(Reuters) – Singapore has confirmed its first case of a new variant of the coronavirus found in Britain, while Irish health officials said the mutation was present in Ireland, although it is not solely responsible for the rapid spread of the disease.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* The British Minister of Transport said that he ordered to stop flights and arrivals from South Africa after a potentially more contagious variant of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads to Britain.
* Spain will receive 350,000 doses a week of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine starting Saturday, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.
* Irish health chiefs believe a new variant of COVID-19 found in neighboring Britain is present in Ireland, but is not solely responsible for the rapid spread of the disease.
* About 500 relatives of people who died from COVID-19 in Italy stated that they are initiating legal action against regional and national authorities, demanding compensation of 100 million euros (122 million dollars).
* Millions of COVID-19 vaccines sit unused in U.S. hospitals and elsewhere during a mass vaccination campaign, calling into question the government’s target for 20 million vaccinations this month.
* Merck & Co. said it would deliver about 60,000-100,000 doses of its experimental COVID-19 treatment to the U.S. government for about $ 356 million.
* Canada has approved Modern Coronavirus Vaccine Inc., another country that has done so, paving the way for health authorities to step up a vaccination campaign against the worsening of the second wave.
* Mexico plans to begin vaccinating health workers against COVID-19 on Thursday with the arrival of the first vaccines.
* Argentina has issued an emergency approval for the use of the Russian vaccine Sputnik COVID-19, the Ministry of Health announced.
* The first batch of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer will arrive in Costa Rica on Wednesday night, and vaccination is set to begin on Thursday, President Carlos Alvarado told a news conference.
* Singapore confirmed its first case of a new variant of coronavirus found in the United Kingdom, while 11 others that were already in quarantine returned preliminary positive results for the new strain.
* South Korea has signed agreements with Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen to provide coronavirus vaccines to 10 million people and 6 million, respectively.
* Aurobindo Pharma Ltd has stated that it will create and sell a candidate against COVAXX against COVID-19 from the U.S. for supply in India and the United Nations Children’s Fund under a licensing agreement.
* Taiwan’s tourism department canceled an annual New Year’s Eve celebration on the northeastern tip of the island on Wednesday, following a report on the first locally transmitted COVID-19 case on April 12th.
Middle East and Africa
* Israel has uncovered four cases of a new, highly contagious variant that has emerged in Britain.
* Modern Inc. expects immunity induced by its COVID-19 vaccine to be protective against coronavirus versions reported in the UK.
* Altimmune Inc. said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has clinically stopped its application to begin testing its dose of COVID-19, AdCOVID on humans.
* Brazilian researchers said the COVID-19 vaccine, developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, was more than 50% effective based on preliminary data, but again denied full trial results at a late stage at Sinovac’s request.
* Asian stocks and the British pound rose on Thursday ahead of the Christmas break as Britain and the European Union agreed on a free trade agreement, and investors bet on the prospects for a global economic recovery.
Compiled by Bartosz Dabrowski, Aditya Soni and Krishna Chandra Eluri and Uttaresh.V; Edited by Mark Heinrich, Maja Samuel and Subhranshu Sahu