South Korea reported a record number of coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day. Japan may halt its travel subsidy program in the cities of Tokyo and Nagoya amid rising infections, according to local media.
Peru has suspended vaccine trials after an adverse event, while Brazil has sent its immunization plan to the nation’s top court. Italy moved ahead of the U.K. as the European country with the most virus-related deaths, while the worldwide toll rose to more than 1.6 million.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that someone in L.A. County died from Covid-19 every 20 minutes this week. Government-approved shots from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE are due to arrive at the first administration sites on Monday.
China Suspends Russian Fish Product Imports: Global Times (10:45 a.m. HK)
Fish product imports from Russian manufacturer Vostok-ryba Co. have been suspended for one week after outer packaging of frozen salmon tested positive to coronavirus, the Global Times reported.
Japan May Halt Travel Subsidy Campaign in More Cities: Reports (10:35 a.m. HK)
Japan may stop the campaign in Tokyo and Nagoya because of rising coronavirus cases, local media reported Sunday.
The government will hold talks with governors of regions where infections are rising, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told NHK. The program to the two cities may be suspended until Dec. 25, FNN reported, without saying where it got the information.
Brazil Reports 43,900 New Covid-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours (10:30 a.m. HK)
Brazil has total infections of 6,880,127, according to Health Ministry data released Saturday. Death toll rose 686 in the past 24 hours to 181,123.
Earlier, the nation’s health ministry on Friday delivered a national immunization plan to the Supreme Court and the Federal Attorney’s Office, according to a note on the ministry’s website Saturday.
The plan will be released to Brazilians on Thursday, The country has the world’s third-highest number of Covid-19 cases, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.
South Korea Reports Record Coronavirus Cases a Second Day (9:52 a.m. H.K.)
South Korea reported 1,030 confirmed cases on Sunday, breaking the previous day’s record of 950 infections. More than 70% of the 1,002 local infections reported Sunday were in the greater Seoul area, according to the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
Joe Biden Urges Congress to Act on Coronavirus Relief Package (9:37 a.m. HK)
Los Angeles County Sees One Death in Every 20 Minutes (9:05 a.m. HK)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a stark statistic for the pandemic on Saturday: “This week, every 20 minutes someone in L.A. County is dying from Covid-19.”
The number of cases in Los Angeles County reached 512,872 by Saturday, with deaths totaling 8,269. Garcetti warned a week ago that fatalities could exceed 11,000 by the end of the year.
The county of 10 million, one of the first in the U.S. to shut down non-essential businesses in March along with other curbs, said enforcement remains the key obstacle to containing the spread.
Charley Pride, Country Music’s First Black Star, Dies at 86: AP (7:06 a.m. HK)
Charley Pride, whose rich baritone helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, has died from complications from Covid-19, according to Jeremy Westby of public relations firm 2911 Media.
Peru Suspends Trial of China Vaccine After ‘Adverse Event’ (6:38 a.m. HK)
Peru has temporarily suspended trials of Sinopharm Group Ltd.’s Covid-19 vaccine after an unspecified “adverse event” was reported during a clinical trial.
Phase 3 trials started in September. Peru has seen more than 980,000 cases and 36,544 deaths from coronavirus, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A Stock Trader’s Guide to the Global Covid Vaccine Rollout (6:22 a.m. H.K.)
The race to distribute the one product that billions of people around the world will want will create investment opportunities as traders look at the companies involved in the rollout.
Each vaccine that has won or is near approval offers a different logistical challenge, from ultra-cold storage to getting products to places across the developing world
CDC Advisers Back Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine (3:09 p.m. NY)
A panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted to recommend that people age 16 and older receive Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine, clearing one of the last hurdles for U.S. vaccinations.
CDC Director Robert Redfield must give a final sign-off on the panel’s recommendations at a meeting on Saturday.
France’s Pace of Infections Rises (3 p.m. NY)
France’s rolling seven-day average of new cases increased 1.2% to almost 12,000, marking a further rise from a recent low of 10,348 on Dec. 4.
While another 194 people died of causes related to Covid-19, the rolling average fell to 397 in Saturday’s data, the lowest in more than a month.
California Cases Surpass 35,000 for Second Day (2:45 p.m. NY)
California reported a record 35,729 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its second straight day with more than 35,000. Deaths increased by 225 to 20,847. Hospitalizations climbed 3.5% in 24 hours to a record 13,410 patients.
New York State Cases Rise for Fifth Straight Day (2:34 p.m. NY)
The latest positive-test rate is slightly less than 4.6%, Cuomo said.
Nebraska Eases Virus-Related Restrictions (2 p.m. NY)
Nebraska relaxed some coronavirus-related restrictions on Saturday, increasing the capacity limit for indoor gatherings to 50% from 25% and allowing some elective surgeries to resume. While groups in bars and restaurants will still be limited to eight patrons, they’ll no longer be required to stay six feet (1.83 meters) apart. Distancing requirements for gyms, health clubs and spas were lifted.
Kentucky is scheduled to reopen indoor dining at bars and restaurants at 50% capacity on Monday. Gyms, event spaces such as theaters and professional services can also reopen at half-capacity, though masks must be worn while exercising, according to Governor Andy Beshear. While Beshear reported a state record of more than 4,300 new cases on Thursday, he said the positive-test rate declined for the seventh straight day.
N.J. Cases Reach Record (12:57 p.m. NY)
New Jersey reported a record 6,247 new Covid-19 cases, putting the state on course to surpass 400,000 total cases within the next day or two.
The new cases bring the total to 396,496. The state’s daily increase has averaged more than 5,000 this month. The number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 illnesses declined slightly to 3,543, though it’s more than triple the number on Nov. 1. An additional 71 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 15,864.
Puerto Rico Lays Out Vaccine Timeline (12:15 p.m. NY)
Puerto Rico will begin receiving Covid-19 vaccines next week, though the general population might not get them until next summer, Governor Wanda Vazquez said Saturday.
The U.S. territory of 3.2 million people will have access to some 205,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of December, Vazquez said. Medical professionals and nursing homes will have priority, followed by first responders, public school employees and essential workers.
The National Guard, which is helping manage the effort, said it has five specialized freezers deployed across the island. On Monday, Puerto Rico tightened its nightly curfew, business restrictions and social distancing measures through Jan. 7. The territory has reported 108,485 Covid-19 cases and 1,266 deaths.
Italy Deaths Exceed U.K.’s (11:33 a.m. NY)
Italy’s deaths blamed on Covid-19 rose by 649 to 64,036 and now exceed U.K. fatalities, which increased to 64,026 in Saturday data from both countries.
Italy reported 19,903 new cases, an increase of more than 1,000 compared to Friday.
Sweden to Allow Holiday Travel (8:02 a.m. NY)
Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde said she won’t advise against traveling within the European Union over Christmas and New Year. The emphasis should be on distancing and hygiene, because trips themselves aren’t the main issue, Linde said in an interview with Swedish Radio P1 on Saturday.
UPS to Support Distribution of Pfizer Vaccine (7:32 a.m. NY)
UPS will take part in the distribution of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed in the U.S. The doses will originate from storage sites in Michigan and Wisconsin, transported to UPS facilities in Louisville, before being expedited “Next Day Air” to destinations including hospitals and clinics, the company said in a statement.