Factbox: Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

·3-min read
New Year celebrations at a field hospital in Santo Andre

(Reuters) - Several countries welcomed 2021 amid stringent coronavirus restrictions as the world looked to move on from a tumultuous 2020 that saw the pandemic infect and kill millions and companies rush to make vaccines and get emergency approvals.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* The World Health Organization listed Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, in a move seeking to speed access in the developing world.

* British doctors have said a government decision to delay giving a coronavirus vaccine booster shot to vulnerable patients who have already had a first dose will be distressing and disruptive, their trade union said.

* About 4,000 additional positive tests for COVID-19 in the last two to three days have yet to be formally confirmed in Ireland, meaning the situation is worse than recent record daily figures suggest, a senior health official.

* All travellers entering Norway will have to take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival from Jan. 2, the country's justice ministry said.

AMERICAS

* A more infections variant of COVID-19 that has swept through the United Kingdom has been identified in Florida, marking the third known U.S. state to identify such a case.

* David Perdue, one of two Republican U.S. senators facing a runoff election in Georgia next week that will determine control of the Senate, is quarantining after coming in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

* Canada will require air travellers aged 5 and up to test negative for COVID-19 before arrival, starting Jan. 7.

* Brazil reported more than 1,000 deaths from the coronavirus for a third day in a row.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Large crowds took to the streets at midnight in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, celebrating the arrival of 2021 after a year marred by a deadly pandemic that killed thousands there and required the city to be locked down between the end of January and early April.

* Australia welcomed 2021 with subdued celebrations as fresh coronavirus restrictions and border closures at its two most populous states forced families to ditch New Year plans.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Chad has locked down its capital N'djamena for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic and has declared a dusk to dawn curfew due to a rise in infections.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* A vaccine developed by a unit of China National Biotec Group (CNBG) is 79.34% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 and the company has filed an application for regulatory approval in China for its general public use.

* A new variant of the novel coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe illness than other variants, according to a matched study by Public Health England.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Wall Street advanced on Thursday and the dollar gained ground as investors closed the book on a turbulent year of pandemic, recession and recovery.

(Compiled by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Uttaresh.V; Editing by Anil D'Silva, Maju Samuel and Subhranshu Sahu)