COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Foreign companies banned from testing vaccines on Iranians
January 9 2021 - 11:54
Iran bans foreign companies from testing Covid-19 vaccines on Iranians
Foreign companies will not be allowed to test Covid-19 vaccines on the Iranian people, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, a day after Iran's Supreme Leader banned vaccine imports from the US and Britain.
"Foreign companies wanted to give us vaccines so they would be tested on the Iranian people. But the health ministry prevented it," Rouhani said in televised remarks, without naming the companies or giving further details.
"Our people will not be a testing device for vaccine manufacturing companies," he added. "We shall purchase safe foreign vaccines."
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's highest authority, said on Friday the US and Britain were "untrustworthy" and possibly sought to spread the infection to other countries.
Iran could obtain vaccines from other reliable places, he added, without giving details. China and Russia are both allies of Iran, the Middle East country hardest hit by the coronavirus.
January 9 2021 - 10:38
Russia reports 23,309 new coronavirus cases, 470 deaths
Russia on Saturday reported 23,309 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, including 4,900 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 3,379,103.
Authorities said 470 people had died, taking Russia's official death toll to 61,381.
January 9 2021 - 10:31
Hebei capital suspends public transport as China reports 33 new Covid-19 cases
Chinese authorities halted public transport in a provincial capital near Beijing on Saturday in an effort to stamp out a new cluster of coronavirus infections.
Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province surrounding Beijing, suspended service on the city's subway, then extended the ban to all public transport, including taxis. The province entered a "wartime mode" this week to battle the infections.
The National Health Commission reported 33 new Covid-19 cases for mainland China on January 8, down from 53 reported a day earlier. The authority said in a statement that 14 of the 17 locally transmitted infections were in Hebei.
Authorities on Thursday banned people from leaving Shijiazhuang.
January 9 2021 - 10:13
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 24,694
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 24,694 to 1,891,581, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday.
The reported death toll rose by 1,083 to 39,878, the tally showed.
January 9 2021 - 9:47
ICUs clogged on the way in, morgues on the way out in California's Covid crisis
Southern California is so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that patients are backed up trying to get into hospitals, and corpses get stuck in another logjam once they leave.
At one hospital in Orange County, ambulances loaded with patients are lining up outside waiting for space in the intensive care unit, and Covid-19 patients fill the emergency room hallway.
January 9 2021 - 9:34
China to provide Covid-19 vaccines free of charge
China will provide Covid-19 vaccines free of charge once they become available to general public, government authorities said on Saturday.
National Health Commission official Zheng Zhongwei said that while manufacturing and transport of vaccines have costs, the government can provide vaccines for free to individuals.
"Our people don't have to pay a single cent for the vaccine," Zheng told a press event in Beijing.
China in late December approved its first vaccine for general public use. Three vaccines had already been given to limited groups at high risk of infection, including medical workers, through an emergency-use programme.
January 9 2021 - 9:17
Australia on high alert after overseas travellers bring new Covid-19 strains
Australia's health officials said on Saturday they are on high alert after cases of highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus, discovered in Britain and South Africa, have made it into the country.
Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, on Saturday went into a three-day strict lockdown after the discovery of a virulent strain of the virus that causes Covid-19, linked to Britain. A variant that emerged in South Africa was found in Sydney, Australia's largest city, in a hotel quarantine.
Given the new variants, the government on Friday cut the number of travellers from overseas, and required negative Covid-19 tests from those boarding planes and more testing at local quarantine facilities.