FACTBOX- Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus


Mexico, France, and Russia confirmed the presence of the new coronavirus variant, first detected in Britain, while infections in China rose to an over five-month high.

* Britain will open seven large-scale vaccination centres on Monday.
* Northern Ireland’s health minister said COVID-19 was placing the healthcare system under pressure “like never before.”
* Several thousand protesters in the Czech Republic gathered in Prague’s Old Town Square on Sunday to call on the government to lift coronavirus restrictions.
* The Spanish government will send convoys carrying theCOVID-19 vaccine and food supplies to areas which saw the heaviest snowfall in decades.
* Pope Francis plans to be vaccinated as early as next week and urged everyone to get a shot, but said he was not sure if his trip to Iraq in March can take place because of the pandemic.

* China will continue to suspend flights to and from Britain and Vietnam will limit flights bringing citizens home from now until the end of the Lunar New Year in mid-February.
* Japanese health officials have detected a new coronavirus variant, which differs from those found in Britain and South Africa, in four travellers from Brazil’s Amazonas state.
* Malaysia signed a deal to buy an additional 12.2 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, while the Philippine government will secure 30 million doses from Serum Institute of India.

* U.S. President-elect Joe Biden may speed up distribution of vaccines to U.S. states, and said he would deliver a plan costing “trillions” of dollars this week.
* Texas will allocate about half of its latest vaccine supplies to just 28 healthcare sites, officials said on Sunday, aiming to speed distribution.
* Cuba has suspended interprovincial transport, cultural activities, and the use of public spaces during night hours.

* Algeria has become the first African country to register Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for use.
* The Palestinian Authority said it expects to receive its first vaccine doses in March under a deal with drugmaker AstraZeneca.
* Israel’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, the world’s fastest per capita, shifted to booster shots on Sunday.
* Foreign companies will not be allowed to test vaccines on the Iranian people, President Hassan Rouhani has said.

* The U.S. drugs regulator said genetic variants of COVID-19 could lead to false-negative results from some molecular tests, but the risk of the mutations affecting overall testing accuracy is low.
* Europe’s medicines regulator expects drugmaker AstraZeneca to apply for approval of its vaccine next week.

* Asian shares paused near historic highs on Monday, while Treasury yields were at a 10-month top as “trillions” in new U.S. fiscal stimulus plans were set to be unveiled this week.
* China’s factory gate prices fell last month at their slowest pace since February, official data showed on Monday.
* Oil prices fell on Monday on renewed concerns about global fuel demand amid strict lockdowns in Europe and new movement restrictions in China.

Source: sabcnews