Britain started vaccinating its population with the Covid-19 shot developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, while France sought to accelerate inoculations on Monday after an initial roll-out slowed by bureaucracy.
* Britain began vaccinating its population with the Covid-19 shot developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, touting a scientific “triumph” that puts it at the vanguard of the West in inoculating against the virus.
* The German health ministry is seeking advice on whether to delay administering a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer to make scarce supplies go further, according to a document seen by Reuters.
* France sought to accelerate Covid-19 inoculations after an initial roll-out slowed by bureaucracy and government wariness in one of the world’s most vaccine-sceptical countries.
* The U.S. government is considering giving people half the dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine to speed up vaccinations.
* Medical companies and shippers in Canada are racing to transport time-sensitive radiochemical materials used to treat cancer, as a pandemic-induced drop in passenger flights has narrowed transportation options and created cargo delays.
* Colombia’s capital Bogota will implement strict two-week quarantines in three neighbourhoods beginning on Tuesday to try to control a second wave of coronavirus.
* Japan said it would consider declaring a state of emergency for the Greater Tokyo metropolitan area as cases climb, casting news doubts over whether it can push ahead with the Olympics and minimise economic damage.
* South Korea is reviewing AstraZeneca’s request for approval of its coronavirus vaccine, as it expands a ban on private gatherings of more than four people to the whole country with daily cases topping more than 1,000 in four days.
* Hong Kong extended its suspension of face-to-face school classes until mid-February, with the spread of the coronavirus in the Asian financial hub remaining “critical”.
* Vietnam has agreed to buy 30 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, the government said, adding that authorities are also seeking to purchase vaccines from other sources, including Pfizer.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South Africa aims to get Covid-19 vaccines by next month but is still in talks with pharmaceutical companies and no deals have been signed yet.
* Jordan has struck a deal with Pfizer and partner BioNTech to buy 1 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine and another 2 million doses from the World Health Organization’s s COVAX programme.
* Saudi Arabia said that entry to the kingdom by sea, land and air will be resumed after a ban that lasted two weeks amid fears of a new coronavirus variant, the state news agency reported on Sunday.
* Scientists are not fully confident that Covid-19 vaccines will work on a new variant of the coronavirus found in South Africa, ITV’s political editor said, citing an unidentified scientific adviser to the British government.
* Mexican authorities said they are studying the case of a 32-year-old female doctor who was hospitalized after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
* World stock markets hit record highs on Monday, the first trading day of the new year, as investors hoped the rollout of vaccines would ultimately lift a global economy decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Asian factory activity expanded moderately in December thanks to robust demand in regional giant China, business surveys showed on Monday.
* Singapore marked its worst-ever recession in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although contraction moderated in the fourth quarter as the city-state lifted more curbs.