Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Paris, Jan 6 (AFP/APP): Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Moderna jab gets EU green light

The European Medicines Agency gives the go-ahead for US firm Moderna’s vaccine, the second shot to be cleared for use in the EU.

Record daily toll

A record 15,769 Covid-19 deaths are registered in the past 24 hours, according to an AFP tally on Wednesday based on official sources. The coronavirus has killed at least 1,869,674 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019. The US is the worst-affected country with 357,377 deaths, followed by Brazil with 197,732, India with 150,114 and Mexico with 128,822.

British record deaths

Britain announces another 1,041 coronavirus fatalities, the first time the daily death toll has topped 1,000 since the outset of the pandemic, as a full lockdown comes into force in England.

10,000 cases in Portugal

In Portugal, health authorities report 10,000 new cases in 24 hours in the nation of just 10 million people.

China blocks WHO mission

An expert mission to China to probe the origins of the pandemic is in disarray after Beijing denies entry to the World Health Organization team at the last minute despite months of painstaking negotiations. With some members of the 10-person team already in transit, China refuses them entry visas, prodding WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to say he was “very disappointed”. It is “not just a visa issue”, Beijing foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying insists. “The issue of origin-tracing is incredibly complicated,” she tells reporters.

Ireland closes schools

The Irish government closes schools for the rest of the month as a “tsunami of infection” threatens to overwhelm the healthcare service.

Last in line

The Netherlands administers its first shot to a nursing home worker, as it becomes the last country in the 27-nation EU to start its vaccination programme.

Britain vaccine vow

Britain has vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined, according to an AFP tally, its prime minister Boris Johnson says, vowing “a sprint, a race to vaccinate the vulnerable faster than the virus can reach them”.

Ukrainian probe

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky orders a probe into allegations elected officials smuggled coronavirus vaccines into the country to have themselves inoculated in secret.

US jobs worry

US private employment fell by 123,000 jobs in December, the first drop since April, according to private data, in a sign the economy is struggling as the pandemic worsens.

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