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Coronavirus - 26th December

Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 13:44

Summary live updates for Boxing Day, Saturday 26th December

Below is an outline of the latest updates of the day:

  • Iran has extended a night-time traffic curfew to 330 lower-risk cities in an effort to sustain a recent fall in the number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, state television reported on Saturday.
  • Four cases of a coronavirus variant believed to be particularly infectious that recently emerged in Britain have been confirmed in the Spanish city of Madrid, the regional government said Saturday, the first cases detected in the country.
  • Hungary stole a march on its fellow EU nations as it began vaccinating its people against Covid-19 on Saturday, a day ahead of rollouts in several other countries including France, Germany and Spain as the pandemic surges across the continent.
  • Mass vaccination across the European Union, home to almost 450 million people, would be a crucial step towards ending a pandemic that has killed more than 1.7 million around the world, crippled economies and destroyed businesses and jobs.
  • The total number of cases of coronavirus infections in Russia crossed the 3 million mark for the first time on Saturday after officials recorded 29,258 new cases in the preceding 24 hours and 567 deaths.
  • A resurgence of coronavirus in South Korea has reached new heights during Christmas week, prompting soul-searching on how the nation sleepwalked into a crisis. The 1,241 infections on Christmas Day were the largest daily increase. Another 1,132 cases were reported Saturday, bringing South Korea’s caseload to 55,902.


Millions wake up to tighter restrictions in UK

Sarah Marsh - The Guardian
Millions more people will be waking up to harsher coronavirus restrictions on Boxing Day as tier changes come into force in England, and restrictions are imposed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A series of locations in tier 2 – including Oxfordshire, most of Hampshire, West Sussex, the remainder of East Sussex not already in tier 4, as well as Brighton and Hove, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire – have been placed under tougher curbs. Parts of Essex not already in tier 4 and Waverley, in Surrey, will join them.
The 6 million people living in the areas join nearly 18 million people in London, the south-east and east of England who have endured tier 4 “stay at home” restrictions – including the closure of non-essential shops and strict one-on-one meeting limits outside between households – over Christmas.
It comes as the UK’s devolved administrations have also tightened restrictions to combat a rise in cases, with Wales already in another lockdown and mainland Scotland and Northern Ireland starting new lockdowns today.
In Scotland, hospitality businesses will have to close for all but takeaways and non-essential shops must also shut their doors. All non-essential stores across Scotland will be expected to close on 26 December, with click-and-collect services allowed.
Read more here

EU begins vaccine rollout

The European Union began a vaccine rollout Saturday, even as countries in the bloc were forced back into lockdown by a new strain of the virus, believed to be more infectious, that continues to spread from Britain.
The pandemic has claimed more than 1.7 million lives and is still running rampant in much of the world, but the recent launching of inoculation campaigns has boosted hopes that 2021 could bring a respite.
Hours before the first vaccine doses arrived in France, Paris’ health ministry confirmed late Friday that it had detected its first case of the new variant in a citizen returned from Britain.
Several countries have reported cases of the new strain, which has sent jitters through already overstretched health services.
There was little sign of the usual Boxing Day sale rush on the streets of Sydney Saturday, as residents largely heeded the state premier’s request they stay home faced with a new virus cluster.
“Even when we entered the store there were less than ten people,” shopper Lia Gunawan told The Sydney Morning Herald after queueing up for the sales.

Number of cases in Russia passes 3m

The total number of cases of coronavirus infections in Russia crossed the 3 million mark for the first time on Saturday after officials recorded 29,258 new cases in the preceding 24 hours and 567 deaths.
This brought the total number of cases of coronavirus in Russia since the start of the pandemic to 3,021,964, according to official data.

South Korea at Covid 'crossroads' as global concern mounts over variants

A resurgence of coronavirus in South Korea has reached new heights during Christmas week, prompting soul-searching on how the nation sleepwalked into a crisis.
The 1,241 infections on Christmas Day were the largest daily increase. Another 1,132 cases were reported Saturday, bringing South Korea’s caseload to 55,902.
Over 15,000 were added in the last 15 days alone. An additional 221 fatalities over the same period, the deadliest stretch, took the death toll to 793.
As the numbers keep rising, the shock to people’s livelihoods is deepening and public confidence in the government eroding. Officials could decide to increase social distancing measures to maximum levels on Sunday, after resisting for weeks.
Tighter restrictions could be inevitable because transmissions have been outpacing efforts to expand hospital capacities.
In the greater Seoul area, more facilities have been designated for Covid-19 treatment and dozens of general hospitals have been ordered to allocate more ICUs for virus patients. Hundreds of troops have been deployed to help with contract tracing.
At least four patients have died at their homes or long-term care facilities while waiting for admission this month, said Kwak Jin, an official at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The agency said 299 among 16,577 active patients were in serious or critical condition.
“Our hospital system isn’t going to collapse, but the crush in COVID-19 patients has significantly hampered our response,” said Choi Won Suk, an infectious disease professor at the Korea University Ansan hospital, west of Seoul.
Read more here

Protests in Thailand

In Thailand there have been protests to demand more action to help seafood sellers hit by a Covid-19 outbreak as the government urged people to eat more shellfish.
Thailand’s worst outbreak of the new coronavirus was reported just over a week ago, with more than 1,500 infections now linked to a shrimp market outside Bangkok. Most of those infected have been migrant workers from Myanmar.
Seafood sellers say business has fallen in a country whose economy had already been badly hit by a collapse in tourism. “We want the government to create confidence in shrimp consumption,” said Piyarat Chongthep, among the scores of protesters at Government House, some of whom briefly scuffled with police.

First vaccine doses delivered in France

France’s first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine were delivered early Saturday to the Paris hospital system’s central pharmacy outside the capital, AFP reported.
After more than 62,000 Covid-19 deaths in France, shots are set to begin with people in two elderly care homes on Sunday, the same day the rest of the EU begins injections.
A refrigerated truck brought the roughly 19,500 doses from the Pfizer factory in Puurs, north-east Belgium, to Paris, the capital’s APHP hospital authority said, with pharmacy chief Franck Huet calling it a “historic” moment in the pandemic.

Ontario set for strict lockdown from today

Ontario, a province in east-central Canada, will go into a strict lockdown today, forcing nearly all non-essential businesses to close.
The lockdown will begin at midnight on 26 December. It will be in effect for all of Ontario until Saturday, January 9, 2021. Public health unit regions in Southern Ontario will remain in shutdown until Saturday, January 23, 2021.

Tokyo reports record rise in coronavirus cases

Tokyo reported a record rise in coronavirus cases on Saturday, as Japan experiences a surge that now includes a new, fast-spreading variant while the government urges people to stay home.
Infections of the virus that causes Covid-19 hit a record 949 in the capital just as Japan heads into New Year holidays that normally see people stream from the capital into the provinces. Serious cases were unchanged from a day earlier at 81.
Japan on Friday reported its first cases of a fast-spreading variant in passengers arriving from Britain. The new variant has also been detected in a man who visited that country and a family member - the first cases of infected people found outside airport checks - Nippon TV reported on Saturday.
Tokyo transport hubs were subdued, local media said, a day after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, under pressure as cases continue to climb, urged the nation to stay home and avoid social mixing.
With New Year celebrations centred around family gatherings and mass visits to temples and shrines, experts have warned moderation will be essential to prevent infection rates from rising further amid concerns of pandemic fatigue.
Suga’s initial political honeymoon after taking his post in September has ended, with his popularity sliding after criticism he was slow to react to rising infections in Tokyo and for attending a group steak dinner in defiance of his own calls for restraint.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 13:51

More than 79.59 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,747,803 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.



Spain received its first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, a day before the country is set to begin its immunisation campaign.
A refrigerated truck arrived at Pfizer’s warehouse in Guadalajara in central Spain with the shipment, three days after it left the company’s factory in Puurs in northeast Belgium, the health ministry said in a statement.
After repackaging, the vaccines will be redistributed to Spain’s 17 autonomous regions so that vaccination can begin across the country as planned on Sunday, it added.
Spain will receive 4.5m Pfizer vaccine doses over the next 12 weeks, enough to vaccinate some 2.3 million people, according to the ministry.




Hungary started vaccinating healthcare workers against the coronavirus with the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday, a government spokesman told Reuters.
Hungary received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines Saturday morning that will be enough to inoculate 4,875 people, state news agency MTI reported.




Mainland China recorded 20 new Covid-19 cases on 25 December, compared with 14 cases the previous day, the country’s health authority said on Saturday.
The National Health Commission said in its daily bulletin that 12 of the new cases were imported. Of the eight locally transmitted cases, six came from the northeastern province of Liaoning and two from the capital Beijing.
The new Beijing cases were from its Shunyi district, which has entered a “wartime state” requiring all residents to undergo testing, the state-owned China Daily reported on Saturday.
The People’s Daily reported five people had tested positive after nucleic acid tests were carried out across Beijing’s districts of Chaoyang, Shunyi and Tianzhu on Saturday.
Additionally, 19 asymptomatic cases were reported on 25 December, up from 17 the previous day. China does not include asymptomatic patients in its total confirmed case list.




Four cases of a coronavirus variant believed to be particularly infectious that recently emerged in Britain have been confirmed in the Spanish city of Madrid, the regional government said Saturday, the first cases detected in the country.
All four cases involved people who recently arrived from the UK, the Madrid regional government’s deputy health chief, Antonio Zapatero, told a news conference.
“The patients are not seriously ill, we know that this strain is more transmissible, but it does not cause more serious illness,” he said.




The Philippines is evaluating the emergency use of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine, the presidential spokesman said on Saturday.
Pfizer was the first company to seek the country’s regulator’s approval for emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine, Harry Roque, spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte, said in a statement.
It will take the food and drugs agency 21 days to evaluate and approve the vaccine, he said, adding that inoculation would start as soon as stocks become available. The Philippines has the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 13:58

While tier 4 or similar restrictions mean shops in many city centres around the UK have been closed for the first time in decades on Boxing Day, shoppers in lower-tier zones began queueing for bargains in the early hours of the morning.
Around 200 people had formed a socially distanced queue by 5.50am outside Next in Leicester, which is under tier 3 restrictions.
Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with last year, as part of a downward trend in recent years and due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions.

Coronavirus - 26th December 3500
Shoppers queue outside Next in Leicester on Boxing Day morning. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA




In the UK, more than 15,000 lorry drivers have now been tested for coronavirus and the backlog at the testing site at Manston airport had cleared by Boxing Day morning, the transport secretary said.
Grant Shapps tweeted: “Update on Kent lorry situation: 15,526 Coronavirus tests now carried out. Just 36 positive results, which are being verified.




Iran has extended a night-time traffic curfew to 330 lower-risk cities in an effort to sustain a recent fall in the number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, state television reported on Saturday.
Alireza Raisi, a spokesman for the national coronavirus task force, said on state TV that a curfew running from 9pm to 4am, already in place in 108 so-called “orange” or medium-risk cities, would be extended to lower-risk “yellow” cities.
The curfew, during which there is a ban on the use of private cars to reduce the level of contacts between people, resulted in nearly 100,000 fines on one night in the past week.
A health ministry spokesperson told state TV that 134 people had died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the fewest since 13 September, taking total deaths to 54,574 in the Middle East’s worst-affected country.




The new variant of the coronavirus circulating in Britain has been detected in Sweden after a traveller from Britain fell ill on arrival and tested positive for it, the Swedish health agency said on Saturday.
A health agency official, Sara Byfors, told a news conference that the traveller, who was not identified, had kept isolated after arrival to Sweden and that no further positive cases had so far been detected.
The new variant is thought to be more transmissible than others currently circulating. Sweden imposed travel restrictions earlier this month on passengers from Britain amid concerns over the variant. Similar measures have been taken by several other countries in the EU and across the world.





A fire killed at least seven people and injured several others on Saturday at a private hospital that was treating coronavirus patients on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, local sources and media said.
The fire broke out at about 9am at Misr Al Amal Hospital in El Obour, about 19 miles north-east of central Cairo. According to initial investigations, it was caused by an electrical fault, security and medical sources said.
The hospital was evacuated and closed and patients were transferred to a public hospital in Cairo, the sources said.
Egypt has seen a sharp increase in the number of officially confirmed coronavirus cases over the past week. The health ministry recorded 1,133 new cases and 49 deaths on Friday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 130,126 cases including 7,309 deaths.
Health officials say the real figure is likely to be much higher due to the low rate of public PCR testing and the exclusion of private test results from official figures.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 14:03

Jordan has arrested a journalist over an article alleging that the coronavirus vaccine had arrived in the kingdom and that officials had received the jab, a judicial source said on Saturday.
“The state security court prosecutor ordered the arrest Thursday of journalist Jamal Haddad, editor of news website Al-Wakaai, for writing that government officials had been vaccinated against the coronavirus,” the source said.
Haddad had been accused of “endangering public security and causing sedition and public disorder”, the source told AFP, declining to be identified. He was to be detained for 15 days while awaiting trial.
Al-Wakaai published an article on Tuesday titled “What about the people? Did the Pfizer [vaccine] arrive in secret, and have senior officials in the Jordanian government been vaccinated?”
Jordan announced in mid-December that it had approved emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
A health ministry official said on Wednesday that the vaccine would arrive in the kingdom at the end of January or the start of February.
A source close to Haddad’s family told AFP on Saturday that the journalist had been transferred to hospital a day earlier “for high blood pressure and chest pain”.

Greg Norman in hospital with 'mild symptoms' after positive Covid-19 test


Coronavirus - 26th December 1080
Australian former golfer Greg Norman is treated for Covid-19 in a United States hospital on Christmas Day.
Photograph: Greg Norman/Instagram

Australian golf great Greg Norman has revealed he tested positive for Covid-19 on Christmas Day.
The 65-year-old two-time British Open champion, who now lives in the United States, announced the news in an Instagram post containing photos of him in a hospital bed.
Read more here
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 14:16

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, extended on Saturday a ban on flights from the UK by another two weeks to mid-January in a bid to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
He also ordered a 14-day quarantine for passengers that came from or transited in the United Kingdom, and from countries where the more infectious Covid-19 variant was detected, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Japan.
Duterte said the government might declare a stricter lockdown should cases of the new coronavirus variant skyrocket in the Philippines.




A further 161 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 48,311, NHS England said on Saturday.
Patients were aged between 44 and 100.
All except eight, aged between 64 and 94, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths occurred between 17 and 25 December.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 14:47

Poland to start vaccinations on Sunday

Poland received the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccines and will begin distributing them on Saturday, which the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, called “a great step in fighting the epidemic.”
The first batch of 10,000 vaccines was transported to the Material Reserves Agency warehouse near Tomaszow Mazowiecki in central Poland from Pfizer’s facility in Puurs, Belgium, before 7 am on Saturday.
Poland is to launch vaccinations on Sunday, FirstNews reported.
The prime minister wrote on Facebook that “everything went according to plan and the first 10,000 doses will be distributed within hours to more than 70 nodal hospitals across Poland.”
“I believe that thanks to the National Vaccination Programme we will gradually reach herd immunity and 2021 will be a year of fast return to normal life in Poland,” Morawiecki wrote.
Morawiecki said earlier that the country would receive 1.5 million doses of the vaccine by the end of January.
Medics, social workers, uniformed services, teachers and senior citizens are the first groups to get the jabs.



Thousands more lorries have been allowed to cross the English Channel after being held at the border on Christmas Day, but hauliers have warned “it’s not over yet”.
Congestion continues to ease at the Port of Dover in the UK and Eurotunnel on Boxing Day after thousands of drivers spent days in queues, but more who held off leaving for the border over the festive period are expected to join the queue soon.

France closed its border last Sunday following the discovery of a fast-spreading mutant Covid-19 strain in the UK, and drivers wishing to enter the country from Britain must now show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken in the previous 72 hours.
Traffic began moving smoothly through Dover on Friday, with French firefighters and the Polish military’s Territorial Defence Force drafted in to help some 1,100 British military personnel with the testing of lorry drivers at Manston Airport and two mobile sites.
Around 3,000 hauliers were still waiting to cross into France from Kent on Friday evening, and around half of these had been cleared by 10.30am on Saturday, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 14:50

Germany to start vaccinating on Sunday

Preparations for the start of vaccination in Germany are in full swing, with the first mobile vaccination teams scheduled be deployed to vaccinate primarily in old people’s and nursing homes and hospitals on Sunday.
The first doses of vaccine arrived in individual federal states on Saturday morning.
In the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, 9,750 cans were initially delivered and taken to a secret central warehouse.
Bavaria also received 9,750 doses of vaccine, the German press agency DPA reports.
According to a survey, around two thirds of Germans want to be vaccinated against coronavirus, while 19 percent have decided against a vaccination, 16 percent are still to make up their mind.
In the survey, carried out by the YouGov opinion research institute on behalf DPA, 32 percent of those questioned stated that they wanted to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Another 33 percent are also determined to do so, but first want to wait and see the potential consequences of the vaccine for others.
A clear majority of 57 percent are also afraid of possible side effects of the vaccine.

Japan temporarily bans non-resident arrivals

Japan on Saturday said it would temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country as it tightens its borders following the detection of a new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus.
The ban will take effect from 28 December and will run through January, the government said in an emailed statement.
Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter but must show proof of a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before departing for Japan and must quarantine for two weeks after arrival, the statement said.
Japan on Friday reported its first cases of a fast-spreading variant in passengers arriving from Britain.
The new strain adds to worries about a surge in cases as Tokyo reported another record rise on Saturday.
Infections of the virus that causes Covid-19 hit a record 949 in the capital just as Japan heads into New Year holidays that normally see people stream from the capital into the provinces.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 15:08

Israel to begin third national lockdown on Sunday

Israel has announced the country will be heading into a two week long lockdown, with the option to extend for another two weeks if the desired drop in cases is not recorded.
The regulations of the lockdown include not travelling more than a kilometer from one’s home, as well as restricting visits to other people’s houses, the Haaretz newspaper reports.
All retail is expected to close, except for delivery services and stores that do not service customers directly. The ‘green tourism islands’ of the Dead Sea and Eilat will also be closed.
This is the third lockdown Israel will enter since the beginning of the pandemic, after the first was imposed in March and the second in late September.
Since Thursday, more than 150,000 people have already received the vaccine.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 18:27

Summary of the latest developments

The Guardian
• Hungary stole a march on its fellow EU nations as it began vaccinating its people against Covid-19 on Saturday, a day ahead of rollouts in several other countries including France, Germany and Spain as the pandemic surges across the continent.
• The new variant of coronavirus linked to a rapid rise in infections in Britain has been detected in Sweden after a traveller from the United Kingdom became ill and tested positive, the Swedish Health Agency said on Saturday.
• More than 4,500 lorries, among a huge backlog of trucks stranded for days in the British port of Dover, crossed the Channel on Friday after extra troops were deployed to step up coronavirus testing, a minister said.
• Pope Francis in his Christmas message said political and business leaders must not allow market forces and patent laws to take priority over making Covid-19 vaccines available to all, condemning nationalism and “the virus of radical individualism”.
• France recorded its first case of the new variant of coronavirus as the number of cases and deaths from Covid-19 mounted, increasing concerns of a new wave of the virus hitting the euro zone’s second-biggest economy.
• Russia on Saturday approved its main Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, for use by people over the age of 60, Russian news agencies cited the health ministry as saying.

• The U.S. government will require all airline passengers arriving from Britain to test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of departure starting Monday amid concerns about a new coronavirus variant that may be more transmissible.
• Families across Mexico scaled-down Christmas festivities to avoid the spread of coronavirus, while others spent the holiday alone after having lost loved ones to the pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 in Mexico this year.

• Japan on Saturday said it would temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country from 28 December as it tightens its borders following the detection of a new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus.
• The Philippines approved measures on Saturday to slow the spread of new, more infectious coronavirus variants, as President Rodrigo Duterte warned of a second lockdown should cases spike before the country gets its first vaccines in May.
• South Korea posted its second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Saturday as outbreaks at a prison, nursing homes and churches continued to grow, prompting authorities to plead for a halt to all year-end gatherings.
• A fire killed at least seven people and injured several others on Saturday at a private hospital that was treating coronavirus patients on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo, local sources and media said.
• Iran has extended a night-time traffic curfew to 330 lower-risk cities and towns in an effort to sustain a recent fall in the number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, state television reported on Saturday.

• Brazilian researchers said the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech is more than 50% effective based on preliminary data, but withheld full results of their late-stage trial again at Sinovac’s request.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 18:43

Switzerland’s health minister admitted Saturday that the government blundered in easing Covid-19 restrictions too far, resulting in some of Europe’s fiercest infection rates during the pandemic’s second wave.
Alain Berset said the Swiss approach put the emphasis on personal responsibility but accepted that it had not worked.
The virus will not vanish any time soon, he added, despite the roll-out of vaccinations. In March, during the first wave of infections, Switzerland was not hit as hard by Covid-19 deaths and did not impose as strict a lockdown as some other European states. It then eased off its restrictions in stages.



Uganda suspended campaigning for January’s presidential poll in the capital and 10 populous districts on Saturday, citing coronavirus risks, but critics said the real reason was the opposition’s popularity in those districts.
The east African country is scheduled to hold a presidential election on 14 January. From 26 December no campaign meetings will be held in Mbarara, Kabarole, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Kampala City and Tororo.
Uganda has reported 33,360 Covid-19 infections and 245 deaths from the virus.
The pop star and election candidate Bobi Wine, 38, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has emerged as the strongest challenger to President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.


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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 19:09

Italy records further 261 deaths

Italy reported 261 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday against 459 the day before, the health ministry said.
The daily tally of new infections increased by 10,407 from 19,037 the day before, taking the total number of cases since Italy’s epidemic began to 2,010,037.
Italy on Thursday became the eighth country in the world to exceed 2 million officially recorded cases.
The number of swab tests carried out in the past day was 81,285 from a previous 152,334, the health ministry said.
The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has reported 70,909 deaths since its outbreak came to light on 21 February, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.
Patients in hospital with Covid-19 stood at 23,304, down by 98 from the day before.
The current number of intensive care patients decreased by 2 to 2,582, reflecting those who died or were discharged after recovery.

France records a further 146 deaths

France has reported a further 146 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 62,573.
It also reported 3,093 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, sharply down from the 20,000+ figure recorded over the two days before Christmas Day.
But the number of people hospitalised for the disease increased by 85, at 24,477, the first increase in six days.
France will launch its vaccination campaign on Sunday along with most other EU countries.
Its Covid-19 death toll increased by 146 versus Friday, to 62,573, the seventh-highest globally.




The UK recorded 210 Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, down from 570 the day before, while new cases rose by 1,968 to 34,693, the government said, citing partial data.
The latest R number is estimated at 1.1 to 1.3, the government said.
The UK has recorded a death toll of 70,405, defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. Under that measure, it has the world’s sixth largest toll, after the US, Brazil, India, Mexico and India.
A broader measure of those with Covid-19 on their death certificates puts the UK’s death toll at 79,349.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 19:16

Health officials in Thailand say two new clusters of coronavirus cases have been found that appear to be linked to a major outbreak discovered a week earlier among migrant workers in an industrial province near Bangkok.
The new cases were found in 19 members of a motorcycling club who held a holiday gathering on Lanta island, in the southern province of Krabi, and in nine people who were in a gambling den in the eastern province of Rayong, said the disease control department.
The first of the motorcyclists to be diagnosed with the virus came from Samut Sakhon province, where the outbreak among migrant workers occurred.
On Saturday morning, 110 new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing Thailand’s total to 6,020. Sixty of the 110 were linked to the Samut Sakhon outbreak.
At the beginning of December Thailand had 4,008 cases. The death toll has remained at 60 since early November. Until recently, almost all new cases had been found among people who were quarantined upon arrival from abroad.




BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin said his company would be open to cooperating with others as it looks to increase production capacity for its Covid-19 vaccine developed with Pfizer and was considering opening an office in Turkey.
Sahin repeated BioNTech aimed to distribute 1.3bn doses of its vaccine by the end of 2021 and that 70% of the world needed to be vaccinated by next winter to go back to “normal life”, according to an interview with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.
We want to produce more than 1bn doses with Pfizer next year. We need to distribute them to over 80 countries,” he was cited as saying. “This is not easy. Vaccines are made in a complex manner. We will start cooperating with other companies again,” he added.
If we can carry out our plans on how to increase capacity, we can disclose it in January or February. I believe we can increase it. We don’t have a guaranteed plan yet.”
Ankara has agreed to buy 4.5bn doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with an option to procure 30m more doses later.

Turkey’s coronavirus death toll rose by 253 in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Saturday, bringing its total deaths to 19,624.
The number of cases fell for a third consecutive day, to 15,118, bringing total cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,133,373.
Ankara has imposed full weekend lockdowns and weekday curfews to curb infections.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Dec 26 2020, 19:20

Trump continues to block pandemic relief package as shutdown looms

As unemployment benefits were due to expire for millions of Americans on Saturday, Donald Trump , who spent Christmas playing golf in Florida, continued to block a $900bn pandemic relief bill that would extend them.
The package, which Congress passed with bipartisan support on Monday after months of negotiations, would keep unemployment benefits in place until March and expand state benefits by $300 a week – as well as extending an evictions moratorium, providing federal loans to small businesses and $600 direct payments to many Americans.
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Arsenal footballer Gabriel Magalhaes will miss their next three games because he is self-isolating after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, the Premier League club.
The Brazilian defender was not named in Saturday’s squad for their game at home against London rivals Chelsea.
“Gabriel was in touch with someone. It is what it is – it comes at a bad time for us ahead of such a big game,” manager Mikel Arteta said.
Arsenal added defender David Luiz and winger Willian had both tested negative for coronavirus but were unwell to play against Chelsea.



Slovakia has started administering coronavirus vaccinations, its health minister said.
Vladimir Krcmery, a member of the government’s Pandemic Commission, was the first person in the country inoculated by the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Hungary also began vaccinating its people on Saturday, a day ahead of rollouts in several other countries including France, Germany and Spain.



City centres were deserted in parts of the UK on Boxing Day as millions more people adjusted to strict new coronavirus restrictions and tens of thousands more cases were recorded.
Boxing Day sales looked to have suffered a sharp decline after Tier 4 measures came into effect on Saturday in large parts of England, with people ordered to “stay at home”. New lockdown measures also came into effect in Scotland and Northern Ireland, forcing non-essential shops to shut, while restrictions were reimposed in Wales on Saturday after they were eased for Christmas Day. By midday, footfall was down 60% across the UK compared with last year, according to retail experts Springboard, and shoppers are expected to spend 1 billion less. However, shoppers in lower tier zones queued for bargains in the early hours of the morning, with around 200 people waiting in a socially-distanced queue by 5.50am outside Next in Leicester, which is under Tier 3 restrictions. Meanwhile, congestion continued to ease at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel on Boxing Day after thousands of drivers spent spent Christmas Day stuck in nearly a week-long of queues. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said 15,000 lorry drivers had been tested for coronavirus by midday on Saturday, and the backlog at the testing site at Manston Airport had cleared. Tier 4 restrictions include a warning to stay at home, a limit on household mixing to two people outdoors and force the closure of many shops, hairdressers and gyms.
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Coronavirus - 26th December Empty Re: Coronavirus - 26th December

Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 27 2020, 00:05

A summary of today's developments


  • The UK recorded 210 Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, down from 570 the day before, while new cases rose by 1,968 to 34,693, the government said, citing partial data.
  • France has reported a further 146 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 62,573. It also reported 3,093 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, sharply down from the 20,000-plus figure recorded over the two days before Christmas Day.
  • Italy reported 261 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday against 459 the day before, the health ministry said. The daily tally of new infections increased by 10,407 from 19,037 the day before, taking the total number of cases since Italy’s epidemic began to 2,010,037.
  • Turkey’s coronavirus death toll rose by 253 in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Saturday, bringing its total deaths to 19,624. The number of cases fell for a third consecutive day, to 15,118, bringing total cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,133,373.
  • Hungary stole a march on its fellow EU nations as it began vaccinating its people against Covid-19 on Saturday, a day ahead of rollouts in several other countries including France, Germany and Spain as the pandemic surges across the continent.
  • The new variant of coronavirus linked to a rapid rise in infections in Britain has been detected in Sweden after a traveller from the United Kingdom became ill and tested positive, the Swedish Health Agency said on Saturday.
  • More than 4,500 lorries, among a huge backlog of trucks stranded for days in the British port of Dover, crossed the Channel on Friday after extra troops were deployed to step up coronavirus testing, a minister said.
  • Pope Francis in his Christmas message said political and business leaders must not allow market forces and patent laws to take priority over making Covid-19 vaccines available to all, condemning nationalism and “the virus of radical individualism”.
  • Russia on Saturday approved its main Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, for use by people over the age of 60, Russian news agencies cited the health ministry as saying.
  • The US government will require all airline passengers arriving from Britain to test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of departure starting Monday amid concerns about a new coronavirus variant that may be more transmissible.
  • Families across Mexico scaled-down Christmas festivities to avoid the spread of coronavirus, while others spent the holiday alone after having lost loved ones to the pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 in Mexico this year.
  • Japan on Saturday said it would temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country from 28 December as it tightens its borders following the detection of a new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus.
  • The Philippines approved measures on Saturday to slow the spread of new, more infectious coronavirus variants, as President Rodrigo Duterte warned of a second lockdown should cases spike before the country gets its first vaccines in May.
  • South Korea posted its second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Saturday as outbreaks at a prison, nursing homes and churches continued to grow, prompting authorities to plead for a halt to all year-end gatherings.
  • A fire killed at least seven people and injured several others on Saturday at a private hospital that was treating coronavirus patients on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo, local sources and media said.
  • Iran has extended a night-time traffic curfew to 330 lower-risk cities and towns in an effort to sustain a recent fall in the number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, state television reported on Saturday.
  • Brazilian researchers said the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech is more than 50% effective based on preliminary data, but withheld full results of their late-stage trial again at Sinovac’s request.


Two cases of new Covid-19 variant confirmed in Canada

Health officials in Ontario said two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus variant first detected in the UK 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 went into a lockdown on Saturday.
“This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures beginning today,” Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer, said in a statement.
Last week, Canada extended to January 6 a ban on passenger flights arriving from Britain and expanded enhanced screening and monitoring measures to travelers arriving from South Africa, citing the rise of the more infectious variant.



Iran is extending a night-time traffic curfew to 330 lower-risk cities and towns in an effort to sustain a recent decline in the number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, state television reported.
Alireza Raisi, spokesman for the national coronavirus task force, said on state TV that a curfew running from 9pm to 4am – already in place in 108 “orange,” or medium-risk, cities – will be extended to lower-risk “yellow” areas on Sunday.
The curfew, under which the use of private cars is banned to reduce the level of contacts between people, resulted in nearly 100,000 fines on one night in the past week.
The health ministry said 134 people had died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the lowest since 13 September, taking total deaths to 54,574 in the Middle East’s worst-affected country. There were 5,760 new cases, the lowest since 22 October, bringing the total to 1,194,964.
Iran said it had received approval from US authorities to buy coronavirus vaccines from the World Health Organization-led Covax alliance. It did not say which vaccines it was buying.
The head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society told state TV that, separate from the government, it was planning to import an unnamed Chinese vaccine. Asked about possible concerns over the drug’s safety, the Red Crescent chief, Karim Hemmati, said:

All imported vaccines and medicines undergo controls by (Iran’s) Food and Drug Administration ... So there is no problem there.”
In televised remarks on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani reiterated Iran’s complaint that US sanctions have made it difficult to make payments for vaccines. “We arranged money from a bank to buy vaccines from Covax but they said you need (US) approval,” he said.




Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country is hoping to vaccinate a quarter of its population against coronavirus within a month in order to return to post-pandemic normalcy.
“I spoke over the weekend with the heads of the companies that are providing us with the vaccines and I told them that our goal by next weekend is to reach 150,000 vaccines a day,” Netanyahu said in a video.
“This means that within 30 days of reaching this pace we will have administered 4.5 million vaccinations,” he said. “Since everyone needs two injections, after one month we will have vaccinated 2.25 million Israeli citizens.”
Netanyahu was the first Israeli to receive a Covid-19 jab on 19 December, ahead of the launch on Monday of a nationwide innoculation programme.
By Friday morning 210,000 people had received a first dose of the vaccine developped by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Netanyahu said he hopes the vaccination drive will help Israel “emerge from the coronavirus” allowing it to re-open its economy “and do things that no country can do”.
His comments came as Israel prepared to start on Sunday a nationwide two-week lockdown – its third since the pandemic started earlier this year – after a sharp rebound in the infection rate.




More than 79.85 million people have been reported to be infected by coronavirus globally and 1,752,116 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

    Current date/time is Sat Feb 27 2021, 22:03