The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) health ministry says an interim analysis of in-country phase-three clinical trials of Chinese-made Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine has 86 percent efficacy against the infection.
Meanwhile, Oxford University and AstraZeneca became the first COVID-19 vaccine makers to publish final-stage clinical trial results in a scientific journal, clearing a key hurdle in the global race to produce safe and effective drugs for the new coronavirus.
US President-elect Joe Biden has laid out his plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic during his first 100 days in office, saying his administration would vaccinate 100 million Americans, push to reopen schools and strengthen mask mandates.
Here are the latest updates:
4 mins ago (09:23 GMT)
Israel gets first delivery of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
Israel received its first batch of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring the pandemic’s end was “in sight” and vowing to get the first jab.
“This is a great celebration for Israel,” he said on the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, as a fork-lift truck started unloading the cargo from a red and yellow DHL air freighter.
The shipment was the first of eight million doses ordered from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer BioNTech.
“The end is in sight,” Netanyahu said referring to the disease which has infected 348,948 Israelis, 2,932 of them fatally, according to a Wednesday update.
“What is important to me is that Israeli citizens get vaccinated,” he added.
The Pfizer vaccine has yet to receive the necessary regulatory approvals for use in Israel but Netanyahu said he expected it to receive clearance “in the very near” future [File: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images]
17 mins ago (09:09 GMT)
Indonesia records highest daily COVID-19 death toll of 171
Indonesia reported 171 more deaths from the coronavirus, marking the Southeast Asian country’s highest daily rise in fatalities and taking the total number of deaths to 18,171, data from its COVID-19 taskforce showed.
The data also showed 6,058 new cases, taking the total number of infections to 592,900.
Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia [File: Achmad Ibrahim/AP]
20 mins ago (09:06 GMT)
Russia reports 26,190 new coronavirus cases, 559 deaths
Russia reported 26,190 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 5,145 in Moscow, taking the national total to 2,541,199 since the pandemic began.
Authorities said 559 had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 44,718.
24 mins ago (09:02 GMT)
Merkel says should close shops after Christmas until January 10
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she agreed with recommendations to close shops in Europe’s largest economy after Christmas until January 10 and opposed opening hotels so that families can visit each other over the holiday period.
Speaking in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Merkel said experience showed the second wave of a pandemic was harder than the first, adding that there were still far too many people infected with the coronavirus in Germany.
She said people in Germany had not reduced their contact with others to a sufficient degree.
Germany has imposed a “lockdown light” in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, leaving only schools and shops open [File: Michael Kappeler/Reuters]
29 mins ago (08:57 GMT)
Ukraine reports record daily coronavirus-related deaths
The number of daily coronavirus deaths in Ukraine jumped to 276 from the previous record of 257 fatalities registered in November, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.
He also said 12,585 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 845,343 cases with 14,204 deaths.
31 mins ago (08:56 GMT)
Mnuchin says he presented $916bn relief proposal to Pelosi
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he has presented a $916bn proposal for coronavirus relief that includes money for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses during a conversation with Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.
“As part of this proposal, we will fund it using $140bn in unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and $429 billion in Treasury funds,” Mnuchin said.
31 mins ago (08:56 GMT)
UAE says Sinopharm vaccine has 86-percent efficacy
The United Arab Emirates health ministry says an interim analysis of in-country phase-three clinical trials of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine has 86-percent efficacy against the infection.
It also said it had registered the Chinese vaccine, for which it approved emergency use in September for certain groups. The ministry statement provided few details but marked the first public release of information on the efficacy of the shot.
The UAE conducted a trial beginning in September of the vaccine by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm involving 31,000 volunteers from 125 nations. Volunteers between 18 and 60 years old received two doses of the vaccine over 28 days.
A nurse prepares to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a London hospital [File: Frank Augstein/Reuters]