COVID-19: Latest Global Developments

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A nurse swabs the nose of a patient as he administers a COVID-19 test in Ljubljana on December 22, 2020, as nation wide mass free rapid testing for the novel coronavirus Covid-19 starts.
Jure Makovec / AFP

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Eye of the storm

The United Kingdom registers a record  53,135 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, as the government comes under pressure to introduce tighter restrictions, including delaying the return to school.

Health chiefs warn that England is “back in the eye” of the coronavirus storm, with as many patients in the hospital as during the initial peak in April, and the new strain of the virus appearing to be behind the recent upsurge in cases.

‘High’ risk new strains

The Stockholm-based European Centre Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says that the risk is “high” that newly discovered virus variants causing Covid-19 could cause more deaths due to “increased transmissibility”.

New strain reaches Latin America

Chile’s health authorities say they have detected a case of the new coronavirus strain initially found in Britain, the first such confirmed infection in Latin America.

Vaccinations roll out

Argentina and Belarus launch their vaccination campaigns, both using the Sputnik V shots developed by Russia.

Registered nurse Patricia Cummings administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris December 29, 2020 at the United Medical Center in Washington, DC. Alex Edelman / AFP
Registered nurse Patricia Cummings administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris December 29, 2020 at the United Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Alex Edelman / AFP

Harris vaccinated

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris receives her Covid vaccine live on television and urges public trust in the process.

French vaccine-skeptic

Just four in 10 people in France want to have a vaccination against Covid-19, a poll by Ipsos Global Advisor in partnership with the World Economic Forum shows.

US call for China reporter release

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demands that China release citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, jailed for reports from pandemic Ground Zero Wuhan, accusing Beijing of seeking to cover up the Covid-19 pandemic.

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A pro-Beijing supporter holds China's national flag as he and others gather outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on November 12, 2020, a day after the city's pro-Beijing authorities ousted four pro-democracy lawmakers. Anthony WALLACE / AFP
A pro-Beijing supporter holds China’s national flag as he and others gather outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on November 12, 2020, a day after the city’s pro-Beijing authorities ousted four pro-democracy lawmakers.
Anthony WALLACE / AFP

1.77 million dead

The coronavirus has killed at least 1,775,272 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally on Tuesday based on official sources.

At least 81 million cases have been registered.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 334,967 deaths, followed by Brazil with 191,570.

The tallies are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.

New high at Premier League

England’s top-flight Premier League says that 18 football players and staff have tested positive for coronavirus, the highest number since weekly testing began, plunging the continuation of the season into doubt.

Indian Wells postponed

Indian Wells in California, traditionally the first Masters event of the year on the men’s tennis calendar, will not be held as usual in March because of the coronavirus, the ATP says.

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