Germany will close most stores from Wednesday to January 10 as it tightens coronavirus restrictions and tries to slow the spread of the disease.
In the United States, shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are ready to launch the largest vaccination effort in United States history.
South Korea has reported 1,030 new coronavirus infections, its biggest jump in a single day and the second consecutive daily record.
Globally, deaths from COVID-19 have exceeded 1.6 million with more than 71 million infections.
Here are all the latest updates:
Swiss hospitals implore health minister to tighten restrictions
The directors of five of Switzerland’s largest hospitals have written to the Health Minister calling for urgent measures to reduce coronavirus infections, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.
In their letter to Health Minister Alain Berset, the directors of university hospitals in Zurich, Bern, Basel, Lausanne and Geneva said the pandemic was forcing them to postpone operations for patients with other life-threatening conditions while nursing beds intensive were in short supply.
More than 4,000 operations have been postponed at the five hospitals since October, the newspaper reported.
Switzerland has been hit hard by the epidemic, with around 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day recently. Approximately 1.3% of the population has been infected in the last 28 days.
Non-essential shops, schools to close in Germany: Merkel
“There is an urgent need to act,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said after a meeting with the leaders of the country’s 16 federal states.
Under the agreement, only essential stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as banks, will remain open.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 20,200 to 1,320,716, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose from 321 to 21,787, the tally showed.
Lagos governor Sanwo-Olu tests positive for coronavirus
Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to a confirmed case.
Akin Abayomi, the Lagos state health commissioner, said the governor “was doing well with treatment and rest,” adding that his team was “confident that he will recover quickly and eliminate the virus.”
Nigeria, with a population of around 200 million people, has had 72,757 confirmed cases.
Sanwo-Olu Undergoes COVID-19 Treatment
Following the exposure of the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to a confirmed case of # COVID-19, a PCR test carried out yesterday, December 11, has confirmed that he has indeed been infected with the virus that is supported by mild pic.twitter.com/8JAWJG6DtV
– Prof. Akin Abayomi (@ProfAkinAbayomi) December 12, 2020
OPINION: How have philosophers responded to the pandemic?
In her message to mark World Philosophy Day 2020, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay underscored the exceptional nature of this year’s celebration.
“This day is particularly significant this year,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to celebrate much more than an academic discipline or a human science, but a certain way of being in the world that is made even more necessary by the context in which we live today.”
The context that Azoulay was referring to, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic that has affected every aspect of our lives.
The global nature of this emergency has compelled everyone to contribute to efforts to end it, whether in a professional or personal capacity. While immunologists, doctors, and nurses became indispensable in the quest to develop vaccines and help patients, others contributed simply by wearing masks and volunteering to help their vulnerable neighbors during the lockdowns.
But how have philosophers contributed? Can “the love of wisdom”, as classically defined, make a difference in a pandemic?
Read more here.
Bahrain approves registration of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
The Bahrain National Health Regulatory Authority said it had approved the registration of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).
The statement did not specify which of the two vaccine Sinopharm is developing, but cited data from phase III clinical trials that showed an 86 percent efficacy rate and said Bahrain had participated in those trials.
The cited data is consistent with that announced earlier this month by the United Arab Emirates from an interim analysis of late-stage clinical trials for an inactivated vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a unit of the National Biotec Group of Sinopharms China (CNBG).
Pakistan raises vaccine budget to $ 250 million
Pakistan has increased its allocation of funds to purchase COVID-19 vaccines amid a surge in coronavirus.
Dr Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services, says the budget for vaccines has been increased to $ 250 million. Previously, the government had set aside $ 150 million.
Pakistan recorded 3,369 new cases of the virus and 72 new deaths on Sunday.
China Reports 24 New COVID-19 Cases
China has reported 24 new coronavirus cases on the mainland, up from 13 cases the day before, while authorities were monitoring possible contacts at Hainan’s domestic tourist hotspot.
There were five local cases and 19 imported infections on Saturday, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 14 from 17 a day earlier.
As of Sunday, mainland China had 86,725 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The death toll from COVID-19 stood at 4,634.
More Brazilians Skeptical About COVID-19 Vaccine: Survey
Skepticism towards a COVID-19 vaccine has risen in Brazil in recent months, a new survey showed, as the country continues to grapple with high rates of virus-related infection and death.
The Datafolha polling institute survey found that 22 percent of Brazilians said they would not be willing to receive any COVID-19 vaccines, up from 9 percent in August.
The survey also found that 73 percent of those surveyed planned to take an injection and 5 percent said they did not know if they would. Those numbers were at 89 percent and 3 percent in August, respectively.
Read more here.
Trucks with First COVID Vaccine in the US Ready to Roll
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will reach hospitals and other sites in the US Monday morning, a senior official said, ready to be administered to millions of the most vulnerable Americans.
Tractor trailers loaded with suitcase-sized containers of the vaccine will leave Pfizer Inc.’s manufacturing facility in Michigan on Sunday. Dry ice-cooled packs can hold up to 4,875 doses, and the first leg of your journey will be from Kalamazoo to planes located nearby.
Workers will load the vaccine, which must be kept at sub-arctic temperatures, onto the plane that will transport them to United Parcel Service or FedEx air cargo hubs in Louisville, Kentucky and Memphis, Tennessee, respectively.
“We have spent months strategizing with Operation Warp Speed officials and our healthcare customers on efficient vaccine logistics, and now is the time to put the plan into action,” said Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare, Saturday.
South Korea reports 1,030 coronavirus cases
South Korea has reported 1,030 new coronavirus infections, the second consecutive daily record as a country that had initial success in controlling COVID-19 is now fighting a harsh third wave.
Of the new cases, 1,002 were transmitted locally. It brings the total to 42,766 infections with 580 deaths, the Korea Agency for Disease Prevention and Control said.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun said Saturday that further tightening the restriction on social distancing at the nation’s highest level would be inevitable if the spread continues, which would be virtually a first-time lockdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. .