News World Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Malaysia declared a state of emergency to curb the spread of COVID-19 and Japan will extend that measure to three more prefectures.

At the same time, China saw new cases drop in its Hebei province amid a flurry of new restrictions.

EUROPE

* Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who is seeking a second term in an election on Jan. 24, has tested positive for the coronavirus but has so far shown no symptoms.

* France’s daily new infection rate is at a seven-week high, and the number of people hospitalised is rising again.

* Greece has launched an online platform for people to register for vaccinations.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* New Zealand will ask international travellers from most countries to show negative COVID-19 test results before boarding flights to the country.

* Australia recorded a handful of new locally acquired cases on Tuesday, with frictions increasing between state leaders over the best approach to manage and contain the outbreaks.

* Indian carrier Spicejet said it carried a large consignment of COVID-19 vaccines from the western city of Pune to the capital New Delhi, a crucial step towards kickstarting the country’s inoculation drive.

AMERICAS

* Sending National Guard troops to Washington to provide security for next week’s inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden could hinder the distribution of coronavirus vaccines in various U.S. states, a Democratic lawmaker said.

* As many as eight gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are presumed to have contracted COVID-19 from a human handler after one of the animals tested positive, marking the first known transmission of the virus to apes.

* Several prominent restaurant chains and smaller eateries on Monday defied Mexico City’s extension of a ban on dine-in service, in an act of civil disobedience against rules.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Turkey will begin administering vaccines as of Thursday or Friday, while Egypt expects to start receiving shots through the Geneva-based GAVI vaccine alliance in the coming weeks.

* Senegal does not have the capacity to store vaccines at ultra-low temperatures and would prefer to receive vials that can be kept for longer under ordinary refrigeration.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech showed a general efficacy of less than 60% in its late-stage trial in Brazil.

* Pfizer’s partner BioNTech boosted the 2021 delivery target for its vaccine to 2 billion doses, up from 1.3 billion previously.

* An independent board in India has found Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine safe in a mid-stage trial, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Asian stocks were mostly lower on Tuesday, tracking Wall Street declines as political turmoil in Washington and rising coronavirus cases worldwide weighed on sentiment.

* Money markets have ramped up bets on U.S. interest rates rising in 2023, sending a shudder through global equities.

* Japanese bank lending continued to rise in December to hit a fresh record, as companies kept piling up cash to weather the fallout from the pandemic.

(Reuters)

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