(Reuters) – Britain went into another lockdown on Tuesday and Japan will decide this week whether to impose a state of emergency in the Tokyo area, while Beijing has stepped up efforts to shape the narrative about when and where the pandemic began.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Britain offered a 4.6 billion pound ($6.2 billion) support package for struggling businesses, as the country began its third COVID-19 lockdown with citizens under orders to stay at home and the government calling for one last major national effort to stem the virus before mass vaccinations turn the tide.
* France is widening its COVID-19 vaccination rollout to more health workers after making a slow start to its inoculation campaign.
* Denmark might impose further restrictions, the Ekstra Bladet newspaper reported.
* More than two-thirds of the 15 million coronavirus vaccines shipped within the United States have so far gone unused, as the governors of New York and Florida vowed to penalise hospitals that fail to dispense shots quickly enough.
* Mexico has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
* Major U.S. airlines backed a proposal by public health officials to implement a global testing program requiring negative tests before most international air passengers return to the United States.
* Japan will decide later this week whether to impose a state of emergency in the Tokyo area, a move citizens derided as too little, too late in a nation set to host the Olympics.
* As a team from the World Health Organization (WHO) prepares to visit China to investigate the origins of COVID-19, Beijing has stepped up efforts not only to prevent new outbreaks, but also shape the narrative about when and where the pandemic began.
* The number of deaths linked to the coronavirus in South Korea passed 1,000 on Tuesday, while an increasing number of gym owners said they would reopen in protest against strict social distancing rules.
* Thailand has ordered an additional 35 million doses of the AstraZeneca Plc COVID-19 vaccine, bringing its total vaccine pipeline to 63 million doses.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran has registered its first case of a highly contagious coronavirus variant that emerged in Britain, in an Iranian who arrived from the UK.
* Israel’s health ministry has authorised a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc, the company and an Israeli official said, marking the vaccine’s third regulatory authorisation and the first outside North America.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the idea of changing the authorized dosing or schedules of COVID-19 vaccines was premature and not supported by the available data.
* A COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Chinese firm Stemirna Therapeutics obtained approval to conduct human testing from China’s medical products regulator.
* World shares struggled on Tuesday amid new lockdowns in Europe and Senate runoff races in Georgia that will affect incoming U.S. President Joe Biden’s ability to pursue his preferred economic policies.
* Japan’s likely decision to declare a state of emergency in the Tokyo area will most probably trigger a contraction in January-March, analysts say, adding to the headache for policymakers struggling to cushion the blow to the economy from the pandemic.
* The number of people registering as jobless in Spain rose in 2020 after dropping for seven consecutive years, as the pandemic and business restrictions hit the labour market.
Compiled by Linda Pasquini, Ramakrishnan M. and Amy Caren Daniel; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila