More than 66.85 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,538,379 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
In the meantime, Britain will start rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday, while U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order to ensure Americans get priority access to procured vaccines.
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.
* France may have to delay unwinding some restrictions next week after signs the downward trend in new cases has flattened out after shops were allowed to reopen late last month.
* Italy’s Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese discovered during a cabinet meeting on Monday that she had coronavirus, forcing her to abandon the gathering hastily, political sources said.
* Greece said it will not re-open schools, restaurants and courts until Jan. 7, while Hungary will maintain restrictions until Jan. 11.
* The U.S. Congress will vote this week on a one-week stopgap funding bill to provide more time for lawmakers to reach a deal on COVID-19 relief and an overarching spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.
* Most Californians faced heavy new restrictions on Monday, while New York’s governor threatened to ban indoor restaurant dining in New York City.
* Canada will start receiving its first doses of Pfizer Inc’s vaccine before the end of December, sooner than expected, with millions more to follow in early 2021.
* Brazil’s President said COVID-19 vaccines will be offered for free to all citizens, as his government entered advanced talks to buy 70 million doses from Pfizer.
* Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the city will ban dining in restaurants after 6 p.m. (1000 GMT) and announce new measures later in the day.
* South Korea said it had signed deals to provide vaccines for 44 million people next year.
* Serum Institute of India is likely to supply a COVID-19 vaccine at over $3 a dose to the country’s government, according to a media report.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* A Cameroon man has been charged by the U.S. government with exploiting the pandemic by defrauding people seeking companionship into buying puppies online that were never delivered.
* A surge in COVID-19 infections and the prospect of another economic downturn could sorely test Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s reluctant acceptance of much higher interest rates and the need for greater austerity.
* Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said it has dosed the first participant in a mid-stage clinical trial testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800.
* A top U.S. scientist overseeing COVID-19 vaccine trials expects a large U.S. study to determine how effective AstraZeneca’s experimental inoculation is.
* A year into a global battle against the coronavirus, the United Nations General Assembly on Monday declared Dec. 27 will be the “International Day of Epidemic Preparedness”.
* Asian stocks came under pressure on Tuesday as investors struggled to balance hopes for more economic stimulus and vaccines with anxiety over a surge in COVID-19 infections.
* Japan will compile a fresh 73.6 trillion yen ($708 billion) economic stimulus package to speed up the country’s recovery.
* Japan’s household spending rose in October for the first time in over a year, while a Reuters poll showed a slight improvement in sentiment among manufacturers and service-sector firms in December.
* A measure of Australian business confidence and conditions surged in November to “above average” as the second-largest state of Victoria emerged from its lengthy virus-induced lockdown and other states opened their borders to each other.