- The UK is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to the doctors’ clinics. For the third day in a row, the US saw a record number of cases, with nearly 230,000 new infections on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, more than 1.5 million people have died due to COVID-19, while 42 million people have recovered from it.
Here are the latest updates:
1 hour ago (06:49 GMT)
UK prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccine
The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the National Health Service (NHS) giving top priority to vaccinating those over 80, front-line healthcare workers and care home staff and residents.
The UK granted emergency-use approval for the vaccine on Wednesday, the first country to do so. In total, the government ordered 40 million doses – enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million people.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will receive the vaccine within weeks, the Mail on Sunday reported. The monarch, 94, and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip are in line to get the jab early due to their age and not receive preferential treatment, the report said.
1 hour ago (06:37 GMT)
China prepares large-scale rollout of vaccines
Provincial governments across China are placing orders for experimental, domestically made coronavirus vaccines, though health officials have yet to say how well they work or how they will be delivered to the country’s 1.4 billion people.
China’s pharmaceutical industry is testing at least five vaccines from four producers in more than a dozen countries including Russia, Egypt and Mexico.
Meanwhile, mainland China has reported 18 new COVID-19 cases, up from 17 on Saturday, the national health authority said. New asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to two from 12 a day earlier. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China stands at 86,619 to date, while the death toll is 4,634.
1 hour ago (06:43 GMT)
S Korea tightens social distancing rules: Report
South Korea’s government has tightened physical distancing requirements in the capital Seoul, Yonhap news agency said, as the country grapples with the highest coronavirus infections in nine months.
South Korea has reported 631 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total tally to 37,546, with 545 deaths.
1 hour ago (06:43 GMT)
Australian state eases restrictions for ‘COVID safe’ summer
Australia’s Victoria state has eased restrictions after the country’s pandemic hotspot recorded 37 days without any new coronavirus infections, moving towards a “COVID-safe” holiday season.
From midnight on Sunday, up to 100 people will be able to attend public gatherings such as weddings, with density rules of one person per two square metres remaining in place, while 50 percent of office workers will be able to return to workplaces by January 11, up from 25 percent now, the state’s premier said.