose handling of the pandemic has seen his approval ratings plummet in recent weeks, has come under pressure to take action to address the recent surge in infections.

China Races to Inoculate Millions before Chinese New Year

Thousands of people were lining up in Beijing to receive a vaccine as China races to inoculate millions before the Chinese new year, which sparks a mass travel season in February. More than 73,000 people in the Chinese capital have received the first dose of the vaccine over the last couple of days, state media reported Sunday, including community workers and bus drivers.

The US Surpasses 350,000 Corona Deaths

The US passed 350,000 coronavirus deaths – the highest toll in the world, amid several days of more than 2,500 deaths per day. The US also confirmed nearly 300,000 new cases in 24 hours on 2 January (the most recent available toll), according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

India Has Authorised Two COVID Vaccines

India authorised two Covid-19 vaccines on Sunday, paving the way for a huge inoculation programme to stem the coronavirus pandemic in the world’s second-most populous country. The country’s drugs regulator gave emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and another developed by the Indian company Bharat Biotech.

New Zealand Tightens Border Controls due to New Corona Strain

New Zealand has further tightened border controls amid mounting anxiety about the new strain of coronavirus driving up infections overseas. Six cases of the new variant of the virus – five in arrivals from the UK and one from South Africa – were recorded in managed isolation facilities in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

South Korea Increases Curbs on Private Gatherings

South Korea expanded a ban on private gatherings larger than four people to the whole country and extended unprecedented social distancing rules in greater Seoul as the number of daily cases bounced back to more than 1,000 in four days.

Vietnam Agrees to Purchase 30 Million Corona Vaccine Doses

Vietnam has agreed to buy 30m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca Plc, the government said on Monday, adding that authorities are also seeking to purchase vaccines from other sources, including Pfizer Inc.

Monday 4th January

The WHO Lists Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine for Emergency Use

07:40 WHO has granted emergency validation to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, paving the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve its import and distribution.

US CDC Reports Record Rise in Daily Infections

US CDC reports record 3,764 coronavirus deaths in a day. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a record daily rise of 3,764 Covid-19 deaths, taking its total to 341,199.

A Key London in Hospital Prepares for Covid Only Care

Key London hospital preparing for Covid-only care as cases surge. One of London’s biggest hospitals has warned it is on track to become virtually Covid-only amid a surge in cases in the capital that has left it scrambling to convert operating theatres, surgical recovery areas and stroke wards into intensive care units for the very sick.

The French President Promises No Unjustified Delays in Immunisation

Macron pledges no ‘unjustifiable delays’ in Covid jabs. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to avoid ‘unjustifiable delays’ in efforts to immunise citizens against Covid-19 following criticism over the slow pace of the inoculation campaign.

Brazil Detects 2 Cases on New Corona Strain from the UK

Brazil detects two cases of new coronavirus variant found in the UK. A Brazilian lab said it has detected two cases of the new coronavirus variant that has spread rapidly in Britain and urged reinforcement of quarantine measures for travellers coming from Europe.

Ontario Minister Resigns After Flouting Covid Advice

The finance minister for Canada’s most populous province has resigned after going on a Caribbean vacation during the pandemic and apparently trying to hide the fact by sending social media posts showing him in a sweater before a fireplace.

Hospital Worker Arrested on Suspicion of Spoiling Covid Vaccine Doses

Wisconsin police arrest hospital worker suspected of intentionally spoiling Covid vaccine doses. Police in Wisconsin said they had arrested a hospital employee who was fired after being suspected of intentionally spoiling hundreds of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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Friday 1st January

New Corona Virus Strain from Britain Now Detected in California

06:15 The highly infectious coronavirus variant originally discovered in Britain has been detected in California, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday, a day after the first known US case was recorded in Colorado.

Ireland Extends Travel Ban on Travellers from the UK or South Africa

Ireland has extended a ban on travel to the country from the United Kingdom and South Africa until 6 January due to the presence of a new more infectious variant of Covid-19, the government said. The new Covid strain that reached Ireland from the UK is spreading faster than the country’s worst-case forecasts, the country’s prime minister Micheal Martin said as he announced a tightening of public health restrictions and ordered the closure of non-essential retail for the next four weeks.

Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine May Be Authorised for Emergency Use in the US

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will likely be authorised for emergency use in the US in April, the Chief Adviser for the country’s vaccine program said, with recruitment for the British drugmaker’s late-stage US trial almost complete with over 29,000 participants already enrolled after it was approved by the UK medicines regulator this morning.

Schools in England Will Close for First Two Weeks or More of Term

Secondary schools across England will be closed to most pupils for the first two weeks of term and both primaries and secondaries in London and other areas worst hit by Covid are likely to remain closed for longer, the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced, as the UK recorded the highest daily deaths figure reported since 24 April.

France to Reply Police to Enforce Corona Curbs and Clamp Down on Parties

France will deploy 100,000 police and gendarmes across the country to clamp down on parties, gatherings and the traditional torching of vehicles on 31 December.

Scotland’s First Minister Warned New Strain of Covid-19 Becoming Dominant

In Scotland, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, warned the new highly infectious variant of Covid-19, known as B117, is quickly becoming the dominant strain after the country reported a record number of positive cases today.

Chinese Health Officials Encourage Migrant Workers Not to Travel Home for New Year Holiday

Health officials in China are encouraging tens of millions of migrant workers not to travel home during next February’s Lunar New Year holiday, the most important time for family gatherings, to limit coronavirus transmissions even though it has all but eradicated local transmission already.

Greek Senior Officials Will Not Be Given Vaccine Priority

Greece’s government has announced senior officials will no longer be given priority for the vaccine after posts on social media by Cabinet ministers receiving the shot before most healthcare workers led to a backlash from unions and opposition parties.

Thursday 30th December

The UK’s Highest Daily Infection Rate to Date

07:30 The UK reported its worst daily figure for new infections since the pandemic began. Health authorities said there were 41,385 new positive tests. The previous highest number was 39,237, reported on 23 December.

South Africa Has Curbed Restrictions

The president Cyril Ramaphosa banned alcohol sales and extended a nationwide curfew, as infections passed the one million mark owing to a faster-spreading variant of the disease discovered in the country.

Fears of a Third Lockdown in France

The French health ministry reported 2,960 new infections; down from 8,822 on Sunday and from Saturday’s 3,093. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, planned to review the situation on Wednesday amid fears of a third lockdown.

Finland Detects New Corona Strain

The new variant of the virus was detected in Finland. The country imposed travel restrictions earlier this month on passengers from the UK amid concerns over the new variant, which is thought to be more contagious than previous ones.

The Catalan Government Introduce More Acute Covid Constraints

The Catalan regional government stopped short of threats to introduce more severe restrictions. That came despite 973 new cases and 26 deaths in the past 24 hours and a growing risk of a fresh outbreak.

Tuesday 29th December

Canada Approves Modern Vaccine

07:25 Canada becomes the second country to approve the Moderna vaccine for deployment. The Canadian government is also set to extend its ban on incoming commercial and passenger flights from Britain until January 6.

The UK Treasury Announced £800m Additional Coronavirus Funding

The Treasury announces an additional £800m in coronavirus funding to the UK’s devolved nations. The fund will be split into £400m for the Scottish government, £200m for the Welsh government and £200m for the Northern Ireland executive.

France Registered Almost 15,000 New Daily Corona Infections

France has registered 14,929 new Covid cases and 276 more deaths in the last 24 hours, according to French healthcare data.

Sinovac Biotech’s Covid-19 Vaccine Reported to Be 50% Effective

Sinovac Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine is reported to be 50% effective in late-stage trials, according to the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo on Wednesday.

Peru to Receive Significant Batch of Vaccines from Covax

Peru is set to receive a ‘significant batch’ of vaccines from the Covax alliance during the first quarter in 2021. The Covax global alliance was designed to help secure Covid-19 vaccines to poor and middle-income countries.

Argentina Approves Russian Vaccine

Argentina has become the first Latin American country to approve the Russian vaccine, the Sputnik V.

Moderna Said the Vaccine Should Protect against New Strain

The Moderna company have said that it expects its vaccine to be protective against the new variant reported in the UK.

The UK Introduces Travel Ban on South African Passengers

The UK government has implemented a travel ban on passengers arriving from South Africa after two cases of another new strain of Covid-19 was found in the UK.

Stranded Trucks Move Slowly Across the Channel

The European Union’s transport commissioner, Adina Valean has said that she is pleased stranded trucks are now moving ‘slowly across the Channel’, as restrictions between France and the UK were lifted.

Thursday 24th December

France Slightly Eases Restrictions on British Travellers

08:05 British travellers have been allowed to return to France after the travel ban on the French side, because of the new Covid variant in England, was eased. The first ferry arrived in France at 0330 local time. About 4,000 lorries were backed up in Britain waiting to cross. Rail, air and sea crossings resume from Wednesday, with all people required to show proof of a negative Covid test taken within the previous 72 hours.

Singapore Bans Travellers from the UK

Singapore has banned travellers from the UK arriving or transiting through the country from midnight on Wednesday. Singapore’s ministry of health said passengers who had been in the UK in the last 14 days would not be allowed entry until further notice, a move that will affect travellers using it as a stopping off point on the way to countries such as Australia.

The Philippines Suspends all UK Flights

The Philippines has announced that it will suspend all flights to the UK from 24 December, according to a presidential spokesperson.

Trump May Not Sign off on $900 Billion Pandemic Relief Package

Donald Trump has suggested he may not sign the bipartisan $900bn pandemic relief package that Congress passed on Monday night. Trump complained in a video that the bill delivered too much money to foreign countries and not enough to Americans. The bill has enough votes to override a veto should Trump decide to take that step.

The US Reported 1.6 Million New Cases in a Week

In the United States, 1.6m new cases of Covid were reported in the week to 20 December, the World Health Organization has said, the highest number of new cases for any single country. That weekly US increase was a rise of 14%. Dr Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, had his Covid jab and said he hoped it would encourage millions of other Americans to do the same.

Peru Surpasses 1 Million Covid Cases

Peru surpassed 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, health officials said on Tuesday, as concerns about a potential second wave of infections began to grow in the hard-hit Andean nation.

Full Lockdown Considered in Scotland

In Scotland, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has warned she may have to introduce full lockdown measures across the country in the coming days to contain the faster-spreading Covid variant, which has already led to Wales bringing forward a countrywide lockdown from last Sunday and Northern Ireland announcing a six-week lockdown from Boxing Day.

1,092 New Corona Cases in South Korea

South Korea reported 1,092 new coronavirus cases as of midnight on Tuesday, the second-highest since the start of the pandemic, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Wednesday.

Wednesday 23rd December

Antarctica Has Reportedly Recorded Its First Confirmed Cases

07:20 The 36 new infections are among people stationed at a Chilean research base and include 26 members of the Chilean army and 10 maintenance workers.

Taiwan Reports First Locally Transmitted Case Since 12 April

Taiwan’s government on Tuesday reported its first locally transmitted case of Covid-19 since 12 April. The individual who tested positive for Covid-19 was a friend of a person who had already been confirmed to have been infected with the virus, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference.

The US Government Reviews Conditions of Travel from the UK

The US government is considering requiring that all passengers travelling from the United Kingdom receive a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure as a condition of entry, airline and US officials briefed on the matter said Monday.

Virgin Atlantic to Require Negative Covid Test

Starting on December 24, the airline Virgin Atlantic will require proof of a negative coronavirus test for all passengers travelling from London to the US, the company announced.

The Vatican Urges Catholics to Get Vaccinated

The Vatican has urged Catholics to get vaccinated against coronavirus and said it is ‘morally acceptable’ to take vaccines that use cell lines from aborted foetuses. Cells derived from foetuses aborted decades ago have been used by some researchers working on vaccines against Covid-19.

Ontario Announced Province-Wide Shutdown

Ontario on Monday announced a province-wide shutdown because of a second wave of Covid-19 in Canada’s most populous province. The lockdown will be put in place for southern Ontario from 26 December until Jan. 23 but will be lifted for northern Ontario on 9 January. Ontario has had seven straight days of more than 2,000 cases a day.

Japan’s Prime Minister Said No Need to Enter State of Emergency

Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga reiterated on Tuesday that there was no need for Japan to enter a national state of emergency, even as health groups declared their own state of emergency for the medical system as coronavirus infection rates continue to rise.

Further Closures to Winter Tourist Spots in South Korea to Evade the Third Wave

South Korea on Tuesday moved to shut down all ski resorts and winter tourist spots in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus spreading as a third wave of the pandemic proves much tougher to contain in the densely populated region of the capital city.

Australian State of New South Wales Reports 8 New Cases

In the Australian state of New South Wales, where residents are on edge as they await health restrictions, or the easing thereof, amid a new outbreak happening just before Christmas, were eight new cases today, which is down from 15 yesterday.

Tuesday 22nd December

Boris Johnson Will Convene Crisis Talks

07:30 Boris Johnson will hold crisis talks with ministers after France banned lorries carrying freight from the UK and countries around the world ended flights amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain.

Nations Ban and Increase Curbs on Travel from the UK

A growing number of European and other nations have banned travel from the UK in a bid to stop a mutant strain of coronavirus crossing their borders. The list includes France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Romania, Sweden, Croatia and the Netherlands which have all said they will halt flights arriving from the UK.

Moreover, all three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have halted all passenger flights from the UK. Lithuania will still allow flights to depart for the UK, while Estonia and Latvia have halted those as well. Latvia has also banned bus and ferry passenger traffic to and from the UK. The bans will go into effect Monday and last until the end of the year.

More Countries Suspend and Limit Air Travel from Britain

Colombia, Turkey, Morocco, Kuwait and Iran have all temporarily suspended flights from Britain due to the high-risk factor of the new Corona strain. Additionally, Canada, the Czech Republic and Chile have imposed stricter quarantine measures for people arriving from Britain.

Britain and Other Countries Affected by New Curbs

Israel has said it was barring entry to foreign citizens travelling from Britain, Denmark and South Africa. Also, El Salvador’s President announced that anyone who had been in Britain or South Africa in the past 30 days will not be allowed to enter the country. Furthermore, the official Saudi Press Agency reported that Saudi Arabia is also suspending international flights for one week.

South Korea Sees Highest Daily Corona Deaths

South Korea recorded its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus, health authorities said on Monday, as a surge in infections strains the health system and prompted police raids on venues suspected of violating social distancing rules. As of midnight Sunday, there were 24 additional deaths, bringing the country’s total to 698, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said. Seoul and surrounding areas will ban most gatherings of five people or more later this week.

US Congress Agree on $900 Billion Aid Package 

The US congressional leaders have reached agreement on a $900 billion package to provide the first new aid in months to an economy hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate’s top Republican and Democrat said on Sunday, but it remained unclear when Congress would vote to seal the deal.

Thailand Conducts Thousands of Covid-19 Tests

Thailand is testing tens of thousands of people for Covid-19 after an outbreak at a shrimp market led to the biggest surge in cases in the country, which had appeared to have almost eradicated the virus.

Sydney’s Northern Beaches Endure Corona Cluster

In Australia Sydney’s northern beaches coronavirus cluster has spread across the city, with transmission events recorded in the CBD, north shore and inner-west. However, authorities in New South Wales are continuing to defend their decision to allow mask use to be voluntary, as the cluster centred in the locked-down northern beaches grows by 15 to a total of 83 cases after a record 38,578 Sydney-siders were tested on Sunday.

Monday 21st December

UK Restrictions Predicted to Last until February

08:00 Tough coronavirus restrictions are expected to be in place across much of the UK until at least February, experts have said, as they warned of a ‘harsh’ two to three months ahead.

British GP’s Extend Vials to Six Doses Not Five

General practitioners in Britain have been given new guidance allowing them to use Pfizer Inc’s extra Covid-19 vaccine doses ‘at their discretion’, NHS England said, with the development coming a day after US regulators issued similar guidance. Every vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was expected to include five doses, but GPs found it was possible to make six doses out of the vials.

Before Lunar New Year China Plans to Vaccinate 50 Million

China is planning to vaccinate 50 million people in the high-priority group against the coronavirus before the start of the peak lunar new year travel season early next year, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday. Beijing is planning to distribute 100m doses of the vaccines made by Chinese firms Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech Ltd, the report said.

Africa Confronts Second Wave of COVID-19

The continent’s most-hit nations are again having to contemplate stringent public health measures. New cases are emerging in East Africa, in northern and southern Africa, but the trend in West Africa is a decline.

French President Tests Positive for Corona

Emmanuel Macron ‘very likely’ infected with Covid-19 during EU council. The French president tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, prompting a track-and-trace effort across Europe following numerous meetings between the French leader and EU heads of government in recent days.

Six-Week Lockdown in Northern Ireland Will Start from Boxing Day

Northern Ireland is preparing for a sweeping lockdown and the deployment of paramedics from the Republic of Ireland in an effort to control Covid-19. Health officials on Thursday proposed a six-week lockdown and approved a plan to reinforce the ambulance service with units from across the border.

Daily Colombian Corona Infections Reach Highest since August

Colombia’s daily confirmed cases of coronavirus reached their highest level since mid-August on Thursday, as the government warned people against large holiday gatherings.

King of Sweden Blasts ‘Failed’ Coronavirus Response

The king has said the country has failed in its response to Covid-19, as hospitals in the Stockholm region warned they were struggling to cope with a surge in cases and polls showed public confidence in the authorities had plunged to a new low.

The US Surpasses 17m COVID-19 Infections as Vaccines Are Distributed

The US on Thursday surpassed a total of 17m coronavirus cases, with infections rising by more than a million a week during the early winter surge – while at the start of the year it took three months for the US to accumulate its first million cases.

Friday 18th December

London Increased Restrictions to Tier 3

07:45 London on Wednesday moved into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions in an effort to control rising infection rates, dealing another blow to hospitality venues before Christmas. The British capital’s move into ‘tier 3’ means theatres, pubs, restaurants will have to close although takeaway food outlets can still operate.

Trump Will Definitely Motivate Americans to Vaccinate against Corona

Donald Trump will ‘absolutely’ encourage Americans to take the vaccine, says press secretary. The US President will certainly encourage Americans to take Covid-19 vaccines and will receive a vaccine himself as soon as his medical team determines its best, the White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, has said.

Almost 25% of People Will Not Receive a Vaccine Until 2022

Nearly one in four people may not get Covid-19 vaccines until at least 2022 because rich countries with less than 15% of the global population have reserved 51% of the doses of the most promising vaccines, researchers said. Low- and middle-income countries, home to more than 85% of the world’s population, would have to share the remainder, said researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US.

WHO Research Mission Planned to Arrive in Wuhan Next Month

World Health Organization research mission to China is expected to arrive in Wuhan next month to investigate how the novel coronavirus jumped from animals to humans, and whether it emerged earlier or in a different place than originally thought.

India Corona Infections Deplete to Almost 25,000 a Day

India recorded 26,355 new coronavirus cases, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday, making it the third straight day that daily infections in the country have stayed below 30,000. India has recorded 9.93m infections so far, the second-highest in the world after the United States, but daily numbers have dipped steadily since hitting a peak of about 97,000 in mid-September.

Instant Covid-19 Tests Given Emergency Approval in the US

A rapid, over-the-counter Covid-19 test developed by Australian firm Ellume has been given emergency approval in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Brisbane-based company’s 20-minute Covid-19 Home Test on Tuesday as the US battles the virus that has infected 16.5 million people and killed more than 300,000 people in the country.

South Korea Reports New Record Corona Infections

South Korea reports record 1,078 new cases. South Korea has reported 1,078 new coronavirus cases, bringing the national total to 45,442. The death toll has risen by 12, bringing the total to 612. The new case total is the highest since the start of the pandemic. There were only three critical care beds left in the greater Seoul area with a nearly 26 million population, officials said.

Swedish PM Says Officials Misjudged Power of First Wave of Covid

Health officials in Sweden, which opted not to respond to the first wave of Covid-19 with a national lockdown, misjudged the power of the virus’s resurgence, the country’s prime minister has said, as independent commission criticised the country’s strategy.

New Zealand Shows Greater Economic Recovery Than Predicted

The country is expected to bounce back sooner from the impact of Covid-19 than previously thought, but large deficits and rising debt levels will have a lasting effect on the economy, the government said on Wednesday. The country’s treasury department predicted the budget deficit for the 2020/21 fiscal year to be NZ$21.58bn, NZ$10.1bn smaller than forecasts made in September.

Wednesday 16th December

Dutch Prime Minister Announces Five-Week Lockdown

07:10 Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte imposed a tough new five-week nationwide lockdown Monday, saying schools, nonessential shops, museums and gyms will close down at midnight until 19 January. “We have to bite through this very sour apple before things get better,” a sombre Rutte said in a televised address to the nation.

New Strain of Corona Detected in England

new strain of coronavirus that has shown up in England’s genomic surveillance in the past two months may have spread the virus in the South of England. The strain contains a number of different mutations and has been detected in parts of the south where cases of the virus are rising fastest, according to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.

Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine Documents Accessed by Hackers

Moderna Inc said on Monday it was informed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) certain documents related to pre-submission talks of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate were unlawfully accessed in a cyberattack on the medicines regulator.

South Korean Prime Minister Beseeched Residents to Observe Social Distance Rules

South Korea’s Prime Minister pleaded with residents on Tuesday to abide by social distancing rules to avoid even greater restrictions in the face of the country’s largest wave of coronavirus infections. Daily infection rates are hovering at record levels with another 880 new cases reported as of midnight Monday, up from 718 a day earlier, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

Canada Began Inoculation Corona Campaign on Monday

Canada kicked off its inoculation campaign against Covid-19 on Monday by injecting frontline healthcare workers and elderly nursing home residents, becoming just the third nation in the world to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Singapore Plans to Open Business Travel for all Countries in January

Singapore will open a new segregated travel lane for a limited number of businesses, official and high economic value travellers from all countries, the government said on Tuesday, as part of efforts to revive its key travel and hospitality sectors.

Record Number of Journalists Imprisoned During 2020

A record number of journalists were imprisoned during 2020, as governments cracked down on coverage of the coronavirus pandemic or tried to suppress reporting of civil unrest, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Tuesday.

Tuesday 15th December

Trump Postpones Scheduled Vaccine for Himself

08:30 After reports that Trump and other White House staff would be offered the coronavirus vaccine on Monday, the US president said he was not scheduled to receive the vaccine, tweeting: “People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!” Although Trump has had coronavirus, his taking it is meant to instil confidence in Americans that the vaccine is safe.

London mayor Stated the Surge in Cases Is ’Deeply Concerning’

The surge in coronavirus cases across London is ‘deeply concerning’ and requires further government action to be brought under control, Sadiq Khan has said. He wrote to Boris Johnson on Sunday requesting for an immediate increase in Covid-19 testing provision across the capital in response to the rising number of infections.

Vaccination Clinics Will Begin across England from Monday

Vaccination clinics run by family doctors will begin across England from Monday but people have been warned that a rise in cases after Christmas socialising could disrupt the rollout of protective jabs. GP practices in more than 100 locations will have the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine delivered to them on Monday, with some offering vaccinations within hours.

A Sad Milestone Is Being Reached in the US, 300,000 Corona Deaths

The US is on the brink of marking the sad milestone of 300,000 dead from coronavirus in just under a year. The US death toll, a fifth of the global total, stands at 299,168, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dutch May Add Stricter Measures against Corona

The Dutch government will decide on stricter measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands on Monday, as the country reported the biggest rise in infections in more than six weeks.

Bahrain Approves Vaccine Developed by Sinopharm

Bahrain has approved a Covid-19 vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and launched online registration for the vaccine for citizens and residents. Citizens and residents above 18 years of age could register online to receive the vaccine for free.

Algeria’s President Announced He Is Recovering from Covid

Algeria’s president Abdelmadjid Tebboune has said he is recovering from Covid-19, in his first televised appearance since he was treated in a German hospital almost two months ago.

Monday 14th December

FDA Panel Approves Pfizer Vaccine

07:35 A panel of outside advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration voted overwhelmingly to recommend emergency-use authorization of a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and its German partner, BioNTech SE.

Canada May Begin Adminstrering Vaccinations Any Day

Canada on Wednesday approved the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE and vaccinations are expected to start next week with high-risk people such as healthcare workers receiving the first doses.

Carbon Emissions Are Expected to Rebound in 2021

Greenhouse gas emissions, which plunged by a record amount this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, are set to rebound next year as restrictions are lifted further and governments strive to return their economies to growth, according to a global study.

Advisor to Biden Utters Tough Christmas Warning

A top coronavirus adviser to President-elect Joe Biden delivered a stern holiday message to Americans on Thursday ‘no Christmas parties’ and warned they face a Covid-19 siege for weeks to come despite the latest moves toward US government approval of a vaccine.

South Korea Deploys Military to Assist Health Workers

South Korea will mobilise military forces in the capital Seoul to help frontline health workers deal with a surge in coronavirus, with 689 new cases reported on Friday, and as the death toll and number of patients in critical care rose.

Mexican Health Advisers Review Pfizer Vaccine

An advisory committee for Mexican health regulator Cofepris will review Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine application on Friday, a health official said, as the country registered another 11,897 coronavirus cases and 671 more deaths.

Friday 11th December

Only 50% of Americans Will Take the Vaccine

07:30 A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about a quarter of US adults are uncertain if they want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Roughly, another quarter of US citizens say they refuse to take it.

Chinese Journalist Goes on Hunger Strike

A citizen journalist detained for more than six months after reporting on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has had a feeding tube forcibly inserted and her arms restrained to stop her pulling it out, her lawyer has claimed. Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer, has been on a hunger strike at a detention facility near Shanghai. Zhang was arrested in May and accused of ‘picking quarrels and stirring up trouble’, an accusation frequently used against critics and activists inside China, after reporting on social media and streaming accounts. Last month she was formally indicted on charges of spreading false information.

The US Death Toll Reaches New Peak

The US to confirm a new record daily death toll on Wednesday. It looks like the US will again confirm a record new death toll on Wednesday, for the first time exceeding 3,000 deaths, higher than the toll of 9/11, in 24 hours. The Guardian relies on Johns Hopkins for official data, and they have not yet posted 9 December’s toll, but the Washington Post, New York Times and Covid-tracking Project’s figures each suggest that it will be a record day.

South Africa Enduring Second Corona Wave

South Africa now experiencing Covid-19 ‘second wave’, the health minister declared Wednesday. “As it stands as a country we now meet that criteria,” Zweli Mkhize said in a statement, as the country registered nearly 7,000 new cases in the last day. The country now counts 828,598 infections after 6,709 new cases were detected between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Australia Scientists Developed Rapid Method to Reduce Further Outbreaks

Australian scientists said on Thursday they had developed a rapid genome sequencing method that would cut to within four hours the time taken to trace the source of coronavirus cases, helping to quickly contain any future outbreaks.

Japan Hits New Record Case Numbers

Japan has reported a record daily number of coronavirus cases, prompting health experts to urge people not to travel in the run-up to the New Year holidays. The country reported 2,811 new infections on Wednesday, as well as a record 555 people with serious Covid-19 symptoms, the Kyodo news agency said.

Thursday 10th December

Some Low Income Countries Will Have Limited Quantity of Vaccines

07:30 Nine out of 10 people in 70 low-income countries are unlikely to be vaccinated against Covid-19 next year because the majority of the most promising vaccines coming on-stream have been bought up by the west, campaigners have said.

US Corona Infections Crossed 15 Million

Record cases in at least three states – Arizona, Alabama and Ohio – pushed the cumulative caseload to over 15 million, according to a Reuters tally of state and county data.

UK Chief Scientific Adviser Warns Masks May Still Be Needed Post Vaccine

UK’s Science Chief warned Britons may still need masks next winter. People in the United Kingdom may still be wearing face masks in a year’s time despite the country’s national vaccination programme getting underway, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, told the Telegraph. “It may be that next winter even with vaccination we need measures such as masks in place,” he said.

Rudy Guiliani Predicted to Leave Hospital Today

The US President Donald Trump’s lawyer said he is feeling better after contracting Covid-19 and expects to leave the hospital on Wednesday.

South Korea Reports Its Second-Highest Rate of Infections

South Korea reported 686 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as it battles the third wave of infection that is threatening to overwhelm its medical system. The daily tally was the second-highest since the start of the pandemic, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. New cases have been consistently around 600 over the past week.

Thailand Increases Security Measures: Infected Cross Border Undetected

Thailand will deploy drones and increase military patrols along its border with Myanmar following a small cluster of cases linked to people crossing undetected into the country. At least 19 cases of the coronavirus have been linked to people passing over the border without undergoing mandatory quarantine. Health workers have raced to trace hundreds of contacts, while some schools have also been closed as a precaution.

Wednesday 9th December

WHO Advises Motivating Citizens to Vaccine Opposed to Enforcing

08:00 The World Health Organization said Monday that persuading people on the merits of a Covid-19 vaccine would be far more effective than trying to make the jabs mandatory. The WHO said it would be down to individual countries as to how they want to conduct their vaccination campaigns against the coronavirus pandemic.

UK Administering First Doses

The UK is set to administer the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday, with the NHS giving top priority to people over the age of 80, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents.

Hong Kong Will Impose New Virus Curbs

Hong Kong will ban evening dining at restaurants and close fitness centres, the city’s leader said Tuesday, as part of new measures aimed at stemming the fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the rules aim to reduce the “number of people on the streets”, echoing moves taken by authorities when cases spiked earlier this year.

South Korea Ordered Vaccines for 44 Million Citizens

According to Yonhap, South Korea has secured 64 million doses for 44 million people (three of the vaccines need two shots). Vaccines for 34 million will come directly from the drugmakers and 10 million via the WHO. The vaccines ordered are sufficient to cover 88% of the population.

Trump Will Sign Executive Order to Prioritise Vaccine for US Citizens

US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday to ensure that priority access for Covid-19 vaccines is given to the American people, for doses procured by the US government, before assisting other nations, senior administration officials said on Monday.

Armed Police Raided Florida Scientist’s Home over Covid-19 Data

Rebekah Jones, the Florida data scientist embroiled in a dispute with the state’s Republican governor over the handling of coronavirus figures, had her home raided on Monday by armed police who confiscated her computers.

India Reported Lowest Daily Infections Since 10 July

India reported 26,567 new coronavirus infections, data from the health ministry showed on Tuesday, the lowest daily increase since July 10. Daily cases have been falling in India since hitting a peak in September. The country has 9.7 million cases, the second-highest caseload in the world after the United States. Deaths rose by 385, the health ministry said, with the total now at 140,958.

Tuesday 8th December

The UK Plans to Administer First Vaccine on Tuesday

07:15 Britain is set to administer the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, with the NHS giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be kept at -70C (-94F) and only lasts five days in a regular fridge. For that reason, it will first be administered in 50 hospitals. About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week.

Guiliani Tested Positive for Corona

Multiple news outlets are reporting that Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to Donald Trump, has been admitted to hospital following the announcement by Trump on Twitter that Giuliani had tested positive for coronavirus. CNN, the New York Times and the ABC, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation, report that Giuliani has been admitted to Georgetown University Hospital.

Biden Chooses New Health Roles

President-elect Joe Biden has picked California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra to be his Health Secretary, putting a defender of the Affordable Care Act in a leading role to oversee his administration’s coronavirus response. If confirmed by the Senate, Becerra, 62, will be the first Latino to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Biden is also expected to nominate Rochelle Walensky, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, to run the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters reports, citing a person familiar with the decision.

First International Passenger Flight in Melbourne in Months

In Australia, the city of Melbourne has 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 Victoria’s capital stopped accepting any arrivals in late June after an outbreak of Covid-19 that began at two hotels where arrivals were quarantining.

South Korea See Triple-Digit Daily Covid-19 Increases

South Korea reported 615 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said, capping a month of triple-digit daily increases that have driven the nation’s largest wave of infections in nine months. Monday’s total was down slightly from Sunday when the agency reported 631 new cases, the largest daily tally since a peak in February and early March.

Public Support of Japan’s New Prime Minister Plummets

The public support for Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has plummeted over the past month amid mounting criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. A new poll by the Kyodo news agency shows support for his cabinet at 50.3%, down 13 percentage points from a month earlier. Disapproval rose from 19.2% to 32.6%.

India Is seeking Emergency Authorisation Use of AstraZeneca’s Vaccine

The Serum Institute of India has sought emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator for AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, according to several reports in Indian media, citing the Press Trust of India. It applied to the Drugs Controller General of India, citing unmet medical needs due to the pandemic and in the interest of the public at large, the agency report said, citing official sources. The Serum Institute was not immediately available to Reuters request for comment.

Indonesia Receives Vaccine from China

Indonesia received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine from China on Sunday, President Joko Widodo said, as the government prepares a mass inoculation programme. The vaccine still needs to be evaluated by the country’s food and drug agency while his administration prepares to distribute it across the vast archipelago of 270 million people, Jokowi said.

Monday 7th December

Joe Biden Will Join Ex-Presidents to Take Vaccine Publicly

07:30 Joe Biden, the President-elect, joins ex-presidents in a pledge to take the vaccine. Biden told CNN during an interview on Thursday that he would be happy to get his vaccine publicly to encourage people to follow suit, following Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton’s pledges to do the same. Additionally, Biden has told CNN that it was his ‘inclination’ that, on his inauguration, he would ask the public to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration to help drive down the spread of the virus. Biden said he would issue an order for masks to be worn inside federal buildings and in transportation facilities.

WHO Review Covid-19 Vaccination Certificates

The World Health Organization said it was considering introducing electronic vaccination certificates, as hopes for an end to the pandemic were boosted after Britain became the first country to approve the use of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Tighter Corona Restrictions for Seoul

Seoul to shut down most establishments at 9 pm to contain coronavirus. South Korea’s capital Seoul will require most establishments to close at 9 pm each day after South Korea reported 629 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number in nine months. Of the new cases, 295 were from capital Seoul alone.

Moderna Inc Prepares over 100 Million Experimental Corona Vaccine Doses

Moderna Inc said on Thursday it expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine available globally in the first quarter of 2021. The company said 85 million to 100 million of those doses would be available in the United States, with 15 million to 25 million available outside the country.

Dr Fauci Apologises to UK Drug Regulator

America’s leading infectious diseases scientist, Anthony Fauci, has apologised for implying that he thought Britain’s drug regulator had rushed through its coronavirus vaccine approval. His comments came a day after Britain became the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for general use, prompting some scepticism among European neighbours and suggestions of politicisation.

Costa Rica Signed up for 3 Million Vaccines for Next Year

Costa Rica has signed an agreement with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE for the manufacture and delivery of 3 million Covid-19 vaccines next year, the office of President Carlos Alvarado said on Thursday.

India Reporting Fewer Covid-19 Infections

India’s daily coronavirus cases rose by less than 40,000 for the fifth straight day, health ministry data showed on Friday, with 36,595 new infections reported in the last 24 hours. India’s daily rate has fallen since the south Asian nation reported the world’s highest such tallies through most of August and September, despite a busy festival season last month that experts had warned could trigger a spike in infections.

Friday 4th December

Global Corona Totals

07:15 Meanwhile, the global Covid death toll is nearing 1.5m, with 1,488,992. Currently, the world is regularly suffering more than 10,000 deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. There are 64.3m cases worldwide.

CDC Warns of Coronavirus Surge This Winter

CDC Chief warns Americans that they will face ‘rough’ winter from Covid-19 surge. The Head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday the Covid-19 pandemic, still raging with unprecedented fury nationwide, will pose the country’s grimmest health crisis yet over the next few months, before vaccines become widely available. Currently, the US is suffering the highest daily deaths since April, having recorded 2,597 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University. This is its worst toll since 15 April and its second-worst toll of the pandemic so far.

Agricultural Workers Contract Covid-19 Rapidly

California’s agricultural workers have contracted Covid-19 at nearly three times the rate of other residents in the state, a new study has found, laying bare the risks facing those who keep a $50bn industry afloat. Farmworkers have been deemed ‘essential’ and thus continued to work throughout the duration of the pandemic.

More Vaccines on Route to the US

Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday the US government has purchased 650,000 additional doses of its Covid-19 antibody drug for $812.5 million. The doses will be delivered through 31 January, with at least 350,000 delivered in December, the company said. The drug has been authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, and the government bought 300,000 doses in October.

Health Safety Inspections on Businesses Added to China’s Curbs

China is carrying out sweeping inspections on food importers, supermarkets, e-commerce platforms and restaurants to prevent the spread of coronavirus through imported cold chain products, the country’s market regulator said on Wednesday.

South Korean Pharmaceutical Company Awaits Approval of Covid-19 Vaccine

South Korean drugmaker, Daewoong Pharma said on Thursday it had sought regulatory approval for Phase II trials of its anti-parasite niclosamide drug to treat Covid-19 patients, sending its shares up nearly 6%.

Further Outbreaks of Coronavirus in South Africa

Localised coronavirus outbreaks in parts of South Africa have raised fears that the country could see a resurgence in cases compounded by gatherings during the upcoming festive season. Officials in Africa’s hardest virus-hit country are scrambling to contain infections after a flare-up was reported in the impoverished Eastern Cape province and adjacent Western Cape province last month.

French President Dies from Covid-19 Causes

Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing died on Wednesday from complications linked to Covid-19, his foundation said. Giscard was admitted to hospital in September with respiratory problems. He recovered but was re-admitted in mid-November. He was 94.

Emergency Approval of Covid-19 Vaccines in Brazil

Brazil opens a route for emergency approval of Covid-19 vaccines and outlined the requirements for companies looking to do so. Authorisations will be analysed on a case-by-case basis and that to be considered the vaccine must be in late-stage trials in Brazil. It said no requests had been received so far.

UK Vaccinations Start Next Week

Covid vaccinations will begin next week, says Boris Johnson. Mass immunisation against coronavirus will begin next week, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday as he moved to defuse a diplomatic row over claims that Brexit was responsible for the fast-track approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Thursday 3rd December

Discord in the UK House of Commons over Tier System

08:30 In the UK, Boris Johnson suffered his worst-ever House of Commons rebellion on Tuesday night, as 55 Conservative MPs opposed the government’s new coronavirus tier system. The UK’s month-long lockdown ends on Wednesday, 2 December. England’s new three-tier system comes into effect on 2 December. Non-essential shops in all areas can reopen, as can gyms, hairdressers and other personal care businesses, with the formal instruction to stay at home at an end. The ‘rule of six’ will again apply for outdoor gatherings in all areas.

100,000 Corona Cases Plus Per Day in November in the US

The US reported more than 100,000 cases a day in November, Johns Hopkins data shows, as it heads into a festive season marked by surging hospitalisations. Moreover, a US government panel on Tuesday formally recommended early doses of Covid-19 vaccines be given first to healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents in the US, generally seen as people who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Furthermore, the US CDC will soon shorten the length of self-quarantine recommended after potential exposure to the coronavirus to 10 days, or 7 days with a negative test, a federal spokesperson said on Tuesday. 

Mexico Will Sign Coronavirus Contract with Pfizer

Mexico’s government was due to sign a contract on Wednesday with pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the delivery of its coronavirus vaccine, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Tuesday. Pfizer has submitted the details about its vaccine to Mexico’s health regulator, Cofepris, and the country’s foreign minister last month said the government expects the vaccine to reach Mexico in December.

India’s Corona Infections Decreasing

India’s daily coronavirus cases continued to stay below the 50,000 mark for the 25th straight day, with 36,604 new infections reported, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday. The country now has 9.5 million total infections, but cases have been dipping since a peak in September, in spite of a busy festival season last month.

Wednesday 2nd December

Dr Scott Atlas, Special Adviser to US President, Has Resigned

07:20 Dr Scott Atlas has resigned as special adviser to President Donald Trump, a White House official said on Monday, after a controversial four months during which he clashed repeatedly with other members of the coronavirus task force. “I am writing to resign from my position as Special Advisor to the President of the United States,” Atlas said in a letter to Trump dated 1 December, according to Fox News, which first reported his resignation.

Corona Vaccine Could Be Authorised and Shipped to the US in December

US Health Secretary Alex Azar said Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine could be authorized and shipped within days of a 10 December meeting of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration tasked with reviewing trial data and recommending whether it warrants approval. The US may begin vaccinations before Christmas. After a Thanksgiving weekend when the number of people travelling through US airports reached its highest since mid-March, a top government official said on Monday some Americans could begin receiving coronavirus vaccinations before Christmas.

China Shares Experimental Corona Vaccine with North Korean Leader

China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a US analyst said on Tuesday, citing two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources. Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said the Kims and several senior North Korean officials had been vaccinated. It was unclear which company had supplied its drug candidate to the Kims and whether it had proven to be safe, he added.

WHO to Identify Covid-19 Origins

WHO says ‘will do everything’ to find Covid-19 origins. The World Health Organization insisted Monday it would do everything possible to find the animal origins of Covid-19, insisting that knowledge was vital to preventing future outbreaks. “We want to know the origin and we will do everything to know the origin,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

Vietnam’s First Corona Transmission in 3 Months

Vietnam reported its first local transmission of Covid-19 in nearly three months on Monday, with officials scrambling to prevent a wider outbreak in the country’s most populous city.

The World Tourism Organisation Spurs on Corona Uniformity

UN tourism body urges uniformity in virus travel rules. The World Tourism Organisation called Monday for the standardisation of traveller health checks and the establishment of air corridors to ease international travel during the pandemic. The call came at a conference in Spain’s Canary Islands as the global tourism industry reels from a year in which travel restrictions to slow the coronavirus pandemic have decimated the sector.

Tuesday 1st December

US Experts Predict Higher Corona Infections after Thanksgiving

07:30 The US top infectious disease expert said on Sunday that the country may see “surge upon a surge” of coronavirus cases in the weeks after Thanksgiving, and he does not expect current recommendations around social distancing to be relaxed before Christmas. Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported a total 13,142,997 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 143,333 from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,210 to 265,166.

Pandemic Fears Effect Sri Lanka’s Overcrowded Prisons

Six inmates were killed and 35 others were injured when guards opened fire to control a riot at a prison on the outskirts of Sri Lanka’s capital, officials said Monday. Two guards were critically injured, they said. Pandemic-related unrest has been growing in Sri Lanka’s overcrowded prisons. Inmates have staged protests in recent weeks at several prisons as the number of coronavirus cases surges in the facilities.

China Showing Economic Improvement

China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November, while growth in the services sector also hit a multi-year high, as the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus stepped up, Reuters reports.

Japan Battles Third Wave of Infections

Japan’s serious cases reach record levels. In Japan, the number of Covid-19 patients with serious symptoms has reached record levels, as the country battles the third wave of infections. The number of people with severe symptoms rose to 462 on Sunday, the health ministry said, which is an increase of 22 from the previous day.

Lebanon Easing Restrictions

Lebanon will begin to slowly relax coronavirus restrictions imposed two weeks ago from Monday, as it looks to boost its struggling economy ahead of Christmas.

Turkey’s Daily Death Toll Hits Record Figures

Turkey’s daily coronavirus death toll hit a record high for a seventh consecutive day on Sunday, with 185 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

The WHO Delivers Ventilators to Gaza

The WHO delivered 15 ventilators to hospitals in Gaza on Sunday as the Palestinian territory suffered a rise in Covid-19 infections.

Monday 30th November

The Brazilian President States Clearly Spurns Vaccine

Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro has said he will not take a coronavirus vaccine, the latest in a series of statements he has made expressing skepticism toward coronavirus vaccination programs. “I’m telling you, I’m not going to take it. It’s my right.”

Germany Hits 1 Million Covid-19 Infections

07:45 Germany has surpassed 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, recording another 22,806 cases in the past 24 hours.

South Korea Thwarts North Korea’s Hacking Attempts into Vaccine Companies

South Korea’s intelligence agency foiled North Korean attempts to hack into South Korean companies developing coronavirus vaccines, a member of a parliamentary intelligence committee was quoted as saying. It follows revelations last week, that hackers working for the Russian and North Korean governments have tried to break into the networks of seven pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in South Korea, Canada, France, India and the United States.

AstraZeneca Intends a Further Trial of Its Vaccine. 

The company, which is developing a treatment with Oxford University, is working with regulators to investigate a lower dosage of its vaccine that performed better than a full dosage.

Curbs Tightening Post UK Lockdown

Almost all of England’s 55 million population faces tough post-lockdown restrictions. Tough new tier-based curbs will affect 99% of people in England when the national lockdown ends next week, prompting a furious backlash from MPs.

Trump Announced Vaccine Deliveries Begin Next Week

US President Donald Trump claims deliveries of a vaccine would begin next week. Speaking to US troops overseas via video link to mark the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said the vaccine would initially be sent to frontline workers, medical personnel and senior citizens.

28 Days and No New Corona Cases in Victoria, Australia

The Australian state of Victoria has achieved ‘Covid’ elimination. The state had an almost three-month lockdown to contain a second-wave outbreak but has now had 28 days without one new case.

France Corona Infections Drop in the Fourth Week of Lockdown

France reported 13,563 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, compared with 16,282 on Wednesday and 21,150 a week ago, suggesting the spread of the virus continued to slow in the fourth week of a national lockdown. 

Croatia Reaches Record High Covid Case Numbers

Croatia will close cafes and restaurants and ban weddings until Christmas as the number of coronavirus cases hit a record high for the second day in a row, the government said. The country of 4 million reported 4,009 new cases and 51 deaths on Thursday, with 21,725 active cases.

Friday 27th November

Germany Lengthens Partial Lockdown

Germany reported 410 deaths in 24 hours. This is the worst such toll since the pandemic began. As a consequence to these recent increases, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors on Wednesday agreed to extend a partial shutdown well into December in an effort to further reduce the rate of Covid-19 infections ahead of the Christmas period.

Highest Corona Cases in South Korea since March

South Korea has reported its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases since March, despite the recent introduction of stricter social distancing measures in Seoul and other virus hotspots. The country reported 583 infections on Thursday, the first time they had topped 500 since 6 March.

CDC Gauges 12.5% of Corona Infections Reported

CDC estimates only 1 in 8 infections caught. A new government report says the US is still missing nearly eight coronavirus infections for every one counted. By the end of September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that as many as 53 million Americans had been infected. That is just under eight times the confirmed cases reported at the time. Previously, the CDC estimated that one of every 10 infections were being missed.

Sicily Has Requested Health Operators from Cuba

Authorities in Sicily asked Cuba’s government to send to the region about 60 health operators, including doctors and nurses, as hospitals are struggling with a shortage of medical personnel during the second wave. The request was filed this week to the Italian embassy in Cuba and consists of intensive care specialists, nurses, anaesthetists, resuscitators, virologists and pulmonologists, the Italian newspaper la Republica reported.

1.5 Million Cases Reported in 7 Days in The Americas

The Americas reported more than 1.5m cases in the last seven days; the highest weekly number since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization regional branch PAHO said. The rapid surge of infections in the US continued and cases accelerated in countries of North, Central and South America, PAHO said. In Canada, infections were rising particularly among the elderly and indigenous communities.

Iran Reaches Its Highest Daily Corona Infections

Iran recorded its worst daily caseload, with the health ministry reporting 13,843 new infections. That pushed the national tally to 894,385 in the Middle East’s worst-hit country. The ministry’s spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari, told state TV the death toll rose by 469 in 24 hours to 46,207.

Thursday 26th November

England’s Corona Test and Trace System Fails

Test and trace fails to contact 110,000 in English Covid hot spots. The British government’s £22bn test-and-trace system has failed to reach more than 100,000 people exposed to coronavirus in England’s worst-hit areas since the second wave began, official figures show, with four in 10 not asked to self-isolate.

The French Will Ease Lockdown Restrictions from This Weekend

French president says lockdown to ease starting this weekend. In France, President Emmanuel Macron announced a three-stage easing of the country’s month-long lockdown, beginning this weekend with the reopening of “non-essential” businesses such as hairdressers and clothes shops, which will have to observe strict distancing rules and close at 9 pm.

CDC May Reduce Quarantine Period 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon shorten the length of self-quarantine period recommended after potential exposure to the coronavirus, a top official said on Tuesday. Health authorities currently recommend a 14-day quarantine in order to curb transmission of the virus but an official said Tuesday that there is evidence that the period could be shortened if patients are tested for the virus during their quarantine.

Ahmed Patel, a Member of India’s Congress Died from Corona on Wednesday

A senior leader of India’s Congress party died of coronavirus related complications on Wednesday, his family said, a second veteran from the opposition group to fall victim to the virus in recent days, as total cases in the country touched the 9.2 million mark. Ahmed Patel, a lawmaker who was party treasurer and was seen as close to the Gandhi family that leads the party, was detected with Covid-19 a month ago and died of multi-organ failure, his family said in a statement.

Wednesday 25th November

International Experts to Investigate Origins of Covid-19

07:15 International virus sleuths expected to go to China soon: WHO. The World Health Organization said Monday it had received reassurances from Beijing that international experts would soon be able to travel to China to help investigate the animal origins of Covid-19. “We fully expect and have reassurances from our Chinese government colleagues that the trip to the field… will be facilitated, and as soon as possible,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a virtual press briefing.

England Reduces Quarantine Time

England to cut quarantine period for arrivals from abroad. Travellers arriving in England from abroad face a shorter spell in quarantine from mid-December if they test negative for coronavirus five days after their arrival, the UK government announced Tuesday. It hopes the new rules will revive the ailing travel industry, particularly aviation, which has suffered a steep drop in ridership because of restrictions imposed to fight the pandemic.

Japan Covid-19 Cases See Sharp Rise

Japan’s government is preparing to pause its domestic travel campaign in two cities following sharp rises in Covid-19 cases, the minister handling the government’s coronavirus response said on Tuesday.

French Corona Infections Show Lowest Tally since September

Daily Covid-19 cases in France is near a two-month low. France reported 4,452 new Covid-19 infections on Monday, the lowest daily tally since 28 September, suggesting a second national lockdown is having an impact.

UK Inoculation Vaccine Target

The UK aims to inoculate those most at risk from Covid by Easter. The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, said he hoped almost all Britons at high risk from Covid-19 would be vaccinated against the disease by Easter. He also said people will not be forced to have vaccinations against Covid-19.

King Felipe of Spain Has Contracted Corona

Spain’s king self-isolating after virus contact. Spain’s King Felipe VI has started 10 days of quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who later tested positive for Covid-19, the palace said.

Gaza Covid-19 Infections Spiralling out of Control

The mounting number of coronavirus infections in densely populated Gaza is spinning out of control, Palestinian health officials warned. Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official, said the health ministry “expects the worst if the epidemiological situation remains the same” citing “a health system at the end of its rope”, “severe drug shortages” and “extreme overcrowding”.

Tuesday 24th November

Almost 60m Corona Cases Worldwide

07:35 The global coronavirus infections total is currently 58,563,451, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. With daily totals averaging at around 600,000, the global infections total is likely to pass 60m this week. The global death toll now stands at 1,386,465.

Mayhem at Shanghai Airport due to Corona Testing

Chaos at Shanghai airport after sudden decision to test thousands. The Global Times reports that Shanghai Pudong airport has started testing thousands of staff and passengers after several cargo handlers tested positive for coronavirus. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled and videos posted online appear to show people panicking as they are told they will all be tested for the virus.

South Korea Sees Increase in Covid-19 Infections

South Korea reported another daily rise of over 200 new coronavirus cases on Monday. This is a day before tighter social distancing rules are put into effect, which are aimed at blunting the third wave of infections. The daily tally of 271 new cases fell from 330 reported on Sunday after hovering above 300 for five straight days, a level not seen since August, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The UK Is Easing Isolation Rules

The UK government will announce on Monday that self-isolation will no longer be required for those who have come into contact with people who have tested positive for Covid-19, the Telegraph reported. Contacts of those who test positive will be asked to undergo daily tests for seven days, and will be allowed to go about their business in the meantime, the newspaper said.

Americans May Receive a Vaccine by 11th December

The first Americans could be vaccinated on 11 December. US Covid-19 vaccine programme head, Moncef Slaoui said the first Americans to receive a coronavirus vaccine could be as soon as 11 December, CNN reported on Sunday. “Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11 or the 12 of December,” he said in an interview to CNN.

Germany Plans to Start Distributing Vaccines in December

Germany could start administering shots of Covid-19 vaccines as soon as next month Health Minister, Jens Spahn was quoted as saying. “There is reason to be optimistic that there will be approval for a vaccine in Europe this year,” Spahn said in an interview with the publishing group, RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. “And then we can start right away.”

NHS Making Preparations for Vaccine Administration

NHS told to be ready to administer vaccine by 1 December. Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine this week, even before the US authorises it, the Telegraph news site reported on Sunday. Citing government sources, it said British regulators were about to start a formal appraisal of the vaccine, made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, and that the National Health Service had been told to be ready to administer it by 1 December. The US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that it would meet on 10 December to discuss whether to authorise the vaccine.

Spain Will Deliver Vaccines from January

Spain will begin a comprehensive coronavirus vaccination programme in January and expects to have covered a substantial part of the population within three months, Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday. He said Spain and Germany were the first European Union countries to have a complete vaccination plan in place.

Monday 23rd November

9 Million Corona Cases Recorded in India

07:35 India has recorded more than 9 million coronavirus cases. The country added 45,882 new infections in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday, and now has 9,004,365 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker site, and 132,162 deaths.

Dr Fauci Returns to the White House

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US diseases expert, is back. After months of sparring with Donald Trump, the scientist spoke at a White House briefing again as the outbreak continues to spread rapidly. It is the only country with more cases than India, with the national total now on 11.72 million with 250,000 dead. California has imposed a curfew on most of its 40 million residents.

Mexico Has Fourth Highest Covid Mortality Rate

Mexico passed the 100,000 mark in Covid-19 deaths Thursday, becoming only the fourth country behind the United States, Brazil and India to do so.

EU Plans to Purchase 425 Million Corona Vaccine Doses

The EU will pay more than $10bn to secure 425m doses of vaccines being developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and CureVac, Reuters reports. The bloc has agreed to pay €15.50 euros ($18.34) per dose for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and slightly less for the Curevac treatment.

Close to a Million Chinese Took Covid-19 Vaccine in Trials

Almost a million people in China have taken an emergency Covid-19 vaccine that is still in its testing phase, the company Sinopharm has said.

WHO Warns against Remdesivir

Remdesivir should not be used in hospitals to treat Covid-19, the WHO has warned. Donald Trump tried to push the treatment and took it himself when he contracted Covid-19. But, the WHO says there is no evidence it works.

Friday 20th November

US Hospitals Struggle to Cope as Corona Deaths Reach 250,000

07:25 There are more than 76,000 people hospitalised with Covid in the US. Officials said hospitals were straining to cope with the volume of patients, but there was some hope that Republicans were beginning to pave the way for cooperation with president-elect Joe Biden as he tries to coordinate a response to the crisis. Amidst these challenges, 250,520 Americans have now died of the virus and there have been more than 11.5 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

New Corona Highs in Japan

Japan has recorded a record number of new daily coronavirus infections. The health ministry said it had found 2,179 new cases in the previous 24 hours. The capital, Tokyo, also recorded a new daily record as it went into its highest level of alert.

India on the Verge of 9 Million Covid-19 Cases

India has edged closer to 9 million cases. It added another 45,576 new cases of the coronavirus, taking its total infections to 8.96 million, data from the health ministry said on Thursday.

England Plans Mass Vaccination

Mass vaccination planned in England. Britain’s National Health Service is assembling a huge team of retired doctors, nurses and physiotherapists to implement the country’s biggest ever mass vaccination programme.

New Record Corona Infections in Ukraine

Ukraine has also seen its highest ever daily infection total with a record of 13,357 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Turkey Intends to Purchase 20 Million Vaccines

Turkey plans to buy 20m doses of the Chinese vaccine. The government is also in talks to buy vaccine doses from Pfizer and BioNTech, MPs were told on Thursday.

First Corona Case in Samoa

The Pacific nation of Samoa has recorded its first-ever case of Covid-19. Prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said that a sailor who had returned from New Zealand on a repatriation flight tested positive in a quarantine facility.

Corona Patient in Coma Gives Birth

A hospital doctor gave birth to twins while in a coronavirus coma. Perpetual Uke was 26 weeks pregnant when she was put in an induced coma in a hospital in Birmingham, but doctors delivered the babies by Caesarean.

Thursday 19th November

US States Backtrack to Earlier Policies of Recommending Wearing Masks

08:25 Several US states including Iowa have backtracked on earlier policies and recommended that people wear masks as cases in the US continue to spread. Senator Chuck Grassley, at 87 the oldest member of the US upper house, has become the latest high-profile figure in Washington to test positive.

Headteachers Concern over Corona May Lead to Resignations

Almost half the headteachers in England are considering quitting after the virus is brought under control, according to a union survey. It comes as 598 more people died on Tuesday within 28 days of testing positive for Covid 19, bringing the UK total to 52,745. This represents the highest daily increase since 12 May.

Tokyo Businesses May Be Required to Reduce Opening Hours

Businesses in Tokyo could be asked to shorten opening hours in order to contain a worsening outbreak of the virus that has seen cases in the Japanese capital reach a record daily high of 472 on Wednesday.

New Restrictions in Turkey to Curb Sharp Rise in Infections

Turkey is imposing fresh restrictions in the wake of a sharp rise in cases. Restaurants and cafes will be asked to close at 5 pm from Friday, and a partial lockdown will be imposed on the country at weekends.

Voluntary Corona Test Launched by British Airways

British Airways is to launch a voluntary coronavirus test for passengers travelling to the UK from three American airports. The airline said it will trial a testing regime, which will involve hundreds of travellers on particular routes from the US to Heathrow.

Six-Day Lockdown in South Australia

South Australia has imposed a six-day ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown to beat an outbreak of cases in the state’s capital, Adelaide. Most schools will be closed, as will universities, pubs, cafes and food courts.

Wednesday 18th November

China Reports New Corona Infections Originating from Overseas

06:30 Mainland China reported 15 new Covid-19 cases on 16 November, up from eight cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Tuesday. The National Health Commission said in a statement all new cases were imported infections originating from overseas.

India’s Corona Figures Have Dropped Significantly

India’s daily cases fall to the lowest number since mid-July. Daily coronavirus infections in India fell to their lowest since mid-July, with 29,163 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 8.87 million, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

West Scotland Awaits Level 4 Restrictions

Parts of west Scotland braced for Level 4 restrictions, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to announce her decision on Tuesday. On Monday, Ms Sturgeon said at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing that rates in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire health board areas are ‘stubbornly high’.

Belgium Will Provide a Free Vaccine for its Citizens

Virus vaccine to be free in Belgium. The Belgian government said Monday it intends to make any coronavirus vaccine available to around 70% of the population, some eight million people, and free of charge. The jab will not be compulsory, added Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke as he and regional counterparts attended an interministerial health conference.

Indoor Gatherings Banned in Philadelphia

Philadelphia bans indoor gatherings. In one of the most aggressive actions taken in the US to confront the looming crisis, Philadelphia officials on Monday ordered a ban on “indoor gatherings of any size in any location, public or private,” except among individuals who live together.

California Reintroducing Corona Restrictions

California will dramatically roll back its reopening efforts, the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced on Monday, saying he was pulling the “emergency brake” amid a troubling surge in cases. The changes, which take effect Tuesday, will see more than 94% of California’s population and most businesses across the state return to the most restrictive tier of rules aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

US Biotech Firm, Moderna States Vaccine Extremely Effective

The US biotech firm Moderna has claimed that its Covid-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective, according to an interim analysis released on Monday and based on 95 patients with confirmed Covid infections. The company plans to apply to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency-use authorisation.

Tuesday 17th November

More Pressure on The White House to Resolve the Presidency

07:15 The White House is coming under growing pressure to allow transition talks to begin amid a terrifying surge in coronavirus cases that is pushing hospital systems across the US to the brink of collapse. As Donald Trump insisted he would not concede defeat – despite tweeting that Biden “won” last week’s election – Ron Klain, Biden’s Chief of Staff, said on Sunday it was essential that a “seamless transition” begins quickly, given the severity of the pandemic.

Boris Johnson Potentially at Risk of Second Corona Infection

UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, is self-isolating after coming into contact with an MP who has subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, Downing Street said on Sunday. The prime minister was present at a 35-minute meeting with a small group of Conservative MPs on Thursday morning. One of them, Lee Anderson, subsequently developed symptoms of Covid-19 and has tested positive. Downing Street said the prime minister was ‘well” and insisted that No 10 was a Covid-secure workplace, but that test and trace had advised the prime minister that, because of factors including the length of the meeting, he should self-isolate as a precaution.

One Million New Corona Cases in a Week in the US

The US passed 11m coronavirus cases just one week after confirming its ten-millionth case. More than a million cases were recorded in the country over the last week, which saw four days in a row of world record infection totals. The current US total, according to Johns Hopkins University, is 11,003,469. At least 246,000 people have died in the country. The global case total is 54m and the death toll stands at 1.3m.

More New Techniques to Combat Corona in Michigan and Washington

Michigan and Washington on Sunday joined several other states in announcing renewed efforts to combat the coronavirus, and as many Americans prepare to observe a Thanksgiving holiday marked by the pandemic. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, closed restaurants to indoor dining and suspended organized sports — including the football playoffs — in an attempt to curb the state’s spiking case numbers. “We are at the precipice, and we need to take some action,” said Whitmer.

Corona Vaccine Testing Will Double in the UK

Covid-19 testing capacity in the UK is to be more than doubled, with major new laboratories to open early next year in a sign the government is planning for the pandemic to persist despite hopes for a number of vaccine candidates.

Retail Sales in China Showing Recovery Despite Corona

China’s retail sales continued a general recovery in October, official data showed Monday, on the back of a national holiday and policies aimed at boosting spending. Although China has largely brought the coronavirus under control, spending has been slower to recover as the world still grapples with the impact of the pandemic. Retail sales in the world’s second-largest economy rose 4.3% on-year last month, Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday.

Monday 16th November

Highest Global Corona Case Numbers in the US

07:20 The US topped 140,000 daily cases, again breaking the world record. As the US confirmed a world record 143,231 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, Dr Anthony Fauci says he does not believe the United States will need to go into lockdown to fight the coronavirus if people double down on wearing masks and social distancing. The nation’s top infectious disease expert says “the cavalry is coming” in the form of vaccines. He says, “Help is really on the way.”

New Covid-19 Record Cases in Britain

The UK confirms record new cases. Britain hit a new daily high of 33,470 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday. That is an increase of 10,520 more positives reported Wednesday and pushed the total number of cases in the UK to nearly 1.3 million, AP reports.

Cruise Ship Passengers Contract Corona

Five passengers test positive for Covid-19 on Caribbean cruise ship. One of the first cruise ships to ply through Caribbean waters since the pandemic began ended its trip early after five passengers tested positive for Covid-19. The SeaDream is carrying 53 passengers and 66 crew, with the majority of passengers hailing from the US, according to Sue Bryant, a cruise ship reporter who is aboard the ship.

California Reaches 1 Million Covid-19 Cases

California becomes the second state in the US to surpass 1m Covid-19 cases. California crossed a grim milestone in its battle against the coronavirus, as the state became the second in the US to surpass 1m cases of Covid-19 on Thursday. With 1,000,631 total cases as of Thursday, California saw nearly 7,000 cases in the past 24 hours, with a seven-day test positivity rate at 5%.

Record Corona Increase in Japan

Japan confirmed a record daily case increase. Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has said there is no need to declare a second state of emergency after the country recorded a record number of daily coronavirus cases. Japan reported 1,660 infections on Thursday – including 393 in Tokyo – beating the previous record set in early August. The surge prompted the president of the Tokyo Medical Association, Toshio Nakagawa, to warn that the country had entered a “third wave” of infections.

Downtown Auckland Reopens

New Zealand reopened downtown Auckland on Friday after contact tracing of a new coronavirus case revealed it was linked to a known case from a border isolation facility, reversing an earlier call for people to work from home.

Australia Prioritises Return of Locals over Foreign Students

Australia will not allow foreign students to return as Canberra prioritises the return of locals stuck overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday. Australia has since March closed its borders to all non-citizens and permanent residents in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Friday 13th November

Highest Corona Case Numbers Recorded in 1 Day

09:30 The US confirmed its highest 24-hour infection total to date with a world record of 136,000 cases recorded in one day. The US also suffered its highest death toll since early May, with 1,984 coronavirus deaths. Though Texas passed 1m cases on Wednesday and became the first state with more than 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Olympic Athletes Are Exempted from Corona Isolation Rules in Tokyo

Athletes arriving at the Tokyo Olympic Games will be exempt from isolation requirements. Athletes arriving in Tokyo for next year’s Olympic Games, postponed from 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be exempt from the 14-day isolation period Japan has imposed on anyone arriving from overseas to help stop the virus spreading.

Alcohol Sales Restricted in Sweden to Curb Spread of Covid-19

Sweden’s PM, Stefan Lofven, said his government plans to ban the sale of alcohol nationwide after 10 pm in bars, restaurants and night clubs from 20 November in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19. Sweden has witnessed record numbers of new coronavirus infections in past weeks, which is burdening the country’s health care system and intensive care wards.

Corona Deaths in Spain Is above 40,000

Spain’s coronavirus death toll surged to over 40,000 with infections passing the 1.4 million mark, while the rate of new cases continued to grow, health ministry data showed. A further 349 people died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 40,105 in Spain – the fourth-highest within the European Union after the United Kingdom, France and Italy.

South Africa Boosts Tourism Despite High Corona Cases

South Africa will open up travel to all countries and restore normal trading hours of alcohol, despite having the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases on the continent, in an effort to boost tourism and hospitality, the president Cyril Ramaphosa said.

New Restrictions Imposed on New York

The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo imposed a new round of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus as the infection rate climbed and hospitalisations soared in the state. Taking effect on Friday, Cuomo ordered bars, restaurants and gyms in the state to shut down on-premises services at 10 pm nightly, and capped the number of people who could attend private parties at 10.

Smoking Banned in Public in Turkey to Curb Corona

Turkey banned smoking in crowded public places to slow a recent surge in symptomatic patients with coronavirus, as the government warned citizens to abide by protective measures. It comes as daily cases surged to 2,693 on Wednesday.

Tighter Covid-19 Restrictions in Greece

Greek authorities announced stricter restrictions on movement, extending a curfew nationwide after infections broke fresh records, reporting 2,752 new cases on Wednesday. Four days after the country went into a second lockdown to curb the surge in cases, the government said all circulation would be banned between 9 pm and 5 am.

Travellers to Spain Require Negative Covid-19 Test

Spain will demand a negative Covid-19 test for all travellers arriving from countries with a high risk for coronavirus from 23 November. Visitors will need to show evidence of a negative PCR test result within the previous 72 hours to be granted entry and officials will be allowed to ask for proof of the test results.

Thursday 12th November

First Corona Case in Vanuatu

07:30 Vanuatu, one of the last remaining countries to be free of Covid, confirms its first case. One of the last remaining Covid-free countries in the world has announced its first positive test. Vanuatu Prime Minister, Bob Loughman made the announcement in an address to the nation. Loughman told a press conference that the indigenous Ni-Vanuatu person had arrived from the USA, transiting through Sydney and Auckland.

Nightly Curfew Introduced in Iran

Iran imposed a nightly curfew on businesses in Tehran and other cities on Tuesday, as it battles a major surge in coronavirus infections. Restaurants and nonessential businesses in Tehran and 30 other cities were ordered to close at 6 pm for one month, to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and to slow the worsening outbreak, which has killed more than 39,000 — the highest toll in the Middle East.

New Lockdown Imposed in Lebanon

In Lebanon, caretaker Prime Minister, Hassan Diab announced a lockdown on Tuesday night that will begin on Saturday and last until the end of the month. Lebanon has broken daily records in recent weeks, straining the country’s medical sector where intensive care units are almost full and cannot take more cases. The World Health Organization says 1,527 health workers have tested positive since the first case was reported in Lebanon in late February.

Thousands of Mink Die from Corona

More than 15,000 mink in the United States have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases, state agriculture officials said.

Students in England Have Six Days to Return Home for Christmas

Students in England will be given a six-day window next month in which to travel home before Christmas, with mass testing carried out on campus before they are allowed to leave.

Hong Kong to Singapore Re-establish Air Travel

Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble to begin on 22 November. A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will begin on 22 November, Singapore’s airline regulator announced on Wednesday, as the two cities move to re-establish overseas travel links and lift the hurdle of quarantine for visiting foreigners.

US Hospitalises Record Corona Victim Numbers

The US sees record Covid hospitalisations. The Covid-Tracking project reports that the US on Tuesday saw its highest number of people hospitalised with coronavirus so far, a day after breaking the record on Monday. The number of hospitalisations currently stands at 61,964.

Wednesday 11th November

Inflation Drops in China

07:30 China inflation dips to 11-year low as pork stocks rise. Falling food prices dragged China’s consumer inflation to an 11-year low last month, spurred by improving supplies of pork, official data showed Tuesday.

Increasing Hostility to China over Blocking Taiwan at WHO

Blocking Taiwan at WHO will increase hostility to China, premier says. China’s efforts to block Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organisation during the coronavirus pandemic will only increase the world’s hostility towards the country, the island’s premier said on Tuesday.

No Recent Local Corona Cases in Australia

Australia records third day with no local cases. Australia has gone three days without any locally acquired cases of Covid-19. All cases have been detected in quarantined locals who have recently returned from overseas. Now the country is considering opening its borders to Asian countries, including parts of China, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as Canberra seeks to revive an economy ravaged by Covid-19.

Record Corona Patient Numbers in US Hospitals

There were almost 59,000 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the United States on Monday, the country’s highest number ever of in-patients being treated for the disease. The number of people with the virus being hospitalized has surged around 73% over the past 30 days to at least 58,982 – a record level that surpasses the previous high of 58,370 on July 22.

US FDA Authorises Experimental Treatment for Covid-19

US FDA authorises emergency use of Eli Lilly’s experimental treatment for Covid. The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorised emergency use of Eli Lilly and Co’s experimental Covid-19 antibody treatment for non-hospitalised patients older than 65 or who have certain chronic medical conditions. The FDA said its emergency use authorisation (EUA) was based on clinical trials showing that the treatment, bamlanivimab, reduced the need for hospitalisation or emergency room visits in Covid-19 patients at high risk of disease progression.

Brazil Halts Chinese Corona Vaccine Trials

Brazil halts trials of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine. Brazil’s health regulator said Monday it had suspended clinical trials of a Chinese-developed Covid-19 vaccine after an ‘adverse incident’ involving a volunteer recipient, a blow for one of the most advanced vaccine candidates, AFP reports. The setback for CoronaVac, developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, came on the same day US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said its own vaccine candidate had shown 90 percent effectiveness, sending global markets soaring and raising hopes of an end to the pandemic.

Italy Updating and Increasing Covid-19 Restrictions

Italy will ramp up coronavirus restrictions in Tuscany and four other regions from Wednesday to rein in the second wave of the pandemic, a health ministry source said on Monday. Last week, the government imposed nationwide curbs including a nightly curfew, and divided the country into three zones based on the intensity of their Covid-19 outbreaks, calibrating additional limitations accordingly.

UK Vaccine Expert Announces “Life May Return to Normal by Spring Next Year” 

Sir John Bell, one of the UK’s most eminent vaccines experts, said he believed “with some confidence” that life should return to normal by spring next year following the Pfizer/BioNTech announcement. Bell went further than many of peers in the scientific community but his prediction carries significant weight given his role on the UK’s vaccines taskforce.

Tuesday 10th November

US Corona Cases Stand above 10 Million

07:25 The US, the world’s worst-affected country in terms of the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections, is about to pass 10m cases, according to Johns Hopkins. According to Reuters calculations, the latest seven-day average shows global daily infections are rising by more than 540,000, and October was the worst month of the pandemic so far. The US currently has just under a fifth of the global total, 9,96m cases, and in recent days has often registered over 100,000 cases a day. America has lost at least 237,542 people to the pandemic this year. The global death total is 1,254,453.

50% UK Covid-19 Cases Unidentified

Pandemics expert says half of the positive cases in the UK are not being identified. Around half of the positive coronavirus cases in the UK are not being identified, according to a pandemics expert. Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said these cases mean attempts to control the virus are being done ‘with one hand behind our back’. Mr Woolhouse sits on a sub-group of SAGE and is a member of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 advisory group.

Globally, October Proves Worst Corona Figures to Date

October was the worst month for pandemic so far. A Reuters tally has calculated that October was the worst month of the coronavirus pandemic so far, with its second wave in the past 30 days accounting for a quarter of all cases. The last month saw the spread of the virus accelerate at a rapid pace: while it took 32 days for cases to rise from 30 million to 40 million, it only took 21 days to add another 10 million.

Corona May Lead to Third World War

The economic fallout during the coronavirus pandemic has made the prospect of a third world war ‘a risk’, the UK’s most senior military commander has said. General Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the defence staff made the comments when asked by Sky News in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday whether he feared the global economic crisis brought on by coronavirus could lead to war.

France Reports Record High Covid-19 Numbers

France reported a further 38,619 coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 1,787,324. It follows a record daily increase on Saturday when a staggering 86,852 cases were logged.

Algeria’s President Responds Well to Corona Treatment

Algeria’s president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has responded well to coronavirus treatment after being hospitalised 13 days ago. Algeria’s government has also extended a night-time curfew already in place in 20 of the country’s 48 regions to a further nine areas. The curfew will start at 8 pm (1900 GMT), three hours earlier than previous restrictions, but will still end each morning at 5 am (0400 GMT). The new measures will come into effect from Tuesday for 15 days.

Monday 9th November

US Records Huge Daily Covid Case Numbers

07:30 The United States has again recorded more cases in 24 hours than any country over the course of the pandemic, with 120,000 infections confirmed for Thursday 5 November. The country also recorded more than 1,000 deaths for the fourth time this week, with 1,200 people reported dead in the last 24 hours. The previous record for cases, also held by the US, was 102,000 the day before.

Global Corona Figures Higher Than Ever

Globally, the world suffered the highest total one-day death toll of the pandemic so far, with 11,447 people lost in the last day. It also recorded more cases than ever before, partly as a result of rising cases in the US, but also because of Europe’s second wave, and more than 50,000 infections being recorded in India for the first time in 10 days. The global case total was 700,000, taking the world closer to 50m cases – a devastating milestone that we are likely to cross by the end of the week. Cases currently stand at 48,541,340.

Anti-virus Protests in Slovenia Become Aggressive

Slovenia anti-virus shutdown protest turns violent. A protest against Slovenia’s coronavirus shutdown sparked some of the most violent scenes the country has seen in years, as police moved in with teargas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. The rally of several hundred in the capital Ljubljana, organised by activists calling themselves the Slovenian branch of the cyber group, Anonymous, started late in the afternoon and led to several injuries and arrests as the protesters clashed with police.

French Commuters Barred from China over Covid

China bars arrivals from France over virus fears. Beijing on Thursday banned foreign arrivals from France and a host of other countries, the latest in a growing number of entry bans as China closes itself off from a world still battling the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 first emerged in central China late last year, but Beijing has largely brought its outbreak under control through tight travel restrictions and stringent health measures for anyone entering the country.

WHO Presses Taiwan to Join Key Corona Meeting

WHO urged to invite Taiwan to a key meeting. The World Health Organization is facing renewed pleas to allow Taiwan to participate in a key international meeting amid fears its exclusion could jeopardise efforts to rein in the coronavirus pandemic,

Greece Will Start New Lockdown on Saturday

Greece will go back into lockdown from Saturday for three weeks to battle a second wave of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced. Under the measures, Greeks can only leave their homes if they make an official request via mobile phone and then receive authorisation. Only ‘essential shops’ including supermarkets and pharmacies can stay open when the lockdown starts at 6 am (0400 GMT) on Saturday, Mitsotakis said.

WHO Sounds Alarms on Covid-19 Cases in Europe

WHO warns of ‘explosion’ of virus cases in Europe. The World Health Organization in Europe on Thursday said it was seeing an “explosion” of coronavirus cases in the region and warned of a “tough time” ahead as mortality rates rose. “We do see an explosion…. in the sense, it only takes a couple of days to have over the European region an increase of one million cases,” WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told AFP.

All Lawmakers in Colombia to Self Quarantine

Colombia’s lower house abruptly ended its session on and asked lawmakers to quarantine after a member tested positive for Covid-19. At least 150 lawmakers could potentially have been exposed, the chamber’s press office said. They have been told to avoid travel to their home regions and remain in Bogota while they wait 72 hours from potential exposure to have a test.

Corona Hits Mid West Hard

A dozen US states reported record one-day increases in Covid-19 cases, a day after the country set a record with nearly 105,000 new infections reported on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally. The outbreak is spreading in every region of the country but is hitting the Midwest the hardest, based on new cases per capita. Illinois reported nearly 10,000 new cases and along with Texas is leading the nation in the most cases reported in the last seven days. Other Midwestern states with record increases in cases on Thursday were Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio. Arkansas, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia also set records for rises in new infections.

Second Corona Wave in Ireland Diminishing

Ireland is on track to get its second wave of Covid-19 infections under control by the end of November when the government hopes to ease some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, a senior public health official said. “The way case numbers are behaving would suggest that case numbers are declining rapidly and that we are on target for the sort of end position we want to be in at the end of the six weeks,” on 1 December, Philip Nolan, the chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, told a press briefing.

Friday 6th November

England’s National Lockdown in Effect

07:30 England entered its second national lockdown, placing 56 million people under new coronavirus restrictions for at least the next four weeks. Despite a bruising vote in which the prime minister Boris Johnson’s strategy was rejected by dozens of his own MPs, the stay-at-home order was approved in parliament on Wednesday by 516 votes to 38.

Indonesia’s Economy Suffers First Recession in Two Decades

Indonesia fell into its first recession in over 20 years. Indonesia’s virus-hit economy contracted in the third quarter, plunging it into its first recession since the archipelago was mired in the Asian financial crisis more than 20 years ago. Activity in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy slumped 3.49% on-year in July-September, the statistics agency said Thursday, with tourism, construction and trade among the hardest-hit sectors. The data marked the second consecutive quarter of contraction after a 5.3% decline in April-June.

China Bans Commuters from Britain and Belgium

China bars entry to travellers from Britain and Belgium. Mainland China has barred entry to some travellers from Britain and Belgium and has set strict testing requirements on visitors from the United States, France and Germany, Reuters reports, as it reimposed border restrictions in response to rising global cases.

A Leap in India’s Case Number of 50,000 +

India reported over 50,000 cases for the first time in 10 days. India reported a daily jump of 50,210 coronavirus infections, taking its total to 8.36 million, the health ministry said on Thursday. This was the highest daily jump in cases since 25 October, according to a Reuters tally, and the first time over 50,000 cases were reported in the 10 days since then. Cases in India have been dipping since hitting a peak in September, but experts warn that the Diwali festival season could lead to a spike. Deaths rose by 704, with total mortalities now at 124,315, the ministry said.

Six Countries in Europe Saw Record Corona Case Numbers

Russia, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Latvia and Estonia see record daily case rises. At least six European nations have seen record case rises in the last 24 hours. Russia, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Latvia and Estonia each confirmed their highest new infections to date. Russia, which has the fourth-highest cases in the world, added over 18,000 new infections on Wednesday, bringing its total to 1,680,579, according to Johns Hopkins University. Swiss authorities announced a record 10,043 coronavirus cases in Switzerland in the last 24 hours. Austria’s daily tally of new coronavirus infections climbed above 6,000 for the first time on Wednesday to a new record of 6,211, data from the health ministry showed. Poland hit a daily high of nearly 24,700 coronavirus cases as the government introduced new restrictions on shops, schools and cultural institutions through November. Finally, the Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia say they have both registered a record daily number of coronavirus infections since the start of the outbreak.

New US Covid-19 Record Set Day after Election

Daily new coronavirus cases in America have increased 45% over the past two weeks to a record seven-day average of 86,352, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are also on the rise, up 15% to an average of 846 deaths every day. There were more than 91,000 new cases recorded on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins. The university counted nearly 99,000 US cases on 30 October.

Thursday 5th November

China’s Covid-19 Cases on Increase

07:25 China reports 49 new cases. China reported 49 new Covid-19 cases for 2 November, up from 24 a day earlier, the national health authority reported on Tuesday. The National Health Commission said in a statement that 44 of the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas.

Quarantine Hotels in New Zealand Almost Full Due to Christmas

New Zealanders coming home for Christmas warned quarantine hotels may be full. New Zealand’s quarantine hotels are approaching capacity as the military warns there may not be room to house Kiwis planning to return home for Christmas.

New Record Highs in Corona Infections

France reported a record 52,518 new Covid-19 on Monday and the number of people hospitalised with the disease rose by more than a 1,000 for the fourth time in eight days, as the pandemic showing no signs of abating despite a new lockdown.

A Potential Corona State of Emergency in Portugal

Portugal considering a state of emergency to tackle Covid-19. Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he is pondering declaring a state of emergency as a preventive measure to fight the spread of the coronavirus at a time when infections are soaring.

Italy’s Approach to Corona Maybe Ineffective

Italy’s coronavirus strategy is ‘wasting time’, says scientific advisor. Italy is working towards measures that could include a national 9 pm curfew, a ban on inter-regional travel and the closure of shopping malls at weekends.

Germany Eases Lockdown Restrictions

Germany begins ‘light lockdown’. Germany goes into ‘lockdown light’ mode today, as the country’s disease control agency recorded 12,097 new confirmed Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours. Bars, cinemas, theatres, museums, fitness studios and swimming pools will remain closed from today, while cafes and restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway food only. Meetings in public are restricted to two households and no more than 10 people. Unlike during the first lockdown in the spring, schools and nurseries will stay open.

Corona Infections Decreasing in the Netherlands

Coronavirus infections fall for the third day straight in the Netherlands. The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by nearly 8,300 over the past 24 hours, the slowest pace in roughly two weeks.

Iran Covid-19 Death Toll at Record Numbers

Iran reports a record high Covid death toll as travel bans go into force. Iran reported a record 440 Covid deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing the country’s death toll to 35,738 as a ban on travel in and out of major cities came into force.

Tuesday 3rd November

EU Will Provide Financial AID to Mozambique

The European Union (EU) has agreed to provide Mozambique with 100 million euros ($116.30 million) in coronavirus-related aid. The EU cut off direct budget support to Mozambique in 2016 after the country revealed the existence of hefty state-guaranteed loans that it had not previously disclosed.

Trump Threatens to Fire Dr Anthony Fauci

07:30 US President Donald Trump threatened to fire the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci. At Trump’s rally in Florida, a ‘Fire Fauci’ chant broke out when Trump defended his handling of coronavirus. Anthony Fauci, a highly respected member of his coronavirus task force, has been increasingly critical of Trump’s handling of the virus. In response to the ‘Fire Fauci’ chant, Trump said: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”

Japan Evaluates Likelihood of Hosting Olympics in Safety

Japan has used new technology to determine if large crowds can watch sports events in safety, less than a year before Tokyo is due to host the coronavirus-postponed Olympics.

Fines in South Korea over Health Masks

South Korea will fine people for not wearing masks from later this month, as the country expands its rules on mandatory face coverings. Although South Korea has fared better than many other countries in containing the coronavirus outbreak, daily cases have risen to over 100 in recent days.

Lockdown in England Could Be Lengthened

England’s lockdown could be extended. The one-month lockdown for England announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend could be extended as Britain struggles to contain a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Gove told Sky News on Sunday.

Brexit Party Is New Anti-Lockdown Party

Brexit Party to rebrand as ‘anti-lockdown’ party, Farage says. Nigel Farage plans to rebrand the Brexit Party as an anti-lockdown party called Reform UK, the party leader has announced in an article in the Telegraph where he says “it is time to redirect our energies”.

Brazilians Protest in Sao Paulo against Mandatory Vaccines

More than 300 Brazilians gathered on São Paulo’s main commercial thoroughfare on Sunday to protest state Governor, João Doria’s support for mandatory Covid-19 immunization and testing the potential vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac.

Trump’s Rallies May Have Increased Corona Case Numbers

Donald Trump’s campaign rallies may have led to 30,000 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19, and likely resulted in more than 700 deaths overall, according to a Stanford University paper posted online this weekend.

France’s Covid-19 Cases on the Rise

France reported 46,290 further coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total to over 1.4 million cases. Infections rose by 35,641 the previous day.

Two Day Mass Testing in Slovakia

Slovakia tested almost half of its entire population yesterday, as part of a two-day mass testing programme designed to bring coronavirus under control without implementing further lockdown measures. Of the 2.58 million people tested, 1% were positive and will have to quarantine.

Record High Corona Cases in Russia

Russia’s daily tally of coronavirus cases hit a record high of 18,665, taking the national total to 1,636,781. Meanwhile, Iran has marked the highest daily increase in its coronavirus death toll, with 434 recorded on Saturday.

Monday 2nd November

The US Approaches 9 Million Corona Cases

07:30 The United States, the worst-affected country worldwide in terms of the number of coronavirus cases and national death doll, is on the brink of the terrible milestone of 9m cases. In recent days the US has twice reported daily infection totals of over 80,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.It currently has a total of 8,944,632, with the next daily infection figure expected to take that number over 9m.

US Record High Number of Guns Purchased in 2020

Record 17m guns bought this year in the US. Americans have bought nearly 17m guns so far in 2020, more than in any other single year, according to estimates from a firearms analytics company. Gun sales across the United States first jumped in the spring, driven by fears about the coronavirus pandemic, and spiked even higher in the summer, during massive racial justice protests across the country, prompted by police killings of black Americans.

Australia Reports Total Active Corona Cases under 200

Australian active cases lowest in four months. Australian officials said on Friday there just under 200 active cases of Covid-19 in the country, the lowest number in more than four months and well down from a peak of just over 8,000 in mid-August. Officials reported just 11 new infections in the past 24 hours, the bulk of which were people already in hotel quarantine after arriving from overseas. Australian states and territories have begun further relaxing domestic travel bans, although some restrictions remain.

Japan Corona Total over 100,000 Cases

Japan passes 100,000 cases. The total number of Covid-19 cases in Japan has topped 100,000, as experts warned that Tokyo, the most affected part of the country, should prepare for another wave of infections this winter. Japan had recorded 100,516 cases and 1,761 deaths as of Thursday, according to a tally by public broadcaster NHK.

EU Funds Corona Patients Border Transfer to Prevent Hospitals Collapsing

EU to fund the transfer of Covid-19 patients across borders to prevent hospital collapse. The EU will finance the transfer of patients across borders within the bloc to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed as Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations rise across the continent. “The spread of the virus will overwhelm our healthcare systems if we do not act urgently,” said Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU Commission.

Highest Daily Corona Case Numbers in Spain

Spain hit a new record in daily cases, recording another 23,580 infections. It brought the nation’s tally to 1,136,503, health ministry data showed. The government voted in favour of a six-month extension of the state of emergency, which allows Spain’s 17 regional governments to limit mobility, impose curfews and shut their borders with other regions.

Intensive Restrictions Set in France

France will restrict outdoor movement and make working from home mandatory under new lockdown rules, coming into effect at midnight. People will only be able to leave their own homes for certain essential purposes, as the country tries to put the brakes on a Covid-19 outbreak that the president Emmanuel Macron said risked accelerating out of control. More details here.

England Applies Tier 3 Restrictions in West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire in England will move into tier 3 restrictions from 12.01 on Monday. The ‘very high’ restrictions – the strictest level in England – will see indoor social mixing banned and the closure of pubs and bars unless they can operate as a restaurant. More details here.

Regional Lockdowns in Greece

Greece will impose regional lockdowns on its second-largest city of Thessaloniki and two other regions from Friday after a rise in cases of Covid-19, the government said.

Italy’s Corona Numbers Set New Records

Italy registered a record of 26,831 new Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Under new restrictions, bars and restaurants must stop serving customers at 6 pm while cinemas, theatres, swimming pools and gyms must close completely.

Record Corona Cases Register in Sweden

Sweden registered 2,820 new coronavirus cases, the highest since the start of the pandemic and the third record number in a matter of days. Hospitals are feeling the strain, with the number of patients with Covid-19 in need of care in the region having risen about 60% over the past week after a near 80% surge in recorded infections.

Friday 30th October

Almost 500,000 Corona Cases in the US in One Week

07:45 Nearly 500,000 people have contracted Covid-19 in the United States over the last seven days, as new cases and hospitalizations set records in the Midwest. The seven-day total is 491,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US has the highest number of infections worldwide, with more than 8.7 million people who have contracted the virus. Its death toll, also the world’s largest, stands at more than 226,000.

Americans Cast Ballots Early in US Presidential Election

More than 70 million Americans have cast ballots in the US presidential election, over half the total turnout of the 2016 election with one week to go until Election Day, according to a Tuesday tally from the US Elections Project. The figure highlights voters’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to Covid-19 as the pandemic regathers strength heading into winter.

Intensifying Corona Restrictions for Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to push for a ‘lockdown light’ in crisis talks with regional leaders on Wednesday. The proposed new restrictions would include closing restaurants and bars and putting strict limits on private and public gatherings while keeping schools, daycares and shops open, according to the best-selling Bild daily.

India Heading for Corona Case Milestone 8 Million

India’s tally of coronavirus cases stood less than 10,000 away from the grim milestone of 8 million, as 43,893 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, data from the federal health ministry showed.

French Healthcare Under Extreme Pressure with New Corona Records

France’s prime minister, Jean Castex, told MPs on Tuesday that hospital intensive care units will be saturated with Covid-19 patients by 11 November if nothing is done to stop the epidemic in the country. President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would be giving a televised address on Wednesday evening amid reports that his government was considering placing the country under a month-long lockdown to stop the surge in cases. The number of Covid-19 patients in French intensive care units could reach the same level as during the peak of the first wave in April in two weeks without new measures, a government spokesman said.

200 UK and European Airports Might Go Bankrupt

Airports Council International Europe, which represents airport operators, said it estimated that 193 out of Europe’s 740 commercial airports face “insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start to recover by the year-end.”

Wednesday 28th October

Stock Markets Dropped Significantly from Concerns of Next Wave of Corona Not Being Contained

07:15 Stock markets have opened sharply down in Asia Pacific on Tuesday, taking their cue from the US and Europe where shares fell on Monday amid concerns that the second wave of coronavirus is not being contained. In Sydney, the ASX200 has fallen 1.2% and the Dow Jones New Zealand is down 1.3%. Markets in Asia are set to follow suit.

Trump Will Release Plan to Accommodate Vaccine Expenses

Trump to announce a plan to cover vaccine costs report. The US Trump administration will this week announce a plan to cover out-of-pocket costs of Covid-19 vaccines for millions of Americans who receive Medicare or Medicaid, Politico reported late on Monday, citing four people with knowledge of the plan.

China Daily Corona Cases Reducing Further

Mainland China reported 16 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on 26 October, down from 20 a day earlier, the country’s health authorities said on Tuesday. The number of new asymptomatic cases also fell to 50, from 161 reported a day earlier amid a fresh wave of symptomless infections being reported in the northwestern Xinjiang region.

Protestors Speak Out over Pandemic Restrictions

Protesters turned out by the hundreds in Turin, Milan and other Italian cities and towns Monday to vent their anger, sometimes violently, at the latest pandemic restrictions that force restaurants and cafes to close early and shutter cinemas, gyms and other leisure venues.

WHO Warns Dangers of Abandoning Corona Control Measures

‘We cannot give up’ warned the WHO chief. The World Health Organization chief warned Monday that abandoning efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic, as suggested by a top US official, was ‘dangerous’, urging countries not to ‘give up’. He acknowledged that after months of battling the new coronavirus, which has claimed more than 1.1 million lives globally, a certain level of ‘pandemic fatigue’ had set in.

100,000 New Covid-19 Infections in France Daily

France alone may be experiencing 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day – double the latest official figures – Prof Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the pandemic, said. Tougher coronavirus containment measures could be announced in the country later this week.

Czech Government Intensifies Corona Restrictions

Czech government tightens coronavirus measures with curfew and retail curbs. The Czech government has ordered a 9 pm curfew and will limit retail sales on Sundays, as part of tighter measures adopted to stem a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Germany Struggles against Covid-19

Germany is on the verge of losing control of its fight against the coronavirus, Angela Merkel has reportedly warned colleagues. In an indication of the growing concern, Merkel brought forward a meeting on additional coronavirus restrictions with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states from Friday to Wednesday.

Belgium Corona Health Service Concerns of Being Overrun

Belgium’s intensive care units will be overrun in a fortnight if the rate of infection continues, a spokesman for the country’s Covid-19 crisis centre has said. Dr Yves Van Laethem said the 2,000 intensive care beds would be full of patients without a change of course. On Monday morning, new regulations came into force in Brussels.

Tuesday 27th October

Corona Infections in White House Persist

07:55 The United States saw 83,718 new cases reported nationally on Saturday, nearly matching the record 83,757 infections reported on Friday, as US Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will continue campaigning on Sunday, despite his chief of staff and four other top aides having tested positive for coronavirus.

Spain Declares Corona State of Emergency

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, declared a new nationwide state of emergency on Sunday, including a curfew, in the hope of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. The Socialist leader told the nation in a televised address that the extraordinary measure will go into effect on Sunday from 11 pm to 6 am.

India Records Lowest Covid-19 Death Toll in Four Months

India’s total coronavirus infections stood at 7.91 million on Monday, having risen by 45,148 cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed. India recorded its lowest death toll in about four months on Monday with 480 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 119,014.

Mexico’s True Corona Death Rate Is 56% Higher than Estimate

Mexican health authorities acknowledged Sunday that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is far higher than thought, saying there were 193,170 ‘excess’ deaths in the year up to 26 September, with 139,153 of those judged to be attributable to Covid-19. That is about 50,000 more deaths than Mexico’s official, test-confirmed death toll of about 89,000, and about 56% higher than the previous estimate of 103,882 pandemic deaths.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Proposal Rejected by King

Malaysia’s king on Sunday rejected a proposal by embattled Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin to declare a state of emergency to fight a new outbreak of the coronavirus. The plan by Muhyiddin, which involves suspending Parliament, has sparked national outrage, with critics slamming the move as an undemocratic means for him to hang on to power amid challenges to his leadership.

Israel’s First Clinical Trials to Begin Soon

Israel will begin its first clinical trials of a novel coronavirus vaccine next month, authorities said Sunday, as the country grapples with a second wave of infections.

Half of Saturday’s Global New Corona Cases Stem from Europe

The World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard showed a third consecutive daily record high in the number of new confirmed cases. Nearly half of Saturday’s new cases were registered in the WHO’s Europe region, which logged a one-day record high of 221,898 cases.

New Daily High Corona Figures Recorded in France

France registered 52,010 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, following a record 45,422 on Saturday, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday. It also said that 116 people had died from coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours, compared to from 137 on Saturday, taking the total confirmed death toll to 34,761.

New Restrictions for Italy as Corona Daily Rates Strain Hospitals Further

The prime minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte announced a raft of new restrictions and warned that the country’s escalating coronavirus infection rate was already having a worrying impact on hospitals. Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths, health ministry figures showed on Sunday, up from the 19,644 new infections reported on Saturday.

Monday 26th October

France Surpasses 1Million Corona Cases

07:45 France has become the second country in Western Europe to record more than 1m coronavirus infections, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The current total is 1,000,357. France has recorded 34,075 deaths. There are now seven countries worldwide with more than one million cases.

New Record Corona Increases in Midwest

Six US states reported record day-over-day increases in Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday, as infections rose across the Midwest and elsewhere, prompting new clampdowns on residents, schools and businesses. Deaths attributed to Covid-19 hit daily records in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Kansas, Hawaii and Wisconsin. Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Colorado and Ohio reported record daily increases in new infections.

More Than 10,000 Daily Corona Cases in Germany

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by more than 10,000 in a single day for the first time, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The institute recorded 11,287 new cases in its daily update for a total of 392,049. The previous day’s increase was 7,830. The previous highest one-day total was on 20 October, according to Johns Hopkins University, with over 8,500 new cases. The reported death toll rose by 30 to 9,905, the tally showed.

911 Call Centres Closed Wednesday in Puerto Rico as Employees Test Positive

All of Puerto Rico’s 911 call centers were shut down Wednesday night after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus, officials announced. Public Safety Secretary Pedro Janer said people should call the island’s emergency management agency at 787-724-0124 or police at 787-343-2020 in an emergency. He said both agencies are operating 24 hours a day. However, people calling the first number that Janer provided get a recording asking them to call 911 for an emergency. Then the recording provided callers with a directory.

Brazilian Volunteer Dies in AstraZeneca Corona Vaccine Trial

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial Brazil volunteer dies, trial to continue. Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University had died but added that the trial would continue. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the trial would have been suspended if the volunteer who died had received the Covid-19 vaccine, suggesting the person was part of the control group that was given a meningitis jab.

No Agreement in Sight with Democrats

Trump says he does not see an agreement with Democrats on stimulus. Donald Trump has said he does not see any way House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer “will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on stimulus.”

Lazio, Italy Will Introduce Curfew on Friday

Italy’s Lazio region, including the capital Rome, is set to introduce a curfew on Friday from midnight to 5 am to try to curb its surging Covid-19 infections, a regional government source told Reuters. It comes as Italy registered a record of 15,199 new Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Greece Announces Regional Lockdown in the North

Greek authorities announced a regional lockdown of the northern region of Kastoria, after declaring the region an elevated risk, the highest of a four-tier risk assessment. Restrictions will be imposed from 23 October. It comes as the country reported 865 new cases of Covid-19, a new high since the outbreak began in late February.

Thursday 22nd October

300,000 Excess Deaths Recorded in the US for 2020

07:10 The US Centers for Disease Control and Protection has found that 300,000 excess deaths were recorded in the US this year – 66% of which were accounted for by the official coronavirus death toll of around 220,000. Usually, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are reported. This year, it is closer to 2.2 million – a 14.5% increase. The remaining deaths, the CDC wrote, “provide information about the degree to which Covid-19 deaths might be under ascertained.”

Brazil’s Health Minister Announced a Chinese Vaccine Will Be Added to Immunisation Program

Brazil’s health minister, Eduardo Pazuello has fallen ill with a suspected case of Covid-19. The ministry said Pazuello had a fever on Tuesday and would be tested for Covid-19. Pazuello also announced that Brazil would add the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine against Covid-19 to its national immunisation program, despite a political and diplomatic row over whether to use it.

Cathay Pacific Reduces Workforce and Plans Contract Changes for Other Staff

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways said on Wednesday it would cut 5,900 jobs and end its regional Cathay Dragon brand as it grapples with a plunge in demand. The restructuring will cost HK$2.2bn ($284m) and the airline will also seek changes to conditions in its contracts with cabin crew and pilots, it told the stock exchange.

Two Potential Corona Vaccines Being Tested in 10 Countries by SinoPharm

A state-owned drugmaker in China is setting up production lines to supply a billion doses of two possible vaccines that are being tested on 50,000 people in 10 countries, the company chairman said on Tuesday. Testing by SinoPharm Group is “in the last kilometre of a long march,” chairman, Liu Jingzhen said. He gave no indication when results were expected.

Spain Approaches 1 Million Covid-19 Infections

Spain is nearing a total of a million infections over the course of the pandemic so far, with 988,322 registered on the Johns Hopkins database, which would make it the first European country and sixth country globally to do so. Its death toll stands at more than 34,000.

Wednesday 21st October

Manchester Will Suffer the Toughest Restrictions in the UK

07:20 In England, the strictest Covid restrictions will be imposed on nearly 3 million people across Greater Manchester if no deal is reached by midday on Tuesday, the government has said in a dramatic ultimatum. The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, warned northern leaders late on Monday night that if they fail to agree to pub closures and a ban on household mixing, the tier 3 measures will be brought in unilaterally.

6 Weeks of Lockdown in Ireland Expected from Wednesday

Ireland has announced a return to coronavirus lockdown. The prime minister, Micheal Martin, issued a nationwide ‘stay at home’ order but insisted schools would stay open. Measures coming into effect for six weeks from midnight on Wednesday will see all non-essential retail businesses close and bars and restaurants limited to takeaway or delivery service only. “Everyone in the country is being asked to stay at home,” Martin said in a televised national address.

Wales Entering 2 Week Lockdown

Wales is to go into a two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown, under which schools, shops, pubs and hotels will close and citizens will be told to stay at home. The government said it was needed to prevent thousands more deaths and the NHS becoming overwhelmed.

Final Presidential Debate Includes Corona Pandemic Topic

Donald Trump has confirmed he will participate in the final presidential debate on Thursday. Topics will include the coronavirus pandemic. Both Trump and Joe Biden will be subject to having their mics muted if they interrupt during certain designated two-minute speaking periods. It comes as Trump said Americans were “tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots” discuss Covid. The president once again attacked his top public health expert, using a call with campaign staff to call Anthony Fauci ‘a disaster’ and to claim “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots” discuss ways to combat the coronavirus.

WHO Warns Quarantine Failures Responsible for Cases Increasing

The World Health Organization has warned that quarantine failures are partly responsible for rising cases in the Northern Hemisphere. The WHO’s emergencies director, Michael Ryan said the fact that self-isolation measures were not being enforced systematically was “a good part of the reason why we’re seeing such high numbers”.

Tuesday 20th October

40 Million Corona Cases Worldwide

07:40 Global coronavirus infections are nearing a staggering 40m cases, with 39.8m currently confirmed by the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Additionally, according to an AFP tally based on official sources, Europe’s death toll has passed 250,000 fatalities.

Chinese Economy Shows Improvement

China became the first major economy to recover from Covid-19 pandemic. The Chinese economy grew 4.9% between July and September, according to government data. The year-on-year expansion, while slightly lower than analyst expectations, represents a dramatic reversal from the first quarter of this year when the economy shrunk by 6.8%, China’s first contraction since 1992 when officials began keeping quarterly GDP data.

Biden Questions Trump’s Claims of ‘Rounding the Turn’ of the Pandemic 

At his rally in Nevada, Trump claimed that the US was ‘rounding the turn’ of the pandemic, despite the weekly case average rising in 48 of the country’s 50 states. Friday saw the highest 24-hour infection total since July, with 68,000 new cases reported in one day. The US has 8.1m cases and nearly 220,000 deaths. Biden responded to Trump’s repeated claims: “As my grandfather would say, this guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner. Turning the corner? Things are getting worse,” Biden said.

Mayors in Italy Granted Extra Authority to Enforce Curfews

Italy’s mayors were given new coronavirus powers amid a record case rise. Among the powers is the ability to impose 9 pm curfews in their towns and cities. Italy reported a record figure of 11,705 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the health ministry has said, this is up from the previous peak of 10,925 posted on Saturday.

Melbourne Restrictions Begin to Ease off

Restrictions have eased in the Australian city of Melbourne, which has been under a strict lockdown for more than 100 days. On Monday, hairdressers, dog grooming businesses and real estate inspections</s

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