Over 88.8 million people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.9 million infected people have died; over 49.3 million have recovered.
- American President-elect Joe Biden is due to receive his second dose of the coronavirus vaccination on Monday according to a Reuters report. Other important members of Biden's team would also be vaccinated, said the spokesman for his transition team, David Kamin, on Friday (January 8th).
- In the fight against the largest outbreak of the coronavirus in months, China has tightened the measures in Hebei province again. On Saturday (January 9th) in the provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, with eleven million inhabitants, all metro lines were suspended indefinitely, as reported by state media. Bus traffic was later also stopped. Hebei is right outside the gates of the Chinese capital Beijing. Shijiazhuang and the seven million metropolis of Xingtai, 125 kilometers away, were cordoned off on Friday. Anyone who wants to leave them needs special permission. Long-distance road traffic to the two cities was discontinued. Residential areas were also cordoned off. The number of infections in Hebei rose to just under 350, as the local health commission reported. Several million people have already been tested. Fourteen new cases and 16 asymptomatic cases were reported on Saturday. The origin of the new outbreak is still unclear.
- French President Emmanuel Macron defended the European corona vaccination strategy on Friday (January 8th) in an interview with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The allocation mechanism was robust and fair, it was said from the Élysée Palace. With the strength of the collective, one can negotiate a diverse and safe portfolio of vaccines in substantial quantities and at better prices. Macron also addressed these points in an interview with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday evening, who shared this stance. Recently, German politicians, among others, criticized the fact that there was not enough vaccine against Covid-19 available in Europe. On Friday, von der Leyen announced that the EU had secured up to 300 million doses of the vaccine from Biotech and Pfizer. Seventy-five million units should be available in the second quarter of 2021.
- With 10,176 new infections and 118 fatalities within 24 hours, Lisbon's health authorities report the highest numbers in Portugal since the beginning of the Corona crisis. As a result of the strong increase in numbers, hospitals' situation is also becoming increasingly tense. The number of inpatient Covid-19 patients climbed by 118 on Friday to the new all-time high of 3451.
- Iran's top leader bans imports of American and British corona vaccines into the country. "If these vaccines had been effective, the Americans would not have thousands of corona deaths a day," said Ali Khamenei on Friday (January 8th) on state television. Iran must not become a test laboratory for unsafe vaccines. The ban's background is likely to be more than 40 years of political hostility between Iran and the USA. Iran prefers to do without American products as much as possible. The 150,000 vaccine doses from Biotech and Pfizer that had already been ordered were immediately canceled. Iran has been testing its own corona vaccine since last month. According to President Hassan Rouhani, the country will soon also introduce foreign vaccines.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) fears that poorer countries will be disadvantaged by the vaccinations against Corona, which are now starting. Not a single poor country is among the 42 states that injected safe and effective vaccines, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva on Friday, January 8th. He appealed to the rich countries, which had secured many vaccination doses, to distribute them to the 92 affiliated countries via the international Corona vaccination initiative Covax. The reorders threatened to drive up the prices for the vaccines, criticized Tedros. The WHO experts drew attention to the fact that the current number of vaccine doses delivered did not affect the course of the pandemic.
- The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, proclaimed a major incident in view of the British capital's unprecedented high number of infections. The threat that the virus poses to the city is at a critical point, he said on Saturday night (January 9th), according to the BBC. "If we do not act immediately, our (health service) NHS could be overwhelmed, and more people will die," Khan said in a statement. Great Britain has had very high numbers of infections in the past few days. London is particularly hard hit. The hospitals are already mostly full. The government and experts also blame a new, presumably more contagious virus variant.