3 December

 Global: Coronavirus infections have passed 64.5 million. Meanwhile, the global coronavirus death toll approaches 1.5 million. Currently, the world is regularly suffering more than 10,000 deaths per day according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

 US: Covid-19 infections are heading towards 14 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 273,835 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The Rust Belt, New York and California are likely to drive up the pace of Covid-19 deaths in coming weeks as the U.S. approaches 300,000 fatalities, based on a forecast from the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Reich Lab..

The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday the Covid-19 pandemic, still raging with unprecedented fury nationwide, will pose the country’s grimmest health crisis yet over the next few months, before vaccines become widely available.

 California’s agricultural workers have contracted Covid-19 at nearly three times the rate of other residents in the state, a new study has found, laying bare the risks facing those who keep a $50bn industry afloat.

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The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, issued an order for residents to remain in their homes and for all businesses that require in-person work to cease operations. The measure comes as the city is “close to a devastating tipping point,” said the statement. The strict order carved out exceptions for faith-based outdoors services, homeless people and essential businesses like supermarkets and banks.

New York City’s new coronavirus cases hit 1,809 on Monday, its highest daily tally since 3 May  and 144 more than the previous day. Yet its school system remains on track to reopen for pre-kindergarten and elementary students Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Japan: Japan authorities have been urging preparations for a “worst-case scenario” as serious Covid-19 cases have risen to a record across the country. Tokyo raised its Covid-19 alert to the highest of four levels last month, as daily infections in the Japanese capital increased by more than 500.

China: China is carrying out sweeping inspections on food importers, supermarkets, e-commerce platforms and restaurants to prevent the spread of coronavirus through imported cold chain products, the country’s market regulator said on Wednesday.

South Africa: Localised coronavirus outbreaks in parts of South Africa have raised fears that the country could see a resurgence in cases compounded by gatherings during the upcoming festive season.

Australia: Australia’s New South Wales state has recorded its first new case of the coronavirus in 25 days after a woman working at a quarantine hotel in Sydney tested positive. Authorities are investigating whether she became infected in the community or through work at the facility, the state health department said in a statement Thursday. The woman’s five family members were tested overnight and all returned a negative result for the virus.

Myanmar: Myanmar has imposed a strict stay-at-home order for two weeks in Mandalay district, home to the nation’s second-largest city, to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases after the 8 November general election, according to a statement by Mandalay Region Government.

India: India’s daily coronavirus cases continued to stay below the 50,000 mark for the 25th straight day, with 36,604 new infections reported, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday. The country now has 9.5 million total infections, but cases have been dipping since a peak in September, in spite of a busy festival season last month.

 Germany: Germany recorded 24,766 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, and daily fatalities jumped to a seven-month high of 483. The rise in infections – the biggest in six days – took the total to 1,094,678, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Vaccine news

South Korea: South Korean drugmaker Daewoong Pharma said on Thursday it had sought regulatory approval for Phase II trials of its anti-parasite niclosamide drug to treat Covid-19 patients, sending its shares up nearly 6%.

US: Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday the US government has purchased 650,000 additional doses of its Covid-19 antibody drug for $812.5 million. The doses will be delivered through 31 January, with at least 350,000 delivered in December, the company said.

New York expects to receive 170,000 doses of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine on December 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. Health-care workers in the most high-risk jobs, such as emergency rooms, as well as nursing-home residents and staffers will receive the vaccine first, Cuomo said at a virus briefing in Albany.

Germany: Germany is conducting direct negotiations with domestic Covid-19 vaccine developers to obtain more doses than would be allocated through the shared European Union plan, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday. The country is in talks with BioNTech SE, Pfizer Inc.’s partner on the first vaccine approved in a Western country against the virus, as well as CureVac NVand IDT Biologika GmbH, Spahn said.

Brazil: Brazil has opened the route for emergency approval of Covid-19 vaccines and outlined the requirements for companies looking to do so. Authorisations will be analysed on a case-by-case basis and that to be considered the vaccine must be in late-stage trials in Brazil. It said no requests had been received so far.

UK: Mass immunisation against coronavirus will begin next week, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday as he moved to defuse a diplomatic row over claims that Brexit was responsible for the fast-track approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Turkey: Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca outlined a road map for vaccination as the country struggles with an increasing number of coronavirus cases and deaths. The first batch of vaccines is expected to arrive after 11 December, and people including medical staff and those over 65 years old with chronic diseases will be vaccinated in the first phase, according to minister’s remarks in state Anadolu news agency.

Lockdown updates

Spain: Spain will allow families to meet in groups of up to 10 on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as part of its restrictions on festive season gatherings, Health Minister Salvador Illa said in a news conference on Wednesday. The government is seeking to strike a balance between permitting small-scale festive gatherings and combating the pandemic.

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will extend its partial lockdown by three more weeks as the country struggles to regain control of the coronavirus spread. Bars, gyms and cinemas will remain closed until 10 January and the government will reconvene with regional leaders on 4 January to reassess the restrictions, Merkel said on Wednesday after talks with the premiers of Germany’s 16 states.