More than 64.03 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,489,276 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Britain became the first in the world to approve Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 shot on Wednesday, while Russian President Vladimir ordered a large-scale voluntary vaccination program to begin next week.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/ in an external browser.
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* The European Union criticized Britain’s rapid approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, saying its own procedure was more thorough.
* Turkey‘s daily COVID-19 death toll hit a record high for a tenth consecutive day.
* Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said more than 100,000 people had already been vaccinated, as Moscow presented its Sputnik V vaccine to the United Nations.
* The number of cases recorded in Poland passed 1 million, as the government agrees to buy 45 million vaccine doses.
* U.S. health experts welcomed British emergency approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, while Canadian health authorities should soon complete their regulatory review of the shot.
* Brazil’s health regulator in a statement set the requirements for approving COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the country.
* COVID-19 deaths in the Americas have increased nearly 30% in November compared with the end of October, while North America is seeing record-setting daily cases, WHO’s regional director said.
* The CDC said it was adding two shorter self-quarantine periods recommended after potential exposure to the coronavirus to seven days with a negative test and 10 for without a test.
* Private U.S. companies have the right under the law to require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but are unlikely to do so.
* WHO does not believe there will be enough quantities of coronavirus vaccines in the next three to six months to prevent a surge of infections.
* Suspected North Korean hackers have tried to break into at least nine health organizations, including pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and vaccine developer Novavax , revealing a broader effort to target key players in the race to develop COVID-19 treatments.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Vaccines will be optional and free to all citizens and residents of Kuwait, the Gulf state’s prime minister said.
* Moderna’s vaccine could be approved for emergency use within 24 to 72 hours after the U.S. health regulator’s advisory
* Pfizer’s Portuguese unit said the pharmaceutical company would be able to distribute its vaccine in the Iberian country three days after the EU’s EMA has given it the green light.
* A bipartisan, $908 billion coronavirus aid plan should be the basis for immediate negotiations in the U.S. Congress to break a months-long logjam over new legislation, Democratic leaders said.
* World equity benchmarks hovered near record highs, as investors weighed the first approval of a coronavirus vaccine and the prospects for more U.S. economic stimulus.