More than 69.87 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,588,828 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
In the meantime, daily coronavirus deaths hit a record high in Portugal and Turkey, while U.S. officials prepared for the most ambitious vaccination campaign in decades as regulators rapidly advanced toward approving the first COVID-19 vaccine.
* Germany will have to shut down more parts of society before Christmas.
* United Kingdom will cut the self-isolation period for COVID-19 to 10 days from 14.
* Greece will allow hair salons and bookstores to reopen during the Christmas season but keep most other retail shops shut.
* Switzerland has ordered restaurants, bars and shops to close down from 7 p.m. across much of the nation.
* Some Spanish ski stations are set to open next week while observing nationwide restrictions. France will also let ski resorts reopen lifts on Jan. 7 if the COVID-19 situation allows, a minister said.
* The WHO expects to decide whether to give emergency use approval to vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca in the coming weeks, its chief scientist said.
* Longer-range forecasts project the second wave of the coronavirus spreading rapidly through Canada, and all the major provinces need to impose more restrictions.
* U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Jan. 21.
* New York City’s restaurants must stop serving meals indoors, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
* U.S. workers could soon face choices such as free COVID-19 shots and a cash bonus if all get immunized, or those unwilling to be vaccinated get reassigned or even lose their jobs.
* India will deploy its vast election machinery to deliver 600 million doses of vaccines to the most vulnerable people in the next six to eight months through conventional cold chain systems, the expert leading the initiative said.
* The ability of developing countries in Asia to fight the pandemic got a boost after the Asian Development Bank said it has launched a $9 billion facility to help nations access and deliver vaccines.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Nigeria may be on the verge of a second wave of infections, its health minister warned.
* South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng dismissed concerns that he might be endangering people’s health by linking coronavirus vaccines to a “Satanic agenda”.
* Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline delayed the launch of their COVID-19 vaccine, while AstraZeneca said it would investigate combining its experimental COVID-19 vaccine with the Russian shot.
* Five key genes are linked with the most severe form of COVID-19, scientists said.
* Global stock indexes eased and the dollar rose on Friday amid continued concerns over the timing of more U.S. economic stimulus.
* U.S. producer prices barely rose in November, supporting views that inflation would remain benign in the near term.
* The Bank of Japan is likely to decide next week to extend a range of steps aimed at easing corporate funding strains as a resurgence of infections cloud the economic outlook.
* Nigeria’s economy is likely to contract by 3.25% this year before rebounding to growth of 1.5% in 2021, the International Monetary Fund said.