Coronavirus LIVE: Latest Updates | Nat Geo Traveller India

Coronavirus LIVE: Latest Updates

With a vaccine on the horizon, a pandemic-riddled world holds on to hope. But medical experts predict a deadlier second wave of the virus.  
Coronavirus LIVE: Latest Updates 19
Photo by: agsaz / Shutterstock

As international concerns mount over the COVID-19 (or coronavirus) pandemic, the world of travel is keeping close tabs on ongoing developments. After months of stringent airport screenings and border shutdowns, governments around the world are now preparing for mass vaccination programs following encouraging developments on the vaccine front. Across the world, over 83,718,625 people have been infected, as Europe and the U.S.A. are battling a resurgence of infections. India has recorded more than nine million confirmed cases (Johns Hopkins University) and was under coronavirus lockdown from March 25 till June 30. Curbs on movement and economic activity have been gradually relaxed since. The country has recorded  10,286,710 COVID-19 cases, out of which 254,254 are active cases, as of January 1. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has activated toll-free number (1075) for coronavirus support. Here is the link for a state-wise breakdown of helpline numbers. As nations across the world race to contain the virus, we track the latest updates.

 

January 1, 10.30 p.m.: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that flights between India and the U.K. will resume on January 8, 2021. Indian and British airlines together will operate 30 flights per week. 

 

January 1, 8 p.m.: The Philippines government announced that travellers from the U.S.A. will be banned from entering the country from January 3 to January 15, after the more infectious mutant coronavirus strain was detected in Florida. 

 

January 1, 6 p.m.: The Norwegian government will lift the ban on flights from the U.K. starting January 2. The flight ban was announced on December 21, to prevent imported infections of the mutant virus strain spreading across England. 

 

January 1, 4 p.m.: Reports suggest that a government-appointed panel of experts will be reviewing Serum Institute of India’s application to approve the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine for emergency use today. The panel is expected to approve the application and forward it to the Drug Controller of India for final approval today itself. 

 

January 1, 2 p.m.: The President of Chad, Idriss Deby announced that capital N’djamena has entered a phase of lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, a dusk-to-dawn curfew has also been put in place. Despite a recent spike in infections, the West African nation has reported only 2,113 cases since March.

 

January 1, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,286,710 and the death toll stands at 148,994.

 

January 1, 10 a.m.: U.S. President Donald Trump has extended the temporary immigration bans currently in place, till March 31. The bans were supposed to end on December 31, but have been extended by three months to protect the battered U.S. economy. The bans are likely to affect green card aspirants and some foreign workers. 

 

January 1,  8.30 a.m.: The Canadian government announced that foreign air travellers will be required to produce a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test report before boarding flights to Canada, starting January 7. 

 

December 31, 9 p.m.: As new Covid-19 restrictions kicked in across Portugal on New Years’ Eve, the country reported a record increase of 7,627 new infections over the past 24 hours.

 

December 31, 4 p.m.: The Indian government announced that a vaccination dry run will be conducted in all states and Union Territories starting January 2. The announcement comes two days after the successful completion of a similar dry run in the four states of Punjab, Gujarat, Assama and Andhra Pradesh on December 28-29. The government has not yet approved any Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. 

 

December 31, 2 p.m.: The Guardian reports that the Japanese government is considering declaring a state of emergency following a spike in cases over the past few days. Capital Tokyo alone registered more than 1,300 new infections over the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase so far. 

 

December 31, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,266,674 and the death toll stands at 148,738.

 

December 31, 10 a.m.: The U.S.A. reported its highest daily coronavirus death toll over the past 24 hours. While more than 3,900 people died, close to 190,000 new infections were detected in the country yesterday. Additionally, reports suggest that  a case of the mutant coronavirus strain from the U.K. has also been detected in the U.S.A. The total number of confirmed infections in the U.S.A. is approaching the 20 million mark. 

 

December 31, 8 a.m.: A night curfew will be in effect in Delhi from 11 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. tomorrow. No celebratory gatherings will be allowed at public places. A curfew has also been announced in Bangalore from 12 noon today to 6 a.m. tomorrow after the mutant coronavirus strain was detected in the city. 

 

December 30, 10 p.m.: The Swedish government announced today that travellers from the U.K. will be required to produce proof of having tested negative for the coronavirus starting January 1, before entering the country. However, Swedish nationals are exempted from this requirement. 

 

December 30, 8 p.m.: The Taiwanese government announced that it will ban entry to most non-resident foreigners starting January 1. The move comes after the country reported its first infection of the mutant coronavirus in a traveller from the U.K.

 

December 30, 6 p.m.: The DGCA has extended the suspension of international flights till January 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, cargo flights will be allowed to ply.  

 

December 30, 3 p.m.: The U.K. government has approved the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. The Indian government is also currently considering the same vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India for regulatory approval. 

 

December 30, 12 p.m.: The Indian government announced today that the ban on flights from the U.K. has been extended till January 7. The flight ban was announced last week after reports of the more infectious mutant strain of the virus spreading in England. 

 

December 30, 11 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,244,852 and the death toll stands at 148,439.

 

December 30, 10 a.m.: As coronavirus cases surge in Sydney, authorities have announced new restrictions ahead of the New Years’ Eve. Households will now be allowed to host only up to five guests and outdoor gatherings will be further restricted to prevent transmission.

 

December 29, 10 p.m.: The German Health Ministry confirmed that the mutant strain of coronavirus currently spreading in the U.K. has been in Germany since November. Researchers detected the variant of the virus in the bloodwork of an elderly patient who was infected in November and has since died. 

 

December 29, 8 p.m.: In order to control the spread of the coronavirus in the country, the Thai government announced that it will offer work permits to undocumented workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Due to stringent border checks in Thailand, undocumented workers have been travelling across the country over the past few months, posing a Covid-19 transmission risk and thus prompting the government to take this step. 

 

December 29, 6 p.m.: The Indian Health Ministry announced today that the Covid-19 vaccination dry run exercise took place successfully in the four states of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab over the past two days. Extensive training sessions have also been conducted to train medical personnel for the mass vaccination program which will be initiated soon. 

 

December 29, 4 p.m.: According to the Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, the Indian government is likely to extend the ban on flights from the U.K. in light of the mutant strain of the virus spreading there. 

 

December 29, 2 p.m.: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced new stricter coronavirus measures in the country as infections continue to soar. Indoor and outdoor gatherings are set to be banned and a night curfew will be imposed. 

 

December 29, 12 p.m.: The Philippines government announced that it will ban travellers from 19 countries till mid-January to prevent imported infections of the mutant coronavirus. The list of countries includes France, Australia, Canada, Germany and Japan. 

 

December 29, 11 a.m.: The Indian government confirmed that six cases of the mutant strain of coronavirus have been detected in India in U.K. returnees. While three such infections were detected in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune confirmed two and one infections respectively. All six individuals are currently in isolation in institutional healthcare facilities. 

 

December 29, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,224,303 and the death toll stands at 148,153.

 

December 28, 11 p.m.: The U.K. reported a record daily increase of 41,385 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The spike in cases is believed to be due to a mutant variant of the coronavirus that is more infectious. 

 

December 28, 9.30 p.m.: The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has extended guidelines for the surveillance, containment and caution against the coronavirus till January 2021. The government has urged people to be wary of the guidelines while celebrating the New Year.

 

December 28, 7 p.m.: The two coronavirus variants from the U.K. and South Africa respectively have been detected in Finland, the government announced today. Finland has already announced restrictions on travel to and from U.K. because of the more infectious variant spreading in the U.K.

 

December 28, 4.30 p.m.: The Indonesian government announced that foreign travellers will banned from entering the country for a period of two weeks in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. The ban will come into effect on January 1. 

 

December 28, 3 p.m.: Irish Tanaiste Leo Varadkar announced that level 5 coronavirus restrictions are likely to remain in Ireland for a while, as the country is witnessing a spike in infections over the past few days.

 

December 28, 12 p.m.: The Saudi Arabian government has announced that the suspension of international flights has been extended by one week. The suspension of fligHts was announced last week in light of the mutant coronavirus detected in the U.K.

 

December 28, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,207,871 and the death toll stands at 147,901.

 

December 28, 8 a.m.: The Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourao has tested positive for the coronavirus. He is one of many Brazilian politicians who have tested positive. The country reported more than 18,000 new infections and 344 deaths over the past 24 hours. 

 

December 27, 10 p.m.: A survey of more than 15,000 respondents has revealed that Indians might postpone their international travel plans due to a new variant of the coronavirus which has prompted many countries to close borders and institute flight bans. 

 

December 27, 7 p.m.: The Oman government announced that the country’s land, air and sea borders will be reopened to foreign travellers starting December 29. All incoming travellers will be required to produce a negative Covid-19 test report, and will have to undergo another test on arrival at the airport. 

 

December 27, 4 p.m.: Amid a spike in infections caused by a mutant strain of coronavirus, U.K. scientists have urged the government to impose a lockdown in the country to prevent the spread of the virus. Cases of the mutant coronavirus have already been detected in other countries like Japan, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

 

December 27, 2 p.m.: European Union member nations including Spain, France, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary have initiated coronavirus vaccinations over the weekend.

 

December 27, 12 p.m.:  According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,187,850 and the death toll stands at 147,622.

 

December 27, 10 a.m.: According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world has crossed 80 million. The U.S.A. is the worst-affected nation in the world, with almost 19 million cases and more than 331,000 deaths recorded so far.

 

December 27, 8 a.m.: The Argentinian government announced that it will begin Covid-19 vaccinations in the country on Tuesday, administering the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to its citizens. 

 

December 26, 10 p.m.: As Japan reports a spike in Covid-19 infections, the government announced that non-resident foreigners will not be allowed into the country till the end of January 2021. Authorities have also confirmed cases of the mutant strain of the coronavirus over the past few days. 

 

December 26, 8 p.m.: Germany is set to begin Covid-19 vaccinations tomorrow, following the EU drug regulator’s approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last week. Shipments of the vaccine have already arrived in sixteen of the country’s states. 

 

December 26, 6.30 p.m.: The Iranian government announced that a night-time traffic curfew will be extended to 330 lower-risk cities and towns to ensure that the infection rate continues to remain low in the country.

 

December 26, 4 p.m.: Millions of people in England have moved into stricter tier 4 coronavirus restrictions starting today, as the government attempts to slow down the spread of the virus in the country. New restrictions have also been put in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

December 26, 2 p.m.: Amid rising infections, the Canadian province of Ontario will enter a Covid-19 shutdown. Restrictions are expected to remain in place till at least January 9.

 

December 26, 12 p.m.: Covid-19 vaccinations have begun in Mexico, as frontline medical workers received doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Costa Rica has also begun vaccinations and Chile and Argentina are expected to begin soon. 

 

December 26, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,169,118 and the death toll stands at 147,343.

 

December 26, 8 a.m.: A dummy vaccination exercise will be carried out in the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Assam on December 28 and 29. The ‘dry run’ is being conducted as part of the preparations to begin mass immunization against Covid-19 soon.

 

December 25, 10 p.m.: As Japan is witnessing a steep rise in coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has urged the public to prevent social gatherings for the upcoming New Years’ holiday. The government also announced a relief package for hospitals, which are under immense pressure, especially in the northern region of Hokkaido, and the cities of Tokyo and Osaka. 

 

December 25, 8 p.m.: Amid a surge in infections in Lebanon, authorities confirmed the first case of the mutant coronavirus in the country today. The individual had travelled to Lebanon from London, where the mutant strain of the virus has caused a severe outbreak.  

 

December 25, 6 p.m.: South Africa reported its highest daily increase in coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, as more than 14,000 new cases were detected. The spike in cases is believed to be due to a mutant strain of the virus, one that is more infectious than the original strain. 

 

December 25, 4 p.m.: As coronavirus infections continue to rise in California, the Chinese aviation authority has announced that it will suspend some flights servicing Los Angeles, for a period of two weeks. 

 

December 25, 2 p.m.: The Maharashtra state government has announced that international visitors from Europe, South Africa and the Middle East will be required to undergo only one week of institutional quarantine, if they have tested negative for Covid-19. Previously, all incoming arrivals were required to spend two weeks in institutional quarantine, regardless of whether they tested positive or not. While asymptomatic passengers will no longer be tested on arrival, they will undergo a Covid-19 test on the 5th or 6th day of institutional quarantine. 

 

December 25, 12 p.m.: Authorities in Hong Kong announced that international visitors will have to spend three weeks in quarantine starting today, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Previously, the mandated quarantine period was two weeks for international arrivals.

 

December 25, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,146,845 and the death toll stands at 147,092.

 

December 25, 8 a.m.: South Korea reported its highest ever daily increase in coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours as 1,241 new cases were detected on Thursday. 

 

December 24, 10 p.m.: Brazil became the latest country to ban flights coming from the U.K., citing outbreaks of a mutant strain of the coronavirus in England. Additionally, other transit travellers who have been in the U.K. before arrival in Brazil, will have to quarantine for two weeks. 

 

December 24, 7 p.m.: Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, the Israeli government announced that a third nationwide lockdown will be imposed for two weeks starting Sunday. Israel is expected to start Covid-19 vaccinations soon.

 

December 24, 4 p.m.: China has suspended flight services to and from the U.K. citing outbreaks of a mutant strain of coronavirus in England. Travellers from Belgium, India and the Philippines are also banned from entering China. 

 

December 24, 2 p.m.: The Karnataka government announced that all foreign arrivals arriving in the state will be required to furnish a Covid-19 negative test report. If they do not have said report, they will have to undergo a mandatory test at the airport. 

 

December 24, 12 p.m.: American pharmaceutical company Moderna announced today that its Covid-19 vaccine is expected to offer protection against the mutated strain of the coronavirus that is spreading across the U.K.

 

December 24, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,123,778 and the death toll stands at 146,756.

 

December 24, 8 a.m.: The Rajasthan government announced that a curfew will be imposed in the state’s larger cities on the night of December 31.

 

December 23, 10 p.m.: British Health Minister Matt Hancock announced today that another mutant strain of the coronavirus has been detected in travellers returning to the U.K. from South Africa. He has also said that this particular variant could be more infectious than the first mutant strain that is spreading in England.  

 

December 23, 7 p.m.: Coronavirus restrictions will be ramped up to the highest level in the Czech Republic starting Sunday, the government announced today. Non-essential shops will be shut down and a stricter curfew will be also be enforced.

 

December 23, 4 p.m.: The Karnataka state government announced that a night curfew will be put in place across the state starting tonight. Karnataka is the second state after Maharashtra to impose a night curfew following reports of a mutant Covid-19 strain that is infecting people in the U.K.

 

December 23, 2 p.m.: After detecting the first coronavirus infection since April, authorities in Taiwan have imposed new social distancing regulations today. Masks have been mandatory and standing tickets for indoor events will be cancelled. 

 

December 23, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,099,066 and the death toll stands at 146,444.

 

December 23, 10 a.m.: Citing the outbreak caused by a fast-spreading mutant strain in England, Japan, Philippines and Singapore have banned flights to and from the U.K. Other Asian nations like India, South Korea and Hong Kong have also imposed travel restrictions on the U.K.

 

December 23, 8 a.m.: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the her government might impose a lockdown in Scotland in the coming days to prevent transmission of the mutant strain of coronavirus that has gripped England. 

 

December 22, 10 p.m.: Coronavirus infections have been confirmed on the continent of Antarctica, which was Covid-19 free thus far. The Chilean army reports that 36 individuals working at the Bernardo O’Higgins research station have tested positive for the coronavirus.  

 

December 22, 8 p.m.: The EU Commission has recommended that travel bans imposed by some member-states on the U.K. be lifted, so that freight and essential travel can resume. However, the commission advised against non-essential travel to and from the U.K.

 

December 22, 6 p.m.: BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin has said that he is confident that the vaccine developed by the company along with Pfizer is effective against the mutant strain of the coronavirus currently spreading across the U.K. Even if the vaccine needs to be reworked for the modified strain, BioNTech would be able to do so in six weeks’ time, he added. 

 

December 22, 4 p.m.: Five passengers returning from the U.K. have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Delhi airport, and two more have tested positive at the Kolkata international airport. Additionally, the coronavirus has been detected in a passenger returning to Chennai from the U.K. through Delhi, at the Chennai airport. Authorities are currently conducting further tests to check if any of the infections are caused by the mutant strain of the virus currently spreading in parts of England. 

 

December 22, 2 p.m.: Taiwan reported its first locally transmitted Covid-19 case since April 12. Taiwan has been largely successful in controlling the spread of the virus so far.

 

December 22, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,075,116 and the death toll stands at 146,111.

 

December 22, 10 a.m.: Amid rising Covid-19 infections, the South Korean government announced the closure of ski resorts and winter tourism establishments from December 24 to January 3, to prevent further transmission of the virus over the upcoming holiday season. 

 

December 22, 8 a.m.: A spokesman from the airline Virgin Atlantic announced that all passengers travelling from London to the U.S.A. will have to present evidence of having tested negative for Covid-19 before boarding. The new screening procedure has been put in place because of the emergence of a highly infectious, mutant strain of Covid-19 in London and parts of England.  

 

December 21, 10 p.m.: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced today that a night curfew will be imposed in all municipal corporations of the state from tomorrow till January 5. The curfew will be in effect from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

 

December 21, 8 p.m.: The European Union drug regulator has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. European states are expected to start vaccinations next week. 

 

December 21, 6 p.m.: Citing outbreaks of a more infectious Covid-19 strain in the U.K. and a handful of other countries, Oman and Saudi Arabia will halt all international flights and seal borders for a week starting tomorrow.  

 

December 21, 4 p.m.: The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that flights from the U.K. to India will be suspended from December 22 to December 31, in the wake of a mutant strain of Covid-19 that is infecting people in parts of England. Additionally, passengers coming from the U.K. on transit flights will be required to take a Covid-19 RT-PCR test on arrival. 

 

December 21, 2 p.m.: Authorities in Seoul announced that gatherings of more than five people will be banned this week, to contain the spread of the coronavirus over the Christmas and New Year holidays. South Korea is witnessing a worrying spike in cases over the past few days. 

 

December 21, 12 p.m.: Following an outbreak of a mutant strain of the coronavirus in the England., countries all over the world have barred entry for travelers from the U.K. Apart from European countries, Israel, Iran and Canada too have announced travel bans to and from the U.K.. 

 

December 21, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,055,560 and the death toll stands at 145,810.

 

December 20, 10 p.m.: After Netherlands and Belgium, the governments of Ireland and Italy are set to ban flights to and from the U.K. to prevent transmission of a more infectious Covid-19 strain detected in parts of England. 

 

December 20, 8 p.m.: After a cluster of coronavirus cases was detected in the Thai province of Samut Sakhon, the government has started testing thousands of residents in and around the province. Restrictions on movement have also been extended as the country reported a spike in cases over the weekend.

 

December 20, 6 p.m.: After a highly transmissible mutated strain of the novel coronavirus was detected in England, European countries are considering banning flights from the U.K. So far, Netherlands and Belgium have banned travel from the U.K. and Germany has hinted at a similar move. 

 

December 20, 4 p.m.: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced today that face masks will be mandatory in the state for the next six months. However, he said that his government will likely not impose a night curfew or lockdowns in the state as the Covid-19 infection rate seems to be under control.

 

December 20, 2 p.m.: A Covid-19 vaccination drive has started in Israel today, with frontline medical workers and government officials receiving the first jabs. Starting tomorrow, people aged over 60 will be able to get the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that the government has approved. 

 

December 20, 12 p.m.: As the coronavirus cluster detected in Sydney’s northern beaches grows, other Australian regions have imposed restrictions on travellers coming from Sydney. While Queensland requires travellers from Sydney to self-isolate for 14 days, Victoria has banned travellers from Sydney altogether. 

 

December 20, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,031,223 and the death toll stands at 145,477.

 

December 20, 8 a.m.: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a ban on travellers coming to Scotland from the rest of the U.K. for the upcoming holiday season. Coronavirus restrictions will also be tightened across Scotland for three weeks starting December 26. 

 

December 19, 10 p.m.: The Guardian reports that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced Tier 4 restrictions in London and parts of East and Southeast England starting tomorrow, till December 30. The region is witnessing a spike in infections caused because of a mutated strain of the coronavirus.

 

December 19, 7 p.m.: The Swiss government has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for use in the country. Other European countries will likely receive the authorization for a coronavirus vaccine next week, when EU drug regulators are expected to meet.

 

December 19, 5 p.m.: Due to the coronavirus outbreak in Australia, the annual yacht race between Sydney and Hobart has been cancelled this year. Organizers said that border restrictions between regions have forced the cancellation of the event for the first time in its 76 year history. 

 

December 19, 2.30 p.m.: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that strict coronavirus restrictions will be imposed across Italy for the upcoming holiday season. The country will be in a ‘red zone’ lockdown from between December 25-27, December 31-January 3 and then again, between January 5-6.

 

December 19, 12 p.m.: The U.S. FDA has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical firm Moderna for emergency use. The government has already started mass vaccinations following the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last week. 

 

December 19, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 10,004,599 and the death toll stands at 145,136. India is the only country other than the U.S.A. to confirm more than 10 million coronavirus infections. 

 

December 19, 8 a.m.: As the Covid-19 infection rate soars in Sweden, the government has announced the strictest anti-coronavirus measures so far in the country. However, the government has not imposed a full lockdown yet.  

 

December 18, 10 p.m.: Next year’s Berlin Film Festival will be scaled down and held as an online-only event due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced today. The 71st edition of the festival will also be postponed by a month and will now be held in March.  

 

December 18, 7 p.m.: The Indian government announced that a voluntary Covid-19 vaccination program could begin in India very soon. It could take up to a year to vaccinate the entire population of India, and though vaccination will be voluntary, all citizens will be advised to take the two recommended doses. However, the government has not yet approved any Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use.  

 

December 18, 4 p.m.: A third nationwide lockdown is likely to be imposed in Austria post-Christmas. Reports suggest that lockdown restrictions could be in place longer for people who do not get tested for the coronavirus.  

 

December 18, 2.30 p.m.: According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international arrivals dropped 72% globally in the first ten months of 2020. It is estimated that the tourism sector faced losses of up to 935 billion USD this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Guardian reports.

 

December 18, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,979,447 and the death toll stands at 144,789.

 

December 18, 10 a.m.: After a cluster of Covid-19 infections was detected along Sydney’s coast, 29 beaches in the region have been ordered shut. Additionally, states and territories are imposing border restrictions to prevent transmission of the virus across regions. 

 

December 18, 8 a.m.: A coronavirus lockdown will be imposed across Northern Ireland starting December 26 amid rising coronavirus infections. The restrictions will remain in place for at least four weeks, after which they will be reviewed. 

 

December 17, 11 p.m.: Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielsky announced that a nationwide quarantine will be in place across Poland from December 28 to January 17, to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

 

December 17, 9 p.m.: Dutch Minister Hugo de Jonge announced today that Netherlands will begin Covid-19 vaccinations on January 8, and not in December like some of the other EU states. 

 

December 17, 6 p.m.: German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced today that all European Union states are set to begin Covid-19 vaccinations on December 27. The EU’s drug regulator is yet to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, but is expected to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by December 21. 

 

December 17, 4 p.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for the coronavirus

 

December 17, 2 p.m.: The Guardian reports that South Africa is witnessing a surge in coronavirus infections, reporting more than 10,000 new cases over the past 24 hours. Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced new restrictions including a night-time curfew and the closure of some beaches in the country to prevent the spread of the virus.

 

December 17, 12 p.m.: As Tokyo’s medical infrastructure comes under severe pressure due to a surge in coronavirus infections, city authorities have raised the alert level to the highest of four stages. A record of more than 800 new cases were confirmed in Tokyo over the past 24 hours.  

 

December 17, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,956,557 and the death toll stands at 144,451.

 

December 17, 8 a.m.: The U.S.A. reported its highest ever tally of fresh coronavirus infections and coronavirus related deaths over the past 24 hours. While more than 250,000 new cases were confirmed, the day’s death toll was greater than 3,700.

 

December 16, 10 p.m.: The Guardian reports that France will begin a Covid-19 vaccination drive at the end of December 2020, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced today. The European Union is expected to approve a vaccine for emergency use soon. 

 

December 16, 8 p.m.: Bulgarian Health Minister Kostadin Angelov announced that the national government is set to extend coronavirus restrictions in the country till January 31. The restrictions were supposed to end on December 21, but will be extended as the country currently has the highest Covid-19 death rate per 100,000 in the European Union.

 

December 16, 4 p.m.: Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced that all citizens will receive the coronavirus vaccine for free once it is available. However, the country is yet to authorize the emergency use of a vaccine.  

 

December 16, 2 p.m.: Amid rising imported coronavirus infections, the Taiwanese government has extended the ban on incoming Indonesian workers indefinitely. 

 

December 16, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,932,547 and the death toll stands at 144,096.

 

December 16, 10 a.m.: After two weeks without detecting a single locally transmitted case, Australia has confirmed a coronavirus infection in an airport worker in New South Wales. Following the positive test result, all returning international air crews will likely be required to undergo two weeks of quarantine to prevent transmission of the virus among airport staff. 

 

December 16, 8 a.m.: Starting today, London has moved to Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, the most severe level of curbs in the country. Pubs, cafes and restaurants are to be shut down, and public gatherings will be further limited. Apart from London, most of Essex and some areas of Hertfordshire also moved to the highest level of restrictions today.

 

December 15, 10 p.m.: Amid mounting pressure from member states, the European Union’s chief drug regulator will fast-track the review of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for approval. National governments are reportedly waiting for the EU’s authorization to begin vaccinations ahead of the upcoming holiday season. 

 

December 15, 8 p.m.: After investigating a sudden spike in cases in South England, scientists have discovered significant mutations in the strain of the virus found in patients. The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium has said that the mutations could be responsible for the increased transmission of the virus in the region. Whether the Covid-19 vaccine is just as effective against the mutated strain of the virus is currently not known.  

 

December 15, 6 p.m.: Reports suggest that the Danish government will extend lockdown restrictions throughout the country, to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Bars, museums and restaurants are likely to be ordered shut amid rising coronavirus infections in the country.

 

December 15, 4 p.m.: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said that his government will have to institute new coronavirus restrictions for the holiday season to stem the spread of the virus in the country and avoid a third wave of infections. The country has lost more than 65,000 lives to the pandemic, marking Europe’s highest death toll so far. 

 

December 15, 2 p.m.: The Central government has announced that the Winter session of the Parliament will not take place this year, but the Budget Session will take place in January. The reason cited for the cancellation of the session is the sharp spike in coronavirus infections in capital Delhi.

 

December 15, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,906,165 and the death toll stands at 143,709.

 

December 15, 11 a.m.: The Singaporean government announced that starting January, the country will open up a segregated travel corridor for some business travellers from all foreign countries. The city-state is also due to host the World Economic Forum annual gathering next year. 

 

December 15, 9 a.m.: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that a five-day full lockdown will be imposed across the country from December 31. The country reported close to 30,000 new cases over the past 24 hours. 

 

December 15, 7 a.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced yesterday that the Go To Travel campaign, launched to boost domestic tourism, will be suspended from December 28 to January 11 to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

December 14, 10 p.m.: Reports suggest that the city of London will be put under the toughest ‘Tier 3’ Covid-19 restrictions. The city, currently under Tier 2 restrictions, has witnessed a sudden spike in infections, prompting authorities to take this step. 

 

December 14, 8 p.m.: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is likely to announce a tough month-long coronavirus lockdown in the country today, as infections have soared in the past few days. This upcoming lockdown is expected to be stricter than the one imposed between March and May earlier this year. 

 

December 14, 6 p.m.: Chennai’s Marina Beach has reopened to the public after a gap of eight months today. Along with the re-opening of the popular beach, many other coronavirus restrictions in Tamil Nadu have been relaxed in December.

 

December 14, 4 p.m.: Singapore has approved the emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The first shipment of the vaccine is expected to arrive in Singapore by the end of December.

 

December 14, 2 p.m.: As Covid-19 infections continue to rise in Italy, the government has shut down Rome’s Trevi Fountain to avoid crowding. The country has reported Europe’s highest coronavirus death toll and the government is considering stricter curbs on movement and social gatherings ahead of the holiday season.

 

December 14, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,884,100 and the death toll stands at 143,355.

 

December 14, 10 a.m.: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country will enter into a quarantine-free travel bubble arrangement with neighbours Australia in early 2021. 

 

December 14, 8 a.m.: The Guardian reports that a night time curfew has been re-imposed in Mauritania amid a surge in Covid-19 infections.

 

December 13, 10 p.m.: Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India said today that Covid-19 vaccination is likely to begin in January 2021 in India. He expects that the government will authorize the emergency use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine by the end of December 2020. 

 

December 13, 7 p.m.: Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said today that herd immunity against the novel coronavirus could be achieved in Spain by the end of the summer in 2021 provided enough citizens get vaccinated. Mass vaccination of residents is expected to begin in January and it is estimated that two thirds of the population will be vaccinated by the summer. 

 

December 13, 4 p.m.: Russia reported more than 28,000 new Covid-19 cases and almost 500 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours. Despite a steady rise in infections over the past few days in capital Moscow, the city’s mayor announced that a curfew will not be imposed in the city.

 

December 13, 2 p.m.: Amid a spike in rising Covid-19 infections, the German government is likely to tighten restrictions, The Guardian reports. The new restrictions will likely come into effect on December 16, and will require shops, schools and offices for a period of one month. 

 

December 13, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,857,029 and the death toll stands at 143,019.

 

December 13, 10 a.m.: For the first time since the pandemic began, the daily increase in Covid-19 cases breached the 1,000 mark in South Korea yesterday. With new clusters breaking out in a school and a hospital, authorities will likely ramp up restrictions on social and economic activity.

 

December 12, 11 p.m.: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Catholic pilgrimage to Mexico City’s Basilica of Guadalupe will not take place this year. Instead, the church will offer virtual services and candle-lighting for pilgrims to avoid gathering of crowds. The pilgrimage, was originally supposed to culminate in Mexico City on December 12, is attended by millions of Roman Catholics each year.

 

December 12, 9 p.m.: Japan confirmed more than 3,000 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase recorded in the country since the pandemic began. The country is witnessing a spike in cases since winter has set in, especially in the northern island of Hokkaido. 

 

December 12, 6 p.m.: The Guardian reports that overseas travel to the U.K. might see a revival in early next year, but will not reach pre-pandemic levels before the end of 2021. Like in most other countries, the British tourism industry too has suffered a major slump in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

December 12, 4.30 p.m.: The Economic Times reports that United Airlines has launched a daily flight service plying between Delhi and Chicago from today. 

 

December 12, 2 p.m.: After South Korea reported a record 950 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, President Moon Jae-in said that the country is in emergency because of a third wave of infections.   

 

December 12, 12 p.m.: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. The U.S.A. is now the sixth country after the U.K., Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for mass vaccinations.  

 

December 12, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,826,775 and the death toll stands at 142,628.

 

December 12, 8 a.m.: Early next year, a quarantine free travel bubble will be instituted between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, leaders of both countries announced today. A Trans-Tasman bubble between New Zealand and Australia, however, will not materialize at least till February 2021. 

 

December 11, 10 p.m.: The Uttarakhand High Court has ruled that tourists visiting Nainital and Mussoorie will be required to undergo a Covid-19 test result on arrival.

 

December 11, 7 p.m.: Greek authorities will maintain most existing coronavirus restrictions through Christmas to prevent the spread of the virus during the holiday season. Greece is currently in its second Covid-19 lockdown.

 

December 11, 4 p.m.: As the coronavirus infection rate continues to remain high in Germany, the German government is considering a tight lockdown across the country before Christmas. Previously, the government was expected to announce lockdown restrictions after Christmas. 

 

December 11, 2 p.m.: Amid a spike in coronavirus infections, the French government announced that cultural venues in the country will not reopen on December 15 as previously planned. Following the decision, culture minister Roselyne Bachelot has sought 42 million USD to help cultural venues in the country. 

 

December 11, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,796,770 and the death toll stands at 142,186.

 

December 11, 10 a.m.: An advisory panel affiliated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has endorsed the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The FDA is now expected to grant authorization to the vaccine by the end of this week. 

 

December 11, 8 a.m.: The Israeli government announced that a Covid-19 curfew will not be imposed during the Hanukkah holidays as was previously planned. Israel is seeing a spike in infections over the past few days, and the government will tighten restrictions if daily new infections cross the 2,500 mark.

 

December 10, 11 p.m.: The Canary Islands have been taken off Britain’s safe travel corridor list due to a high Covid-19 infection rate. Travellers returning from the Spanish archipelago will now be required to self-isolate on arrival. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been added to the no-quarantine safe travel list. 

 

December 10, 8 p.m.: Authorities in the German capital of Berlin have sought stricter lockdown restrictions in the city as coronavirus infections continue to climb. After reporting a record daily rise in cases, Mayor Michael Mueller announced that he will ask the city’s parliament to close non essential shops and extend school breaks till January 10.

 

December 10, 5 p.m.: In the midst of political protests across the country, the Belarusian government has announced that the country’s borders will be shut this month, even for its own citizens and residents, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, business or study related travel will be allowed. 

 

December 10, 3 p.m.: According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre, the U.S.A. reported more than 3,000 coronavirus related deaths over the past 24 hours, for the first time since the pandemic began. The country is the worst affected in the world and is currently in the throes of a deadly spike in cases and deaths.

 

December 10, 1 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,767,371 and the death toll stands at 141,772.

 

December 10, 11 a.m.: Starting January 1, 2021, British travellers will be banned from entering European Union countries, according to the EU’s Covid-19 safety restrictions. In October, the EU resolved that visitors from only a few low-risk countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Korea will be allowed into the EU.

 

December 10, 9.30 a.m.: Amid a spike in Covid-19 infections in California, authorities announced that Lake Tahoe will be off limits for outside visitors. Majority of the state’s residents are currently facing strict lockdown restrictions. 

 

December 10, 8 a.m.: Canada has become the third country in the world after the U.K. and Bahrain to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, after the drug regulatory authority gave a nod to the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

 

December 9, 10 p.m.: Police authorities in Oman announced that foreign travellers from 103 nations will be allowed to enter the country without a visa for a stay of up to ten days. However, all visitors must have a confirmed hotel reservation, return ticket and health insurance. 

 

December 9, 8 p.m.: Foreign travellers coming to Norway will be allowed to undergo the mandatory ten-day quarantine at a place of their choosing, provided they commit to respecting quarantine regulations. However, all travellers will still be required to produce a negative Covid-19 test report on arrival.

 

December 9, 6 p.m.: In the U.K., authorities have warned individuals who suffer from ‘severe allergic reactions’ against getting vaccinated for Covid-19. The warning was issued after two NHS workers suffered an allergic reaction after receiving a dose of the Pfizer vaccine approved in the U.K. 

 

December 9, 4 p.m.: Shedding light on what travelling will be like in a post-pandemic world, the CEO of Air Asia, Tony Fernandes said that governments across Asia might require incoming travellers to produce proof of vaccination on arrival. He also added that airlines will probably not dictate the rules for travel, but instead follow governmental guidelines. 

 

December 9, 2 p.m.: Moldovan Prime Minister Ion Chicu has tested positive for the novel coronavirus today.

 

December 9, 12 p.m.: Amid reports of increased risk of Covid-19 risk along Thailand’s border with Myanmar, the government announced that patrolling will be ramped up in the region and drones will be deployed to prevent unmonitored border crossings.

 

December 9, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,735,850 and the death toll stands at 140,958.

 

December 9, 8 a.m.: The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the U.S.A. has crossed 15 million. The country is facing a spike in infections after millions of people travelled over the Thanksgiving holidays.

 

December 8, 10 p.m.: The Swiss Federal Railways announced today that all cross-border train travel between Switzerland and Italy will be suspended from Thursday due to the lack of personnel to carry out the requisite Covid-19 safety checks. 

 

December 8, 7 p.m.: Four lions from the Barcelona zoo have tested positive for the coronavirus. This is the second known instance of large felines contracting the virus. Earlier, in April, four tigers and three lions from New York’s Bronx zoo had tested positive. 

 

December 8, 4 p.m.: Indonesian pharmaceutical firm Bio Farma announced that interim trial results show that the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinovac is 97% effective. Late stage trials of the same vaccine are also being conducted in Brazil and results are expected to be published soon. 

 

December 8, 2 p.m.: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that coronavirus measures will be tightened in the city amid a worrying fourth wave of infections. She urged all residents to work from home as much as possible to prevent transmission of the virus. 

 

December 8, 12 p.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India is 9,703,770 and the death toll stands at 140,958.

 

December 8, 10 a.m.: The U.K. will begin its Covid-19 vaccination program today, administering the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to senior citizens and frontline staff of the National Health Service. Two jabs of the vaccine will be administered to each individual. 

 

December 8, 8 a.m.: After nine months of severe financial losses because of the coronavirus pandemic, the airline sector is expected to get a boost in the short term because of its role in airlifting and delivering Covid-19 vaccines for mass vaccination programs.

 

December 7, 10 p.m.: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the country will remain in place until January 11. Additionally, New Years’ Eve celebrations will not be held this year. 

 

December 7, 9 p.m.: The Danish government announced that coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be tightened in some parts of the country after a spike in cases over the past few days. In these municipalities, restaurants, museums, cinemas and other cultural institutions will be closed starting December 9.

 

December 7, 7 p.m.: The 2021 edition of the Paris Airshow has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Together with the U.K.’s Farnborough Airshow, the event is considered to be the aerospace industry’s largest showcase. 

 

December 7, 6 p.m.: IndiGo announced that it will refund all passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, by January 31, 2021. The airline also stated that it has issued refunds of Rs. 1,000 crores already.   

 

December 7, 4 p.m.: As coronavirus restrictions are eased in the Australian state of Victoria, state capital Melbourne welcomed its first international passenger flight in five months today. The country has closed its borders to international passengers, except for Australians stranded abroad. 

 

December 7, 2 p.m.: Coronavirus lockdown restrictions in some parts of California have been tightened in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. The stay-at-home order will remain in place through Christmas in the state. California alone has recorded more than 1.3 million confirmed Covid-19 infections. 

 

December 7, 12 p.m.: The Serum Institute of India has applied for emergency approval of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday. Pfizer has also moved to seek approval for its Covid-19 vaccine in India, following approval by drug regulators in the U.K. and Bahrain.     

 

December 7, 10 a.m.: According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in India is 9,677,203 and the death toll stands at 140,573.

 

December 7, 8 a.m.: The Tunisian government announced that the night-time curfew in the country till the end of 2020 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus amid anti-government protests.  

 

December 6, 10 p.m.: Reports suggest that American pharmaceutical company Pfizer has sought emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine in India, becoming the first firm to do so. Pfizer has already received  approval for emergency use of its vaccine candidate in the U.K. and Bahrain.

 

December 6, 8 p.m.: Amid rising Covid-19 infections, lockdown restrictions will be tightened across the German region of Bavaria. Though the curbs will be relaxed for Christmas celebrations, they will remain in place for New Year’s Eve celebrations.   

 

December 6, 5 p.m.: As the Covid-19 infection rate continues to soar in South Korean capital Seoul, authorities announced that social distancing requirements will be tightened in the city. The country reported 631 new cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase in infections in nine months.  

 

December 6, 2 p.m.: After recording 37 days without new coronavirus infections, authorities in the Australian state of Victoria announced that lockdown restrictions will be eased ahead of the holiday season. Public gatherings of up to hundred people will be permitted and offices will be allowed to function at 50% capacity.

 

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