The new measures came into effect in Germany as the country saw its highest death toll since the start of the pandemic with a death toll reaching 952.
The British capital has been moved to the so-called “Tier 3” following a sharp increase in hospital admissions. Londoners will no longer be able to socialize with anyone outside of their home or social bubble when they are inside.
The UK government plans to lift restrictions for five days around Christmas. Germany will also slightly relax dating restrictions for Christmas (December 24-26), but not New Years Eve.
France started a curfew on Tuesday which will run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. – this will be lifted for Christmas Eve but not New Year’s Eve. France has seen its number of cases drop in recent weeks, but the numbers were still too high for further easing of restrictions as the country enters the holiday period.
Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday he was reviewing plans to reintroduce the restrictions before Christmas, but had ruled out a tougher lockdown like Germany’s.
Costa Rica and Panama on Tuesday authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in their respective countries.
Costa Rica’s health ministry said there was no date set for the vaccines to arrive in the country, but they “tentatively” planned to start vaccinations in the first quarter of 2021, according to a press release. Panama’s Deputy Health Minister Ivette Barrio also said the first shots could arrive within the same time frame.
An annual beach party to celebrate the New Year in Rio de Janeiro has been canceled. Marcelo Crivella, the mayor of BrazilThe city’s second largest city, said in a statement that “this is a necessary decision for the protection of all.”
Officials also canceled the city’s carnival, which is normally held at the end of February. They left the option of organizing an off-season event if the vaccination campaign is successful.
French pharmaceutical company Valneva will begin the first clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in England.
The vaccine candidate takes a more traditional approach to making vaccines, using a complete, inactivated viral version. It should require two doses.
If the first two phases are successful, larger trials are scheduled for April 2021 to determine effectiveness. The UK has already ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine to be delivered next year, with the possibility of acquiring an additional 130 million doses in subsequent years.
“We have to remember that we need to have a range of vaccines to protect the British public now and long into the future,” said UK Business Minister Alok Sharma.
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical announced on Wednesday that it will purchase at least 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for China next year, if and when the vaccine will be approved.
Fosun will make an advance payment to BioNTech of 250 million euros ($ 304 million), half by December 30 and the remainder after vaccine approval, the company said in a Hong Stock Exchange filing. Kong. Fosun said it would be entitled to an annual gross profit of 60% on sales of imported bulk ingredients and 65% of profits on sales of imported ready-to-use doses.
The Chinese government has not announced any deal with Western manufacturers.
At least a fifth of the world’s population may not have access to a COVID-19 vaccine until 2022, according to a study published Wednesday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
The newspaper said there was an expected maximum manufacturing capacity of 5.96 billion vaccines, or two doses as recommended by major vaccine makers, by the end of 2021. That would leave more than a billion unvaccinated people by the end of next year.
The study’s authors, who warned that publicly available information was incomplete, called for “greater transparency and accountability” for equal global access.
ab, kbd / dj (AP, AFP, Reuters)