Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
Dutch prime minister announces five-week lockdown. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte imposed a tough new five-week nationwide lockdown Monday, saying schools, nonessential shops, museums and gyms will close down at midnight until 19 January. “We have to bite through this very sour apple before things get better,” a sombre Rutte said in a televised address to the nation.
A new strain of coronavirus that has shown up in England’s genomic surveillance in the past two months may have spread the virus in the south of England. The strain contains a number of different mutations and has been detected in parts of the south where cases of the virus are rising fastest, according to the health secretary, Matt Hancock.
Moderna documents accessed in cyber-attack. Moderna Inc said on Monday it was informed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) certain documents related to pre-submission talks of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate were unlawfully accessed in a cyberattack on the medicines regulator.
South Korea’s prime minister pleaded with residents on Tuesday to abide by social distancing rules to avoid even greater restrictions in the face of the country’s largest wave of coronavirus infections. Daily infection rates are hovering at record levels with another 880 new cases reported as of midnight Monday, up from 718 a day earlier, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
Canada kicked off its inoculation campaign against Covid-19 on Monday by injecting frontline healthcare workers and elderly nursing home residents, becoming the third nation in the world to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Singapore to open business travel bubble for all countries from January. Singapore will open a new segregated travel lane for a limited number of business, official and high economic value travellers from all countries, the government said on Tuesday, as part of efforts to revive its key travel and hospitality sectors.
A record number of journalists were imprisoned during 2020, as governments cracked down on coverage of the coronavirus pandemic or tried to suppress reporting of civil unrest, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Tuesday.
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, with a recommendation for how to see the “great conjunction” or “Christmas kiss” – when Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer to one another and brighter than they have in 800 years – or as I like to think of it, interplanetary mistletoe: