World News in Brief: December 26

Saturday, 2020-12-26 17:12:59
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People queue to enter a supermarket for last minute Christmas shopping, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Mexico City, Mexico December 24, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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More than 79.59 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,747,803 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

* The CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd SVA.O showed efficacy between 50% and 90% in Brazilian trials, Sao Paulo's state health secretary said, and its Brazilian producer said full trial results will be released by Jan. 7.

* Moderna Inc expects that the immunity induced by its COVID-19 vaccine would be protective against the coronavirus variants reported in Britain.

* Britain on Saturday published the text of its trade agreement with the European Union just five days before it exits one of the world's biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of empire.

* A motor home parked on a street exploded in downtown Nashville at dawn on Friday, moments after a recorded message emanating from the vehicle warned of a bomb, in what police called an "intentional act" in the heart of America's country music capital. Three people were injured in the Christmas morning blast, though none critically.

* Russia on Saturday approved its main COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, for use by people over the age of 60, Russian news agencies cited the health ministry as saying. The total number of cases of coronavirus infections in Russia crossed the 3 million mark for the first time on Saturday after officials recorded 29,258 new cases in the preceding 24 hours and 567 deaths.

* France recorded its first case of the new variant of coronavirus, as the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 mounted in the country, increasing concerns of a new wave of the virus hitting the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

* All many people want for Christmas this year is a simple hug, Britain's Queen Elizabeth said in her annual festive message, saying it would be hard for those who lost loved ones to COVID-19 pandemic or were separated by curbs on social mixing.

* Republic of Korea posted its second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Saturday as outbreaks at a prison, nursing homes and churches continued to grow, prompting authorities to plead for a halt to all year-end gatherings.

* Coronavirus infections in Tokyo hit a record daily high of 949 cases on Saturday as Japan heads into the New Year holiday, which normally sees people stream from the capital into the provinces.

* Sydney residents were urged not to head to the shops for Boxing Day bargains, while those in some northern beach suburbs prepared to re-enter a strict lockdown for three days from Sunday as the Australian city seeks to stamp out a coronavirus outbreak.

* More than 4,500 lorries, among a huge backlog of trucks stranded for days in the British port of Dover, crossed the Channel on Friday after extra troops were deployed to step up coronavirus testing, a minister said.

* Families across Mexico scaled down Christmas festivities to avoid the spread of coronavirus, while others spent the holiday alone after having lost loved ones to the pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 in Mexico this year.

Reuters