More than 73.65 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,654,920 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
These are the latest developments on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus:
Large areas of England will be added to the “very high alert” COVID-19 category this weekend, while the United States stood ready to ship 5.9 million doses of a new vaccine that is on the cusp of winning regulatory approval.
* French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive, prompting a track and trace effort across Europe following meetings he had with EU heads of government in recent days.
* European Union states will start vaccinations in 10 days as Europe tries to catch up with Britain and the United States.
* The Netherlands will not be among the first EU countries ready to start with vaccinations in December, but will begin inoculation on Jan 8.
* Ireland, which has the second lowest infection rate in the European Union, looks set for a “serious increase” in cases.
* Lockdown restrictions will tighten in parts of western Athens from Friday to contain a resurgence in cases.
* After months of feuding, U.S. congressional negotiations over final details of a $900 billion COVID-19 aid bill advanced, although it was unclear whether the work could be completed before a fast approaching weekend deadline.
* Pfizer said it was not facing any production issues with its vaccine. The company, however, is encountering difficulty in registering its vaccine for emergency use in Brazil.
* Mexico floated the possibility that it will purchase far fewer vaccine doses from CanSino Biologics Inc than the 35 million doses announced last week by the country’s foreign minister.
* Tokyo, faced with acute strains on its medical system, raised its alert level to the highest of four stages as the number of new cases spiked to a record daily high.
* South Korea reported a record number of deaths on Thursday as lockdown fears sparked panic buying.
* Pfizer will request for approval of its vaccine in Japan on Friday, Kyodo News reported, citing sources familiar with the move.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* A second wave of infections is hitting West and Central Africa, and experts are warning it could be worse than the first.
* Pharmaceutical companies should sell vaccines to African countries at discounted rates and allow them to be produced locally to potentially cut costs, the head of the continent’s disease control body said.
* A panel of outside advisers to the U.S. FDA is expected to endorse emergency use of Moderna’s vaccine during its meeting on Thursday.
* Oxford University’s vaccine candidate has a better immune response when a two full-dose regime is used rather than a full-dose followed by a half-dose booster.
* Global stocks scaled new peaks, fueled by growing optimism that deals will be reached over a fresh U.S. stimulus package and a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU.
* Argentina’s recession, which began in 2018 due to investors’ distrust of the policies of former President Mauricio Macri, worsened in 2020 due to COVID-19.
* The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week as a relentless wave of new infections hobbled business operations.