Following criticism in Germany of the pace of the coronavirus vaccination roll-out, a health ministry official has revealed that Berlin has struck preliminary deals for an extra 50-million vaccine doses in the summer – outside what’s been negotiated by the EU. December was the deadliest month of the pandemic so far in Germany – and the number of daily deaths remains high, reaching a new record on Friday. Pressure is high to protect vulnerable groups by quickly rolling out vaccines – but some predictions in German media say if the pace of inoculation continues as it is now, herd immunity would not be reached until 2027.
An outbreak of COVID-19 has prompted Chinese officials to tell people in two cities south of Beijing to stay at home for seven days. The cities in Hebei province have tightened lockdown measures – including a ban on public transportation. Nearly 350 people have tested positive so far. Around three-thousand medical staff have been mobilized to support mass testing of more than 11 million people. China says it will provide coronavirus vaccines free of charge.
The UK has recorded its highest number of daily deaths from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. With a new variant that appears to be more transmissible surging across the country – authorities are particularly alarmed by the situation in London. Mayor Sadiq Kahn says the virus is ‘out of control’ in the capital – and hospitals face breaking point.
The coronavirus pandemic is also hitting some African nations hard, especially South Africa, where case numbers have been surging since the start of this year. It’s the worst affected of all the African countries, with more than one million cases already reported. DW’s Adrian Kriesch has more.
In India, a particularly cold winter has hit the residents of Delhi, with temperatures falling to almost zero degrees centigrade. Usually, at this time, many of the city’s homeless stay in shelters but this season will be complicated by COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, as DW’s Manira Chaudhary reports.
A year ago, thousands of believers came to the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Sava in Düsseldorf to worship and celebrate Christmas Eve. One year later, due to the COVID pandemic, a lot has changed. The church had to adapt services to the circumstances to avoid the risks.
The United States has set another daily record for new infections, with almost 300-thousand new cases – and more than 3,600 deaths reported on Friday.
Australia’s third-largest city of Brisbane has entered a 3-day lockdown after the emergence of a variant first detected in Britain. Officials say it was contracted by a cleaner at a quarantine facility. No community transmissions have been reported.
A new study published in the ‘Lancet’ medical journal says most people hospitalized with coronavirus still have symptoms after six months. The most common ones are fatigue and muscle weakness, but also sleeping difficulties.
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