Latest information on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Shoppers wearing protective face masks walk on the street at Tsukiji outdoor market along the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan on December 24, 2020. REUTERS / Issei Kato

World news

Reuters employees

(Reuters) – Singapore confirmed its first case of the new variant of coronavirus found in the UK, while Irish health chiefs said the mutation was present in Ireland despite not being solely responsible for the rapid spread of the disease.



* The UK Transport Secretary said he had ordered flights and arrivals from South Africa to be halted after a potentially more infectious variant of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spread to the UK.

* Spain will receive 350,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine per week as of Saturday, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

* Irish health chiefs believe a new variant of COVID-19 found in neighboring Britain is present in Ireland but is not solely responsible for the rapid spread of the disease.

* Around 500 relatives of people who died of COVID-19 in Italy said they were taking legal action against regional and national authorities and claiming damages amounting to 100 million euros.


* Millions of COVID-19 vaccines are dormant in US hospitals and elsewhere a week after massive vaccination campaign begins, casting doubt on the government’s goal of 20 million vaccinations this month.

* Merck & Co announced it will ship approximately 60,000 to 100,000 doses of its experimental COVID-19 treatment to the U.S. government for up to $ 356 million.

* Canada became the second country to approve Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for health officials to step up a vaccination campaign against a deteriorating second wave.

* Mexico plans to begin vaccinating health workers against COVID-19 by rolling out its first vaccines starting Thursday.

* Argentina has issued the emergency permit to use the Russian vaccine Sputnik COVID-19, the Ministry of Health said.

* Pfizer’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses will arrive in Costa Rica on Wednesday evening. The vaccinations are due to start on Thursday, President Carlos Alvarado said at a press conference.


* Singapore confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus variant found in the UK, while 11 others that were already in quarantine had provisionally positive results for the new strain.

* South Korea has signed contracts with Pfizer Inc and Janssen of Johnson & Johnson to secure coronavirus vaccines for 10 million people and 6 million respectively.

* Aurobindo Pharma Ltd announced that it will manufacture and sell US COVID-19 vaccine candidate COVAXX for delivery in India and to the United Nations Children’s Fund under a license agreement.

* Taiwan’s tourism department canceled an annual New Year celebration at the northeast tip of the island on Wednesday after the first locally transmitted COVID-19 case was reported since April 12.


* Israel has discovered four cases of the new, highly contagious variant that has emerged in the UK.


* Moderna Inc expects the immunity induced by its COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the coronavirus variants reported in the UK.

* Altimmune Inc said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has clinically suspended its application to begin human testing of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, AdCOVID.

* Brazilian researchers said the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech in China is more than 50% effective based on preliminary data, but again withheld the full results of their late stage at the request of Sinovac.


* Asian stocks and the British pound rose on the Thursday before the Christmas break as the UK and the European Union signed a free trade agreement and investors pinned the prospects for a global economic recovery.

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