Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world

The first case of the Brazilian coronavirus variant was detected in Madrid on Friday.
The first case of the Brazilian coronavirus variant was detected in Madrid on Friday. Photo credit: Getty

The global death toll for COVID-19 has surpassed 2,289,979 with 105 million confirmed infections.

The first case of the Brazilian coronavirus variant was detected in Madrid on Friday.

This comes three days after Spain restricted air travel with Brazil and South Africa to curb the spread of the new strains.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is found to be protective against the UK variant B.1.1.7, Oxford researchers said in a paper released on Friday.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved for use in New Zealand, but it has proved 84 percent efficacy against the virus, compared to 74.6 percent against the UK variant.

Here's the latest from around the world.


Perth has celebrated the end of its five-day COVID-19 lockdown as Western Australia and Victoria record no new cases.

The sudden lockdown came after a hotel quarantine security worker tested positive for the virus.

"I'm so relieved we have got to this point and we can get business and our economy back open with full confidence," Western Australia's Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday.

United Kingdom

Britain will place travellers arriving from COVID-19 hot spots in hotel quarantine from February 15.

The more contagious variant of the coronavirus, first detected in the UK, now accounts for almost 6 percent of all cases in Germany.

Lothar Wieler, presidents of the Robert Koch Institute says the variant "is more contagious than the existing one, and there are first indications that it can also lead to more serious illnesses."


Madrid health authorities confirmed on Friday the region's first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant.

Meanwhile, Spain has approved AstraZeneca's vaccine for use for people aged 18 to 55, becoming the latest country to limit the shot to younger people due to lack of data among the elderly.

The health ministry recorded 28,565 new cases on Friday, bringing the total above 2.94 million, while the death toll climbed by 584 to 61,386.


Greece has tightened some lockdown restrictions for 10 days after a recent spike of infection numbers in three regions: Attica, Thessaloniki and Halkidiki.

The country has confirmed 162,107 infections and 5,922 deaths.


Germany is likely to extend its COVID-19 lockdown for another two weeks.

Officials in Berlin have concluded that it's too early to lift the restrictions even though the number of infections are declining, Bloomberg reported.

United States

A senior US House lawmaker told reporters a COVID-19 relief packet would include payroll assistance for US airline staff.

US airlines have been awarded $40 billion in payroll support since March and airline unions last week asked Congress for another $15 billion to keep thousands of workers on the payroll past March 31, when the current round expires.


Lebanon will gradually ease strict coronavirus lockdown restrictions from January 11, the country's caretaker government said on Friday.

Lebanon imposed a 24-hour curfew when cases spiked after lax measures over the Christmas holiday period sent infections soaring and pushed hospital capacities to the limit.

"We will continue with regulations that will prevent the return to what the situation had reached pre-lockdown," Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a statement.

Lebanon recorded 3,107 new cases on Thursday, with total cases reaching 312,269 and total deaths at 3,397.


Israel has extended its third COVID-19 lockdown to Sunday, at which point nationwide restrictions will ease slowly.