EU kicks off mass COVID vaccination campaign: Live news


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Latest updates as EU nations launch coordinated vaccination campaign while fears grow over new coronavirus strain.

European Union nations have kicked off a coordinated effort to give COVID-19 vaccinations to adults among their 450 million citizens, marking a moment of hope on the continent.

Meanwhile, fears grow over a new variant of the coronavirus that is spreading across the United Kingdom with Japan barring on Sunday the entry of all non-resident foreign nationals as a precaution against the strain.

Thailand, meanwhile, is scrambling to contain a COVID outbreak connected to a seafood market in a southern province, and residents of Sydney – Australia’s largest city – are awaiting word on whether any public New Year’s Eve celebrations will be allowed.

Here are the latest updates:

8 mins ago (07:22 GMT)

EU starts rollout of COVID-19 vaccine

Shots were administered Sunday morning to the most vulnerable people. health care workers who take care of them and some politicians to reassure the public that the vaccinations are safe.

The vaccines, developed by Germany’s BioNTech and American drugmaker Pfizer, started arriving in EU countries on Friday.

Altogether, the EU’s 27 nations have recorded at least 16 million coronavirus infections and more than 336,000 deaths – huge numbers that experts still agree to understate the true toll of the pandemic due to missed cases and limited testing.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen released a video Saturday celebrating the vaccine rollout, calling it “a touching moment of unity.”

42 mins ago (06:48 GMT)

Thailand’s COVID-19 outbreak grows

Thailand confirmed 121 new infections of the novel coronavirus, a senior official said, up from the 103 cases reported earlier in the day.

Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the country’s COVID-19 pandemic task force, said at a briefing that the new cases include 94 domestic transmissions and 18 in migrant workers connected to an outbreak at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon, a province southwest of Bangkok.

Infections connected to this cluster have spread to 38 provinces.

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52 mins ago (06:37 GMT)

Japan halts all foreign arrivals over UK variant

Japan is barring entry of all nonresident foreign nationals as a precaution against a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant that is spreading across the UK.

The Foreign Ministry says the entry ban will start Monday and last through January 31.

60 mins ago (06:30 GMT)

Sydney awaits verdict on New Year’s festivities

Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak continued on Sunday with more than a quarter of a million people in lockdown as Australia’s largest city awaited word on whether any public New Year’s Eve celebrations will be allowed.

Seven COVID-19 cases were reported in New South Wales state, six linked directly to the outbreak in Sydney’s northern beach suburbs, which are under a stay-at-home order until Wednesday. Infections stand at 122.

“We hope to have some clear information for everybody tomorrow, or the latest the day after, on what the New Year’s Eve and the next weeks will look like,” state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a news conference.

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