(Reuters) – Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline delayed the launch of their COVID-19 vaccine, while AstraZeneca said it would investigate combining its experimental COVID-19 vaccine with the Russian shot.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/ in an external browser. * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* Germany will have to shut down more parts of society before Christmas to try and get the pandemic under control.
* Greece will allow hair salons and bookstores to reopen during the Christmas season but keep most other retail shops shut.
* Switzerland has ordered restaurants, bars and shops to close down from 7 p.m. across much of the nation.
* United Kingdom will cut the self-isolation period for COVID-19 to 10 days from 14.
* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Congress could work on a relief package until Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, when a range of emergency aid programs are set to expire.
* Mexico’s top Roman Catholic leader said closing the shrine of Mexico’s Virgin of Guadalupe for the first time was a painful but unavoidable decision as infections intensified in Mexico City.
* Longer-range forecasts show a second wave of the coronavirus is still spreading rapidly through Canada and more action is needed by all the major provinces.
* The ability of developing countries in Asia to fight the pandemic got a boost after the Asian Development Bank said it has launched a $9 billion facility to help nations access and deliver COVID-19 vaccines.
* Japan’s prime minister said he was not thinking at this point of suspending the government travel subsidy programme, as the country urged people to spend a “quiet” year-end amid record daily infections.
* One year on, the Wuhan wet market where the virus was initially detected remains empty and barricaded even as the city around it has come back to life.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Nigeria may be on the verge of a second wave of infections, its health minister warned, as another official said the country expects to roll out a vaccine by April next year.
* South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng dismissed concerns that he might be endangering people’s health by linking coronavirus vaccines to a “Satanic agenda”.
* Any adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines are for national authorities to review, a WHO spokeswoman said.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was working rapidly to issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine.
* World shares slipped and sterling skidded to its lowest in nearly a month as markets confronted the risk of Britain leaving the European Union without a trade deal, with doubts over U.S. stimulus also nagging. [MKTS/GLOB]
* China will strive to keep economic operations “within a reasonable range” next year, as Beijing seeks to expand domestic demand and boost technology innovation.
* The Bank of Japan is likely to decide next week to extend a range of steps aimed at easing corporate funding strains as a resurgence of coronavirus infections cloud the economic outlook.
(Compiled by Bartosz Dabrowski and Charles Regnier; Editing by Kirsten Donovan/Mark Heinrich)