Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

More than 600,000 people in the United Kingdom have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine since inoculations began in the country earlier this month, the British government said on Thursday.


* A new variant of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in Britain has been found in Germany for the first time, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said.

* Turkey will sign an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for 4.5 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to be delivered by the end of March, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

* French President Emmanuel Macron is showing no more symptoms of COVID-19, the Elysee office said.

* Denmark has identified 33 infections with the new variant of the coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in parts of Britain.

* Prime Minister Ana Brnabic received Serbia's first COVID-19 vaccine shot, kicking off a mass inoculation drive with doses developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.


* US lawmakers blocked attempts to alter a $2.3 trillion coronavirus aid and government spending package, rejecting President Donald Trump's demand for extensive changes and leaving benefits for millions of Americans at risk.

* US states, facing a backlog in administering coronavirus vaccines, are asking medical and nursing students, and even firefighters, to help give the shots and free up healthcare workers battling a raging pandemic at overcrowded hospitals.

* Mexico inoculated its first person against COVID-19 to kick off a fightback from a pandemic that has killed 120,000 people in the country and battered the economy, celebrating a Christmas roll-out that also began elsewhere in Latin America.


* China will suspend direct flights to and from Britain indefinitely over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus, Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

* Indonesia has banned travelers from Britain and tightened the rules for those arriving from Europe and Australia to try to limit the spread of a new coronavirus variant.

* China's capital Beijing on Thursday issued a series of coronavirus-related advisories ahead of the peak travel season from New Year's Day to the Chinese Lunar New Year in February, but it stopped short of imposing draconian restrictions.


* Another new variant of the novel coronavirus seems to have emerged in Nigeria, the head of Africa's disease control body said, cautioning more investigation was needed.

* Israel will impose a third national lockdown to fight surging COVID-19 infections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as the country pursues a vaccination campaign.


* A COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech is 91.25% effective, according to interim data from a late-stage trial in Turkey, a potentially much better result than reported from a separate trial of the vaccine in Brazil.


* Worries over a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia are clouding the outlook for what has historically been a seasonally strong period for equities.