Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Paris, Jan 3 (AFP/APP): Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

India approves two vaccines

India authorises the emergency use of two vaccines, one developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford and the other by local pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech, paving the way for one of the world’s biggest inoculation drives. The nation of 1.3 billion inhabitants plans to vaccinate up to 300 million people by mid-2021.

Egypt approves Chinese vaccine

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, approves the use of a vaccine developed by Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm. The first batch of 50,000 doses of the vaccine was delivered in December, with another 50,000 expected this month, after which the inoculation programme will kick off.

Zimbabwe reimposes lockdown

Zimbabwe imposes a national lockdown with immediate effect following a surge in Covid-19 cases, creating a major problem for most citizens who rely on the informal employment sector. The southern African nation is already struggling with a deepening economic crisis, hyperinflation and high unemployment.

Saudi Arabia reopens borders

Saudi Arabia announces the reopening of borders and the resumption of international flights after a two-week suspension aimed to stem the spread of a new Covid-19 strain in Britain and other countries.

EU offers vaccine production help

The European Union says it is ready to help drug companies expand coronavirus vaccine production to clear a “bottleneck” in distribution, with health commissioner Stella Kyriakides citing a “worldwide shortage of production capacity”.

More than 1.83 mn dead

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,836,918 people from more than 84,597,744 cases, according to an AFP tally from official sources. The United States is the worst-affected country with 350,214 deaths from 20,430,088 cases. At least 6,298,082 people have been declared recovered. The figures 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.

The United States on Saturday saw its highest number yet of coronavirus cases recorded in one day, with more than 277,000 infections.

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