England invites people over 80s to get Covid-19 jab – latest updates

Israel records four South African Covid-19 variant cases

Israel's health ministry said four people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus strain first detected in South Africa, with the new British variant already recorded

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 90 million people globally and claimed more than 1.9 million lives. Here are the updates for January 10: A man receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a former nightclub that has been turned into a NHS vaccination centre for the coronavirus disease , at Batchwood Hall in St Albans, Britain on January 8, 2021. (Reuters) Sunday, January 10, 2021:

People in their 80s will get jab in Britain

Thousands of people 80 and older have started receiving invitations to get the coronavirus vaccine in England as Britain ramps up its national vaccination program in a bid to meet its target of inoculating about 15 million people by the middle of February.

More than 600,000 invitations are due to arrive at doorsteps across England this week, asking the elderly to sign up for jabs at new mass vaccination centers near them.

The government has given a first dose of the vaccine to more than 1.2 million people so far.

Japanese pray for end to pandemic in annual ice bath ritual

Men wearing traditional loin clothes and women dressed in white robes have clapped and chanted before going into an ice water bath during a Shinto ritual at a Tokyo shrine to purify the soul and pray for the end of the pandemic.

Only a dozen people took part in the annual event at Teppou-zu Inari Shrine, scaled down this year due to the health crisis, compared to over a hundred in early 2020. Spectators were not allowed at the event.

Japan has struggled to contain a recent surge in coronavirus infections, with Tokyo reporting 1,494 new cases. The government declared a limited state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures on Thursday, covering about 30% of the country's population, in a bid to stem the spread.

Spain sends out vaccine after snowstorm paralyses roads

The Spanish government will send convoys carrying the Covid-19 vaccine and food supplies to areas cut off by Storm Filomena which brought the heaviest snowfall in decades across central Spain and killed four people.

In the Madrid area, rescuers reached 1,500 people trapped in cars, while police broke up a large snowball fight after authorities appealed for citizens to stay at home for risk of accidents or spreading coronavirus.

Forecasters warned of dangerous conditions in the coming days, with temperatures expected to fall to up to minus 10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) next week and the prospect of snow turning to ice and damaged trees falling.

Russia reports 22,851 new cases

Russia has reported 22,851 new cases including 4,216 in Moscow, pushing the national infection tally to 3,401,954 – the world's fourth highest – since the pandemic began.

Authorities also confirmed 456 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 61,837. 

Belgium's Covid-19 death toll crosses 20,000

The number of fatalities in Belgium from the new coronavirus has crossed 20,000, health officials said, with more than half the dead from retirement care homes.

The country, with a population of 11.5 million, has recorded 662,694 cases and 20,038 deaths since the pandemic broke out, the Sciensano public health institute said.

Japanese pray for end to pandemic in annual ice bath ritual 

Montreal enacts curfew as virus cases spike

A curfew meant to curb a rising tide of Covid-19 cases has taken effect across Canada's Quebec province. 

Premier Francois Legault says the measure is needed to prevent gatherings that have fueled the rampant spread of the virus, The French-speaking Canadian province has a population of more than 8.4 million

The rules will see most residents face police questions or fines of up to . $4,728 if they’re out between 8 pm and 5 am local time for the next four weeks. 

There are exceptions for essential workers, people walking dogs, and those who have medical reasons to be out, such as a doctor’s appointment.

First Covid-19 vaccines doses arrive in Jordan

Jordan has received its first doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

An Emirates flight landed at Queen Alia International airport carrying the batches of a Chinese vaccine.

Wael Hayajneh, the Health Ministry's official in charge of Covid-19, said the vaccines were from state-owned Chinese drugmaker, Sinopharm.

Germany's cases rise by 16,946

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 16,946 to 1,908,527. 

The reported death toll rose by 465 to 40,343, the data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

New cases double in China, mainly in Hebei province

Mainland China has reported 69 new Covid-19 cases on January 9, more than double the 33 reported cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said.

The National Health Commission said in its daily bulletin that 21 of the new cases were imported.

The bulk of locally transmitted cases, 46 out of 48, were in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing which entered a “wartime mode” this week as it battles a new cluster of coronavirus infections.

Another 27 asymptomatic cases were also reported, down from 38 a day earlier. China does not classify these patients, who have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease but are not yet showing any Covid-19 symptoms, as confirmed cases.

Mainland China has now reported an accumulated total of 87,433 confirmed virus cases, with 4,634 deaths. 

Australia's New South Wales records three virus cases as lockdown eases

Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state recorded three new virus cases as a three-week lockdown for about quarter million of people in Sydney's northern beaches suburbs eased.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said masks in public places and on transport will remain mandatory for greater Sydney and some public gathering restrictions will continue as the recent outbreak of the pandemic there still poses risks.

“It only takes one or two cases to get out of control or undetected line of transmission to get out of control for all of us to be in a situation where we have to consider making things tighter,” Berejiklian said at a televised press conference.

NSW and Sydney, Australia's largest city, have been isolated from the rest of Australia by state border closures or 14-day mandatory quarantine rules for interstate arrivals from NSW, following a mid-December outbreak.

Brazil registers 62,290 new virus cases, 1,171 more deaths

Brazil recorded 62,290 additional confirmed  virus cases of the in the past 24 hours, along with 1,171 deaths, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has registered more than 8 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began 10 months ago, while the official death toll has surpassed 200,000, according to ministry data.

Mexico again posts more than 1,000 new deaths 

Mexico reported 16,105 new confirmed virus cases and 1,135 more fatalities, according to health ministry data, bringing its total to 1,524,036 infections and 133,204 deaths.

The new daily death toll marks the fifth consecutive day that officials have reported more than 1,000 fatalities due to the highly contagious disease caused by the virus.

The real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the official count, the ministry has said, due to little testing.

UK helps raise $1 billion in global vaccine donations

Britain said it has helped raise $1 billion from global donors towards the drive to help “vulnerable countries” access coronavirus vaccines, by match-funding contributions.

The UK said, in addition, it has committed $743,5 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), after matching with $1,36 every $4 pledged by other donors.

Canada, Japan, and Germany are among the countries to make contributions that it matched, helping the AMC raise more than $1.7 billion in total so far.

The fund will allow for the distribution of one billion vaccine doses to 92 developing countries this year, according to Britain's Foreign Office.

Pope says he has appointment for Covid-19 shot

Pope Francis has confirmed in an interview with an Italian broadcaster that he has an appointment to get the anti-Covid vaccine when the Vatican starts its vaccination program next week.

The pope also said everyone should get the vaccine, calling it an “ethical option, because you are playing with your health, life, but also with the lives of others.”

The Vatican has previously said that it’s “morally acceptable” for faithful to receive Covid-19 vaccines whose research used cell lines from tissue obtained from abortions. Vatican City has had at least 27 confirmed virus cases.

Israel records four South African Covid-19 variant cases

Israel's health ministry said four people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus strain first detected in South Africa, with the new British variant already recorded.

The cases were discovered after testing of travellers arriving from South Africa.

The two new strains are more infectious than previous variants of the virus.

Amid surging cases, Israel last month reimposed a national lockdown. On Friday, it tightened restrictions further as the daily caseload remained high.

Cuba tightens virus measures as visitors fuel record contagion

Cuba's top epidemiologist said irresponsible partying over year-end, often with relatives from abroad, fuelled a surge in virus infections and he warned of a crackdown to prevent the spread of the disease.

Authorities in the capital at the same time announced new containment measures including suspension of interprovincial transport, cultural activities, and the use of public spaces such as the famous Malecon boulevard during night hours.

While Cuba's Communist authorities have managed to contain the country's outbreak far better than most other Latin American governments, infections have more than doubled since they eased lockdown restrictions, and reopened borders in November.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies