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Germany Posts Record Deaths; U.K. Travel Controls: Virus Update[1]

(Bloomberg) — Germany reported the most daily fatalities since the start of the pandemic, with numbers topping 1,000 for the third day in a row. The U.K. and Australia both toughened controls on international travelers to help curb the spread of the virus.France and Hungary are among countries extending national restrictions , while Brisbane in Australia has started a three-day lockdown after a U.K. variant of the coronavirus was detected in the city. In the U.S., Connecticut, Texas and Pennsylvania reported their first cases of a new virus variant amid concern that Covid-19 deaths nationwide are likely to maintain a near-record pace through January.Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine possibly works against a mutation in new fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus discovered in the U.K. and South Africa, according to a University of Texas Medical Branch study supported by the two drugmakers. The vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. meanwhile was shown to be 78% effective against Covid-19 in late-stage Brazil trials.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases pass 88 million; deaths approach 1.9 millionU.S. Covid deaths to maintain a near-record pace for the monthVaccine Tracker: More than 17.5 million shots given worldwideU.S. vaccine rollout hindered by faulty coordination, messagingJapan Faces Struggle to Contain the Virus Spread in Just a MonthWhy a mutated version of the virus is causing concerns: QuickTakeSuga’s Bet on Softer Tokyo Emergency Risks Worse Economic PainTravel companies are starting to build buffers for new lockdownsSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.France Gets 1.1 Million Vaccine Doses (4:11 p.m. HK)France has received 1.1 million doses of vaccine so far, and is getting an extra 520,000 per week in January, Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said on Europe 1 radio. A Recipharm AB plant in France will start producing the Moderna vaccine at the end of February or early March, with other local factories expected to make different vaccines later, she said.Lockdown measures have also been extended, including a shutdown of bars and restaurants until mid-February. Curfew measures will remain in place until at least Jan. 20, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday. New infections rose by 21,703 on Thursday while deaths increased by 276 to 66,841. The country has found 19 confirmed cases of the more-transmissible U.K. Covid-19 variant and three cases of the South African variant.Hungary has also prolonged virus curbs until Feb. 1 to help slow infections, Premier Viktor Orban said on Friday.Philippines Seeks 15,000 Vaccine Test Volunteers (3:36 p.m. HK)The Philippines is seeking 15,000 volunteers in the Manila area for a World Health Organization Solidarity vaccine trial due to take place as early as this month, Rowena Cristina Guevara, science and technology department undersecretary, said on a virtual media briefing Friday.The nation is negotiating with 24 overseas bio-technology and pharmaceutical companies for vaccine supplies and has signed confidentiality agreements with 11 companies, she said. Russia’s Gamaleya Institute this week signaled interest in seeking emergency use authorization for its vaccine, she said.It’s also too early to conclude that the nation is showing a sustained decline in infection rates, health department Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on the same briefing. A recent drop-off may be due to laboratories cutting testing by as much as 30% over the holidays. Data for the next week or two will show whether infections escalated during the festive period, she said.Indonesia plans to start a vaccination program on Jan. 13, with President Joko Widodo taking the first jab. The nation, which is battling the worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, has switched its priority list for shots to the elderly instead of the young.Germany Reports Record Daily Death Toll (2:45 p.m. HK)Germany’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by the most since the pandemic began, topping 1,000 for a third straight day after Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the toughest months still lie ahead.Fatalities have more than doubled since the start of December and increased by another 1,152 in the 24 hours through Friday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Total infections rose by 45,333, close to the daily record of 49,044 on Dec. 31, to 1.89 million.Singapore Prime Minister Lee Gets Vaccine (1:25 p.m. HK)Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong got a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Friday, he posted on Facebook.Singapore aims to start vaccinating elderly people from February followed by other Singaporeans and long-term residents, he wrote. Lee got the jab on the same day that about 90 Singapore General Hospital staffers are expected to be vaccinated as part of the official roll-out for health-care workers, Channel News Asia reported.Australia Tightens Border Controls on New Strain Threat (11:40 a.m. HK)All international travelers will be tested for Covid-19 before they can board a flight to Australia under tightened border controls aimed at stopping the U.K. strain of the coronavirus from spreading.Passengers must wear masks on all international flights to Australia and on domestic routes, and international air crew will be tested on arrival in the country, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters Friday after an emergency meeting of the National Cabinet.“This virus continues to write its own rules, and that means that we must continue to be adaptable in how we continue to fight it,” he said.Malaysia Exchange Says Two Staff Test Positive (11:50 a.m. HK)Bursa Malaysia Bhd. said two staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a media statement Friday.The stock exchange has carried out contact tracing and established the movements of the infected staff members. Staff who had close contact with the affected employees will be sent for testing and will work from home, it said. The bourse remains open.NIH Scientists Study Vaccine Effectiveness Against New Strain (10:20 a.m. HK)Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health are studying whether Covid-19 vaccines will provide the same level of protection against new strains of the virus as they do against earlier strains, the agency’s lead scientist on coronavirus said.At the same time, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, scientific lead for the coronavirus vaccines team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said she’s “not as alarmed as the media would have us think” by the emergence of the new strains.China Reports 33 Cases in Hebei (8:15 a.m. HK)China reported 37 local confirmed coronavirus infections, including 33 in the northern province of Hebei near Beijing.A city of 11 million people near China’s capital has been locked down after the emergence of new cases in the worst outbreak in about two months in the country that has largely contained Covid-19.Authorities in Shijiazhuang banned people and vehicles from leaving the city in Hebei, CCTV reported late Thursday. Nucleic acid testing will be rolled out city-wide, and five hospitals have been emptied to treat Covid patients, the state broadcaster said, citing Deputy Mayor Meng Xianghong.U.K. Imposes Mandatory Tests on Travelers (8:05 a.m. HK)All passengers arriving in the U.K. will be required to prove they do not have coronavirus, showing a negative test result taken within 72 hours of the start of their journey.Under new rules announced by the British government, anyone failing to produce the evidence of a negative test will be hit with an immediate fine of 500 pounds ($678). Travelers arriving from countries that are not on the government’s open travel corridor list will be required to isolate at home for 10 days, regardless of their test results.U.S. Governors Demand Release of Vaccine Reserves (8 a.m. HK)Eight governors are demanding the federal government start distributing Covid-19 vaccines in reserve immediately.The leaders of California, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin called on federal officials to release more doses held by the government to states.“The failure to distribute these doses to states who request them is unconscionable and unacceptable,” the governors said in a letter dated Jan. 8.Australian City Locked Down After U.K. Strain Detected (5:25 p.m. NY)Australia’s Queensland state imposed a three-day lockdown of its capital, Brisbane, after the U.K. variant of the coronavirus was detected in the city.Residents across the metropolitan area will have to stay home except for essential work, services and exercise and wear masks if they do go out, state Premier Annastacia Pałaszczuk told reporters Friday.Brazil Deaths Pass 200,000 With Vaccinations Still on Hold (4:32 p.m. NY)Brazil’s coronavirus death toll passed 200,000 as the respiratory disease again pummels the Latin American country and a nationwide vaccination plan remains weeks away at best. Another 1,524 people died, while new cases rose to a daily record of 87,843.Much like in Europe and the U.S., the virus has resurfaced across the sprawling country in the past few weeks. Year-end festivities which saw large gatherings, and the detection of the new, more contagious variant of the virus in Sao Paulo, have added to concerns about the strength of a second wave.New York, New Jersey Report Record Daily Cases (2:30 p.m. NY)New York reported 17,636 positive tests and and 197 fatalities, while New Jersey had a record 6,314 new cases and 123 fatalities, a third straight day of more than 100.Both states had warned of a post-New Year’s Eve celebration surge. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy have been battling a second wave as colder weather nudged people indoors and holidays increased social gatherings.Spain Surpasses 2 Million Cases (1:49 p.m. NY)Spain’s total cases rose by 6,498 to surpass 2 million, according to the Health Ministry on Thursday. The total number of fatalities reached 51,675. The country will start receiving 600,000 doses of Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine in the coming days, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.Texas, Pennsylvania Report New Virus Variant (1:29 p.m. NY)Texas and Pennsylvania became the latest states to report cases of the more-transmissible variant of the coronavirus.In Texas, the variant was detected in an adult man from Harris County, home to the country’s fourth largest city of Houston, who has no history of travel, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.“The fact that this person had no travel history suggests this variant is already circulating in Texas,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner.In Pennsylvania, a person in Dauphin County tested positive after “known international exposure,” Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said. The person had mild symptoms that were resolved while isolated at home.At least five other U.S. states have reported cases of the variant.Sinovac Covid Shot 78% Effective in Brazil Trial (9:19 a.m. NY)The vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. was found to be 78% effective against Covid-19 in late-stage trials in Brazil, the most definitive evidence so far on the shot’s efficacy after previous data sparked doubt and confusion.The protection rate, confirmed by Sao Paulo state officials, was derived from Sinovac’s most advanced final-phase trials in Brazil involving about 13,000 participants. Coming after data was withheld at a progress update in late December, the rate is still below the roughly 95% effectiveness seen in cutting-edge mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. and being deployed in the U.S.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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