Latest vaccine plans and state restrictions

NBC News

Isobel van Hagen

3h ago / 12:50 PM UTC

Daily virus infections in Russia hit record high

Russia hit its highest daily spike of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic on Sunday, as 29,039 new cases were confirmed by the country’s health authorities.

Russia has so far reported over 2 million infections, behind only the United States, India and Brazil. Russia also reported 43,141 virus-related deaths as of Sunday. The country is now facing a resurgence of the virus with daily infections and deaths significantly exceeding those reported in the spring. Even so, Russian authorities have rejected the idea of another nationwide lockdown, according to the Associated Press.

Last week, President Vladimir Putin ordered the start of a “large-scale” Covid-19 inoculation of the domestically-developed Sputnik V vaccine. While it has yet to complete advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety, doctors and teachers will be first in line to receive the shots, Putin said.

Isobel van Hagen

6h ago / 9:45 AM UTC

Australian state prepares for ‘Covid safe summer’

Australia’s Victoria state eased Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday for the holiday season, after the country’s pandemic hotspot has recorded no new coronavirus infections for more than a month. 

“Our new ‘COVID Safe Summer’ will be in place until at least the end of January, giving Victorians a bit more certainty about what the next couple of months will look like,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement. 

From midnight on Sunday, indoor household gatherings of up to 30 and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted, while 50 percent of office workers will be able to return to workplaces, Andrews said. While the country has all but eliminated the virus through strict quarantine measures—particularly in Victoria—mask-wearing will still be required in certain retail and public transport settings.

Isobel van Hagen and The Associated Press

5h ago / 10:43 AM UTC

China prepares vaccine rollout, as India seeks emergency approval

Provincial governments across China are placing orders for experimental, domestically made Covid-19 vaccines, as developers ramp up final testing, the Chinese foreign minister said during a U.N. meeting last week.

This comes as Britain recently approved emergency use of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine candidate, although Chinese health officials have yet to say how well the vaccines work or how they will be distributed to the country’s 1.4 billion people.

Meanwhile, Pfizer Inc. has applied for emergency use authorization of its vaccine in India, local media reported on Sunday according to Reuters. India has the world’s second-highest number of infections, behind only the United States.

Reuters

7h ago / 9:06 AM UTC

South Korea to consider new curbs as cases hit nine-month high

SEOUL — South Korea on Sunday reported 631 new coronavirus cases, the highest in nine months, ahead of an expected government decision on whether to further tighten social distancing curbs as health authorities struggle to contain a third wave of outbreaks.

After implementing tighter restrictions on Saturday, the government is to decide on Sunday whether to impose new measures in a country that had seen initial success through aggressive contact tracing and other steps.

The new cases bring the country’s tally to 37,546, with 545 deaths, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported.

Many of the recent cases have been centered in the capital city of Seoul, which on Saturday launched unprecedented curfews, shuttering most establishments and shops at 9 p.m. for two weeks and cutting back public transportation operations by 30 percent in the evenings.


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