Factbox-Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Medical worker prepares Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital in Ventspils
Medical worker prepres Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19?vaccine, as Latvia begins vaccinations against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the hospital in Ventspils, Latvia December 28, 2020. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

December 28, 2020

(Reuters) – The $2.3 trillion COVID-19 aid and spending package signed by U.S. President Donald Trump buoyed the stock and oil markets on Monday, while more countries detected their first cases of a new variant of the coronavirus.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.


* Hospitalisations for COVID-19 continued to rise in France as President Emmanuel Macron and some senior cabinet ministers are to review the health situation on Tuesday amid another surge in cases that has spurred fears of a third lockdown in the country.

* Germany’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been overshadowed by an overdose mishap in the north and problems with the transportation of the vaccine in the south which lead to 1,000 shots being sent back.

* The distribution of an initial 200 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech across the European Union will be completed by September, a spokesman for the EU Commission said.

* President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac this week, remaining focused on its rollout even as doctors awaited a fuller picture of trial results.

* Hungary has received 6,000 doses of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said, though it was unclear when or whether the shot would be administered in the country.


* Democrats in the U.S. Congress will try to push through pandemic relief payments of $2,000, in an effort to increase aid for Americans that has put the lawmakers in a rare alignment with President Donald Trump.

* The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1.28 million passengers at U.S. airports on Sunday, the highest number since mid-March, when the pandemic slashed travel demand.

* Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao is taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as part of an unproven treatment after contracting COVID-19, his office said.


* Japan detected a coronavirus variant found in South Africa, the government said, the first such discovery in a nation that has already identified more than a dozen cases of another variant that is spreading rapidly in Britain.

* International visitors will be barred from entering Indonesia for a two-week period to try to keep out the potentially more contagious variant of the virus.


* South Africa tightened COVID-19 restrictions, banning alcohol sales and extending a nationwide curfew, as infections shot through the one million mark owing to a faster-spreading variant of the disease discovered in the country.

* Lebanon has secured about 2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, which will cover 20% of the country’s nationals, the health minister said.


* Russia will begin trials of an antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients next year, according to the head of the Moscow institute that developed the country’s first vaccine against the disease, Sputnik V.

* Novavax Inc has begun a large late-stage study of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, the drug developer said.


* Wall Street was on track to close at record highs on Monday, but crude prices lost ground as long-awaited pandemic relief and Brexit trade deals fueled investors’ risk appetite. [MKTS/GLOB]

(Compiled by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Linda Pasquini and Veronica Snoj; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Maju Samuel)