South Africa hits one million cases - South Africa is the first country in Africa to surpass one million COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, a new variant of the virus that spreads faster has been detected in the country. South Africa is expected to announce tougher restrictions to slow down the spread of the virus.
Protests in Uganda turn deadly - After music star and presidential candidate Bobi Wine was arrested for breaking COVID-19 regulations at a campaign rally, protesters in Uganda hit the streets to protest the arrest. Those protests lead to the death of at least 45 people. Videos on social media showed police, military and gunmen firing rifles to stop protesters.
China jails journalist - Zhang Zhan, a Chinese citizen journalist who covered the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, has been jailed for four years. She was found guilty of “provoking trouble” and “picking quarrels.” Other reporters have been in trouble for reporting in Wuhan as there is no free media in China. Zhang is in poor health as she has been on a hunger strike for months after she was detained in May.
Taiwan reports first COVID case in more than 200 days - After not having local transmission of the virus for 255 days, Taiwan reported its first locally-transmitted case. The case stemmed from a woman in her 30s who was infected after having contact with a foreign pilot. Taiwan has been seen as a leader for its efforts to slow the spread of the virus. It began screening passengers on direct flights from Wuhan back when the virus was mainly just rumors.
EU begins mass vaccination efforts - The European Union has delivered a COVID-19 vaccine to all of its 27 member states. So far, the European Union has reported more than 330,000 deaths related to the virus. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said over the weekend that the news of vaccine deliveries is a happy Christmas message. On Sunday, residents in German nursing homes began to receive the vaccine.
Fishing boat sinks in Barents Sea - At least 16 people are missing after a Russian fishing boat sunk in the Barents Sea. Two people were rescued and a search is underway for those who are still missing. Reports suggest the ship was weighed down by accumulated ice, causing it to capsize. When the ship sank, temperatures were in the negative, and authorities have little hope that they’ll find those who are missing.
Latin America begins vaccination - Mexico received a shipment of 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week as a Mexican nurse became the first person in Latin America to receive the vaccine. Chile and Costa Rica also began administering the vaccine. Meanwhile, countries like Brazil are not expected to begin administering the vaccine until mid-February. Mexico purchased 34 million doses of the vaccine.
Brazil Vice President tests positive for virus - Brazil Vice President Hamilton Mourao has tested positive for the Coronavirus. Mourao is 67 and is the latest Brazilian politician to test positive for the virus. Earlier this year, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive. Recently, Bolsonaro said he doesn’t “give a damn” about pressure to deliver a vaccine to Brazilians.
Trump signs stimulus package - On Sunday, President Donald Trump signed a Coronavirus relief and spending package bill. He had recently refused to sign the bill saying it was wasteful spending. By delaying the bill, millions of Americans temporarily lost unemployment benefits. The bill will pave the way for a payment of $600 to Americans who make less than $75,000 a year (as of press there is an interim bill that increases, $600 to $2000, approved by the House, but needs Senate approval).
Nashville suspect named - Officials in Tennessee said DNA at the scene from a camper van blast that injured three people matched Anthony Warner. The blast is believed to have been a suicide bombing in an area known for restaurants and nightlife. The camper van broadcasted a message to bystanders to leave the area moments before it exploded. Warner had extensive experience with electronics and alarm systems.