South Australia announced a six-day lockdown of the state on Wednesday to stifle a new outbreak, while Tokyo prepared to raise its coronavirus alert level to the maximum as the number of positive cases in the Japanese capital creeps up.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* The pandemic and social isolation are contributing to a “perfect storm” that is making more young people vulnerable to radicalisation, British police warned on Wednesday.
* Moderna Inc has agreed to supply its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to the United Kingdom from the beginning of March, while Spain is in a “very advanced phase” of talks to buy the shot.
* Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said most of the country’s current lockdown measures must remain in place through mid-December.
* U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s top coronavirus advisers warned that President Donald Trump’s stalling of the transition could hinder the country’s pandemic response.
* New York City schools were set to remain open for at least another day despite a rising COVID-19 case count, the mayor said on Tuesday.
* Brazil’s Sao Paulo state is set to begin importing the first of 46 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine against COVID-19 this week, while the federal government takes a more cautious approach with a vaccine developed by Pfizer.
* South Korea reported 313 new daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest number since August, as cluster infections continued to emerge from offices, medical facilities and small gatherings.
* As New Delhi battles its worst phase in the pandemic, Indian authorities draw up plans to reinstate some curbs, such as lockdowns of some markets, if necessary.
* Indonesia’s push for mass vaccinations faces a delay after its food and drugs agency warned it will not be able to give emergency authorisation until late January.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran’s health minister warned coronavirus deaths may more than double if Iranians flout COVID-19 restrictions, as new cases surged to a record high.
* Turkey‘s President Tayyip Erdogan said the government will impose tighter measures and impose partial lockdowns at weekends.
* Morocco has placed orders for two COVID-19 vaccines that are in phase 3 clinical trials and is also in talks with other developers.
* Sinovac Biotech’s experimental vaccine triggered a quick immune response but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who had recovered from the disease, preliminary trial results showed.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 self-testing kit for home use that provides results within 30 minutes.
* Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientist said the drugmaker is recruiting over 1,000 people per day for the late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and expects to have all the data needed to seek U.S. authorization by February or earlier.
* Global shares stepped back on Wednesday as soft U.S. retail sales fuelled worries that rising coronavirus cases could stifle a still-fragile economic recovery, dampening the euphoria from vaccine trial breakthroughs.
* Japan’s exports extended declines in October but at the slowest pace in almost two years, helped by an improvement in Chinese and U.S. demand for cars and other items.
* Millions of Americans will see their unemployment benefits disappear at the end of the year unless Congress extends pandemic-related programs that made the aid available to a wider swath of the workforce and for a longer period. (Reuters)