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Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Pfizer vaccine ‘95%’ effective –
Drug giant Pfizer says final trial results of its vaccine show it is 95 percent effective.

It says no serious side effects were found and that it will apply for emergency use authorisation from US regulators within days.

– Spain authorises phase 3 trial –
Spain authorises the launch of late-stage trials of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate in nine hospitals across the country. It will also be tested in eight other nations.

– German mask protest –
Berlin police fire water cannon to disperse thousands of unmasked protesters demonstrating against new measures to curb the spread of the virus.

– French ‘far’ from lockdown lifting – 
France is far from lifting  a partial coronavirus lockdown, a spokesman says after President Emmanuel Macron and top ministers discuss the crisis, although some restrictions may be relaxed before Christmas “if conditions allow it”.

– Lockdown Down Under – Stay-at-home orders are issued for South Australia residents in a six-day circuit-breaker lockdown meant to contain a cluster in Adelaide that ended a months-long streak of no infections.

– OK for home test kit – The US gives the green light to the first virus home test kit that returns a result in 30 minutes or less.

– Hungary emergency – Hungary extends its state of emergency that enables partial lockdown measures for an extra two months to February 8.

– US deaths near 250,000 – The coronavirus has killed at least 1,339,130 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Wednesday. 

That includes 10,724 new deaths, with 590,690 new cases recorded worldwide.

The US has the most new deaths with 1,313, followed by France with 1,219 and Italy with 731.

The US is the worst-affected country with 248,707 deaths, followed by Brazil with 166,699, India with 130,993, Mexico with 99,026 and the United Kingdom with 52,745.

– Portugal extends emergency –
Lisbon prepares to extend infection control measures and a state of emergency in the most-affected regions beyond Monday, for another two weeks.

– Belgium in ‘right direction’ –
A month-long semi-lockdown in Belgium is working to limit the spread of and deaths by Covid-19, in one of the worst-hit countries in Europe’s second wave, health authorities say.

– Frozen food scare – Chinese health officials say two workers in the port city of Tianjin are infected after a number of outbreaks linked to imported frozen food.

– Russia alarmed at spike –
Russian President Vladimir Putin voices concern over the country’s rising coronavirus fatality rate, after authorities report a new record of 456 deaths over 24 hours, but he says the outbreak is under control.

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