The novel coronavirus has infected over 95 million people globally and claimed more than 2 million lives. Here are the updates for January 17:

A health worker takes a swab from a man to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a drive-through testing site, at American University of Beirut's (AUB) medical centre, Lebanon, on January 11, 2021.
A health worker takes a swab from a man to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a drive-through testing site, at American University of Beirut's (AUB) medical centre, Lebanon, on January 11, 2021. (Reuters)

Sunday, January 17, 2021:

Lebanon signs deal for 2.1M Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses

Lebanon has finalised a deal with Pfizer for 2.1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine amid surge in infections that has overwhelmed the country's health care system.

The doses are to arrive in Lebanon starting early February, according to Lebanon’s health ministry.

The government's statement said the Pfizer vaccines will be complemented with another 2.7 million doses from the UN-led program to provide for countries in need. 

It gave no date for when those doses are expected to arrive but said the agreement was signed in October.

Lebanon has so far recorded 249,158 infections and some 1,866 deaths.

France reports further 141 coronavirus deaths

France has reported a further 141 deaths from coronavirus, taking the cumulative toll since March to 70,283, the public health authority said.

It also reported 16,642 new infections within the previous 24 hours.

The infection figures on Sundays are usually lower because fewer tests are taken. The number of daily cases has been hovering around 20,000 for the last week.

The Health Ministry said in a separate statement that 422,127 people had now been vaccinated, up from about 413,000 on Saturday.

Turkey's daily cases drop below 7,000

Turkey has reported over 6,400 new coronavirus cases, down from 7,550 registered the previous day, according to Health Ministry’s data.

A total of 6,436 cases, including 803 symptomatic patients, were confirmed across the country, the data showed.

Turkey’s overall case tally has crossed 2.38 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 23,997, with 165 fatalities over the past day.

As many as 8,812 more patients recovered in the country, bringing the total past 2.26 million.

More than 27.37 million Covid-19 tests have been conducted in Turkey to date, with 148,636 done over the past 24 hours.

Italy reports 377 new deaths

Italy's health ministry has reported 377 coronavirus-related deaths within the previous 24 hours, and 12,515 confirmed new infections.

On Saturday it had reported 475 deaths and 16,310 new infections.

Italy has registered 82,177 deaths from Covid-19 since the virus came to light last February, the second-highest toll in Europe and the sixth-highest in the world, from 2.38 million confirmed cases.

France may demand Covid-19 test from Irish truck drivers

France is considering demanding Covid-19 tests for passengers from Ireland including truck drivers operating on a logistics route that has become key since Britain's exit from the European Union, Ireland's transport minister said.

"They have indicated that they are looking for... anyone coming into France from Ireland would have to have" a PCR test, Irish Transport Minister Eamon Ryan told RTE radio, referring toa type of Covid-19 test that can take several days.

"They may go further. What they are looking at is the possibility that hauliers... would require an antigen test," Ryan said, referring to another type of Covid-19 test that can give results in minutes.

UK seeks to give 1st Covid shot to all adults by September

The UK government plans to offer a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine to every adult by September as the nation’s health service battles the worst crisis in its 72-year-history.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Sunday that the government is still opening new vaccination sites and will soon begin trials that will give round-the-clock injections at some locations to help increase the pace of delivery.

“Our target is by September to have offered all the adult population a first dose,’’ he told Sky News. “If we can do it faster than that, great, but that’s the road map.

Britain has more than 51 million adults in its population of 67.5 million people.

The surge in infections has pushed the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 to a record 37,475, more than 73 percent higher than during the first peak of the pandemic in April. 

Britain has reported 88,747 coronavirus-related deaths, more than any other country in Europe and the fifth-highest number worldwide.

Ice cream tests positive in China 

The coronavirus has been found on ice cream produced in eastern China, prompting a recall of cartons from the same batch, according to the government.

The Daqiaodao Food Co., Ltd. in Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, was sealed and its employees were being tested for the coronavirus, a city government statement said. There was no indication anyone had contracted the virus from the ice cream.

Most of the 29,000 cartons in the batch had yet to be sold, the government said. It said 390 sold in Tianjin were being tracked down and authorities elsewhere were notified of sale s to their areas.

The ingredients included New Zealand milk powder and whey powder from Ukraine, the government said.

Russia reports nearly 500 deaths

Russia has reported 23,586 new virus cases, including 4,012 in Moscow, which plans to reopen public schools on Monday after an extended New Year break.

Russia's coronavirus crisis centre also confirmed 481 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the national Covid-19 death toll to 65,566.

Health workers in New Delhi suffer vaccine side-effects

Fifty-two health care workers who were administered the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in New Delhi have suffered side-effects, according to state government data.

While 51 showed minor side-effects, including chest tightness, one suffered a severe case of an "Adverse Event Following Immunization" on the first day of a nationwide rollout of the vaccine.

The security guard at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was rushed to the intensive care unit after he developed a headache, rashes, respiratory distress and tachycardia.

 A total of 191,100 people were vaccinated in India on the first day of the world’s largest nationwide vaccination drive against the coronavirus.

Thailand reports 374 cases

Thailand has reported 374 new cases, taking its total infections to 12,054.

No death was reported, while 10 of the new cases were imported from abroad, Thailand's Covid-19 taskforce said at a briefing. Thailand has recorded 70 virus-related deaths since a year ago.

Tokyo records 1,592 new cases

Tokyo has reported 1,592 new virus cases.

Japan expanded a state of emergency in the capital area to seven more prefectures on Wednesday to stem a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Small coronavirus cluster emerges in Sydney suburb

A cluster of new coronavirus cases has emerged in Australia's New South Wales State, health officials said, just as the country appeared on the verge of snuffing out all community transmission.

Health authorities were still investigating a mystery case in a man who tested positive on Friday in the western Sydney suburb of Berala. All six locally acquired cases registered on Sunday were close contacts of the man.

Mexico's virus death toll rises to 140,241

Mexico has reported 20,523 new confirmed virus cases and 1,219 more fatalities, according to the Health Ministry, bringing its total to 1,630,258 infections and 140,241 deaths.

The real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the official count, the ministry has said, because of a lack of widespread testing.

Brazil reports over 1,000 new deaths for fifth day in a row

Brazil had 61,567 new confirmed virus cases reported in the past 24 hours and 1,050 deaths, the fifth consecutive day with more than 1,000 fatalities, the Health Ministry said.

The South American country has now registered 8,455,059 cases since the pandemic began, and the official death toll has risen to 209,296, according to ministry data. It is the world's third-worst outbreak outside the United States and India.

New Delhi reports 52 cases of Covid-19 vaccine side-effects

Fifty-two health care workers who were administered the first dose of the virus vaccine in New Delhi, suffered side-effects, according to state government data.

While 51 showed minor side-effects, including chest tightness, one suffered a severe case of an "Adverse Event Following Immunization" on the first day of a nationwide rollout of the vaccine.

The security guard at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was rushed to the intensive care unit after he developed a headache, rashes, respiratory distress, and tachycardia.

"An AIIMS security guard has developed an allergic reaction after receiving Covid-19 vaccination here today. He is kept under observation of doctors at the hospital," an AIIMS official said in a statement.

Australian Open arrivals hit by 3 Covid-19 positive tests

Three virus cases have been detected from charter flights carrying tennis players, coaches, and officials to Melbourne for the Australian Open, forcing 47 players into strict hotel quarantine.

The players from the two affected flights — arriving from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi — were in strict 14-day quarantine, unable to leave their hotel rooms or practice, health authorities and tournament organisers said Saturday. The Australian Open starts on February 8.

Health authorities said two positive virus cases emerged from a charter flight from Los Angeles. The third positive test was from a flight from Abu Dhabi in the past 24 hours, Tennis Australia said.

The coach of Canadian star Bianca Andreescu said he has tested positive after arriving from Abu Dhabi. Sylvain Bruneau said the “rest of my team is negative.”

Brazil health regulator sends back Sputnik V vaccine emergency use request

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa said it sent back documents submitted by pharmaceutical company Uniao Quimica seeking approval for emergency use of the Russian Sputnik V virus vaccine because they did not meet the minimum criteria required.

In a statement on the Health Ministry website, Anvisa said the firm's request failed to provide adequate assurances on its Phase III clinical trials and issues related to the manufacture of the vaccine.

Anvisa officials had said previously that the Sputnik V vaccine would have to be submitted to Phase III clinical trials in Brazil before its use can be authorized.

In its statement, Anvisa also said that any applicant requesting emergency use authorization must show its ongoing clinical trials of the vaccine will deliver long-term safety and effectiveness.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies