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Coronavirus live news: England opens mass vaccination sites; global cases pass 90m | World news

4.35am GMT04:35

One year has passed since first coronavirus death announced in Wuhan

One year ago, China announced the first death from a new virus in Wuhan – 12 months later, Covid-19 has claimed 1.9 million lives in an unrelenting march across the world.

.: But in the central Chinese city of 11 million where the first known outbreak started, the virus has been extinguished.

On Monday morning, the anniversary slipped by unmarked in Wuhan – commuters moved freely to work while parks and riverside promenades buzzed with walkers in a city determined to banish its tag as the coronavirus ground zero.

A man wearing a protective face mask walks with an umbrella protecting him from the snow next to Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, 29 December 2020.

A man wearing a protective face mask walks with an umbrella protecting him from the snow next to Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, 29 December 2020. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA

In a sparse report on January 11, 2020, China confirmed its first death from an unknown virus – a 61-year-old man who was a regular at the now-notorious Wuhan wet market linked to many of the early cases.

The world would soon become grimly familiar with the disease that killed him as Covid-19.

Little is still known about the first victim, including his name, while the market where the first reported clusters of cases were traced back to has remained closed, surrounded by boarding.

Independent experts are yet to be granted access to the market or retrace in detail those early days of the virus in Wuhan.

Updated
at 4.37am GMT

4.22am GMT04:22

11 January marks a year since the first known coronavirus death was confirmed in Wuhan, China:

Helen Sullivan
(@helenrsullivan)

Today marks a year since the first coronavirus death was reported in Wuhan. The global death toll just passed 1.9 million https://t.co/3GNFXBsLk6

January 11, 2021

4.18am GMT04:18

China sees biggest daily Covid-19 case rise in over 5 months

Mainland China saw its biggest daily increase in Covid-19 cases in more than five months, the country’s national health authority said on Monday, as new infections in Hebei province surrounding Beijing continued to rise, . reports.

A county in the northeastern Heilongjiang province on Monday moved into lockdown after reporting new novel coronavirus infections, state television also reported separately.

Hebei accounted for 82 of the 85 new local infections reported on Jan. 10, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement, with Liaoning Province also reporting two new cases and Beijing reporting one new case. The country also saw 18 new imported infections from overseas.

People wearing face masks walk along a street, following new cases of the coronavirus in the country, in Beijing, China 11 January 2021.

People wearing face masks walk along a street, following new cases of the coronavirus in the country, in Beijing, China 11 January 2021. Photograph: Tingshu Wang/.

The total number of new Covid-19 cases stood at 103, the highest since 127 cases were reported on July 30.

Though the new cases being reported in recent days remain a small fraction of what the country saw at the height of the outbreak in early 2020, authorities are moving aggressively to curb the spread of the disease and prevent another national wave of infections.

The NHC reported 76 new asymptomatic patients for all of mainland China, up from 27 a day earlier. China does not count these individuals, who are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease but not exhibiting symptoms, as confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 87,536, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

4.00am GMT04:00

More now on the opposition to the Tokyo Olympics:

The Kyodo poll results show a hardening of opposition to the Olympics among the Japanese public, despite repeated claims by the organisers, the IOC and government officials that it will be possible to host a “Covid- safe” Games under plans to be released in the spring.

But with the vaccine rollout in Japan expected to start several months later than those in the US, Britain and other European countries, doubts are growing about the wisdom of allowing 11,000 athletes, as well as large numbers of officials and other Games-related staff to enter Japan. No decision has been made on whether to admit overseas sports fans.

Concern that the Games may have to be called off has spread to the organising committee itself, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

“The Tokyo Olympics could be canceled if the state of emergency is not lifted by March,” a Tokyo 2020 official told the newspaper. Another Olympic-related official cited the difficulty in winning over the public when medical workers are struggling to cope with an influx of Covid patients in the capital.

The IOC’s official line is that the Games will go ahead as planned, but last week, the organisation’s longest-serving member, Dick Pound, said he was uncertain about Tokyo 2020’s prospects. “I can’t be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus,” Pound told the BBC.

3.27am GMT03:27

Opposition to Tokyo olympics grows

About 80% of people in Japan are against holding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the host city and other parts of Japan.
A weekend poll by the Kyodo news agency found that 35.3% wanted the Games to be cancelled, while 44.8% favoured another delay. Local organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have said that it will not be possible to postpone a second time.
The Games, which are due to open on 23 July, were delayed by a yeardue to the Covid pandemic.

The survey was conducted as experts warned that the recent rise in cases was putting hospitals under extreme pressure, forcing the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, to bow to pressure from the governors of Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures to declare a state of emergencythat will last until at least early February.

Suga’s handling of the pandemic since he took office four months ago has seen his approval ratings fall 9 percentage points since December to just 41.3%. The poll found that disapproval of Suga stood at 42.8%, with “lack of leadership” over the pandemic the most commonly cited reason.

The daily tally of infections in Japan exceeded 7,000 for the third day in a row on Saturday, although the country’s cumulative death toll, at just over 4,000, is much lower than those in many other countries.

3.04am GMT03:04

New UK Covid strain confirmed in Mexico

The new strain of the coronavirus first detected in Britain has been confirmed in Mexico for the first time, health officials in northern Tamaulipas state said in a statement on Sunday, adding a new layer of concern to an already severe national outbreak.

A 56-year-old man who flew on 29 December from Mexico City to the city of Matamoros, just south of the U.S.-Mexico border, tested positive for the new strain, according to Tamaulipas Health Minister Gloria Molina.

The man was described as an “international traveler,” and his name and nationality were not disclosed.

The fast-spreading new strain of the virus has also been found in South Africa and Australia, prompting authorities to take more aggressive action to prevent even greater contagion as countries across the globe struggle to contain the pandemic.

2.50am GMT02:50

England’s chief medical officer warns NHS facing ‘most dangerous situation’ in living memory

England’s chief medical officer has warned the NHS faces the “most dangerous situation” in living memory as the pandemic causes record deaths and hospital admissions, PA Media reports.

As the country awaits the ramping up of coronavirus testing and vaccinations this week, Chris Whitty has said the only way to prevent avoidable deaths is for the public to stay home wherever possible.

“Hospitals are always busy in winter, but the NHS in some parts of the country is currently facing the most dangerous situation anyone can remember,” Prof Whitty wrote in the Sunday Times.

“If the virus continues on this trajectory, hospitals will be in real difficulties, and soon.
“Staff-to-patient ratios – already stretched – will become unacceptable even in intensive care.”

The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital is at a record high in England, while the official coronavirus death toll for the UK passed 80,000 on Saturday and lab-confirmed cases hit more than three million.

2.26am GMT02:26

Calls to escalate English lockdown amid fears one in five may have had Covid

Ministers were under pressure on Sunday night to escalate the current lockdown in England amid warnings that current measures may not be tough enough.

They came as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said about 2 million people – including about a third of people over the age of 80 – had already been vaccinated, and the opening of the mass vaccination sites is intended to accelerate the process.

More than half a million people over the age of 80 are to receive letters inviting them to attend one of seven large coronavirus vaccination centres opening in England, where they will be able to book an appointment online or over the phone.

But, in an interview on Sunday, Hancock also said that, with hospital cases and deaths still rising sharply, the NHS was “probably under the greatest pressure it ever has been”:

2.10am GMT02:10

Headteachers in England forced to ration on-site lockdown learning

Nearly half of England’s headteachers are being forced to prioritise class places among vulnerable students and the children of key workers because of a huge increase in demand, according to a survey of school leaders.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which carried out the survey, said the government’s “confused” messages to parents on school attendance risks defeating its aim of suppressing the virus:

1.46am GMT01:46

Small businesses and manufacturers in the UK are bracing themselves for a fight for survival this year, according to fresh survey data, as they negotiate the twin threats of Covid-19 and weaker post-Brexit trade with the EU.

More than 250,000 small firms expect to fold without further government financial support, according to a quarterly poll by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Manufacturers’ trade body Make UK said its members expected lower investment in the UK and to have a harder time recruiting talent:

1.21am GMT01:21

South Korea daily virus cases under 500 for first time since record highs in December

South Korea reported fewer than 500 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the first time since record high daily case numbers over the Christmas holiday period, . reports.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 451 new cases as of midnight on Sunday, driven by a lull in testing as well as an apparent easing in infections.

The country reported a record 1,241 cases in one day during the Christmas holiday, the peak of the country’s largest wave of infections yet.

A medical worker puts frozen disinfection wipes close to a heater at a temporary screening centre in front of Seoul Station amid a cold wave in Seoul, South Korea, 10 January 2021.

A medical worker puts frozen disinfection wipes close to a heater at a temporary screening centre in front of Seoul Station amid a cold wave in Seoul, South Korea, 10 January 2021. Photograph: YONHAP/EPA

South Korea stopped short of a complete lockdown or stay-at-home order, but has imposed unprecedented restrictions for weeks, including banning private gatherings of more than four people.

In the capital Seoul and surrounding areas a number of high-risk businesses such as bars and gyms were ordered to close and coffee shops can only offer takeaway service.
The country employs aggressive tracing and testing which has allowed it to blunt successive waves of infections, though the latest surge threatens to overwhelm that system.

Overall South Korea has reported a total of 69,114 cases, with 1,140 deaths.

1.07am GMT01:07

Mexican president’s spokesman tests positive for coronavirus

The spokesman for Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, the same day the country detected a case of a Covid-19 variant that is spreading in the United Kingdom, AP reports.

Spokesman Jesús Ramírez Cuevas wrote on his Twitter account, “I am in good health and I will be working from home.” There was no word on whether the president had been tested:

Jesús Ramírez Cuevas
(@JesusRCuevas)

Informo que di positivo a Covid-19. Estoy bien de salud y estaré trabajando desde casa siguiendo todos los protocolos sanitarios.

January 10, 2021

Ramírez Cuevas is close to López Obrador, often handing him documents or going on trips with the president.

López Obrador is 67 and has high blood pressure, but almost never wears a mask.

On Sunday, López Obrador toured the Pacific coast seaport of Manzanillo and gave a speech, as usual without a mask on.

Also on Sunday, health authorities in the northern border state of Tamaulipas detected a case of the UK variant, known as B.1.1.7. That strain has also been found in the United States, Canada, Italy, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Scientists in the U.K. have said the variant may be more contagious than previously identified strains.

The Tamaulipas state health department said the case was detected in a 56-year-old man who arrived on 29 December at an airport in the border city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, aboard a flight from Mexico City. No one else on the flight tested positive.

Updated
at 1.07am GMT

12.55am GMT00:55

Global coronavirus cases pass 90m

Coronavirus infections have now surpassed 90 million confirmed cases around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, as more countries brace for wider spread of more virulent strains of a disease that has now killed nearly 2 million worldwide.

The number of infections worldwide has doubled in just 10 weeks, according to a tally by John Hopkins University on Sunday. Covid-19 infections had hit 45 million as recently as late October.

As of Sunday afternoon, John Hopkins counted 90,005,787 infections around the world.
The United States, now with more than 22.2 million infections, led the world with the highest number of infections recorded since the global pandemic began.

The number of US cases is more than double that of India, which has recorded nearly 10.5 million infections.

12.27am GMT00:27

New York opens mass vaccination sites

Brooklyn Army Terminal is one of two mass vaccination locations that opened in New York City on Sunday. The second one is located at Bathgate Contract Postal Station in the borough of the Bronx.

.: The mass sites were open for part of the day on Sunday before they start operating round the clock, seven days a week on Monday as part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to set up 250 vaccination locations to meet the ambitious goal of inoculating 1 million New Yorkers by the end of the month.

People arrive to receive a dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination site at South Bronx Educational Campus, in the Bronx New York on 10 January 2020.

People arrive to receive a dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination site at South Bronx Educational Campus, in the Bronx New York on 10 January 2020. Photograph: Kena Betancur/./.

Three other smaller sites also opened on Sunday in Brooklyn, the Bronx and in Queens.

In New York, like in much of the United States, efforts to get the two vaccines that have so far been authorised into the arms of Americans have moved slower than hoped due to a slew of issues.

They included strict rules controlling who should get inoculated first, with some healthcare workers at the front of the line declining the shots, and a lack of planning or direction on the federal level.

A worker waits to receive a dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination site at South Bronx Educational Campus, in the Bronx New York on 10 January 2020.

A worker waits to receive a dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination site at South Bronx Educational Campus, in the Bronx New York on 10 January 2020. Photograph: Kena Betancur/./.

As of early Sunday, New York City had administered 203,181 doses of the vaccines to its residents out of more than 524,000 doses that have been delivered, data from the city’s health department showed.

On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who previously said all healthcare workers should be inoculated before the state moved on to other categories, changed course, saying people aged 75 and over could receive the shot starting on Monday.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff should have priority for the limited supply of vaccines. The agency softened that guidance on Friday, recommending that states move to those next on the list – people over age 75 and so called “essential” workers – to accelerate lagging vaccination programs.

Updated
at 12.54am GMT

11.55pm GMT23:55

Summary

Hello and welcome to our live coronavirus coverage with me, Helen Sullivan.

I’ll be bringing you the latest good and bad pandemic developments worldwide for the next few hours.

You can get in touch with me on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: [email protected] – news, comments, questions all welcome.

Two mass vaccination locations opened in New York City on Sunday.

The mass sites were open for part of the day on Sunday before they start operating round the clock, seven days a week on Monday as part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to set up 250 vaccination locations to meet the ambitious goal of inoculating 1 million New Yorkers by the end of the month.

Three other smaller sites also opened on Sunday.

Meanwhile the global coronavirus case total has come another sad milestone closer to a staggering 100m, with the total passing 90m on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. The death toll stands at 1,932,266.

Here are the other key recent developments:

US House lawmakers may have been exposed to someone testing positive for Covid-19 during the Capitol siege by a violent mob loyal to Donald Trump. The Capitol’s attending physician notified all lawmakers Sunday of the virus exposure and urged them to be tested.
A new coronavirus variant of coronavirus has been detected in four travellers from Brazil’s Amazonas state, Japan’s health ministry has said, in the latest recorded instance of the virus evolving.
Seven people in Marseilles, southern France, have tested positive for the new, more infectious variant of Covid-19 first found in Britain, local authorities have announced.
Russia has detected its first case of the more infectious coronavirus variant found in England, in a Russian who returned from Britain and tested positive late last month.
Northern Ireland’s health minister said Covid-19 was placing the healthcare system under pressure “like never before,” as one hospital appealed on social media for the immediate help of all off-duty healthworkers nearby.
One in five people in England may have had coronavirus, new modelling suggests, equivalent to 12.4 million people, rising to almost one in two in some areas.

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