The United Arab Emirates (UAE) health ministry says an interim analysis of in-country phase-three clinical trials of Chinese-made Sinopharms COVID-19 vaccine has 86 percent efficacy against the infection.
Meanwhile, Oxford University and AstraZeneca became the first COVID-19 vaccine makers to publish final-stage clinical trial results in a scientific journal, clearing a key hurdle in the global race to produce safe and effective drugs for the new coronavirus.
US President-elect Joe Biden has laid out his plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic during his first 100 days in office, saying his administration would vaccinate 100 million Americans, push to reopen schools and strengthen mask mandates.
Here are the latest updates:
36 mins ago (10:25 GMT)UK issues warning after two people have allergic reaction to Pfizer/BioNTech COVID19 vaccine
Britains Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued precautionary advice to National Health Service (NHS) trusts against administering the the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people with significant allergic reactions.
This includes reactions to medicines, food or vaccines.
The measure came after two healthcare workers who received the jab on Tuesday the first day of the UK rolled out mass vaccination suffered allergic reactions, reported British media. Both are reportedly recovering.Two healthcare workers who received the jab on Tuesday suffered allergic reactions [File: Victoria Jones/Reuters]
56 mins ago (10:05 GMT)UK regulator to assess best dose regimen of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Britains medical regulator will examine all the data from trials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, including which dosing regimen is best to use, the regulators chief executive said.
Our regulatory review is all encompassing. We will look at all available data, June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), told lawmakers after a study showed the vaccine had efficacy of 62 percent for trial participants given two full doses, but 90 percent for a smaller sub-group given a half, then a full dose.
Clearly, we have great interest into the possible reasons for the different doses having a different efficacy readout, she said.
The position is we will look at every piece of evidence part of that will be to examine with great rigour, the basis for the appropriate dosage regimen.
1 hour ago (09:33 GMT)France says will delay easing of lockdown if necessary
France will delay relaxing some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions if necessary to stave off a third wave of infections, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.
France is due to reopen cinemas, theatres and museums and allow citizens to move between regions on December 15, but there are signs it may not meet preconditions to enter into the second phase of rolling back the curbs.
If we consider that we must modify this second phase (of lifting lockdown measures), then of course we will do it, Attal told CNews television.
President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the matter with senior ministers on Wednesday.
2 hours ago (09:23 GMT)Israel gets first delivery of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Israel received its first batch of Pfizers coronavirus vaccine, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring the pandemics end was in sight and vowing to get the first jab.
This is a great celebration for Israel, he said on the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, as a fork-lift truck started unloading the cargo from a red and yellow DHL air freighter.
The end is in sight, Netanyahu said referring to the disease which has infected 348,948 Israelis, 2,932 of them fatally, according to a Wednesday update.
What is important to me is that Israeli citizens get vaccinated, he added.
The shipment was the first of eight million doses ordered from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer BioNTech.[File: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images]
2 hours ago (09:09 GMT)Indonesia records highest daily COVID-19 death toll of 171
Indonesia reported 171 more deaths from the coronavirus, marking the Southeast Asian countrys highest daily rise in fatalities and taking the total number of deaths to 18,171, data from its COVID-19 taskforce showed.
The data also showed 6,058 new cases, taking the total number of infections to 592,900.
Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia [File: Achmad Ibrahim/AP]
2 hours ago (09:06 GMT)
Russia reports 26,190 new coronavirus cases, 559 deaths
Russia  reported 26,190 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 5,145 in Moscow, taking the national total to 2,541,199 since the pandemic began.
Authorities said 559 had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 44,718.
2 hours ago (09:02 GMT)Merkel says should close shops after Christmas until January 10
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she agreed with recommendations to close shops in Europes largest economy after Christmas until January 10 and opposed opening hotels so that families can visit each other over the holiday period.
Speaking in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Merkel said experience showed the second wave of a pandemic was harder than the first, adding that there were still far too many people infected with the coronavirus in Germany.
She said people in Germany had not reduced their contact with others to a sufficient degree.
Germany has imposed a lockdown light in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, leaving only schools and shops open [File: Michael Kappeler/Reuters]
2 hours ago (08:57 GMT)Ukraine reports record daily coronavirus-related deaths
The number of daily coronavirus deaths in Ukraine jumped to 276 from the previous record of 257 fatalities registered in November, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.
He also said 12,585 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 845,343 cases with 14,204 deaths.
2 hours ago (08:56 GMT)Mnuchin says he presented $916bn relief proposal to Pelosi
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he has presented a $916bn proposal for coronavirus relief that includes money for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses during a conversation with Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.
As part of this proposal, we will fund it using $140bn in unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and $429 billion in Treasury funds, Mnuchin said.
2 hours ago (08:56 GMT)UAE says Sinopharm vaccine has 86-percent efficacy
The United Arab Emirates health ministry says an interim analysis of in-country phase-three clinical trials of Sinopharms COVID-19 vaccine has 86-percent efficacy against the infection.
It also said it had registered the Chinese vaccine, for which it approved emergency use in September for certain groups. The ministry statement provided few details but marked the first public release of information on the efficacy of the shot.
The UAE conducted a trial beginning in September of the vaccine by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm involving 31,000 volunteers from 125 nations. Volunteers between 18 and 60 years old received two doses of the vaccine over 28 days.
A nurse prepares to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a London hospital [File: Frank Augstein/Reuters]

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