Vaccines in the EU “before the new year”: the daily bulletin COVID-19

• Europeans will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines before the new year after the drug regulator accelerated its approval process. The European Medicines Agency will meet on 21 December to evaluate the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, with the European Commission ready to follow its own approval “in a few days”.

• Anti-blockade protesters in the Ukrainian capital Kiev knocked out a police officer while another 40 people received chemical eye burns from the gas, the interior ministry said on Tuesday. A tight national blockade will begin in January.

• Daily coronavirus deaths in Turkey have risen by a record 235 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 16,881, the Ministry of Health data showed on Tuesday. Turkey has also reported 32,102 new cases of coronavirus, including asymptomatic, in the last 24 hours.

• Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland will coordinate the start of their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, Health ministers said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

• The iconic Russian airline Aeroflot will designate a special seating area on board for passengers who refuse to wear masks. “The dedicated seats are allocated to passengers who declare their refusal to use masks afterwards [the aircraft’s] the doors are closing, “a statement said.

• The share of the Spanish population that contracted coronavirus has almost doubled, or about 4.7 million people, in the second wave of contagion at the end of summer, the results of the last stage of a national antibody study showed on Tuesday. In Madrid, 18.6 percent gave positive results.

• Switzerland should impose an immediate and strict blockade, on Tuesday, he urged the government’s top pandemic expert. “We believe we need very strong measures, the sooner the better,” said Martin Ackermann, calling for the closure of non-essential restaurants and shops and for strict rules at work.

• Poland still can’t loosen COVID-19 restrictions and people should stay home for Christmas, senior government ministers said on Tuesday. “We cannot pretend that we have defeated the virus,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.

• France reported 11,532 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday in the last 24 hours – the day when President Emmanuel Macron sought a reduction to 5,000 or fewer new cases daily to ease the country’s blockade.

• German Health Minister Jens Spahn said pressure on the European Medicines Agency to approve the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech. It has already been released in other countries, including the UK and the US. “Our goal is approval before Christmas, so we can start vaccination as early as this year,” he said.

Italy will have to impose new restrictions at Christmas to slow the spread of the virus and prevent a third “devastating” wave, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said The Press.

• A new A five-week national blockade was imposed in the Netherlands with schools, non-essential shops, museums and gyms closed until 19 January.



Rahul Pathak in Madrid

Spain could develop herd immunity by the summer of next year if enough people get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the country’s health minister.

Salvador Illa said the country’s vaccination program, due to begin in January, should vaccinate two-thirds of the national population of 47 million by June 2021.

Illa’s confidence comes despite a recent survey that showed that Spaniards were among the most skeptical in Europe regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

He said the first coronavirus vaccines could begin arriving in Spain on January 4, once approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Nawied Jabarkhyl in London

Nearly 11 million people in and around London will start going to the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday. It means that 61 per cent of England’s population will be in level 3 areas, with stricter limits on their lives.

The British government has said it has found a new strain of coronavirus that is proving to be particularly active in parts of the country with high rates of infection. But he rejected calls for a review of his decision to allow households to reunite at Christmas in a national relaxation of rules. Scientists warn that it could lead to more cases and deaths.

There are concerns about the economic damage that tougher restrictions could have. The latest figures show that 819,000 fewer people were on British wages, compared to the beginning of the pandemic.

Protesters oppose the virus restrictions in the UK, as London is placed at the highest level. / David Cliff / NurPhoto / Getty

Protesters oppose the virus restrictions in Britain, as London is placed at the highest level. / David Cliff / NurPhoto / Getty

Toni Waterman in Brussels

Coronavirus infections have taken a turn for the worse in Belgium … but in a worrying direction, as the number of cases has now risen for three consecutive days.

In the last week there was an average of 2,274 infections per day, an increase of 6% over the previous week. With a reproduction rate just below one, government and health officials may be forced to introduce new restrictions when they meet on Friday – just a week before the Christmas holiday.

The death toll in the country has also passed another grim stage, with a total of 18,054 people killed by the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Linda Kennedy in Budapest

The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in Hungary in late December, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. And the country has signed a contract with each “serious vaccine manufacturer”, while negotiating “both the East and the West.”

Any amount of vaccine that is likely to arrive by the end of December will be small, with mass vaccinations not starting until 2021, added one of the country’s leading epidemiologists.

Hungary has linked a total of 17.5 million doses of vaccine to a variety of manufacturers. In the last 24 hours, 3,470 new infections have been identified and 165 people have died.

Jens Spahn aims to approve the use of the vaccine before Christmas. / Daniel Karmann / AFP

Jens Spahn aims to approve the use of the vaccine before Christmas. / Daniel Karmann / AFP


CGTN China: Mainland China reports 17 new COVID-19 cases

CGTN America: “Healing is coming”: US health workers are starting to get vaccinated

CGTN Africa: Patients in Kenya with COVID-19 left with heavy bills after hospitalization

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Source (s): Reuters, AFP