Commission approves €586 million Hungarian scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises affected by coronavirus outbreak
China reported the fewest new COVID-19 cases in a month as imported cases overtook local infections, official data showed on Tuesday (2 February), suggesting the country’s worst wave since March 2020 is being stamped out ahead of a key holiday, write Ramakrishnan M. and Amy Caren Daniel.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.
* Eleven people in different regions of England have tested positive for the South African coronavirus variant without having any links to people who have travelled.
* Russia has extended a ban on flights to and from Britain until 17 February due to the new coronavirus variant detected in the UK.
* The European Union tightened its rules for visitors from outside the bloc, specifying that they would only be allowed in freely from countries with very few coronavirus cases and almost none of the more transmissible variants.
* South Korea’s ruling party plans to prepare a fourth round of COVID-19 cash handouts and an extra budget of sufficient scale to support those affected by the nation’s tough social distancing measures, its leader Lee Nak-yon said.
* Chinese police arrested more than 80 people and confiscated over 3,000 fake doses of COVID-19 vaccines as part of a campaign to combat vaccine-related crimes, state news agency Xinhua reported.
* Japan is expected to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions for another month on Tuesday, seeking to keep the upper hand over a COVID-19 outbreak even as daily case numbers begin to edge down.
* Chicago Public Schools and the city’s teachers union said progress was made on Monday in talks on a COVID-19 safety plan, putting on hold a threatened confrontation over the district’s plan to resume in-person classes for thousands of students.
* As more Americans ready for their second COVID-19 vaccine shot, some patients are falling through the cracks of an increasingly complex web of providers and appointment systems.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed the arrival of the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as a chance to “turn the tide” on a disease that has devastated the country.
* A team of investigators led by the World Health Organization arrived on Tuesday at an animal health facility in China’s central city of Wuhan in the search for clues about the origins of the pandemic.
* Moderna Inc said it is proposing filling vials with additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to ease a crunch in manufacturing as the company approaches the manufacturing of almost a million doses a day.
* Chinese syringe makers are warning that they may only be able to fulfil some orders as late as June, as global coronavirus vaccination programmes put unprecedented levels of pressure on their factory lines and snarl the country’s own vaccine efforts.
* Japan’s vaccine rollout chief said European Union export curbs on COVID-19 vaccines are having an impact on supplies to the country, the Kyodo news agency reported.
* After meeting with Republican senators at the White House on Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden appeared poised to push forward with his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan even if it fails to draw Republican support.
* China’s efforts to keep people from travelling for Chinese New Year because of several clusters of COVID-19 infections are forcing analysts to revise first-quarter fuel demand estimates, but are not expected to derail its post-pandemic recovery.