Latest updates as South Korea ramps up efforts to launch vaccination program, South Africa hits one million cases.
South Korea is stepping up efforts to launch a coronavirus vaccination program, it has announced the detection of its first cases of the variant of the virus initially identified in the United Kingdom.
South Africa, meanwhile, reached the grim milestone of one million coronavirus cases on Monday.
U.S. President Donald Trump passed a $ 2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending law on Sunday, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and preventing a federal government shutdown.
Worldwide, more than 80.4 million people have been infected with the coronavirus and 1.7 million have died.
Here are the latest updates:
China jails citizen journalist for four years for reporting Wuhan virus
Zhang Zhan, 37, the first known such person to be tried, was among a handful whose firsthand accounts of crowded hospitals and empty streets painted a darker picture of the epicenter of the pandemic as the official account.
He was convicted of “provoking quarrels and causing unrest,” his lawyer said.
“We will probably appeal,” lawyer Ren Quanniu told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia extends entry ban
Saudi Arabia has extended the ban on entry into the kingdom by a week amid fears of the new variant of the coronavirus.
The government said it was assessing the current situation while allowing non-citizens to leave the kingdom and allowing entry in exceptional cases.
Thailand confirms 144 new infections
The new cases in Thailand include 129 local infections and 15 from overseas, the public health ministry said in a statement.
The country has confirmed a total of 6,285 coronavirus cases and 60 deaths since its first case in late January.
Seniors in Mexico could get coronavirus vaccine in January
Mexico plans to complete administration of the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers by early January, before moving to inoculation of the elderly in the second half of the month, said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
South Korea steps up virus vaccination efforts
South Korean officials promise to speed up efforts to launch a public vaccination program, as the new variant was discovered in three people who entered South Korea from London, UK on December 22, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The KDCA reported 808 new cases as of midnight Sunday, the lowest since a record 1,241 infections recorded on Friday.
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South Africa cases cross million mark
South Africa has recorded its millionth case of COVID-19, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down.
The country had 800,000 registered cases at the beginning of December.
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