World News in Brief: December 25

Friday, 2020-12-25 16:28:09
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People wearing face masks wait for buses at the central bus station in Brasilia, Brazil, Dec. 23, 2020. Totoal confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil have reached 7,365,517, according to the latest updates by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University at 1500 GMT, Wednesday. (Photo: Xinhua)
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China will suspend direct flights to and from Britain indefinitely over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus, Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

* Indonesia has banned travellers from Britain and tightened the rules for those arriving from Europe and Australia to try to limit the spread of a new coronavirus variant.

* A new variant of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in Britain has been found in Germany for the first time, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said.

* Denmark has identified 33 infections with the new variant of the coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in parts of Britain.

* Another new variant of the novel coronavirus seems to have emerged in Nigeria, the head of Africa's disease control body said, cautioning more investigation was needed.

* Mainland China recorded 14 new COVID-19 cases on Dec. 24, down from 17 cases the previous day, the country's health authority said on Friday. Mainland China has now reported a total of 86,913 coronavirus cases, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

* Indonesia recorded its biggest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths on Friday with 258 fatalities, taking the total to 20,847, data by the country's health ministry showed. The data showed coronavirus infections increased by 7,259, bringing the number of cases to 700,097. Indonesia has the highest coronavirus caseload and death toll in Southeast Asia.

* US lawmakers blocked attempts to alter a US$2.3 trillion coronavirus aid and government spending package, rejecting President Donald Trump's demand for extensive changes and leaving benefits for millions of Americans at risk.

* Russia on Friday reported 29,018 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, including 7,315 in Moscow, taking the national total to 2,992,706 since the pandemic began. Authorities said 563 had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 53,659.

* French President Emmanuel Macron is showing no more symptoms of COVID-19, the Elysee office said.

* Prime Minister Ana Brnabic received Serbia's first COVID-19 vaccine shot, kicking off a mass inoculation drive with doses developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

* Mexico's health ministry on Thursday reported 12,485 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 861 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 1,362,564 cases and 121,172 deaths. The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

* Turkey will sign an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for 4.5 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to be delivered by the end of March, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

* Israel will impose a third national lockdown to fight surging COVID-19 infections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as the country pursues a vaccination campaign.