(Reuters) – China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, according to a U.S. analyst. In Australia, the state of Queensland has lifted border restrictions and, in the United States, President Donald Trump’s special coronavirus adviser has resigned.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* Russia reported a record 569 deaths linked to the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the official death toll to 40,464.
* Turnover in Swedish businesses across almost all sectors has dipped over the last two weeks due to the second wave of the coronavirus and tougher restrictions to halt its spread, a leading think tank said on Tuesday.
* France recorded 4,005 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, the smallest rise since August, even as hospitalizations remained high.
* Dr Scott Atlas has resigned as special adviser on the novel coronavirus to President Trump, a White House official said on Monday, after four months during which he clashed with other members of the coronavirus task force.
* U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will formally introduce his top economic policy advisers on Tuesday as his administration prepares to take power amid a slowing economic recovery hampered by the resurgent pandemic.
* California’s governor said he may renew a stay-at-home order in coming days, while families of 15 public school students sued the state, saying it has failed to provide equal education to poor and minority children during the pandemic.
* Queensland on Tuesday lifted border restrictions on the country’s two most populous states for the first time in more than eight months, reuniting families and aiding the country’s economic recovery.
* Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said China had provided Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine. Kazianis, who cited two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources, said it was unclear which company had supplied its drug candidate to the Kims.
* Vietnam on Tuesday reported two more coronavirus cases linked to a new domestic infection in Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s business hub, its government said.
* Japan is loosening regulations on part-time work for foreigners stuck in the country and having trouble supporting themselves.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Turkey will impose a weekday curfew and a full lockdown at weekends, as the death toll hits a record high for an eighth consecutive day.
* Deaths from malaria due to disruptions during the pandemic to services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease will far exceed those killed by COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization warned.
* France’s health regulator has given positive feedback to a saliva-based COVID-19 testing product, according to the companies Vogo and SkillCell who are involved in developing the product.
* Pfizer Inc and BioNTech have applied to the European drugs regulator for conditional authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine, following similar steps in the United States and Britain, the companies said on Tuesday.
* Moderna Inc said it has applied for U.S. emergency authorization for its vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns.
* World shares edged up to just below record peaks on Tuesday after robust China data boosted expectations of a recovery from the COVID-19 downturn and as drugmakers seek fast approval for their vaccines and authorities look set to keep stimulus support.[MKTS/GLOB]
* China’s factory activity accelerated at the fastest pace in a decade in November, a private survey showed on Tuesday.
* Japanese companies cut spending on plant and equipment in July-September for a second straight quarter, while the government plans to temporarily cut its aviation fuel tax by 80% at most to help the airline industry.
(Compiled by Ramakrishnan M., Anna Rzhevkina, Devika Syamnath and Linda Pasquini; Edited by Sriraj Kalluvila, Shounak Dasgupta and Timothy Heritage)