- This daily round gives you a selection of the latest COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic news and updates, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top stories: Japan declares a limited state of emergency; WHO calls for more equitable launch of vaccines; The Prime Minister of Singapore receives a vaccine.
1. How COVID-19 affects the globe
Cases confirmed by COVID-19 have now exceeded 88 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths amounts to over 1.89 million.
Arrivals in England will have to show a negative COVID-19 test result upon entry. The test should be given no later than 72 hours in advance.
Travelers to Australia will also have to take a negative test – before boarding planes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today. It happens when Brisbane enters a short deadlock after the discovery of a case of a new COVID-19 variant.
Asian stocks hit record highs, and Japan’s Nikkei hit a three-decade high, hoping for an economic recovery at the end of the year.
The Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, received the first blow of a COVID-19 vaccine, urging others to obtain the jab as well. Singapore has reported only a handful of local cases in recent months.
Bogota, Colombia, has been in strict quarantine until Tuesday, amid a growing number of infections and fears that a new variant of the virus will circulate.
A laboratory study suggests that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is effective against a key mutation in new variants of the coronavirus discovered in the UK and South Africa.
China has introduced a new blockade in the northern city of Shijiazhuang, after more than 100 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. The measures affect about 11 million people.
2. Japan declares a limited state of emergency
Japan has declared a state of emergency in the capital Tokyo, along with three neighboring prefectures.
The measures are part of an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as new daily infections reached 7,000 for the first time yesterday, according to media reports. Tokyo recorded 2,447 positive tests on Thursday.
The government said the emergency would last a month and cover an area of about 30 percent of the country’s population. There are concerns that the restrictions may not go far enough, as the government is trying to balance the potential economic damage.
“The global pandemic has been tougher than we expected, but I hope we can overcome this,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a televised news conference. “For this to happen, I have to ask citizens to endure life with some restrictions.”
3. WHO calls for a more equitable release of vaccines
At the first World Health Organization (WHO) briefing in 2021, Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for more work to ensure that the launch of the vaccine is fair.
Forty-two countries have begun vaccinating their high-risk populations, he said. Of these, 36 are high-income and six are upper-middle-income.
“This is clearly a problem and this problem is getting worse as some countries are looking for new offers outside of COVAX, offering higher prices,” he said.
“History will not judge us kindly if we fail low- and middle-income countries in their time of need, and sharing is in the interest of every country,” he added.
“We can recover faster as a global community through sharing.”