- London enters tighter lockdown
- Italy imposes full lockdown over Christmas
- New variant 70% more effective in southern UK
- US sees near record jump in cases
- Record deaths seen in west, south
- India tops 10MM cases
- Germany buys 30MM doses
- Poland announces lockdown measures
- Tokyo reports second-highest number of new cases
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Update (1500ET): Even as Brexit negotiations drag on, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed a full lockdown on London and southeast England in a desperate attempt to stop a new "variant" strain - that's a fancy way of saying an even deadlier mutated iteration of the virus. coronavirus strain spreading rapidly over the UK.
After emergency talks on the virus mutation with his top officials, the prime minister canceled his plan to ease pandemic rules for five days during the holiday. Instead, household mixing will be banned in London and the southeast, while socializing will be restricted to just Christmas Day across the rest of England. Residents across the country were told to stay in their local areas. The premier announced a new top tier of pandemic curbs will be brought in for the hot-spot regions around the capital from Sunday, with all non-essential shops closing and millions of people ordered to stay at home.
The new variant, which analysts say is 70% more infectious, is being seein across Southeastern UK, as we have noted in the past.
A top US official apologized for a miscommunication regarding the vaccine's allocation numbers that states received. Meanwhile, five days after the rollout started, rural hospital executives are still waiting for their allotments to arrive.
Italy, home to Europe’s deadliest outbreak, is imposing a new total lockdown over Christmas for the first time since May, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Friday.
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The number of new COVID cases reported Friday in the US was just shy of the record highs reported earlier this month, with 228,825 reported in the US, while the number of currently hospitalized patients climbed to 114.8K, a new national record.
At 2.75K, deaths were just below a recent daily record.
Daily deaths in the south and west saw new record highs on Friday, while they pulled back everywhere else.
The west, particularly AZ and NV, are seeing hospitalization rates at unprecedented highs.
In other news, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce even stricter restrictions on London and southeast England
Last night, Moderna's coronavirus vaccine became the second to receive emergency use authorization from the US FDA. The announcement by the FDA comes a week after the FDA authorized a vaccine from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.
On the vaccine front, Switzerland (famously not an EU member) approved the leading Pfizer-BioNTech jab, while the Oxford-AstraZeneca version is expected to be approved for use in the UK by the end of the year, according to a report in the Telegraph. The vaccine is the first to be approved for use in the country, which has previously signed contracts with the companies for the delivery of 3MM vaccine doses. "Deliveries will start in 2020 and occur throughout 2021,” BioNTech said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Germany bought 30MM additional doses of the vaccine, citing sources at the German Ministry of Health. That allocation will bolster the 55.8MM doses that it will receive through a EU plan, with a further 50.5MM doses of the Moderna due from the EU. Collectively, this will allow Germany will be able to achieve herd immunity in 2021, the Federal Ministry of Health told the paper.
Here's some more COVID news from overnight and Saturday morning:
Poland, which announced tough new lockdown measures for the holiday season, reported 11.3K new coronavirus cases on Saturday, compared with 11K on Friday. The Health Ministry said the death toll increased by 483, the most in three days.
Tokyo on Saturday reported 736 new cases of coronavirus infections, the second highest after Thursday’s record of 822, a day after the metropolitan government raised its warning on the city’s medical system to the highest level. The number of seriously ill patients was 62, down from 66 a day before.
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Finally, India's coronavirus tally has surpassed 10MM, although the number of new daily cases has fallen sharply since its mid-September peak. Health officials reported 25.15K new infections and 347 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the health ministry. So far, 145.1K people have died of the virus in the country.