Coronavirus: Latest global developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– India begins massive vaccination drive –

India, home to 1.3 billion people, kicks off one of the world’s biggest coronavirus vaccination drives.

In a country whose virus caseload is the second highest in the world, the government has given approvals to two vaccines — though one is yet to complete clinical trials — aiming to inoculate around 300 million people, equivalent to the US population, by July.

– Pfizer, BioNTech to limit vaccine delays –

Pfizer and BioNTech say they will limit the delays of their vaccine deliveries to just one week, after fears in Europe that shipments of the jabs could be slowed for up to a month.

The US drugmaker and its German partner “have developed a plan that will allow the scale-up of manufacturing capacities in Europe and deliver significantly more doses in the second quarter,” they say in a joint statement.

“As a result, our facility in Puurs, Belgium will experience a temporary reduction in the number of doses delivered in the upcoming week.” 

– More the two million dead –

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 2,009,991 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Saturday.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 392,139 deaths, followed by Brazil with 208,246 deaths, India with 152,093 fatalities, Mexico with 139,022 and Britain with 87,295.

– Biden’s vaccine blitz –

US President-elect Joe Biden says he will plough federal resources into making “thousands” of vaccine sites, while also deploying mobile clinics and expanding the public health workforce to accelerate the rollout of Covid-19 shots.

Biden has said he wants 100 million Americans to receive injections during his first 100 days in office, a drastic increase from the current pace. 

– Serbia gets Chinese-made vaccine –

Serbia becomes one of the first European countries to receive a Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccine when one million doses of a jab produced by Sinopharm arrives at Belgrade airport.

After Pfizer-BioNTech and Russia’s Sputnik V, Sinopharm’s is the third coronavirus vaccine to be used by the Balkan nation.

Once it gets a final approval by Serbia’s medicines agency, vaccination could start on Sunday or Monday, say health officials. 

– WHO sounds alarm over Brazil –

Brazil’s Amazonas state could soon see surging Covid-19 case numbers surpass the “catastrophic” wave it suffered near the start of the pandemic last April, the World Health Organization warns. 

The WHO is alarmed at the situation in the northern state and its capital Manaus, where authorities are scrambling to slow the spread of the virus as cases soar and hospitals run out of beds and oxygen.  

– Colombia toughens restrictions –

Nearly 30 million people in Colombia out of a total population of 50 million are confined to their homes this weekend or subject to a curfew as authorities try to rein in a surge in new infections and hospitals in the country’s main cities struggle to treat people. 

Colombia also extends the closure of its land and river borders, in force for nearly a year, until March 1. 

– Pandemic cuts world migration by 30 percent –

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed global migration by nearly 30 percent, with around two million fewer people than predicted migrating between 2019 and 2020, according to a new UN report.