Former Burundi president Pierre Buyoya died in Paris of COVID-19 at the age of 71, several close relatives told AFP news agency.
India is less than 20,000 cases from hitting the 10 million mark, as the country has registered over 22,800 new infections in the past 24 hours and remains firm as the world’s second-most-affected state after the United States.
In the United States, an unrelenting wave of coronavirus pushed the besieged hospitals further to the brink as the country continued to roll out immunization and prepares to ship nearly six million doses of a new vaccine after the approval of the emergency use reported by Moderna.
Meanwhile, South Korea also reported more than 1,000 cases for the third consecutive day, prompting officials to warn of possible new restrictions.
Here are all the latest updates:
A new English bloc cannot be ruled out: minister
A new national bloc in England cannot be ruled out after Christmas, UK Schools Minister Nick Gibb said.
Northern Ireland and Wales have both outlined plans to return to solitary confinement after Christmas to control infection rates, raising suggestions that England might follow suit.
“Nothing is ruled out of course as we tackle this pandemic, but the testing system is a very effective way … to focus on restrictions,” Gibb told Sky News when asked about a possible British third blockade.
Asked to confirm that the government was not ruling out a post-Christmas closure, Gibb said, “That’s not what I said. We have a very effective level system. “
Sri Lanka: outrage over the forced cremation of Muslim victims of COVID
Muslims in Sri Lanka are outraged by the forced cremation of a 20-day COVID-19 victim last week against the wishes of the family, the latest of more than a dozen similar cremations in the Buddhist-majority country since the pandemic broke out. .
Ignoring WHO guidelines that allow for both burials and cremations, Sri Lanka in March made cremation mandatory for people who die or are suspected of having died from coronavirus infection.
Read the full story here.
Latest country data
Tunisia, Lebanon and Gaza have reported more cases in the past 24 hours as they struggle to contain the outbreak.
Tunisia: 115,966 cases (+ 1,419); 4,032 deaths (+35)
Lebanon: 152,893 cases (+960), 1,248 deaths (+14)
Gaza: 32,158 cases (+997), 232 deaths
Russia signs more vaccine agreements with India
India will produce about 300 million doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccines next year, a Russian official said, nearly three times the previously known number as deals have been signed with multiple manufacturers.
Russia is already testing the first Sputnik V samples produced in India, its New Delhi embassy said on Twitter.
#Russia is testing the first samples of his own #SputnikV vaccine against #COVID-19 which were produced in India – CEO of @rdif_press Kirill Dmitriev.#Dmitriev: India will produce about 300 million doses of the Russian @sputnikvaccine in 2021 https://t.co/vJ0owjKIHA pic.twitter.com/tUoyONVYJ4
– Russia in India (@RusEmbIndia) December 18, 2020
India is the largest vaccine producer in the world, and its pharmaceutical industry is freeing up capacity and accelerating investment ahead of the global race for COVID-19 hits.
The former president of Burundi dies of Covid-19
Former Burundi President Pierre Buyoya died in Paris of Covid-19 at the age of 71, several close relatives told AFP news agency.
“President Pierre Buyoya died last night in Paris. He had Covid-19, “a member of his family said, asking for anonymity.
Several other relatives confirmed the death of Buyoya, who served as the AU special envoy to Mali and the Sahel from 2012 until November of this year.
Indonesia’s capital increases restrictions
Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is imposing a new round of restrictions starting Friday through January 8.
Under the new regulations, restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas and tourist sites must close by 21:00 (14:00 GMT), while offices must reduce their capacity by 50% and close by 19:00 (12:00 GMT).
Public transport will only operate until 20:00 (13:00 GMT).
Movements within the city will be monitored, with travelers entering or living in the capital expected to show a negative result from a rapid antigen test, according to local media.
The study offers insights into pregnant women with COVID-19
A small study of 16 pregnant women with COVID-19 found no evidence of virus transmission between mother and baby, shedding light on an as yet unknown area.
The Singapore study also found that babies born to infected mothers have antibodies to the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization says pregnant women can be severely affected by certain respiratory infections, and that it is not known whether mothers with COVID-19 can pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy or delivery.
India nearly 10 million infections
India’s tally has nearly exceeded 10 million, reaching 9,979,447 cases.
According to the latest data from the Federal Ministry of Health, the country is approaching the tragic goal: in the last 24 hours, 22,890 new infections have been registered.
India has recorded the second highest number of infections in the world after the United States, but the numbers have steadily declined since it peaked in September. Daily cases were less than 30,000 for the fifth consecutive day on Friday.
China vaccinates 50 million people
China is preparing to vaccinate 50 million people before the Lunar New Year travel season begins early next year.
On Wednesday, health experts from disease control and prevention centers across the country were summoned for a training meeting to prepare for mass vaccination, the South China Morning Post reported.
The plan is to distribute 100 million doses of the two-dose inactivated vaccines produced by Chinese companies Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech Ltd, the SCMP said.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany increase by 33,777
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased from 33,777 to 1,439,938, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Infectious Diseases showed on Friday.
The reported death toll rose 813 to 24,938, the tally showed.
South Korea reports more than 1,000 coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day
South Korea reported 1,062 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the second highest daily tally ever, as the government warned companies that it was unacceptable for them to attempt to evade closing orders by tricking the system.
The daily number was over 1,000 for the third consecutive day for the first time, data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) showed.
The wave of new cases has rocked a country that has been considered a mitigation success story for months. But despite its total tally rising to 47,515 infections, South Korea suffered only 645 deaths.
As the government agonized over strengthening social distances, which would mean ordering 1.2 million businesses to suspend operations, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said everyone had to abide by the rules.
Australia imposes limits on the growth boundary of the Sydney virus cluster; Christmas travel chaos
Australian states and territories on Friday began imposing border restrictions after 28 cases of COVID-19 were detected from a cluster on Sydney’s northern beaches, with fears that the number of infections will increase.
Health authorities fear the cluster may have spread to other areas of Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, as they have yet to determine the source of the infections.
NSW has urged some 250,000 residents in the affected suburbs of Sydney to stay home for three days.