France says third lockdown possible
France has not ruled out imposing a third nationwide lockdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise, its health minister said, as the country braces for a possible post-Christmas spike.
“We will never exclude measures that are necessary to protect the public,” Olivier Veran told the Journal du Dimanche.
“That is not to say we have made a decision, but that we are watching the situation hour by hour.”
France has been registering around 15,000 new infections per day, and on Friday confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain.
Germany’s cases rise by 13,755
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 13,755 to 1,640,858, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases has showed.
The reported death toll rose by 356 to 29,778, the tally showed.
Japan halts all foreign arrivals over UK variant
Japan is barring entry of all nonresident foreign nationals as a precaution against the new coronavirus variant that emerged in Britain.
The Foreign Ministry says the entry ban will start Monday and last through January 31.
Last week, Japan banned nonresident foreigners coming from Britain and South Africa after confirming the new variant in seven people over the last two days — five from Britain who tested positive at airports and two others in Tokyo.
Japan is also suspending the exemption of a 14-day quarantine for Japanese nationals and resident foreigners in a short-track program that began in November.
Thailand reports 103 new cases
Thailand has confirmed 103 new infections of the coronavirus, including 94 domestic transmissions.
The new cases also include eight found in state quarantine and one infection in a person coming from abroad who did not enter quarantine, a government statement said without elaborating.
Thailand has reported a total of 6,123 cases and 60 deaths.
Mexico posts 4,974 new cases, 189 more deaths
Mexico’s health ministry reported 4,974 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 189 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 1,377,217 cases and 122,026 deaths.
The government said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than its reported cases.
UK says regulator must be given time to carry out Oxford Covid-19 vaccine review
Britain’s Department of Health said on Sunday that medicines regulator MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) must be given time to carry out its review of the data of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
“We must now give the MHRA the time to carry out its important work and we must wait for its advice”, a Health Department spokeswoman said, commenting on a Sunday Telegraph report that Britain will roll out the vaccine from January 4.
Europe rolls out vaccines in bid to leave pandemic behind
Europe launches a cross-border vaccination programme of unprecedented scale on Sunday as part of efforts to end a Covid-19 pandemic that has crippled economies and claimed more than 1.7 million lives around the world.
The region of 450 million people has secured contracts with a range of suppliers for over two billion vaccine doses and has set a goal for all adults to be inoculated during 2021.
While Europe has some of the best-resourced healthcare systems in the world, the sheer scale of the effort means that some countries are calling on retired medics to help out while others have loosened rules for who is allowed to give the injections.
After European governments were criticised for failing to work together to counter the spread of the virus in early 2020, the goal this time is to ensure that there is equal access to the vaccines across the entire region.
But even then, Hungary on Saturday jumped the gun on the official roll-out by starting to administer shots of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to frontline workers at hospitals in the capital Budapest.
Countries including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain are planning to begin mass vaccinations, starting with health workers on Sunday. Outside the EU, Britain, Switzerland and Serbia have already started in recent weeks.
South Korea reports 970 new cases – KDCA
South Korea reported 970 new coronavirus cases for Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Sunday, bringing the national tally to 56,872 cases, with 808 deaths.
That is the smallest in five days but still not far off from the record 1,241 infections logged on Friday.
The government plans to hold a meeting on Sunday when it may tighten distancing rules to the toughest level for the greater Seoul area.
Argentina to launch Covid-19 vaccination campaign
Argentina will begin vaccinating its citizens against coronavirus on Tuesday using the recently delivered Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the government said on Saturday, following its approval by health authorities for emergency use.
Argentine president Alberto Fernandez and provincial governors said health personnel would receive their vaccines in less than 72 hours. Around 300,000 doses arrived in Argentina on Thursday, and subsequent shipments are expected early in 2021.
“The idea is that when the (southern hemisphere) fall arrives we will have a large number of at-risk people vaccinated,” Fernandez said in a meeting with provincial governors.
Argentina, the third largest economy in Latin America, has been hard hit by Covid-19 and logged nearly 1.6 million cases of the coronavirus and 42,501 deaths from the disease.
Brazil sees 307 deaths, Bolsonaro not worried about vaccine delays
Brazil has registered 307 new Covid-19 deaths, and 17,246 new cases of coronavirus, the health ministry said on Saturday, as President Jair Bolsonaro said he was not worried about delays in rolling out vaccinations in Latin America’s biggest country.
Brazil now has nearly 7.5 million confirmed cases and 190,795 deaths from the virus, ministry data showed.
Bolsonaro, one of the world’s most prominent coronavirus skeptics, has been under fire for his handling of the outbreak. More recently, he has come under pressure over Brazil’s vaccine rollout, which still lacks clarity amid a global scramble for immunisations.
On a stroll in Brasilia Saturday, he was asked by reporters if he felt pressured over criticism of the slow vaccine rollout.
“Nobody pressures me for anything, I don’t give a damn about it,” he said in a video aired on CNN Brasil.
UK to roll out Oxford Covid-19 vaccine from January 4 – Sunday Telegraph
The United Kingdom will roll out Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine from January 4, according to plans being drawn up by ministers, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
The government hopes to give the first dose of either the Oxford vaccine, which has been licensed to pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca, or the Pfizer vaccine to 2 million people over the next two weeks, the newspaper said.
The Oxford vaccine is expected to be approved by medical regulators in days, the newspaper said.
Ontario officials say they find two cases of Covid-19 variant first seen in UK
Health officials in Ontario said on Saturday that two confirmed cases of the new Covid-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom have appeared in the Canadian province.
The cases, identified in a couple in southern Ontario with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contact, came as the province which went into a lockdown on December 26.
Source : TRT World