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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.