More than 81.5 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,781,355 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
These are the latest developments on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus:
More countries secured deals for COVID-19 vaccines and started with vaccinations, as global shares and oil once again positively reacted to the U.S. $2.3 trillion pandemic relief stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump on Sunday.
* The European Union will buy an extra 100 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total from the two firms to 300 million doses, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
* Britain’s government reported 53,135 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest number since mass testing started in mid-2020 and up sharply from the previous record of 41,385 set on Monday.
* France will not enforce a new lockdown for the time being to curb the spread of the coronavirus but it could soon impose an earlier curfew in eastern areas of the country, the worst-hit by infections, the health minister said.
* Ireland reported its highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases, and the government began its COVID-19 vaccination campaign by giving a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to a 79-year-old woman at a hospital in Dublin.
* Denmark has extended a hard lockdown for two weeks, until Jan. 17, to limit the spread of COVID-19, following a drastic spike in new infections over the past month, the country’s prime minister said.
* A senior U.S. public health official said the coronavirus testing the United States requires for travelers from Britain should probably be extended to other countries as well.
* U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put off a vote on President Donald Trump’s call to boost COVID-19 relief checks and urged the Senate to override his veto of a defense bill, in a rare challenge to his fellow Republican three weeks before Trump leaves office.
* Argentina began to vaccinate its citizens against the coronavirus using 300,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine delivered last week.
* Mexico expects delivery of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to increase to over 100,000 doses by Jan. 4 and more than 1.4 million doses by the end of next month.
* Venezuela has signed a contract with Russia to acquire enough of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to inoculate 10 million people in a first phase.
* India has found six cases of a more infectious strain of the coronavirus in people arriving from Britain and will likely extend a flight ban to guard against it, officials said.
* Indonesia is poised to secure vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, as it awaits authorisation to begin its inoculation programme with a third drug, by China’s Sinovac.
* Thailand warned that more intensive measures might be necessary to halt its worst outbreak yet.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The United Arab Emirates has discovered a “limited number” of cases of people infected with the new coronavirus variant in the country, a government official said, the first confirmed cases of a more contagious COVID-19 mutant in the Gulf region.
* The European Medicines Authority will most likely not be able to approve the vaccine developed by drug maker AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford in January, the watchdog’s Deputy Executive Director Noel Wathion said.
* Wall Street lost ground on Tuesday, retreating from intraday highs, while oil prices gained ground as investors looked to Washington for signs that an enhanced stimulus package would pass a U.S. Senate vote.