In international news, the European Union has begun a coordinated rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine after it was approved last week. In Latin America, which has been suffering a devastating second wave of the virus, Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica have begun their mass vaccination programs.
Canada, Japan and South Korea are some of the latest countries to detect cases of the highly infectious new COVID variant which was originally identified in Britain. Japan announced it is temporarily banning nonresident foreigners from entering the country.
Meanwhile, officials in Nigeria say they are investigating a new variant of coronavirus, days after South African officials blamed a surge in COVID-19 cases on another variant, which they claim is more contagious. South Africa just passed 1 million cases, and health workers say they are quickly becoming overwhelmed.
Dean Yago: “Yeah, we’re dealing with the COVID, nothing else now. There’s no longer any sickness that we know; it’s COVID all the time. You know that you are at a risk with a patient all the time now.”
In China, citizen journalist Zhang Zhan was given a four-year jail sentence for her social media reporting from Wuhan as the virus took hold at the start of the year.
Last week, the first COVID cases were recorded in Antarctica at a Chilean research base.